AS-level Coursework Production Report & Evaluation example 1650~ words

This is a B grade piece of coursework, so it’s by no means perfect. If you’re studying a similar AQA syllabus, hopefully this example will give you ideas and show you how to improve. I hit the word limit and waffled too much about things that don’t matter (e.g. implying why I decided to use the English language for a tourism magazine). For reference, I’ve included the cover and content pages in this post.

Cover newest as.jpg
Yeah, could’ve been better. Awful coverline design. Only good thing on this page is the unique masthead design.
CONTENTS newest as.jpg
The contents page. It’s alright. Of course, you have to use original photos which is something I realised I lacked far too late into the project, so I used bland photos I took on holiday. Not a flattering image of a ‘world-class beach’.

Below is the essay I handed in. Tenses have been mixed up. You’ll want to use past-tense, not future-tense as I mistakenly did in the introductory paragraphs. Don’t bold certain words either – this was done to help myself recognise keywords. It just looks odd and copy-pasted (even though it wasn’t).

Concept

The magazine is based on tourism in Vancouver, Canada because I took some original photos taken there that would suit the magazine. The pre-production and production will make use of codes and conventions commonly found in all magazines, e.g. cover lines, masthead, images, etc.

This project incorporates:

  • One front cover
  • One contents page
  • A double paged feature article

Natural landscape scenery of Vancouver is used as these aspects have been known to attract tourists and holidaymakers to a new region, which is the aim of the magazine in this case. The magazine is both informative; providing essential information to tourists and residents as well as persuasive, through the use of attractive imagery taken around the city.

Design, Research & Evaluation

I researched tourism and other magazines in order to identify how audiences are gratified by the manipulation of a magazine’s conventions relative to its target audience. Ideas conceived from exemplar magazines are cited in this report.

Front Cover

Background: an image of a mountain in Vancouver is included to attract the attention of tourists –Burnaby Mountain in the outskirts of Vancouver. The use of a nature shot brings out scenery in Vancouver that tourists will be able to visit for themselves, as if the magazine serves as a preview of Vancouver for tourists, which is a selling point found in all travel magazines. For example; in The Travel Magazine, an article describes the Dubai Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in the world in order to inform the audience of what to expect if they were to visit it. The ‘Ainu’ totem-pole like sculptures featured in the image are iconic in Vancouver as it is known to be a symbol of commemoration to the good will of its relation to early Japanese inhabitants, thus making the photo relevant on the topic of tourism. The image gives a positive representation of Vancouver in its natural attractiveness; most of the colours are a shade of green and blue, denoting a clean environment – which is favourable. Many magazines use an element of the background to overlap some of the magazine title; this is seen in an issue of ‘Travel Leisure’, which used a spire which overlapped the masthead for an artistic effect. At first I thought this effect was not necessary but since there was plenty of space for more emphasis on the totems; I enlarged one with a bear on top and layered it on top of the URL.

The masthead is always important because it allows the audience to create a reference to the magazine and thus retain it in their memory. A title with a bright, eye-catching front has been used so that consumers can distinguish it from other magazines on a shelf. The title of the magazine is ‘Vancouver Today!’ which draws in audiences through direct language. This idea takes credit from other texts with the word ‘today’ as an appended adverb.[1] I used a large, white, handwritten font with a shadowed background and is easily interpreted by the audience that the magazine is up to date with current events, news and information. Unlike the colour black, white is usually associated with positive connotations such as purity. The title is embellished with an underlining which is stylised to fit the layout of the title as well as the white clouds in the background; ‘today’ is placed to the bottom-right of ‘Vancouver’. The line allows the convenient separation of a URL (‘VAToday.ca’) to the magazine’s website, giving the audience access to the website to gain more information about Vancouver which gratifies them in doing so.

