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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Narrative...


Last week we had a lesson focused on the narrative aspect of promotional music videos (what is narrative and why is it important/significant?) and discussed a few questions that would be neccessary to answer when producing our music video.

Narrative is the structure of a story that takes place in order to draw the consumer into a product. In this way narrative is closely linked with Audience Theory in that it is a way of enticing the audience/selling a product.

Also, diegesis is the fictional space and time implied by the narrative (i.e. the world in which the story takes place).


  • How is the narrative organised and structured?

The narrative is organised and structured by the different techniques used to create a narrative, for example, the mise-en-scene, iconography, etc. It is also usually structured like any story would be, introduction of characters/plot, development of the story and finally the ending.



  • How is the audience positioned in relation to the narrative?

Depending on how the product is directed the audience can be positioned in a variety of ways to the narrative. For example, if dramatic irony is involved then the audience is positioned in a place of authority over the characters as they have gained knowledge regarding the plot that the characters may not know yet. Or if the product was filmed at a point of view angle, that completely changes the audience's position in relation to the narrative as it makes the audience feel as though they are stepping into the character's shoes as the point of view shots force them to experience the plot through the characters.

  • How are characters presented? What is the narrative function? (How are Heroes/Villians created?)

Characters are presented using their dialogue or costumes, etc. but with a music video it is different because there isn't always dialogue in a video so the producers would have to use lighting (high/low key lighting) in order to create impressions of different characters and to subtly hint to the audience what the characters are like.

  • What techniques of identification/alienation are employed?

Depending on the concept of the video/the narrative behind it, the audience members will either become sympathetic to the characters or begin to feel alienated by the characters actions or by the way in which the directors/producers have chosen to represent the characters through mise-en-scene, lighting, camera shots/angles/movements and sound.

  • What is the role of such features as sound/music/iconography/genre/mise-en-scene/editing/etc. within the narrative? (lyrics as narrative?)

Sound is obviously important when thinking about music videos because the producers are trying to sell the band/musician brand so the music is essential and if there is any dialogue at any point of the video it is to add more interest to the music video's narrative, just as any of the other features are there for.




  • What are the major themes of the narrative? What values/ideologies does it embody?
Obviously changes depending on the music video concept, narrative etc.


and in specific relation to our own media product;



  • What is the narrative structure of your product?

Some narrative but mainly performance because from our research we felt as though some of the most successful promotional music videos of the past have been performance based. Our narrative is based around the theme of obsession, with our main character being a girl who is obsessed with trying to seduce either the bands lead singer, or any boy (as it could be easier to seperate the band from the narrative because not many musicians want to act as someone else in their own video).

  • How do the specific elements of your product relate to the narrative structure?

Certain parts of our music video emphasize the narrative, for example the costumes, the iconography of the red lipstick/red dress of the main character, etc.


  • Does your product adhere to or subvert narrative conventions?

In a way our product subverts the narrative conventions because most bands would be happy about all the interest that they get from female fans and there are numerous music videos of male musicians happily trying to push their way through thousands of screaming girls, whereas our music video is the opposite story of that. An obsessive fan who follows them around everywhere (here's a clip from a comedy show I watch that takes a funny look at an obsessive stalker fan of a band;)





  • How does the narrative support the establishment of the chosen genre of your product?

The narrative supports our chosen genre of music because throughout the history of rock music there has always been an obvious reference to how much romantic/sexual attention the musicians get for being in a band, so we thought we would draw on that in our narrative and take it to the extreme. We have also conformed to our genre because the band who's song we are using (Kings Of Leon) had written lyrics that go very well with our narrative idea ("She's always looking at me").



  • How have narrative techniques been used to appeal to the audience?

They are interesting to the bands fanbase because they feel a sense of voyeurism and a curiosity to understand how the band think and how they feel towards their fans (to see if they have any chance of getting to know them!) etc.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Shot Composition, Framing and the Rule of Thirds...

As media students it is essential for us to understand how to frame a shot correctly to ensure the composition is right. There are obviously many different ways of framing a shot and there are multiple factors that have to be taken into consideration. For example, the movement of the camera, the mise-en-scene, depth of field, the background and foreground etc.

Here is a video that explains the rule of thirds;



Being a photography student as well as a media studies student has been really helpful when it comes to framing shots for our films. Here is an example of someone's photographs with the rule of thirds framing over it;

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Practice Music Videos...

On Tuesday, myself and Sarah (with the help of Dom from another group) filmed a practice music video to a song called 'Hey Little Mama' by The Puppies because we had heard it at the Richmix trip we went to and liked the song!

We tried out a few different shots that we will hopefully be using in our actual music video for 'Charmer' such as, the close up shots of mouths lip-synching, etc. It also helped me hugely in my editing skills as I spent a couple of hours editing all the footage to ensure that the lip-synching fit with the music and apart from the very first line it is all in synch.

It also helped me in my editing skills on GarageBand as I had to mute part of the song for comic effect and it took me a little while to figure out how to do that.

Here is our finished practice music video starring myself, Sarah Isaacs and Dominique Shiells-Edwards (with help from India Johnson and Oyinda Abiose) for 'Hey Little Mama!' by The Puppies;


Our group then decided to create another practice music video to Spice Girls 'Wannabe' so we filmed some shots at my house yesterday and began to edit them to the music. Here is the finished practice video;

PUT VIDEO HERE

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Gallery...

Over the weekend (20th-21st November 2010) my friend Malachi Kelly was hosting a gallery with all his photographs from his trip to Kenya, at The Rag Factory in Brick Lane, London. He offered me a chance to exhibit some of my own photographs in the gallery and I jumped at the chance.
It was such a brilliant opportunity for me to share my work and to raise money for an important charity at the same time. 100% profit went straight to a charity based in Kenya called 'Sure 24' and after the weekend a total of nearly £2,000 was raised.
I have always enjoyed taking photographs alongside Mal because we used to go to events and swap cameras to see what we could both come up with and then compare photos and I respect him as a photographer because his work is amazing and he knows what he is doing.
So when I heard that he was hosting a gallery for his 18th birthday, I was very excited to be part of something so good.
And of course I was very grateful for the opportunity to show off my own photography in a very cool part of London for the first time.
I also had the chance to speak to professional photographers who took an interest in my work and it was good to see people buying the work and raising money for the charity.

