Media coursework evaluation


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My evaluation for my A2 media coursework, where I decided to make a documentary.

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Media coursework evaluation

  1. 1. Media Coursework Evaluation By Chloe Finch
  2. 2. What I completed for my coursework <ul><li>For my A2 coursework I decided to do the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Make a five minute extract from a new documentary TV programme. </li></ul><ul><li>For the two ancillary tasks I completed: </li></ul><ul><li>A double-page spread from a listings magazine. </li></ul><ul><li>A newspaper advertisement focused on the documentary. </li></ul>
  3. 3. My documentary extract The documentary that I created was called Technophobia , and the five minute extract was at the start of the programme after the few minute introduction. Still from the opening of my documentary, showing the name and institution I decided to make the institution of the documentary Channel 4 and I decided this during the research and planning stage because they are the main channel for documentaries, they often produce one-off ones also, which I intended my documentary to be. What’s more, their documentaries usually focus on more different and non-mainstream things, compared to say the BBC.
  4. 4. In what ways does my media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
  5. 5. How my media product uses conventions of real media texts… <ul><li>My documentary uses many conventions and forms of actual media products. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><li>Having an off-screen voiceover </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews with relevant people </li></ul><ul><li>On screen titles </li></ul><ul><li>An interview with an expert </li></ul><ul><li>Non- diegetic soundtrack to </li></ul><ul><li>establish the tone of the scene </li></ul>Interview that I filmed with a student about Jo’s Technophobia, with an on screen title giving basic information about the interviewee I needed to ensure that I was using conventions of actual documentaries because I want my text to look as authentic as possible.
  6. 6. How my media product challenges conventions of real media texts… <ul><li>My documentary can be seen to challenge actual media texts in several ways. </li></ul><ul><li>The narrative of my extract is more like that of a film because it includes todorov’s narrative theory of equilibrium; the start of the extract shows equilibrium due to the montage of people using technology in their daily life. There’s a sense of harmony being shown, but the disequilibrium quickly becomes apparent when we see how Jo’s life, the technophobia sufferer, has been completely destroyed by her phobia. At the end of this full length documentary, I intend for there to be a new equilibrium restored, showing that Jo’s actually managing her technophobia, although I’ve obviously only made the five minute extract. </li></ul>What’s more, I’ve tried to stylise it as the horror genre, therefore I’ve included dramatic/scary non- diegetic music and a few shots with very dark/low lighting to try and establish the fact that I’m trying to make it appear partially like a horror documentary. Binary oppositions is another narrative theory that I can apply to my text as I include visual oppositions for example light/dark, and also some conceptual like control/panic. The soundtrack also helps to create these oppositions. These can all be seen to challenge conventions of real media texts because they’re more associated with films rather than documentaries. So the fact that I’m applying these to my production show that I’m challenging the conventions by using them in a different context.
  7. 7. How my media product develops conventions of real media texts… <ul><li>My documentary develops forms and conventions of actual media products at several times throughout the extract. </li></ul><ul><li>I include a technophobia experts viewpoint in my documentary where he explains the causes and symptoms of this phobia. I filmed this scene behind a green screen so that I could change the background to make it more interesting and to develop my skills. I’d say that this is developing a convention of real media texts because the duration when using the green screen would usually be quite short. Also, in my extract I develop the usage of the green screen by placing other clips on top of it, I would therefore say that I’m using it’s full potential by developing this documentary convention to it’s maximum. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Ideologies <ul><li>The ideologies that I show in my documentary also relate to the cultivation theory , showing how we form views about people, and the hyperdermic syringe theory because the audience are being subjected to the ideological views of the text producer. </li></ul><ul><li>This is because I show the prevalent belief of the dominant group in society, the belief that technophobia sufferers are not considered ‘normal’. This also shows hegemony , where this dominant group in society are able to persuade us that we should accept their dominance and therefore their viewpoint. </li></ul>
  9. 9. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
  10. 10. Ancillary task 1: Newspaper advertisement This is the original plan that I made for the newspaper advertisement. It focused on a girl on the right hand side of the image cowering and hiding her face from the laptop positioned behind her. I came up with this idea because I liked the idea of the laptop ‘haunting’ her, and I thought that it was a simple yet eye-catching advert. However, when I took some photos and completed a rough draft of it, I found it really wasn’t very effective and instead looked quite silly, as the laptop appeared to be floating in the background. But I did keep some aspects of this design in my final product, for example the ‘real-life documentary’ titles at the top, the information about the documentary at the bottom, and obviously the channel 4 logo. The original plan for the newspaper advertisement
  11. 11. The stages of my advertisement 1 st Stage 2 nd Stage 3 rd and Final Stage These images show the main stages that I went through in creating my newspaper advertisement. The first one shows the picture that I took for it, the 2 nd stage shows the first draft of the advert, and the final one is the end product, with the relevant information about the documentary and institution. I came up with this idea by trying to relate technophobia to another common phobia that my audience would be able to relate to, so I thought of arachnophobia. With this phobia, people often put glasses over the spiders to trap them so I decided to do this with technology e.g. mobile phones.
