Journal – Crowd Funding Second Meeting – Rewards & Timeframes

This afternoon we had our second meeting with Lydia and Hannah about crowdfunding for our short film ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Last week we met and they initially described the process to us and what we needed to do to make it successful including rewards, info and updates.

Rewards

Over the past week we’ve come up with a selection of rewards which will help us hopefully to raise the £1000 we think we need to create the film.

Lowest Reward – £5 Massive Thanks and A Digital Download and Name in the credits

(40 – £200)

Low Reward – £10 – Half hour live Q&A online (google hangouts) After film release + Digital Download & Name in Credits (20 – £200)

Mid Reward – £20 – Signed Movie Poster or Signed Printed Production Still (your choice) + Live Q&A, Download and Credit (10 –  £200)

Mid Reward – £30 Both Signed poster and print plus Q&A, Download, Credit (5 – £150)

High Reward – £40 ‘Pick a Prop’ Donate a prop to be included in the film (from list) + Signed Poster, Q&A, Digital Download (3 – £120)

£50 – Thank you you’ve helped fund our festivals. Receive all rewards and Exec Producer

Total £970

In the meeting today we went over these rewards. Myself and Sinead were under the impression that we had to limit the rewards so that we could only make the amount required. Lydia said we did not have to limit the rewards so we decided that all rewards except the most expensive Two (Exec-Producer & Submit a prop) would be unlimited, We could then hopefully use any extra money towards improving our production.

After pricing up Posters at around £6 for creation and despatch to the backer Hannah suggested we offer handwritten postcards as an alternative to Posters and prints. These would be cheaper to send out in the post, offer a personal touch and maybe more useful as people don’t tend to display posters anymore. Hannah also suggested that they should be more original than normal movie posters so that they are more exclusive and fan orientated.

We have tried to focus on rewards that don’t cost us anything to produce like the google hangouts video chat and movie download & credit. With this in mind we decided to replace the £30 poster and Print option with a signed script.

We decided that the incremental rewards would include all previous rewards, this way there is an incentive for backers to move up a level as they will not loose any of the previous rewards and a small step may mean they are prepared to offer more money to move up a level.

Timescales

Initially we were looking at launching Crowdfunding in December but after some discussions about peoples willingness to give during this time we have decided to kick off the crowdfunding at the end of January. As we will not have to pay our actors until after filming this will suit our production schedule; this timescale will also be beneficial because we will be able to see how our funding is coming along before production and determine if we need to make any changes to the budget.

In order to make the crowdfunding successful Lydia and Hannah have advised us on the importance of good social media, essentially building an audience for the crowdfunding before it begins. We are looking at using Twitter and Facebook for more official updates such as the trailers and posters promotion, this will begin at the start in December to give enough time to build an audience before the January crowd fund launch. We will be using Instagram for more ‘Behind the scenes’ style updates, these can begin sooner with photos of production meetings, filming of sizzler and more genera updates.

Lydia and Hannah will set up our social media sites for us using images we will provide when finalised. They agreed that we will provide them with media such as treatments and more in depth posts but they will offer day to day general updates to help promote the film.

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Stock Images For Sizzler Pond 5

This Monday we will be filming our ‘Sizzler’ film for ‘Behind Closed Doors’. A Sizzler is a term I first came across while doing work experience for the Wild Screen Wildlife Film Festival in Bristol. When presenting new programme ideas, producers were showing us a ‘Sizzler’ of their next project, These were short highlight videos of programmed that act as a little teaser of what to expect when watching the final product. Sizzler’s are used as part of a pitching process to wet the audiences appetite.

We will be using our Sizzler to help us during the pitch and we have also planned to use it through our social media campaign and in our crowd funding programme to help attract and audience and gain funding.

Our Sizzler will be a number of key object shots which help tell the story in the final film, these shots will be shot cinematically and have a lot of focus on diegetic sound, the aim is to create a visual and audio pice that will cement the tone of the film with the audience and make them interested to see the final story. We chose to use objects as these raise questions, give great options for diegetic sound and also will save us having to show characters who haven’t been cast yet.

One of the shots we are filming on Monday is a family photograph being tossed into an open fire. As casting has not started yet we needed to get a suitable photograph to use for this scene, Looking through my own and other peoples family photographs I couldn’t find anything suitable with a couple and a young baby so I looked to the internet instead.

As the Sizzler will be viewed online it was important to consider copyright, I couldn’t just download an image form the internet. I’ve been using a stock site Pond 5 for a number of video and audio requirements in the past so I decided to check there for stock photographs. There were a number of suitable options for purchase and after contacting our Director we agreed on a photograph/Family to be our stand in characters for the scene.

The 2 images i purchased cost £3 each. I then took these to a photo-lab to get them professionally printed. I could have printed them out cheaper at home but I felt as this was a very cinematic close up shot we needed to see this was a real photograph and it needed to also burn the way a real photograph would when placed on a fire.

