IN WHAT WAYS DOES THE MEDIA PRODUCTUSE, DEVELOP AND CHALLENGE FORMS ANDCONVENTIONS OF REAL MEDIA PRODUCTS?My product uses several conventions that are common in existingmagazines like NME and Kerrang. I have done this so the targetaudience will recognize it on the market as a music magazine andthe genre and audience isn‟t questioned. For example, it has abarcode, price and all the usual relevant information on the frontcover, and a large masthead so there is little question as to whatthe genre and brand of the magazine is. All these features help sellthe magazine effectively. I have included a large, central image tobe the main focus of the cover. Similarly, the contents page has aclear and conventional layout so the information is not scatteredand hard to find for the reader. The interview also follows basicconventions, being ordered in an article format. In followingcertain conventions I have given my magazine some much neededrealism, and using these features has helped make the finalproduct look more like a magazine that would be sold on themarket and less like poor standard GCSE work.
My magazine has some unconventional features though. It has a brightand colourful comic book theme which is rarely used for musicmagazines, which tend to follow a black, gothic and cluttered theme tosuit the rock genre. The use of reds, yellows and purples are verypunkie and contrasting, which make the magazine visually striking andunconventional. The background on the front cover and the contentspage are made up from scribbles (described in the interview as havingbeen drawn by the featured artist). This makes the backgroundcompletely unique and original, and thus unconventional. The layout ofmy interview is also unconventional, showing a rock singer in a quiteidyllic hill setting. This setting also contrasts with the title, whichretains the comic book theme of the contents and front cover, and in themain picture the singer is dressed in punk/ indie clothing. This links tothe theme of this article; to meet the real Will Marshall, the article showsthe person behind the persona he has built. I have made thebackground on the interview contrasting to make it visually striking likethe other pages, and perhaps to express the singers contrastingpersonality.
I have used specific jargon with the title Alva. It is the middlename of Thomas Edison, who created the gramophone. Thistitle is very unconventional, as my target audience are indieteens and this name is very unrelated to the genre. Despitethis, it is linked to music and is short and catchy like similarmagazines like NME so is conventional in that sense.
HOW DOES YOUR MEDIA PRODUCTREPRESENT PARTICULAR SOCIALGROUPS?As my product is aimed at young adults aged 15-25, it mustuse language that will appeal to them and images related tothe genre. I have tried to achieve this by keeping the writingsimple yet informative, particularly in my interview. Forexample, it follows a simple question answer structure tomaintain readability in the article, and it consists mainly offun facts and trivia rather than statistics and numbers. Thiskeeps the article interesting and entertaining for thestereotypically short attention spanned young audience.Maintaining this stereotypical view on my target audience, Ihave kept the text minimal on both the front cover andcontents page, and more focus on strong images that standout. The images used all are of people aged under 20, whichfurther establishes the magazine as aimed and related toyoung adults.
The major social groups represented in my magazine arepunk, indie and rock movements. Punk dominates themagazine as it is used as the major theme, particularly in thecolourful and contrasting colour scheme. This is mainly due tothe fact that one of the major features that would appear in myproduct would be a retrospective on punk music, and in havinga punk theme it would bring the audiences attention to it beinglinked with the genre. I have tried to incorporate manyinfluential and instantly recognised aspects of the punk genreto my magazine, including using a punk symbol (the anarchy„A‟) on the front cover and the inclusion of images of classicpunk albums that are now synonymous with the genre.
The musician featured in my interview does follow thestereotypical vision of musicians and their rock and rolllifestyles, which often consists of substance abuse andfollowing the old idea of “sex, drugs and rock and roll”.However, Will Marshall is fictionally portrayed as being “cleanand teetotal since 2009”, to ensure the article doesn‟t promotedrugs for the young and impressionable audience. The majortheme of the article is to reveal the real Will Marshall, perhapsafter events that prelude this article. Either way the idyllicsetting of the article contrasts with the stereotypical view ofrock and roll being nightclubs and dark rooms. Againstereotypically of most musicians, their lives are plagued withvarious tragedies. This is often the case with musicians, whowill use tragic circumstances to give them more humanity andan emotional edge over other musicians, and to gain popularityand common ground with their audiences. Following this Idecided to use his fathers death as a catalyst for his motivationtowards music.
WHAT KIND OF MEDIA INSTITUTIONMIGHT DISTRIBUTE YOUR MEDIAPRODUCT AND WHY?Following most magazines, my product would be distributed by a muchlarger company, but if it is able to compete on the market professionallyagainst other popular magazines like NME and Kerrang, it must bedistributed by one of the big names, in particular Bauer (Q, Kerrang etc.) orIPC Media (NME, Uncut etc.). Both are competing companies, and both havea similar scope in scale of distribution. Despite this, IPC Media have a largegap in their market for magazines like ALVA (being a mix of indie/ alternativerock/ punk) with only NME being a big name music magazine in theircollection. Another magazine like mine would help them compete betteragainst Bauer, and alternatively if it we‟re to be distributed by Bauer, thesimilarities with NME would weaken the chance of success for my magazineon the market compared to these well established brands. The reason forusing a well established media institution as my distributor is simplybecause that will almost certainly mean higher sale figures rather than if itwas independently distributed. Having a well established distributor willhelp give it national success rather than just localized success, meaning itwill be more widely known and eventually become well established like othermusic magazines on the market.
