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What have you learned from your audience feedback

What have you learned from your audience feedback

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What have you learned from your audience feedback

  1. 1. 1 | P a g e Audio Transcript Time Speaker Audio 00:00:00 – 00:00:57 Presenter What an informative and inspiring programme, we have all just witnessed. Script consultant, Marilyn Milgrom continues to offer creative advice to the next generation of scriptwriters. Coming up in thirty minutes, presenter Charles Newman will be talking to award winning short film director, Alicia Duffy. If you have just tuned in, then you are listening to Radio Beacon and I am David West. Last year I had the pleasure to interview student writer and director Candice Russell about her debut, short, Limbo and this year I’ll be interviewing her again, to establish why it is essential to listen and learn from your audience’s feedback, in order to shape, create and even clarify meaning. Mouse, is Candice’s second short, which successfully conveys a coming-of-age story, in our multicultural society. (Fade in music from Mouse) Good evening Candice, and welcome back. 00:00:58 – 00:01:01 Candice Good evening David, and thank you for having me. (Fade out music) 00:01:02 – 00:01:09 David Mouse, has a carefully planned narrative, which depicts Aristotle’s three-act structure. Was this storyline planned, from the outset? 00:01:10 – 00:01:16 Candice No, to be honest when I commenced with my A2 course, I had no idea, what my storyline would be. 00::01:17 00:01:19 David What plan of action did you take to commence this course? 00:01:20 – 00:01:24 Candice Individually and collaboratively as a class, we commenced with secondary research.
  2. 2. 2 | P a g e 00:01:25 – 00:01:28 David Why was it necessary to commence with secondary research first? 00:01:29 – 00:01:53 Candice Well David, in order to produce a short film, I had to research the different areas that relate to the short film context. I underwent research into articles, funding, screenplay writing, training, distribution and exhibition. Incidentally, Marilyn Milgrom’s The Script, acted as my guidebook throughout the whole project and I heavily relied on her knowledge and experience. For instance, her ten-point plan was the outline to several primary audience researches. . 00:01:54 – 00:02:04 David That sounds quite extensive. I notice that Limbo reflects the social realism genre, but Mouse is a thriller sub hybrid of that genre, what influenced this? 00:02:05 – 00:02:35 Candice As a focal point and before I commenced with any primary research, I concluded that I would take forward my AS level knowledge of the social realism genre, but instead of viewing features I viewed short films from the professional domain, enjoying all sorts of genre’s. One that really appealed and influenced me was Room 8, directed by James Griffiths. To improve my understanding of how different directors’ effectively incorporate micro codes to produce a macro level of meaning, I completed several comparative textual analyses, including one for Room 8. 00:02:36 – 00:02:40 David Please can you elaborate, what you mean by micro and macro? 00:02:41 – 00:02:46 Candice Yes David, micro codes are the small individual aspects that link to produce the macro level of meaning. For example, combining small micro codes, such as props, lighting, costume and setting from a mise-en-scene will produce a macro level of representation. 00:02:47 – 00:02:50 David Thank you, but how did your secondary research actually help you with your primary research?
  3. 3. 3 | P a g e 00:02:51 – 00:03:03 Candice Audiences have high expectations and my secondary research highlighted the essential criteria needed, in order to develop and challenge my own creation. This was always on my mind when I conducted my primary research. 00:03:04 – 00:03:06 David What was your first piece of primary research? 00:03:07 – 00:03:25 Candice I produced a paper based quantitative questionnaire and decided to use audience segmentation, which was selective of age. The age group I referred to was between 16 and 19. Consequently, the reason for this age sector was that I could conduct this particular research at school and access their comments, almost instantaneously. 00:03:26 – 00:03:27 David What was your objective? 00:03:28 – 00:03:51 Candice My objective was to measure different variables that related to the students personal demographics, their knowledge of the social realism genre, their viewing tastes and preferences. However, most importantly, I wanted to discover what types or groups they considered to be under represented in film, what aspect of the British social culture could be explored and what particular themes would attract them to view a social realism short. 00:03:52 – 00:03:54 David What did you learn from their responses? 00:03:55 – 00:04:12 Candice Well David, I discovered that pregnancy, teen relationships, transgender, disability and ability were the most popular theme choices and I was offered social topical suggestions in which to explore, such as gender inequality and terrorism. The feedback also emphasised that young adults were the most under represented group. 00:04:13 – 00:04:16 David What did you do with this data and what impact did it make? 00:04:17 – 00:04:40 Candice To store the statistical analysed data, I produced an electronic booklet. The electronic booklet was the best form of
  4. 4. 4 | P a g e presentation, because it enabled me, to quickly and easily reference my audiences’ feedback in a text based or graphical format. The question relating to what theme would attract my participants to view a social realism film stayed with me; in fact, it was the main objective of my next questionnaire. 00:04:41 – 00:04:47 David Let me just clarify, the feedback you received from your audience responses helped you to proceed with a different questionnaire? 00:04:48 – 00:05:02 Candice Yes, but this time I produced an online qualitative questionnaire that did not include any form of audience segmentation and uploaded this questionnaire to a public like page on Facebook that, I had previously created in order to entice and stir general interest. 00:05:03 – 00:05:05 David Why didn’t you want to include audience segmentation? 00:05:06 – 00:05:13 Candice I wanted to attract participants from a wider geographical and age spectrum to offer their opinions and preferences. 00:05:14 – 00:05:16 David What did this online qualitative questionnaire include? 00:05:17 – 00:05:28 Candice The online questionnaire, included questions relating to a screening of two award winning, short social realism films. These shorts contain several themes and issues that were previously outlined as an attraction in the quantitative questionnaire. 00:05:29 – 00:05:31 David What were the short films you screened? 00:05:32 – 00:05:38 Candice Sorry David, they were Brian Pericval’s 2001 production, About a Girl and Simon Ellis’ 2006 production Soft. 00:05:39 – 00:05:41 David What was the objective to this questionnaire? 00:05:42 – 00:05:52 Candice I wanted to use the audience feedback from this questionnaire and combine it with the statistical data of the quantitative