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https://www.pond5.com/item/60821740

Developing the photographs was an easy process, it took less than 5 minutes and cost under £4 for 8 photographs. I printed 4 of each photograph to allow for any mess ups.

 

New Chartist Idea First Tutorial – Jen Stein

Over the past week myself and Hannah-Jane have had a complete U-Turn on out idea proposal. Initially we planned to work with the National Museum of Wales in their St Fagan’s welsh history museum but we had complications with access and story so it was a very slow process. While working with the Museum we had the opportunity for some work experience with them filming the annual Newport Chartism commemorative march, doing this inspired me to change the idea for our project and this is the one we will pitch to the industry.

Jen Stein

This was our first meeting with Jennifer. Jen is an Assistant Research Professor of Media Arts + Practice at the University of Southern California and is over in the UK for a year carrying out research with UWE and the pervasive media studio. This tutorial was really useful because Jen was unaware of our previous idea so she had no opinion of it which meant we could pitch our new idea in a totally fresh way. This pitch also gave us the chance to explain the background to the idea to somebody who is unfamiliar with the content and the area that our project would take place in.

Jens tutorial was a chance for us to get more enthusiastic about the Chartism project, she gave us some practical advice on accessibility, having the project online for armchair viewing and how we could overcome security issues with equipment such as having people pay a deposit/leave a driving licence or be accompanied around by adults or members of the team. We planned on using a screen to display the Klynt page and Jen advised us about the cost of the touch screen but also that using a normal screen with a mouse might not work as many people still may not know how to use it.

As we are planning on making a real world element and an online element Jen advised that they shouldn’t be identical. We want users who experience the real world story to be able to find different things in the online version so that they are not just seeing what they just experienced. this could be as simple as having items talked about in the real world experience on display in the online element but with more information. Essentially we need to make both experiences worth doing by the same group of people.

With regard to the app we discussed the importance of making people look around, we don’t just want to spoon feed them the information, we want them to be actively involved in the story and this can be as simple as directing them to look for something.

Jen recommended checking out street artist Candy Chang for inspiration with our interactive elements. We were particularly interested in the ‘I Wish I Was‘ project that invited people to place stickers around the local area in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. This idea fits into our pans to ask the public to suggest a new peoples charter.

Candy Chang 'I Wish I Was'

Candy Chang ‘I Wish I Was’

Jen has given us some great inspiration and highlighted some of the practical problems we will face. a Very useful first tutorial.

 

 

 

Oblong Films

Oblong Films is a Bristol Based film company specializing in observational documentary. The company was set up in 2009 and has had a number of documentaries presented on television including ‘Prom Queen Divas UK’ (channel 5) and ‘The Naked Rambler’ (BBC) The Company was nominated for 3 RTS West Awards for their documentary ‘Millionaire Boy Racers’ an unscripted documentary that provides an insight into the influx of super cars and their wealthy owners in central London each summer.

The company hasn’t posted any recent updates of work online and they haven’t posted on Twitter for the past 6 months.

Wildscreen Work Experience Final day with Floating Harbour

Today was my Final day of work experience with the Floating Harbour team. We started once again at the boat at 8am, kitting up. Our main focus of the day had moved from the Arnolfini to the the Watershed where we had to film the days Wildlife Photography seminars.  After the seminars we had a quick turnaround of locations as we had to film a final presentation at St Georges Hall which is about a 10 minute fast walk from the watershed.

After filming Seminars all week the final day was pretty straight forward. I took control of the back camera next to the stage which was a new Canon 5d mark 4. This was my first time using this camera and it seemed a lot better than i had been led to believe. It’s still really a stills camera but does have all the video functions you’d expect.

At 5pm we had to rush everything up to st Georges Hall for the final presentation. I had to leave at 7pm but agreed to help with the setup as we had a lot to do before the presentation as we were filming with 4 cameras. By this time in the week as a team we knew exactly what to do and with this in Mind Rich suggested that we could up the aunty a it and try to live mix this presentation too, this would require laying cables around the hall from the cameras to the mixer. We also had to consider sound capture too as the Hall wasn’t able to offer a live sound feed. I left the team after setup was completed just before the presentation began, we had worked well as a team to complete such an elaborate camera setup in record time.

Summary of the Week

I Really enjoyed my time at Floating Harbour, particularly because this is the area of the media that I feel most comfortable working in. When thinking about life after university and the growing trend for online/corporate video I feel working in this area to be an achievable ambition.

The team at Floating Harbour were very welcoming and the work I was doing helped introduce me to the workflows of a professional company. I learned new camera positioning skills, Scheduling and got my hands on some of the latest equipment which will stand out well on my CV and I learnt some new Editing workflow techniques such as creating selects of good footage which will make my own editing quicker.  During the week I also learnt more about working with people and networking, how to act professionally with clients and how to promote yourself when working in order to plant seeds with potential clients in the future.

I’d  like to thank the Floating Harbour team for this amazing opportunity.

