The general audience feedback suggests that my magazine looks good. This is what I wanted to achieve, based around the fact that “Within the first 3 seconds of looking at a magazine rack, you’ve already chosen the one that you want.” So it has to be eye-catching in every way possible.
I feel like I may have become too self-involved with the ‘image’ when creating my magazine; this is in regards to one of my interviewees accounting the magazine as being more ‘indie’ than Rock. However, as far as my preliminary audience research goes, the Indie Rock genre is quickly becoming/if not already is the most popular genre of music. By creating a more individual/alternative feel to Drive, I have expanded the range of potential audiences, as well as maintaining the harks back to Classic Rock music, that my older questioners might enjoy. In relation to audience theory, Blumler and Katz’ Uses and Gratifications theory suggests that media audiences use certain texts to gain a social benefit from doing so. People who read Indie magazines and consume Indie rock will most likely interact with others who follow the genre.
Both due to the production quality and the strict following of convention that I took into hand when creating Drive, people seem to think that the magazine could be placed appropriately alongside MOJO or Q. This shows how well I may have followed conventions – well enough to cater to the audience that I set out to attract. If i hadn’t been successful in targeting my audience of modern Rock Music fans then I’d like to think that the magazine would be out of place next to these acclaimed titles.
A kind thanks to Douggie Rooks for analyzing the ‘successful’ aspects of each of the 4 pages. My hope was that every page in the magazine would show outstanding quality, in that perhaps the decline in circulation of print media is due to a lack of production quality that I’ve shown can be obtained with time and effort (and occasionally the odd penny.)
Have I done it?
What I find most interesting in the responses to this question is that I didn’t (when asking) mention anything about age. Yet each respondent replied with a point about the ages of my target audience.
The general trend was that I would have a Primary Audience of 16-25 year olds. Young people jumping on the bandwagon of Rock music – seduced by the sexy, dark, edgy and romantic feel to Drive magazine. This would be a regurgitation of the past – if magazines like Drive, Q or MOJO began to attract younger audiences again, and create some form of revival of the ‘buzz’ around Rock music – although the point is raised that to do so, we would need the bands themselves.
I am pleased that the respondents also said that the magazine would appeal to a Secondary Audience of older readers (50-65) especially men. An argument for this was that older generations have “more time” to read. However, I’d think that the more appropriate argument would be that Classic Rock was booming when this generation would have been in their teens. The appeal from this demographic can also be supported by my ‘BEN’ double page spread. This features a deceased Rock-star who will be the same age as that target audience, so it’s on the level of being ‘relatable.’
I can use the exclusion of the discussion of gender, ethnicity, social class and use it to my benefit. The fact that the respondents have ignored these demographics shows that Drive magazine can only belong to what is known as the normal media audience – White, American/British, Middle Class readers. Perhaps they seemed to think the target audience was obviously heterosexual as it’s not Pink labelled media. However, these are the issues with demographics in modern media texts. Alternatively, the way they ignored the other traits suggests that Drive is appropriate for any reader.
I am happy with the criticisms made on Drive magazine, as they are purely based on graphical issues, which do not jeopardize the meanings and genre conveyed.
As you can see, the increase in production quality between my preliminary and final task is quite drastic. Mainly in the photo quality and the camera work and lighting, the difference is massive. For one, Drive is a magazine that would potentially be sold at an off-license or a supermarket magazine rack. Genius School-based magazine is only ever going to be freely distributed within school communities. I had deliberately considered this when producing both – will a school have access to a studio? No, probably not. Although they will hire an average-ability photographer to take average photographs with little meaning. Magazines like Drive, Q, MOJO or other mainstream media will have dedicated photographers such as Baron Wolman or Annie Leibovitz.
They choose regarded photographers who take consistently striking images. Annie Leibovitz found instant commendation after she captured the famous John Lennon/Yoko Ono image for Rolling Stone magazine.
Despite how I took the separate images with deliberate photo graphical improvement, there are certainly areas where I have improved my technical execution of both constructing and editing an image.
Genius has barely followed the rule of thirds, which I claimed initially – it’s weak and the main focus of the image is lost. With Drive, I have combined both the rule of thirds and central image placement to guarantee a clear focus on my subjects. The use of lighting in my images has also drastically improved.
The difference between the use of these two lighting rigs is almost hilarious. Though, it shouldn’t mean that you can’t get a good image from a simple LED panel light. Light placement is important, as well as softening using soft-boxes and bouncers or reflectors.
This image shows the complexity in photo design an cinematography where lighting is concerned.
Meeting Phil Meheux, cinematographer, on the film course taught me about the lengths that people go to synthesize realistic lighting for film. For instance, a literal balloon is used to create the effect of moonlight, as seen in the image above.
