The topic with which my Media Production dealt with was amateur music Band’s and how to start one. I decided upon this topic as I believed it would be quite interesting documentary to film because there are many different sections that need explaining and so this allows for a lot of scope when filming. My main aim was to provide my audience with a committed info-documentary on how to start their own band, and attempt to encourage people to do just that.
In order to achieve my objectives, I aimed to produce a short documentary/report similar to those that frequently air on MTV.
I viewed the following programmes, which were targeted towards to my target audience specifically to see what choices of shots, effects and editing are used: –
* MTV Cribs
* MTV How to live like a rock star
* MTV2’s Gonzo
* T4 on Channel 4
All of these shows were targeted towards my target audience.
I paid particular attention to the MTV report “How to live like a rock star” which served to inform and give advice to a youth audience, but in a flamboyant and exaggerated style and it followed the same basic template as my short report (How to….). The report was 10 minutes long and was part of a larger show called MTV News; it was basically a short documentary made by one of MTV’s presenters. I wanted my production to be in the same report genre. I aimed to produce the documentary in the same particular style as those that air on MTV so that it would be targeted at a particular audience not just because of its content but because of the way its filmed and edited etc.
The audience I was primarily attempting to reach through my production was a young, mostly teenage audience, 13-25 who preferably played musical instruments and were interested in more alternative, less mainstream music. I specifically targeted a mostly male audience because it is well documented that there are more males interested in playing in bands than females but there are equally as many females who enjoy listening to the same alternative music as males so I haven’t totally kept them out as they would equally be interested in the types of bands and music in my production and for maybe even purely for the entertainment factor of it. The issue dealt with by my report is relevant to almost all of Britain; and so I haven’t made a conscious attempt to appeal to audiences just in a particular country because the issue is universal, I thought an audience living in England or Scotland would be just as interested in my report as someone from Wales because the audience can relate to the local band’s being interviewed to local band’s in their area and when they see shots of a local venue, they can relate that to one of their local venue’s.
I decided I wouldn’t try and target an audience any older than 25 because by that age most people have decided whether they’d want to be in a band or not and so the topic discussed would not be very relevant to anybody after that age. Also I didn’t want really go above about 25 years old because then I feel I’d be commenting more on the history of music and bands instead of how to create one, this is why I’ve tried to keep mainly to the point in the documentary and tried not go to far into other subject matter. Because it was made with a teenage audience in mind and a channel with exactly my audience to air it on I kept the style of it to just appeal to a younger audience. I didn’t want the documentary appeal to the more experienced musician because I feel that they would learn nothing new and I felt this was only for the amateur musician.
During my research in to programmes of a similar to genre to mine I found that in these reports targeted towards the “MTV generation”, what was happening on screen was important, they contained a lot of visual set pieces and energy, so editing and sound would be very important in my report, sometimes even more so than the actual content because the purpose of these sort of programmes is to provide entertainment. So I made sure my production contained these e.g. I used many different effects to link the transition between shots such as wipes and dissolves and visual effects such as a guitar “magically” appearing on the presenter.
I found the programmes were very informal in their shooting with most shots filmed using hand-held camera and the cameramen purposely took less care when filming which perhaps reflects the audience’ own sense of being more wild and fun, so my production used the same conventions to reflect a youth’s sense of energy and wanting to rebel against the formal documentaries that are aimed at their older peers. I achieved this further by using short shots in the production and keeping the shots informal, using “wobbly” camera work. I wanted to give the impression that the production was quite amateur to my target audience, as though the project was had not much structure etc This is what I thought when I watched many of the MTV Reports but through making this production I have realised how much planning is needed.
I attempted to add enough variety in my shots e.g. when the presenter gives tips on how to sing, the camera is tracking around him and when he is giving his final tips in the 2nd to last scene, the camera is constantly zooming in and out and tilting from side to side in a quirky fashion. This is not only to hold the viewers interest but also because this type of edgy, informal camera work is a convention of this sort of genre. I made a conscious effort to make the shots different to those you’d expect from a formal music documentary such as one you’d see on VH1 which targets an adult audience and is a lot more formal in its approach to camera work and presenting.
