Here is my letter to a future A level Media Studies student outlining transferable, creative and technical production skills to be gained from the course.
Media opens you up to lots of skills that will be very useful in the outside world. For example, organisation and teamwork. Media also helps you to improve your technical skills when using cameras and lighting as well as mise en scene technique and colour scheme.
There are not very many disco magazines around therefore I found it very hard to establish what was conventional and unconventional in a disco magazine. However, when I looked further in to it, I found that there were a few magazines from the 70’s which had a disco theme. My challenge was to bring it back up-to-date!
Here is an emaze I made to answer CCR1.
So, my product challenges conventions because I added blue to a conventional disco colour scheme to add a modern twist. I also challenged conventions by not putting in a free gift, as I didn’t think it was necessary as well as a competition. You could argue that I have challenged conventions just by making a disco magazine. As I said earlier, there are not many on the market so you could say that in making a specific disco magazine, I have challenged the conventions of the music magazine industry.
My magazine represents issues because it shows (especially with my double page spread article) it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy doing it. You shouldn’t let other people judge you by what you enjoy. This is particularly shown with the quote: “As long as we enjoy what we are doing, that is all the matters.” It also represents a social group that never really before existed. The disco lovers that live in the 21st century.
I have learnt lots of new transferable skills when creating my complete magazine draft.
InDesign: Over the last few weeks, I have learnt how to group images to make my life easier when rearranging my layout. I have also learnt that simple designs often work better and even when you decide on a layout you’re probably going to change it later anyway. This is a transferable skill because it has made me stress less about my original design and instead experiment on the software.
Photoshop: I have learnt how to edit an image to make it look how I want it to look and I have also learnt how to use the paint brush tool to recreate a disco inspired background. These are transferable skills because I can now manipulate images and create my own backdrops.
I have also learnt lots about how magazine production work and how long it takes to create a single page. Doing this has really opened my eyes to how much work it takes to create one magazine.
I have also learnt lots of transferable life skills in creating my magazine including communication, organisation and teamwork. This has been through planning my own shoots both in school and outside.
- Communication: My communication has improved massively in studying media because when planning a shoot, you need to be able to communicate with your models and anyone else involved so you get good pictures. It has taught me that I need to be very clear on what I want. This is a transferable skill because when I go out to work, in any job, you need to have good communication skills so you can convey your point.
- Organisation: I have learnt that in order to plan a shoot, you need to be super organised because if you’re not, your shoot will not get done to the standard you want it to be. I also need to be organised to get my blog posts on time. If they do not get done, I will fall behind. Organisation is a transferable skill because it will really help me in life if I am organised and to order my work so I get it done on time.
- Teamwork: Teamwork plays a very important part as when I do a shoot, I need to be able to work with people and communicate effectively. It is a transferable skill because you are always are going to have to work with people in any job.
- Learning how to use adobe software: I have learnt how to use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. While this may not be a transferable skill for all jobs, in the media industry, it would be very useful. It has also made me more aware of how to enhance images and how to create advertisements and magazine covers.
What has gone well:
- I really like my double page spread and my front cover as I think they are quite realistic and magazine-like.
- I have picked up how to use Photoshop and InDesign quickly.
Even better if:
- I should watch more videos on Photoshop and InDesign to broaden my knowledge of the software.
I have learnt lots of new design skills and production techniques over the last few weeks. For example I have learnt how to do a drop capital on InDesign to make my double page spread more realistic. I have also learnt how to use one text box and add columns to it rather than doing two unidentical text boxes. Both of these things made my double page spread a lot easier to work with.
Furthermore, I have also improved my skills on photoshop. This includes cutting out as I have made an effort to make my cutting out more accurate. To broaden my knowledge on photoshop, I have also watched some videos so I can create better looking pictures which will make my magazine look more professional.
What went well was that I have improved my knowledge on both Photoshop and InDesign which has lead me to create a good double page spread. It would be even better if I carried on improving and enhancing my knowledge so that I can improve my coursework even further. I can do this by watching more videos and experimenting on the software.
My new design skills and production techniques have had a specific impact on my star image because it has made be portray what I want my stars to look like easier by using lighting effects and editing. It has also helped me to portray my genre because I can now add in extras which before, I didn’t even know how to do. My improved knowledge on InDesign has helped me to create a clearer and better narrative because I now have even spacing between by two columns and a drop capital makes my magazine look more realistic therefore, improving my narrative of a disco trio.
What new design skills or production techniques have you learnt? What went well and even better if. Include screen shots of tools used in Indesign and Photoshop and explaination Identify what meaning(s) you tried to encode.
I have learnt lots of new skills in the last few weeks when creating my front page.
Photography: I have learnt it is best to take lots of pictures so you have a better chance of getting the perfect shot. Here you can see my contact sheets where I took 400 pictures. It would be even better if I could try a more variety of poses.
