Unit 9: Evaluation

Reflection on creative solutions in terms of chosen media 

My chosen media was relatively successful I feel in creating an effective means to present the theme of education to my intended audience. While I did suffer minor set backs in my planning development I felt I handled these well and adapted based on peer feedback and personal evaluation.

Over the course of this project my products have changed and developed significantly. Initially I began by intending my article to be singular and based around an existing publication. For this I chose the i. However, after looking further into the i’s demographics and decided this would not work well for my project. I therefore went on to look into the Independent’s demographic who are more suited to students due to their online presence since having cancelled their physical publication. Since they own the Indy 100 site (which presents the news in a summary format for students) I felt they would be more suited for this project. They also have both a gaming and education subsection on their website where my article would be more relevant than it would for the i.

I felt this was the best decision and showed good judgment and analysis skills on my part.By researching into my chosen format I was able to apply both research and analysis skills which positively impacted my final project by giving me a better idea of source material to based my articles on.

However, it was then brought to my attention, through tutor feedback, that while my article was well written the traditional written style of journalism may not impact students as I had first anticipated. Taking this into account I wrote the second version of the article which was more colloquial in tone and more conversational. Through peer feedback I learned that this one appealed more so to them than my original. As my class fall into the target demographic I feel this was a good way to get feedback in a way that would benefit my article.

After discussions with my tutor as well as several peers I felt it the article would be best suited to be presented along with the original which a title board to prompt the audience to think about how both articles read. This makes the articles suit the overall setting of an exhibition more so a singular written article. I feel this is a very effective means to present this media in terms of the context in which it is to be viewed. It prompts the audience to re-read and compare the pieces to see how traditional journalism and more modern writing forms differ in their wording and presentation of information and tone.

This is a good example of my use of creative solutions throughout the project as it was more of a journey then just following a simple plan set out by myself. This adaptability has been of great credit to me during this project and will serve me well going forward into my final major project. As my articles have been informed by a specific existing publication (The Independent website) I know that my work will successfully emulate the characteristics of this specific form of media. Due to my extensive research into both the subject matter and understanding of the topic I have been able to create a piece of writing that emulates the chosen media format of an article in an appropriate and professional way.

With my Spoken word I experience very few issues with its creation. However, much like the articles this was a very iterative process. My initial first draft (which has previous been uploaded and evaluated separately) was far from what the final product became. While I had always intended to create an audio piece the spoken word itself has been changed multiple times. The second draft (which was a complete rewrite with the inclusion of a few lines and elements from the first draft) was a much more effective piece of prose. I feel like this was impacted due to between the first draft and the second I did more primary research into the demographic’s experiences with education. My product when in comparison with profession examples of Spoken word (which I analysed extensively in my research and pre-production document) is of similar quality and is influenced by several of the examples looked at. The pacing tone and layout of my prose was influenced heavily by these professional examples. This proved very useful for giving direction to my contact.

In terms of the quality of the final product of the spoken word I am very pleased with it’s professional sounding nature and have received a lot of positive feedback from peers and my tutor. When compared to professional examples it gives off a similar emotive response from the audience and suits the tone and pacing I have found in many examples of spoken word poetry.

I feel like a lot of the positives in terms of the performance come down to having selected a friend of mine to read the piece. This was due to him having existing knowledge and understanding of spoken word poetry. He also has access to professional recording equipment and a sound dampened room in which to record. This therefore ruled out many of the technical issues that I could have faced had I chosen to do this at college or using my own personal set up. I knew this was a good choice as he has done professional voice acting in the past and is currently in his final year of a Drama degree. Making use of this contact I feel greatly improved the quality of the poem as it allowed the reading to sound professional and have high quality audio. I did do several slight audio edits to remove slight background noise. My major input in the technical side revolved around the editing of the two readings. While the first initial reading without direction was very good I did give some input in terms of being more emotive in places. This was done very well and professionally and allowed me to take the best parts from both readings and combine parts of the two.

I feel due to all the research done I was able to create an emotive piece that reflected my experience of education without being too negative or bias. The feedback from my research really helped to give me more perspective and influenced my work heavily. It allowed me to be more introspective on my own opinions and look at my reasoning behind it which along with the show not tell technique allowed for a more compelling narrative to be told with the prose piece.