WHO WOULD BE THE AUDIENCEFOR YOUR MEDIA PRODUCT?The primary audience for my media product, as detailedin my target audience model, would be young adultsaged between 15 and 25. Following the NRSclassification system, my primary audience will be in theC1, C2 and B boundaries, which will mean they will beworking to middle class, who are probably tired of theconstraints put on them from class, status and gender.They‟ll have a rebellious streak, possibly dying their hairand wearing emo/ mosher clothes as a way to get rid ofthese constraints put on them by their peers, family andsociety as a whole. Music will most likely make up alarge part of their lives, so my magazine has to lovemusic as much as them. It must inform them on tourdates and new releases from their favourite bands, butalso entertain them with articles that contain fun factsand anecdotes about their favourite bands. There mustbe a variety of bands (from Metallica to AskingAlexandria to The Smiths) to attract a larger variety ofaudiences, but still stick to the major alternative genreto keep it specialized (For example, no articles on rap orpop).
HOW DID YOU ATTRACT/ADDRESS YOUR AUDIENCE?I tried to attract and address my target audience with myproduct in a variety of ways. One of the major ways to do thisin a music magazine is mentioning brands that are well knownto the audience, particularly well known bands. On the frontcover, I mention several to attract fickle readers to myproduct, including Green Day and AC/DC. The inclusion of thison the magazine front cover means they will be included insome way within the magazine, and will attract fans of thosebands to read it. Also on the front cover I have included acompetition to win tickets to an Arctic Monkeys gig, so theprospect of winning something may attract the youngaudience to the magazine, and it is directly linked to thecentral theme of music. I have directly addressed theaudience in the note from the editor segment on my contentspage, where I have included a paragraph to summarise themost important articles featured in the magazine. Whilst itremains pretty generic, it does refer to the audience as “...forall you music lovers out there.” This shows that the editorsunderstand that the target audience will love music and willhave bought this magazine for this as a primary reason.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT ABOUTTECHNOLOGIES FROM THE PROCESSOF CONSTRUCTING THIS PRODUCT?In creating my media product, I have had to produce the majority ofmy work on Photoshop. In using this software, I have learnt a lotmore on making my product look more professional and less likeGCSE work. I have worked on various things, like adding contrastand brightness levels, to make my images striking and easily eyecatching. When using Photoshop in the past, I have often misjudgedthe scale of my work, often resulting in too small photos and toolarge text, which make my work look amateur and messy. To avoidthis problem I have printed out and seen previews of my work as Ihave done it, and compared it to existing magazines at all times tomake sure it looks professional in comparison. I have also used thestroke effect on various texts I want to look the most important, suchas the title on my two page spread and my masthead, and also dropshadows and outer glows to stop the magazine looking stationaryand flat. Another problem I have had in the past when usingPhotoshop are the backgrounds, where I have usually used thegradient tool. Unfortunately I realized early on that this doesn‟tcreate a sense of verisimilitude because it doesn‟t look like a productthat would be on the market. Instead I decided to use anunconventional drawing as my background, which makes it lookdifferent to other magazines yet it still retains a sense of realism.Similarly on my contents page I have used a faint drawing over aplain blue background so it will link to my front cover, and on mybackground for the two page spread it is the same as on the picture Itook, a hill setting. I tried to minimize the amount of cutting onphoto‟s I had to do to take away the initial backgrounds, as cuttingcan often look messy and I wanted to maintain some realism to theimages.
Due to the amount of Photoshop used, I have had to do themajority of my work on Apple Macs. This proved difficult at firstdue to me being more used to PC‟s, but in creating this product Ihave become more skilled with Macs, being able to use most ofthe programs on them successfully. My other most used pieceof equipment whilst creating my product is definitely the stillcameras. I have used 1 original image on my front cover, 5 onmy contents page on 3 on my two page spread. All 9 of thesewere taken at different times with 5 different models, and so Ihave learnt over the span of this course how to usephotography successfully. Along with the above, I also used theSafari browser to get additional images needed for mymagazine, including the barcode, some of the text, the parentaladvisory logo on my album cover etc. I also used it with myresearch into existing products, research of distributioncompanies and other research into bands and albums. I havehad to put all the work I have done over the course of this yearon Blogger. I have had to make sure I have made regular postson various aspect of my production, including evidence of myresearch, planning, progression, extra details and my finalproduct. I had never used Blogger before this year so I have hadto learn over the duration of the year how to use it.
LOOKING BACK AT YOUR PRELIMINARYTASK, WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVELEARNT IN THE PROGRESSION FROM IT TOTHE FULL PRODUCT.In the progression I have made from Preliminary task to my final product, I havedefinitely made significant improvement in all areas of media. For one thing Ihave learnt that the attention to detail is very important, such as if a magazinefront cover doesn‟t hold the relevant information (such as barcode, title, issuenumber etc.) the audience will find it difficult in establishing the genre and it willalso look less professional. Another thing I have learnt over the duration of thisyear is to make sure I use effective backgrounds on my work. Instead of justusing block colour or gradients on Photoshop, I have opted for photos andother original images as this makes the product look more visually interesting.Unlike my preliminary task, I have aimed to make each page visuallystriking, instead of solely focusing on my front cover, and I believe I haveachieved this during my progression. Another skill I have developed over thelast year is photography, which at the start on my preliminary task I didshoddily. For work on my final pieces, I made sure that I took a large amount ofphotos of each person, so I could pick the better ones to use on my magazine. Ialso tried out various different lighting effects on the pictures I took to find outthe better aesthetic look for each situation and to successfully portray themodels ideology. Following the idea “A picture paints a thousand words” I havetried to effectively express as much about the models character as Ican, particularly focusing on how mise en scene can be used to portray them.These are all things I would not have payed much attention to during thepreliminary task, but which help the product look better and more like an actualmagazine on the market.