Evaluation for Media documentary: “Label Me”
Over the course of the year I have been developing my media skills in order to create the first 5 minutes of a documentary. I worked in a team with Bianca Renzullo we used the movie making tool “IMovie” to edit together clips of our own filmed footage and footage from the internet to produce a final piece, we shared the different research that was collected and took it in turns to edit together the documentary. In class we have watched a variety of different documentaries including: the 1998 documentary film “The Thin Blue Line”, 2011 English documentary series “Educating Essex”, 2004 American documentary film “Super Size Me” as well as a selection of other types of documentary. I have documented all my research and planning on my blog: https://ellymoohanmedia.wordpress.com/
Through the research that was carried out in order to help us decided on the style and genre of our documentary, we developed an interest in the way in which teenagers are represented in the media; through the use of stereotypes and labels. We decided to produce a documentary that touched on this subject, and shortly came up with the title “Label Me”. We felt this was a relevant title for our documentary as we would be looking at the labels and stereotypes that teenagers are subject to, the use of “me” in the title “Label Me” is purposefully used in order to appeal to an audience of people who feel they have been personally labelled or stereotyped by others, as well as appealing to those who want to understand the reasons behind why certain people are subject to stereotypes and labels. We wanted a title that would suggest that we, the producers of the documentary, understood the subject that would be touched on. As young people ourselves we feel we understand the life of a teenager in 21st century London better than anyone else, we wanted to convey this point through our title. Additionally we wanted to create a short and snappy title, something memorable and appealing, I feel our title successfully does this.
Methods of research:
-Internet: Youtube, BBC Iplayer, 4od, wikipedia
-Online articles: The Independent
I used different methods of research in order to obtain the information relevant to produce a professional product. My most used method was the internet, I used websites such as Youtube to come across videos that inspired me,I researched other schools media projects that had been documented online to see the different types of documentary that were being produced. Some I came across were very amateur and did not at all look like a professional product that had been created by an A-level media student. These amateur products made me realise that it’s very easy to slip up and produce something that doesn’t document your media skills that have been obtained throughout the A-level and AS-level; I decided I wanted to clearly document the skills that I had learnt over the course of the year; my IMovie editing abilities, my research abilities, my ability to use media technologies professionally (film camera, tripod, audio recorder etc)
I used websites such as Youtube to collect videos that I felt were relevant to display on my blog, I used conversion sites to convert music videos from Youtube to audio that could be played on IMovie in my documentary, as well as converting Youtube videos to a format that could be transferred onto IMovie and used in our documentary. We tried to keep our found footage to a minimum as we understand we would be showing more of our skills and ability to film and edit by using our own filmed footage in our documentary, however, we did use a few clips that were obtained from the internet as we felt it showed how the media represents teens of the 21st century as well as the representations we have shown through our interviews.
We used clips from British teen series “The Inbetweeners” and “Misfits”. We chose these two particular Tv programmes to refer to the stereotypes of “Geek” and “Chav”, and show how the media portrays these stereotypes and labels. The Inbetweeners includes a main character called ‘Will’ who is portrayed as a geek. He wears glasses, lacks in physical attractiveness and fitness, gets bullied at school, doesn’t get invited out to parties by the “popular crowd”, has never had a girlfriend, is very intelligent and school orientated, is a “goody-goody”, aspires to go to a high ranked university such as Oxbridge, doesn’t fit the current fashion trends of the 21st century, carries a brief-case to school instead of a rucksack and comes across as a “mummy’s boy”.
In Misfits the character of ‘Kelly’ is stereotyped as a chav. She is seen wearing an orange community service boiler suit, hair is scraped back in a bun, has heavy eye make-up on, wears thick gold jewlery, white trainers, she acts aggressively, knows how to fight, speaks loudly, uses slang words, wears a lot, gets referred to as a chav regularly by her piers, has to do community service because of participating in criminal activity. As we want to appeal to a young-adult target audience we decided to chose clips from popular 21st century television programmes, it’s very likely that our audience would be familiar with the clips and the characters in them. Someone who watches the Inbetweeners would know that Will is commonly referred to as a “Geek”, the same applies for someone who watches Misfits being aware that Kelly is commonly referred to as a chav.
