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Media Industries 2

CONTRIBUTION AND COLLABORATION

Knowing what my strengths and weaknesses are, I decided to stay away from the more administrative/leadership roles as well as the more technical roles. Seeing as I’ve always had an interest in design, I volunteered myself to take on all design related tasks from the very start of the semester – the second week into the subject. Since then, I’ve delivered a couple of different poster designs – which we didn’t end up using – as well as the handouts/flyers that were distributed during our seminar. Other than having the handouts printed, guillotined and distributed, and the directional posters printed and put up within building 5, I helped prepare the snacks/lollies and moved/arrange props and just offered help where needed during the seminar. On the topic of collaboration, there wasn’t much physical, if nothing at all, collaboration required and involved in the tasks assigned to me. Upon completing the design work, I would just post draft versions on the Facebook group and based on the comments/feedback given to me, make changes to the original design. I’m always opened to criticisms and take all feedback positively.

PROACTIVE LEARNING

I’ve always had an interest in graphic design. So by offering to come up with the posters and handouts for the event, I had hoped that it could potentially turn into something I could add to my portfolio, as well as to expand and hone my (basic) skills/knowledge in Photoshop. Adding onto that, I’ve attended all the seminars prior to our seminar and observed how each group functioned and how each group did things in terms of roles, staging and, particularly, the handouts, and used the information I managed to gather as my main point of reference. My main struggle with the task was in the technical end of things, in which I’ve spent a lot of time Googling and self-teaching on YouTube trying to understand the mechanics of how it all worked/alternatives that are worth the try. This (the time spent on researching + I work over 20 hours per week), however, significantly reduced my efficiency and this perhaps was an inconvenience to my group mates.

PARTICIPATION

As mentioned above, I had the handouts printed, guillotined and distributed, the directional posters printed and put up within building 5, helped prepare the snacks/lollies, moved/arrange props, ushered in people, and just offered help where needed during the seminar. I’ve also attended all classes and group meetings, and the actual event. I’m in a bit of a 50/50 situation when it comes to group discussions. I would readily participate in discussions related to my tasks/discussions on the design aspect of things; as well as provide my opinion on other general areas I was comfortable in providing feedback for (though it may have been unconstructive/unhelpful in the end) but when it comes to the question of which guest to contact, I just draw a complete blank. As to what hindered my participation, I’ve narrowed it down to three things: (1) as an international student, I don’t know much about Australian filmmakers/editors/producers etc, much less which ones are reputable/worth the effort to try and secure (2) by the time I look them up on my phone/whatever device that’s readily available to me, we’ve moved on to the next potential guest/topic (3) succumbing to intimidation – I feel more comfortable knowing I’m talking about before saying/offering to do anything; I just didn’t see the point of saying something I wasn’t sure about, that probably wastes everybody’s time and serves no benefit to the group. But though I wasn’t helpful in that aspect, I still paid attention to what was happening and tried to catch up with the discussion.

CONNECTIONS AND INTERSECTIONS

The “Wanted” seminar series was a good learning experience, for both my personal and career growth. On the topic of my personal growth, I’ve realized that by pushing myself to take on tasks that I’m not 100% familiar with (but still am interested in) – i.e. agreeing to come up with poster and handout designs even though my knowledge of Photoshop is rather limited – is the best way for me to learn; it gave me that extra push to do pursue my interests (something I’ve been putting off for quite a while now) and I also learn better/faster when there is more at stake. In terms of content, I’ve learnt/reaffirmed that filmmaking is not the right path for me. Though I enjoy being involved in the creative side, I’m much more interested in the money/marketing/business side of things. In terms of group interactions, I’ve learnt the importance of communication and to not be afraid to ask for help whenever needed.

GRADE AWARDED

D (72%)

Acknowledging that I haven’t taken much initiative to help in other areas outside my assigned role, but taking into account that I tried to take on the more general tasks that – i.e. printing, putting up posters, distributing handouts, ushering, the heavy lifting stuff (anything but the technical stuff such as camera/sound/lighting), and seeing as I’ve completed all tasks given to me on time/by the deadlines agreed on – I did what I was supposed to do well, at least I’d like to think I did well and I hope the others did too, and by the deadlines given to me, I’d say the grade I awarded myself is pretty fair.

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Week 1 Minutes


What happened?

  • Facebook group up and running
  • Google doc shared
  • Exchanged contact details
  • Discussed areas of interest to each group member
  • Discussed seminar concept: Pitch a fake movie and have industry experts discuss the execution of it from pre to production to post
  • Created a list of things to do (refer below for more details)

What’s on the group agenda?

