Magazine Research Presentation


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Magazine research

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Magazine Research Presentation

  1. 1. By Molly Harding (Alan Productions)
  2. 2. As part of our coursework we are also required to produce a double page review spread showing obvious links and inspiration to an existing magazine.  To do this however we need to first research different magazines in regards to their target audience, structuring of reviews, style of writing and their presentation.  In this presentation I will begin to explore different film magazines available so I will eventually be able to choose an appropriate one as a format for writing my own review.  In this presentation I will specifically focus on different magazines’ reviews and design. 
  3. 3. • • HOTDOG Magazine • • • • • • Magazine now defunct. Covers a range of films but seems suited to a wide audience. On this cover we can see it chooses to cover mainstream films to draw in general audiences of film fans. Doesn’t have a particularly original sense of style and design running through it. Reviews open with questions, eg “If or It’s”. This is an engaging and more light hearted way of opening a review by giving some context or asking a rhetorical question to the audience. Their reviews have opinions in them but are more informative and leaving it to the reader to decide whether they want to see it rather than trying to implant a set opinion. Reviews are very simply set out and the information such as the title and text is easy to find and decipher if the reader was seeking a particular review. My issue with HOTDOG is that it doesn’t seem to have it’d own identity or recognizable style of reviewing so it is not a magazine I’d want to base my review on.
  4. 4. • Little White Lies • • The most “arty” and design conscious magazine I’ve studied. Has an emphasis on one film per issue which tends to be obscure to appeal to a more knowledgeable and quirky audience. Only have a small office and you have to subscribe to the magazine so they have a very specific appeal but are accessible to a wider market through their website.        Reviews tend to be verbose and descriptive. The features and longer reviews have stills and on location photos. The first paragraph always sets the scene as if it were a story then that is continued and woven in with context and criticisms. LWL uses some obscure references that a general audience may not understand so they are writing for a very knowledgeable audience who they presume will understand their ideas. The smaller reviews are still written in a more imaginative and story-like way but still contain essential information such as the title, release, director and stars. I really like the aesthetics of LWL. I like how they combine art and graphic design to make a unique looking magazine for a more sophisticated audience. I would very much like to base my review on LWL but I worry that they are so verbose and definitive in the style of their writing I may struggle to mimic their sophisticated tone.
  5. 5. • • • • Sight & Sound is a BFI funded and produced magazine. It claims to cover every film released in the UK in the time between issues. The audience for it is a knowledgeable and academic one as this is the “cleverest” publication I’ve studied as there are many references to obscure films. They also tend not to focus main reviews on obvious main stream choices, instead they go for smaller releases and support foreign films.  There are hundreds of reviews in this magazine and because of all the writing there are not many photos or graphics which makes it less engaging on an aesthetic level but would appeal to it’s academic target audience.  The reviews usually contain comparisons to other films, background and notes on genre etc.  Despite their complicated lay out the reviews themselves are not as descriptive and narrative driven as LWL but they are more informative.  When writing my own review I would steer clear of basing it on this magazine as the audience is a very academic one with over average film knowledge which I am not confident in matching.  There also isn’t much distinctive design and as my short film is quite experimental and arty I would want the layout and design of my double page spread to reflect that. Sight & Sound
  6. 6. • Total Film •      Total Film is one of the UK’s most popular film magazines and is similar to Empire in that it’s aimed at a vast audience of cinema goers. They have more focus on mainstream films and are more sensational in their design to appeal to a general audience as it’s an easily and widely accessible magazine. Their reviews tend to be written with a witty and quip like tone. They tend to just talk about the film that’s being reviewed rather than making references that are too obscure for the average film fan to comprehend. Their reviews don’t assume the reader has a wide existing knowledge and are easy to follow whilst having an opinion that isn’t overly biased. Their design of their extended reviews are not particularly unique or original but still attention grabbing and attractive. Total Film is a good example of a popular film magazine with wide spread appeal however I am not sure, if my short was a feature film, they would dedicate a double spread to it as it wouldn’t be aimed at a mainstream audience.
  7. 7.       • • • Empire magazine is a long running publication and the one I am most familiar with being an avid reader myself. They are the main competitor with Total Film and aim at a mass market of film fans. They are published on a monthly basis and although their primary focus is on mainstream releases they still cover smaller productions and dedicate space to more independent films. Empire reviews have a definitive tone and voice. On the website it gives advice on how to write for them, “Empire reviews should be written in the Empire style, they should never use the personal pronoun - "I think this etc.“ – this demonstrates how they know what their style and voice is and as they are so successful it is without compromise. If they like a review they tend to put the good points first and then bad and vice versa. Also when they include a picture on a review or feature they always come up with a jokey caption, even on a serious film. This gives the magazine personality and means it doesn’t read as rigidly as something like Sight & Sound. Their double page review design is recognisable, there are always larger quotes scattered, the same font (as in all the magazines I’ve investigated) and the same layout of information. I really enjoy reading Empire and think it may be a good candidate to base my review on. I like the fact their reviews all have a personality but despite lots of different writers the reviews still have a similar feel to them which I think I could have a good chance of mimicking in my own review. Empire
  8. 8.     I have enjoyed looking through and carrying out primary research into the content and styles of different film magazines. Through this research I have discovered that all magazines approach reviews and design different and everything they publish is carefully considered in matching the target audience, tone and personality of the publication. Upon reflection either Empire or Little White Lies would be the best candidates to focus my own review upon as they have a definitive sense of voice and style which the others didn’t. At this early stage I feel I have a good understanding of different magazines and which ones would be most appropriate for my future double page review.