Rhiann’s Research

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Evaluation Essay

Published May 6, 2012 by nadiashah7

Evaluation Essay:

In this project we decided to create a girl band, which is why as a group we created an album cover, magazine cover and double page spread, website and album advertisement. I chose to focus on print (the front cover and double page spread of a magazine) as well as the album cover.

We created these formats of media as we felt that they were typical conventions of a successful modern girl band. In order to complete this task well, we had to do research, understand all codes and conventions used in the media industry as well as learning how to consider all of the elements within the mise-en-scene.

To understand what forms of media were necessary we did a number of different research tasks and conducted a questionnaire to find out what our ideal demographic would be and what conventions we needed to look out for in order to create a successful girl band. Our starting point in our research was to do a set of questionnaires. By completing questionnaires we were able to look at popular artists that our target audience (who consisted of mainly teenage girls) to get a better understanding of our demographic. Through the results of our questionnaires we found out that girls often looked at their favourite music artist as a sort of friend who not only has a similar taste in music but is also able to relate to their fans through their image. We then looked at music artists our demographic liked and we looked at the connotations that their products and image had. We used this information to create our own successful marketing scheme. When we looked at girl bands and their marketing empire we found that a lot of girl bands had their own products such as Girls Aloud who have their own successful brand of eyelashes as this increases their popularity and profits, as I am aware not much money is made out of music royalties. In addition the name of the band “Girls Allowed” plays nicely on the words that the eyelash range is an exclusive products just for girls. This is what we wanted to aim for with a product we would bring out.

 

Before doing any practical work we decided as a group that we needed to conduct a survey as a platform for our research. This was to find out whether we would create a solo artist or to create a girl band.  We also used the questionnaires to find out which bands are successful and appeal to our demographic. Each member of my group found five people at random (who were in our teenage demographic) to complete our survey so that our sample size was large enough for us to get reliable information from our results. After collecting our results and looking through our questionnaires we decided to each make graphs to easily show the information we collected as a group. After completing the graphs we could clearly see what we would need to do to create a successful girl band.

Having decided to definitely go with a girl band we decided we needed to base our research on similar music artists such as One direction, Nicola Roberts, The Saturdays and Little Mix as they all came back as our top four artists among our sample.

We each then decided to individually research into the codes and conventions that each of these musicians used throughout their image and publicity campaigns to find out what made them so successful. Whilst researching, we found that it was easy for us to pick up on the connotations bands had but we needed to see how they used them in their products to help push up their image/ status. It was at this point we decided which products and media platforms we were to look into in order to find what we required to do to make our products a successful girl band brand.

I chose to do a magazine front cover and double page spread, as I felt that magazines are a large influence on an music artists success as print features work as a huge PR campaign. As a frequent reader of female magazines I felt that I was already very comfortable with codes and conventions of a front cover and a double-page spread. I decided to base my research on Nicola Roberts as I was aware that she was trying to establish herself as a solo artist (who was aiming at a similar target audience) in the music industry after the split of the successful girl band Girls Aloud and that she would be doing a lot of interviews and press to try and heighten her success and her new solo album which had just been released.

Having completed our questionnaire research we also created mood sheets individually so that when we came together as a group we could clearly show each other our ideas and visions for how we wanted our image and how our photo shoot was to be set. We looked at ideas on how to pose as a girl band so that we could create a professional look. I also made a spider chart to show what candy coated means to me and what connotations derive from the words “Candy” and “Coated”. From this I got the idea to create a candy brand, instead of a fake eyelashes brand as Girls Aloud did. By doing this I thought I would be able to break away from the taboo subject of young girls dressing too old for their age (which many media institutions are continuously being critised for doing). I looked at codes and conventions of a magazine as well as the codes and conventions of a CD front and back cover.

To make sure we would be able to work effectively on the day of our shoot I did a make up test to see how we would have our makeup and the time it would take to that we could be effective with our time.

When doing the photoshoot I found this part of the assignment one of the most challenging parts of the entire task. From looking at our mood sheets and research the other members in the group we were clear on what sort of image we wanted. We were aiming for pink, soft, feminine and a girly vibe. However, on out first shoot the pictures we took did not convey the connotations we wanted. The lighting was far too dark; our costumes did not flow together. All of a sudden we realized the importance of art direction too, and how the background and also make up has a huge impact on our image and also the final outcome of the products/ campaign. We decided to evaluate the shots from our first test shoot and see what we needed to change. From here I realised how vital it was to take in consideration all the elements within the mise en scene.