 

New Chartist Idea Tutorial – Judith and Alistair

New Chartist Idea Tutorial – Judith and Alistair

This afternoon we had tutorials with both Alistair and Judith about our new Chartism project. We were a bit apprehensive about suggesting a new project at this stage in the semester but myself and Hannah-Jane felt that we had valid reasons for parking the St Fagans project (access, pace of development and story) and that our new idea was a lot more suitable and achievable.

Our first tutorial was with Judith was brief but we explained our reasons for the project change and Judith was positive about our plans, she was aware of the Chartism movement and was pleased that we were continuing to work with interactive platforms. I think she was particularly pleased that we had now included the Klynt application which will allow us to create an interactive archive of our event and the research we will be carrying out.

Our third tutorial of the day was with Alistair. We briefly explained the project to him and he offered some useful advise on research. Primarily that we had to nail the history of the Chartists ready for the pitch so that we could easily and clearly explain both the project idea and Chartism in general as most people will be unaware of the movement. Alistair also suggested some people to contact for research for the project and students who could maybe help with that. Colin Thomas who is a BBC film maker and is part of the Bristol Radical History group. and Ben Pike, A fellow student who has made a number of social history films while at UWE.

Our meeting came just two days after the election of Donald Trump and with this in mind along with Brexit we all felt that this project could fit in well with the current mood for politics and change in the UK and around the world. Our project documents part of the introduction of real Democracy in the UK and the plight of the people who fought for it and could remind people about how important it is and how it may/mayn’t be being eroded.

Wildscreen Work Experience Wednesday Day 4

Short one for me today, I have Work tonight so had to leave at 2pm. We had an early start interviewing Jonathan Dimbleby. A really nice man who has recently moved to Bristol. Our set up was similar to Hughs last night on the same balcony but in daylight and an opposite corner.  The Image coming out of the Panasonic Varicam LT is stunning and I can’t wait to see the final result.

The interview with Jonathan Dimbleby went well, after a number of setups we were now quick at knowing how to approach this. Jonathan was very co-operative and knew what was expected from him so overall it turned out to be a great interview. I once again gathered behind the scenes images and videos that can be used by floating Harbour to create a show reel of the event. This week has really taught me how to set up for this kind of interview, how to choose a location and the problems that will be faced such as noise and members of the public, also the speed at which this has to be done, interviewees really don’t have time to wait for the crew so it’s important to be professional and be ready to go when the contributor arrives, also to have researched your contributor so you don’t look uninterested when asking questions.

We had a busy morning, we had to film a talk at the Watershed then move all the equipment back to the Arnolfini for the rest of the day. Luckily we had some new crew members. Joe and Tommy who would take over later in the day after I left. I felt a bit sorry for both Joe and Tommy as the rest of the team had become comfortable in our new roles and they seemed a bit lost as there wasn’t a lot for them to do. I just tried to explain what I had been doing  to tommy so that he could learn as I did and get comfortable in the role and with the equipment.

I helped move all the equipment back to the Arnolfini for the rest of the days talks and then headed home for some rest before work tonight.

Wildscreen Festival Day 3 Work Experience

Later start today, But caught in traffic so we were a bit late arriving. The Boat is lovely to work from but it’s right in the centre of Bristol so is a nightmare if you’re in a car during rush hour. On the plus side, I have free parking which is a rarity in the centre of Bristol, well more than rare, it just doesn’t happen at all.

Today we had to film more talks and couch sessions and later had to do an interview with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. Rich suggested we split the team up today. We had a team working on filming the coach sessions and another starting edits and gathering some more GV footage. This was a great opportunity for me to get behind the camera and film using the Panasonic during the talks. I was in control of the main close-up camera using the canon 70-200mm lens with an extender making it 400mm. Jake was on the back stage camera and Rich/Tom took control of the safe wide and the vision mixer. Using such a long lens at a ow aperture was tricky keeping focus, especially as some of the talks had moving guest speakers. The couch sessions were much easier as the speakers remained static. Working with Tom on Vision mixer was great, I could keep an eye on the camera that was live by looking at his screen and he allowed me to use my intuition to find him suitable shots to cut to.

The live mixing became sort of a game, we were trying to complete it in the apollo to save us time in editing and the further we got into the talk with no issues the more challenging it was not to mess up a shot. Unfortunately we still had sound issues which means the recordings will once again need some re-editing. The sound issues are stating to frustrate, especially as the sounds team don’t seem very approachable, i’d expect them to be a bit more professional.

In the afternoon I went back to the boat to start work on the Highlights film edit. I was given the job of creating a timeline of ‘Selects.’ This meant going through the footage so far and picking out shots that could be used in the highlights film. I had to trip out bad bits, shaky footage so that the timeline only contained usable footage. This process will make creating a highlights film a lot simpler, the editor will know that all shots can be used and won’t have to root around in different folders to find footage as all the good stuff will be in one place. This is an idea I will now adopt in my editing workflow.

