In what ways does your media product use, develop, or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
In my research, I viewed conventions of real magazines which make them so popular. Well-liked magazines like ‘Q’ and ‘Blender’ were two of my main influences, as they were quirky and had their own individual styles. I liked that they had continuous colour schemes and constantly changed their theme every month to meet each of their audience’s needs. They both included their prices discreetly on the barcode so that it did not take the attention away from the rest of the magazine, and I thought this was a good idea so used this in my magazine. Both have a particular theme every week (or month) to do with their main article, so I kept my vibrant and house-style to reflect the main artist MC Bean. If I were to produce a real magazine, I would continue to work on the conventions of these magazines. I used the conventions of real magazines by using a limited amount of fonts, to make the magazine seem sophisticated and less busy. I also used conventions of a real magazine by using hook lines from the main interview to draw the reader in, for example, 'Bean admits he's looking for love, but who is his type? FIND OUT INSIDE'. I challenged conventions as I didn't put many sub-stories on my front cover, as I thought my main image was attractive enough to make the reader want to read further. I was highly influenced by the Taylor Swift issue of 'Blender' pictured above. I liked that they used limited fonts and colours, this made the image the main focus - which was what I attempted to do. My barcode idea was influenced from another issue of blender, to put the prices in different currencies (American and Canadian) to widen my audience range. I also kept the barcode discreet so that it did not take the focus away from the main article. I followed conventions by putting my double-page article in colomns, and kept my colour scheme throughout and maintained the house style. I followed conventions by putting the hook lines in bold in the interview, to make the reader want to read further.
- How does your media product represent particular social groups?
I think my media product represents teenagers in society; they are constantly pigeon-holed as rebels who are wrecking the streets and vandalising cars and people’s properties, when this isn’t the case with the majority of the younger generation. I felt I needed to pursue my point by making a magazine which shows teenagers in their element, showing off their talent and express them in a brighter light, than being known as horrid children destroying the country and I did this by using vibrant colours, and fun pictures. Also, my magazine was made for all social classes so that the audience can relate to them, and seek some element of personal identity; for example, my interviewee did not have a hard childhood, but explains that his sister went through a traumatic relationship. This can also create some admiration for the star and allows aspiration from the audience. I think my magazine represents a particular cultural sub-group – people who are interested in urban and house music.
- What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
The media publisher which I think would be successful in distributing my magazine would be Dennis Publishing Ltd. Through its three successful magazine brands, ‘Maxim’, ‘Blender’ and ‘Stuff’, it dominates the coveted 18-34 year old male audience, and is now looking for a wider range of audience for their product. I feel my magazine would meet their requirements and could reach both genders and a lower age limit, therefore raising their profile in the marketplace.
- Who could be the audience for your media product?
The audience for my media product would be students between 16 and 25 interested in the urban genre of music, because the taboo language use ‘like yo’ ass has the hiccups’ would not offend them as it is becoming more common these days, whereas it might offend an older audience. I also think my magazine would appeal to both genders as I have not used any stereotypically ‘girly’ or ‘boyish’ colours and have used both genders in the images. I chose a ‘unisex’ type of music – urban and house – as I believe both genders listen to this style of music, whereas my audience would have been quite limited if I had have chosen ‘pop’ music as this generally appeals to a female audience. I edited my age range to give it a higher limit because I wanted my magazine to appeal to both genders and men don’t seem to develop an interest in music until they are older, so I widened my upper age limit to 25.
- How did you attract/address your audience?