This is an example of a unsuccessful shot as it has a light and door in the frame and the low-key lighting does not work as we have shadow on our faces we make us look darker.

This again in unsuccessful as the lighting is not strong enough and in the background makes the pictures look unprofessional.

This picture did not work as there are plugs and a light in the frame and part of the lollipop has been cut out of the picture. Also Jagoda is not looking at the camera and her pose seems rather uncomfortable.  Lastly, Jagoda’s outfit is too dark and does not fit the feminine connotations that we were trying to convey through our pictures.

On our second shoot we felt like we had learnt a lot from the first one. We knew exactly what we needed to do to achieve that polished, girly image we longed for. Our first step was to look at art direction. I noticed from my research a lot of images rely heavily on props, background settings and good lighting. So I spent a lot of time not only making props out of play dough, I also used my creative skills to look at what I had lying around my house to see how I would be able to use certain pieces to transform my dining room into a set for a girly tea party. In addition, I also ensured that I took some time out to familiarize myself with the camera we were using a lot more. This time I ensured that I would take into consideration long shots, close ups, mid shots and also looking at different types of focus and lighting in order to achieve the best possible result. The photos that we produced form this shoot clearly showed the connotations of us as a girl band and we all looked as though we were connected in some way, which was a big issue in the first shoot.

This photo was what we had first intended for our CD front cover to look like as it connotes candy coated and includes as girly and feminine look that we achieved through spending more time on our makeup making sure that all our make up linked with each others and that we were all joined and that our poses looked natural and we looked comfortable in front of the camera. You can clearly see we took into consideration all of the elements within the mise en scene.

This shows some of the play dough props I made, which worked well in our shot and gave the entire setting a girlie relaxed tea party setting.

This picture shows how I have used shopping bags in the right hand corner, dressed the table so that it looks like a tea party setting and added bunting to tie the whole room together. This picture also shows us in more natural, relaxed poses and connotes what we wanted candy coated to show

 

I knew time was a huge factor in our second shoot. First time round we spent a lot of time deciding what to wear and how to pose. I ensured the second time around a schedule was drawn up so we could stick to it and also made sure decisions such as clothing and make up were made before we started taking our shots which would ensure our time was used effectively.

Initially we decided to do a magazine cover showcasing our Candy brand as well as our single as we felt that it would be in effect- killing two birds with one stone. We would be able to give our fans an insight into how we functioned as friends in a girl band (many young girls rate friendships very highly so we wanted to ensure that the fans could relate to us). We also knew it would be a great marketing platform for us as a band. Not only can we campaign to get our album up in the charts by doing a magazine shoot (a common convention and marketing ploy used by many stars) we also thought it would be a great idea to show off the Candy range as it would also work along side us in the girly theme to have a tea party- therefore using the candy as a prop too.

From this picture you can clearly see that not only have we taken into consideration all these elements within the mise en scene such as hair, make up, art direction (etc). We felt that the theme of friendship was vital as a way of fans to relate to us as a group of friends, not just musicians. I felt that a pose such as this one would be able to convey the message and importance of friends.

For the music album I got my idea from the name of our band- “candy coated” it was simple yet effective and also had a nice play on words like Girls Aloud’s eyelash range has. I imaged a simple shot with four girls and to be coated with candy. Obviously, looking at this realistically, we would never be able to achieve this. However, from the mood sheets which I made up I was able to take inspiration from some photos where they had used the art of make up to imitate the look of candy which again would fit into our theme of femininity as well as sugary candy. I came up with this idea and so, shared it with my team member whose individual task was to create the album cover and as she liked the idea we worked together in order to execute our vision well.

After our second shoot I felt confident that we had a sufficient amount of shots to carry on with the project and start creating our campaigns/ products. As stated previously, I decided to look into doing a magazine front cover with a double page spread feature as well as the cover of a music album. From the research, which I conducted earlier on in the project, I knew that there were certain elements, which I had to include in my own work. Before I even began to create my magazine front cover I made a list of all the codes and convention of a magazine cover that I would need to include in my work so that I could create a successful front page. The convention included a banner that runs across the length of the cover – which informs the reader of what will be inside, the barcode, the date and price. The type face was a convention as each magazine is known for their own individual font type they use for their magazine making the magazine memorable, for example Grazia magazine, who I researched always have a single letter missing form their title this makes it memorable to the reader.

