G332: AS Media Exam (Representation)

•April 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

Discuss the representation of the following in relation to 3 different clips of British drama.:

Age
Sexuality
Ethnicity
Class and status
Physical Appearence
Regional Identity
Disability

The Inbetweeners
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IccaLzEHYKU

For this clip, i am firstly going to talk about the representation of age. The inbetweeners is a British comedy about a boy who is moved from private education to public schooling and because he is a teenager, it follows the common struggles which boys of his age would face. Including peer pressure, especially the pressure to have sex, dealing with alcohol, etc. 

The above scene begins with a teenage boy entering a room occupied by his friends and telling them where he has been. He explains he has been swimming with a teacher at their sixth form and instantly the situation is recognised as being socially abnormal by his friends. Being in the same age group, his friends refer to the teacher as \”paedo Kennedy\”, showing the audience the clear distinction that students have between themselves and their teachers, primarily caused by their age gap. Considering factors such as political correctness, for a young adult (teenage student) and a teacher (considerably older) to engage in out-of-school activity is seen as unacceptable. Reasons society give for this will differ. The boys then discuss the details of his experience, and how the teacher gave him a spare pair of swimming trunks, before he corrects them explaining they are speedo\’s. This notorious swimwear is popular among almost everyone, however young adults would be quite embarrassed to be seen in such swimwear. Their attitude defined by their age is then emphasised by the group laughing at the boy for wearing speedo\’s. 

Heterosexuality is stereotypically represented towards the end of the clip. A girl knocks on the group of teenagers\’ door and as the boys realise it is a girl, all of them react in some way, including two of the boys rushing to the door to answer her. This reinforces the general assumption that teenage boys (and girls) past the age of about 16, are very sex driven and will focus heavily on trying to impress the opposite sex. As the show is aimed at people in the same age group as the characters, i think perhaps, it makes the audience feel better about their attitudes towards sex and feel comfortable with their own \’sexual status\’. Meaning that people can look at the bad, almost embarrassing way that the main character approaches the opposite sex and feel better about themselves. (i realise this is a stupid point) (lol).

Furthermore, physical appearance is quite a large factor of representation in this particular program. In line with the representation of sexuality, the characters are not stereotypically \’attractive\’ and are correspondingly represented as being articulate, smartly dressed, etc. (\”Geeky\” stereotype). However, the program features a group of boys in the same situation, all equally as popular, etc. and this is shown in the films editing and camera-position. In the particular scene of study, the characters clearly have different opinions of themselves and of each other, for example the only character standing up is quite confident with them-self, however all are shown in a state of equality by the way that the scene is filmed. For example, even though the characters are at different levels, there are no low shots or clear over-the-shoulder shots, they are all filmed in a very similar and close-to identical way. This re-assures the audience that the characters are indeed all equal in several aspects including their popularity (directly associated with their physical appearance).

In relation to camera work, the nature of how the group is filmed changes in correlation with the importance of topic involved in their conversation or action. For example, when one of the boys produces a bottle of alcohol, the camera work goes from being still quite quick and sharp, but is more sudden and expressed. And when it is revealed that one of the boys went swimming with their teacher, the camera work somewhat emphasises the groups surprise and intrigue by including more medium close-ups to illustrate each individuals reaction, shown so through their facial expression and perhaps movement.

 

Skins

This clip shows a group of male teenagers dealing with the situation of missing the last bus home and being too far away to walk. Firstly, i noted the way that the boys are dressed and how this represents age. They are all in street/casual clothing and none of them are dressed suitably for a job or any form of formal situation. This suggests that they are both students and out of work, therefore representing the younger generation. Secondly, in the first 30 seconds of the scene, it becomes evident that they have just attended a party. This is a representation of age as if people of an older/slightly-older generation were to attend a party that late into the night in the first place, they would probably have an arranged means of getting home. This part of the clip therefore shows people of the teenage generation in an environment that they are comfortable in and view as regular.

