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Monday, 12 April 2010


In media studies last year I had to produce a magazine front cover, contents page and a four page spread to appear in the magazine. I had to make it specifically a music magazine. To make sure my product looked real and could compete with others on the market I had to do a lot of research into who my target audience was and what they would want to see in the music magazine. Planning before hand was essential. This consisted of creating questionnaires, analysing existing magazines of a similar genre, creating flat plans and setting out the layout. I had to take into account the forms and conventions of music magazines and use this to create a magazine that look like a real product. This obviously took a lot of time but it was worth it as I created a high quality piece of work which resulted in a very high grade. From this I gained skills in a lot of things such as, using Photoshop to manipulate images and edit my magazine pages to make them look good quality. I also gained skills in photography, I am now able to take good quality shots and dismiss the bad shots. I have learnt a lot of camera angles and how to frame a shot.

This year for my A2 production we were given a set of questions which I could choose from and I also had the option to work in a group. I worked with Rachel Talbot ( and Rachel Allan( and we decided to create a movie teaser trailer between us and also we all produced a magazine front cover and poster to help promote the film. Before we even started to produce our final pieces we had to do research into who our target audience was and what genre of film they would like.
We found that horror was the popular genre and our target audience was both males and females between the ages of 15-25. We shared the jobs out evenly so that we could get our work to a good standard as we all had things to concentrate on. I was in charge of the planning and story boards, a little bit of filming and I worked with Rachel Talbot on the music. Rachel Talbot concentrated on the editing of the trailer and a bit of the filming. Rachel Allan took responsibility for the filming, photography and choosing the locations.

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Before I could even start to attempt making a film trailer I had to think about what is available now and why they obtain the high amount viewers they get. I started by watching a range of different horror film trailers such as ‘Orphan’ ‘Saw’ ‘the ring’ to see what the forms and conventions were so I could follow them to help create something I knew would be popular with my target audience.

I did follow most forms and conventions but where I felt comfortable I attempted to challenge them as I didn’t want my work to just look the same as all the other film trailers. Making it a little bit different would hopefully gain more viewers as the wont feel like they are seeing the same thing over and over again.

The first thing I noticed was the soundtrack. It was always fast and upbeat; for example in the film ‘Obsessed’ ( )
So I decided the best thing to do was to get the audience involved as there was lots of tracks I could have used. I searched on YouTube a range of different songs and came up with a list that I posted on my blog along with the track so people visiting my blog could listen to the track. I put a poll on my blog where people could vote for the song of their choice, leading to sour cherry becoming the soundtrack as it gained the most votes.

I noticed in film trailers such as ‘One Missed Call’ ( that fast edits were always used to hype up the trailer and make it more exciting. I decided to follow this as from watching trailers on YouTube it looks effective and gives a fast exciting feel to the trailer. I also noticed that cuts were also within a few seconds of each other so the camera shot changes and also makes it look more thrilling.

From looking at the trailer ‘Orphan’ ( I noticed the fade transition was used frequently when the shot changed. I did think it was affective whilst changing locations but I also think that the ‘Orphan’ trailer used it to much, I did follow this convention but not to the same extent.

In the trailer for ‘Taken’ ( I noticed they used split screen edits which I thought was effective while two characters were on the phone to each other. This led to me using the idea in my trailer.

I watched the film Twilight recently and the camera shots for one certain bit caught my eye. ( near the end of this clip there are extreme close ups of the characters faces. I decided this would look good to use on different features of ‘Angelica’, as we don’t want to give away too much of whom she is.
By having a young female victim this also followed conventions of a horror film. This is because young females can look more vulnerable. Also by using high angled shots this makes the character look vulnerable.

Another convention I also followed was having dark gloomy mise-en-scene. This helps to set the mood of the film and give it a scary atmosphere.

I observed that within a lot of trailers there are many little scares all together then near the end you see the credits, viewers here will think the trailer is over as the music in many trailers has stopped but then there is always a big scare at the end. I effectively copied this convention as I knew this is what viewers like to see.

The storyline goes with Todorov’s narrative theory as the beginning starts with equilibrium: everything seems normal as the girls are just talking on the phone then is at a sleepover. Then it goes with his second stage as there is a disruption to the equilibrium as Angelica falls and the girls panic. The teaser trailer doesn’t follow all of the conventions of the narrative theory as I didn’t want to give too much away, indeed another classic convention of horror trailers is not to return to equilibrium to ensure the audience will go and see the film as they have been kept guessing at what is going on. I had to make sure that no spoilers were given away as I didn’t want to let the audience know the full story.

I also had to create a magazine front cover and a poster to help promote the film. I analysed total film magazine as I liked the layout and I like the content of their magazines.

I used this to again follow the forms and conventions of the magazine to make sure it was able to compete with existing products. I again didn’t follow them all as I wanted my magazine cover to attract more readers as they would notice it is different to other magazines.

The first thing I picked out was that the majority of Total Film covers I looked at had only one character on the front. The character is always looking out to the reader, as if they are appealing to them to read it. The title is mainly always behind the character which a popular magazine like this can afford to do as it is well recognisable any way. There are never too many different colours used on the magazine cover. Normally there are two or three so they don’t overwhelm the text and main image. The fonts are also like this, normally there are only two or three different fonts. I decided to follow this convention as it makes the front cover look tidy as well as looking appealing. There are always hooks justified down either side to draw the audience into reading the magazine. I followed the common conventions of showing the barcode, date, price and film website, which can be seen on all magazines of different genres.
Again before I produced my poster I looked at other horror film posters so I could look at what they done the same to give me ideas about my own product.

