Thursday, 24 March 2011

Evaluation Draft Question 7

Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

I believe the main progression from my preliminary is my ability to use software and different technologies and my understanding of how a magazine is created and the features and conventions that make magazines appealing to and audience. 
Firstly I have hugely developed my technical skills by using software such as photoshop. During my preliminary my knowledge of it was basic and very limited to the very simple elements of editing such as being able to roughly cut out and add effects to photos. It has gradually progressed throughout the production of my product and after my final draft I believe I have a much more in depth understanding of the tools and effects you can create using this programme. I feel that in comparison to my prelim, the editing and precision of the magazine is of a much higher standard, showing my improvement throughout the course. For example, my ability to contrast and brighten things to produce higher quality photos has improved as well as my ability to cover blemishes. I also am much more efficient; getting simple tasks such as editing objects and layers completed quickly. 

My understanding and knowledge of magazines has drastically improved. The knowledge was mainly gained during the research (particularly during analysis of magazines) as i was learning how magazines appeal to an audience and the techniques, conventions and features they use, such as the rule of three and the use of the golden spiral for photographs. I learnt how everything down to the positioning of certain things on the page was designed to be aesthetically pleasing and appeal to the target audience. However my understanding grew more during the planning and production of my final draft as it required me to use the knowledge effectively and to create my own following the conventions and techniques. A key example of this I feel is the comparisons of my contents pages. The preliminary magazine was very brief and lacked much use as a contents page. There was very little information of what the magazine contained and the pictures lack any versatility and clearly do not fit together. Contrastingly, my final contents page features an in depth contents, detailing exactly what we can expect from the magazine. It also sections the contents up so it makes it easier for the reader to use. The photographs are better edited and work better on the page and show a lot more versatility suggesting there to be more than one feature in the magazine. From just looking at the contents alone you can see my development, particularly my understanding of a conventional magazine as I feel this is the part I have learnt most about.

Evaluation Draft Question 6

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Laptop/Computer: I used the computers available at school during lesson time to help with my construction of my product. However the majority of producing the magazine was done on my Dell Inspiron laptop as it allowed me access to photoshop and I was able to do the majority of the work at home, giving me much more time in which to complete the magazine. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9: This is the editing software I have on my home Laptop, it is where i created an edited almost all of product. The tools on it allowed me to create the desired affects on my magazine. After the brief tutorial of photoshop during our preliminary, as well as personal practice I soon became able to use Photoshop effectively and to my advantage by creating the kind of product I wanted.

Samsung L313 Compact Camera: This is the camera I used to take all the photographs for my magazine. Although it isn't of the highest quality it was the best camera I had available to me with which I could take the pictures. I feel considering the lack of quality, it has produced good photographs and that I have made the use of the technology available to me. I also used photographs from my friend Steph's camera that we took together and consequently shared as we had the same photographs. These were only used on my contents page. 

Microsoft Word 2007: I used this to write up my double page spread interview as I thought it would work best on a word document as it would encourage a bit more structure to my writing and I could keep a word count of how much I had done. 

Scribd: This is an online publishing website in which you can upload word documents and then embed them onto your blog. I used this to put my interview on my blog, as well as my feedback sheet. 

Slideshare: I used this to create my artist profile. I created a powerpoint using Microsoft Office Powerpoint 2007 and then uploaded it onto slideshare which allowed me to publish it onto my blog. 

Animoto: I used this video creator to make a moodboard and also for my pitch. I found this effective as it was a good visual representation of my work, allowing me to put across my research and planning ideas more efficiently.

Memory Stick: This was the main place I saved my work, although I had back ups both at school and on my laptop. I used this as I could take the work to and from school easily allowing me as much time as possible to complete the work. It proved to be very useful.

Facebook: I posted some of the photographs I took for my magazine on facebook to see what my friends thought and which photographs they liked best, as they are my target audience, i felt there opinion would be most valid.

Internet (Google Chrome/internet explorer,, A vital part of my research and plannig as I used google to do a lot of it particularly finding magazine exemplars and finding out facts. 

Evaluation Draft. Question 5

How did you attract or address your audience? 