  5. 5. 5 | P a g e research to essentially guide and help me to produce my first draft of a synopsis. 00:05:53 – 00:05:56 David How did you proceed to analyse and evaluate your responses? 00:05:57 – 00:06:14 Candice After uploading the automatic generated responses from Google doc, I began to analyse and evaluate my audience’s feedback into another electronic booklet, which incidentally can be view on my blog for those who may be interested. I received a vast amount of detailed feedback it was quite overwhelming. 00:06:15 00:06:17 David How did your audience react to the screenings? 00:06:18 – 00:06:33 Candice My blog had recorded thirty-seven visitors, within a two-hour duration of the questionnaire going live. There was a mixed reaction when it came to which short they preferred. The females chose Soft and the males preferred About a Girl, with only one female suggesting she could not chose between them. 00:06:34 – 00:06:36 David What did you learn from this feedback? 00:06:37 – 00:07:15 Candice From my audience’s feedback, it was quite evident that males are inclined to view a film that have a female protagonist, whilst in comparison females are drawn towards films that contain a male protagonist. With this in view, I began to realise that in order to attract both sexes as a potential audience; I would need to consider casting two main characters from the opposite sex. A couple of participants also enjoyed the unpredictable ending of the films, positively commenting on how the twists evoke an emotional response. Immediately, I began to brainstorm possibilities to incorporate an unpredictable ending, but there were still other areas to consider. 00:07:16 – 00:07:18 David What specific areas did you need to consider? 00:07:19 – 00:08:10 Candice It was evident from the feedback I received, that a successful short should contain an intriguing opening that dramatically contains a character, a problem and a world. Analysis depicted that the males preferred the action of Soft’s opening, whilst the majority of the females found the character in About a girl’s
  6. 6. 6 | P a g e opening intriguing. The clarity of this specific area was an essential one to consider. Consequently, both gender types were drawn stereotypically to the themes that are typically gender typed. For example, the males to the violence in Soft, and the girls to the issues and the vulnerable predicament of the protagonist, in About a Girl. I knew then that in order for me to entice a mixed gender audience, I would have to stimulate their immediate attention, with a significant and common theme. However, I also learned that issues relevant in today’s society had the greatest impact, as they were more relatable. 00:08:11 – 00:08:16 David The feedback you received from your audience, certainly gave you a good insight, but what other forms of research did you conduct? 00:08:17 – 00:08:21 Candice The next form of research I conducted was a focus group with media students. 00:08:22 – 00:08:23 David Why did you conduct this focus group? 00:08:24 – 00:08:34 Candice I had written my first draft synopsis, for Mouse and I felt that a group session would help me to establish my weaknesses and strengths in accordance to Milgrom’s script writing principles. 00:08:35 – 00:08:37 David What were the weaknesses identified by your audience? 00:08:38 – 00:08:56 Candice I wrote this synopsis from a third person’s perspective and this caused some confusion between students trying to identify who my protagonist was. Some identified my deuterogonist as the actual main character. A male participant also bought to my attention, that the heart of the film was unknown until the dramatic end. 00:08:57 – 00:09:00 David Was their feedback valid and if so how did you rectify this? 00:09:01 – 00:09:28 Candice Absolutely, when I redrafted the synopsis I took on board their valid comments and rewrote it, using the third person perspective, but this time I made sure it reflected the protagonist’s point of view. However, apart from the first scene,
  7. 7. 7 | P a g e I developed and rewrote my final synopsis to include an even spread of suspense and dramatic tension. I did this to help a potential audience identify the problems faced by my protagonist, in the pivoting heart of the production. 00:09:29 – 00:09:30 David Was there any strength’s identified? 00:09:31 – 00:09:46 Candice Yes, My audience clarified that the stakes in my synopsis were very high as the protagonist’s life or death situation was very intense and the key issues surrounding drug abusive and the practice of safe sex were clearly communicated and represented. 00:09:47 – 00:09:49 David Did you conduct any form of post-production research? 00:09:50 – 00:09:55 Candice Yes, David I conducted another focus group, but this time it was a screening of my rough-cut. 00:09:56 – 00:09:58 David What impact did the audience’s feedback have on you? 00:09:59 – 00:10:27 Candice Overwhelmingly positive, David. My participants classified the genre as a thriller hybrid of the social realism genre, because the short contained suspense of a thriller, and the general conventions that emphasis the social realism genre. They felt that key areas of representation relating to the individuals and places were clearly communicated through the use and positioning of props. One female remarked how suspense built on different levels to reflect Logan’s personality. 00:10:28 – 00:10:33 David Often, at this stage of editing, a reshot is necessary. Did you receive any feedback to suggest this? 00:10:34 – 00:10:49 Candice No David, but I did take the opportunity to show them the reshoot sequence of my first scene. Editing my rough-cut highlighted the fact that the characters should have been shouting over one another in order to be heard over the instruments being played in the practice studio. Instead, they were having a casual conversing.
