For my practical production I worked with Jodi Zoric, where we produced poses from a music magazine which included: a front cover, contents page, and a two paged spread article.
We both used the same model, Sarah Maddison for our photographs, however used different images to put on our media product. We used a different name for our magazine, while also a different cover story.
Firstly, I created a brief as a guideline for my work. This way people will understand my project and what I was working towards, as well as helping me on what I was doing and meeting the criteria.
I produced rough plans for my front cover, contents page and 2 article pages with the help of existing products of similar genres, so that I would know exactly what I would be including in my product, without it being time consuming.
• In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
The genre of music that I based my magazine upon was pop. I looked at a variety of music magazines, and I annotated them which gave me additional ideas for my product. The majority of them all followed the typical convention of traditional types of artists on the front cover, who were mainly young, attractive women with slim/slender figures, with their lips slightly parted, showing a glimpse of their white teeth; while their hair was blown back. According to theorist Marjorie Ferguson (1980) this is known as the Chocolate Box. Other poses would include Invitational where there would be emphasis on the eyes with them having a mystery mood or the Super-Smiler where they would have a full face, wide open toothy smile with a ‘look at me’ mood or aggressive, demanding hard sell approach.
They were often semi naked, showing some part of their body, for instance their stomach or cleavage. They showed a lot of confidence, leading to them looking dominant, which can be very rare sometimes as females are not always portrayed that way. The way, in which they look directly towards the camera, giving a suggestive look mainly being for the male audience. The way in which they pose by sticking their chest out and the bottom out, is again a suggestive look, with them being portrayed in a mischief way. It suggests sexuality. Most of the time models seem to just be exploited on front covers of magazine’s, to persuade the audience to buy the magazine, as they are sexually attractive. American feminist author Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth) 1991 stated that “pictures of attractive women are used to sell magazines to women.” She suggests that young women have been conditioned into wanting to be like them; to have their lifestyle and appearance.
Magazines tend to promote females in a sexual way, and are sometimes represented as the male’s property. From looking at these music magazines, in particular the ones who seem to be for the female audience, they instead suggest that masculinity is favoured more than femininity. However, there were male artists shown in a minority of music magazines who came across having a rough edged or gangster look, where they didn’t seem to be portrayed in a sexual way.
I followed the same conventions like the existing products I analysed, such as the date, price, barcode, magazine’s website, to make it look more realistic; while at the same time I tried to make it look as attractive as possible and appeal to the young audience. I was inspired by the layout and subjects being talked about by the magazines and therefore came up with similar stories for my front cover. I based these stories on my research, of what people like to see on a magazine and receiving ideas from other music magazine, which were eye catching and effective. I also used similar colour schemes. I followed the way in which they used different colours or tones for the artists name then changed it for the introduction.
I used the same style of writing the way in which reporters do in magazines, interviewing her and using positive language. I included images on the article, with a light pink border going around the image to make it stand out. I used pink text for the questions and black text for the answers to make it clear for the reader to read and understand.
In my contents page I included a similar style of layout, listing the page numbers with the topic and story beside it. I also inserted other images into the page to make it look more interesting and eye catching, to act as a hook for the story. I used yellow arrows highlighting the text and pointing to each image for the main topics that were included in the magazine, while having the same pink background as the front cover. The colours were very effective as they contrasted well together.
• How does your media product represent particular social groups?
I produced my own article for the two page spread article page where I used a story based upon the artist becoming a pop princess and new to the music industry. It shows how she was brought up in a 2 bedroom house in a council estate with her family having little money and coping with 6 children. She comes from a lower working class family, from a difficult background and I’ve shown her in a positive light, which is a change from how families are represented in the media, receiving various negativity. It describes how she has always loved to sing at a young age, but hid away her talent and didn’t dare tell her parent’s that her dream career was to be a singer, as she was frightened of what they may have thought . She reveals how she was glad to keep it to herself, as she learned to grow more confident in herself. It shows how she’s overcome these obstacles, and that you can become a success to anything, as long as you stick your mind to it and believe in yourself. This story will be inspirational to many young readers, as it assures them they can do the same and you don’t have to be rich or perfect at anything to become a success.
• What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
Bauer media was bought from Emap,who publish worldwide that have an empire comprising of 282 magazines in 15 countries with 6,600 employees worldwide and annual turnover of 1.79 billion Euro, where it is built on millions of personal relationships with readers and listeners. They connect to audiences with persuasive content in many different ways, where they are able to work closely with their customers to develop newer solutions which make a massive difference to their business. This is what makes it unique. Therefore they would be good to distribute my magazine as I would be opening up a market for them, which will offer them an opportunity to expand their audience into a niche market of 16-25 year of old women, in an area where the predominance of the audience is male, producing more profit.
• Who would be the audience for your media product?
The music magazine that I produced was aimed at a young female audience, between the age group 16-25, who were working class and with enough disposable income to buy this magazine on a monthly basis and to be able to download music and other downloads. Therefore I wanted my magazine to be a sensible price.
I used a model, who was a similar age of the audience that I was targeting, to add more appeal to my product. The problems that may have occurred in her life she has managed to get through. This is where the audience will look at my product for a sense of personal identity and aspire to be like her, as these problems may reflect their lives. Blumler and Katz (1974,) say “That a media user seeks out a media source that best fulfills the needs of the user.”
I showed my final product to other people in my class. Jodi Zoric thought that “The magazine was very girly, pop/chick and that it would appeal to 16-25 year olds straight away with its feminine colours.”