I chose to post this on my Media Studies blog because I had to go through the process of choosing photographs to display, sending them off to print, buying frames and framing the photographs, etc. and this process was extremely helpful to me in that it helped me with my presentation skills and shot framing skills.

I also filmed some of the gallery on the flip camera in order to document the occasion and then edited it on iMovie. I made one version for me and for this blog, and I will also create another version for Mal's website which is...http://www.malachitimothyphotography.co.uk/

Here is my version of the video;


Charlotte also came down to the gallery on the sunday to help me film and to support me and my work! My photographs are the very last ones you see in the above video.

(PHOTOS OF MY WORK TO GO HERE)

Group Meeting: Filming Schedule/Actors/Props/etc.

Yesterday we were given our recording equipment which includes a camera, a tripod, a gorilla tripod, chargers, leads, a battery, tapes and the flip camera.


Now that we have been given all this equipment we can begin filming and get the majority of our shots done, ready to start editing.

Our storyboard is ready to go and I have now spoken to the different people that we are using as the band in our music video. I know a group of people that are in a band together already and thought it would be easier to get people like that to act in our video because they know how to perform well and make it interesting. They are also a bit older which makes the video look a lot more professional than if we got people our age to be in it.

They are in a local band called Malokai, and their style of music is Alternative/Punk so they are very close to the genre of Kings Of Leon as a band, so they would be used to doing the specific type of performance that we are looking for.

Here are videos of two of their own performances as a band which show their style;




I spoke to Alex on Friday night (the lead singer) and he said he and the band would be happy to participate in the video as they have helped people with their A Level media projects beforehand, which is good for us because it means they are used to being directed and told what to do!
Here is the A Level music video that they were part of before for their own song called Pieces;



This video shows that they know how to create an interesting performance. We also know that they will be reliable because my boyfriend Josh was the drummer of the band so we have very easy contact with them all.

As a group, we also decided that we would need to add a lot of props to the school stage in order to make it look more exciting in the video, as it looks fairly bland as it is.

Now that we have our equipment we can start filming and will probably get the bulk of it done over the Christmas holidays.

Storyboard Video...

When we went on our trip to RichMix and had a presentation about the production of promotional music videos, we got told it was a good idea not only to draw out our storyboard on paper for when we begin filming, but to also take stills of each storyboard image and edit them to the song in order to get an idea of the pace and feel of the music video we will be producing.

Here are our original storyboard sheets;




And here is the video we edited of the different storyboard pictures to the music;

(The first shot will actually be a split screen with the different instruments appearing on screen as they come in on the song. In this way the first shot will not actually be as long as it looks on this storyboard video!)













After creating this preparation video of the storyboard images, we could see where we would need to slightly change and develop our ideas, as the pace is too slow or too fast in some parts of the song.
This task was extremely helpful for our project as we now know how we want to change our initial plans.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Paramore Gig...

On Saturday 13th November 2010, I went to the 02 Arena (by boat because the Jubilee line was closed!) to see one of my favourite bands for the third time. It has been so nice to watch their rise to success as I first saw them at a very small venue in 2007 called the Mean Fiddler where they were good but not yet confident in their performance.

I then saw them in 2009 at Wembley Arena which seemed like a huge step up as they were now performing very well to thousands and thousands of people and even they seemed in awe of how far they had come.

So to see them put on such an extravagant show at London's 02 Arena, probably the biggest music venue in London, was unbelievable. They pulled out all the stops and had some brilliant films playing on the screens in the background that added so much to the show. This just shows how effective film can be when put to music.

I found lots of videos of their performance on YouTube so here are a few examples of the show I was at on 13th November. The first one is their opening song called Ignorance, the graphics in the background were amazing and the lighting was very impressive too;





Here is another of their songs called 'Playing God'



Pressure - She introduces the whole band here and finds out who has/hasn't been to a Paramore show before...









The Only Exception was the last song before the encore and was performed beautifully, and Misery Business was the very last song, probably because that was their first huge hit.
They used fireworks and confetti with these two last songs and when you look back at one of their older performances (which I have put at the bottom of this post) shows how far they have come as a band.



I thought it was relevant to document my trip to see this band because they are of a fairly similiar genre to Kings Of Leon and they're live shows would cater to the same target audience.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Shot Composition Practice...

Today we went to our school hall to see whether or not we would be able to get away with using that stage for our performance shots in the video or whether or not it looked to big, but we decided that if we did our video in black and white it might look more believable (whilst we could also emphasize the main character by selecting the red colour of her shoes against black and white) so we tried out the bands positioning on the stage by miming the different instruments, here's the video we made Sarah was lead vocals, I was guitar, Charlotte was bass and Aimie was on drums;

Lip Synching Practice...

Today we practiced lip synching for our music video because we know it's going to be quite difficult to get the lip synching perfect.

Here is our video attempt of Charlotte lip synching to Kings Of Leon 'Charmer';


Although it's slightly out of time, we continued to practice and it got much better the more she exaggerated her mouth movements.

Useful Links...

Here are some useful links that we were given after our trip to RichMix that I will also add to the links on the side of my blog for future reference. Pete Fraser's is particularly helpful as he knows just what we need to put in our music videos in order to get the best results.

Digital Dream Door - A different selection, chosen for "their direction, choreography, art direction, special effects, editing, cinematography and overall creativeness".

Pitchfork - Top 100 music videos.

Format Mag - Format magazine's best hip-hop videos.

Academy Films - Corin Hardy's page from Academy Films.

Corin Hardy's Website - Corin's website.

Pete Fraser's Blog - Pete's weekly blog for media magazine.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Trip To RichMix (Afternoon Session)...

Over our lunch break, Pete Fraser set each school/college the task of coming up with a pitch for a music video concept for the song 'God & Satan' by Biffy Clyro and then after lunch we had to come back together and choose a spokesperson for our school to present our idea to two industry professionals called Corin Hardy and Liz Kessler.

Before we presented our pitch to them, Liz Kessler, who works in the industry commissioning and producing music videos, spoke to us about what it is like to work in the industry with artists and musicians in order to produce a successful music video that pleases the record label, the artist and the target audience.