Below is an image of Kelly and Will.
We used ‘iMovie’ to edit out documentary. iMovie is a “proprietary video editing software application movie making tool”. When I first began using iMovie for this project I found it quite difficult to get to grips with, I practiced editing a few home videos of my own at home and soon learnt how to use iMovie. I feel I have gained a valuable skill through completing this task as I have learnt how to use iMovie at a quite sophisticated level. I am now able to edit video footage, add effects, add text, add separate audio, change the audio, synch separate audio with video footage, change the speed of both audio and video footage, insert smooth transactions between different clips of video footage and produce a final piece of video work that I am very pleased with. I learnt how to use iMovie very quickly and soon became confident of my editing ability, as a team me and Bianca both took it in turns to edit different parts of our documentary. If I was editing Bianca would be helping me decide which bits needed to be cut out etc, I feel this task has also helped me to build on my team skills. It was vital to work well as part of a team during the production of “Label Me” and I feel both me and Bianca exceeded as a hard working and committed team.
Not only did I learn how to use computing tools such as IMovie, but I developed my skills and ability to use different filming equiptment; we used video cameras and audio recorders to film and record our footage.
I also developed an understanding of how to construct interviews, we chose to interview our two main subjects Kyle Harrison and Holly Georgious in an environment they felt comfortable in; Holly was interviewed in the library somewhere she spends most of her time, and Kyle was interviewed at his home in London, in the back garden. After the completion of our media documentary we decided to create a survey using an online survey tool called Survey Monkey, I designed 8 questions for the survey and distributed the first 5 minutes of the documentary, which I’d uploaded to my media Youtube account, and a copy of the survey to a total of 30 candidates. I distributed the survey via social networking sites such as Facebook and Hotmail; I felt this would be the easiest way to communicate with the survey candidates as Facebook and Hotmail are current and popular social networking sites.
I do regret only distributing the survey to a total of 30 people as I only collected results from 25 people and fear I could have received much better and more accurate feedback if I had distributed the survey to perhaps 100 people instead. None of the people who I received results from were aged between 24-28; unfortunately this means I don’t have any feedback from people who fit into this age category. We wanted our documentary to appeal to a target audience ranging between 16-28+, without the feedback from people aged between 24-28 it’s hard to tell whether adults of this age would want to watch our documentary. From analysing the results of my survey I found that 44% of people felt the documentary could be improved by including more examples of the ways in which the media stereotype teenagers. I feel I should have perhaps create a survey earlier and distributed it to a selected group of people along with a plan for our documentary; then I could have made the changes relevant to produce an even better piece of work.
As part of a research method I tried to watch as many different types of documentary as I could, this ranged from old fashioned documentary films from the 1960’s to current forms of documentary such as “The Only Way Is Essex”. Most documentaries I came across had included interviews, in “The Thin Blue Line”, for example, the film presents a series of interviews about the investigation and reenactments of the shooting, based on the testimony and recollections of Adams, Harris, and various witnesses and detectives the interviews were constructed so you could not hear what the subject was being asked, they spoke to the camera about events and described their side of the story. I noted that in every documentary the place in which the interviews were filmed always seemed to be carefully chosen and thought about. In The Thin Blue Line David Harris and Randal Adam’s interviews were both taken place in dingy empty rooms that resembled prisons. The interviews with the Dallas police officers were filmed in a room that looked like a police office. The documentary also included various shots of newspaper clippings and re-enactments of the incident. “The Thin Blue Line” particularly stood out to me as powerful, imaginative and revealing as it proved to be a life changing documentary. After the production of “The Thin Blue Line” Randal Adam’s case was re-investigated and he was proven guilty! I was amazed that a documentary could have such an incredible outcome. Watching “The Thin Blue Line” really inspired me to produce something I felt passionately about, as I feel it goes to show that if you feel passionately enough about a particular subject and want to share your views with the rest of the world, you have the ability to make a change and educate people who watch your documentary.
