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Evaluation Part Three What have you learned from your audience feedback?


Throughout the planning, construction and editing stages of my short film, I relied heavily on the positive and negative feedback from participants that anonymously completed four individual audience research questionnaires. During my AS level Media course, I conducted three hard copy; paper based questionnaires and one post production video to aid me with the construction and editing stages.


However, although I found this system useful, I felt that some people were not being completely honest, as I handed out the paper based questionnaires to family and friends and the post production video consisted of sixth form students, all of which were personally known to me. This year for my A2 Media coursework, I wanted to take a completely different approach, so that my participants could anonymously be, as positive or as negative as they liked, with their constructed criticism. First Stage As the internet has a wide usage, I decided to attract a potential audience from ‘facebook’. In order for this to happen, I created a public ‘Like’ page, and implemented it with the title GR Media and I created a recognisable page logo.


When the ‘Like’ page was launched it immediately received several confirmed likes. This method of communication allows people to subscribe to updates and contribute to discussions and at this particular point; I believed it was vital for any audience research. Subsequently friends of friends would hopefully be attracted to the ‘Like’ page through its inquisitive logo. Second Stage With enough responses from the above attraction, I used Google Docs to create a web data collection form (electronic questionnaire) and posted a link to this on the GR Media ‘facebook’’page. I designed the questionnaire to take into consideration a variety of options and my main objective was to obtain a fair and honest outcome. Although this was still very much in the experimental stage, I hoped to attract several participants who had subscribed to the GR Media Page. As social networking sites are used leisurely, I decided to keep the questionnaire simple and fairly short, otherwise participants may have deferred from completing it. Its main design plan was to establish my participant’s biological information, tastes along with preferences, viewing habits and their knowledge and understanding of the genre ‘Social Realism’, that I had chosen to base my product on.


After a couple of days I had received twenty one responses from over the internet and in order to analysis them, Google Docs automatically generated the results for me, as a mixture of detailed graphs and data responses.


From the analysis of this internet based questionnaire, it was evident that the method of internet based questionnaires attracted a younger participant. The mean age of twenty-one people was 23.19 From their initial responses, I was then able to generate film ideas along with different themes and issues, but most importantly keeping it in line with my participant’s majority. From my audience’s feedback, the theme surrounding relationships was a highlighted possibility, as 57% of my participants had firmly chosen to convey this particular theme. Moreover, 66% of the participants felt that there was a need for more social realism films about teenage issues; therefore I concluded that my own product


should have a teenage protagonist that is in or on the verge of beginning a relationship. From this first electronic questionnaire I established that only seven out of twentyone participants had previously viewed a short social realism film. Therefore, to bring awareness of short films that are in this genre, I decided to base my second audience research questionnaire on short films to establish individual preferences and recognisability of various themes and issues. Third Stage I designed my second questionnaire with simplicity in mind, in order to attract volunteer participants and linked it to two BBC Film videos.

About a Girl - Brian Percival

The Most Beautiful Man in the World – Alicia Duffy

After a period of seven days after launching this questionnaire via the GR media social networking page, I


had received fourteen responses, and it was through these particular responses that key concepts were conveyed.

After analysing the responses that were automatically generated for me, I found that this questionnaire helped me to generate an initial idea, for a potential short film; in particular I established that there was a positive gender divide amongst my participants. Males were more inclined to enjoy a film that contained a female protagonist.

Females were more inclined to prefer a film that involved children and a main male character. At this particular point, it was evident that my own product had to have a mixture of both male and female


characters to ensure it not only captured the imagination, but also gave empathy and gripping suspense that both genders would enjoy. Fourth Stage Taking into consideration, the analysed answers to both audience research questionnaire one and two, I developed questionnaire three, this questionnaire was designed to aid me through the developing stages of my product. What do you believe are the most important things for a filmmaker to pay attention to in a film setting out to represent, and explore teenage relationships and disability? There were various responses from all the participants, but one particular response from a 29 year old female, got me stretching the word ‘disability’. “knowledge and sympathetic understanding of the disability being explored, at the same time trying to avoid typical stereotypes or obvious plot lines. physical or mental disabilities do not stop a person being "normal", they just have restictions. one big thing that still remains today in teenage society is the refusal to accept those who are different through their own choice or disability”.