She told stories about different music videos that she had worked on and then showed them to us afterwards and discussed the problems and solutions that occur when producing a music video. She also gave us an insight into how the process of producing a music video works. First, someone commissions a director/production company to work with the record label to come up with a concept for the music video and then eventually it is produced with the director's influence, and the band/artist rarely has any input into the idea of the video, unless they are extremely high profile and hold more power than their record label.

Here are some examples of music videos she showed us that she has been a part of;

Paolo Nutini - Pencil Full Of Lead







Corin Hardy directed this video with Liz Kessler and she said this is a good example of a video where the director had to come up with an idea that had the artist in the video without them actually physically being there.



Another example of this is the video for Wiley 'Money In My Pocket' where the director had to think quickly after a last minute change to the artists plans!



>>click here to see the Wiley - Money In My Pocket' Video<<


click here for >>Lissie - Everywhere I Go<<

This video for Lissie 'Everywhere I Go' was particularly interesting to hear about in terms of finances, as they had to import, film and send back an Elephant and the whole video eventually cost around £28,000!


Will Young - Changes






It then came to the time to present our pitch to Liz Kessler and Corin Hardy. Charlotte Boag (from our group) and Dominique Shiells-Edwards from another group in our media class presented our pitch to them and we filmed it on our Flip Cameras that we took with us to document the day;





(We have also edited all of our footage from the trip into a short film that documents our day which I will put in my next blog post)

After everyone pitched their ideas, the Liz Kessler and Corin Hardy gave us some interesting feedback from their perspective which was very helpful because it made us think about how we would actually make our ideas work in reality with all the problems that could occur.

After that, we had a question and answer session with Corin Hardy and he explained all of the music videos he has directed and then showed them to us. It was really nice to hear all the inside stories about the different musicians and how any problems were solved, for example, when Simon Neill the lead singer of Biffy Clyro lost his wedding ring in the bottom of the river that they were filming in, they had to send people in to search for it and eventually they found it and 4am when they finished filming!

I really enjoyed hearing about Corin Hardy's rise to success due to his passion for film making that started from a young age. I think he is an inspiration and hearing him talk about his career made me want to pursue my passions with a similar enthusiasm.

Here are the examples of the music videos that he has directed that he showed us...

Biffy Clyro - God and Satan




Keane - Bedshaped




>> click here for The Prodigy - Warrior's Dance <<

and my personal favourite of his...The Horrors - She Is A New Thing




His story of how this video was eventually made was very interesting as he and an illustrator friend spent three weeks drawing every single frame over the camera shots (which they only had 2 hours to film with the actual band because they turned up and hour late and weren't very enthusiastic about doing the video) and then hanging each image up to dry.

He didn't show this one in the presentation but I found it on his website and loved it;


I love the suprise element at the end of this video and I like the story behind it that they had a low budget and had to film under pressure.

Here is a link to Corin Hardy's website >>click here<<

After watching all of these videos it was the end of the presentation and we got the train back home. It was an extremely beneficial day for us as it gave us a lot of inspiration for our own music video and we hope to use all the knowledge we gained to perfect our work.

Trip to RichMix (Morning Session)...



On Tuesday 9th November, we went on a trip to London's up and coming arts centre in Shoreditch called RichMix in order to be part of their educational presentation called 'From MTV to YouTube: Studying Music Video'.

>> Click here to go to the RichMix website <<

In the morning we had a presentation by Pete Fraser on the history of the music video, codes and conventions and top tips for making our own pop promo. This presentation was extremely beneficial to us, as Pete Fraser was able to provide us with lots of information on the way music videos/promos have developed over the years and how we can produce a successful music video for our A Level Media Studies. He went through a very interesting presentation with some examples of music videos dating back to early experiments in the 1930s. I thought the presentation was incredibly interesting as he taught us about the history of music videos that we may never have come across otherwise.
>> click here to see Pete Fraser's blog << This blog contains all the information he gave us on the day of the trip.

Here is the first clip he showed us which is a very early exploration of putting moving images to music called The Colour Box by Len Lye (1935);







I had no idea that experimentation with film and music like this existed that far back in history until I saw this presentation, so I definately learnt lots of new things about the concept of music videos and where they originated. He then showed us a more modern video which clearly contains very similar aspects in colour, movement and concept of simply putting moving images to music, more of an artform than a promo. The modern video he showed us to compare to 'The Colour Box' (1935) was 'Ladyflash' by The Go! Team (2006) >> click here to watch The Go! Team video << I found it so interesting to see how similar the colours and movements were in both these videos.

As we began to progress through the history of music videos, we got to the 'Soundies' which relates to the concept of voyeurism in this early promotional music video of Nat King Cole 'Frim Fram Sauce'. At 0:38 the audience sees Nat King Cole watching himself on the 'Soundie' (a popular video jukebox in America in the 1940s) which shows the first uses of voyeurism in promotional music videos;







We also learnt about a development of the 'Soundies' called the 'Scopitone' which became very popular in Europe just after World War II. Here is a photograph of a Scopitone which would play short promotional videos such as the one below;






The rest of the presentation was spent going through more modern music videos everything from The Beatles 'Can't Buy Me Love' to Jay-Z '99 Problems'. We watched them all and then Pete Fraser explained why they conformed/challenged Genre Characteristics/Audience Expectations/etc. For example, the whole of Madonna's video for 'Open Your Heart' is based around looking at her, which is an obvious use of Voyeurism;





We also looked at 50 Cent 'Candy Shop' and learnt about the stereotypically sexual way in which women are objectified in rap artist's videos;





Other videos that we watched were The Beatles 'Can't Buy Me Love' which showed us how music videos became a way for fans to get an insight of what the band are like as people, Michael Jackson 'Thriller' as an example of a big budget video which almost ended up as a short film, Jay-Z '99 Problems' which is an incredible music video where the audience sees something new about it after many viewings and finally, Dangermouse 'The Grey Video' and the prisoners' version of Thriller as an examples of how YouTube has revolutionised the way we listen to music and the way it is promoted.