  • Poster
  • Promo video
  • AV/Lighting setup
  • Blackboard checklists (incl. release forms for any guests)
  • Documentation of the seminar

* I offered to work on posters

Week 2 Minutes


What happened?

  • Built upon initial seminar concept discussed – come up with a trailer for the fake movie to be pitched to the guest speakers and have them tell us how they would go about making the film from pre, to production, to post.
  • Created a list of things/areas people were interested in covering:

Pre-production

  • Marketing*
  • Money/financing/budget*
  • Casting
  • How to find a producer for your script
  • Location scouting
  • Obtaining permits/fire arm licensing
  • Story board artists

Production

  • Conflict resolution
  • Contingency plans
  • Chain of command
  • Establishing a look (cinematography)

Post-production

  • Colour grading
  • Sound design
  • Editing
  • Visual effects

Distribution*

  • Post Marketing (keeping the hype up)*
  • How to choose where to distribute to, cinemas, VOD, DVD

* = stuff I pitched to the group/areas that I was interested in

What’s on the group agenda?

  • Assign roles
  • Come up with name for seminar
  • Start sourcing for guest speakers

Week 3 Minutes


What happened?

  • 2 new group members
  • Assigned group roles

* I’m in charge of posters

What’s on the group agenda?

  • Source for guest speakers
  • Come up with name for seminar

My to-do list:

  • Think about potential poster ideas

Week 4 Minutes


What happened?

  • Rough script for trailer
  • Have a rough idea on who we want as our guest speakers (but should still keep a look out for other potential speakers just in case)
  • Discussed camera, lighting, and sound equipment needed
  • Came up with name for seminar – Reel Crimes

What’s on the group agenda?

  • Treatment for the two trailers to be included in our seminar + costumes
  • Floor plan for seminar
  • Catering
  • Social media
  • Posters
  • Potential interview questions
  • General paperwork

My to-do list:

  • Come up with a couple of different poster designs by next Friday
  • Think about poster designs based on our overall theme, the script for the trailer, as well as the guidelines provided by the steering committee

Week 5 Minutes


What happened?

  • Discussed potential interview questions

Some questions I pitched to the group

  1. What goes into an effective marketing campaign?
  2. How do go about determining a budget?
  3. How do you keep the hype up (long) after the film has been released?
  • Discussed potential guest speakers
  • Briefly discussed technical equipment required; and equipment that are readily available
  • Discussed catering

* I posted two separate draft poster designs to choose from:

MI2_Poster_1.3

Poster Design #1

 

Poster Design #2

Poster Design #2

What’s on the group agenda?

  • Think about potential speakers

My to-do list:

  • Rework posters to fit criteria/guidelines provided by steering committee
  • Include guest names + other details when available

Week 6 Minutes


What happened?

  • Talked more about guest speakers

What’s on the group agenda?

  • Contact, follow-up and secure guest speakers!

My to-do list:

  • Start working on handout designs ASAP

Mid Semester Break Meeting + Week 7 Minutes


What happened?

  • 2 guest speakers confirmed
  • Equipment confirmed
  • Catering sorted
  • Discussed props required
  • Discussed social media plan
  • Created Facebook page and Twitter account
  • Reworked posters
  • Finalized seminar structure
  • Finalized props

* I posted pictures of the draft handout design on Facebook earlier in the week:

Handout (Front)

Handout (Front)

Handout (Back)

Handout (Back)

What’s on the agenda?

  • Seminar slides

My to-do list:

Rework handouts to better fit the theme

Week 8 Minutes


What happened?

  • Everything is confirmed/good to go
  • Handouts reworked:
Handout (Front)

Handout (Front)

Handout (Back)

Handout (Back)

  • Final handout design:

 

Front

Front

Back

Back

What’s on the group agenda?

The actual seminar

My to-do list:

  • Print out, guillotine, distribute handouts
  • Print out and put up directional posters
  • Print out media release forms

SEMINAR BLOG CRITIQUE – TV GROUP (BREAKING IN)

INDUSTRY ADVICES

  • Important to have a digital/visual portfolio of your work with you at all times
  • Never ignore emails
  • Always all to follow up on CV after sending it off via email
  • You need to know your craft & constantly work on your skill base
  • Word of mouth goes around
  • Watch out for typos in cover letter/CV
  • Your friends/classmates are the best network you’re going to get

OVERALL COMMENTS

  • Very good audience engagement
  • Host was amazing
  • Loved the trailer and skit
  • “Applause” sign was a great idea
  • Great use of props

THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM SEMINAR (STRUCTURE/EXECUTION)

  • Humorous approach helped loosen speakers up; helped them feel more comfortable/casual – which lead to high levels of participation; no awkward silences
  • Camera positions – mid of stairway, diagonally in front of stage
  • Lighting positions – one of each side of stage

GRADE AWARDED AND WHY

Content was relevant and informative?