From analysing these I have noticed that all of them have some colour drained out, mainly red which could be to remove warmth from the image. The mise-en-scene of the shots is always scary and dark as it has connotations of horror. They all have the film name on the poster with some of the credits which I am going to follow as it gives it a professional finish. The image is always an iconic image from the movie that everyone will recognise. On most of them there is a tag which possibly comes from a certain scene in the film. This is affective as it sets the mood to the story. There is also the release date, certificate and website visible so you have more information about the film. Mise-en-scene is very effective as it helps to establish the mood and also the genre of the film.

How effective is the combination of your main product and print work?

From creating a horror film teaser trailer along with a magazine cover and a poster I could use these together to create part of a real life promotional campaign for my film. The first thing that would be seen is probably the poster a good few months before the film is due to come out. It would be in places such as cinemas, dvd shops and shopping centres etc so it will be catching the eye of the target audience. It would also be accessible on the internet through websites such as or film blogs and even released officially on YouTube.

The next thing to come out would be the teaser trailer, it would be viewed in cinemas with films of the same genre to capture the audience needed. This would be brought out before the official trailer. You could also access it on websites such as ‘’, ‘’ there would also be sites such as film blogs and obviously the actual film would have a website where you could access the poster, teaser trailer, trailer, interviews with cast and crew and also stills and shots from the film process, there would also be links to social network pages. This would also be a space where viewers can be ‘prosumers’ and have their say on the film. YouTube would also have the official trailer as it is one the most popular video sharing websites. Social networking sites such as ‘twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ would also have pages for the film where viewers could watch the trailer and view the poster etc. Mobile phones now have apps where you get notified when new films are coming out. This leads to the audience being easy to access as now the majority of people have mobile phones.

Finally, probably the month before the film is about to be released the magazine would be published. This will build up even more excitement for the upcoming film. This would consist of possible minor spoilers and interviews of the cast and crew. Even if the magazine isn’t bought, the magazine has a website on which you can read the articles online. Although this wouldn’t be the end of the promotional campaign because there would be other promotional partners giving even more interviews.

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

Audience feedback is an important part of my project because it allowed me to target my trailer effectively. Whilst creating something which will be viewed by hopefully many viewers I had to make sure I created something my audience wanted. I made questionnaires before creating the trailer to see what they would like to see in the trailer so I could produce something I knew would be watched. I also put polls on my blog so the audience felt as though they had a say in what was getting produced.

I gained feedback after I showed my film trailer where I interviewed some of the viewers on their thoughts and opinions of the film. When I asked ‘would you see the film at the cinema?’ on of the answers were ‘yes definitely, I love horror films’ another answer was ‘It looks really scary I don’t know if I could watch it with out hiding behind my hands’. This shows that we successfully made a horror teaser trailer as we have managed to scare our audience. Another question we asked was ‘what did we do well?’ we got answers saying ‘The music fitted in with the atmosphere. It helped to hype up the excitement’ also ‘the fades made it look like a real trailer. The close up shots, it felt like I was getting close to the characters and their emotions’. When we asked what was bad about our teaser trailer we got answers saying ‘some of the scenes were too long.’

Feedback on my blog from people commenting on my posts said that I have done my research well. There were comments saying that using a poll to let the audience pick the song was a good idea, and that I had analysed film trailers thoroughly. I was complimented on my Magazine front cover saying that it looks professional like an existing product.

How did you attract your audience?

I attracted my audience by creating something I knew they wanted to see. I done this by researching the genre to discover conventions of successful horror trailers such as ’30 Days of Night’. As the audience are between the ages of 15-25 we used characters of a similar age because people tend to relate themselves to the characters. I have used forms and conventions of existing products to create something I know my researched target audience will enjoy. On the front of my magazine cover the character is an attractive female which links to Naomi Wolf’s theory of the beauty myth. It will appeal to women as the woman on the cover is attractive. It will also appeal to men as she is attractive.

My audience will also be attracted to the conventions used in the trailer such as the music, mise-en-scene and editing. This links to Neale (1990) who says genre is constituted by specific systems of expectations and hypothesis which spectators bring with them to the cinema and which interact with the films themselves during the course of the viewing process. Meaning the audience know what they are expecting as they are familiar with the genre’s conventions. I didn’t want to bore my audience my simply copying all of existing conventions as Neale also says difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre: mere repetition would not attract an audience.

I have deliberately constructed the product based on existing conventions to target an audience interested in the genre. Horror audiences will see my trailer and it will play on their generic memory and raise generic expectations. Fans will feel part of the experience and the trailer will contribute to their sense of identity. Equally, they can watch it and discuss it with other fans.

For films of this genre the core audience are aged ’15-25’. I didn’t want to alienate the 15-18 age group so I decided on the film being a 15 certificate.

How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Throughout my production I have worked on an online blog which instantly gives me millions of viewers. The audience are now in the ‘Web2.0’ generation. This is where anyone can become a prosumer, I have merged from a creator to a producer with the potential internet audience of millions. The possible drawback in this is that I don’t have the kind of control an old media producer might have over the products release – it can be reposted by others and anyone can post comments on it. I have used this affectively to help me plan my products, construct them and also evaluate it at the end. I used the internet excessively to help with my research on existing products. Websites such as Google to help me get a good insight into what magazine and poster conventions are. YouTube has been very helpful as I could watch just about any trailer I need too to help with my research. I have also used specific sites such as ‘imdb’ to give me an insight on how films are promoted.

Whilst creating my final work I have used a lot of technology such as digital and moving cameras to help me get the correct shots and images for my work. To produce my work I used computer software such as ‘final cut’ and ‘Photoshop’ as this is what is professionally used and it helped to make my products look just like the real thing. To edit the song Rachel Talbot and I went on ‘Garage Band’ and had to edit the song of our choice as it was over three minutes long and trailers only last between one to two minutes.

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