Here are all those videos mentioned above;






















We were also told about some ideas from Andrew Goodwin's Analysis of promotional music videos of what should be expected from a music video (what we should include in our own promotional music video);

Genre Characteristics - obvious expectations of the different genres.

Relationship of music/lyrics with visuals - amplify the lyrics rather than simplifying them. Illustrate the lyrics.

Intertextuality - refer to films/other music videos/theatre/books/etc.

Star Image - emphasis on the star's image/branding (Madonna is an interesting example because of her ever changing image over the years).

Voyeurism - idea of looking and observing (particular emphasis fascination with the female body)


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Group Meeting: Storyboarding/Shot Ideas

Yesterday we had another group meeting about the specific camera shots/angles/movements that will make up our music video. We had previously written down a list of specific shots that we wanted to include in the video and now we are beginning to draw out our storyboard.
Here is a photo of the specific camera shot list we made;



As we were trying to think of different shot ideas, we found it incredibly useful to refer to existing music videos of the same genre as our band (Alternative/American Rock) in order to give us inspiration for our own music video.

For example, we wanted to film a shot of the bands shoes walking past the camera and then the girls' red heels following them in order to show the audience her obsession with the band (We have also decided that one of the main themes of our music video is going to be obsession, and we are creating a theme in order to focus our ideas and be more specific about our concept). We then thought of Kings Of Leons' video for their song 'On Call' where a similar camera shot is shown right at the start of the video >> click here to see the video <<






This is just one example of a camera shot that we think will work really well with our music video and we know it does because this existing Kings Of Leon video proves that.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Hypodermic Syringe Effect...

The hypodermic needle model (also known as the hypodermic-syringe model) is a model of communications also referred to as the "magic bullet" perspective, or the transmission-belt model. Essentially, this model holds that an intended message is directly received and wholly accepted by the receiver. The model is rooted in 1930s behaviorism and is largely considered obsolete today.

The hypodermic needle theory implied that mass media had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on their audiences. The mass media in the 1940s and 1950s were perceived as a powerful influence on behaviour change. Several factors contributed to this "strong effects" theory of communication, including: the fast rise and popularization of radio and television, the emergence of the persuasion industries, such as advertising and propaganda, the Payne Fund studies of the 1930s, which focused on the impact of motion pictures on children, and Hitler's monopolization of the mass media during WWII to unify the German public behind the Nazi party.



The "Magic Bullet" or "Hypodermic Needle Theory" of direct influence effects was not as widely accepted by scholars as many books on mass communication indicate. The magic bullet theory was not based on empirical findings from research but rather on assumptions of the time about human nature. People were assumed to be "uniformly controlled by their biologically based 'instincts' and that they react more or less uniformly to whatever 'stimuli' came along" (Lowery & DefFleur, 1995, p. 400). The "Magic Bullet" theory graphically assumes that the media's message is a bullet fired from the "media gun" into the viewer's "head" (Berger 1995). Similarly, the "Hypodermic Needle Model" uses the same idea of the "shooting" paradigm. It suggests that the media injects its messages straight into the passive audience (Croteau, Hoynes 1997). This passive audience is immediately affected by these messages. The public essentially cannot escape from the media's influence, and is therefore considered a "sitting duck" (Croteau, Hoynes 1997). Both models suggests that the media is vulnerable to the messages shot at them because of the limited communication tools and the studies of the media's effects on the masses at the time (Davis, Baron 1981).

The phrasing "hypodermic needle" is meant to give a mental image of the direct, strategic, and planned infusion of a message into an individual. But as research methodology became more highly developed, it became apparent that the media had selective influences on people.
The most famous incident often cited as an example for the hypodermic needle model was the 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds and the subsequent reaction of widespread panic among its American mass audience. However, this incident actually sparked the research movement, led by Paul Lazarsfeld and Herta Herzog, that would disprove the magic bullet or hypodermic needle theory, as Hadley Cantril managed to show that reactions to the broadcast were, in fact, diverse, and were largely determined by situational and attitudinal attributes of the listeners.
(This information was gathered from www.wikipedia.org)

Audience Theory...

Audience theory is an element of thinking that developed within academic literary theory and cultural studies.
With a specific focus on rhetoric, some, such as Walter Ong, have suggested that the audience is a construct made up by the rhetoric and the rhetorical situation the text is addressing. Others, such as Ruth Mitchell and Mary Taylor have said writers and speakers actually can target their communication to address a real audience. Some others like Ede and Lunsford try to mingle these two approaches and create situations where audience is "fictionalized," as Ong would say, but in recognition of some real attributes of the actual audience.
There is also a wide range of media theory and communication studies theories about the audience's role in any kind of mediated communication. A sub-culturally focussed and Marxism-inflected take on the subject arose as the 'New audience theory' or 'Active audience theory' from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies during the 1980s.

(This information was gathered from www.wikipedia.org)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Group Meeting: Developing and Enhancing Our Initial Ideas...

Before starting to draw out our storyboard ready for when we start filming, we wanted to develop our initial ideas further so that we had a more specific concept, rather than just starting to film aimlessly.


Here is a photograph of our mind map that we came up with which contains all of our newest ideas. These involve lots more specific camera shots of the girl who is obsessed with the band. This idea of obsession could possibly be our theme as we think a theme would really help us to focus our plans.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Storyboarding a Pre-existing Music Video...

As part of our preparation for the production of our own music video, we thought it was important to practice storyboarding an existing music video of the same genre in order to remind and refresh ourselves in the methods of the storyboard technique and to also gain further understanding of trends in that particular genre.

We chose to storyboard another Kings Of Leon song called 'On Call';


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Group Meeting: Possible Band Names...


During our last group meeting we discussed the name that we would call our band as part of our band branding that we discussed previously and we decided to look at the different types of Alternative Rock band names that already exist. So we tried a few different variations on the existing name Kings Of Leon such as 'The Kings', 'American Kings', etc. We also tried to come up with words related to our branding, such as 'rock' and 'charmer' etc. and then matched them up with other strange words as this seems to be a fashion in alternative rock bands at the moment.
At the end of the meeting the two most popular names that we came up with were 'The Kings' and 'American Kings'.




Group Meeting: Treatment/Pitch Audience Feedback...