  8. 8. 8 | P a g e 00:10:50 – 00:10:52 David What did you learn from their responses? 00:10:53 – 00:11:10 Candice Well, to begin they totally agreed with me that the reshot sequence of frames in the first scene were far more true to life. However, it was suggested that I should try to depict Sweetah the protagonist in natural light and Logan in low-key lighting as this would instantly emphasis the characteristics of the individual characters. 00:11:11 – 00:11:13 David Did you follow your audience’s advice? 00:11:14 – 00:11:47 Candice I could quiet clearly see, why my audience would suggest this particular aspect, but in reality and due to the location of the music practice room, I would not be able to comply. However, during editing, I was able to semi-improvise with their request and slightly adjust the lighting, just enough to portray my protagonist in a positive light to reflect her innocence. I did however, try to film using artificial lighting, but the shadows on the walls were so obvious, the whole scene lost its naturalism, and consequently there was not enough room to reposition the lighting in the small corridor. 00:11:48 – 00:11:52 David I understand... Did you conduct any audience research for your ancillary tasks, to support your short? 00:11:53 – 00:12:08 Candice Yes David, I conducted a brief paper based survey in support of Mouse’s promotional poster and I compiled an online questionnaire that was inclusive of both quantitative and qualitative questions to support the film magazine review. 00:12:09 – 00:12:12 David How did the feedback from the poster survey, influence your decision process. 00:12:13 – 00:12:50 Candice I had taken seven individual photographs that I could visualise as being a promotional tool and I was primarily, torn between two of the photographs. As audience research had proved to be a valuable insight during the planning, development and production of Mouse, I decided to show the seven photographs to a mixture of media and non-media students to establish their
  9. 9. 9 | P a g e preferred photo and asked them to explain why. The photograph that proved to be the popular choice was my protagonist sitting on the car bonnet, which incidentally was one of my favourites too and therefore, I used this photo to produce my promotional static film poster. 00:12:51 – 00:12:56 David Your motion posters are quite impressive too, were the images on them original photographs? 00:12:57 – 00:13:11 Candice One was David, but the other one was not. The one I used was also a popular choice from the original survey. The other motion poster had to be produced using specialist software and it relied on a combination of video and photography. 00:13:12 – 00:13:15 David What did you learn from your audience with respect to your film review? 00:13:16 – 00:14:12 Candice I based my film review to take into consideration several formal conventions found in the Sight & Sound magazine, whilst developing and challenging others. After completing draft four, I based my online questionnaire on these factors to see how effective I had achieved, what I had initially set out to do. I compiled all my participants analysed feedback and critically attempted to evaluate it. I was pleased that the participants all thought that my chosen typography throughout the magazine page was appropriately, sized and aligned, However, having said this, one female even alerted me to a simple spelling error and a couple of males made suggestions on how I could effectively reorder some of the credit section. I learned a great deal from this questionnaire as several other recommendations were offered such as, the title needs to stand out more, and the background colour may need lightening. 00:14:13 – 00:14:15 David Did you implement any of their suggestions? 00:14:16 – 00:14:22 Candice Yes David, subsequently after evaluating all the generated input, I did take on board many of the suggestions in order to improve the magazine film review.
  10. 10. 10 | P a g e 00:14:23 – 00:14:27 David How did your audience react after reading the actual film review? 00:14:28 – 00:14:40 Candice One positive factor I received from this audience feedback was that two thirds of my participants suggested that they would be inclined to view the film after reading the review and one third conveyed that they might like to consume Mouse. 00:14:41 – 00:14:48 David Thank you Candice, can you please tell us why an audiences’ input, is important to you as a filmmaker? 00:14:49 – 00:15:18 Candice Target audience research produces a communication link between you and a segmented audience. This link provides an insight to your audiences, attitudes, their knowledge, interests and preferences and by essentially listening and learning from them, will enable you to receive useful information on what actually works and what elements need revising. All in all, an audiences’ feedback will inevitably help you to make the right creative decisions in order to drive your project through the planning, development and production stages. (Fade in music from Mouse) 00:15:19 – 00:15:28 David Thank you Candice, you have shared an immense insight on what you have learned from your audience feedback and I am sure your production of Mouse will be equally as successful as Limbo was. 00:15:29- 00:15:31 00:15:48 Candice You are welcome David, it was a pleasure (Slowly fade music out and cut)

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