When taking images for Drive, I followed the standard lighting set up for portraiture – which consists of a main light 45-degrees to the left of the subject, and a bounce-board/reflector directly in line with it behind the subject. I didn’t need to use fill lights in this image, as the background was white and therefore reflective, and I also wanted harsh shadows on one side of the model’s face.
Rule no.1 – less is more. Terrible use of the dodge tool and the burn tool can be seen in my school-based magazine. It is jarring, as it embellishes subjects which don’t need to be highlighted – a school-based magazine will at most have the contrast increased on the images, maybe saturation or brightness. Nothing more. This was a fundamental mistake.
Although in Drive, even though I can afford to be more experimental in the image manipulation, I have learned that over-editing is the worst thing you can do to an image. Blacks too black, highlights too enhanced, or colour values too high. Even using the burn/dodge tools too noticeably can destroy your original. I’ve learned from the experience over this past year that you can do, most of the time, everything you want to an image using Curves. Don’t over-complicate the process. In many senses I feel that my front cover is actually over edited – way too dark. Though, this is just a criticism, and I learned not to do this in the production of my DPSs, whose images are far better, in my opinion.
When producing the school-based magazine, I found that vector-based graphics are popular in texts such as these. I included the curves to recreate this. However, in professional music magazines, it’s difficult to include these and make them look appropriate. Most of the time – they’re cutouts, like a 50 GREATEST SONGS or EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, presented in circular tags. Or occasionally there’d be a tear across the page with a band name in it. Although, to stay safe, I’ve only used one circular tag and a drop-in image pulled from the text.
Font choices are important, and also difficult. I spent little time researching which font to use for Genius School magazine. I used Photoshop’s pre-installed fonts. When planning Drive, I made sure that I knew exactly what font would be the best for my magazine in the design stage. I also edited fonts as rasterized layers in order to make sure the letter size and spacing was perfect. The font used on the front cover of Genius is ugly. For the fluency of the image and the masthead, the font is way too blocky on the page. The most important rule when choosing/working with a font is not to look at it too much.
You may have already guessed that I love (that being an understatement) media technologies. By which I mean, the tech that we use to produce our own media.
I have been using Adobe software since my dad bought the brand new Photoshop CS3.
But since, in the past 3 or so years, I have mastered my Photoshop skills and delved into other aspects of what is known now as the Adobe Creative Cloud.
Photoshop and Video editing applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro converge to become a ‘creative suite’ in which designers and media producers can easily perform tasks all in one machine – which changes film-making forever.
Premiere Pro is an insanely powerful editing suite. Most computers are incapable to process it. For my most recent film, I trusted Premiere Pro to work with and render 4K footage in full capacity. This only required the help of 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a GTX 1080 Graphics Card, abd a Quad Core 3.8GHz I7 Processor to keep up. Oh boy, it did.
Not only do I use this tech for making short films, but Premiere Pro is excellent for snipping videos together for media – including the ones I’ve made on The Decline Of The Music Magazine, and Rock Audiences.
It can be VERY painstakingly fiddly, but when it works – it works a charm – in my opinion, superior and more malleable than workshops such as Apple’s Final Cut Pro.
“THE MY, OH MY MOMENT.” – FILM CAMERAS
If you wish, you can read more about my time at the NYFA in the dedicated folder ‘My time at the NYFA’. For now though, I’ll briefly discuss how the cameras and tech that we used changed the way I’ll be producing my own media in the foreseeable future.
AS BEAUTIFUL AS IT WAS, it’s the most daunting thing I’ve ever touched. And we used it, I’m afraid to say, minimally. Parts of the reasons being that we didn’t have the ‘proper’ rigs as they would’ve cost far more. However, this is the RED SCARLET DRAGON – which I had the privilege of being able to shoot on.
The camera had the same functionality, performed the same task, shot the same subjects as a Canon or any Sony camera could have – however, in 4-5K resolution, and it dealt with darkness far better than any other camera.
This screenshot from the footage was shot using the lens below. We were able to fit any lens onto the RED as it had interchangeable mounts.
The camera was certainly a high standard, but we didn’t need it. – This shows that the quality of the equipment will not always save the day.
Hey, Drive looks alright and it was only shot on a crappy Nikon…
Sony AS7 MkII, full-frame mirrorless digital camera. Shoots 4K at 120FPS. 50- 108,000 ISO.
Canon 5D mk III – 22.3MP 1080p video recording, Stabilized lens hardware. DIGIC 5 Processor.
Crowds such as these will be the target audience for my Drive magazine – those who are respectful of the older generations of Rock music, but are also supportive of and enjoy the newer bands are my ideal target market. As far as my demographics go, take a look at my analysis of the audience feedback which I received on Drive.
I have been rather blasé about the technologies I’ve used to produce Drive magazine. Although, it means that you can have great fun in reading about how I progressed in the quality of the kit and understanding of camera equipment and image manipulation software.
