I found that using social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allowed me to obtain good audience feedback, in the form of comments. In addition, I decided to video a focus group's initial reaction to my music video, and allow them to provide comments once the video had finished playing.
To begin, a focus group was created by myself and partner, on Facebook on the 21st November 2012.
I created a rough draft of my digipak and magazine advert. I decided to produce my ancillary texts based on the genre conventions I had previously researched within my research and planning stage. Once produced, I decided to upload the pictures onto my facebook focus group and ask for feedback regarding the style, imagery, and layout of design.
This is the original template for my magazine advert that I created using Photoshop and images I discovered online. It was created to display the colour scheme I wished to carry throughout my ancillary texts, and represent the lipstick/lips motif. The informal font portrays the urban edge, along with the font colour- bright pink.
I then searched for different fonts using www.Dafont.com, and discovered a font relevant to my genre. I downloaded the font, typed the name of my track's artist (Tanya Lacey) and uploaded it to facebook to gain feedback regarding the style. Focus group member, Abbie, stated that the font was relevant, and looked 'almost barbie like', which connotes femininity and playfulness; two themes I initially wished to portray throughout my video and ancillary texts. I therefore decided to use this font for my magazine advert and digipak.
I decided to create another magazine advert, as I was not pleased with my original.
I uploaded this JPEG image to my focus group on Facebook.
I took this feedback on board, and decided I'd remove the bold, black box for my final magazine advert. The font is the same font mentioned previously, taken from website :www.dafont.com.
Abbie has stated that the facial expression connotes themes of playfulness and fun. This was my initial intention, and therefore planned to maintain this concept throughout my ancillary texts and video. Regarding the feedback concerning the colour scheme, I decided that the light pink font was not bright enough to connote playfulness. I wanted the font to stand out, and contrast with the surrounding imagery.
After receiving this feedback, I decided to begin my final draft of my magazine advert; taking on board the critique and suggestions. This time using photographs I have taken of Thea with a DSLR camera.
As suggested by Will (a fellow media student and member of my Facebook focus group), I decided to avoid a bright colour scheme, however, felt the bright pink font was relevant to the genre, thus being redundant, and therefore wished to keep the bright font. I did however, download a different font from www.dafont.com, called 'Reklame Script Regular', as it is informal, thus inkeeping with the 'urban feel' of my genre. A more formal font would have misconstrued the concept of my ancillary texts, causing it to lack the 'contemporary' look.
The only colours visible are bright pink and green (only on the cigarette). Will's feedback regarding the colour scheme as 'tacky' encouraged me to edit my photos in black and white, creating a stark contrast with the bright pink font. I felt this was more effective, as it is more bold. The black and white also makes it look somewhat 'classy', which is rather entropic of my genre- pop/contemporary rnb.
This is the rough draft of my digipak that I created before obtaining any audience feedback. There is an array of facial expressions, and I decided to follow the concept displayed in my magazine advert of using colour for lips only, as to maintain a colour scheme/pattern throughout my ancillary texts.
I decided to describe the concept of my digipak, magazine advert and eventually, my video (which I was yet to create) using this focus group on facebook, in hope that members would comment on my posts.
I then went on to display this, by uploading photos of my ancillary texts.
We decided to use a HDMI camcorder to film some members of our focus group watching our finished video, and providing feedback.
Some questions included- 'what did you think of the synaesthesia', to which, Abbie answered 'really good, its edited really well'. Another member commented on the entropy of our video, clarifying that we had achieved entropy through certain shots within our video, in particular, the shot of Thea 'running away at the end'. I went on to explain that our intention was to create a music with a lack of narrative, as to maintain a balance between the redundant and entropic conventions of an rnb/pop music video. Another member, Charlie, commented on the editing effects we had used to 'blend' two shots together, adding a fluid element to the video and in certain areas, connoting a theme of sexuality.
The intention here was to emphasise the red lipstick, contrasted against the black and white background. This again displays the visual motif we aimed to portray throughout the video and my own ancillary texts.
Zoe, another member, stated that regarding the editing of our video, 'the flashes were really nice', and therefore implying that they were redundant of the genre, and fit the video well. Charlie commented on the voyeuristic techniques we used to represent Laura Mulvey's Male Gaze theory, where Thea is featured with an empty photo frame around her head.
Zoe also commented on the body shots that represent the Male Gaze, proving that they were sufficient enough to be recognised as a technique to implement this theory.
When asked if they thought our video 'represented our genre well', Abbie claimed that she believed we had achieved this by displaying many different conventions of our genre, such as 'fast editing', 'male gaze', 'lots of different visual effects; black and white', and as a result of this, regarding the intended target audience, Zoe later stated that she believed our video was intended for, and made appropriate for girls aged between 13 and 18, which is predominantly true.
I decided to ask my focus group a question about uses and gratifications, in particular
'what uses could you see the audience making of that?'
