5ProductionProjectYour production projectThis chapter will explain how to set about aproduction project. The result of a project will bea complete media product, for example a newspaper,which would require text produced for Unit 11(Writing for the media) and photographs for Unit 9(Photography techniques). These are combined inthis production project unit. In Chapter 4 you wereintroduced to the production process. In thischapter you will learn about applying aspects ofthe production process when responding to a projectbrief.
39.THEPRODUCTIONPROCESSPRODUCTIONPROJECT39.What is a proposal?A proposal is the end result of the first stage in developing of an idea for amedia product. The initial process of development could be in the form of amind map, when you think of several related ideas and then accept or rejectthem. Here is an example of a mind map for a product, showing ideas forthe content of the product.The product is a school newspaper, and the pages that could be includedin the newspaper have been identified in the mind-mapping exercise. Eachidea is discussed and a final selection is made of the most feasible ideas.In order to make a decision about the best ideas, you should do a SWOTanalysis.A SWOT analysis is a professional tool that media producers use to checkthe viability of a product. They consider the strengths and weaknesses ofthe product, the opportunities for it and the threats against it.For a school newspaper you would do this analysis by answering thefollowing questions:• Would this appeal to the audience?• How easy is to find material for each page?• Is any page too boring?• Would each page provide something valuable to the audience? Would itmake the newspaper more saleable?• Is there enough time to find information and produce a page layout?• Has this already been done before? If so, how successful was it, and whywas this?Try this ...You have been approachedby a client who wants tomarket a new range ofsweets for young children.These sweets contain onlynatural, fair trade ingredients.They want you to suggest thebest way of marketing thisproduct. Your first idea is fora website linked to a videogame. Try a SWOT analysisto see if this is a feasibleidea.School newspaperClubreviewSchooldress codeMusicreviewSportsreportsSchoolrules
40. BTEC First in Media: A Practical HandbookThis is an example of how you might produce your SWOT analysisdocument.Preparing the proposal documentA proposal is a document that tries to sell an idea to a client orcommissioner. In order to do this, it needs to be clear and to the point, andmust provide sufficient information for the client or commissioner to ask forfurther development of your idea.A proposal document should be written in an appropriate format, showing:• working title• medium to be used, e.g. video, website, etc.• intended audience• indication of the style• summary of the content• length or size of product.Pitching your proposalA client or commissioner may ask you to pitch your idea for a mediaproduct. This is an opportunity to talk about your idea and expand on itby presenting the information in an appropriate way. You may decide toproduce a PowerPoint presentation with a handout. You may be able to talkthrough your ideas using a range of examples of your page layout orstoryboard.Whatever method you use, you must make sure that your idea isbased on appropriate research, that the idea is feasible, that there is atarget audience for the product and that it can be delivered on time andwithin budget.StrengthsWill appeal to an audience(pupils at your school).Material is easy to find.OpportunitiesProvides something valuable toaudience.Content makes newspapersaleable.WeaknessesSome pages could be boring.Might take a long time to findthe information.ThreatsNot enough time.Already been done.Look at the example of aprofessional proposal for avideo on the CD-Rom.Look at …Try this ...Think about how you wouldpitch your idea for a mediaproduct to a client orcommissioner. Would youtalk through the idea withthem, give them samples ofyour idea, or present youridea using a PowerPointpresentation?
41.THEPRODUCTIONPROCESSPRODUCTIONPROJECTLegal and ethical issuesWhen producing a proposal you will have to take into consideration legaland ethical issues. These could be:• Privacy. An individual should be able to keep their private lives out ofthe public view. Will your product infringe a person’s right to privacy?• Defamation is the publishing of untrue statements about a person thatdamages their reputation. What you say about someone could damagetheir reputation and you could be sued.• Libel law. Libel is the defamation of a person in print, on television,radio or a website. What you write about someone could have seriousimplications for your reputation and for your income.• Race discrimination laws protect minority groups from beingportrayed in a bad light by the media and by individuals. You need tobe careful when representing people and groups.• Data protection. The Data Protection Act requires anyone who handlespersonal information to follow a number of important principles. Italso gives individuals rights over their personal information. You needto ensure that any research material you produce is not openlyavailable to everyone.• Copyright. Using someone else’s material without their permission willinfringe their copyright. You must not assume that you can simply takematerial from a website or library without permission from the copyrightowner.• Codes of practice are sets of guidelines produced to set standards ofprofessional conduct. Codes of practice should be carefully consideredwhen planning your product (see the Appendix for more details).When preparing a proposal you must be aware of all these issues.Developing your proposalThe development of the proposal, once it has been accepted, is called atreatment. The treatment is a document that provides evidence of the costsinvolved in the production, the timescales involved and the crew and talent(actors) that may be used in the production.A client or commissioner will want to see that you have thought carefullyand planned efficiently before any material is recorded.On the CD-Rom you will findsome examples of legalrestrictions from recent mediaproducts.Look at …Try this ...A client wants to market anew range of sweets aimedat young children and youhave decided that a TVadvert would be the bestadvertising medium. Find thewebsite giving informationon regulations concerningadvertising and youngchildren. Make some noteson the restrictions you find.