THE CAMERA BODY
The beast. Nikon D610. 24.3 megapixel 35.9 x 24.0 mm CMOS sensor. ISO 100-6400 in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV. Capable of NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed or compressed. Image view = Nikon FX format.
This is the camera I used to shoot my school based magazine on. The main difference here is the sensor. Whereas the D610 has a 24.3MP sensor, this D7000 model only has a 16.2MP crop sensor. As well as a DX view format, not FX – which is far more advanced.
I shot my front cover image on the 24-70mm lens, as it provided the best crop and focal length for my design. I shot the contents page background on that same lens, however I shot the two images using the 50mm, as I required a higher no. F-stops to have a greater focus on my subjects. For DPS1 I used the wide angle 14-24mm lens as the frame had to be *huge* to capture the subjects. The macro lens was used to get the detail on ‘Ben Maxwell’ AKA Douggie Rooks’ face and a soft focus on the set behind – as well as the album cover shots.
Lighting is an underrated aspect of both film-making and photography. For magazine shoots, artificial lighting will be used 99% of the time. This is the lighting equipment that I was lucky enough to have at my hands to use. Elinchrom provide trustworthy and advanced lighting suites, with soft-boxes and flashbulbs that can be synced up to thew camera. In most of my shots – I used these lights as fill lights. The main lighting was provided by two Arri 2k lights. The brightness of these can synthesize daylight, and they have directional windows which allows me to spotlight certain parts of an image} the main model on my FC or the smoke in the image of my contents page.
I learned from using *terrible* LEDs, rather badly as well, in my Preliminary Task – lighting makes an image look authentic and worthwhile.
UPLOADING AND IMAGE PROCESSING
Don’t EVER delete an image that you’ve taken just because you don’t have enough space. Pay £20 and never lose work again. Lost work = wasted time.
Capture One is a great tool for editing RAW images, and I should really be using it. However, I find that Adobe Photoshop is SO MUCH EASIER, especially when the export will be to another Adobe software such as InDesign.
Adobe Photoshop allows you to adjust the curves or the relationship between tones and contrast in an image. Seriously powerful enhancement tool. Don’t be intimidated, an S-shaped curve tends to boost the image to your advantage.
Adjusting the colour balance is another important tool which I’ve focused on using since my preliminary task. You can increase the intensity of certain colours in relation to where they’re present in an image. For instance, here, I’ve boosted the blue tones in the shadows of the image – as well as increasing the intensity of the yellows in the highlights.
Here’s the facial manipulation I did on the front cover using masking tools and the burn & dodge tools:
Photoshop is also good for manipulating text and graphics:
Genius software for graphic design, interlinked with Photoshop and other Adobe software, it guarantees for the cleanest magazine editing.
Who are they?
Well, how do you think magazines get from A – The producers to B – The shelf at your local Co-Op? It’s the magazine institution companies who are responsible for producing, marketing and distributing the media product – often for their own hefty share of the profit.
Companies like BBC, Time Inc. (formerly IPC media), Bauer Media and Ascential (formerly EMAP) – dominate the magazine distribution market. Here’s info on their main ownership:
Bauer Media is the great white in the pool of magazine institutions. They own the most popular magazines in circulation, especially those surviving on the music magazine front – KERRANG!, MOJO, Q. The Q music brand has expanded to Radio and Television, with Q Radio and Q TV being music entertainment that specialises in indie, rock and alternative. Q also holds annual music awards in the UK, known as Q Awards. Furthermore, EMPIRE is the leading Film magazine in the UK with over 100,000 copies in circulation.
The BBC distribute magazines which are much more specific to the UK scene. These are for the quirky, provincial, extra middle-class buyers. This isn’t a great ground for music magazines, but the BBC aren’t usually thought of as a magazine distributor; and awareness of competitors on the magazine market is vitally important in audience research.
EMAP are no longer in operation, so I probably won’t be choosing them as a distributor. However, when they were around, they distributed Smash Hits, which was a remarkable success in the UK for a long while on the Pop scene. However, mostly – EMAP were responsible for distributing business/global magazines. Some of these, such as Retail Week, have been picked up by Ascential.
IPC Media AKA Time Inc. remain strong in their distribution of key magazines which are frequently restocked on the shelves in your nearest off-license. Entertainment Weekly are massive with a circulation of 1.8 million and a strong online presence. They dominate the field of music, film and television. This highlights the increasing presence of cross-media convergence. Music magazines and Film magazines are not as separate as they once were; nor can they afford to be. So now there becomes a converged sort of ‘Entertainment’ magazine, which becomes less specific – appealing to fewer indie demographics. Also, the lack of publication of this kind of magazine will result in a stalemate, whereby nobody will be interested in Hippie Folk Deathmetal whatever… but instead will exclusively listen to Ed Sheeran’s new album on repeat for a good month. They’re good, but NME is a dead rock magazine.
