Q1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? <ul><li>One of the key conventions of the images involved and printed in music magazines, and magazines in general, is that close ups are frequently used with the subject or artist giving direct address (eye contact) with the camera, thus creating a relationship with the prospective buyer or audience member. As you can see with the front cover design, I have kept to this convention as well as having the main image of the artist overlap the mast head of the magazine, another convention frequently seen. </li></ul><ul><li>The colour coding used on the front cover, and throughout the magazine, is the house style which is repeated on both the contents and the double page spread. Again, repeating the house style (a colour code that represents the magazine and suitably describes the genre of the music presented in the magazine.) </li></ul><ul><li>Other simple conventions such as tag lines, bar codes and strap lines are also featured. These conventions allow my magazine to seem more realistic, particularly with the bar code, and also allow it to interact with the audience, stating competitions and other artists involved in the magazine. </li></ul>
Q1) Continued… <ul><li>Regarding the contents page of my magazine, you can clearly see the house style being continued (keeping to the conventions) however, with the main focus of this page being on the single image of the artist, this breaks the conventions slightly, as we often see a main image, usually of the featured artist, and then smaller images of other musicians featured. I used this single image in order to draw attention to the artist and also to relate to the audience (as my magazine was targeted for acoustic rock and singer/song writer fans and the image involved the artist holding a guitar, I thought the singular image would be more striking and relevant.) </li></ul><ul><li>Straplines and a few tag lines feature, here stating page numbers and other pages that aren’t mentioned in the main body of text. The main body of text itself, also breaks conventions as, previously stated, the contents page usually features a lot of images and few amounts of texts, however there appears to be a balance with the main image and the main body of text opposite it. I found this created a professional look and also prevented the page from looking empty. In order for the text to be broken up, I created spaces in-between the headers of the block of text and I coloured the lines alternatively, black and white, which allowed them to stand out from the autumn leaf background. </li></ul>
Q1) Continued… <ul><li>The double page spread keeps to many of the conventions (different costume from the front and contents page and at least more than three images on the page) however my placement of images almost breaks the conventions as there is not one main image to focus on, but two, either side of the pages. Not only this, but as face paint featured prominently in the representation of the artist, I looked at a few examples on my blog and chose to show three smaller images of the artist getting ready for the shoot. This doesn’t break conventions but allows the columns of text to be broken up. You can also see the house style is continued throughout these two pages, however the colour green, from the images, is brought into it. Tag lines in the form of quotes also break up the text, again this is a convention that I keep to. At the end of the interview, smaller text is shown giving the audience information about the artist and stating her albums and EP are still available to buy, this is a convention that is frequently seen in music magazines. </li></ul>
Q2) How does your media product represent particular social groups? <ul><li>As the main focus for the magazine is on the artist Kathy Striker, a woman, a social group that is clearly represented is women, however I feel women are not represented poorly in my magazine. In the images, the artist has been wearing face paint, which can connote as fun and quirky, and in the main image on the contents page she is holding a guitar, which can connote as being talented. It is difficult to analyse the social group women that have been represented in my magazine as, the point of acoustic rock and singer/song writers is that it is not the appearance that matters, it is about their talent. </li></ul><ul><li>However, when looking at the contents page, is becomes clear that there appear to be more women mentioned. This can clearly connote as women being more talented in the acoustic rock genre as, in this genre, they are not treated or represented poorly as they are in hip hop or R&B (where they are portrayed as sex objects.) </li></ul><ul><li>Regarding the double page spread, the lighting and the floral theme of the photo shoot can connote different things to the audience (example: women like flowers, women are girly, women are dainty etc.) However, as the magazine is targeted at young people who are fans of acoustic rock, it is possible for the audience members who know of this artist to understand that floral patterns is part of the artists iconography. </li></ul>
Q2) Continued… <ul><li>In the double page spread there is also the interview, which allows the audience to have an insight to the artists life. As the artist is a young person, a very wide social group, we can draw certain assumptions from the artist and apply it to how people connote how young people act. </li></ul><ul><li>The artist mentions University and life after it, as she says “ I got out of Uni, with my music degree. It was a bit hectic ” which could connote that young people find University stressful and are unable to cope with it. She later goes on to say “ I broke up with my boyfriend and I couldn’t afford to keep the dingy flat I was in ” which can connote that young people are not good at keeping a relationship or dealing with money. However, when looked at in context, it is apparent that it is only relevant to the artist as she is speaking from her own experience and not other peoples. Another line from her interview not only connotes how some young people act, also how College aged girls act “ the line “Please don’t leave me, I know that sounds pathetic” was a phrase a girl said in College, when she was telling the girls changing room how her boyfriend dumped her ” this links back to how women and girls are represented in my product, here however shows them as being needy and, when looked at in context, gossip to others. </li></ul>
Q3) What kind of media institution might distribute your media product? <ul><li>During my research on my blog, I looked into several publishers in the UK that publish music magazines, or magazines in general. I looked into general music magazines first, looking at NME and Karrang! However, as I found that these magazines aren’t very similar to my magazine I researched and looked for a current magazine similar to my own. Here is where I discovered that my magazine was a Q magazine for a younger audience. As you can see below, the house style, when compared to my magazine is very similar. </li></ul>However, my front cover features different fonts and the colour black is more prominent than just the white and the red in Q. It also became apparent that, with Improv , my magazine, that the audience is more specific than Q ’s as it is targeted to a younger audience () and those who enjoy acoustic rock and singer/song writers. As this more specific audience needed to be catered to, I feel that Bauer Media Group , those who publish both Q and Karrang! The fact that Bauer Music Group publishes two very different music magazines I feel that they would be better suited to distributing my magazine.