A sort of lure is included at the bottom of the cover within a red strip, which contrasts with the soft colours above, thus drawing the audience’s attention to it. It elucidates the special ‘anniversary edition’ of the magazine, implying that the magazine contains more content about Vancouver than typical issues, enticing the audience to choose the magazine over others on a shelf as more content would likely bring greater gratification to the audience. From my research, this is seen in an issue of ‘Q’, a music magazine where a red strip is used to emphasise ‘all the month’s albums, gigs, films & DVDs reviewed and rated’.

Cover lines are used to emphasise the issue’s best content and are placed to the right side in order to keep the totem poles in the audience’s view. These cover lines take a white font similar to Arial with a black stroke to make it easy to read against the background. Direct mode of address is used to draw the audience into indulging in some of the articles, the most prominent examples are “your ultimate guide to Vancouver” and “all you need to know about hiking.” The image was also flipped so that the cover lines could be aligned to the right. Even though audiences read left to right, having the cover lines on the right cause the totems to stand out more, seizing greater attention. An example of when cover lines are aligned to one side for focus on the background is seen in some issues of Newsweek. A main cover line is utilised – “Can you take on the Grouse Grind Mountain?” This is in reference to hiking, as mountains surround the city. This signifies that the magazine contains content about the mountain and scaling it, the audience is also addressed directly.

Contents Page

The contents page features a blue-purple gradient strapline, containing the header ‘contents’ with the magazine name included in its signature font along with the issue date in order to fill space with useful information. A simplistic colour scheme is used so that the readers are able to gather the information without being deviated by too many technical codes, a common technique found in most magazines.

The page titles and references are in a columned layout so that the reader can gather as much information about each of the pages as possible. Each page reference utilises a colour code for the separation of different topics, making it easier for the reader to differentiate information. Most page references come with a first line and sub-line. The purpose of the first line to capture the readers’ attention with a bold font and the sub-line provides specific detail about the article. From my research, this has been seen in ‘Vogue’ and ‘Psychologies Magazine’. This structured layout makes the information easy to read.

There are four images on this page; all originally taken in Vancouver and are used for a varied representation of Vancouver; a beach, a city, transport and a modernistic building implant the idea in the readers’ minds that Vancouver is a diverse city with many different features. This therefore reflects the magazine; diverse content about Vancouver to satisfy the reader. However, one thing I would have liked to change is the use of nature shots to replace the image of ‘Vancouver’s horizon’, which would have given a further diverse representation of the city and would have been more visually pleasing – however a lack of original photography prevented this. Therefore; an overall image of grey city is weighted on more than greenery – an even dichotomy of the two would have been preferable, so this is a weakness.

Anchorage is used in the image of the beach. The image serves as a ‘hook’ whilst the overlaid text serves provides an anchor to the meaning, making Vancouver seem desirable.

Inner Pages

A double-page feature article is used for production. The layout is derived, but variant from the magazine Supply Management, a professional magazine with a clean presentation to present informative content. I feel this suits my magazine because it includes informative and persuasive language, i.e. informing readers about the ‘2020 Action Plan’. Purple is used in the colour scheme (heading, text) to mirror the colour code given in the contents page.

The below paragraph doesn’t make make much sense to me. Now that I’m in university, I have no idea what point I was trying to explain or how it benefits the evaluation.

Information from the ‘City of Vancouver’ website was researched to help create an informative article, but is not copied word-for-word in order to keep content original (and to avoid plagiarism). This article revolves around factual information regarding Vancouver’s 2020 Action Plan which aims to make the city as sustainable as possible. I feel this is a suitable article for the magazine because it is on the topic of one of the government’s top priority campaigns, therefore being a relevant subject to the readers who would purchase the magazine.

An image is used to represent the verdure in Vancouver; a high-angle long shot of the ‘Vancouver Conservatory’ in order to reflect the efforts to “a greener city” as described in the article.

The main strength of these pages is the eco-friendly representation of Vancouver. Many people are open to the idea of a clean, environmentally friendly city, so this helps build toward the aim of a positive representation of the city.