Physical appearance is represented approximately 2 minutes into the video clip. All 3 boys are sat in a car trying to warm up and all are shown equally in terms of camera position. i.e, the camera is placed steadily at the front of the car, almost on the dashboard. This prevents any bias representation of power or authority that is not already suggestive of the characters physical appearance. I noted that the stereotypically less attractive character is sitting in the back seat of the car

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Main Task: Project Evaluation

•April 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Immediately after completing our preliminary task in December, we began work on our main task for our AS media foundation portfolio. The stages i took when researching, constructing and finishing my project are all recorded in a production log on this blog; ‘henryphillips.wordpress.com’. The task was to create the front cover, contents page and a double-page spread for a new music magazine aimed at an audience of our choice. Apart from these simple guidelines, all aspects of the project were of our own decision and creation. We were all expected to use the skills learned and work on the mistakes made in the preliminary task when making the main task.

One of my weaknesses in the preliminary task was my evidence for research. Whilst i did research sufficient material for the project, i failed to give evidence for this in my production log thus bringing my overall grade for the task down. So this time, for the main task, i ensured that all, if not most of my research was recorded and written about in production log. For print based research (i.e, physical magazine pages) i decided to find similar documentation on the internet and evaluate that in a similar fashion. In early January i began research development establishing which magazines i would take an interest in and take influence from and by late january i began working with possible titles for my project. I had a good array of possible titles and for peer feedback i created a survey on paper asking about 20 people what their favourite title was. Among high scorers, ‘Fried’ come out the majority vote and the reasons people gave for this were that it sounded different to anything they had heard before (in relation to music magazine titles) and that it was very unique in character and if applied correctly would be very effective. Before going straight into construction with the favourite however, i took the top 3 and applied a different “initial idea” to each one. These titles were Fried, DiscoFiction and Wired. All of my initial ideas applied to these different titles are recorded in a post under the name of “production-log-title-idea-development”. With different titles in mind, i went into february researching music magazine covers as an entity and established which factors were more eye-catching than others and why that was. With the success of my preliminary task (in terms of colour scheme) i wanted to choose an equally original colour scheme for the main task. I knew that if i chose DiscoFiction as my title, the colour scheme would need to be quite tailored to the title, however i decided to use Fried as my title and therefore left the colour scheme for my magazine open. I found that colours across established magazines were either dark or every rich, so i decided to give myself the challenge of taking away both these elements (deepness and richness) in order to create a very different looking title which would earn itself originality in its appearance. Whilst researching into which colours to combine however, i went through a fairly long period of time without access to WordPress (this blogging website)or to Photoshop (Image manipulation). This period lasted about 3-4 weeks and my work had to remain physical and unrecorded. On return, i applied the research i gained physically and applied it straight to a first draft. 

My research into contents pages was not as extended as my research into front covers and double-page spreads. This is because i had a fairly definite construct in my mind as to what i wanted my page to look like. With the contents page of my preliminary task bringing down my task as a whole, i wanted my contents page to stand out above all other elements of the main task. The masthead, colour scheme and format would work together to express a dynamic canvas which would show my technical and creative abilities are far above capable. I found in my research that there isn’t much room for creative diversity, and that contents pages are pretty limited to what you can do and how you can manipulate the generally accepted format. For double-page spreads, i did quite a lot of extended research into how photographs are used to give double-page spreads different personalities, and that with almost every example i studied, a photograph is carried across both pages.

Following my short privation from computer work, i went straight into the construction phase as i mentioned earlier. My first draft was detailed and i thought made very well. A simple font would not overwhelm the page and a vary of fonts would instead scatter the page (in an organised way). With this, i decided to keep all elements from my first draft and apply them directly to my final draft. Throughout the construction process i would simply add elements. These elements would be what i failed to include in my preliminary task, elements i discovered were massively popular and therefore necessary and elements to showcase the unique colour scheme i had decided on. For my contents page, i had 2 very very different drafts, one which looked like an every day contents page and the other which looked quite original. I chose the more original draft as i feared my contents page would be graded on the same grounds as my preliminary contents page; badly. When both my cover and contents drafts were complete, i was yet to take any original images, so when taking them, i had to keep the colour scheme in mind, and think carefully about how colours in the photograph would contrast with the non-neutral colour scheme of my magazine.