We spent a lot of time thinking about where the best place to film our interviews would be and decided that we wanted our subjects to feel comfortable and at ease with talking to us therefore decided to interview them in a place they felt comfortable in. We used our knowledge from watching other documentaries to construct our interviews in a professional manner. However, we did find it difficult to interview our subjects without asking them set questions. We did not want to be able to hear the interviewers voice in the background however it was quite difficult to edit the interviews in a way where the only voice that could be heard was the interviewee. We found using audio recorders was the best way of obtaining good audio quality as the cameras recording system wasn’t very good. We wanted some variety with our interviews as we noticed that interviews in real documentaries we always very varied, a change of location is more interesting and appealing for an audience whilst watching a documentary.
For the mini interviews, which was of a variety of teenagers reading out the definitions of different stereotypes and labels, we filmed used the photography studio to film. As photography students me and Bianca thought we’d take advantage of the skills we have learnt in Photography and apply it to the documentary. We used the photography studio for the mini interviews as we wanted a variety of location, and felt the photography studio was a professional place to hold interviews. I am really pleased with the mini interviews as the combination of professional studio lighting and a backdrop really adds to the way in which the documentary is viewed, it definitely looks more professional and shows that we are capable of using the sophisticated equipment found in the photography studio. Additionally the fact that in the studio there is no distracting background movement or ambient noise really added to the intended focus point of the mini interviews being very visual.
I feel the combination my main project and ancillary texts (poster and article) is successful in the way that my poster and article are very specific and relevant to the documentary, they link together very well; the points made in the article are specific to the point of the documentary. I came up with the idea of the Channel 4 “young producers scheme” which is a scheme set up by Channel 4 to help young people, passionate about film and documentary, to get the opportunity to produce their own documentary or film. In my article I used this idea, I decided that it’d be more effective if the documentary had been produced by young people as it’s an issue about young people; who better to produce a documentary about stereotyping and labeling amongst teens than someone who has experienced it first hand. In my article I included a detailed description of the style of the producers, I did this because I felt viewers would be interested in who the producers were. In my opinion, style and appearance is one of the main reasons behind why people become victim to stereotypes and labels. In”Label Me”, the two subjects that are followed in the first episode, Kyle and Holly both feel that their dress sense plays a large role in the reasons behind why they are subject to the stereotypes of chav and geek.
I made sure that my article held the correct colour scheme, I used the colours red and black with a white background and grey text boxes. I chose to create an article for “Time Out London”. Through my research I discovered that “Time Out” magazine uses quite simple formatting and colour schemes in their articles, I tried to capture a similar image through the design of my article. I used the Time Out logo as I’d noted that other Time Out articles do this as well, I also included the date in which the article was published and the date and time for the airing of “Label Me”. I felt these were essential pieces of information. I included 2 main pictures from the documentary, the first being a photo of the title sequence with Kyle and Holly standing at Alexandra Palace, a central point in London, with the title “Label Me” above them. The second main image is a “sneak peak preview” of Kyle’s interview. The other 3 images are small photos of a few of the other subjects that will feature in later episodes of the documentary; they’re seen sitting in a studio in front of a plain back drop holding up pieces of card with their label/stereotype written on it. The idea of the subjects holding card with their labels written on it was a regular theme throughout the documentary, I came across the idea from Gillian Wearing’s photography. Wearing took a series of photographs that she named ‘Signs’. Signs consists of a series of photographs, each showing a member of the public who Wearing had stopped on the street and gotten to spontaneously write something down on a piece of paper. Wearing then photographed the people holding the paper. We thought this would be a very clever method to use for our documentary as it’s primarily to do with teenagers being given/assigned stereotypes and labels that they don’t necessarily associate themselves with. I like the idea as I feel it is very visually powerful. One thing I noticed after handing in my final article is that I forgot to mention who the article was written by, which I think is a silly mistake to make as it makes the article seem less realistic. If I was to further develop the article I may change the style and format to something a little more interesting and unusual; I feel that we wanted to make the article look very much like a typical Time Out article but it may have been more effective if we had taken a completely different approach and produced something unusual. Perhaps an article with a main photo in the middle and text going around the outside of the article. I feel if we had produced something more ‘arty’ and ‘quirky’ looking it would promote individuality and freshness of the documentary, highlight the fact that it doesn’t conform to the stereotype of documentaries being ‘boring’ and lacking in fun.