C – The main criticism I’ve got for the TV group is that their seminar, though entertaining, lacked substance. Most of what was discussed was generic and could easily be obtained through online research. Moreover, the TV group structured their seminar to resemble that of a game show. This approach has both a pro and a con. Unfortunately the questions asked/games played did not provide useful information at all and merely served as entertainment for the guest speakers. In saying so, it (again) lacked substance and thus it did not work out in their favor in terms of content.

Approach was coherent and engaging?

HD – The skit and the use of an “applause” sign was a very clever strategy to engage the audience in the seminar. On top of that, the use of squeaky toys as a buzzer was a smart way and/or system to organize the panel of guest speakers. So that there’s no overlapping or talking over one another – which indirectly results in dealing with problems related to awkwardness. While the game show approach was regarded as a con in terms of content, it’s the opposite when it comes to approach and engagement as it helped guest speakers loosen up and feel more comfortable about sharing their thoughts/opinions.

Theme was executed with originality and style?

HD – The TV group played to their theme of “breaking in to the TV industry” very well. This was demonstrated by the TV group’s seminar promo trailer, the skit at the start of the cinema, the use of props (burglar and cop costumes, gun, etc), and the host staying in character throughout the seminar. The only thing that did not fit in with the theme, and this is definitely nit-picking, were the “meth candy” snacks given out upon entering the lecture hall. All in all, the TV group did a superb job at keeping to their theme and so I awarded them a HD.

Staging was professional?

HD – The TV group did a great job at staging the seminar. The “stage” area was well lighted and decorated to resemble that of a living room, in which they would break into. I thought the living room design helped the guest speakers feel more at home and comfortable, which ultimately helped them open up and share more of their personal experiences.

Promotion was varied and timely?

D – The promotion was timely, abundant and varied. The TV group advertised their event digitally through all RMIT media groups on Facebook (this includes a short promo video and a digital copy of their poster), as well as physically put up posters all around building 9 and 5.

SEMINAR BLOG CRITIQUE – (FEMME FATALE)

INDUSTRY ADVICE

  • Online platforms are a good starting point for those who are interested in writing
  • Women are generally more self-conscious than men – a lack of confidence in women whilst men “bluff” their way to the top
  • Most women lack self-esteem, and so, they are often cautious about their career choices – they are drawn to careers that they think they would have a higher chance of success at; i.e. there are a lot of female (script) writers, costume designers, etc, but not a lot of women cinematographers or directors
  • Women have to work a lot harder than men just to be assured that they could get the job done/deserve to get the job; but that’s not necessarily a bad thing
  • Research is extremely important! – Whether you’re applying for a job or interviewing someone, etc; upon realizing your dream job, you need to research and know exactly what you need to do in order to get there
  • You need to be hungry and entrepreneurial in order to succeed in attaining your dream job; don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the job, always reflect and understand why you didn’t get it and that could perhaps direct you on a different path, one that you never took notice of that would be perfect for you
  • The more skills you’ve got, the more attractive you will be to employers (particular emphasis on the technical side of things; there’s a huge lack of women specialized in technical film/TV roles)
  • Never stop honing your skills – it’s what ultimately makes you stand out from the crowd
  • Passion and the ability to understand your audience (their likes/dislikes, interests, demographics, etc) is key to good content creation
  • As a means of maximizing viewership, content needs to be unique, have a point of difference and have an emotional effect on audiences
  • It’s important for men to know what women go through in the workplace and speak up for women when they feel women are being undermined

 OVERALL COMMENTS

  • MCQ (trivia) questions at the start of the seminar was a good attempt at invoking audience participation, as well as provides insight into the subject matter without wasting a lot of time; smart strategy 

THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM SEMINAR (STRUCTURE/EXECUTION)

  • Remember to do test runs – microphones, cameras, sound equipment, presentation slides & lighting
  • Lighting was done differently as compared to the other seminars:
    • Lights were focused directly on the guest speakers – lighting helped set the mood/played well with the whole femme fatale theme
    • The dimming/turning off of the lights is another point to consider – could potentially help guest speakers feel more relaxed?

GRADE AWARDED AND WHY

Content was relevant and informative?

D – Content was relevant (as demonstrated in the “industry advices” section above) and this might be straying away a little from the topic, but the most striking thing to me was what Brodie said about how it’s important for men to know what women go through in the workplace – stuff like women often being talked over, their opinions disregarded, etc – and how men, upon realizing this, should step up and say something. This struck me as something I should prepare myself for when entering the work force and it caused me to reflect and think about how to best deal in these situations; which I found to be rather insightful. I awarded the femme fatale group a D and not a HD because, though the content provided was relevant, insightful, and more importantly, reflective, the guest speakers went a bit off topic a couple times and one in particular was not prepared enough/unclear of the point(s) she was trying to make, which, after a while, got slightly confusing.