After researching these main 4 magazine distributors, it’s clear that the very basis of my magazine being like Q directs it to being published by a company like Bauer Media. It appears Bauer distribute more internationally renowned texts than the others, more exclusive to the UK. In Drive magazine – a UK magazine, though highlighting some of the world’s most popular artists, will be distributed in other countries (especially America). Therefore, Bauer is the most suitable magazine institution for Drive.
The independent press standards organisation is a company who take responsibility in regulating over 1500 print and 1100 online titles. This means that they maintain the ‘Editor’s Code.’ http://www.editorscode.org.uk/the_code.php Whenever a title that they own refuses to abide by the code, they will regulate the content – or even handle complaints made to the publisher. A magazine like Drive will be associated with IPSO to ensure that their content is safe to be distributed – meaning that they won’t have to repair any damages.
I like this toy <3
By the way, I think both front he perspective of the models that I’ll be using, and myself – inventing a Rock band is seriously good fun.
Influence for Soho Sister follows my chosen genre of Rock music – (being the most popular music genre). Although, I’m also basing the bands around some of my own favourites.
“When James was thinking of a band name he got real stressed and started screaming, this was then resolved by the whole media class coming up with the band name for him. He then did that name and was no longer screaming.” – candidate 4096
Soho Sister are a new age rock band which take on board many sub-classifications of ‘Indie’ or ‘Alternative’ rock. The artists featured above, Radiohead, Muse, The Black Keys and the 1975 – belong in the same scene as Soho Sister. They are mostly, (bar the Black Keys) British rock bands coming from Urban areas of England. Radiohead have been on the scene since the 1980s, but bands like The 1975 have only made themselves heard in the past decade, as well as the Black Keys. Muse are a relatively mainstream rock band whose music has been ‘revived’ now that in 2017 they’re touring major festivals such as Leeds/Reading and Glastonbury.
Why these people? Their music is strong at the same time as being reserved and not so in-your-face, as rock has been in it’s prime. Basically, this is a style of Rock music that people can ‘chill out’ to. Radiohead, for example, manage to blur the lines of electronic music and Rock music, this makes for much more dynamic, less conventional and punchier music. A Moon Shaped Pool is a stupendously good rock album, bringing new melodic and technical ideas to the scene.
I also aim to have Soho Sister as a band whose music mirrors elements of 1970s Classic Rock music. Back to the era of Fleetwood Mac and Jefferson Airplane, the bands represent the freedom of speech and resonate a ‘hippie rock’ sort-of vibe.
I will have 3 band members from Soho, London. ‘Jessie Knopfler, Charlie Vankirst, Daniel Montoya.’ All born and raised in the UK, however Daniel has Spanish influences. Part of the characterization is based around the fact that the two gentlemen are a homosexual couple – almost creating possible situations where the two would tease and leave out the female band member. It’s playful, it’s likeable.
Their article will focus on their favourite album covers of all time. Also, they will discuss their new album ‘Dance With The Neon Demon’.
Basically, the idea behind Ben is that he’s an icon who sailed through the 1970s and the Golden Age of Rock. Based around artists like Bowie, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Alice Cooper, Nick Drake.
If you’ve seen Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous you’ll hold the premise of a ‘tour’ close to your interests. The lifestyle, the intrinsic obsession with narcotics, alcohol, sex.
Ben was born in Manchester. He’s a northern Classic Rock musician. He was the headliner of a band called ‘The Drivers’ but they disbanded (pardon the pun;) ) in the ’80s. The article will discuss his life, touring in America during the 1970s and the article which took place a few years before his death.
Here’s a ludicrously boring video of me setting up my contents page shoot. I thought the footage might look interesting. Oh well.
OVERHEAD RIG!!! I’m too proud of this.
Images that I plan to use on the contents page:
(If this isn’t the edgiest photo you’ve ever seen, then I don’t know what is.) ^^^
The end is nearing closer every day… Loved this shoot. So much fun, and we had complete control over every aspect of the production. Everything seemed to work so well, lighting, set dressing, hair, makeup – the cameras didn’t fail (I can’t imagine that every shoot will go this well) – after all, it’s easier with friends.
I built the sets opposite each other for the convenience of not having to move anything besides the camera. Despite this efficiency, we were still pressed for space. Luckily, the chaise lounge (a prop) provided comfort for many people – as well as an array of artistic photo opportunities.
It got quite hands-on for myself, when it came to boosting the confidence of my models.
THIS IS MY FAVOURITE SHOT EVER. It wasn’t even planned, maybe the most frustrating part. Fibonacci would be proud.
Experimental photos for the contents page. I think Olivia made a career for herself then and there.