42. BTEC First in Media: A Practical HandbookThe treatment, which may be created by the producer, could consider:• All the tasks that need to be completed, e.g. finding locations, findingprops, finding resources.• The roles to be undertaken: the crew required, the talent needed, thesupport staff required.• How to manage the team: who will lead the team, how the team will bemotivated.• Logistics: where to obtain resources, where to obtain materials.• Clearances and permissions, e.g. ensuring that locations will givepermission for their use.• Health and safety: Is the location safe? Is the studio safe? Will the crewand talent be safe whilst working?The actual contents of the treatment will vary according to the product beingproposed. Turn the page for more detailed information.Carrying out further researchIn order to produce your treatment you will have to carry out furtherresearch. This may be for:• Content: Will the content of the product be appropriate for the intendedaudience?• Viability: Have you checked that there are no foreseeable problems withthe product?You could do this research using a range of techniques, e.g. using primarysources such as questionnaires, focus groups or interviews.The information you gather from this research should be analysed andrecorded. This analysis will demonstrate that either everything is in placeand appropriate or that changes need to be made.Try this ...You are going on location tofilm an essential sequence foryour advertisement for a newrange of sweets. You haveforgotten to ask permissionfrom the owner of the localsweet shop and they do notagree to you filming. Youhave a crew of six peoplesitting around waiting to startwork. How could you haveavoided this situation?For more information onresearch techniques youshould look at Chapter 2,Research for MediaProduction.Try this ...You have interviewed tenpeople about their thoughtson the fair trade sweetsproduct and recorded theiranswers on paper. You havegiven twenty people aquestionnaire and receivedsome of these back. Youhave gathered togethertwenty people in a room andpresented your idea for theproduct, recording theirsuggestions on a feedbackform.(a) How would you analysethis material?(b) How would you store thismaterial?(c) What would you do withthe results of youranalysis?
43.THEPRODUCTIONPROCESSPRODUCTIONPROJECTProducing your treatmentThe treatment provides an opportunity for you to bring together all theelements you need to start the production process. The treatment is avaluable document and will reassure a client that you have considered allthe different phases of production.The elements that make up any treatment are:• Research: evidence of appropriate research into content, style andviability.• Draft script: the first version of a script that will be changed to a finalscript as the production process moves on.• Mood board / thumbnail / storyboard: the visual representations of theproduct, used to demonstrate how the product will look.• Production schedule: a timeline for the process, showing the planningfor production and post-production. A key part of this is to identifypotential health and safety issues. A risk assessment should be done tomake sure that the production can be completed safely and on time.• List of contributors: details of who these people are and how to contactthem. The crew will be identified by their roles and the list could includedetails of who will manage various parts of the production.• Sources: details of where resources and materials can be found. Thismight be suppliers of tapes, properties, equipment, crew or talent. It mayalso include details of clearances and permissions required.• Budget: a comprehensive breakdown of expected costs for the product.• Contingency: a plan for making changes, where necessary, e.g. whatwould you do if the weather was too bad for filming, or a crew memberdid not arrive on time?You will also find some of the following in treatments for particular mediaproducts:• Shooting script: a script format that includes camera positions andangles, stage directions and lighting directions. This allows the directorand producer to have a clear idea of the final shape of the production.• Location recce: a visit to a location to ensure that it is appropriate andsafe. This must be donen early in the planning schedule.• Cue sheet: a list of speech, music and links used when compiling aradio product.• Schematic: a diagram that represents the elements of a website, forexample. The schematic demonstrates how pages link together and howlinks will be put in place to make navigation work.• Page layout: a draft page or front cover of a magazine or newspaper toshow how it will look. It is useful for checking margins and gutters, whitespace and text size.Look at the example of aprofessionally producedtreatment for a videoprogramme on the CD-Rom.Look at …You can use the blanktemplates of the treatmentdocuments on the CD-Romin your own treatment.Look at …Try this ...Your proposal and pitch to aclient have been successful.They have asked you todevelop your idea for the fairtrade sweets project. List thedocumentation you woulduse to produce a treatmentfor the client.
