1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? My magazine front cover breaks a lot of conventions set by mainstream music magazines, such as Kerrang! (left), and looks more like independent magazine Vice (bottom left). For example, the masthead is at the bottom of front cover. For mainstream magazines, this would be a big no-no, as it could mean the magazine would go unnoticed on the packed newsagents shelves. However, I think my magazine would also be independent and only available from smaller privately owned shops that would stock it, such as skate shops who stock independent magazines. My magazine also breaks conventions by having only one main headline. Kerrang! is packed with headlines, selling lines and adverts for freebies. Also, music magazines are generally aimed at younger teenagers , such as when Kerrang! remodelled itself around the ‘Emo’ craze, but mine would be aimed at a niche market of slightly older teenagers.
VS Here I made a mock-up of what my magazine might look like it were mainstream. I think having lots of headlines, a web address and a puff ruin the minimalistic effect of the magazine. I think the minimalistic cover looks much better, and would be more appealing. I would also not have a barcode, because my magazine is offered free from certain independent stores. This ties in with the genre and audience, who would most likely be a loyal niche market. I feel this provides support for my choice of a minimalistic front cover.
My double page spread and contents page are more conventional than my cover, following more traditional layouts. I chose the title ‘Year of the Dragon’ because Dragon is the name of my fictional band, and the last year has been successful for them. In the Chinese calendar the Dragon represents strength and good luck, fitting in with the theme of the article and the band’s success. I chose pink as the dominant colour of the contents page and double page spread because it traditionally represents feminity and girlyness, but can also represent sex.
2) How does your media product represent particular social groups? I aimed for my magazine to have a ‘grungey’ feel to it, and tried to convey this through my images and font. First I looked at the fashion of the early nineties when grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam were most popular. I found that ripped denim was popular, along with unbranded clothes and dull colours. Therefore, I gave my model a ripped denim skirt, black leggings, a grey floral shirt, a dull purple cardigan and unbranded purple shoes to wear to reflect this. I also had her pretend to smoke, as this is typically popular among musicians, which along with the concrete and bricks gives the images a ‘street’ mis-en-scene. As grunge is quite a niche fashion market now, it mirrors my niche audience. Also, the font I used, ‘RubberStamp’, looks grungey and similar to embossed label tape, popular also during that time. I also created a ‘scribble’ of pink to use for backgrounds, which is simple and effective, relating to the nature of the fashion and music as Grunge music is notorious for it’s simplicity. The title of the double page spread, ‘Year of the Dragon’ is also appropiate as Kurt Cobain from Nirvana was a believer in astrology and often mentioned how he were a Pisces.
3) What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? My magazine would be free from small independent stores, such as skate shops. It would also be printed independently in a sort of art house fashion, so that would mean fewer copies than if it were printed for the mainstream. Funding and money for the magazine would come from advertisers. This would mean an above average amount of adverts for the magazine. My fictional magazine has a website, and would probably get it’s popularity from a niche underground word of mouth. If it were real, it would probably mean the magazine would be more popular in areas nearer the offices or where the magazine staff were as it would not be national.
4) Who would be the audience for your magazine? The audience for my magazine would be typically older teenagers, or young adults in their early twenties. The magazine has a grunge feel to it, but may also appeal to others who aren’t usually into that genre as the magazine has other features like fashion and photography articles. The readers might be interested in the underground scene and music and the culture that goes with it. The magazine seems to focus on feminity and girls, such as the pink colour scheme of the contents page and double page spread, more than male interests, but this does not mean that the readership will only be women. The readers would probably be from a C1 C2 or D background.
5) How did you attract/address your audience? I tried to attract my audience through an unconventional style. The lack of information on the front colour and the connotations of the colour red (passion, love, fire, energy) mean that the reader may become curious as to what is inside the magazine. Having very few cover lines is also rare in the magazine industry, and this may appeal to the reader who is fed up of being sold things all the time, or products desperately trying to grab their attention. This may be quite a niche market, as few people think in depth about what they’re buying. I also made my fictional band new and upcoming, and the interview about topics that may not have been discussed publicly before. Consumers love to think they’re getting something ‘private’ or previously unknown. Readers also like to feel like a personal relationship has been established with someone they idolise. This is almost always achieved through photos were the model makes eye contact with the camera and thus the reader. The language of the magazine is not complex, but not the simple moronic language seen typically in ‘lads mags’. Also, using a female model attracts men and women. Men are interested by women, and women are interested in women who are interesting to men....
6) What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? This task has encouraged me to build on my previously very basic level of editing skills, and to consider the actual amount of work that goes into magazine production. Everything is thought about in a very in-depth way with all the connotations considered. I have used a variety of editing programs, from Paint(!) to Photoshop. My understanding of how to use Photoshop has improved greatly, and I’ve found it is quite simple and easy to achieve something that looks good. I also enjoyed taking photographs for my magazine, and learnt to consider things such as lighting, clothing and mis-en-scene. I also learnt to consider location and how to transform my back garden into something similar to backstage at a gig!
7) Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full production? Considering the quality of my work for the first task, I have learnt a lot about magazine production and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey. The research task has taught me to consider how the things I buy are put together, and the effort involved in that. My editing skills have developed greatly, and I now have a good(ish) understanding of Photoshop and similar software. If I could do it all over again I would spend more time on my contents page, as I felt this was the weakest of my work. I would have worked harder on developing a running theme for the magazines pages too. During the first task I only really used Microsoft Word and Paint to achieve my final result, but for the main task I used Photoshop and tried to make my work more complex. I think the quality of my photos also got better, as I learnt to consider more of what was in the image and what this would say to the reader.