Introduction In this evaluation I will aim to evaluate and reflect on the creative process and my experience of it. I will do this by answering, in detail, the following questions: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? What have you learned from your audience feedback? How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? To answer this question I will need to compare my artist and product with real artists, music videos and CD covers. Using forms and conventions of real media products makes the product instantly recognisable as a product of that particular style or genre. Developing forms and conventions takes the features of a particular style or genre, once again making it instantly recognisable, but adds to it so that it also gives the audience something new and fresh making it different and more memorable. Challenging forms and conventions once again makes the product not typical of a certain genre or style thus making it different and more memorable, both key in the marketing of a new artist. I established the main form and conventions of female RnB artists through in depth research, mainly online.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? To answer this question I will need to think about the synergy between each aspect of my final product. Synergy is important in the marketing of any product as it creates a familiarity and ensures that the product will become instantly recognisable to the audience. I think of synergy in terms of a bond between the different aspects of my product, the video, the digipak and the advertisement. Linking them together not only makes the final product look professional, but also increases sales by almost making the audience feel like they know the artist from the familiarity that comes from synergy.
What have you learned from your audience feedback? Audience feedback helped me greatly throughout the creation of our final product. In the marketing of a new artist in particular, audience feedback is especially important as we need to know what it is the audience want from a new artist so that we can ensure that our product appeals to as many people as possible. It’s pointless creating a product that no-one is going to like as no-one is going to buy it! We conducted several surveys on different aspects of our product throughout the research and creation stages and found that feedback creates a guide by which you can measure your successes and edit and improve the parts that are not as popular.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? We were very lucky to have a number of new media technologies available to us during every stage of production. The ever-growing might of the internet provided us with sites such as YouTube and Google which were fundamental to the research stage. Blogspot was used to organise the planning stage. Canon video cameras, Apple Mac computers and software such as Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and InDesign CS4 were used in the construction of our product. Powerpoint software and Slidesharewere used for the evaluation of our final product.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Males can be shown in a positive light, but this generally happens only in love songs such as Beyonce - Halo where the man in the video is likened to an angel both through the song lyrics and through the use of soft lighting which creates a 'halo' like effect around the actors head Close ups of artists face throughout video Tend to have a narrative perspective with a story that links in with the lyrics Usually have a lot of emphasis on females and what they go through Sexy/minimal clothing for females to attract the male gaze Conventions of female RnB Video Males in female rnb videos are generally shown in a negative light and are commonly used to show what men put women through Fashionable costumes, sunglasses and high heels - portrayal of being rich and successful Un-choreographed dancing such as pointing at camera while swaying side to side and miming lyrics and running hands through hair and down body Usually when the female artist is black the male in question is also black Low angle shots of artist to make her seem empowered - young women look up to/idolise artist
Uses During the research stages of my product I chose to mainly use Beyonce and Leona Lewis as my inspiration. Beyonce is world famous and extremely successful, Leona Lewis is talented and British, both are female RnB artists and both are of black descent like Lizzie. We constructed this shot based on the Beyonce – Irreplaceable shot shown on the right. The costume permits the male gaze attracting the male audience and female members of the audience can relate as getting ready in front of a mirror is something all women do. This uses the conventions of female rnb videos in that both are wearing minimal clothing.
Uses This shot shows the typical kissing scene which almost always takes place on a bed. We constructed this shot based on the Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love scene above.
Uses These shots show women finding underwear on their sofas that do not belong to them. This cleverly uses the convention of men being shown in a negative light without even putting a male actor in the mise en scene.
Uses These scenes show the women leaning against a wall and crying. This once again conforms to the convention of showing what women got through in rnb music videos.
Uses My album cover took its inspiration from the above albums, Leona Lewis once again and world famous female rnb artist alicia keys. I however found that for my album cover a ¾ profile close up shot of my artist was more flattering than a full on close up. The black and white imagery is used to give the artist a ‘simple’ image and make her therefor easier for females to relate to. The hair filling the background is, as shown above, a popular tool the tousled hair gives a bed head effect making the male audience associate the artist with sex.
Develops We developed our video in several ways. We used Goodwin’s music video analysis to reflect the meaning of the song in the construction of the music video, this supports the use of convention however we placed our artist in a narrator position rather than putting her in the actual narrative scenes as an actor. This is a development of the convention as we still reflected the meaning, we just did it in a different way. We found it worked really well and was very effective. My Digipak cover also develops the conventions as I used a ¾ close up shot rather than the typical full on close up shot. This makes it recognisable as a female rnb album but also suggests that the artist, like her CD cover, is different.