These were the best shots which I will certainly be using in Drive magazine. The only issue I encountered was the fish-eye effect when taking the DPS2 (Rumours) pictures. This meant that I had to take two separate images. However, this proved to have more benefits than I thought. We had more room for mistakes this way, less pressure on all three models performing exactly as I had wished. I’ll hate myself in Photoshop, no doubt.
Success! The shoot went swimmingly. Matthew (another candidate) and myself doubled up on our shooting dates so that we could help each other out. That way, there were more people so the process was more enjoyable and more comfortable for my models.
I made quite a few spontaneous changes to my plan. I.e Using different colored backgrounds for safety ~(which I think worked more successfully than before.) Lighting was clear and simple, with one Ellinchrom light, as well as an Arri for backup which I used in darker shots.
FOOD! How great am I? Everyone enjoyed the shoot as I provided refreshments all around. Keep them happy; I’m happy.
Costume was fantastic. I created the glasses myself with spraypaint and my fingernails. Hetty wore the men’s shirt well, as well as a wrist watch she may have stolen from me.
Makeup: the fantastic Annabelle Parrish at work. I helped direct her in regards to sharpening Hetty’s jawline, and washing away the colour – generally producing a more masculine aesthetic.
NO SMOKING – In order to prevent any health risks, we used a smoke machine to synthesise the effect of a lit cigarette. The final product is convincing.
Seriously happy with these images, I came to prefer the white background more than the black, so prepare for some natural changes to the design.
Mr Rooks being a natural as always. I used a vacuum-form background for this one. Overall, a lot of fun.
The man’s a genius.
When you’re producing media, it’s important to understand the many ways in which your audience could react to the text. Theorists are as helpful as possible when predicting the areas that can make a Rock Magazine (particularly) appropriate for the ‘target’ audience.
If I’ve learned anything in drawing/planning out my magazine , the main thing is that the contents page is a difficult one to master. It is immeasurably difficult to make an index look interesting, whilst transferring components of genre across to the media users. This is the page that required a formula.
I knew that I wanted for my design to be creative, but you can only be so experimental with magazines, or else the concepts will seem ‘unnatural’ to readers. These-days, people reading magazines will choose to because it’s a more traditional platform to take information entertainment from. As an escapism from the world www and social media platforms, readers don’t want to go to magazines and see that they’ve changed. This gives formulaic magazine design a degree of justice.
With my contents page, I need to take photographs (in Polaroid style) of my two featuring articles. Then, create a set on a wooden table with the iconic glasses of ‘Ben’ and the token ashtray which accompanies the genre. The aesthetic resonates key themes from the rock genre – especially the reclusive, ‘careless’ or rebellious way of living. The font and graphics, however, will remain strong and sharp to show the clean-cut modern approach to the rock genre. Furthermore, the colours stay close to those used on the front cover, with reds and blacks, with the Drive logo, tying the pages together.
Dead celebrities seemed to be the hottest trend of 2016. I feel like paying homage to a lost star is an excellent opportunity for a DPS article. We all remember how respectful and gracious the media was around David Bowie’s death, I’d like to recreate that with Drive.
My star: Ben Maxwell, is based around a culmination of the stars of the past. The concept being that he was a 70s Rockstar who was known and loved by millions. [READ FILE] The article is in an obituary style, I will research other articles from the past year which have a similar subject to shape my text around.
My main image will feature the top half of the man’s head and his iconic glasses. He will be aged and in grey (a more recent image). The headspace will feature the article divided into three columns around the letters of ‘BEN’ – Taken influence from a Q DPS of Lady Gaga. On the other page, there will be an album cover which divides him with his older self. I will cast Douglas Rooks as old Ben, and Hetty Pickles as the younger version of the star.
This double page spread concept is based around my band: ‘Soho Sister'(s) personal favourite album covers. These bring across strong indications of the band’s genre and style. For one, we know that their tastes are alternative, but relate to popular ‘classics’ from the 1970s rock scene. I wanted to create a parody of a classic album cover. I ranged through various deisgns – including David Bowie’s Aladin Sane, and the Beatles’ Abbey Road album. Although, I feel these are difficult to recreate and lack any translation of a message about the band. I needed something which could be artistic at the same time as over-dramatic and comedic. So, I chose:
Classic Rock fans will instantly recall the design as being a parody of the much-loved Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac. This will instantly engage with the primary audience of Drive Magazine. An alteration in the design is where the two male members of Soho Sister are in the photo-shoot setup, and the female band member is left out – it is clear that she was meant to be in Stevie Nicks’ place. This image will act as a display of the kind of personality that the band have. Clearly, the male band members shroud themselves in a comfortable femininity, promoting a fluidity and non-binary identities to younger audiences.
Mainly, the photo will be a joy to construct. Working with costume, makeup and set dressing at this level will be a constructive challenge. Furthermore, I enjoy the clean-cut style to the image. I will try and keep it as minimal as possible in order to reduce clutter.