This evening we had to pack up quick and take our gear to the Watershed Cinema. We had a 5 minute slot with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall for an interview. We quickly scouted out a location, a balcony with a view of the harbour and we set up ready to go. We used the Panasonic Varicam for the interview and a Sony A7r2 for some behind the scenes footage. The interview was short and sweet and Rich managed to get Hugh to give some sound bites that we can use in the highlights video. We seem pretty slick now and are producing some really nice content. The team seem to be feeding off each other which is great for Moral.

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We ended with a Pint and Ben and Matt went off to film one of the evening events while myself and Jake packed up and headed back to wales.

Wildscreen Festival Work Experience Opening Day

The Wildscreen Festival got underway today and this was our first day of propper filming. We arrived at the boat at 8:30, grabbed the cameras and headed straight over to the registration area to meet Rich and gather some footage for the promo video. This was a great chance for myself and Jake to get a go on the Panasonic Varicam LT. We spent half hour gathering shots of delegates registering for the event and then we headed over to the Arnolfini to setup the cameras ready for the first talks.

The schedule is very tight and luckily Anne has been working to sort our timings out for us so we know where we should be at specific times; we also have a WhatsApp group for communication on the go which is good idea.

The initial talk was an introduction to the Festival for new delegates, it was hosted by Laura Marshall, Managing Director. of Icon films. She seemed like a really lovely lady and gave some useful tips on how to get the best use of the festival in terms of networking, most importantly not to interrupt people who are talking as they my be in the middle of an important one time opportunity pitch to a potential backer. Very good advice I though. Laura seemed really approachable and so maybe I will contact her in the future for more work experience or even film ideas, she seems keen to nurture new talent.

This initial talk was mainly a live test for us. We seemed to handle the mixing well, myself and Jake watched from the seats while the Floating Harbour team took on the important roles. We did have an issue with communication with the camera operator on the stage. We did have talkback units but we didn’t have an easy way to communicate and tell the op not to move as they were live in the mix. I had a torch with me and covered it with red gaff tape, from my position I was able to see when the camera was live and lit my touch so the operator on the stage had a visual indication to tell him not to move, this seemed to work well and was a good on the spot problem fix.

The introductory talk was followed by some ‘on the couch’ sessions with big name industry professionals and a number of other seminars. These were interesting to watch as well as film. I felt privileged to be able to attend these talks, not just film them. They were full of good advice from people who work in this industry.

While our technical end seemed to run smoothly we did have some sound problems, this was not our department as we were receiving a feed from the sound guys but it didn’t seem professional and means we’ll probably have to re-cut the days talks to fix the sound, this isn’t ideal on such a short turnaround time. Hopefully the sound problems will get sorted for tomorrows talks.

After the final talk we packed up for the day; returned the cameras to the boat and had a quick de-brief and planning session for the next day. Overall all seemed to go OK for the first day. We had some GV shot and worked well to capture all of the events, the only issue seemed to be the sound problems which was out of our control.

Overall a good day.

Floating Harbour Day 1 W/E Setup of Equipment

Today we started setting up equipment ready for our week of filming Wild screen. During the week we will be filming most of the talks at the Arnolfini Arts Centre so we moved all the equipment we needed for the talks over to there, It’s a short walk from the boat where we will be using as our main base for the week.

The filming of the talks will be a 3 camera live edit we set up two cameras in the stalls to act as our wide and closeup cameras and we also had a camera on the stage behind the guest speakers to gather audience reactions and a different angle for the gust speaker.

Today was very much a technical rehearsal, we ran BNC cables from all of the cameras to the apollo recorder which we’ll be using for the live edit. We also linked in with the centres sound and visual department to arrange feeds for from the microphones and the projector where guest speakers will be displaying work.

Setting up the cameras was a daunting experience, these cameras (varicam lt) are worth around £15,000 so dropping it would be a complete no no. The ursa was also brand new and worth around £5000. Getting this hands-on experience with the cameras was very useful, we got a feeling for the settings and capabilities of the camera which will be essential for this weeks filming and for my general development.

The apollo recorder seems like a great tool for live editing, it takes in all 4 of our feeds and you can live edit with the touch screen. The Apollo also records all 4 of the feeds along with sound onto SSD drives and can be edited again later if there are any mistakes. I wish I could use this workflow for my Weddings, it would be so much faster but unfortunately we’d never have time to run all the cabling in a church.

Once setup was complete we de-rigged the cameras and took them back to the boat for safe keeping, luckily we were able to leave all the grip in situe ready for filming tomorrow. Today was really exciting, we seem to work well as a tam even though we have only just been introduced, looking forward now to the actual recording days.

Floating Harbour Production Meeting Work Experience

Really excited that the folks down at Floating Harbour have invited me to do some Work Experience with them as they document the Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol.