Challenges We challenged the convention that the male in the rnb video is almost always of a darker complexion than the woman and that the male is seen to be in control by constructing our intimate scene showing a dark-skinned couple with the woman on top to suggest that she is in control and strong which we see later in the video when she leaves her cheating partner.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? Synergy is the bond between each strand of the final product. The combination of our main product and our ancillary texts in my opinion is very effective. Marketing aims were completed at every stage of development and this helped us to organise key ideas and themes effectively making it easier to create a synergetic marketable product/brand rather than everything i.e themes and ideas being all over the place. One of the key themes of our video was the empowerment of women through female RnB artists this was reflected in our chosen digipak cover: The slightly low angle that the image is taken in makes the artist look powerful and superior. Her foot resting on the word “Lizzie” also makes her appear to be powerful.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? There is also synergy between the lyrics of the song and the narrative which can be explained in terms of Goodwin’s Music Video Analysis theory. The lyrics contain phrases like “How could you love her and leave”, “Promises are broken” and “Why can’t you appreciate the things she’s done for you” which clearly show that the female in the narrative is being wronged by the male in the narrative who breaks promises, is unappreciative and effectively leaves her although it is actually her who leaves him it’s implied that he treated her so badly that she had no choice. The “pain” that the male puts the female through is seen in the destruction of the living room scene culminating in the female breaking down in tears. The empowerment of women idea is reinforced after this scene when the female leaves the male effectively saving herself from the pain hence the title “Save The Pain”. The song itself is about heartbreak and the way in which women deal with it and our final product reflects this very well through the use of the narrative and also in our chosen digipak and poster.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? The artist’s facial expression on both the front cover of the of the digipak and on the poster is one of sadness but she also looks empowered. This show that the women to look up to are the women who take their sadness and draw strength from it. This can also be seen for example in Beyonce – Irreplaceable and Rihanna – Take a bow, which were both number 1 singles for the global female rnb superstars. There is further synergy between the digipak and the poster. The images used throughout are highly sexualised for example the close up of the lips and the exposed leg on the cover which as a selling point is highly effective hence the term “sex sells”. The same typography and colour scheme are used throughout which once again is synergetic and is very effective in that the repetition creates familiarity for the new artist. It also almost becomes like a brand whereby the audience will see the artists name in the same typography and associate it with the song, video, digipak and poster.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? The use of the colour gold connotes luxury, rarity and uniqueness and wealth. When teamed with black it gives an urban feel to the product and the black suggests that the artist has a “dark side” again tapping into the sex appeal selling point of the product. The white writing however suggests that the artist is a ‘virgin’ in the music industry i.e she’s new to it and has an air of innocence and purity in the industry. The secrecy and mystery that surrounds a new artist has been reflected in our final product through the use of the colour black on the digipak, in the video the trench coat covers the rest of the artists costume effectively “cloaking” her in an air of mystery. This same trench coat is seen on the digipak cover and on the poster which not only is synergetic in that the costume becomes familiar to the audience, but is also synergetic in that it ties in with the stage of the artists career, the video itself in that its unclear what is going to happen in the narrative and with the digipak and poster which use the colour black which once again has connotations of mystery. All in all our final product is extremely synergetic in a number of ways all of which have been carefully thought out in order to create a marketable product with great sales prospects.
What have you learned from your audience feedback? We conducted 3 surveys throughout the development of our final product. The first was in the Harrow area where we played our artists track and showed pictures of the artist before conducting the survey. The second was in Brent Cross shopping centre and we positioned ourselves around stores and restaurants that we felt would appeal to our demographic, asked some basic questions to ensure that they were eligible to complete our survey and conducted a questionnaire and the third I conducted in my college during lunch time although this limited the age range of the surveyed audience. We uploaded the music video onto Facebook to encourage friends of ours to leave comments, suggest improvements and praise our hard work! The purpose of audience feedback is to ensure that we are on the right path in the development of our product, make sure that it appeals to the audience and if it doesn’t, gives us a way of finding out why it isn’t appealing and how we can fix it. Audience feedback is perhaps the most important aspect of both the planning process and the marketing of a new product.
What have you learned from your audience feedback? Survey 1: Harrow We showed people a picture of our artist and played her song out loud on our mobile phones. Of the people who liked both Lizzie's image and her song and would buy her product : 42% were Men 58% were Women 33% were aged 19-24 54% were students 67% were unmarried The results of this survey formed the basis of our target audience and we used this as a framework for our planning. We now knew that we were reaching out to women and men (close result ending in the merge of both empowering women and sex appeal) single students. This meant no children or responsibilities and therefore more disposable income to spend on our product. Great result!