The woman on the right is aging, yet glamorous. She wears finely applied makeup and her hair is a healthy (clearly revitalized) brown. Her skin is even and tanned, but she is not overwhelmingly thin around her arms, which is congruent with a privileged, wealthy lifestyle. This shows instantly that she has the wealth of time and money to be able to maintain an unrealistic image, which stands out against most 35-40 y/o women. This goes against McNeil’s 7 point critique, whereby he states that maternal women struggle to keep up a beauty image due to the stress and 24/7 ethic of parenting + a full-time job.
From the representation of the woman in the image, she is seen wearing jewelry and an expensive leather handbag, along with a tightly-fitted black dress. Her apparel is only substantial and entirely materialistic; there is an absence of purposefulness to her costume, as well as the discomfort of her jewelry and her bag. We understand that women with the money to afford this must either have a successful husband, or their own professional career. To jar this interpretation, the woman has a daughter, which would oppose the conventional presentation of the ‘career’ woman. Consequently, we are led to believe that she sources funding from a dominant male in her life; ergo she loses power as she cannot be an independent woman.
Furthermore, we do not see a positive portrayal of women in this image, as TV Drama usually represents maternal figures as being entirely devoted to their job as a mom. Clearly, the character on the left has wasted no breath in raising her child. Otherwise, we might have seen her with greyer hair, fewer expenses, and uneven or wrinkled skin. In parallel with the supposed daughter figure in the image, the mother has spoiled and groomed her into being the mirror image of herself. She wears similar clothing, and her hair and skin tone is – although fresher and more even – identical to her the woman on the right. We do not need clarification of their relationship.
In the same way, the younger woman is lavished in similar expensive apparel. Regardless of how young she may seem, we assume that women who wear this kind of clothing are more mature. Perhaps this image springs from being a ‘career’ woman, or a woman of higher class.
[P.S. Watch Riverdale. It is so good right now.]
BINGE DRINKING/DRUG ADDICTION
A common stereotype of teenagers in particular is ‘binge’ drinking and the use of illegal drugs. In the UK, underage (-18) drinking, is a widespread and growing issue. This stereotype that all teens are ‘out on the lash’ every weekend harks a connotation with violence, misconduct and general immaturity to that age band.
PURPOSELESS DRAIN ON SOCIETY
Teenagers are locked in a period where they are still in full-time education, and are considered ‘young adults’ but are widely unemployed. Because of this, many people assume teenagers to be non-contributors to the well-being of the social or economic world.
Older audiences like to assume that young people aren’t old enough to ‘understand’ life.
CARELESS AND RECKLESS
Another perception is that all young people have no care for what outsiders think, or any respect for people and the environment.
PURPOSELESS DRAIN ON SOCIETY
There is symmetry between the generalisations of older and younger people. Anyone who isn’t an innocent child or middle aged doesn’t contribute the social or economic world.
OLD PEOPLE SHOULD BE FORGIVING AND AT PEACE WITH THE WORLD
Not true. They can have as much reason for emotional qualms as anyone else.
THEY ARE ISOLATED AND AT THE BRINK OF SOCIAL DETACHMENT
Grandparents are difficult to engage with on the grounds of counter-generational conflict.
‘Old people have no motivation or ability to make the most of their days, so they will die wrapped around their armchair next to a cold mug of tea and the 2nd showing of an Eastenders episode.’
SICKNESS/DISEASE or MENTAL/PHYSICAL DISABILITY
Commonly, age brings physical issues and mental health trouble in that the body begins to deteriorate. However, many old people are lively and remain active until their final days.
BORING/SET IN THEIR WAYS
‘You can’t teach an old cat a new trick; can’t teach Grandad Facebook.’
Not all older people have financial support.
Instantly, we see that the subject approaching the camera is ‘avoiding the spotlight’ of being interrogated by his parents. Though low-key, there is an intense block of light casting a shadow on Sid. This light indicates that someone is awake, presenting a threat to Sid’s evening. From this, we see a representation of young people in TV drama which highlights the issues of secrecy and dishonesty. As Sid steps into the light, it coincides with his father (Capaldi) intervening him.
Cold and harsh lighting at the start of the scene clearly represents the ‘interrogation’ feel to the interaction. It also presents ideas about how the ‘home’ and ‘family’ lose their integrity in the period of discovery and adventure – between 15 and 21. To Sid, the family home is a cold place, and so the lighting in the scene mirrors his feelings throughout. We later understand that Sid’s home is broken apart by qualms between his parents, and the slobber-ish nature of Capaldi’s character. This is in direct contrast to the warm light used in Sid’s bedroom, which is the only place where he can find privacy. Moreover, Cassie (Hannah Murray), Sid’s girlfriend, is in his room. At this age, boys typically have more affection for their friends and ‘lovers’ than their family. This explains the warm lighting; Sid is more comforted around his friends, even in such a complicated situation – he is willing to open up in that environment and not in front of his parents. Consequently, his parents simply get the ‘shell’ of teenage life – drinking, drugs, smoking, sex – ‘Piss’ apparently… whereas he is really being torn apart romantically.
