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JOACHIM BENZIMRA 2009-2011 FOUNDATION AND ADVANCED PORTFOLIO

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Finale


"If music be the food of love, play on." - William Shakespeare

As a whole I feel the process went really well for us as a group, we ended with a great main product and some ancillary texts that complement the main video really well. We were optimistic in choosing a song not mainstream and on top of this it had no lyrics. Not having lyrics meant we had to impose a narrative, because there were no lyrics to base a story on, but in the end I feel this worked out better for us, because lip syncing can only work so well, instead we landed ourselves with a real DJ who knew the track well, so he knew exactly what he was doing. In terms of the narrative, in retrospect, I would probably change location, to a more urban area to increase the dystopian effect that our narrative imposes.

The colour grading process was crucial to our pop video working. I never realised that this was so important. In media texts for the screen, every frame may be graded to make sure the colour is correct and fits the message intended. We used the colour grading software on Final Cut Pro to desaturate our colours somewhat, to make them seem a little cold and almost hostile. In this way we were stressing the message of our pop video that the world is aggressive and in a state of dystopia, which I take to mean a society that is in constant breakdown.

In such a greedy, tempestuous society, it is hard for any organic music act to break through; off hand I can name a lot of musicians and bands that are more talented than many mainstream ‘musicians’. The industry is a money hungry giant, that would continue to function even without people going in and out of it on a regular basis, and pop music fans are quick to forget what they were into last year. Our pop video intended fans to be drawn into the music, and sell the artist. However our pop video contradicts the music industry as an entity, portraying youth as your own, and not syndicated as the major labels intend it to be. Overall our originality as individuals really shone through, and this collectively combined to form a great group. And we are delighted with the finished product, and although it was lengthy and painful process, it was thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Director's Commentary



The Directors Commentary, done by myself and Leo Faulks, was an aural aid designed to assist the audience in understanding the narrative, in it we detail several parts of the narrative, use some comparison to theorists and explain why we used specific shots. In terms of Hall, it may sway audiences more towards the preferred meaning. With the insight we have into the making of the pop video understandably makes the pop video better off as it may come of more to the conventions we had originally set. It gives the audience some background to the narrative, for instance the differences between the two gangs, the gang signs and the fact that the ending is actually a take on real life, and how no conflicts of that nature seem to end. We chose Leo and I to record it because we were the ones who had been most actively involved in shooting and editing.

Blog Task Three: What I learned from my Audience Feedback

Having collected a variety of feedback for our pop video and ancillary products from members of the target audience and from other members of the audience demographic. (Via YouTube, a Focus Group and other sources).

Our target audience was 16-25 year old males from JICTAR groups C, D and E. Generally speaking, groups C, D and E are less sophisticated people from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, but these social categories are big spenders on pop music and related commodities. C is people who are skilled but not academically educated, such as builders and electricians. D is families and people who labor and E are the unemployed. This applies to these JICTAR groups because of the people and the content of the video; the video features people of a poorer socio-economic background and the video details needless violence and vandalism.



The video was posted on Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook, from the three only YouTube and Facebook received comments, and all of these comments were positive. The comments included;

From YouTube
− “This is amazing” – bonesbilly545
− “Yesssss this video is ill” – skeme14
− “Amazing video” – kreitylowTheNINJA

From Facebook – On the Facebook liking system, 17 people like this.
− “Amazing. X” – Natalya Holley
− “Sik Video” – Kaleem Khan



The Focus Group contained of seven students, four male and three female. We gave a questionnaire containing ten questions to the group. We wanted the group to watch the video once before answering the questions, this would allow time for the group to think and come up with sensible answers before answering them. The idea was to simply find out if they enjoyed it, and to see if they understood what had happened and perhaps if they had gained any other meaning from the video or even the song. After they had answered the questions, we had a discussion as a group, in which we discussed questions, and their responses, and we attempt to usher them to elaborate on their statements. The supplementary discussion was actually more useful than the questionnaire itself; the verbal response seemed more emotional. One male student, Will Edgely, an 18 year old from Dorking said the video was “to a great song, and the emotion of the song, despite the lack of lyrics, really fitted the video”
The questionnaire was as follows:

1) Did you enjoy it? Why?
2) What did you get out of it?
3) What did you think the message of the story was?
4) Did you think the brand was established? How?
5) Do you think it is sexist/bias in any way?
6) Did you identify with any of the characters? How? Who?
7) Did it tell you anything about relationships?
8) Did it give you any information about the world today?
9) What is the official image that you received?
10) How do you think it can be improved?

In terms of Blumler and Katz’s theory of uses and gratifications, we tried to fulfill two of the specified areas as defined by them; we also aimed to apply their theory to our audience response. Blumler and Katz say that watching TV fulfills four basic needs. These are; Diversion (a form of escape from everyday mundanity), Personal Relationships (companionship via TV personalities and characters), Personal Identity (the comparison’s drawn between the characters and your own life) and Surveillance (a supply of information concerning the welfare of the world). In terms of our pop video, diversion occurs, when the audience watches and empathizes with the activities of the gang, or feels envious of the nonchalance in their daily activities, but because they are bound to the confines of their life, they cannot do these random acts, instead the relate with the video because it forms an escape for them. Surveillance occurs because the video shows the world in a state of disarray, where amongst a dystopian society, the broken lives appear to be the ones that shine, and the activities of young people are needlessly violent because there is simply nothing else in their lives.