After seeing that noting down all the codes and conventions which where found on a magazine front cover. I did the same for a double-page spread so that as I included each of these conventions I could tick them off of my list, magazines and print-media use columns as it makes it easier to read and breaks the amount of reading down, a headline or title to the article etc.

From learning about colour themes, type faces, common codes and conventions I then used these factors as a platform to create the following:

This is my final product for my cover. I used this picture as I felt that we had got an exclusive deal with “Mode” magazine allowing them access to all our pictures including our single. I also saw that magazines do not usually use the same picture for the front cover as the album cover, but I felt that this picture was to strong no to use as our front cover. I added a banner across the bottom as this is a code and convention of a magazine, and specifically made sure it had clothes in it and that price was mentioned, as the magazine is aimed at women who are savy with their money. I made sure to include the Issue number besides the barcode, as this is common code and convention of a magazine front cover. The date and price are beside the Title as this is a convention of a magazine front cover. Whilst making my front cover I made sure that my font was bold and stood out, as I am aware that a magazines title is one of the most important things about a front cover, as the title needs to be memorable and distinctive to the individual magazine.

This is my final product for the first page of my double-page spread. I added a bold and colourful title that catches the eye, because this is also a code of a magazine spread. I chose this picture because magazine spreads always have key images that tie a lot of the theme in, in this case I wanted to include a girly feminine feel as I have mentioned before. In addition I ensured that I kept my work within the typical codes and conventions of a magazine double page spread. Examples of this are the use of columns in the text, page number and also colours of the background pages. Both pages have the same colours and themes to tie in the whole article together.

 

I feel that throughout doing this project I identified a lot of strengths and weaknesses not only in my own work but in also learning to work together as a group. I understood the importance of being able to understand other people in my group’s perception of what Candy coated meant to them and the connotations they got from the word. I also learnt about the huge importance in communication. I also learnt the importance of having a strong image, without a strong image both in a physical picture and also a strong image as a band in today’s popular culture it is incredibly hard to survive. I learnt image is everything and to ensure success I had to ensure I had the best images- even if that did mean having to re shoot the photos we had first originally took.

Another vital learning step for me was learning what code and convention was and how every product has codes and conventions. This also makes it easier for the consumer as they are familiar with the settings out and codes and conventions make it easier for the company or institution to target their target audience.

I learnt the difference between a campaign and a product, a product is something you own, you have created or have a share in and a marketing campaign is when you use other media platforms such as a magazine, advert etc. to boost your sales and your overall image.

Another skill, which I learnt in this assignment, was how to use photo shop and how to get the best possible look for my magazine and inside spread. I learnt that each time I did something by changing the design or adding a new element to my work I had to add a new layer, and the purpose of a layer which is that if you make a mistake or want to change your work it is easy enough for you to without it having an effect on the rest of your work.

The importance of communication in the group is very important and throughout the task and I learnt just how important it is. I learnt how key communication is and I realized that people all have differing ideas and they interpret my ideas in different ways. This is where the mood boards really became useful as we could all use the pictures to convey our ideas and visions for the shoots. This made it easy for us all to visualize how we wanted our final products to look.

It was important for us to get our demographic right; this became very clear to us when we were trying to decide what size group we were going to be without even finding our ideal demographic. If I was to re-do this task again I would make sure that before trying to put ideas together and trying to get straight into the work you must have a demographic in place and that your reasoning’s for this specific demographic have valid reasoning.

It was vital for us to not only be creative but to also remember that the media industry is a business and without the knowledge of marketing there would be no money so I had to ensure that everything I made would make money and therefore in return my work would be a success.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as I felt that I gained a lot of insight into how the media industry works alongside businesses, the music industry and also the beauty and fashion industry too. It is almost as if everything seems to merge together. If I was to do this task again I would definitely know where to start and that before trying to get any work done you must first have all of your research done as this will make your life a little easier as your research is the foundation to the rest of the work enabling me to gain the knowledge and understanding in order to successfully finish my work -as for this task my research gave me a huge platform to build my project on. I would be better organized especially when we are on set trying to shoot as our first attempt at a photo shoot showed us that planning and practice is key for running to time and getting the best outcome. I wouldn’t change the people worked with, as I liked that the tasks I struggled with and they could give me some support with and they could help me. I also think that I was able to support them as they were not as creative and artistic as I was so I could support them on those areas just as they did for me. I thoroughly enjoyed completing this coursework as I learnt a lot and can take away a lot of skills, that I developed whilst completing this task.

 

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