  12. 12. Ancillary Task 2: A double page spread from a listings magazine <ul><li>This was my original plan for the listings magazine double page spread but after completing a rough first draft I realised that it wasn’t interesting or stylised enough, so I decided to come up with a new idea for it that’s on the next page. </li></ul><ul><li>I did, however keep some aspects of the plan in the final product, for example having the main image on the left hand side and a column of facts on the right hand page. </li></ul>The original plan for the listings magazine
  13. 13. The end product <ul><li>The two images on the left are the two main pictures that I’ve included in my double page spread to the right, the end product of the listings magazine. </li></ul><ul><li>I also incorporated the idea of arachnophobia into the double page spread, as I thought that it’s a really effective idea and so I wanted to include it in slightly different formats for the whole publicity of the documentary. This would ensure that my ancillary tasks link together well, and that my whole publicity campaign would be easily recognisable, if it was an actual documentary. </li></ul>Images I used in the double paged spread
  14. 14. The effectiveness of my main product and ancillary tasks <ul><li>I feel that my ancillary texts and main product work very well alongside each other due to several reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>First of all: </li></ul><ul><li>My ancillary tasks are quite stylised to appear interesting and scary, particularly the newspaper advertisement. It works well because it shows the audience what the documentary will be like before they’ve seen it. However, after completing the actual product, I don’t think that I’ve managed to make the documentary that stylised, which is what I would improve on if I was able to. </li></ul><ul><li>The two ancillary tasks link well with each other because they both use the same idea in the picture, of a girl hiding from technological items trapped under a glass. Therefore the audience should be able to link the listings magazine spread to the newspaper advertisement. </li></ul><ul><li>The double page spread, I think is a good combination with my documentary because it explains what will happen in parts of the documentary, and so hopefully intriguing the audience to want to watch it. It also includes facts about technology, therefore setting up a basis for my documentary, as I include several facts in the opening montage. </li></ul>
  15. 15. What have you learned from your audience feedback?
  16. 16. Audience feedback <ul><li>After showing three drafts of my production to my audience, I learned lots from the feedback that they gave me. </li></ul><ul><li>After submitting my first draft they commented on the fact that I didn’t have any music, which is necessity in any media text. Linking back to my research and planning, one of the conventions of documentaries that I found out was including non- diegetic music to add to the tone and establish the atmosphere of what’s happening in the scene. I made sure that I changed this in my next drafts as I wanted my documentary to be as authentic as possible, and a closed text, I didn’t want there to be lots of different ways that the audience could view my documentary. </li></ul><ul><li>I also wanted to ensure that I was using the hyperdermic syringe theory, where I ‘inject’ my idea’s into the audience. Therefore by adding non- diegetic music, it creates the atmosphere and adds to the emotion of what’s happening, making my viewpoint apparent to the audience. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Further audience feedback To fulfil the marking criteria I must use a variety of shot distances as appropriate, so I made sure that I added more shots when I completed my re-drafts. I’ve included a tracking shot leading into an establishing shot, above which comes at the end of my extract and is of the doctors surgery that Jo goes to. Although the duration of it is short, I felt this shot was necessary to set the scene of where this is taking place, and it’s clear to the audience where the narrative is. The above image is a high angle shot of my character Jo from the mini flashback of when she became technophobic. The lighting in this scene is low as you can see in the still because I wanted to create quite a scary atmosphere
  18. 18. Audience theories <ul><li>The cultivation theory – this tries to prove that we form views and opinions about people due to media exposure, therefore leading to stereotypes. I think this theory is extremely apparent in my documentary as I try to show how we form views about people who aren’t considered to be ‘normal’, being Jo the technophobia sufferer. This can be seen during her interview when she says about people thinking she’s weird. </li></ul><ul><li>Uses and Gratifications theory – I can apply this theory easily to my text as the audience will make various choices when they consume the text. For example many will use it as a form of escapism to escape from everyday problems and routine. Others may use it as a form of personal identity if they can identify with and relate to a character in my text, whilst some might use it as a form of communication and interaction on social networking sites/forums/with friends etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnography – this looks at people’s responses to media </li></ul><ul><li>from their P.O.V, and this can be applied to my text as </li></ul><ul><li>my audience will respond differently to my documentary </li></ul><ul><li>and I could use these responses to show the </li></ul><ul><li>stereotypes of people that exist today. </li></ul>
  19. 19. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
  20. 20. In the construction stages… In the construction stages I used 4od and YouTube to start my basic research on Channel 4 documentaries. Both these sites were launched in the 21 st century, YouTube in 2005 and 4od in 2006. I therefore consider them both as new media technologies and they’re part of web 2.0, which Gauntlett (2007) says is eroding the boundary between producer and audience.