Generally, the shots in this scene are composed to reflect the power in the scene. Because of this, Sid is staged in the frame in a way that demoralizes him. He is always either seen from a higher angle, or surrounded by space in the frame. This makes him appear smaller – helping the viewer to understand the lengths of his emotional trauma. Young people are being constantly ‘victimized’ by their parents, but in this instance, Sid is being attacked from all areas. In the frame where his parents pressure him about his absence, his father has dominance in the framing. An over-the-shoulder shot is used to create this effect, we get a 2nd person insight into the argument; Sid being looked down at as a victim. The same effect is created in the shot of Sid in his walk of shame up the stairs, the camera is high and so he is looked down on again.
In Sid’s bedroom, he and Cassie are shot in a way that increases their size in the frame as the argument progresses, and then decreases as they grow further apart. Initially, Sid is small and off-center in the image. This creates the impression that he is worthless. Furthermore, he is paralleled with two striking images of nude women, which show off his unripe adolescence. This, and the childish costume create a juxtaposition that highlights the ‘conflicting’ or ‘confused’ period of life that he’s in. Moreover, the over-the-shoulder shot from Cassie’s perspective holds Sid, trapped between the pornographic poster and his soon to be ex-girlfriend; pressured by the decision he has to make.
Transitions in this scene are used to generate a pace that is concordant with the action of the story. This makes up for the lack of camera movement. In Sid’s bedroom, when Cassie stands up, the cuts between the two characters increase in frequency. As a result of this, the impression is that there is a lot of movement in the frame, whereas the editor is simply mirroring the movement in the dialogue. It’s how an argument works – back and forth.
Skins does a fantastic job at showing the struggles of adolescence and attitudes towards both younger and much older age groups. There is a victim complex among younger people – creating the impression that everyone is ‘out to get them’ triggers a general violence. However, Skins also alludes to the fact that teenagers can’t often control their ability to be ‘mature’ and so there is a convergence of childish and adult behavior. This is clearly shown in the mise-en-scene (Sid’s bedroom specifically.) On the other hand, Skins also illuminates issues that stick with older generations. Sid’s dad (Capaldi) is a stern, protective figure when he’s supposed to be. Most of the time, he is presented as a babbling Scotsman who can’t control his language – his childish side comes through as he is framed as being ‘such a dildo’ – and storms off when feeling victimized. If anything, Sid reacts to his telling-off in a much more reserved fashion.
Coolest thing ever. Short films ought to be impressive. I sense a Sci-Fi coming in 2018. Hmmm.
There are no words.
“Successful media products depend as much upon marketing and distribution to a specific audience as they do upon good production practices.” To what extent would you agree with this statement, within the media area you have studied?
There is no denying that the intrinsic quality of a production must be good for it to gather an audience. However, in relation to the British film industry, with companies such as Working Titles or WARP Films, trends show that the quality of production may not be the sole contributor to a film’s success rate.
In the direction of pre-production and production for a film, the most fundamental aspect of the process is simultaneously producing the content and creating awareness – or the modernistic approach would be ‘hype.’ Say today, Working Titles “leak” material suggesting that Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant are working on a new production together, which will debut in 2019 – the information would soon become ‘viral’ and the moronic, though contemporary equivalent of ‘word-of-mouth’ would begin the film’s marketing. This shows us that the relationship between the star-status of a production will have a direct link to how quickly or how effectively it will be marketed and distributed. In addition, media ownership means that the ‘big 6’ do not give way to new talent, we see a repetition of the same actors in ‘big’ films. Initially, Working Titles produced ‘edgier’ films with more of a social commentary, such as ‘My Beautiful Laundrette.’ Many may argue that the writing, casting (Daniel Day-Lewis) and thus, acting in the film may be more profound and compelling than an array of WT’s more recent titles – ones which grossed far more. However, despite the high quality of writing, direction and acting in the film, it being sparsely marketed and weakly distributed essentially wastes it – it never received the audience that it arguably deserves. This issue of weak distribution and marketing is sourced by the increased number of mass-media buyouts by conglomerates such as Universal, or further: Comcast, G.E. and Disney. A definitive tool that these companies can offer to film studios like a young WT, or WARP, is money. Tim Bevan, executive producer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and co-founder of Working Titles, states: “10% of the time” is spent by film production, and the “remaining 90% is spent finding people brave enough to invest in the film.” (Highlighting issues raised by horizontal integration and multiple sources of funding.) This also shows how little the production of a film actually contributes to its success rate. Therefore, to a great extent, the statement is false – assuming that ‘success’ is defined by the revenue of a film.