After we had carried out our treatment presentation to the class, we got them all to write down what they thought of our ideas for our music video etc. and this is what they came up with.






Treatment/Pitch Video...

As part of our treatment we carried out a presentation to the rest of our class in order to express our ideas, etc. We also printed out our more detailed treatment document (which I posted in a previous blog and handed out to our audience. We also filmed our treatment presentation so that we could put it onto our blogs;

Group Meeting: Band Brand...

We had another group meeting on Friday concerning the brand we want to create surrounding our band. It is important that we come up with a brand for our band by thinking about how we want our band to be portrayed to it's audience. For example, fashion, musical influences, etc. Here is a wordle that our group came up with full of words that we think represent our band. We will also be creating a wordle full of possible names for our band.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Our Treatment Presentation...

We also produced this Powerpoint presentation for our pitch to have shown on the smartboard in order to have additional photos of our visual inspiration whilst the audience also had the chance to read through our more detailed treatment document. This also gave us the chance to play the audience some pre-existing music videos that inspired us in our own concepts/ideas for our music video.
Kings Of Leon - Charmer Treatment

Our Treatment Document...

As part of the production process of our music video for Kings Of Leon's 'Charmer', we thought it would be interesting to produce a treatment and present it to an audience in order to gain some feedback on our initial ideas for the music video.

This is the document that we handed out to our audience which contains detailed explainations of our concept and pictures that reflect our ideas. The purpose of this document was to ensure that the audience understood and got a firm grasp of our concept and reason why we chose this concept.

Kings of Leon Treatment

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Emailing Angelo Petraglia and Ethan Johns...

As we are going to be using an established artist's song for our music video, it is important that we request permission from the music producers to use the song so that it does not seem as though we are claiming the song as our own.
Angelo Petraglia and Ethan Johns were the two producers that worked with Kings Of Leon on their album Because Of The Times (2006-2007) which contains the song we want to use for our music video, 'Charmer'.
Here is the email we have sent to the producers in order to request permission to use the song:


Dear Sirs,

Our names are Molly Wing, Aimie Condon, Sarah Isaacs and Charlotte Boag and we are media studies students at Enfield County School and we are currently in the early stages of producing a music video and promotional digipack alongside that. The reason for our email is to request your permission to use Kings of Leons' song 'Charmer' that you produced for our chosen video song. We have no intention of selling our video and we can assure you there will be no copyright issues at akk as it will solely be used for educational purposes.

If there are any issues please feel free to contact us.

Yours Sincerely
Molly Wing, Aimie Condon, Sarah Isaacs and Charlotte Boag

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Kings Of Leon/Rock Genre Information...












After choosing the Kings Of Leon song Charmer, it is necessary for us as a group to do as much research into them as a band. I would classify Kings Of Leon as an Alternative Rock band so (as seen in previous posts) I have been researching the generic characteristics of the Alternative Rock genre, the iconography associated with Alternative Rock and how these images and icons are used in rock music videos to promote the artist/band, etc.


But in order to produce a good music video and digipack we will also have to know a lot about the band and how they came to produce the song. Here is some information I found on the band's history and past successes/failures:


Kings of Leon is an American rock band that formed in Franklin, Tennessee, United States in 1999, consisting of brothers Anthony Caleb Followill (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Ivan Nathan Followill (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Michael Jared Followill (bass, backing vocals), with their cousin Cameron Matthew Followill (lead guitar, backing vocals). Each member of the family group is known by his middle name (second given name) as opposed to his first given name.[1]

The band's early music was an upbeat blend of southern rock and blues influences but the band has gradually expanded their sound to include a variety of genres and a more alternative rock or arena rock sound. Kings of Leon achieved initial success in the United Kingdom with nine Top 40 singles, two BRIT Awards in 2008, and all three of the band's albums at the time peaking in the top five of the UK Albums Chart. Their third album Because of the Times also reached the #1 spot. After the release of Only by the Night in September 2008 they finally achieved chart success in their native United States. The singles "Sex on Fire", "Use Somebody" and "Notion" all peaked at #1 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The album itself was their first ever platinum-selling album in the United States. It was the best selling album of 2008 in Australia, being certified nine-times Platinum. Their fifth album, Come Around Sundown, will be released October 18 in the UK and October 19 in North America.

Early years (1999–2002)

The three Followill brothers spent much of their youth traveling around the southern United States with their father, Ivan "Leon" Followill, a United Pentecostal Church preacher and their mother, Betty-Ann, who taught them when they were not in school. Caleb and Jared were both born in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. They all attended Mount Juliet High School. While Nathan and Matthew were born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to Rolling Stone magazine, "While Leon preached at churches and tent revivals throughout the Deep South, the boys attended services and were occasionally enlisted to bang on some drums. They were either home-schooled or enrolled in small parochial schools at this time. Except for a five-year period when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followill's childhoods were spent driving through the Southern United States in a purple 1988 Oldsmobile, decamping for a week or two wherever Leon was scheduled to preach."[2] When the boys' father resigned from the church and divorced his wife in 1997, the boys relocated to Nashville and embraced the rock music and lifestyle they had previously been denied. While there, they met songwriter Angelo Petraglia, who helped the siblings hone their songwriting skills and introduced them to the musical influences of the Rolling Stones, The Clash and Thin Lizzy in particular. Six months later, Nathan and Caleb signed with RCA Records, who insisted that the duo recruit more members for the band before launching their career. The band was formed when cousin Matthew and younger brother Jared were asked to join. They named themselves Kings of Leon in honor of Nathan, Caleb, and Jared's father (Matthew's uncle) and grandfather, who were both named Leon.[3]

In an interview, Caleb admitted to "kidnapping" their cousin Matthew from his hometown in Mississippi in order for him to join the band. They told his mother that he was just staying for a week, but they consequently never allowed him to return home. Drummer Nathan added, "When we signed the deal with RCA, it was just me and Caleb. The label told us they were going to put a band together, but we said, 'We're going to buy our little brother a bass, he's a freshman in high school. Caleb will teach himself the guitar. Our cousin Matthew played guitar when he was 10 and I'll play drums.' The record label agreed,".

Friday, 24 September 2010

Our Final Song Choice...