Stuart Hall suggests a theory that producers encode a preferred message that the audience proceeds to decode in any one of three ways. These ways are either the audience accepting the preferred meaning, or they become oppositional readers, rejecting the preferred message, or negotiated readers, wherein they decipher their own meaning. The pop video has a preferred meaning, wherein the DJ is edgy rebellious and controversial. The meaning of the narrative is that the world is potentially violent and dangerous. The males in the focus group read the preferred meaning of both, but the females in the group rejected the second meaning, not believing the video was an accurate representation of a state of affairs in modern gang culture, instead arguing that the video “glorified needless aggression”. However, the Internet comments received were positive from both genders, so we cannot draw the conclusion that women reject the second meaning.



Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, not by any means a media theorist, introduced his ideas of Ethos, Pathos and Logos, arguing that the goal of argumentative writing was to persuade the audience that your ideas are valid, or more so than someone else’s. Ethos or simply credibility was the convincing of the characters and narrative by means of the author, meaning that we tend to believe people who we respect. Pathos or the emotional is the persuading by means of appealing to the reader or watcher’s emotion. Logos or words, was the persuading by mode of words, or in the case of pop videos, lyrics. With regards to our pop video, only Ethos and Pathos apply, as our video features no lyrics. Ethos applies because the DJ, the author, imposes the narrative and the DJ is a respectable character, his musical prowess demands respect from all ages, giving him the deserved credibility. Pathos applies because the video details emotions at their highest peaks, the viewing of the destruction of modern artifacts, and at their most suppressed, the gang members themselves who look like they have had it hard all their life.



I think that overall the performance element of the pop video worked beyond expectations; maybe if we were to reshoot we may have changed location to bring him closer to the narrative and emphasize the dystopian society. The narrative did work, but I felt we tried to hard to blur the lines between the gangs, and that they appeared too similar in appearance, we did try to achieve a certain similarity between them, but this could have been achieved through camerawork and editing, and if we were to reshoot I would the gangs wearing noticeably different clothing, with different modes of destruction, and perhaps alternative semiology that showed their unison as a gang.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Task Two: A Powerpoint Presentation to Explore How Effective the Combination of My Main Product and Ancillary Texts are.

I answer this question with a powerpoint slideshow exploring the theories of;

  • CARLSSON
  • RICHARD DYER
  • CLAUDE LEVI-STRAUSS

And how they can be applied to stress the way my pop video, magazine advert and digipak covers used their theories to sell my artist, and his song.



Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Magazine Promotion

Most pop groups and singers in the modern digital world make their money more from touring than from CD sales. So when a new song is issued a campaign is mounted through the pop video and the digipack to drive punters to the concerts, where the main money is made. This is argued by Negus and Fiske in their various books. The magazine advert has to play off and use the same images as the pop video and the digipack if a ground swell of interest and support is to be created in the potential audience.

Our magazine advert is dark, suggesting a bleak view of the world, yet D'Artagnan, the name of our artist, connotes fighting for freedom and justice with its links to The Four Musketeers and All For One and One For All. The very word plays on the idea of a good gang. The advert also follows the rule of thirds and suggests through its black and white colouring that we are in a world of art.
Add Image

Digipack



Sunday, 13 February 2011

Creation of the Digipack

The digipack is a crucial tool in selling the artist and his brand or image. It has to work with and play off my pop video and my magazine advert to create a constant image in all of them.
A digipack is essentially what comes in a CD, the booklet of the inside, the front cover, the back cover and background for where the CD lies. It contains the track list for the album on the back cover, it will detail the production information for each song, and sometimes the lyrics for the songs. The digipack is what sells the CD to the public, it has to be eye catching, and informative. The font we used on our both our digipack and our magazine advert was a digital looking font, reflecting the nature of the music of the artist which is all electronic. The insider left cover details a picture of the DJ being photographed, coupled by a quote from Marianne Williamson about the ability of human beings, and that mediocrity for the sake of others is a sufferance to oneself. The inside right cover, where the CD sits in front, is an image from one the DJ live shows, wherein the lights obscure the DJ's image, and the only thing left is the crowd clearly enjoying the show. The front cover needed to be edgy and rebellious, similar to the artist's image, so we chose to make the image black and white, showing only one half the outline to his face in white, and his head phones highlighted in red, this is coupled with artist's name, d'artagnan, and the eponymous single of the album "We Are From Venice". The back cover shows the DJ's decks, again with the headphones highlighted in red, the back cover also shows the publication company (Downtown Publishing) and the record label (Fool's Gold Records). There is also the necessary copyright details, the track listing and a barcode.