At the beginning of the lesson , we received a genre of music to research in groups: ours was ‘country and western’. As apart of our research we created a moodboard with the idea that it would inspire us to be able to produce our own star image for the genre; we searched for ‘country and western’ in the search engine and it appeared with the stereotypical traits of the genre. These include: cowboy hats, boots, lassos and the cliche wild west elements. We also took into account the brown and yellow tones in which almost all of the ‘country and western’ images possessed.
After creating the moodboard with images, we added in a few terms in which we felt described and explained the genre: ‘country and western’; furthermore, the genre ‘country and western’s’ typical star image would include “subtle eye makeup” . This natural and fresh look was seemed a common convention of performers in the genre. Additionally, we noticed a ” lively” aura to most images and therefore added this adjective to our moodboard in order to represent the genre efficiently. Alongside this, we recognised a common aspect of mis en scene, in particular the lighting and costume. Most costumes involve: a shirt (usually patterned), calf-high boots and a cliche cowboy hat; hence why we included these aspects in the moodboard. Moreover, a typical lighting convention for ‘country and western’ were warm, yellow tones in which conveyed a friendly and lively atmosphere to the genre; furthermore we included these elements in the moodboard.
We then used our research to create an ensemble star image for the ‘country and western’ genre. Here is our draft photo with post-its expressing our classmates’ response to our test outfit:
I believe that as a producer, I used the most obvious conventions from the genre to reflect my star image with the relevant mis-en-scene aspects, and thankfully received pertinent audience responses.
- The first comment ‘country’ reflects one half of the genre’s name which is a clear response from the audience, and therefore the costume has given the relevant star image for the genre.
- Secondly, the post- it ‘western’ is the other half of the intended genre which implies that the costume was a suitable star image that the audience could correctly decode.
- The adjective ‘different’ could be interpreted in a number of ways, however I am pleased that someone pointed this out about our star image; this is because the genre ‘country and western’ is different and there are a small majority of people who know much about it. Furthermore, I am overjoyed for someone to accept the genre for what it is: ‘different’.
- Finally, the term ‘cowboy’ associates with the wild west inspiration for the genre and, is what we proposed for our star image. Furthermore, the audience successfully decoded our costume.
After our class feedback, we carried out a photo shoot:
Overall, our shoot was successful however there were a few faulty images; for example image 2080 and 2081 were both blurry and out of focus, which wouldn’t reflect the genre successfully to the audience as it is unclear to determine what the model was doing. In addition, image 2067 shows lousy framing and positioning as it was taken during placement preparation for the props (hence the random arm). Also image 2034 conveys an innapropriate facial expression for the genre as the model was mid -laughing, which is unlikely of star images for the ‘country and western’ genre.
After much deliberation, this was my final and chosen image from the shoot:
I regard this image in being the best representation of the ‘country and western’ genre as the costume and props depict the most suitable star image, for example the cowboy hat evokes the stereotypical wild west influence on the genre and expresses a key convention. The hat is also of a warm and simple colouration which associates with my first mention of tones in lighting of the genre, thus due to the lack of lighting facilities in this shoot, I turned to certain costuming aspects to remark these traits. Additionally, the printed shirt is another element in which we originally noted from our moodboard, therefore implies an uncanny link to the genre. The red neckerchief is a common accessory that again ties in with the wild west influence, so I thought it relevant to include; also, I recognised the distinct red colour adds boldness and energy to the star image- reflecting the earlier noted lively feel of the genre. Moreover, the denim jacket establishes a rustic and weathered star image, something that I had distinguished from our moodboard research, which exemplifies a tough yet homely exposure on the genre. Also the American flag, repeatedly demonstrates the wild west significance to the genre. The body language is relaxed and laid back -due to the leaning on the arm, therefore signifies the sensitivity and rawness to the hearty genre; yet the masked face argues the juxtaposing natural and plain star images often seen representing the genre. Finally, the acoustic guitar is a well known convention of the genre and is positioned accordingly to echo it’s relevance to the star image and the genre. The reflections of the trees on the guitar connote a naturalistic fragility to the genre which links closely with the gentle acoustic aspects of ‘country and western’.
I believe this image worked better than the others in the shoot and is the best representative of the star image as it supports almost all conventions and convenient mes-en-scene of the ‘country and western’ genre. It is a stripped back version of the stereotypical star image and leaves behind the lighting and common colour schemes replacing it with natural and gentle features. Thus exposes the genre in the most real and innate light.
In conclusion, utilising mes-en-scene proves fundamental to illustrate meaning and present ideas to texts. Furthermore this work will influence my own planning and research for my magazine production as it will remind me to place reasoning and allegory to all components of my magazine and to use mis-en-scene to convey my intended meanings.