Sarah McGill said “The colour scheme would capture the young female audience straight away, as everything I included on my magazine represented females. It made them look dominant, and that it would inspire young people in many different ways. For example, over coming difficult times in her life and becoming a success, dressed well, knowing her routes and being proud of her background.”
Steph Ingram stated “I think the magazine represents young females very well. It’s eye catching with a bright colour scheme. The text is large and clear to read and the stories about different well known artists attract you into purchasing the magazine.”
• How did you attract/address your audience?
From other magazines I noticed that a good quality image of either a medium or close up shot of an artist who is very pretty and is wearing all the latest fashion was important, as it would appeal to the reader immediately. My favourite magazine was Blender, mainly being because of its simple layout, and contrasting colours. However, the magazine Vibe was also another one of my favourites, as it is was very appealing due to its rich, powerful colours and themes used; for instance the one with Mariah Carey on the front cover where the image of her is shot on a beach. A lot of warm colours were used, which reminded the audience of summer with a good view of the sea. This could be an important way of persuading the audience to purchase the magazine, as it implies that you too can be involved in this exotic lifestyle. Again, the audience here will be inspired by the model and to be like them. This taken into account, I knew it would be important to have an eye catching background if you wanted the sale of your magazine to be high.
The colours that I included on my media product were pink, yellow and black. Because my magazine was aimed towards a young female audience I used a pink background for my front cover, contents page and 2 page spread article, which is stereotypical as it has feminine, connotations, which will stand out and appeal to my target audience. I chose two different shades. One being a light, subtle pink that was used for the background and the other was a darker, subdued pink which was used for the text. A soft yellow/orange colour appeared on my front cover for some of the text, while a black colour was used. The theme of the magazine was effective as I think the colours combined well together, as it wasn’t too overpowering to look at and the text was clear to read. A larger font for the cover story was used to stand out and capture the audience’s attention, various hooks for stories inside the magazine about well known music artists and events happening globally.
Before I began producing my media product, I began by analysing magazines, and making annotations. I took into account the type of fonts and colours used, the mise-en-scene of shots and what the theme of the magazine was based upon. I also did some research by creating and then handing out questionnaires to receive feedback and opinions relevant to my project. This was important as I wanted to know what people like to see on a music magazine (colours, images, stories) and what captures their attention and persuades them to purchase it. The information that was stated, I gathered and considered what would make a good music magazine. This was very important as it played a key part in my product. The questionnaire was basic. It asked what genre of music they like, whether they are more likely to purchase a magazine; when there is a man or a woman on it, what their favourite feature is and what they thought made a good magazine to help give me ideas and give a brief insight.
Jodi and I took a variety of photos of Sarah Maddison, who was the model for our magazine, at different shots, distances and angles. We took some inside of school and others inside her home. I wanted a high quality image for my front cover, which was a medium close-up shot. I then decided to go with the image of her smiling and looking towards the camera, as I thought it was a friendly, invitational look to the audience, where they would feel as though she was looking at them. I thought using her as our model worked out extremely well as her hairstyle and fashion matched the theme of the magazine. She looked a pop star as she looked very glamorous with her large gold jewellery and her natural looking make up. This way the audience will be inspired by the whole look and eventually be persuaded into purchasing the magazine. The artists’ name is most likely to catch the audience’s attention as it stood out and was in a large and bold, bright font, with it being the main topic of the magazine.
• What have you learnt about technologies from the process of construction this product?
From the process of constructing this product, I have learnt a lot of new technologies and various ways of over coming different problems. It was my first time using Photoshop when joining this subject, which meant I knew only little about the software. However, I learnt new techniques during the time of producing my magazine. The manipulating and cropping of images, where I could make them smaller or enlarge them. Using different font styles; editing the size and colour, while also making it look realistic and at a high standard. I used a lot of colour throughout my product and began to change the tone, creating various effects.
I used a digital camera to take photographs of Sarah, in different sized shots and angles, while also using a tripod to maintain good focus. I found that having the camera in focus is when you receive a high quality image, making it look very professional. Cutting the images out, making sure that they were tidy and at a high standard was very important.
Another new technology that I have learnt is setting up a blog and posting my media work on to it, making it public to the audience. I was able to add a background and different colour fonts, as well as adding images to illustrate my response to different examples from my planning and preparation, as well as my final product.
• Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
From looking at my preliminary task which was where I produced a school magazine; a front cover and a contents page, I feel as though I have learnt a lot of new skills and techniques in the progression from it to my full final product of my music magazine. It has taught me important ways of targeting magazines; what looks eye catching and stands out, what makes a good colour scheme, the layout of the magazine and how it should be positioned. You don’t want a magazine to be too condensed together where the text is not very clear to read while at the same time you want a magazine that has enough text positioned in columns with the same width and height that has a simple layout and is clear to read, with high quality images. As well as learning new skills and understanding with Photoshop and handling the camera, I have also become more experienced and gained confidence, which has helped me a great deal towards my music magazine. Careful research has enabled me to target my product more accurately. From my previous task I took into account what didn’t look good and was able to improve on this, having a better idea what colour schemes set the magazine off. On the other hand I took the positives from my school magazine and it gave me useful ideas to help me incorporate these into my final product.
Overall I was pleased with my final media product and felt that I had successfully finished completing my original aim. I found the project to be exciting and interesting while at the same time learning new skills and technologies, which were challenging. If I could improve the way I worked on my product then it would’ve been working more efficiently, and also using better locations for my photographs, e.g. Newcastle Quayside as it would have made the magazine look a lot more professional and eye catching.