Overall, I am very pleased with the quality of my pieces and feel they will both add some diversity to a exhibition in terms of their different forms of media comparative to the traditional image based exhibitions. With the addition of the audio piece it allows for a more multimedia approach to the exhibition and this again create more diversity in order to appeal more to the audience through having different exhibits to interact with.

Strengths of the project

I feel both my products major strengths are in how extensively they were researched. Both pieces are influenced by existing material and this material was analysed in order to accurately emulate the form of media in a way that accurately portrays it. I feel this was incredibly effective and allowed for a much higher qualities pieces.

I feel another strength of this project was the iterative process of both pieces. Having altered both pieces significantly from the initial starting point allowed for my pieces to evolve in a natural way and improve drastically through this process.

A strength I am most proud of is the spoken word being of high audio quality. I feel my ability to work with another in order to create a more professional piece was of great credit to me. The performance given and the high audio quality supplied from the reading of my contact was much better than I myself could have produced. The skills applied from this in terms of communication and working with others and direction have all been vital in the creation of a very successful final product. I feel the layout of the prose making it easier to read and understand pacing and cause allowed for the reader to fully understand how I intended it to be read, hence why only moderate direction was needed.

I was very experimental with my pieces continually trying out new ideas to see which were more effective. It was through this process that I found myself editing together the two recordings for my spoken word which allowed me to have a much more professional sounding piece. However this was not always the case, such as in regards to adding music to the piece in which it detracted heavily from the piece and my tutor commented on it trying to force a specific emotive response and could be overbearing for the listener.

Weaknesses of the project

While I feel my final products were of high quality there were a few weaknesses of my project. My written articles were originally intended for the “i” and while I did effectively change my chosen publication. The main weakness here was a misunderstanding of the demographic for the i and this could have led to issues down the line in terms of tone, had this issue not been rectified it could have made my article irrelevant to the audience. In future I will be sure to be more extensive when deciding an initially publication to write for that accurately reflects my target audience.

Another weakness I found in my project is the lack of visual representation. While the written side of the articles is effective and of professional quality it is not the most visually engaging. As my second piece is an audio piece this again suffers the same problem. While both pieces are intended to create diversity it is definitely a weaknesses that they do not have more (or any) visual presence. This does not lower their quality in terms of content but does impact initially drawing in the audience. In order to improve this aspect if I were to do it again I would create a video accompanying the audio piece such as an animation or possibly live action. Originally I felt that this could detract from the piece if done incorrectly (such as the issue with the addition of music), however I now feel if done correctly in the right format it would be be a good accompaniment. With the articles I could have created layouts for both, however this would have been very time consuming and taken a lot hours in order to research and recreate them in a professional way. This would have severely affected the rest of the project due to taking time away from other aspects of the project. If I were to do the project again I would definitely look into creating layouts for the articles to visually represent the differences between the articles as well as in content.

Another weakness is the fact that I did not always take into account that this project was for a exhibition. As this was key part of my project I feel I did not prioritise this aspect appropriately during the beginning of my project. This later led to issues in terms of finding a way to make this relevant to an exhibition format. While I was able to overcome this with help from my tutor this issue I could have avoided it entirely by considering this aspect more seriously at the beginning of the project.

Reflection on learning 

In the lead up and during this project I have found that my learning has really impacted the project and has informed my personal development significantly. Through our taught input sessions I was given the chance to experience multiple different forms of media which allowed me to have a much broader understanding of different ways to present a creative solution to a brief.

Through these taught inputs I was given a lot of feedback on my creative writing work which allowed me to experiment and improve my journalistic and literary skills. Through writing tasks I was able to improve my writing skills in varying different ways and incorporate these skills into my work. These directly impacted my work through my way to create a cohesive narrative in different media formats.

It was also through these taught inputs that I was introduced to prose poetry. Out of all my work I feel that my prose work was the best and also received very positive peer and tutor feedback. It was due to this that I decided to take this forward and use prose in some capacity for my project going forward. This led to my writing the spoken word piece as a direct result of these lessons.