Moreover, if we compare WT with WARP in respects to their production quality, you can see that mass-media ownership can destroy a truly fantastic film. Atonement, the 2007 WW2 drama starring Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy has a gross close to $60 million. ’71 is WARP’s compelling drama highlighting the history of the Irish Republican Army and a soldier stuck between the lines. IMDb gave ’71 a generous 7.5/10 – with many reviewers stating that the film was more thrilling, intense and moving than many Hollywood Action blockbusters. However the film didn’t manage to appeal to the US, despite possible uptake in the Irish heritage as a selling point. As a result, the film ‘flopped’, losing around £4.8 million at the box office. This is a result of weak distribution, but more importantly poor marketing as well. Given that a film costs around £3000 to print and copy onto another reel, WARP cannot afford to ship 100 copies of their film over to the US. Perhaps the proliferation of DLPs (Digital LED Projectors) will make exhibition cheaper for companies like WARP. Despite this possibility, WARP cannot pay for the blanket marketing – constant 360 – degree coverage on billboards, buses, social media, etc. However, Universal – for example – can make a film look appealing to an array of specific audiences, even if the actual film is abysmal.
On the other hand, marketing and distribution can also rely on the content of a film being good – so production practices are equally as important. With the 1994 Richard Curtis (masterpiece) Four Weddings and a Funeral – Working Titles had the backing of Polygram entertainment (now Universal Pictures, or UIP) to distribute the film in both the UK and America. To the British film industry, after many decades of awful film, America seemed like untouched, intimidating and high ground to play with. Working Titles, in their boldness, had to assure a marketing strategy which appealed to the US audiences as a ‘Primary’ audience, and they also had to impress UK and European audiences. For instance, the American poster featured Andie MacDowell huddling over Hugh Grant as he greets the viewer with a sickening but romantic smile. The primary audience for this film were US women ages 30+. From Carrie’s character in the film, we see a parallel to her and the viewers. In the same way, Hugh Grant will be perceived as being a ‘cute’ Englishman. The marketing team’s decision to have her on the poster instead of the ensemble of British comedy actors is reasonable, because she is the ‘bridging’ material across the Atlantic. Despite her being the worst thing about the film, she is a fundamental contribution to the attraction from US audiences. People had recently seen her star in ‘Groundhog Day’ (1993). So people were excited to see her interacting with Britain. This is proof that marketing and distribution have a greater impact on the success of a film than its production quality. Hugh Grant is clearly a better actor than Andie MacDowell, but US audiences didn’t know that – then, they wanted her – now, perhaps they’d want him. Overall, the marketing worked. Distributors started by having 7 cinemas exhibiting the film in the US on its opening day. ‘Hype’ grew about the film, and it was in circulation with 721 cinemas showing the film by the end of the opening week. This is irrevocably the reason why a product made on £4.4 million was able to accumulate £274 million – and be ‘successful’.
Furthermore, when studying Working Title’s 2003 classic ‘Love Actually,’ which has a worldwide gross of £245 million over 14 years, we can see how film companies themselves can become an excellent marketing tool. The trailer for Love Actually spends the first minute discussing the other films that Richard Curtis + Working Titles have created together. Then, it spends the remaining 3 minutes showcasing the American bridging characters and Hugh Grant’s awkward acting. This is simply WT telling the US audiences: “remember us?” “This will be just like that, but at Christmas!” Working Titles certainly have a right to their success – theses are feel-good films done well. Though, these companies ‘crowd’ the market. As a result, it makes it increasingly harder for horizontally-integrated companies like WARP to make successful productions, even if they deserve it. With the increasing pace of cross-media convergence and the proliferation of hardware, the quality and coverage of marketing will only increase – and so will the expense. Despite digital technologies allowing ‘small’ companies (Working Titles actually only has 47 employees so it’s not by size) like WARP to produce and exhibit their films more cheaply. Universal, on the other hand, have the power and money to buy ad-space on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It costs £1000 to extend a post’s viewing range by 1000 people. So, as binary as it seems, social network marketing is becoming an increasingly cut-throat environment for media teams to play in. If this should continue, high-quality yet under-appreciated productions such as ’71 or Four Lions simply won’t have a chance against the mediocre blockbusters. It doesn’t help that Comcast own Facebook. It also doesn’t look like much will change; as of 2015, the Working Titles/Universal partnership has been extended by another 5 years – this accentuates how beneficial they are to each other, generating a $5 billion profit since 1999.
To conclude, the most important aspect of a film is its audience. Therefore, it is down to how well the audience is ‘reached’ to how well the film will do. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the marketing and a film’s gross. Thus, I’d have to say that marketing and distribution is more of a contributor to the success of a film than its production quality. If a distributor had enough money to back them, unfortunately they could sell anything.