Today we got together for a couple of hours to introduce ourselves to the rest of the team and to go over some plans for the filming week (next week.) The team seem really tight-knit. There is Rich who is the boss, Ben and Tom who seem to take on the technical roles of camera, edit and general organisation alongside Rich; and there is Emily, Alex & Ann who work on the administration roles. The team really do seem to get along well and everyone pitches in to help with tasks that need completing.

On the Work Experience team there is myself, Matt and Jake. Matt and I are both in UWE and have worked together before on projects, Jake has come from Bournemouth Uni for the week although He lives in Newport so we could possibly travel together.

During the meeting we discussed some other scheduling for next week. Team availability and locations we’ll need to film. The Brief is to create a number of short promotional videos for the Wildscreen Team to be used for online promotion and also as a record of the event. We also have to film a lot of the seminars and talks that are taking place throughout the week so that they can be made available online for delegates to view later.

The plan is to split into small teams to cover all of the filming. The FH team will take lead roles but will have assistance from us on W/E for help with gear, finding suitable shots/locations and dealing with any contributor issues.

Rich explained some of the equipment we will be using and this made me quite excited. As a Panasonic fan I am thrilled that we’ll be using the brand new Varicam LT cameras for most of the event, along with the new Black Magic Ursa Mini. These are professional cinema cameras which of only just been released, they will be great to get my hands on and see how they compare to my GH4  and G7 Mirrorless cameras. We will also be using a Convergent Design Apollo to live multi-cam record the talks along with a Canon 5d mark 4 and Sony FS5 cameras. I’m pleased to be able to get the chance to work with such high-end equipment and i’m sure it will help when building a CV for future jobs.

Really looking forward to next week.

Bracken Films – Corporate and Documentary Small Film making Company

UWE Industry Talk – Bracken Films

Bracken Films is a small Corporate and documentary film company headed up by Two ex UWE Film making students Jim Smith and Zander Mavor. They created the company after leaving UNI and have secured a number of contracts with high profile customers to create promotional videos and internal team videos for company training and information.

Jim and Zander came to UWE to give an industry talk. he main focus was of their experience since leaving UWE and how they went about setting up their company; they also showed us some of their past work including Jims documentary ‘The man who fell from the sky’ which documents the story of immigrants fell from a planes landing gear onto a London street.

This talk was very useful to me because it’s the sort of area I wish to go into after finishing in UWE. While I feel many people will turn their noses up at corporate work, i think it’s a good way to build a brand and a reputation which could in tern lead to bigger more creative documentary work, Also I think this steady work offers stability while still offering the opportunity to work on passion projects for low or no income.

Jim and Zander explained that they have a good working relationship because both of them specialist in different aspects of the film making process. Jim is more of the DoP while Zander takes on the sound roles, I think having these specialisms is a real asset because it means that both parties need each other which will help strengthen the bond of the owners while also easing the pressure on each person.

Jim and Zander explained some of the pitfalls of setting up their company and things we might avoid. they explained how they contacted a number of companies to offer their corporate video services and that this didn’t get them much work; the work they currently get comes through networking and through contacts through friends so this is something to think about when I start my business. The boys talked about some of the processes such as invoicing the company (40% pre-production & 60% on delivery) and the importance of contracts to protect yourself. They also explained some of the other work that may be involved including pitching ideas from a brief to potential clients.

Zander and Jim also stayed behind after the talk for a beer and had some great personal advice for myself and Hanna-Jane.

One criticism I do have around Bracken Films would be the lack of online presence, while the boys had business cards it is very hard to find any information on the company and there is currently no website to get contact information or view the companies show reel of past work. I think when building my company this will be one of the first things I should look into initially.

Home

 

Floating Harbour Films Work Experience Meeting

Today I had a meeting about possible work experience with a Corporate/Events Company called Floating Harbour Films. They are a small company which operates from a boat docked in Welsh Back, Bristol Harbour.

I got the contact through a uni pal, Alex who has been working there over the summer. The company are looking for Camera operatives for an event they have to film in the next few weeks called ‘Wild Screen’. Its a film festival focused on Wildlife films and photography.

I met the owners of Floating Harbour on their boat, we had a brief chat about my background and the sort of work i’m interested in, the boys ( Rich and Ben) explained to me that I will probably be acting as a runner and camera assistant during the week and possibly have to do some data transfer and running about with memory cards as we had such a tight schedule.

The thought of doing some running work and data wrangling really appeals to me right now, I have a heavy edit load and this would give me the opportunity to learn more about the back end processes of a professional company; how data is stored, logged and how they manage quick project turnarounds.

The meeting went pretty well I think and the owners seemed pretty fun to work with so I’m hoping to hear back to see if they will take me on for the week.

Multi Platform / Transmedia Roles

All members of the team work together to create a project. Unlike Film there is little hierarchy with all members of the team working as equals to create a final piece.

Project Manager – Responsible for scheduling and budgeting. ensures the smooth running of the campaign. There is normally a three month lead up for social media. In post production they are responsible for the launch of the actual app.