Q4) Who would be the audience for your media product? <ul><li>Finding my target audience was interesting as, although I had to focus on the demographics and psychographics of my profiling, I also had to consider those did not fall within this bracket as a 40 year old man with children may be a fan of acoustic rock and would purchase my magazine. </li></ul>Mainstreamers: These people dominate 40% of the audience for a product; they want to belong, fit in and focus on the trends and fads that friends and other members of society go through, and attempt to join them. Aspirers: This group consists of the people who aspire to be something, who want to become something great and well known. Reformers: These are the people who are worried about the state of the world and want to make the world or the area they live in a better place, these people will most likely recycle and worry majorly on the world affairs. Succeeds: This group of people are the ones who have already climbed the ladder and have come to a desirable position in their career or life. My target psychographic audience will most likely be the Mainstreamers however I feel that this will be joint with those who fall under Aspirers. My wider, secondary audience, will most likely be more Aspirers and those who fans of acoustic rock artists and music, as those people may not fall within my Demographic. Demographic Profiling My Product Gender This appears to be none specific however some articles would attract more males than females. There does not appear to be a gender targeted for acoustic rock. Race Again this doesn't appear to be specific however more white artists feature in the magazine than other ethnic artists, possibly implying that the magazine is aimed at Caucasians. Age The age range of my target audience is those aged from 14 to early 20's, however there are bound to be people who do not lie within this age range. Socio-Economic Status As my age range of my target audience features those who are under the age of 16 and, therefore, will be part of their parents socio-economic status, I have also created a range from C2, working class, to A, upper class
Q5) How did you attract and address your audience? <ul><li>Addressing my audience through text was easy as remembering to respect and apply common curtsey without sounding condescending through text is fairly simple. As I knew the youngest members of my audience would be 14 I refrained from using any swear words or unsuitable themes. You can mainly see how I did this through the dialogue and text used in the interview, on my double page spread. </li></ul>Attracting my target audience required more effort to remember and apply my knowledge from my demographic and psychographic research. I knew that any member of my audience would be an acoustic rock fan and so, on my front cover, I mentioned well known acoustic rock artists that would be featured in the magazine, this would catch their eye and encourage them to buy the magazine. I also had to keep in mine of my house style and the colouring of my mast head as, when distributed in shops, the masthead would the only thing visible when amongst other magazines. So not only was my house style, red, black and white, a clever choice when creating an eye catching affect, it also connotes a certain amount of maturity. I didn’t want this magazine to be a children magazine and I didn’t want the younger people in my audience to feel as though they are being spoken down to, to prevent this, the “grown up” colouring of red, black and white allows the magazine to appear bright and respectful.
Q6) What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? Using and working the camera and tripod was considerably easy as I have my own personal digital camera and tripod. However, I find that if I did not have this personal experience I wouldn’t have picked it up as quickly as I did. The one downside to using the tripod was trying to get the angling right when trying to get close ups, that would have been easier to get by taking the photograph hand held. The lighting was also quite easy to use, however the one problem we has was, during one of the shots where our actor was lying on the ground, we couldn’t get an even amount of light on her face without creating shadow. As I have my own personal blogger account I have found it extremely easy to work with, apart from getting to grips with tagging my work correctly. Using Photo Shop and In Design, however, was a big leap for me and my technical skills as I have never used either programmes before I started my project. Out of the two, I found Photo Shop easier to work with as it was this programme where I got to edit photos whereas in In Design I had to focus on the layout which, I feel, has been my strongest point in my project although I feel I have improved from the beginning.
Q7) Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? As you can clearly see the two differ extremely. My editing photo skills have increased greatly as you can see how I have improved cutting out the image on my front cover and brightening and creating a contrast on the image. A development in colour coding has also been created along the way as you can see my house style is more obvious and striking than the one you can see from my preliminary task. I have also increased my awareness of the conventions of a music magazine as I have used strap lines, more tag lines and a central image giving direct address all in my front cover. Not only do I feel that I have learnt the conventions and crucial editing skills, but I feel that I have improved as photographer as I am now more aware of different framing and exposure of light when taking pictures. Further more, the style of text placement, colour and using professional journalism techniques has also improved with practise. I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and I’d like to thank Sarah, Kathy Striker, for letting me use her in my photographs.