My audience ranges between older teenagers and young adults; mainly of the student age so I have designed my magazine in a way that will attract them to buy it. I am also looking to attract a female audience. I did this by featuring a woman of a similar age to my audience on the cover who would be considered as someone who would appeal to female audience. This could be due to her pose, her clothing and and facial expression. Although the colours aren't particularly feminine, I think they would be aesthetically pleasing to a female because they coordinate with the photograph and look quite stylized. The cover lines feature slightly more female artists than the average magazine cover, which I again think would appeal to a more female audience despite the music not necessarily targeting a particular genre. Also I have chosen predominantly British artists, with only three non British artists featuring on the cover. This would attract the audience as they I feel they would be more interested in British acts, possibly due to the fact there will be more chance to see them perform live. I think the banner featuring the festival news would address the audience as it targets a certain age group that festivals are very popular with; the young people in my target audience. The fact I have offered a chance to win tickets to a festival would also attract my audience as they would be keen to go to the festival. 
The contents is designed for my audience because they would most likely be semi literate in the genre of music and would therefore understand the short brief descriptions and the ways in which they relate to the particular feature. They would also follow the mainly formal language I have used throughout my pages. I feel the pictures would be attractive to them as they are all of young, supposedly successful or upcoming artists who they would aspire to be like as well as being able to relate to because of their age. The fact many of my features gives readers a better insight into bands is also a feature that I feel would attract my audience. For example, the behind the scenes interviews gives the audience the chance to feel closer to their favourite artist. I think by giving the different pages subheadings such as the reviews section would appeal to the audience because it helps them go straight away to the parts of the magazine they are interested in. 
 The language I have used in the interview would appeal because of the interview style; the voice of the youthful artist featured would effectively relate to my audience. I also think the photograph on the double page spread would appeal to my audience, the styling and pose of it I found to be very popular among my friends who would fit into my audience. The cover line that reads 'Music was always going to be a part of my life' would appeal to my audience as I feel they could relate to this as by buying my type of magazine that music is an important part of their life, with which they have an invested interest. This would make the artist more appealing to the reader because they feel they have something in common. The interview represents the artist in a very positive light,pointing out qualities of the artist that the audience would respect. I think the fact that the interview focuses mainly on music as oppose to other features such as fashion would attract my audience as they would be more interested to know the story behind the artists music than what they are planning on wearing to a festival for example. 
Overall, I think I have done a lot of things to attract my audience and address them in an appropriate manner. I think I achieved this by focusing on my audience profile and the requirements of my audience. I also focused a lot on the way in which I was going to represent my artist to appeal to the audience whilst still fitting in a believable magazine. The content is also focused around what I know people who would buy the magazine like, as my friends would be this audience.

Evaluation Draft Question 4

Who would be the audience for your media product?

Jess is an 18 year old girl from Leeds who is in her final year of A Levels where she is studying Media Studies, Psychology and English Literature. She is a typical 'indie scenester' and has a very keen interest in music, particularly that of the indie or indie rock genre; but shes also likes more alternative artists. She is a keen follower of the latest music news and enjoys seeing bands live. This year she is attending Glastonbury and Leeds festivals because she enjoys listening to live music and feels the type of music played at these festivals would appeal to her. She is particularly looking forward to Coldplay headlining Glastonbury as these are one of her favourite, more mainstream, bands. However she is also keen to see mumford and sons as she has followed their progress since 2008 when she discovered them from.   Many of the bands she has on her iPod are fairly unheard of or unsigned that she found several years ago on social networking site MySpace and has continued to follow their progress and support them by seeing them live at venues when she has the opportunity to. Her Ipod is something she always has with her with a library of nearly eight thousand songs. In the rest of her spare time she enjoys spending time with her friends, going out for meals and to bars, as well as her local pub. She uses facebook and twitter and follows many of the artists she listens to on twitter to keep up with their latest news. Although she is interested in fashion, it is not a main priority, but she does take inspiration from particular role models such as Florence and the Machine. She respects their fashion rather than trying to copy it and is not particularly materialistic, sticking to the basic indie fashions such as skinny jeans, and converse trainers. She works part time in a newsagents; meaning she has a lot of access to magazines. She subscribes to NME magazine and occasionally reads Q depending on what features are included. 
Jess is the type of person I feel would fit into my target audience. She is young, sociable and has a keen interest in music that matches my genre. The features in the magazine would suit Jess because they would offer her the chance to see more acts live by giving her details of where to see them and reviews of who's best to see. Because of her keen interest in the artists themselves, the interviews would also be of interest; as well as some of the artists being someone she would aspire to be like. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Evaluation Draft Question 3

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
I think the kind of media institution best suited to distribute my magazine would be IPC Media; the distribution company that publishes NME magazine. I think this because I feel NME is targeting the most similar social group to my magazine. I think the magazine would work best in the Connect division of the corporation as this is targeted at women. It is also a British corporation and has a large portfolio of trusted magazines; so I feel this would be beneficial for my magazine. The Connect division does not currently have a music magazine designed for a more female market; meaning there is a definite opportunity for the publisher to take on something new and with experience from NME they would have the right knowledge to make the magazine successful. 
I could distribute the magazine in several ways including postage for subscribers and on magazine stands in shops. I could also consider looking into publishing the magazine online as this has become more popular recently making it more accessible to readers; particularly as my audience targets a age group familiar with the technology in which to achieve this.  
Of the three types of circulation, I think paid circulation would be the type I would choose for my magazine as this is what the majority of other music magazines such as NME do. This would mean a fixed price for each magazine as well as making it available for subscription which I think would be the most beneficial. If I was to go with free circulation, I think the people who normally buy the magazine would be more hesitant to if they think it is simply available to anyone by charging nothing; as I think my 'indie scenester' social group would be more keen to buy a magazine they know the be of value and therefore worth their time to read. However I think controlled circulation is too far in the opposite direction as younger people would not be keen on having to 'qualify' for the magazine as they would simply see this as too much effort just to get a magazine when they have much easier access to others on a news stand for example. 
Looking at the type of magazines IPC Media deals with, I would most likely make the publication of the magazine weekly with a fixed price, that would possibly be cheaper if the reader was to subscribe for a longer period of time. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Evaluation Draft Question 2