Creative Director – Part of the team that creates the overall vision of the project. Ensures the project sticks to the outlined budget.

Narrative Designer – Designs and implements all aspects of the story. Writes character backgrounds and creates the story world. The Narrative designer is aware of whats happening in all departments so is aware of areas such as budget.

Interactive Designer – Responsible for creating the overall visual feel. Responsible for the building prototypes to discuss with clients and members of the team. Responsible for building the end product commonly utilising HTML, Pythos and Java.

Visual Designer – Creates visual elements such as branding and promotional material. Works with the team to ensure coherent branding across the campaign.

UX User Experience – Works with the director to work on user experience. Works across all departments to ensure there is a smooth user experience.

Social Media/ Digital Marketing Manager – Develops, creates and maintains all aspects of the social media campaigns. Interact with the audience and promote discussion using hashtags or online chats.

Target Audience and Demographics

During initial planning for our ‘Three Little Pigs’ story idea we looked at the demographics of our audience. We took into consideration ages, social background, gender and interests to ensure we created an application that would suit the intended audience. When we changed our idea it was interesting how our demographics changed as the subject matter became more adult related.

‘Three Little Pigs’ Demographics

Age – 6-11 years from a middle class family/well educated. Interest include Reading, fairytales, imaginative play, mysteries and puzzle games. We are aiming at a mixed gender demographic.

Platforms

Children’s social media tools including Movie Star Planet; Cbeebies;Club Penguin; ITwixie and to an extent Facebook (with parents)

‘Hansel & Gretel’ Demographics

18 – 50 year olds who are politically motivated. Social views maybe guardian readers. Working/middle class backgrounds. Interested in reading, crime drama, mystery books. Focused towards a majority female audience who are more likely to be engaged by social stories.

Platforms

Mainstream social media and blogging tools aimed towards social and political audiences such as Twitter, Instagram and WordPress. Online video sharing websites such as Youtube.

 

Annotated Bibliography

1.

Robert Pratten, 2011. Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. Edition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Robert Prattens practical guide to transmedia storytelling offers a compelling insight into how to plan, produce, pitch and finance transmedia storytelling projects, and some of the pitfalls that can avoid a project failing to grasp the audience’s attention.

In chapter 4 Pratten discusses the differences between ‘immersion’ and ‘engagement’, this was useful to me in clarifying that to bombard audiences with masses of content does not make for ‘immersion’ and can have an adverse effect on the intentions of the experiences creators. Pratten explains that for a project to become successfully ‘engaging’ to an audience it must deliver specific content at specific times and only if these processes are followed are you likely to have a successful campaign.

“When audiences connect well to your content, they go through three stages of engagement: Discovery, Experience and Exploration”

Pratten explains that in the early stages of ‘Discovery’ it’s important that audiences don’t have to do too much in order to be hooked into the experience element; they should feel compelled enough to go further but not feel so overwhelmed that they are put off altogether. I think this approach also serves to create a sense of exclusivity and if I think about successful trans media projects such as ‘Secret Cinema’ it is the very fact that the participants are given very limited information with the promise of a substantial reward at the end that makes the project so popular.

Pratten related the three stages of engagement to the five human senses, discovery acting as smell and taste, asking the audience to dip their toe into the water to see if they like it. Experience is acknowledgment and initial involvement (touch and sight) with the stage being exploration, leaving the audience wanting more or wanting to contribute themselves.

“The audience needs to be reassured that your content is worth its time and attention. You need to reduce the perceived risk by communicating “trustworthiness”, “coolness”, “quality”, ”appropriateness” – whatever values are sought by the audience for this type of project.”

As a use of social media I find it easy to identify with Prattens theory of engagement. Increasingly we are bombarded by media campaigns trying to demand our attention be it a viral video, online game or the latest survey/quiz. Before participating we consider what we are being asked to do, how long will it take and what reward will we get at the end? We also consider who out of our friends have also explored this media and use that to gauge the “trustworthiness” and “cool” factor.

When comparing the theory’s presented concerning audience engagement and how we put these into practice with our concept project I think we are approaching the initial stages of interaction correctly. Our aim was to use social media to build an inquisitive audience through the twitter campaign initially before releasing larger amounts of content on our main application page. We would continue to use social media to invite the audience in the later stages of engagement to contribute to the story as they seek further participation options. The thinking behind our campaign was for the audience to stumble upon us accidentally get engaged rather than bombard them and put them off which would have a detrimental effect on our project.

2.

Does Star Wars show Secret Cinema has lost the force? | Film | The Guardian. 2015. Does Star Wars show Secret Cinema has lost the force? | Film | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2015/mar/11/secret-cinema-star-wars-empire-strikes-back-lost-the-force. [Accessed 22 April 2015].

The ‘Secret Cinema’ is one of the more well-known immersive transmedia projects with ‘hard-core’ movie fans but after some problems over the past couple of years and with increasing profits but with less focus on working ethics, in The Guardian’s article they question if the unique selling point has now been lost in favour of commercial gain.