In response to this, Abbie stated that young females may wish to copy the style of clothing/fashion that is portrayed throughout the video. Charlie claimed that it may simply be a clear representation of people Thea's age, giving an insight to the playful nature of girls aged between 16 and 20. I'm pleased that this has been the majority's perception, as these were our ultimate intentions for the video (to display style and represent the culture of teenage girls, connoting playfulness and fun, with hints of sexual connotation).
I went on to ask the focus group more questions regarding the entropy/redundancy of the video. As mentioned previously, the ending of our video was perceived as entropic, and here, Zoe claims that it didnt 'fit' the video. This was also an intention, as we had planned to disregard a narrative/story within our video, as to add entropy. Furthermore, Abbie claimed that our video displayed 'a bit of both', which was also the intention from the early stages of planning. The shot of Thea with a cigarette in the car was considered entropic, this is an important shot and we are pleased that it has been noticed, as we aimed for this specific shot to draw a line between the girly/playful connotations and themes thus far within the video, and the rebellious/non-conformist themes which we wished to incorporate into it. Zoe believed that it was important to maintain redundancy, as did we, as it allows the genre of music to be recognised- a necessity for our target audience.
This piece of feedback taken from my Facebook focus group regards the uses and gratifications aspect of my video. It is safe to say that my audience use my video for pleasure, as a member states that she 'appreciated the humourous touches, such as the face pulling'. The audience use my video as a diversion- something playful and fun that is easy to watch and doesnt hold much meaning (displayed through a lack of narrative). It genereated discussion, especially between my focus group, and also between my own friends, as they watched it and sought enjoyment from it. The fun, humour, and conventions of style and fashion were highlighted the most by my focus group and peers, which achieves my initial goal of creating an easy-to-watch video that encourages a passive audience to simply seek enjoyment in the form of mild humour. There is clear indication that the fashion sense of Thea in our video and ancillary texts could be desired by my target audience, meaning they have used it for personal identity.
More feedback taken from our focus group, regarding our finished video- this piece of feedback is important for relating to our target audience. It clarifies that we have appealed to early teens-early twenty year olds, which was our main focus when discussing target audience.
Overall I have discovered that my focus group liked these particular features within our video:
- the fast editing
- the synaesthesia and lip syching
- the entropy embedded into the video through random shots
- the red lipstick motif
- the sexual/playful/rebellious/fun themes and connotations
- the style/fashion of our model, Thea
within my ancillary texts, my focus group liked:
- the colour scheme
- the red lipstick motif
- the contrast between the black and white photos and red lips
- the fashion/style of our model, Thea
- the layout of the magazine ad (landscape)
There were certain elements that my focus group did not like. For example, regarding my magazine advert, a member from my focus group on facebook felt that I should have used only one font, as two fonts may add informality, unfortunately making the advert look unprofessional on some levels. I would rectify this now by sticking to only one font- the font downloaded from www.dafont.com called Reklame script.
Regarding my digipak, suggestions for improvement regard the colour scheme...
In order to rectify this, I would have only used the history brush tool on Photoshop to recolour Thea's lips, as they are the visual motif of all my ancillary texts and video.
Theorist, Stuart Hall, stressed the role of social positioning in the interpretation of mass media texts by different social groups. It involved encoding/decoding; the way in which an active audience percieve media. Hall's three reception models include the dominant model, where the reader fully shares the text's codes and reproduces the text's meaning- this may not have been intended by the author, in such stance, the code seems perhaps natural, or transparent. The second model is the negotiated reading, where the reader partly accepts the text's codes but sometimes modifies it in a way which reflects their own position, experiences and/or interests. The final model of Stuart Hall's reception theory is the oppositional model, where the reader understands the text's codes but rejects this reading, taking an oppositional approach, and distinguishing that they are not a passive member of the audience. I believe that my audience fit the role of the dominant model-readers, as they are usually passive in the sense that they accept all meanings of my video and ancillary texts, as the video/ancillary texts represent a generic pop/rnb culture, where meanings only run as deep as fashion, style and humour. It encourages for a totally passive audience who simply watch/see the video/ancillary texts in order to gain pleasure.
Uses and Gratifications: Theorists, Jay G Blulmer and Elihu Katz devised their Uses and Gratifications model in 1947 to highlight 5 areas of gratification in media texts for audiences. Three of which relate to my music video and ancillary texts; to entertain, a means of escape, and identification. As previously stated, due to the concept of fashion/style/humour and lack of meaningful narrative, my audience are more than likely to seek only escape and entertainment, however they are also likely to identify a part of themselves with the texts, as they can create a personal relationship with my model based on her fashion and style. As a result of this, it is safe to claim that my video/ancillary texts are Postmodern, as they were created with intention to promote the style, disregarding any substance/meaning besides mild humour. It can only be related to with regards to fashion and the appearance of the teenage culture (smoking represents rebellion, humour in face pulling etc); the video is only meaningful in such a way that it could influence my audience to change their lifestyles somewhat, to conform to the behaviour displayed within it by our model, Thea.