Not only did I learn through my taught sessions but also independently. Throughout the project I have consistently been researching and analysing industry standard examples of the media I wished to create. This directly impacted my learning through emulation of tone and writing style for the articles as well as in pace and tone for my spoken word piece.

The skills learnt during this project, such as directing an individual on a piece of work to get the desired outcome really impacted my personal development in a positive way. It allowed me to gain more confidence in communication skills and allowed me to practice them in a way which will be of great use to me in the future in industry. In the future I will be expected to work in large teams especially if I go into the field of journalism, being able to work well with others is a highly employable skill and is essential in industry.

Through this project I have mostly learnt a lot about the spoken word industry. My extensive analysis of existing material had a direct impact on my work and allowed me to emulate certain aspects to improve my piece’s overall quality. This combined with the professional recording and feedback I gained from my contact allowed me to create a much more effective final piece.

Additional skills reflection in regards to articles

Both my article pieces have been influenced heavily, in the way the article has been written and structured, by my taught input sessions. This centers mainly the idea of a hook; a way to draw the reader in and then keep them interested. In order to do this I had to come up with a way to captivate my audience from the beginning and keep that attention for the whole article. This was less challenging in regards to this project than for the traditional online or print journalism, due to the articles being created for an exhibit in which the intended audience will likely spend more time on a piece than in other circumstances. However, the hook was still vital in writing and article and for my articles was vital to change the way the hook was used. For a traditional Independent reader the hook focuses a lot around putting the article into relevance. Therefore this was important to stress how expansive the gaming industry is and how much of a vital part of the economy it is set to become. With the second version of the article the hook was more in setting up a more conversational tone in which the reader can almost relax into the article. The hooks were intentional very different and clearly aimed at different audiences and in this regard I consider them a success. This was helped by the thought process of continually asking my “who cares?” – this mentality helped to keep my articles relevant to the story and prevented going off on tangents in order to maintain the original hook.

During this project I had a lot of input in the first 25 words. Not only did I receive very clear and direct taught sessions regarding this skill set, but I also attended a lecturer at Kent University while shadowing a journalism class regarding this skill set. During my time at the university I took several stories and wrote different 25 word openings for stories. The importance of the first 25 words is to both set the tone of the piece as well as be a succinct summary. It is important for the reader to get a basic overview of the story so as to gauge there interest but also leave them wanting to read on and ask questions.

Another skill taken into account during the writing of these pieces was that of decluttering. This was a skill set all about keeping the article streamlined and removing any unnecessary information and removing words. The most effective method I found for my taught was to put parts of sentences into brackets to check whether words were necessary or not. This was information for my first article due to the short 400-500 word count. Due to the way I like to write I can be quite extensive and tend to go more in depth than necessary. By applying this skill set I could ensure my articles were written well and did not go off point or go on too long. This was helpful as it allowed me to cover more aspects of the story while remaining on track for word count. This combined with my session on word choice allowed me to keep an article relevant and audience orientated.

My word choice allowed me to not only declutter my article by finding specific words that could sum up something I’d used several words on (or in some cases an entire sentence) and streamline my article. Word choice also allowed me to show a distinct difference between the two articles and this also allows me to set the tone of the articles and give the articles a specific voice in order to have them differ vastly from each other.

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Unit 9: Evaluation

One thought on “Unit 9: Evaluation

  1. However, much – needs comma
    Overall, I
    RE: visual presence – I disagree. Through your words you are inviting the listener and readers to imagine the visuals, to see the world you are painting: this is showing not telling. You words are your visuals.
    or to see the poem performed by the poet or actor?
    You could also have mentioned the crafting skills such as word choice and syntax practised with the six word memoir plus showing and not telling, tone style, voice and perspective (you mentioned perspective in a previous blog post when you reflected on the first draft only representing your thoughts. Specificity is also something that you have utilised and enriches your writing: adding a depth and level of description to your work that enhances it visually as well as adding implicit meaning, drawing the reader into the narrative world.

    Excellent post, effectively written and explaining the decision making your work has been through as well as how this has impacted on your final pieces.
    Succinctly written – very honest and enlightening.

    Like

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