Over the past few years ‘Secret Cinema’ has increased in popularity, the once niche event has grown enormously and with this year’s event planned to run for 2 months I find myself agreeing with the article when it suggests that the whole concept has been diminished of late. The whole appeal to me in ‘Secret Cinema’ was in the name itself, ‘Secret’. As a participant you were given very little information as to what to expect from the event, you were given a simple brief for the evening detailing locations and suitable attire and that was about it; even this was given at very short notice. This sort of initial engagement echoes how Robert Pratten (Getting Started with Transmedia Storytelling, 2011) suggests campaign planners initially develop audience engagement. The ‘Secret Cinema’s’ participants have learnt to trust the organisers and so are happy to purchase tickets for events on the understanding that there will be a great reward at the end.

The very fact that The Guardian can report 2 months before the event this year what to expect in terms of the ‘cinema’ element of this event will be is sentiment to the changing face of the brand into a more mainstream event that appeals to the masses and gets maximum cash returns. The article reports that there is growing anger within the community that has been established and it seems to me that the event organisers are alienating the very people that they were trying to engage in the first place, ironically on the same platforms that were used to create this secret club. Previously I found it very hard to find opinions about what happened at these events, even speaking to friends I was told that if I wanted to know then I should pay my money and I wouldn’t be disappointed but nowadays the internet seems to be littered with reviews which suggests that the audience are not 100% on board with the ‘secret’ concept; even the organisers themselves are posting event videos of previous events as a way to encourage business.

I think when creating any form of transmedia application it’s important to try and stay true to the original concept and values, if these are taken for granted then you risk devaluing your credibility and in turn the unique appeal is diminished which takes away the charm that appealed to the audience in the first place.

3.

What Would Kirk Do?. 2015. What Would Kirk Do?. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.itv.com/coronationstreet/what-would-kirk-do. [Accessed 20 April 2015].

The long running soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ provides an interesting insight into how to incorporate interactive media into already established formats to bring the programme up to date with the increasingly important online and interactive markets.

Recently the drama has introduced a number of interactive features to engage online audiences. YouTube was previously incorporated to provide catch up services for audiences with short clips from the show being broken down and uploaded as separate features. This seems to be a great way of re-using already created content to engage with an audience. With the increasing use of social media providing short clips in this format also increases the awareness of the original content (TV Show) as short clips on YouTube are easily sharable online and can serve to gain new audiences.

https://www.youtube.com/coronationstreet

In December there was further incorporation of YouTube and the introduction of interactive features that enabled the audience to make choices about the direction that storylines in the show can take. The first attempt at audience participation was a mini-series called ‘What would kirk do?’ This was an online series based around on of the shows characters. The timing of the mini-series fitted around the characters storyline in the main TV show. The mini-series episodes were structured in a way that allowed the audience to make clickable decisions that would have affect how the next instalment of the series took place. The mini-series used a number of the shows regular characters and I think was appealing to regular audiences as it gave them the opportunity to see the characters do things that they may not necessarily see on the regular show due to the nature of their characters.

http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2032174

http://www.insidesoap.co.uk/video-corries-kirk/

The recent introduction of character based twitter accounts was a major step in this series  and I think is one of the more successful uses of interaction between characters, brands and the audience to date. The introduction came in the form of interaction during a court case in the shows storyline. The producers chose a strong character (Norris) who is known for his ‘busybody’ traits so was an ideal character to make most use of the Twitter concept. The audience engagement with the character came as he ‘tweeted’ his ramblings as if he was sat in the viewing gallery of the court while the case was proceeding, viewers could see the character tweeting although this was obviously filmed in advance.

When creating our concept, the use of Twitter as a way of engagment between our characters and the audience was a key inspiration. I think the concept that was introduced by the ‘Coronation Street’ programme makers was a fantastic idea but I feel it may have been somewhat lost on their audience who (especially at that point in time) may not be a demographic that constantly engages with Twitter. I think Facebook may have been a more popular option but the platform isn’t really suitable, I feel,  for this type of instant audience engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography Of Research – Interactive Media

Please find below a list of sources that I have used when researching my roles and storyworld ideas for this module.

Robert Pratten, 2011. Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. Edition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Flash Professional Help | Working with Flash documents. 2015. Flash Professional Help | Working with Flash documents. [ONLINE] Available at:https://helpx.adobe.com/flash/using/flash-documents.html. [Accessed 12 April 2015].

Alchemy – Virtual Reality storytelling. 2015. Alchemy – Virtual Reality storytelling. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.alchemyvr.com/. [Accessed 15 March 2015].

Does Star Wars show Secret Cinema has lost the force? | Film | The Guardian. 2015.  [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2015/mar/11/secret-cinema-star-wars-empire-strikes-back-lost-the-force. [Accessed 21 April 2015].