What have you learned from your audience feedback? Survey 2: Brent Cross I went to Brent Cross Shopping Centre with printouts of both digipaks and posters and surveyed 100 people that fitted into our demographic. Of those asked: 59% preferred Amanda's digipak cover 62% preferred Amanda's digipak back cover 66% felt no improvements necessary on their product of choice 92% realised that our product was an RnB product 81% said they would download or buy the track This survey was incredibly important in that it, combined with my partners separate survey conducted on the same day, helped us to decide which digipak was more appealing to our target audience and therefore told us which one to go with. In the end, my partner’s digipak and poster were more appealing to our demographic and it was for this reason that we decided to use Amanda’s digipak in our final product. This shows that audience feedback is so important it influences decisions so heavily, especially in the music industry.
What have you learned from your audience feedback? Survey 3: College I conducted this survey in Stanmore College at lunchtime. Of the students asked: 93% enjoyed the video 100% thought the video accurately reflected an RnB song 83% felt the video looked professional 15% felt improvements such as more scenes of artist doing other things e.gdriving or partying would be beneficial 100% felt the video reflected the mood of the song As mentioned before this was not representative of our entire target audience however it was still extremely helpful. Unfortunately at this stage it was too late to add in scenes of the artist doing more however we did take it into account in the editing stage and ensured there were very few long dragged out periods of the artist by making sure that there were a lot of frequent straight cuts to the narrative. Audience feedback at this stage is important to make sure we’ve done our jobs to the best of our abilities and ensure that our product is marketable. It also provides a platform for suggestions of aspects we could improve which we took into account and tried our hardest to accommodate.
What have you learned from your audience feedback? Amanda’s digipak was more popular with our target audience during our surveys and for this reason we chose to use hers as part of our final product. This shows how audience feedback can make a decision of prominence for those in charge of marketing a product, which emphasises its importance. I was happy to use Amanda’s as part of our final product as mine was not as popular mainly, in my opinion, due to the lack of sex appeal my product had. The only sex appeal my product contained that Amanda’s did not was eye contact, other than that there was little exposed skin or sexual positions used on my digipak and this is where I feel I went wrong. Like I said before, sex sells. A close up image of an artists face is all well and good but let’s face it, most men who take up 42% of our target audience, would much rather see an exposed leg in a sexualised position than a facial close up.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Construction Music Video During the construction stages of development we used Canon Video Cameras similar to the one shown in the image below. Although these video cameras capture high quality footage, there are newer HD video cameras now available and it would have been great if we had the opportunity to use these, however the cameras we used were still very good and relatively straightforward to use which meant that we were able to easily make our ideas materialise into the video that we wanted. Final Cut Pro and IDVD software were used to log the tapes and edit the footage. The use of these professional software's enabled us to create a professional and high quality final video.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Construction Digipak & Poster To create my digipak and poster I used Adobe Photoshop CS4 to edit and perfect my images and added the text etc. using Adobe InDesign CS4. As I was already familiar with these technologies from my AS Media Coursework I knew all of the tools and effects that I wanted to use for my digipak and poster and was able to use them to create a professional looking marketable product with meaning behind it.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Research Majority of the research I did took place on line. I made use of sites such as YouTube that enable comments to be left as it’s important to see the criticisms and comments made about the video and the artist themself so that we could endeavour to not make the same mistakes and to pick up on the things done well. Sites like Myspace Music, Facebook and Twitter helped me to see how up and coming artists market themselves online. I also made use of satellite television channels such as MTV Base, Kiss TV and FLAVA to watch and analyse videos for research purposes. This was also helpful as the chart shows on these predominantly RnB channels showed the most popular videos which showed me the best videos to draw aspects from for my own videos.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Planning We used Blogspot as a platform for our planning process. It logged all of our progress in order and enabled us to show all of our thought processes. We created our storyboards on paper and scanned and uploaded these onto Blogspot to ensure that even the planning we did not use media technology for could still be seen on our blogs. The use of the internet once again allowed me to help plan our marketing strategy for our products.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Evaluation My evaluation was created using Microsoft PowerPoint and was uploaded onto my blog using SlideShare. I also used the internet to save images to use in my evaluation and to look at the work of previous A2 Media Students to ensure I was on the right track.
Conclusion In conclusion I feel that our final product was professional looking and of a high standard. The use of media technologies in all stages of development enabled this. The audience feedback we received was overall very positive and I feel that our consistent surveying helped u to create an appealing and marketable product. Our music video shared synergy with both digipak’s however my partners had the sex appeal that mine was lacking and was more popular with our audience and I’m happy with our decision to use it as part of our final product. We used, developed and challenged forms and conventions in our music video in exactly the same way that professional music video makers do, once again enabling us to get our video to a high standard. I feel I have developed the kill of accepting constructive criticism and using it to my advantage to improve my work. I feel our video portrays our themes and ideas effectively and the digipak enhances these ideas in the way that it should. I’m very happy with our final product and hope people enjoy watching our video as much as we enjoyed making it