I took this all into careful consideration when designing a storyboard for my production. And when writing the script I undertook research in to the subject of the processes involved in putting together a band but since I had much interest in the topic already this was quite easy, I attained all my facts and figures such as “Jimi Hendrix practised playing guitar for 12 hours a day etc” from a book called “Guitar Facts” This helped when writing the content of the script which I consciously made informal with a lot of slang words, quirkiness and humour. I wanted the presenter to appear relaxed, quirky and happy e.g. the presenter makes a joke about huge superstar musicians having one thing in common – long hair!
SIMILARITY TO GENRE
The inclusion of an actual presenter and the inclusion of the presenter summing up the basic documentary content in the opening sequence are two more features typical of the report/documentary genre that I used. There were also various techniques, such as common interview technique, as I included a sequence of mid-shots, with a definite style of mise-en-scene including the interviewee’s head and upper body, as well as his surrounding.
I used interviews with various people concerned with the topic being discussed, this is also very typical convention of reports, and is a central part of this genre. Also, lot of reports similar to this production use a lot of interviews and comments from “experts” with not much input e.g. in this production, “advice” from the presenter. But in my production I wanted the presenter to be an expert equally as much as the interviewees which is why in my production you see the presenter giving most of the advice. Because I could not take the school’s camera off school premises and with no digital camera of my own I found I could only interview member’s of band’s who I went to school with. But I found that they were ideal for interviewing anyway, as they were able to explain how their band came together and offer advice to my audience on how to start their own bands. I intended to portray the band member’s, as the experienced, knowledged, experts on the subject matter.
I consciously made the decision not to interview the music teacher or any such expert on music that was available to me at school because I wanted the band member’s offering advice to be someone my target audience could identify with and feel relaxed with which is not the effect you get with someone in authority. I took the decision to interview these people in their respective environments; however being only allowed to film in school this posed as quite a problem as there are not many visual signifiers to music in our school because the music room was similarly out of bounds.
But I managed to alleviate this somewhat when interviewing “The B-Sides” who I was able to interview in a car which when the voice over serves as an interpreter explaining this was “The B-Sides arriving at their next gig” even though they were actually in the schools car park during dinner hours. I also had background music playing in every scene, as I believed this would be helpful for the audience, as it would serve as an audible signifier as to who and what the people were concerned with. Having “The B-Sides” interviewed in a car “just before a gig” as the narrator explains (even though this wasn’t the case, it adds an air of credibility to my production, at least to the audience it does because it shows that the interviewees were filmed in their respective surroundings).
One of my main aims of my production was to be innovative in certain areas. I didn’t want my production to be a run of the mill youth documentary, and so thus intended to be innovative in some ways. One of the main ways I intended to stray away from the norm was through the inclusion of the presenter as I’ve explained earlier, having a large amount of dialogue and not relying on too many interviews “MTV NEWS” and “T4 on Channel 4” are largely guilty of this.
I also used some intertextuality with my production. During “Step 1” you see some shots of a “Fender Stratocaster” guitar silhouetted against the sun and sky with the “Red Dwarf” orchestral theme playing in the background. The scene is very reminiscent of the opening scenes from the film “2001 – A space odyssey” with the sun silhouetting a planet. This could’ve been a fairly standard shot of a guitar but filming it this way makes it seem more interesting and gives connotations that the guitar is of legendary stature is of some god-like being.
Also, reports in this genre mostly use music as background music with little or no relation to the scene at all, its non-diegetic sound. Whereas my documentary is about music and I wanted any music I include it to serve a purpose and to be a part of the production. This is why I’ve used in the “Step 1,2,3, etc” shots I have blurred this distinction by using sound bridges, I appear to play the intro to a song on my guitar and the song carries on playing right into the next scene. I did this by dubbing a particular song onto the “Step 1,2,3 etc” sequence and timing the song so that the intro to the song plays in sync with my hand movements on the guitar and I just left the song playing through that section of the documentary.