Approach was coherent and engaging?

D – I thought the seminar had a good, structured flow of topic areas. Adding onto that, the MCQ trivia questions are the start of the seminar was effective in providing insight into the situation and/or position of women in the film/TV/media industry. I thought the trivia was a really clever strategy in the sense that it was able to provide good information over a short amount of time. I awarded them a D and not a HD mainly because I felt that they failed to maintain the same level of engagement throughout the seminar – the trivia at the start of the seminar was interactive and engaging and it sort of went downhill from there on. Of course, it didn’t help that they experienced some problems with the microphone.

Theme was executed with originality and style?

D – The theme was executed well and this was reflected through the skyscraper backdrop, colour scheme, fonts used, style/layout of the presentation slides, lighting (guest speakers were put under the spotlight, which fits the style of femme fatale – accentuates their dominance), cups, catering table decor, and poster designs. I awarded them a D and not a HD because

Staging was professional?

C – As touched on above, the femme fatale group had microphone issues all through the seminar, which was rather disrupting and just ruined the whole experience not only for the audience but for the guest speakers as well.

Promotion was varied and timely?

D – The Femme Fatale group’s promotion was both timely and varied. Their posters and were up close to two weeks before the seminar, which helped maximize their publicity and/or exposure. The Femme Fatale group’s marketing material is diverse and this is evident through the promo trailer and a variety of different posters and/or flyers on their Facebook page.

 

 

SEMINAR BLOG CRITIQUE – DOCO GROUP (NON-FICTION)

INDUSTRY ADVICE

  • Passion and enthusiasm are what pays
  • First step on coming up with a doco idea/concept development: Do your research on past, similar films; study the filmmaker’s past experiences/approach to the matter; study discourse surrounding the topic; study media reception
  • It’s important to find someone/thing specific, that you have a connection with; and tell it from a personal P.O.V)
  • It’s important to ask yourself these questions whenever you want to start making a film: what stories do you want to tell? why? who are you making it for? how do you intend to reach audiences?
  • ‘Conformation’ is key – for those in front of the camera they have to want to be in the film
  • In terms of documentary ethics – release forms are important; always make sure your subjects know what they are signing for; making sure to let them know if you decide to cut them out
  • Crowd funding is the way to go when it comes to budgeting
  • Connecting with the audience is key and valuable even before the film comes out

OVERALL COMMENT(S)

  • Interesting to see how each industry speaker would take on the project as if it were their own
  • Background stories were interesting – how they got started; what were their interests; how they’ve evolved from their initial interest/field

THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM SEMINAR (STRUCTURE/EXECUTION)

  • Light-hearted approach helped relax speakers
  • Camera positions – all the way up top, mid of stairway, diagonally in front of stage
  • Lighting positions – one of each side of stage
  • Approach to guest speakers – whether to have more than one host, etc

GRADE AWARDED AND WHY

Content was relevant and informative?

D – The seminar content was both relevant and informative. The seminar covered documentary ethics, funding, and answered the question of how to get started (which ideas to build upon, etc), all of which are areas not touched/focused on in university studies. In saying so, it was good insight into the process of documentary filmmaking and the points to consider when filming a documentary.

Approach was coherent and engaging?

 

C – Approach was coherent, but not engaging. The seminar had a good flow and/or structure to it; but I felt it was lacking in terms of audience engagement. Guest speakers seemed a bit awkward and uncomfortable and some even a little reluctant to share.

 

Theme was executed with originality and style?

 

D – Theme did not shine through. It was predictable and unoriginal and the Doco group did not really do much with the theme and what they did, did not match the theme. It was more Hollywood action than anything. But I still awarded them a D given their short time frame.

 

Staging was professional?

 

D – There wasn’t anything special in terms of aesthetics; nothing that contributed to the theme of the seminar. As for lighting and camera positions, I thought the doco group did a good job lighting the stage. Given the short time frame the doco group was given to consider the placement/setup of technical equipment (which now, I’m sure, serves as a guideline for the other seminar groups), I think they did a considerably good job.

 

Promotion was varied and timely?

 

D – Promotion was both timely and varied. The doco group executed their marketing plan, both digitally and physically, via promotional tools such as a promo trailer, posters all aroung building 9, and a chalk drawing (inclusive of the seminar details – time, place, date) along Bowen Street. Again, given the time frame, the Doco group did a good job.