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

My magazine represents the particular social group of what could be called 'indie scenesters'  as I have designed the magazine to suit the needs of this social group. The style of the magazine is similar to that of Q and NME because these are the same music genre as my magazine (mainly indie and variations around it). The use of the black, white and red colour scheme represents the genre because these are the colours you most often associate with the bands that would feature in the magazine; thus mixing in well.  I chose my cover artist because I thought she would appeal to the female audience I am targeting. I don't think she is particularly represented in respect of Laura Mulvey's male gaze theory as something that is to be desired by men. This isn't to say she isn't, but more that this is not how the photograph on the front cover represents her. The pose is much more similar to Marjorie Ferguson's chocolate box pose; with the smile, three-quarter turned head and uniformed mid shot used. Because of this picture I feel it addresses a more female audience. Her clothes reflect the genre of music; I knew that the indie genre wouldn't be represented by someone dressed glamorously with heavy make up and well done hair. Also, 'Indie Scenesters are not a social group represented in a materialistic manner, so I have taken inspiration from other artists in the indie genre and copied their style how i can. The chequered shirt was taken as inspiration from the NME Lily Allen interview as I wanted my artist to be represented in a similarly visual way; as i felt the style reflected worked well.  
My contents page represents my indie scenester social group primarily because of the layout I think. The textual layout is designed for a semi literate audience; meaning they have a reasonable idea of the kind of music in the magazine and would therefore understand the written aspect such as a play on words when talking about a band. The written style is to the point, simple and very concentrated on the music aspect. I have made it this way to appeal to the social group, as I think if it wasn't very concentrated the audience would find it dull and be less likely to buy my magazine. The pictures on the contents are primarily female, again appealing to a more female audience. They are also very clearly people of a young age, which I think will appeal to the social group I'm targeting as they are of a similar age and can therefore relate and aspire to these people. The fact that much of the content relates to festivals and live performances fits into the 'indie scenester' social group as this is popular within the social group, so they are more likely to be interested in buying the magazine. 
The double page spread represents a youthful social group I think primarily because of the photograph used. I think it is reflective of the artist's age as it makes her appear quite naive and innocent; something we associate more in younger people. However, as well as this there is an intriguing aspect to the photograph which I think again would appeal to the social group as I feel a a person who I would be trying to appeal to would find her stance and the framing of the photo interesting and the styling of it would encourage them to read the interview. Because the artist herself would actually fit into the target audience, she represents the social group perfectly. I aimed to match her tone in the interview to the way those in the representative social group would speak so they could relate easier. However, I wanted to keep the tone reasonably formal so as not to patronize the reader, who would have a respectable knowledge of music. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Evaluation Draft Question 1

In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media?
During the research stage we looked at a wide variety of music magazines, as well as work of students from previous years. Looking at these, the more successful magazines, or those that got the highest marks were those that followed conventions of magazines. The reason for this is that the people who produce the magazines know exactly what will make their target audience buy the magazine. They know what kind of cover star is needed; and how they need to be represented. After looking at the golden spiral concept, we can also see magazines are designed to draw your eye to the most aesthetically pleasing part of the page. However, some magazines do challenge these conventions, but generally because they know it will appeal to an audience; for example, they could produce a particularly artistic photograph that although doesn't match the conventional mid shot would still sell the magazine. This is also true in the case of controversial magazine covers, such as ones featuring nudity or distasteful aspects. 
Other conventions rely heavily on the rule of three; the way the page is divided portrait and landscape, the colour scheme, and the different fonts used. The masthead always goes across the top of the page, either starting from the left or centre. Most magazines have at least 60 pages, and section their contents pages into easier to find categories and feature a relative amount of images. Other conventions, such as the colours used relies heavily on the genre of the magazine, and the audience in which they are appealing to such a male or female.