My photo-shoot was to quite a large scale. On the day of shooting, my model and I travelled to two different locations. We first went to quite a secluded area, full of very vibrant colour. It was a filed growing a yellow flower and the plants were quite high, i thought my model and the clothes he was wearing would look brilliant together. The second location was a busy area of Central London and we were able to take a few successful images, however the weather and lighting of the location was not too great and upon editing the images i found that there was no way of making the images look the way i wanted them, i therefore chose to analyse and use the filed shoot images.

As for original image use in my contents page, i have chosen two different photographs which i feel “suggest” two different themes. The first of my two images in one taken in 2007, and is simply a shot of about 7 people at a party. I chose to use this image as on my contents page, there is simply a frame for which a picture should go, and has no caption or heading explaining what ‘it is’. I think that the image would intrigue a reader and even suggest to them that there is a feature on parties for instance or perhaps concert culture. The second photograph is one i took, again in 2007, of the rock band “My Chemical Romance”. I felt the image obviously fitted the ‘music magazine’ genre and as it is a clear photograph of a band, the image does not need a caption or heading. With my double page spread, i had two images i knew would look really effective, but both had strengths and weaknesses. I posted both versions in my production log and deciding between the two was quite a late decision.

My finished project is successful i think. There are few elements that i am disappointed with but the mistakes i made in the preliminary task were all amended in this task. The front cover is quite simple in appearance but has quite a lot on it. Firstly, the masthead is an element which i am again, (as in my preliminary) very proud of. The word itself is in a bold but not too large font, the font was chosen in relation to the outer glow border which i gave my masthead. It gives both the effect of a golden and sparkly border whilst some interpreted it as making the word appear to be frying. I wanted this lightly colored trim to not make an emphasised contact with the letter adjacent to it, so to prevent the title looking as though it was just placed on a larger frame. The letters themselves are a burnt orange which changed as i went through my several drafts. It began a lighter shade and at one point the colour was closer to brown, but i feel with the original image and the frame, the colour i have finally chosen works very well. As for the rest of the contextual content on the front cover, i feel the fonts and colours all work well. In relation to the image, the placement of the left-side headers work well. The top half of the image is a light colour whilst a dark colour is at the bottom, yet both colours work well with the font and colour i have given the text. I think that overall, the genre of the magazine is not overly clear, but the band names and use of words indicates its speciality. The original image, is a picture of an artist standing alone with a guitar. I think the vibrant colours in the image contrast well with the non-vibrant coloring of the text, and large spreads of colour in particular work well with the scattered yet quite clustered formation of the remaining elements of the front cover. Elements i added towards the end of the project include the above-masthead header, the “free offer” caption box to the left of the page and the finalisation of the band name included in the main headline. I added these elements to add to the effect or reaching my target audience, with other music magazines aimed towards young adults, they also had these elements. More mature music magazines such as MOJO did have these elements, but they were not executed (i think) in a way for which to actually attract readers. For example my motto included in the above masthead header is different and intriguing. The free offer also offered is different to anything like a free CD for example, and actually offers a tour diary for a very popular band. As for the name of the band used in my main headline, the name was not initially a favourite of mine. 10 titles began at the creation stage of my project and “The fireline” came second in a survey i conducted behind “Candlestix”. I chose the Fireline in the end however as i feel it offers more insight into the quite specialised genre of my magazine.

The contents page is different to anything else i’ve seen. In my research, i found that all contents pages follow a fairly simple, ‘fixed’ design and nothing dramatically differs from this set formation. I felt strongly on changing that, and after my failure in the preliminary task in relation to the contents page, i felt that in the main task i had to create something special that would challenge the normal form and convention. The word contents is the main feature of the page. The masthead flows from to the left to the right of the page before curving down the right-hand side of the page whilst the letters remain vertical. I have included continuity in colour scheme, textual content and the title of the magazine is included in the top right hand side of the page. I feel the mirrored and dynamic formation of the text adds to the unique appearance of the page. In this mirrored formation, are two images, which i feel give the reader their own captions. As for the DPS, i think that the text and border behind it work extremely well, the effect i have given to my original image in manipulation is also very good and i think the clear continuity i have given the masthead works well.