  21. 21. In the research and planning stages… I used the Internet during my research and planning in order to obtain examples of double page spreads from listing magazines, and newspaper advertisements so that I could plan for my ancillary tasks. This allowing me to obtain authentic examples of what I needed to produce meant that I could have a style model to follow, and therefore use their conventions in my tasks. Examples of double page spread’s from a listings magazine, and a newspaper advertisement.
  22. 22. In the evaluation stage… Throughout the whole of the coursework, from the construction stage to the final evaluation I’ve kept an evaluative blog on to document what I’ve been doing from week to week with my coursework, and to evaluate what I’ve completed. I thought this was a great idea as I could reflect on what I’d done and suggest what I could do to improve. By using a blog on the internet to keep an ongoing investigation, I’ve used a relatively new media technology being the internet. However, the blog is a new form of media that was created during the 21 st century and it easily shows how web 2.0 has become apparent as the public are able to input their own ideas/videos etc. on the internet for thousands of people to look at.
  23. 23. I included a survey on the blog about my first drafts of the ancillary tasks, and emailed several students, my target audience asking them to fill it out for me. Here I posted the first few scenes of the storyboard for my documentary so that I could keep up to date with my coursework. It also allowed me to commentate on them, giving more detail than what’s on the storyboard. Screen shots from my blog
  24. 24. An evaluative blog entry: comparing my production with an authentic similar text During February I chose to compare the 2 nd draft of my production with a similar text, the text I chose was Jess: Britain’s Youngest Sleepwalker? Which was broadcast on Channel 4 in November 2009. I decided to choose this documentary as they both focus on non-mainstream issues, it’s something that physically effects a person, and they both focus on an individual in the documentary, although my text isn’t explicit in this. I decided to include this in this evaluation as I thought that it was an important part of my evaluative blog because I was able to compare my text to a professional media text. It therefore allowed me to see if, for example I needed to add more shots and so follow the conventions of documentaries more. Jess: Britain’s Youngest Sleepwalker? (above) My production: Technophobia
  25. 25. Above is the comparison chart for Jess: Britain’s Youngest Sleepwalker , and Technophobia . I compared the shots, sound and dialogue, the use of on-screen titles, how clear the narrative was, the target audience and conventions, then I commented on the overall successfulness of the texts. I think that this was a really useful task to complete as it gave me a greater understanding of channel 4 documentaries, even though I studied them for my research and planning, but for this I was undertaking micro-level detail of the text, and it also gave me ideas of how I should stylise my production.
  26. 26. To conclude… <ul><li>I’ve spent around 7/8 months in total working on this coursework, and now that it’s come to an end I need to reflect upon what I’ve done. </li></ul><ul><li>I feel that I’ve produced several strong pieces of work, for example my research & planning because it gives lots of information about my documentary and ancillary tasks, showing clearly what I hope to achieve. </li></ul><ul><li>The newspaper advertisement, part of my ancillary task, I think is of a good quality because I followed the conventions of an example I found, therefore applied parts like ‘A real-life documentary’ to mine. Also, because the main image is simple but eye-catching, and the idea behind it is quite effective. </li></ul><ul><li>My blog is another aspect of my coursework which I’m quite pleased with as I do evaluate my work, include various images and charts, however it’s meant to be an evaluative blog and a lot of the time I just explain what I’ve completed, so If doing it again I would need to ensure that I was constantly evaluating my work. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Further conclusion <ul><li>I’m quite pleased with the end result of my five minute documentary extract, as it follows many conventions of actual documentaries, as I said earlier and at times looks quite authentic, particularly the opening scene with the title, and the very end where we see Jo walking into the doctors surgery. I also like the different non- diegetic soundtrack that I’ve used as I feel that it establishes the atmosphere and tone of the scene well. </li></ul><ul><li>I can easily apply the reception theory to my text, as the audience will obviously make different polysemic meanings from my documentary. Some may be able to sympathise with Jo, whilst others may think she’s really abnormal and not understand her condition. </li></ul><ul><li>I did initially plan for my production by storyboarding, however when I filmed parts of it I realised that it didn’t look professional, and therefore didn’t follow the storyboard in it’s entirety. What’s more my storyboard only covered about 2 minutes of the documentary, so if I had planned the whole of it, this would have allowed me to have had more time to perfect it at the end. </li></ul>My Documentary