Critical Reflection Essay

Charlotte Green
Critical Reflection on Component 3
COMPONENT 3 BRIEF COMPLETED:
A promotion package for the release of an album, to include:
– A music video (major task).
– A social media page (minor task).
– A digipak (minor task).

Contents

  • How do the elements of your production work together to create a sense of ‘branding’?
  • How did your research inform your products and the way they use or challenge conventions?
  • How do your products represent social groups or issues?
  • How do your products engage with the audience?

 

Branding is a set of values. All of the elements work together to create a sense of branding because of the use of representation and star image to portray my star as charismatic. De Saussure talks about language to be a collection of signs, signifying something. I did my digipak shoot in a ball pool so the balls are the sign which signifies my artist being carefree. Dyer uses the metanarrative of the star to say that a star is ordinary yet extraordinary, present yet absent. I did this by using ordinary locations yet extraordinary editing. My mission statement highlights this saying “using classic pop with her vintage tones and unique performances” because it shows she is pushing the boundaries and daring to be different through living her life to the fullest.

Colour Scheme of my Instagram Page.

I have used the same colour palette to show branding in the music video and the Instagram page. I have used pink to reinforce cohesion. This will help my products gravitate towards my demographic because my artist is young and female like my demographic, showing unity. My mission statement says that “Using classic pop with her vintage tones and unique performances”. This manifests itself through the products because I have gone for a vintage look on my Instagram page and music video with a filter to add detail while I have gone for a modern look on my digipak. Hall talks about a producer encoding and the audience decoding a media text. This reflects my products as the audience can decode that my social media page is vintage.

“Living life to the full” in my music video.

Furthermore, my elements of my production work together to create a sense of branding because I have used the same theme throughout all three products: living life to the full. The ideologies of my star and product are making the most of every moment. My audience relates to it as a normal feeling. My artist is relatable as there is a connection amongst all of my products. This is demonstrated in the music video where I have portrayed three friends having fun on the beach.

 

I did some research before I created my music video as then I knew what conventions to include and which to challenge. Conventions of pop include the same artist in the narrative and performance as well as handheld shots making the narrative more intimate. I analysed Jess Glynne’s Thursday music video and saw that the conventions were an authentic music video in monochrome and natural make-up so the video looked raw with a strong link to the narrative. Altman talked about blueprints in media. Lacey talks about a repertoire of elements, so I can appreciate that all genres have specific ingredients.

My actresses.

I used my research to inform my products as I used different people to my artist in my music video. My music video challenges conventions as I have confused the audience and made it seem unique. For pop, it is conventional to have the artist in the performance and in the narrative. I challenged Lacey’s theory of genre as well as Altman’s idea of blueprints because I wanted to make my music video stand out. My music video is more relatable because the actresses don’t have any star image so it is accessible. My research informs my products because it is unconventional so the audience can enjoy it more. Through challenging conventions, it makes my artist seem daring.

 

Intimate, handheld shot.

Another example of how I used my research to inform my products is how I used handheld shots in my music video. An example of this is some close up shots of a kite. This highlights that my music video has a home movie look which everyone can relate to. I have used pop music video conventions so my audience can recognise what kind of video it is and don’t reject the text with it.

My digipak represents my female pop star the best, I have used lots of conventional and stereotypical mise-en-scene. As Barthes suggests, the balls use symbolic code to symbolise the fun and carefree feelings in childhood so representing my star as relevant and typical. Barthes talks about the semic and cultural code seen when my artist wears a white dress to convey her purity and angelic qualities. Dyer’s star image makes my artist seem ordinary and present as she is in a ball pool which everyone has experienced.

My front cover, where my artist wears a tight dress.

One example of this is through the costume. I have used a sophisticated dress which my target demographic might wear out to a party. This reinforces that my demographic can relate to my artist, therefore seeing her as ordinary. It makes my artist look youthful and confident. Making the audience think, if she can wear a dress like that, I can too!

My shoot was in a ball pool.

Additionally, I have used my digipak for representation through the setting as the shoot was set in a ball pool. This makes the audience think back to their carefree days as a child where they played in ball pools. My artist is having fun, like my target demographic. Everyone can relate to this and connotes my artist as a fun person who is relatable. My star is represented as cheeky, not afraid to let her hair down. This is something I think it is really important to convey to my target audience because it helps young people not to worry as much. My digipak represents my young female pop star because it focuses on the representation of a young female pop star through colours, images, typeface and photoshop.