Target Audience

Travel and tourism magazines attract the attention of ABC1 social grade tourists as a primary audience.

^This is a reference to the NRS social grades. I remember wanting to say this, but if I did then my work would’ve gone above the 1650 upper word limit. The solution to this problem would have been to get rid of all the other unnecessary information that didn’t enrich the report, like plenty of obsolete information in the following paragraph below.

Demographics

  • Location: Vancouver, where the magazine is based
  • Age: 16 – 65, anyone younger or older is likely to have less interest in travel/tourism
  • All genders
  • Various ethnicities

The audience is likely to have little to no disability as well as having an employment because the magazine contains a large fraction of information about activities and places that require movement and travel expenses. Vancouver is located in British Columbia, Canada in which most people speak English. English is also the third most spoken language in the world[2], so it is theorised that most people who purchase this magazine will be able to read in English with the exception of some extraneous visitors. I anticipate that readers will originate from England, Japan and America as most visitors I have observed are from these places. The Japanese are also well-known for contributing to Vancouver’s industrial evolution up until a few decades ago, so a large fraction of visitors are likely to be relatives of the Japanese industrial workers. C2DE social classes are unlikely to purchase this magazine as tourism implies large travel expenses.

Psychographics

  • Activities/interests: Hiking, politics, travelling, tourism
  • Behaviour/attitudes: Literate, positive attitude to activity

This magazine is aimed at any audience with an interest for tourism in Vancouver; therefore the reader is not anticipated to have any particular values, ideologies or culture.

[1] Seen in India Today

[2] Retrieved from Nationalencyklopedin “Världens 100 största språk 2007” The World’s 100 Largest Languages in 2007

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Using detailed examples, explain representations of masculinity – AS Level essay

 

This is a so-and-so homework essay done using examples looked at during lessons. Some major let-downs are that it doesn’t have an introductory paragraph, connectives, or a good conclusion. Other than that, the body is rather spot-on for a homework piece.

Male stereotypes such as men being heroes and strong are seen in media such as Die Hard 4.0 and The Expendables through the use of actors with muscular bodies, revealing glistening physiques and low-angle shots. Countertypes are also present in the media, for example; stayathomedads.co.uk and some news articles address role-reversals in the stereotypical husband and wife relationships. Advertisements aimed at men often use stereotypical images to be able to relate to the target audience; the Dove moving image advert during the American Super Bowl uses this convention. Among these representations, there are indications of drug use by males in films like Shifty. There are also subtly displayed stereotypes in some of these materials such as men being gamers, lovers and leaders.

In film; a stereotype commonly seen is the representation that men are brave, strong and protectors; ‘The Action Hero’ stereotype. This common stereotype is represented in Die Hard 4.0, The Expendables and Skyfall. Representations of this stereotype are expressed through medium close-ups and low-angled shots which show the strength and power of the male characters. In terms of character; costumes are usually war-torn with facial expressions depicting aggressiveness, which are connotations of fighting/violence – this is mostly seen in The Expendables. Another technique to show strength is used in oiling the actors’ muscles and the light source from fire and explosions cause their bodies to glisten, putting emphasis on their strength. The title of Die Hard itself connotes the determination to win, or die in attempt. In Skyfall, the main protagonist is seen holding a gun in one of the opening shots, which is an action code that signifies that there will be action in the film. The protagonist also gets a reward in the form of a girl, which is stereotypical of male heroes. Skyfall represents ‘The Strong Silent Type’ stereotype, with the character being in control and succeeding with women. These stereotypes are reinforced with calmness of characters and the skilled use of weapons.