I decided to base my music magazine around urban and house music, as this is my favourite kind and is liked by the majority of people my age who I know, which I found by receiving information from a survey I handed out to the people in my class. My target audience was students between 16 – 25, of both genders, as the magazine has a young and exciting vibe on it for the younger generation, and due to this I made my magazine an affordable £1.20. I attracted my audience by promoting light-hearted stories on the front cover, by using colloquial language like ‘dirrty’ and emphasising the accent by repeating the ‘r’. I engaged my audience by promoting light-hearted stories on the front cover, and perhaps alluring the female audience by stating ‘Bean admits he’s looking for love, but who is his type? Find out inside!’ I learned about the ways different poses can address the reader from Marjorie Ferguson (1980), although her theories were about women, but I applied this too my model who is a male. Theory where she suggested that you can attract an audience by the type of pose you project on a picture, therefore to appeal to my audience I used invitational: emphasis on the eyes (or the glasses in my case), mouth shut or with only a hint of a smile, head to one side or looking back to the camera. The projected mood is suggestive of mischief or mystery, the hint of contact potential rather than sexual promise, the cover equivalent of advertising’s soft sells. I chose this pose because I think it is inviting and puts a light mood on my magazine. The image is a medium shot and my model is only smiling a little which suggests cheekiness, yet is still a cool pose. His hand gesture suggests he is a "gangster" which relates to the type of music my magazine is about; urban and house. I felt that by choosing a male artist I could attract both genders to my magazine, and it seemed that my target audience did not mind which gender or how many people were on the front cover, though most magazines stick to one central figure. I did not include any other images on the front cover as I did not want to take the attention away from the main article, and the photo was so busy that it would have looked too cluttered. I chose bright colours such as red and yellow to attract a reader, and express the happy vibe my magazine entails, along with ‘Pussycat’ font used to create a fun feeling, and so that it did not contrast with my use of colloquial language, so that the reader can relate to the stories. I used ‘Perpetua’ font on my title to keep my magazine looking sophisticated, and this was one of the more popular fonts voted in my survey. I edited the ‘o’ in ‘Bounce’ to give it a bouncy effect which reflects the title, and type of music my magazine promotes by endorsing an upbeat, happy lifestyle and reflects the rhythmical nature of the music. I wanted my audience to seek information from my magazine, to perhaps inform their social group of the gossip they have found out about the main star (MC Bean in this case). I also hope my audience have been entertained by my magazine, even if they weren’t originally seeking our entertainment. I hope by reflecting this mood, my target audience will feel that by buying my magazine, they too will feel upbeat and this will encourage them to keep buying it. I took advantage of the Uses and Gratifications theory by keeping my model the same age range as my potential target audience which would help them relate to the magazine, which means there is more chance of them buying it, it may become 'their magazine', the one they and their friends may buy. I showed my magazine to my target audience and they said they thoroughly enjoyed reading the interview, as they felt they could relate to 'MC Bean'. They thought my cover was eye-catching and liked the house-style theme that was continued throughout the mag. They thought the sub-stories in the contents page were relevant, and loved the image manipulation of the main photograph on the contents page.
- What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
I have learnt about the varied types of distribution for a product, for example, putting our work on our own personal blogs on the internet, or printing it out to put into a portfolio (which often made the colours seem duller). Using the blogs meant that we could layout our plans and show our annotations and it could be viewed by the public, and receive feedback. I learnt the various ways in which to use Adobe Photoshop – editing the brightness and colour contrast – and my cutting continued to get more and more precise. I enjoyed using the digital camera as I experimented with diverse camera shots, such as – medium shot, medium close up, and long shot – and angles, such as low angle and high angle, to show social class and superiority.
- Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
I have learnt a lot from the preliminary task, as I analysed magazines and understood the conventions they used to attract their target audience, like specific colours, fonts and models to communicate a particular message to them. I researched my audience’s needs by producing a survey to my class as I had to keep in mind that I would be competing in an existing marketplace, therefore I based most of my ideas on their needs which I found out in the questionnaire. From my study of other music magazines and their conventions, I learned that a magazine should not be too busy, as when there is too much to look at it takes the attention away from the main purpose of the magazine, which is for a reader to actually look inside.
On the other hand, putting charming quotes or tag lines ‘like yo’ ass has the hiccups’ using colloquial language, on the front cover would entice an audience to want to read more. I used Adobe Photoshop to edit the layout and the photos, which were taken with a digital camera. I took my pictures both inside, and out, to give me a wide range of choice, and produce a professional finish. A particular editing skill I developed was manipulating images – as I grew more and more familiar with Adobe Photoshop I became to experiment with different colour schemes and editing techniques. I also became better at cutting pictures out more accurately to give my magazine a professional finish.