I think that my magazine challenges established forms and conventions in that the vocabulary expressed both mildly on the contents and cover page and extensively on the double-page spread is different to any magazines way of communicating with their readers. In example, the author of the fictional article featured on my double-page spread speaks in quite a ‘laid-back’ manor and the informal way of text is rather casual, as if by reading the magazine you was hearing from a friend rather than a writer. Additionally, i think the general colour scheme which i have given to my magazine is a huge challenge to regular form in music magazine. In my research i found that almost every title for a music magazine included the colour red if not totally coloured in red. I felt strongly about breaking away from this general norm and figured a different colour would stand out among other magazines if it were to be published and sold in shops. Secondly, my contents page not only has adopted my new colour scheme but i have given it a layout which i found unrivaled and unattempted in my research of existing contents pages. 

So in layout and appearance, i feel my magazine challenges form and convention efficiently, but i also wanted to do this with the genre and general style of my magazine. Surprisingly, i found that bar a few unheard of magazines, there aren’t any “indie” based magazines on the market. So by specifying in this field alone, i think that i have challenged the common norm for magazine content.

Overall i think my magazine is unique in more ways than one and if published would be popular in a large market; a market where this kind of magazine does not exist.

Henry Phillips
AS Media
January-April 2009

Main Task: Final Piece

•April 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

 

Front Cover

Front Cover

 

Contents Page

Contents Page

 

Double-Page Spread

Double-Page Spread

 

Double-Page Spread Large

Double-Page Spread Large

Henry Phillips
Harlow College
AS Media

Production Log: Choosing between my double-page spreads

•April 23, 2009 • 1 Comment

March 2009:
I have created two different Double-page spreads using very similar techniques on each of them.

Both contain the same text, masthead and layout. However, both versions contain different photographs as the base to the page. The first is quite bright, containing colours like blue, yellow and green. This version also has a “featured artist” banner to the right of the spread. The second version is quite “monotone”. With a strong yellow base colour it is quite dramatic and deep to look at, however by removing the “featured artist” banner i think i have reduced density in the page and it now feels quite free, visually. To decide on which to use in my project, i conducted a survey, however approximately 80% of all the people i asked gave strengths to both pieces. So in acknowledgement of weak survey results, i have posted both versions on this blog-post, and will ask more participants in the following weeks to gain a more certain verdict. Both Versions follow:

final-dps-with-bones

final-dps-with-bones-2

Main Task: Photoshoot

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

March 2009:
Photo-shoot for Fried Magazine

Yesterday i was able to go out shooting images for the front cover and double-page spread of my magazine; Fried. The shoot was due to take place the day before yesterday, on the monday, however the weather was not on my side. Yesterday though was very bright and sunny, perfect for my front cover as the textual elements are quite dark in colour and quite clustered in position. My model agreed to wear a suit and take his guitar into a field in rural essex. I chose the suit as it is different for everyday ‘band-wear’ and the formal dress would contrast nicely with the very informal environment. Gladly and to my surprise; adjacent to the location for which we were meant to take the photographs was a field of yellow flower. We therefore chose to shoot there. The below pictures are which i have chosen for consideration to use in my project.

dscf0567 

Following recent changes in my project construction, i am considering using these images in every aspect of my project. This includes front cover, contents page and my double-page spread. I am scared that this will make the project appear as though i haven’t applied myself to it properly and have not maximised my effort, but i am doing this as the cover story is mentioned in the contents page and is used for the DPS, therefore images (i think) should be shown in these areas.

Production Log: Contents Page Final Draft

•April 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Following my research into contents pages and identifying the elements that are not often seen, i have created the following format for my contents page to follow. The document does not include any original images yet but i am quite confident this is how i want my page to look. Following feedback from my preliminary task, i would like to include more noticeable ‘contents page features’ such as an editors note, etc. I am still contemplating however where to place such features when my page is clearly already quite full.

 

Fried Contents

Fried Contents

Production Log: Image Manipulation

•March 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

 

Start Image

Start Image

 

Cropped Image

Cropped Image

 

Manipulated Image

Manipulated Image

 This is an example of the simple manipulation techniques i executed in my project. I felt to maintain a natural sense to my magazine as an entity, i didn’t want the images to look too “Photoshopped”. I have cropped the image and then altered the images curves and levels to give a burnt and vibrant feel.