Unit 9: Evaluation (Unit 9 3.1/3.2)
For this unit, our brief was for us to explore a theme of our choice affecting the demographic of those aged 18-30 years old in two different formats as part of an exhibition. This theme was entirely up to and in any two forms we desire. The brief also stated that both our pieces will be aimed at the audience aged 18-30 years old.
Pitch (Unit 9 1.1):
First and foremost, I had to come up with a theme and two formats for my project. I decided to investigate obsession with the sub-themes of digital media- specifically social media and gaming. This was because I knew that it was a theme that could fit well into my chosen formats of photographs and an article and heavily applies to my target audience and even beyond. Once I had decided on this, I put together my project pitch which included everything I intended to carry out from my theme and sub-theme ideas, research methods, and all my pre-production plans. I pitched this to the class and after I was given feedback for what everyone thought of my ideas. Overall, I did receive some very useful feedback which included ideas for photo content and headline ideas for my article to attract the audience in more. For instance, Scott suggested that my photos should be in a complete separate format instead of my brainstormed photo-journal as a way to ‘show, not tell’ my theme more. I was given one photo idea for the gaming which was to have the gamers’ hours shown above them, all showing different hours. I loved this idea because I thought it could strongly implement the difference between healthy gaming and the obsessive relationship with it. (Unit 9 3.2)- However, I did feel that the pitch as a whole could have gone better primarily because of one comment I was given after. One peer told me she thought my project almost revolved around my desire to use photography and that was what I seemed to focus on the most which did make me consider my pitch and ideas as unprofessional. But it occurred to me after that I wouldn’t have chosen a theme if I knew it wouldn’t fit in well with the use of photos or if it wouldn’t portray my theme effectively.
Pre-production (Unit 9 2.1):
After my pitch, I took my feedback away and made some final adjustments to my production plans. One of this included feedback stating that I could have made my theme digital technology and have the obsession as a sub-theme since I seemed to talk a lot more about digital media more than the obsession. This was the feedback that was really beneficial for my project planning since it helped me arrange my research and final pieces accordingly and it didn’t change many of my original plans either. For this project, my pre-production documents included: a production schedule to plan weekly tasks to complete, blog post content and the criteria they all cover. This was a document I have completed for projects last year since they have been the key to meeting my deadlines and ensuring that every criteria was covered. (Unit 9 3.2)- However, during the production stages I did have to make some adjustments to the weekly tasks. I moved the vox pop interviews from the research week to the article writing week because they would be fresh in my mind for when I came to writing the article, even though I transcribed them too.
Research (Unit 9 1.2):
Once all my pre-production was completed I began researching my theme and formats. (Unit 9 1.1)- I announced during my pitch that my two formats were photography and an article, which is what a lot of my secondary research consisted of; researching the types of photos that show social media and gaming obsession, the content of them and even how they vary in the graphic nature of them to help me form ideas for mine on top of my pitch feedback. (Unit 9 3.1/3.2)- Looking back at my photo research, the majority of them showed social media/gaming obsession in very simple but emotive ways; from rows of friends all on their phones ignoring each other to hands being chained up to laptops and gaming controllers. All of these gave me ideas for what to create to portray my theme. For the article, I had intentions to write in the form of an existing newspaper format to help me form a correct tone and structure to it. (Unit 9 3.1/2.2)- When I began research I had planned on producing my article for the i newspaper since it is very widely read by people in the 18-30 age range and is a simplified version of the Independent newspaper, ideal for students and young adults. However, I decided to switch my format to the indy100 which is an online version of the Independent and a simplified version, like the i newspaper to allow me much more flexibility with the article’s tone and my interviews too whilst still fitting in with my target audience. (Unit 9 1.2)- My theme itself also came under my secondary research and is what I feel to have made my article one of the strongest parts of this project due to the areas I investigated for digital media obsession. These included: various causes for obsession, how it can turn into an obsession and the consequences of digital media obsession. Because of this I was able to use the sources to add some more in-depth detail and psychology into my article to grab the audience’s attention yet still fit in with the style. It also allowed me to adapt my vox pop questions according to my findings too.
I also carried out primary research in the forms of surveys and vox pop interviews. I used these as a major part of my article because, like last year, I used the survey results as statistics to add more eye-opening facts and the interviews to add a personal touch to the article and make the topic seem more believable. (Unit 9 2.1)- Unlike the interviews which had a set date to completed, the survey was more ongoing until the week of producing the article because it allowed me to analyse the results as I went along in advance preparation for it. (Unit 9 3.2)- Although this ongoing survey served its benefits, it did make it more difficult to select the appropriate statistics for my article since I had results returning over time. For future work, I will ensure that I set myself a deadline for the survey responses so that I have enough time to analyse them more effectively.