Production Techniques: I have learnt you need to be really organised so you know exactly what kind of shots you want to take to make the most of your studio time. I have also released that costumes and makeup really impact how people interpret the genre. Here you can see my plan for my cover shoot. I planned it in detail and made sure I got to the studio early to set everything up. It would be even better if I printed it off on shoot day so I have something to work off.
InDesign: I have learnt that drop shadows make pugs look like they have been stuck on. It makes them look a bit 3D and realistic. I have also put filters on some of my wording to make it look more glossy. Finally I have learnt to insert a background other than a plain one to make it look more unified. Here is my first draft of my magazine showing the drop shadow and the filter on my masthead. Below is a screen shot of InDesign.
Photoshop: I have learnt that cutting out is really hard but the eraser tool makes it a lot easier to blend everything together. I think I could have done the cutting out around the hair and around the elbow a bit better as it is really badly done.
My brand values, attitudes and beliefs include: disco ball, loud, rhythm, strobe lighting, nightclub, pop, energetic, DJ’s, dance, diva, nightspot, afro, glitter, concerts, talent and groove.
My mission statement is: “Nightclub is a magazine which focuses on providing musical information about up and coming disco artists and their albums. The topics will feature inspiration for your own music as well as entertainment. Nightclub targets an audience demographic ranging from 16 to 60. Because my audience is quite a young demographic, I will price it between £3 and £4 due to the fact that part of my audience is teenagers who may not have a job so they can still afford it.”
Overall, I have learnt lots about camera and mise-en-scene which I will apply when I do my first cover shoot. For example, I am now aware of how mise-en-scene impacts my shoot so I will make sure all the costumes, lighting, props, acting, make up, hair and setting goes with my theme and compliments it.
I have also learnt that different camera angles impact what the viewer thinks, for example, a low down shot of a person implies power and dominance so when I do my photoshoot, I will think about the message I want to convey and then use the camera angle to convey this.
When I make my own magazine cover, I will need to think about what font I use to make sure it is easy to read as the font I picked for my tour poster was a bit unclear to read. I will also need to think about what size I want my image, as I found it hard to get the size right for my tour poster.
I will need to think about what genre I want my magazine to be. I will probably do something like rap because I have done a lot of research on it or pop because that is the kind of music I listen to so I think I will find it easier than something I don’t listen to and therefore don’t know what the conventions are for that particular genre.
When I do my magazine cover shoot, I will need to make sure I take lots of photos in order to get the perfect photo. In doing this, I will make sure I use the rule of thirds to get the maximum out of my photo. I will think about the angle and type of shot I am taking, because I need to make sure it will be the kind of photo that will appeal to my audience.
Another thing I will need to think about when I make my own magazine cover is mise-en-scene. This includes costumes, lighting, acting, make up, hair, props and setting. Depending on what genre of music I choose, I will make sure that I choose an appropriate location for the shoot and costumes that compliment the backdrop. I will use lots of natural lighting so my magazine cover looks light and bright and I will make sure my actor does an appropriate pose that will draw the audience in to reading my magazine. I will need to make sure I use props, hair and make up carefully as I don’t want them to detract from my main cover star. I want them to compliment my actor and the pose they are doing.
When thinking about my magazine cover, I should take the layout into consideration as I need to choose the layout that will compliment my main cover star the best. With my magazine cover, I will need to think about where the attention of the audience will be going (mainly to the picture), the audiences’ interest (why would they be reading this magazine in the first place), what they desire from the magazine (probably information and enjoyment) and their action in doing so.
If I take all of these factors into consideration, I should have a good magazine cover which my target audience would pick up and read.
Camera framing and mise-en-scene has the representation of lots of different things including individuals, groups, events and places. For example, in chicken run, they use a high angle to make the chickens look vulnerable and scared, therefore making the woman in a scene look domineering and threatening.
Mise-en-scene can also be used to convey various things like in Downton Abbey. The costumes portray the difference between the staff and the rich; the lighting is light and bright in the main house showing that the rich have bright prospects; the acting reflects the grace and poise that the upper-class have; the make-up shows that they can afford to waste money on their appearances; the props reinforce the difference in lifestyles of the rich and poor like their difference in jewellery and the setting shows that it is a story about a very rich, upper-class family. Another way we see this is through the denotations and connotations, for example the denotation of Downton Abbey is wealthy and upper class family. The connotations of that is a big social divide between the rich and poor in that era. So, even just by the elements of mise-en-scene, we gain a lot of knowledge about a piece of media.
Knowing this will change my approach to planning and design because it has made me more aware of how one single image from a movie or tv show can convey so much meaning within it. This means that when I do my music magazine I will think carefully about which image I will choose and which image will communicate the best meaning for my target audience. This will ensure the best sales for my music magazine and the maximum gratification for my audience.