How would you define the word ‘Disability’? Prior to constructing this questionnaire, I had an initial storyline in mind and again I wanted to know what my volunteer participants conceived the word ‘Disability’ to be. Again, the majority correlated to give a mental and physical outline, but one older male participant wrote: “Ive lived with disability in my life more than most and i can see that it can be a problem to do certain tasks given the disability while at the same time many people with disabilities excel in other aspects of their lives more so than able bodied people” While one older female participant stated: “something that has a somewhat negative impact on a persons life” From my initial storyline idea, I had visualised my protagonist to have a social disability connected to shyness and this interesting statement cleverly summed up that as long as something has a negative impact then that can be perceived as a form of disability. This was the most productive questionnaire, as it did allow me to take all the positive correlations and construct a series of synopsises. I believe if the questionnaires were


not anonymously completed, then I would have had very little to go on. Fifth Stage With my final synopsis complete, I approached several sixth form Drama students and asked them if they would help me with a brainstorming, open discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of my synopsis. The session lasted approximately one hour and the table below illustrates the main result. Strengths Setting is described

Weaknesses Michael is too stereotypical

Main character is well established

Conventions are not challenged enough

The ending creates a buildup of tension

Not enough suspense, midway through the synopsis.

The input and direction the Drama students gave me, proved to be a valuable and a rewarding exercise and it allowed me to focus more deeply on the weaknesses that were described. I then went on to create my scripts and each script improved until I had eliminated the weaknesses that the Drama students had highlighted. All the changes I made can be viewed in my script version log: http://bit.ly/ffiQWG


Weaknesses Michael is too stereotypical

Conventions are not challenged enough

Correction Implemented I completely changed Michael’s character from a student with a careless attitude, drawing cartoon like pictures in his maths book during a Mathematics lesson to him working diligently in a Philosophy lesson. His positive educational attitude is reinforced to an audience through a conversation he has with Mr Laurence, the teacher, about the possibility of entering him, in an early entry examination. In the final script, I implemented Mr Laurence telling the class that an essay has to be completed by Friday. By introducing this new scripted line and deleting the original line of Mr Laurence asking Jessica “Is everything OK?” the story now turns around to show Jessica as the student who is not taking her studies seriously enough, as she was previously depicted playing around with her mobile phone and this will have an impact on a viewing audience to question Michael’s


Not enough suspense, mid-way through the synopsis.

motive for taking the mobile at that particular point in the film. Moreover, by revamping his character further enhances the challenge to normal conventions and basically an audience may question the moral behind his chosen course of action. I adjusted the final script to emphasise the factor of why Michael took the mobile in the first instance and highlighted his attempt to return it back to Jessica’s bag to create suspense and tension.


Sixth Stage When my final script had been developed, I arranged an audition, as I had no idea what character would suite what amateur actor. This process enabled me to: Listen to their suggestions, especially their own dialogue with reference to the sexual taunting that Jessica had to incur, as I had not previously wrote this in detail, in the script. Chop and change characters. Bounce ideas around. Answer any questions the actors had.

Discuss costume design.

Audition

Positioning of the set

Establish how comfortable the characters felt with o-e another.

I was able to generate a rehearsal time table that suited the actors, around their own heavy A level schedules.


Seventh Stage After filming and editing a rough copy of the film, I generated my fourth audience research questionnaire. I posted this on the GR Media social networking page and uploaded the rough edited copy of ‘Impulse’ to You Tube for my participants to view.


After a period of four days, I had received twelve responses. I would have liked to have left this post production questionnaire live for at least a couple of weeks, but because of tight deadlines, I was extremely pleased to have received twelve replies in such a short time frame. The majority of these participants responded in a very positive way with reference to the questionnaire and there were hardly any constructive criticism. I really needed some direction especially in a media way, so that I could have filmed any necessary pick up shot to improve my product. Although this was a worthwhile exercise, I will in the future endeavour to split any post production research to involve both a target audience and media experts. For full analysis details on all four questionnaires, please visit: http://bit.ly/h93abk

The combination and the variety of different forms of audience research, allowed me to analyse the feedback from my anonymous participants, drama students and armature actors. Their responses gave me ideas, knowledge and direction at different stages of my project.

Media Evaluation - Part 3  

What have I learned from my audience feedback?