This creates a smooth transition between shots and when the audience hears a new track, it serves as an audible signifier that it is the end of one section in the report and onto a different one. I used the same technique when one of the interviewees from “The B-Sides” tinkers with a car radio in the shot to introduce them and this is where I have dubbed on the track “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I’d blurred the distinction between diegetic and non – diegetic sound. I think I’ve used sound effectively in my production. I had to take careful consideration in choosing my music to accompany my documentary. I decided on including only modern, alternative, music such as “Nirvana” and “The White Stripes” because it is this genre of music that my target audience would mostly listen to and because it’s energetic and fun and thought it would compliment the energetic editing and presenting fine.
I believe my documentary achieved quite high production values, with the overall look of my production was of a fairly good standard. Most of my shots were varied and different without being confusing or unnecessary. I managed to link the narration with the shots which was also very pleasing, for example, there is a particular sequence during which I list the basic instruments played by a band member during which I manage to match up the voice narration with each of the band member’s “magically appearing”. I also managed smooth editing, that flowed well. Especially the end sequence where the presenter dreams of becoming a rock star and the shot that follows is a fantasy sequence where a picture of Kurt Cobain fades into the presenter who is in exactly the same position, I think that worked well and is something that my target audience can really relate to and hopefully influences them enough to start their own band.
I do feel though I could’ve have emphasised the locality of this production by perhaps flashing up the band’s name up as a subtitle to introduce the band which are being interviewed and doing the same with each individual band member’s name as well as the presenter’s name to give the production a more personal touch and simply so the audience knew who these people were. Plus I feel I could’ve described the area that we live in and its music scene so its locality is known to the audience, again just to make it more personal and individual, which is what programmes in this genre usually do because the topics are usually universal to the whole of Britain. However I think the report offers some useful advice, entertains at the same time and inspires people to start their own band.
Overall, bearing in mind my production context, I was quite pleased with my practical production. Taking into consideration the amount of time I had in the end to edit (only a few hours spread over 6 days), I was very pleased with my overall result. It was similar to the short MTV – style report genre in various aspects, such as the format, montage of various quirky, informal shots and humorous presenting.
With my limited experience with using the equipment and the limited equipment I could use I think successfully managed to provide my audience with a detailed step by step guide of the topic, and came to a well rounded conclusion at the end. I feel I have used sound and visual imagery well to create an humorous, edgy and interesting production that contains most of the conventions of the genre have used them well. However I do believe that the Macintosh editing equipment that I used was of a great help in helping me edit shots quickly and accurately and the quickness of the digital system was definitely the main reason I finished on time. Though there are still several things I would have changed about my final production.
When I started doing the production, I had a limited knowledge of video production, and so I found some of the first shots were not as good as some of my later shots, since my knowledge and skills developed as I went on. For instance, one of my first shots was the one right at the end where I dream of turning into Kurt Cobain, only it was also rather a dark room, and I did not consider this when choosing the location to film the shot and you can see various objects lying on the floor around me as well which I didn’t think were in shot. By the end of filming I realised what I had done, and wouldn’t have made the same slight errors that I had made here. Therefore, some of my later shots were better than my first shots, and I think my shots would have been more professional if I was to repeat the process. Also I would definitely try and rent or borrow another camera, one that I could take off school premises so I could obtain more interviews with music engineers and talent scouts etc and perhaps several more shots to expand my documentary even more.
I have most definitely learnt several lessons, and concepts surrounding the media. One thing, which I have learnt, is how, through careful editing, potentially easy it is for the media to manipulate both people and stories, to gain a certain angle, and edge to their production, and therefore what a potentially powerful tool the media is and can be. I have also learnt that there are many choices and decisions media producers have to make in order to reach their specific target audience, and how complicated it can all be.
I have learnt the true restrictions one’s productions context can hold over a production, and how it can restrict both the effectiveness, and value of a production. I have also learnt about the importance of genre, and how difficult it is to be innovative, and also how important genre can be in audience expectations. I have also the mount of work that has to go into a practical production, and the time and energy it takes, to produce something worthwhile especially with a genre which is very informal such as this because as an audience member myself I did not realise the amount of structure and planning that goes into informal “MTV style reports”, especially into writing a script and the editing afterwards.
Cite this essay
Amateur music Band’s and how to start one. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/amateur-music-bands-start-one-new-essay