(Unit 9 1.2)- Alongside all the research methods learned from last year, I was given an idea from the class which applied to my photos. This was to go out and about into the city at any time and to gather some anonymous shots of people in the town on their phones using social media or playing smartphone games to see how rehearsed photos differ from on-the-spot photos in terms of how obsession is seen here. Although I didn’t manage to capture any shots due to to few people I saw actually using their phones for this, I did see various couples in coffee shops with phones on the table- one couple were together but with one person on his phone whilst talking. This made me realize just how, if it was an image, how an unplanned photo could be just as emotive as a planned one because the audience may not even see how much reality in this theme goes unnoticed when you see how people naturally treat. It’s almost second nature in many people, specially the younger generation and this is what I told my class when I showed them my production work during one session.
Production (Unit 9 2.2):
Once I had all my research findings, I began the production of my two formats. (Unit 9 1.1)- I had decided to produce the photos firstly due to feedback of using the photos to help come up with ideas for my article headline and first 25 words. (Unit 9 2.2)- Using my research findings on existing obsession photos I began drafting some initial ideas I had also linking it to pitch feedback. I came up with 4 ideas including: people playing a video game with the gameplay hours above each one- all of them varying dramatically to show the extent of this obsession. I had the same idea with someone holding out a phone and text around it showing their daily activity on social media with others being people ignoring each other whilst on their phones and dozens of devices (phones, a laptop, games consoles and games) all laid out together. All of these ideas, I believe, all showed digital media obsession in a way that shows the extent of it but at the same time, not in a too graphic nature.
When taking the photos, I decided to do my drafts plus a few extra shots to see which ones turned out best and selected the four that best told my theme. I did my social media photos in college and use some of my class members within them since social media can be accessed via multiple platforms and I could show the extent of this with them. The video games obsession had to be done at home though as I had easier access to the devices and games plus a more suitable environment for them. (Unit 9 3.1)- A few photos did go to plan but some were changed for various reasons. For example, the birds-eye view of a phone in someone’s hand didn’t work out due to poor lighting in college. This was when I decided to do this at home using my brother to ‘model’ for me, which worked out well since I did the gaming photos at home too. They all changed for the better when my brother suggested for the gadgets to be all scattered carelessly around instead of neatly for capturing the shot. This worked really well and was a great way to show how this obsession won’t allow the person to think about anything else at all. This process also allowed me to experiment with the focus lens on either my brother or the gadgets to see how focus on either one affected the audience’s view to obsession within it. The focus change caught one of my peer’s attention when he commented on how they effectively pin-point the audiences’ eyes on various parts of the photo which still show digital media obsession.
(Unit 9 3.1)- I didn’t manage to apply the hours of gameplay to the photo I planned but despite feeling disappointed with this I transferred this to the phone being held and applied various activities to it relating to social media- a photo I initially planned at the beginning.
(Unit 9 2.2)- After my photos were complete I used them as a guide to start my article with the headline and 25 active words. (Unit 9 3.1/3.2)- Due to having a wide array of sources covering everything about social media and gaming obsession, I was able to conduct a suitable structure for my information whilst making appropriate room for my survey results and interviews. Speaking of my vox pop interviews, I decided to move them to the week of the article rather than the research due to being more appropriate with organisation. This only delivered the benefits because I had questions already planned but changed them slightly to fit in with the information decided upon in my article. (Unit 9 1.2)- Because of how I made the questions open and neutral as learned last year, I was able to gather some detailed and valid answers which I trimmed down and applied to my article in the style of the indy100.
Final pieces (Unit 9 2.2/3.1):
Looking at my final pieces, I feel they both effectively portray my theme of digital media obsession in their own ways. Personally, I feel that they are both turned out very successful considering having to change my original plans along the way. Many of which have only made the pieces better: Peer/tutor feedback from my pitch and throughout on having the photos separate from writing allowed me to fully experiment more with angles, focuses and effects for them- most of which would have been ruined by the writing. (Unit 9 1.2/2.2)- Because I decided to switch article formats just before writing it, I now feel I could have spent a day or so analysing the style and fonts of the indy100 rather than scanning through it whilst writing it. However, I feel that it has benefited with more flexibility with the interviews and overall creativity with the style of it.
(Unit 9 1.2/3.2)- Another problem faced was the vox pop interviews; I didn’t manage to interview as many people as I intended to which made me concerned about whether I would have enough valid opinions to work with. But it occurred to me that the purpose of vox pops is to interview a small number of people with the same questions- exactly what I did. Plus, I still interviewed some people of the same age to see how opinions vary in the same age. Overall, didn’t affect the quality of the article at all, it only enhanced it!