After having another meeting, we decided for certain as a group that we want to produce a music video and digipack for the song Charmer by Kings Of Leon.

Here is the existing video of the song and the song's lyrics...



Song Lyrics:

Woah
She's such a charmer oh no.
Woah
She's such a charmer oh no.
Woah
She's always looking at me.
Woah
She's always looking at me.
Woah
She's such a charmer oh no.

She's stole my karma oh no.
Sold it to the farmer oh no.
She's always looking at me.
She's always looking at me.
She's such a charmer oh no.

Born in west virginia oh no.
Married to the preacher oh no.
Shes always looking at me.
Shes always looking at me.
Shes such a charmer oh no.

Shes always looking at me.
Shes always looking at me.
Shes such a charmer oh no. oh no.


One of the reasons we chose this song is because we thought the lyrics would provide us with lots of ideas for the narrative and performance aspects of the video. For example, when we had our meeting these are some initial ideas we came up with...

DATE: 24th September 2010
TIME: 9-11:45am
LOCATION: School Premises

MINUTES: We discussed the possibility of setting up a gig environment where the whole audience is female and they are all staring at the lead singer, reflecting the lyrics. This could be exaggerated into a story about a fan who stalks the band, etc. This gave us a few editing/filming ideas, such as a split screen showing four different girls or four different instruments (performance aspect) and we also discussed having a spotlight on one girl in the crowd and have her singled out and then film her dancing seductively in front of the lead singer. This idea came from the existing video for Men's Needs by The Cribs:



These are just some initial ideas but we plan to develop them further and eventually draw out a storyboard so that we are fully prepared before we begin to film anything.

Alternative Rock Moodboard

Now that we have chosen our final song (Kings Of Leon - Charmer) it is important that we carry out a lot of research into our chosen music genre and the iconography used in the genre's music videos, etc. in order to know what to include in our own video; to either comply with or challenge the conventions of an alternative rock video.

Here is a moodboard of images that I collected from search engines online such as Google, Bing and AskJeeves. The images helped me to understand the stereotypical images that people think of in relation to the alternative rock genre. Also, some of the images reflect the typical fashions of an alternative rock/indie band.


Alternative Rock Moodboard


This moodboard will really help us to decide what aspects we want to include in our music video, especially concerning the mise-en-scene of the video; costumes/props/instruments/etc.

Change of plan...

So after initially deciding to choose a ska (Toots and The Maytals) song, we thought we should do further research into other possible genres/songs before making any final decisions so we managed to narrow it down to these three songs...

1. Toots and The Maytals - 54-46 Was My Number


Pros - Lively beat/tempo, good opportunities for interesting editing (stops in the music)
Cons - Reggae genre is more difficult for us to create a believable setting for.

2. The Rolling Stones - Jumping Jack Flash



Pros - The song is quite upbeat and has lyrics that we could easily create a believable narrative to.
Cons - Everyone knows this song and there is a small likelihood that we would produce a video that wouldn't irritate existing fans of the song/band.


3. Kings Of Leon - Charmer


Pros - Lyrics can very easily be used to our advantage for the narrative ("she's always looking at me"), good bass line, interesting vocals which gives us potential for interesting editing and the current video isn't anything spectacular. This song has not really made it mainstream so not as many people will know it, etc.
Cons - The beat is fairly repetitive (apart from the bridge/breakdown, etc.)

After this meeting discussing our three final choices and the pros and cons of them, it seems as though the best choice would be Charmer by Kings Of Leon. We all love the song and it had the most pros of the three!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Meeting Log...

From now on I will be recording every meeting we have as a group on my blog and what happened in the meeting so that when we look back over the year of research, planning and production we will be able to read over our meeting logs and write a much more detailed evaluation of the year's work. This will be my first meeting log of the year:

DATE: 17th September 2010
TIME: 13:45-15:20
LOCATION: School Premises
TOPIC: Choice Of Genre and Possible Songs

MINUTES: We discussed the possibility of doing a ska song for our music video as we all like that genre of music and we thought it would be nice to use something a bit different rather than a current popular song. We considered using a song by Toots and the Maytals from the start of the film This Is England but after discussion we are not sure if we could come up with a concept that would match the song, so we might do a song by the band the kinks or the specials. We will need further discussion on this but we decided to go away from the meeting and each research into different songs and then come back and make a more educated decision on which song to choose.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Genre Theory

What is genre?

  • Genre is an essential tool that enables us to study texts and audience responses to those texts by dividing them into categories based on common aspects.
  • DANIEL CHANDLER (2001) argues that the word 'genre' comes from the French (and originally Latin) word for 'kind' or 'class'. The term is widely used in rhetoric, literary theory and media theory to refer to a distinctive type of 'text'.

Sub-genres?

  • Sub-genres are genres divided into more specific categories that allow audiences to identify them specifically by their familiar and what become recognisable characteristics (Barry Keith Grant, 1995)
  • Steve Neale (1995) stresses that "genres are not 'systems' they are processes of systemization" i.e. They are dynamic and evolve over time.
  • Jason Mitchell (2001) argues that genres are cultural categories that surpass the boundaries of media texts and operate within industry audience and cultural practices well.
  • industries use genre to sell products to audiences.
  • music video is a medium intended to appeal directly to youth sub-cultures (to promote a band/artist)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Secondary Sources Moodboard...

Secondary Sources Storyboard


Here is my secondary research mood board of images that I would relate to ska as a music genre. The colours black and white clearly represent the sharp aspect of ska, not only the music itself but everything else involved in the culture. For example, the humour, the fashion, the attitude, etc. It is interesting to see how music as a genre can have such an impact on the listeners life in every possible way. Bands such as the Madness, The Specials and The Toasters were very influencial ska bands of the time and many londoners would have been influenced by their music.

Possible Songs...

These are a few songs that I had initially thought about creating a music video for before consulting with the rest of the group...
  • The Kinks - All Day and All Night/You Really Got Me

  • The Jam - Town Called Malice

  • No Doubt - Any Song

  • Madness - Our House/Baggy Trousers

  • Paramore - Any Song

  • etc.

However, after discussing with the rest of the group about what music genre would be most interesting to create a video to, we decided it would be best to choose something that was less popular or less known at this time because then there are less likely to be fans that are irritated by our attempt to make a new and better video to any official existing ones.