It is important my social media page engages my audience because it draws them in and fulfills the audience’s desires in an Instagram page: entertainment, personal identity, social interaction and information, spoken about by Blumler and Katz. The audience consumes media for these reasons. Through this, they gain satisfaction having achieved these goals. This links to the producer encoding a media text and the audience decoding that media text (Stuart Hall) to get a preferred reading.

Design coherence.

My social media page engages my demographic because of the design coherence. It includes some of the same images and fonts used in my products. For example, I have used the same pink colour that I used in my other products. It allows my audience to see the cohesion and relate back to the music video and the key message from it, therefore gaining personal identity. – Making them feel like they know my artist. It engages my young, female demographic in a stereotypical way but a commercially viable way.

A sneak peak teaser video I made.

My social media page absorbs my audience’s attention by there being lots of teaser content like videos. I have done this because it leaves the audience wanting more and then they can go onto my artist’s website to buy merchandise. It reinforces a call to action therefore my artist makes money. It engages my audience’s attention as a sneak preview makes the audience feel special, making them want to see more. This links to the Uses and Gratifications theory because it provides opportunities for my audience to interact with each other in the comments. It gives entertainment as the audience can enjoy watching the teaser content, and provides opportunities to socially interact and reaffirm personal identity.

Draft 7 Music Video

Here is draft 7 of my music video. This is definitely my final draft.

Things I have changed since the last draft:

  • Stabilized the video so it did not say “analyzing” across the screen.
  • Took the sound off one of the videos.

Overall, I am pleased with my music video as I think I have got across my key message of daring to be different and living life to the full whist pushing the conventions of the pop genre.

Draft 6 Music Video

Here is draft 6 of my music video. I am really pleased with how it has turned out.

Things I have changed are:

  • Filmed some more intimate shots for the narrative.
  • Changed the opening sunset so it is not the same shot.
  • Changed some of the transitions to make it more exciting.
  • I have scaled and positioned the photos more.
  • Made some of the shots shorter.
  • Stabilized some of the handheld shots.
  • Jump cut the section at 2:27.
  • I have made the last shot longer so it leaves the audience with a picture after the music has finished.

Social Media Page Final Draft

Here is a screen recording of my final draft of my social media page:

Overall, I am really pleased with with my social media page. I have made the changes my teacher suggested therefore I have three extra posts, all of which I am pleased with.

Things I have changed since the last draft:

  • Linked to the homepage.
  • Add onto the story that it is from the digipak shoot to build anticipation on the story “Zero Gravity”.
  • Put in some tours dates as that is where artists make their money. (Tour dates shoots.)
  • More shots of her chilling with her friends, so it is less about the business and more about her as a person.
  • TV Show appearance, something like that? Article in a magazine about her?

Social Media Page Draft 1

Here is a screen recording of my social media page:

In addition, here is the link to my artist’s website and instagram page.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/azuraofficial01/

Website: 07greenc01.wixsite.com/mysite/shop

Self Assessment of my Social Media Page

Design Coherence:
My social media page does include some of the same images, colour scheme, fonts and graphics that I have used in my music video and digipak. For example, I have used the same shades of pink that I used in my music video. In addition, I have used some of the same pictures as my digipak to reinforce cohesion but used softer colours as I found the colours in my digipak a bit too bold. However, I also enhanced the use of circles and soft lines like I used in my digipak.

Content:
There is lots of additional (teaser) content such as images and audios. I have done this because it leaves the audience wanting more and then they can go onto my artist’s website and buy some merchandise. It reinforces a call to action and therefore my artist makes money. Here is an example of where I have used teaser content:

Synergy:
I have created lots of links with other brands or products that would appeal to my audience because that also creates a call to action. This collaboration broadens my audiences horizons because the audience members who are from the horoscope app will now be interested in my artist and vice versa.

Timeline:
I believe there is a sense of a timeline and a building up to the release date of the music video because I have used a teaser video to make the audience excited then left it a few posts before posting the final video. This allows the audience to get excited and have expectations of what the music video will be like, therefore building up excitement and anticipation.

Cross media Convergence:
I have not really included any cross media convergence so I feel like this is something I can work on.

Promotion of Live Events:
I think I could probably include a few more live events as I have a TikTok livestream but that is all. Originally, on my timeline, I planned to have a tour post and a festival however I did not have an appropriate picture but maybe it would be more beneficial to do a tour instead.