When it came to the designing the magazine, I took strongly into account these conventions, purely because they have proved to make the magazines pleasing for the audience they are designed for. I took a lot of inspiration from NME and Q magazine as these are the magazines that most interest me, and I would be included in my target audience, of older teenagers and people in their early twenties, slightly more aimed at a female perspective, despite these magazine possibly being more aimed at men. 
My masthead is conventional of real magazines; it is the largest text on the page and is bold and clear to read, as well as eye catching, It is also positioned in the top left, which again follows convention. I feel using the font 'Haettenscheiller' for the masthead matched the genre and its simple and straight to the point; which is what I wanted to convey about my magazine. My choice of the title I think also reflects the magazine, a convention seen particularly in fashion magazines as well as music magazines, such as Vogue or Elle. I layered the masthead behind the photograph as I felt it was still readable and that having it above would take some focus away from the image, developing the idea from inspiration taken from other magazines that also do this, such as NME, which often partially cover the masthead. Black was part of my colour scheme and I felt that if i was using a white background, such a stark contrast would be most effective for the masthead in terms of making it stand out on a magazine shelf.

The graphology of the pages is possibly the part of my magazine in which I have focused most on following conventions of music magazines. The reason for this is simply because these magazines have been edited and tested to make the most appealing layout for the reader in a way in which they will find most enjoyable and pleasing to look at and read; so following this layout would be most beneficial in the designing of my magazine as I know that the layout will work successfully. I think the layout is particularly successful on the contents page I have produced as I really felt I achieved what could be called a professional look to the page. The inspiration was taken from NME and Q especially as these are of the same genre as well as the contents pages I analysed and therefore had the most knowledge of how to achieve. The layout consists of a title area, carrying over the masthead and a page title of 'contents'. Below this are three columns (following the rule of three) with a selection of images and  a detailed contents, with clear page numbers and titles for each page listed. This is followed by a brief description, all of these following the colour and font schemes carried over from the front cover. The images fall the to the right hand side of the page, with some layering, as I found the pages with images grouped together the most effective on a contents page; seeing these pictures as you open the magazine would immediately draw your eye to these features, so I can encourage the reader to take an interest in these features by matching them with a relevant image.

The photographs were also a key part to the magazine and possibly the hardest part to use the conventions as the photographs on real magazines have been taken by a professional photographer, so reaching that level as an amateur in this respect is difficult. This meant making the shots as easy as possibly and getting the subject as relevant to my genre as possible. When choosing a model I already had some criteria I had decided upon, for example I wanted to use a girl as I wanted to appeal to a female audience as well as male.  Then I looked at the young female artists in my genre and took inspiration from the photographs of them as this is a similar representation of how I planned to represent my artist. The clothing and the styling of the model was the key part, as well as the need for them to be photogenically and aesthetically pleasing. My model had short hair, which was fine, however I thought it would fit my genre if she had long hair as many of the female artists had long, imperfect, wavy hair; so we used extensions to achieve this. The hat was both a style and practical choice, it made the hair more look realistic as the models own and it matched the colour scheme and fitted the genre. I kept make up fairly simple, as I feel indie isn't a genre in which startling make up is necessary. The clothes again were fairly casual as I wanted to represent the artist as a musician rather than a  fashion icon. However I did match the clothes to some of the styles I had seen on female artists I had looked at such as Ladyhawke. I also kept the colour scheme of black, white and red in mind, choosing neutral greys and blacks or a checkered red shirt as I often found on magazines that the colour scheme and the predominant colours in the photograph coordinated. I think the setting of the brick wall is effective as it makes her a little more interesting than just being in a studio. This possibly challenges the conventions of magazines as I would say the majority of photo shoots are conducted in a studio. However, and particularly with the indie genre, some artists are pictured in a more realistic setting, possibly to reflect the nature of the music and how it is more 'natural' sounding. I feel that for my particular photo it makes the artist more accessible to the reader and easier to relate to which was my aim. I took some photos with an acoustic guitar as I felt this represented the artist and her music well, however none of the photos I felt fitted in with the magazine and so they weren't included. I also found that not many artists include their instruments in their photo shoot, very often it is just them alone. This can be because they don't play or are the singer in a band, but even those who do rarely feature with their instrument I found, so I didn't feel it was something I needed to include, just an option. 

The photographs I took were widely varied so when it came to choosing the best ones I could  have options. After taking the photos I looked at which ones captured the golden spiral rule and the angles which applied best to my genre, as well as the poses that worked well. The shots I personally found most effective were the ones where Izzy (model) wasn't giving eye contact; I felt it made her more interesting and that the photos worked well. However, it would go against convention to use a photo with no eye contact on the cover. This convention proved to be necessary as with my mock ups I found that no eye contact meant less connection to the reader on their first impression. However I found it worked well on the double page spread when their was more text to accompany the photo. 

I used one of the, if not the most conventional colour scheme for a music magazine as it fitted my genre and the style of my magazine well. The colours reflect not only the genre but all the artists in the genre I feel. 

Overall, my media product heavily relies on the use and development of conventions in real magazines. I haven't particularly challenged the conventions as I felt this would simply make the magazine appeal to my target audience less.