In an English urban thriller, Shifty portrays the main male protagonists in in varied ways from typical action/adventure films. The scene is set in a council estate in London, as such; all characters are designed to suit the environment. In terms of male representation, all of the males portrayed in the film appear to have something to do with drugs. Because of its dark nature, the film’s lighting is low-key for most parts. It also incorporates cultural identities and the fact that ‘Shifty’ has 4 A-levels but still deals with drugs rather than having a real job – from these plot devices, a complex representation is drawn which consists of various interpretations, such as men being aggressive, submissive and professional at their occupation. ‘Trevor’ is shown to have control in his family through having demands in choices that affect his family. Trevor is not a stereotypical drug user since he has a reasonably nice house and family, whereas Shifty and Chris are more stereotypical ‘lads’ – they use colloquial language, repeated use of cursing and going around carrying out deals. These social realism techniques make the entire representation seem real; as such we receive more complexly constructed representations.

Advertisements aimed at men often use stereotypical images to relate the good/service to the target audience. An example of an advertising campaign that uses this scheme is the Dove USA Super Bowl XLIV ad for grooming products for men. The advert was shown during the event because middle-aged American men are the primary audience for the sport. It made use of a chronological stereotypical American male’s life in a montage of shots in sync with a man’s voice singing a narrative to the tune of ‘William Tell Overture’, which consists of activities which men would stereotypically do throughout their lives, such as getting married and “(having) three kids”. Each stereotype is visually shown, such as a boy playing with some masculine toys and riding a bicycle. This is an example of anchorage; the narration leads to an open range of interpretations. The main perspective the audience should receive is the representation of stereotypical things men would do in their lifetime. The montage of different scenarios serve as ‘hooks’ while the narration through song provides an anchor to the meaning.

In the music industry, there are vast representations of male stereotypes. One Direction is a ‘boy band’ with a target audience of teenage females. On their website, the colour scheme makes use of soft colour shades such as light green and sky blue – these soft colours suggest femininity, which suits the target audience. The font and use of symbols such as stars and hearts make the page look like a girls’ scrapbook, which helps relate the band to the target audience. A contrasting representation to this is the Dizzee Rascal website.         On this page, the colour used is mainly black and white – these two colours connote simplicity and perhaps even the artist’s ethnic origin, which is clearly presented on the page. His serious expression shows dedication to his occupation. These conventions show that his songs are aimed at males rather than teenage females.

A representation that most industries refrain from using is of the metrosexual male; a man who is in touch with his feminine side who has male qualities but also takes pride in appearance. This representation was used in a perfume advert for ‘1 Million by Paco Rabanne’. The actor used is not a stereotypical strong, manly character but instead; he is clean cut and slim with contrasting formal attire which is shown in each of his shots, showing he cares about his appearance. He wears a feminine belt and each pose he strikes resembles one that a female would do – however, when he clicks and a girl’s dress falls off, his heterosexuality is signified. A groovy, rebellious lifestyle is indicated with each click; whenever the actor clicks, a quick fix is shown for cars, gambling and women which could represent the wants of men. So as with the Dove advert, the institute uses scenarios to relate with the target audience of men.

A countertype in the media representing masculinity is househusbands. Daily Mail news articles address that househusbands are becoming increasingly common. The online news article has images which portray closer relationships between a father and child. The first image on the page is constructed for the article and depicts a man with a baby in a doorway with a woman in the background in office clothes, presumably going to work. This image shows the role-reversal in the relationship where the wife provides income for the family and the husband stays at home, looking after their child to match the context of the article. The shot is medium-long and is focused on the man and child in the foreground in order to bring attention that the husband will be staying at home with his child so that the audience is shocked with what is first perceived, because it is against the norm. This challenges the stereotype that society widely accepts. A second image is used and uses the same aesthetics. Older generation audiences are likely to have an oppositional reading to this countertype because in their generation, it was idealistic for the women to stay at home while the husband provided an income for the family to thrive on. There are lots of audience viewpoints and responses based on how they were brought up on this idea.

It is apparent that stereotypes are used by the media to appeal to a certain audience, such as adverts using stereotypical images to appeal to men who are familiar with the stereotypes and can therefore relate with the imagery. However; along with stereotypical representations, oppositional readings can be made by certain audiences such as the older generation with ‘househusbands’.