A Call to Action:
There are many call to actions on my social media page. For example, in the bio I have a link to the artists website where they can buy merchandise and albums. In addition there are also links to her YouTube page and TikTok account.

Ordinary / Extraordinary:
I believe there is a real insight to the star showing her as ordinary because I have included a highlight entitled “life” which shows the behind the scenes elements of shooting a video and the real life of the star. This shows that the star can be ordinary as anyone can make a video and film some footage. However, I also show the star as extraordinary through the filters and album promotion posts as not everybody can do that.

Interaction / Engagement:
I believe I fulfil the criteria of interaction with the star because my star does a TikTok livestream in which she does a Q&A with her audience. This encourages social interaction with the audience and for the audience to see the real person behind the celebrity.

Sell Physical Copies:
There are many physical promotions of the albums as I have included them on my artists website. This allows the audience to buy merchandise while also getting a hard copy of the latest music.

Issues and Charities:
I have included a charity post about the Teenage Cancer Trust. My star will be doing a live singalong on YouTube with all the proceeds going to the trust. However, I think I will change the picture as it is not very relevant to the trust so I might change it to the Teenage Cancer Trust Logo with my star.

Here is a screencastify that my teacher did talking about my social media page:

What went well:
  • Covered all corners.
  • The lyrics coming up works really well on the stories.
  • The screenshots of the video works well.
  • Obvious cross media convergence.
  • Behind the scenes stories are good.
  • Merchandise story works well.
  • Nice feel to all the images as they all blend together.
  • Nice teaser video, works really well.
  • The horoscope post is really nice as it shows a different side to the star.
  • Merchandise posts are good.
  • Created a good kind of relationship between the audience and the star.
  • Works beautifully.
Targets for my next draft:
  • Link to the homepage.
  • Add onto the story that it is from the digipak shoot to build anticipation on the story “Zero Gravity”.
  • Put in some tours dates as that is where artists make their money. (Tour dates shoots.)
  • More shots of her chilling with her friends, so it is less about the business and more about her as a person.
  • TV Show appearance, something like that? Article in a magazine about her?

To conclude, for my final draft, I intend to add in three more posts. The first one will be for a UK tour and advertise tickets and where you can buy them, the second one will be a picture of my star relaxed with her family or friends (as that will show a different side to the star) and my last post will be advertising a TV appearance on a chat show about the music video Night Running and Zero Gravity.

Digipak Draft 3

I have printed out my pdf of my digipak to see what it would look like in a CD case. One thing I would change is the inside right cover as I’m not sure it would work with a CD on top.

Here is draft 3 of my digipak design:

Overall, I am relatively pleased with how my draft 3 turned out. However, I feel like I need to make more changes before my final draft. These changes include: Making the spine more professional, potentially changing the front cover image as it looks a bit weird, making the font a bit more exciting and playing around with the centralisation of the back cover. In addition, I feel like I need to improve my star image more, making her ordinary, yet extraordinary. I will do this by adding filters to make her look beyond human life and better than everyone else. However, I will also make her look more ordinary, with limited make-up to show off my artists natural beauty. This will connote back to the audience so they can relate to her but also see her as an inspiration and beyond the human world.

Furthermore, my digipak connotes a fun and vibrant pop album cover. The use of a ball pool gives a nod back to the audiences childhood making them feel comfortable and happy. This contrasts the seriousness of my artist so I believe they complement each other quite well. The use of a pool inflatable also suggests a relaxed and chilled environment in which makes the audience feel at ease. I believe I have made the pop genre look fun and inviting for the audience.

Here is an audience tally of what genre people think my album is:

Overall, I think this is a good indication that I have done a good digipak because everyone who I asked got the genre right. This shows that I have hit all the typical conventions of the pop genre including a fun design and playful font. In addition, this also showed that I have picked the right target audience as everyone I asked was female between 15-35 so I feel like because my target audience can recognise it, I have done a good job. People have managed to guess the right genre by using the clear, playful brand identity as well as the conventions of the pop genre.

Timeline and Marketing Ideas

Here is a timeline for my Instagram page that I will create for my artist. This has helped me to get a clear idea of the timescale of my posts as well as what they will include. I have tried to include posts that could go viral, as well as paid promotions and guerilla marketing.