I tried to produce an article and advert that was specific and professional. I wanted my article and poster to appeal to the correct target audience and I did this by carefully considering the font and colour schemes I used as well as the tone of voice created and the lexical techniques used. For my mock advert I used a colour scheme of mainly purple and pink, although I liked this colour scheme and felt it worked well as a poster I did not choose to use the colours pink and purple for my final product as I felt they were too gender specific, pink and purple are quite feminine colours and as our documentary isn’t gender specific I felt it was necessary to produce an advert that included a non gender specific colour scheme.
Below is an example of the ‘feminine’ colour scheme used for the mock advert:
Before producing an article and advert I carried out research of other Channel 4 adverts and different styles of articles. We had decided to air our documentary on Channel 4 so it was fairly straight forward finding past Channel 4 adverts, however, we hadn’t decided what our article would be published in. After I had looked at a variety of different articles I decide that we would produce an article made for Time Out London magazine. I made this decision because I found that it would best fit a Time Out Magazine, and I really liked the style of Time Out articles. I came across many Channel 4 adverts including ‘Skins’ adverts as well as documentary adverts such as ‘Freaks Of Nature’:
I learnt that Channel 4 adverts tend to be very visual. They use minimal text and keep the focus on a striking image. We wanted to make sure that our advert looked as similar to a Chanel 4 advert as we could make it! We made sure we only included text that we felt would add to the visual impact of the advert, and made sure that the focus point was more visual. We decided to use only photos from the documentary as we felt this would be the best way to advertise it. Having sneak peaks from the documentary could potentially get a person interested and want to watch it. We included a main image near the heading of the title sequence which is an image of Kyle and Holly (two main subjects of episode 1) standing in Ally Pally together with the title “Label Me” above them. We then included 3 smaller images of some of the teenagers that feature later on in the documentary, they are seen in a small snippet of the first episode reading our the definition of labels/stereotypes; the pictures are shots taken from the studio interviews, the final photo is a ‘sneak preview’ from footage of the documentary of Kyle’s interview, he’s seen sitting in his London garden at home with the sub-text introducing his name, age and his home city below.
I chose to include the above image in the documentary as I felt it showed that “Label Me” isn’t what is stereotypically associated with documentaries as being boring and slow paced, I feel the image shows that the subjects are willing to enjoy themselves as well as take it seriously and I wanted to emphasise how different and fresh Label Me is as a documentary; not conforming to the views that documentaries are for older people who want to learn about wildlife etc. Label Me, hopefully, is a new generation of documentary.
I came across this article through my research of what Time Out articles look like, although the contents isn’t relevant, I am using this as an example of a Time Out magazine article as I feel it is quite visually interesting and unusually. It hasn’t got the standard layout of a magazine or newspaper article. The image dominates the photo and distracts from the contents of the article. However, I really like the layout I feel the image works very well with the colour scheme of the article being black and reed, and it definitely grabs your attention unlike some articles you come across which are made up of predominantly text. Although we were unable to create an article with as little text in it as this, we tried to include as much visual imagery as we could, as well as highlighting certain words in red to make them stand out and break up the big blocks of text.
Overall, I am really pleased with our final product, I feel we used the media technologies successfully and professionally in order to produce an attention grabbing documentary. I was especially pleased with the way in which the scenes were edited together, it flowed really well, this compliments my editing ability and shows I understand that in order to produce a steady flowing documentary the transactions from one clip to another are steadily and smoothly paced. I obtained this knowledge through my research into other documentaries, I watched a variety of documentaries and took careful attention to when the transactions between different clips were made. Not many professional documentaries has very fast paced transactions, usually the first clip would fade out and the transaction between the first and second clip would be of a smooth and slow pace.