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Focus Groups: Film Poster and Magazine Cover

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

We conducted some open-ended focus groups to gain some initial insight to our film poster and magazine cover.

Magazine Cover:

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After posting out a link on social media to this focus group, we received some responses to gauge an initial reaction to the cover. It was clear that many wanted us to adjust the image of Andrew to make it look less photoshopped which was caused by a gaussian blur we had added to it. Many also felt that we should change the colour of the font of ‘Andrew Wills’ and make the below text (tug) larger and easier to read as well.

Sight & Sound v4

We then took this feedback on board and removed the blur, made the font white and made the tug larger as well. This small focus group was, therefore, useful in gauging an initial reaction to our piece allowing us to make said improvements to it.

Film Poster:

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 16.04.29We then proceeded to use the same method of feedback for our poster. This indicated to us that we should improve the tagline, make some adjustments to the lips/mouth of Rosette to make it appear more streamlined and improve the spider webs around the smoke.

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We then made changes accordingly. Whilst we did not change the cobwebs as we felt there was not much we could do to improve it any further. However, we did change the tagline to have a direct correlation with the web that Rosette spins. We also went back and refined the lips in Photoshop to make them look more realistic and plush. Once again, focus groups made this clear to us and we were able to act on this feedback accordingly.

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How Our Magazine Cover Conforms To Generic Conventions

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

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As seen from the above selection of Sight & Sound covers, it is clear that our cover conforms to many typical elements of both the genre and the house style. Firstly, we have used the same masthead and barcode style as the typical publication. However, one thing that we have no included is the white border around the image as demonstrated by the other covers. Although, our image somewhat conforms to the typical house style. We have correctly identified that the vast majority of publications include the director on them, although there are exceptions to this rule such as The Revenant or The Neon Demon. However, we felt that as it was a niche film for a niche magazine, it would be more appropriate to market the director than the main star of the film such as a publication such as Empire would. Stylistically, we have met these covers somewhere in the middle. The covers range from black and white chiaroscuro lighting to bright and vibrant (such as the Charlie Kaufman cover). Therefore, we have shown an understanding of the visual conventions of these magazines and have slightly challenged them by using a colour splash against the graffiti.

We have also used the same colour and formatting for the tug and splash including the font. Whilst some editions such as Orson Wells or del Toro do differ from this consistent style- we chose that for a less mainstream film, Sight & Sound would choose to give us the standard sans font.

Whilst The Revenant issue did use a puff, on the whole, this is not the case for Sight & Sound, so we chose not to include one. Finally, the yellow box surrounding the text ‘Exclusive Interview’ in our splash is consistent with editions such as The Neon Demon,  thus demonstrating our attention to detail of the house style and conforming to its conventions.

Therefore, as previously discussed in this blog post, our poster has mostly met the conventions of the Sight and Sound house style and effectively plays homage to the semantic and syntactic elements of the noir genre.

Ancillary Tasks: Magazine Cover Analysis

In this task, I analysed the differences between Empire and Sight & Sound magazines. By completing this task, I now know the differences between a mainstream and a niche magazines cover. This will help us as a group during our own magazine cover production once we have decided what sort of an audience we are going to target.