It is important that you understand the production process and follow a planin order to make your production successful. The flowchart opposite willhelp you understand the whole production process:44. BTEC First in Media: A Practical HandbookCreating your media productProductionThe production process will be the same whichever media form you chooseto use for your product. You must:• monitor: keep careful records and check that the production is on track.• produce: record visual and audio material for your product.• review: review this material and, if necessary, produce more material.• log: note down all the material you have produced.• paper edit: make decisions on how this material will be linked together tomake a finished product.• edit: shape and manipulate this material in order to produce your finishedproduct.• present: show your product to an audience and/or a client and obtainfeedback on the product.• alter: make changes to the product in light of their feedback, wherenecessary.A chart like this can help you to keep track of your production:You should also keep a production diary. This will help you to demonstratewhat roles you undertook and the skills you have developed. Here is anexample of a production diary.In the media industryproducers take audiencefeedback seriously. Themakers of Sesame Streetshowed the pilot programmeto an audience and asked forfeedback. The audience wasless motivated by the streetscenes and more engagedwith the puppets – theMuppets. This led the makersto increase the role of theMuppets and to create a newshow that just featured JimHenson’s Muppets.Activity Date started Date completedProduced a cue sheet Thursday 1 May Friday 2 Mayfor the interviews and musictracks for the radio show.Recorded the interviews for Monday 5 May Monday 5 Maythe radio commercial.Date Activity Skills developed/roles undertaken1 May Wrote my cue sheet I looked at the examples of cue sheets that my tutor gave me. I thenfor the radio. made a list of all the items I wanted in my part of the radio programme.I put this list into a running order and gave copies to my group.We discussed this and between us we made a group cue sheet touse for our finished programme.I made notes about the meeting and gave these out to the group. This willhelp us to remember what we have to do.
46. BTEC First in Media: A Practical HandbookHow to maintain qualityThroughout the production and post-production process you must thinkabout the technical and aesthetic qualities of your work:• Have you produced the best images and sound that you can?• Do the images and sound convey the message that you are hoping for?• Is the media format you have chosen appropriate for the audience?• Do all the elements in the product work, e.g. rollovers operate and linksare activated?• Is the product produced in an appropriate genre for the audience?• Is the narrative structure appropriate for the audience?As you can see, there is a lot of emphasis on the audience. This is becausethe majority of media products are produced with an audience in mind, andhow well they will sell is determined by the needs of the audience.The best way to be sure you are producing the correct material is to have anon-going review with your crew and the client. Communication is veryimportant, so you should find a way of showing a client the work in progressto ensure you have not strayed too far from your original idea.Reviewing whether your intentions havebeen metYou must consider how your production process relates to your originalproposal. A client will want to be reassured that the idea you proposed at thestart of the process is the same as the product you have produced. Theclient will now have committed money and time to the project, based onyour original proposal. You must think about:• content: does the content match the content in your proposal?• style: is the style of the product consistent with the style you identified inthe proposal?• audience: will the product meet the needs of the intended audience?• proposed outlet: will the product be suitable for the market youidentified in the proposal?In the film industry there hasalways been a meeting at thestart of the day to review therushes. Rushes are thesections of the previous day’sfilm material that have beenprocessed overnight, whichcan be viewed by the directorto check there is enoughmaterial for a scene. Eventhough much of the filmindustry has now moved overto digital film capture, thisviewing still takes place at thestart of the day.
47.THEPRODUCTIONPROCESSPRODUCTIONPROJECTYou need to constantly ask yourself these questions as you go through theproduction process. If you cannot say yes to each of these points you willneed to review the production and see where changes might have takenplace, and why.Throughout the production process, you should record all informationaccurately because it will help you when you review your own work.SummaryIn this chapter you have covered what you need toknow to achieve three of the four Learning Outcomesrelating to Unit 17 of your course. You should now:• be able to prepare a proposal for a media product• be able to develop a proposal for a media product• be able to create a media product following aproposal.When you have finished your product you will needto review it to achieve the final Learning Outcome.To find out how to do this turn to Chapter 19,Reviewing Your Work.Find out how to review yourown work in Chapter 19.