Mum locks her young girls in bedroom every night so she can live with child abuser – Mirror Online. 2015. Mum locks her young girls in bedroom every night so she can live with child abuser – Mirror Online. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-locks-young-girls-bedroom-5546343. [Accessed 26 April 2015].

Nth Screen. 2015. Nth Screen. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nthscreen.tv/. [Accessed 24 April 2015].

Secret Cinema. 2015. Home. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.secretcinema.org/. [Accessed 26 April 2015].

Virtual Reality Gets A Real Content Studio With Launch Of Alchemy VR | TechCrunch. 2015. Virtual Reality Gets A Real Content Studio With Launch Of Alchemy VR | TechCrunch. [ONLINE] Available at:http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/07/virtual-reality-gets-a-real-content-studio-with-launch-of-alchemy-vr/. [Accessed 22 April 2015].

What Would Kirk Do?. 2015.  [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.itv.com/coronationstreet/what-would-kirk-do. [Accessed 20 April 2015].

How to Make a Flash Website with Adobe Flash Professional – Flash Tutorial – YouTube. 2015. How to Make a Flash Website with Adobe Flash Professional – Flash Tutorial – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwa7thRvngY. [Accessed 28 April 2015].

Research – Social Services – “Mum locks Kids in Room”

Interactive Media Research Material

I first heard about this story while traveling to Uni listening to BBC Radio 4 and thought it was related to the work we are doing for our Interactive Media module where our story centers on (fictional) failings of the social services departments in the UK.

Mirror

Click here to view the story in full on the Mirrors website.

This news story centres on the probable failings of a number of council bodies including social services who are allowing two Thirteen year old girls to be locked in their bedroom at night with a baby monitor as a way of communication between themselves and their mother in the event that they need to leave the room or are in danger from their ‘peodophile’ step father.

This story raises some serious questions about how government bodies seem to not act in a reasonable and responsible way but instead rely on a number of ‘tick box’ solutions to close a case.

This story is interesting in developing the story we are creating in which we see our characters (2 young children) separated from their father and imprisoned by a person who has been elected to protect them. I think it offers an interesting insight into how some of the decisions are made in cases like these and we could use this information to further develop our narrative and ensure realism in the story.

 

Lecture Activities – Imagining Audience, Characters and Storyworld

During our lectures we discussed how to initially develop our ideas of character and story, we discussed the importance of considering the intended audience demographics when creating our project. We took part in a number of activities to try and explore and expand our story world based on what we remember from fairytales and what we imagine our characters to be lie and what the world they live in may feel.

Exercise – How do you remember the story of Beauty and the Beast?

Singing candles and teapots.

Belle runs away from forced marriage with a village leader, finds safety in a house with the beast. Gets close to beast and falls in love.

Themes

  • Redemption – What the beast is like at the start. Cursed prince (hero’s Journey)
  • Love > Obstacles – Love overcoming obstacles (conquering all) Redefining love from physical attraction to interior
  • Vanity (Ugly sisters)

 Tropes

  • Beast (animorphism)
  • Candle stick – objects alive (anthropomorphism)
  • Rose – Beauty – Doesn’t last forever
  • Mirrors – Not reflecting physical but your sole, what you desire to see. Interactive.

Three little Pigs – Story World Ideas

 A futuristic capitalist society where the rich are in power and are repressing the rights of the poor. The rich are protected by security services and live in fenced off zones with high security systems.

Three little pigs are a group of separatists who have found a way to live peacefully in the wastelands. When the security officers/councillors want to build a prison on the wastelands a battle ensues to protect property and rise up against the corporations.

 Exploring Character Knowledge – Pig 1

  • Pig one’s parents are part of the capitalist elite who rule the world.
  • Pig one broke away when he fell in love with a pig he found going through the bins of his tower block for food.
  • Pig one is now resented by the capitalist community and is an embarrassment to his parents. Pig one believes in a co-operative society where everyone is treated equally and work is shared fairly.
  • Gets very angry at injustice and is happiest when all the people around him are happy.
  • Pig one accepts life’s inevitability’s and as such death is responded to with a small amount of grief but he quickly moves on, as death is an unavoidable occurrence.

Alchemy Virtual Reality

I attended a lecture by Phil Harper who is the creative director at AlchemyVR , a joint venture between Zoo SFX and Atlantic Productions.  The seminar offered an interesting insight to the future of virtual reality narrative and the progress that has been made in recent years with advancing technology.

As an 80’s child I remember the last failed attempt at this sort of medium and I was shocked as to how it seems to be gaining momentum. The fact that Facebook has just bought the company behind the Oculus Rift (an immersive VR headset) is sentiment to the companies commitment to get this type of experience into the mainstream.

Initially Alchemy are working with David Attenborough to create a number of immersive experiences that allow audiences to move through a VR world and see some of the earths smalles and most unique creatures close up.

AlchemyVR

I’ve yet to experience virtual reality in person but Phil emphasised that it really has moved on from the 80’s and that once you see it you will never forget it so I’m excited to see what happens with this type of interactive media in the future.