I intend to use AIDA (attractive/attention, interest, desire and call to Action) to make sure my social media page is a success. For example my merchandise posts will look attractive and therefore attract interest from my audience. This will make them want to have it and therefore buy the merchandise. In addition, I intend to use Blumler and Katz Uses and Gratification theory and make sure all posts have one of these things in. This theory is when the audience consume media for four main reasons: entertainment, information, social interaction or personal identity. So I hope all my posts will fulfil at least one of those cravings that the audience look for in media.

My artist will be doing a tiktok campaign alongside this, as well as a paid partnership with the app “The Daily Horoscope” as that is something my audience would find appealing.

It is really important to plan your social media page because it enables you to get a clear idea of what you have planned for your star and ensures that you do not make any mistakes. In addition, it has really helped me to get a clear idea of how my social media page will turn out overall.

Audience Interaction with a Social Media Page – An Analysis

Here is my screencastify of my comparative analysis of a professional social media page. I chose to do Tove Lo because she has a similar aesthetic to my artist as is up and coming.

I analysed AIDA which is the attention, interest, action and desire of the audience as well as using the uses and gratifications theory which Blumler and Katz came up with. The Uses and Gratification theory is when the audience consume media for four main reasons: information, entertainment, personal identity and social interaction. It is really important to analyse other artists social media pages before you create one for yourself because then you know what to include, what conventions are normal to put in and what you could change to make your artist a little bit different.

Social Media Page Terminology

Here is an analysis I have done of a social media page. It is really important to analyse a social media page before creating your own because it ensures you know what to include and how to lay it out. This has taught me that I need to include all of these conventions into my social media page.

Digipak Draft 2

Here are the four panes for my digipak. If you click on it, you can see it as a PDF.

Overall, I am pleased with how they have come out as I changed them a variety of times. Here are some of the alternative designs I tried however, I found I over-complicated the brief as it looked too generic.

What I have improved from the last draft:

  • Changed the blue to purple so there is more cohesion.
  • Edited the photos more to improve my artists star image.
  • Coloured in the balls better.
  • Changed the font to something more exciting and fitting with my genre.
  • Made the title of my album larger so it is obvious which is the artist name and which is the album name.
  • Changed the positioning and colour of the artist name and album name.
  • Changed the whole colour scheme after a lot of trial and error to see what I liked.
  • I now how more of a cohesive colour scheme throughout my design.

What I need to improve for the next draft:

  • Put the universal logo on the spine.
  • Get the spines on the document properly.
  • Put a outer glow on the front cover as when I had it on my pastel design it worked quite well even though I did not like the full design.
  • Get the universal logo without the background.

Then I got some feedback from my teacher on my draft 2. This will enable me to add and improve things I have not necessarily thought about and get a second opinion. Below is a screen castify of my teachers thoughts and I have done a list of improvements to be made.

Here is what my teacher thought of my draft 2:

  • Front cover: Looked better when it was plain, without the ball border. If you keep it with the border that is fine, but you need more depth and perspective on the border, maybe a drop shadow? Not sure about the placement of “Zero Gravity” as it is a bit weird going over her head however the placement of “Azura” is nice.
  • Inside left: Good but maybe replace the balls she is holding up to her eyes with donuts.
  • Inside right: Works well, however take the echo lines even further so they go over the border and the other bubbles and add some shadow to give the borders a bit of pop. Try an extra white border, so you are creating an echo reflect like it is going down a tunnel.
  • Back cover: Reverse the front cover so have her on a ball background with a yellow border so there is more cohesion about the overall digipak and then there is not just one random plain background.
  • General comments: Overall it is definitely on the right lines and play around with inside left a bit more. There is almost a bit too much balls, it is overwhelming. Try and tone it down a bit. The font is nice but make more of the borders generally and pick out the colours of the balls more (like orange). Add a hazy grain around the border so it is less sharp.

Targets for improvement:

  • Add a hazy grain to the border on the front cover so it looks less sharp.
  • Change the placement of “Zero Gravity”.
  • Replace the balls with donuts on the inside left pane.
  • On the inside right pane, take the echo lines from the donut further so they are bigger and more of a statement.
  • Add some shadow to the borders so they stand out more.
  • Try an extra white border on the inside right pane, to reinforce the tunnel-like effect.
  • Add a yellow border to the back cover so there is more cohesion.
  • Play around with the inside left pane more.
  • Try and tone down the balls.
  • Pick out the colour orange more.