We decided eventually that we wanted to do a song from the Ska music genre and we narrowed it down to a couple of different songs. At the moment we have chosen a song by Toots and The Maytals called 54-46 Was My Number after watching the film This Is England. The song is right at the start of the film and we all loved the atmosphere the song creates.

Here is the song at the start of the film This Is England:






Monday, 19 July 2010

Music Video Analysis...

After looking at different music video formats and how they related to different musical genres, I chose to analyse a video from the Alternative genre by a band called Enter Shikari. The song is called Thumper and you will hear all of the reasons why I love the video so much in my filmed analysis below. I have also put the actual video on this post so that it can be watched alongside my filmed analysis of it;



My film analysis...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Genre Specific Video Formats...

It is interesting to note the trends in video formats in the different music genres. As I was doing my research it became clear that certain genres of music tend to lean towards a certain style/format of music video. These tendencys can also be linked to where the video is made (nationality of the band/artist), the musical era that the video was produced in, etc.

For example, there was a period of time around 2005/2006 that lots of R&B/Hip-Hop/Rap artists produced music videos that were framed by two strips (one at the bottom and one at the top of the screen) that were either plain black or had other footage on them. Here are two examples of this particular trend;

LL Cool J ft. J-Lo - Control Myself



Neyo - So Sick



I am not sure how or why this trend came about but for a while, lots of artists similar to these two produced music videos using the same technique. However, it was not a general trend for all music genres to use, it was clearly a genre specific trend that was popular at the time.

Another trend that I noticed in mostly Rap/Hip-Hop videos of that time (early noughties) was that the artist would be shown in a particular situation (generally sat inbetween two scantily clad women or in a club somewhere, and the majority of these shots are interestingly in slow motion - perhaps to emphasize how smooth the artists are...) then it would frequently cut to shots of the same artist with a group of other artists who were featured on the track in front of a backdrop singing/rapping directly to the camera. This blatant divide between narrative and performance became something of a trend within those particular genres and to an extent this trend still exists today. Here are a few examples;

Notorious BIG - Nasty Girl



Usher - Yeah



Timbaland ft. Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous


An example of a trend in other genres of music videos would be the empathy of what could be described as 'emotional rock' or 'emo'. This kind of music video uses certain techniques to make the audience feel as though the artist understands them and accepts them for who they are. This trend in music videos reflects a wider trend in society, as teenagers are increasingly becoming more aware of there identity and who they should be vs. who authorities want them to be, rock music as an industry plays upon that vulnerability to build what the audience sees as a relationship between the fans and the artist/band. Of course some of the issues that evoke sympathy or empathy in these videos are actually relevant to the band and they are trying to make a point, but others seem to be more about building their fanbase. Here are some examples;

Click here to watch 30 Seconds To Mars - Closer To The Edge

The way 30 Seconds To Mars have used teenagers talking in the video is very much a technique used by them in order to increase their fanbase, as it makes them relatable to teenagers and the dialogue is chosen to "inspire" people to like their music. They are tapping into the attitude and mentality of a particular stereotypical representation of a teenager who likes rock music and gaining from it. I love the video technically because it is extremely well made and I really love the effects they have used on it and the typography, etc. but I am not impressed by the cheesy use of dialogue.

In contrast to that video, this Good Charlotte video has a very serious message that I believe they have got across well by using real stories from real people in order to genuinely raise awareness about a tragic subject - self harm and suicide - which has always had strong links with 'emo' rock. Good Charlotte have produced this video which takes the emphasis off of their fame and gives the limelight to others in order to raise awareness which I think is a great use of a music video and many have been done like this before (charity songs done by celebrities, etc.).



There have been and are so many trends in the music video world, and these are just a few of them.

Performance Vs. Narrative Videos...

In our last lesson we started to learn about the different formats of music videos. For example, the difference between PERFORMANCE videos and NARRATIVE videos.

Performance Videos:

  • contains mostly filmed performance
  • often shows the vocalist(s) in one or more settings
  • common examples = recording studios/rehearsal rooms
  • could be song, dance or instrumental performance
  • almost every music video contains song performance
  • e.g. Massive Attack (click here to view video)
Here is an example of one of my favourite performance music videos as it is slightly different to your regular performance video due to the odd camera shots that they use. The viewer really gets a sense of atmosphere in this video - Enter Shikari - Mothership:



Narrative Videos:
  • if a music video clip is most appropriately understood as a short silent movie to a musical background, it is a narrative clip.
  • a narrative clip contains a visual story that is easy to follow.
  • e.g. Bruce Springstein (click here to view video)
Here is an example that I found of a narrative video - Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent:


Rage Against The Machine










When researching Rage Against The Machine's history it was obvious that I had to put them on my blog because of how influential they are. Here is some information I found on them on Wikipedia:

Rage Against the Machine is a Grammy award winning American rock band, formed in 1991 in Los Angeles, California. The band's line-up comprises vocalist Zack de la Rocha, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk. Critics have noted Rage Against the Machine for its "fiercely polemical music, which brewed sloganeering leftist rants against corporate America, cultural imperialism, and government oppression into a Molotov cocktail of punk, hip-hop, and thrash."[1] Rage Against the Machine drew inspiration from early heavy metal instrumentation, as well as rap acts such as Afrika Bambaataa,[1] Public Enemy and Urban Dance Squad.[2] They have sold over 14 million records worldwide.[3]

In 1992, the band released its self-titled debut album, which became a commercial success, leading to a slot in the 1993 Lollapalooza. The band did not release a follow-up record until 1996, with Evil Empire. The band's third album The Battle of Los Angeles was released in 1999. During their initial nine year run, they became one of the most popular and influential political bands in contemporary music.[4]

Shortly after breaking up in 2000, the band released the cover album Renegades. De la Rocha started a low-key solo career in One Day as a Lion; the rest of the band formed the rock supergroup Audioslave with Chris Cornell, then-former frontman of Soundgarden, which disbanded in 2007, and in April of that year, Rage Against the Machine performed together for the first time in seven years at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The band has continued to perform at many live venues and festivals around the world since 2007 but have not recorded any new studio material, as of yet.

Political Views

Integral to their identity as a band, Rage Against the Machine voice revolutionary viewpoints highly critical of the domestic and foreign policies of current and previous US governments. Throughout its existence, RATM and its individual members participated in political protests and other activism to advocate these beliefs. The band primarily saw its music as a vehicle for social activism; De la Rocha explained that "I'm interested in spreading those ideas through art, because music has the power to cross borders, to break military sieges and to establish real dialogue."[66] Morello said of wage slavery in America:

“ America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you've lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn't belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don't care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve. ”
— Tom Morello, Guitar World[67]

Meanwhile, detractors pointed out what they regard as the hypocrisy of voicing commitment to leftist causes while being millionaires signed to Epic Records, a subsidiary of media conglomerate Sony Records.[68] Infectious Grooves released a song called "Do What I Tell Ya!" which mocks lyrics from "Killing in the Name", accusing the band of being hypocrites. In response to such critiques, Morello offered the rebuttal:

“ When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels. Would Noam Chomsky object to his works being sold at Barnes & Noble? No, because that's where people buy their books. We're not interested in preaching to just the converted. It's great to play abandoned squats run by anarchists, but it's also great to be able to reach people with a revolutionary message, people from Granada Hills to Stuttgart.[8] ”

At the Coachella 2007 performance, De la Rocha made an impassioned speech during "Wake Up", citing a statement by Noam Chomsky regarding the Nuremberg Trials and subsequent actions by US presidents,[69] as follows:

“ A good friend of ours once said that if the same laws were applied to U.S. presidents as were applied to the Nazis after World War II [...] every single one of them, every last rich white one of them from Truman on, would have been hung to death and shot—and this current administration is no exception. They should be hung, and tried, and shot. As any war criminal should be.[38] ”

A clip of Zack's speech found its way to the Fox News program Hannity & Colmes. An on-screen headline read, "Rock group Rage Against the Machine says Bush admin should be shot." Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator, (a guest on the show) stated, "They're losers, their fans are losers, and there’s a lot of violence coming from the left wing."[70] Alan Colmes then challenged Coulter for having said of Bill Clinton "The only issue is whether to impeach or assassinate"[71] Referring to her 1998 book in which she wrote, "Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate."[72]

On July 28 and 29, Rage co-headlined the hip hop festival Rock the Bells. On July 28, they made a speech during Wake Up just as they had done at Coachella. During this, De La Rocha made another statement, defending the band from Fox News, who he alleged misquoted his speech at Coachella:

“ A couple of months ago, those fascist motherfuckers at the Fox News Network attempted to pin this band into a corner by suggesting that we said that the president should be assassinated. Nah, what we said was that he should be brought to trial as a war criminal and hung and shot. THAT'S what we said. And we don't back away from the position because the real assassinator is Bush, and Cheney and the whole administration for the lives they have destroyed here and in Iraq. They're the ones. And what they refused to air which was far more provocative in my mind and in the minds of my bandmates is this: that this system has become so brutal and vicious and cruel that it needs to start wars and profit from the destruction around the world in order to survive as a world power. THAT's what we said. And we refuse not to stand up, we refuse to back down from that position...[73] ”

On August 24, RATM played Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. They made another speech during Wake Up.

“ We played this show at Coachella Pavilion. It was our first show back. I said a few things from the stage, and the next day Fox News ran this whole piece about us saying that the Presidents should be assassinated. But those fascists always get it wrong when they just want to pin a band in the corner for standing up. What we said was that the whole Bush Administration should be put on trial for war crimes and then hung and then shot, that's what we said.
But besides that it made me think about something. It made me think, "what are they so afraid of?" It made me think about what scares them. Is it really four musicians from Los Angeles who've got a point of view? Is it really just this music and these rhythms and these words? Is that what they're scared of? I thought I'd think about it and you know what? My conclusion is this: nah, they ain't scared of us, they're scared of you! They're scared that you might come election time and throw Bush and Cheney and all them fascists out of power! That's what they're scared of!

And let me say this: the Democrats are scared of you too! Because they know that you see through their bullshit too. Because when Bush was wiretapping, spying on citizens, torturing innocent people – they were supposed to be the people to defend us from them, and they didn't do shit! So the Democrats are scared of you too. Why? Because they know they're coming to power and they're taking it all for granted, but they're scared because they know that if they don't start fucking pulling troops from Iraq that you're going to go and burn down every office of every Senator that doesn't do the job.

Well I will say this, that the world is watching us now. The whole world is watching us. The brothers and sisters in South America who are dealing with this imperialist violence have got their eyes on us. Our brothers and sisters in Iraq got their eyes on us. Because we are the ones that are prepared to, and going to, put an end to this nonsense. So Wake Up. Come on, Wake Up! Wake Up![citation needed]


Subsequently, De la Rocha added Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister who supported and facilitated George Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq, to the list of those who ought to be tried and hanged at the Reading Festival on August 22, 2008. The Reading and Leeds Festivals organizer announced after the 2008 festival that Zack had requested Friday and Saturday slots specifically so he could be back in the US for the Democratic and Republican conventions taking place in the week of the 25th.[74]

On August 27, 2008, Rage Against the Machine played a free concert in Denver at the Denver Coliseum during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in protest against the war in Iraq. After the concert, the band joined members of The Coup and Flobots in an anti-war protest march from the Denver Coliseum to the Pepsi Center[75] led by Iraq Veterans Against the War.


I am extremely inspired by Rage Against The Machine because not only do I love the music they make because of how unique it is but I love the fact that they make their music to make a point about injustice in the world. The band do a lot to challenge society and it's governments and their music videos also reflect this challenging nature that they have. This video was filmed in America on Wall Street where nobody is allowed to film without a permit. Their aim was to shut the banks for the day and they achieved that aim:


Rage also did a free charity gig in Finsbury Park after beating the X Factor winner Joe McEldery to Christmas number one. I went to the gig and it was amazing! Photos of the tickets we had to use to get in and a photo I took of the stage are at the top of this post! Here is a video of their performance of the song that got them to Christmas number one Killing In The Name. This was the last song of the night and it was amazing! I'm in the crowd somewhere in this video!