Friday, 6 May 2011

Evaluation Three: What have you learned from your audience feedback?

Audience feedback has been invaluable to us. To make as professional, well targeted, a promotional package as possible, we relied on outside opinions from our target demographic to offer unbiased critique on our work.

First impressions are important, hence we wanted a title which we felt represented our film and would entice our target audience. After drafting three prospective titles, based on a map of key words, we produced a survey to receive feedback on which our prospective audience found the most appealing. As well as the main question about our film's title, we included questions about the participant, such as their age and sex, how often they visit the cinema, and about their interests. This enabled us to not only discover the most popular title overall, but the title that was the most popular with our target demographic/audience.

To receive targeted responses from our key demographic/audience again, as we felt this was the most valuable audience feedback to us, we posted the first mock up of our teaser poster on to my fashion blog on Tumblr. In doing this, we were introducing ourselves to our absolute key audience; predominately females 18-34, with a strong interest in fashion modeling, who pursue this interest as recreation. We received quite a few comments, including:
"This looks interesting... but the combination of the shadowed background and hair falling across her face is giving off more of a thriller feel."
"Assuming the tape measure is the main focus, you may want to remove some of the other factors. The tape measure didn't catch my eye when I first looked at the poster, and it took me a while to realize what I was supposed to be looking at."
"This looks quite professional! It has a lot of potential, but there's something off... I think it's the top/skin/bottom proportions. They're uneven."
We found this feedback to be so valuable, because we too had felt something was off; but it took an outside, unbiased, critic to pinpoint exactly what was wrong.
With this constructive criticism, we were able to develop our teaser poster. We changed the orientation from portrait to landscape, cropping the head away to remove the thriller-like and distracting covered face and to equalize the proportions of the top/skin/bottom. We used this change of orientation to our advantage, creating a billboard teaser from the background of the posters for "Picture Me" and drawing inspiration for the style from the popular Calvin Klein campaigns. Having read that "the tape measure didn't catch my eye when I first looked at the poster", we hoped that, even though we had tidied the poster up and drawn better attention to the tape measure, should the tape measure still not catch some members of our target audience's attention, perhaps the pretention of a renowned fashion brand would.
We re-uploaded our new poster, and received much more positive comments. Most included acknowledgement of our Calvin Klein campaign inspiration, which was very re-assuring, and the user who commented before about the shadowing and hair combination said; "Much better :) The shadowing looks great now, much more atmospheric... more ominous instead of scary."
Whilst we really took advantage of audience feedback to develop our poster, and found it very valuable, we feel that we could have connected with our audience more during the development process of our website. We focussed more on drawing inspiration from and challenging the conventions of other websites we had researched, and, as we received very positive feedback from our classmates throughout the process, we did not feel that we needed to change anything. However, in hindsight, I wish we had also appealed for opinions from our target audience as we did with our poster, because at times we have wondered whether our poster has come out as too generic and not fashion orientated enough.
After editing the first sequence of our trailer, including the sequence to the intro of Paramore's "Decode", our production company logo, and a scene of dialogue between Cindy's character and her friend, we uploaded it to all of our Facebook accounts. With the majority of people on Facebook, uploading a section of our trailer to the site was similar to launching it to a sample of a "real world" audience.
The comments we received were positive about the music we chose, and felt the editing worked in sync. We received one comment from an 18 year old female (so in our target demographic), which said; "I feel really sorry for the girl in the intro. The scenes with her mother and boyfriend were very sweet and she looked so sad thinking about them." We were pleased that the intro had receive our desired sympathies from a member our target audience, and that she had realized that Cindy's character was reflecting on our past; it told us that we had edited the intro well.
However, the scene of dialogue after our production company intro (a scene between Cindy's character and her friend, walking towards a post box with an envelope, containing Cindy's modeling photos for the agency but this is never mentioned, whilst Cindy's friend asks Cindy if she "is sure she wants to do this", never mentioning what "this" is) received predominately negative feedback. For example, "I don't understand, what is the "this" they're referring to? Is it her modeling?" (which came from a friend who knew the theme of our film before watching) and "I don't think this adds very much to your trailer other than confusion, to be honest. Perhaps cut it?"
Having found audience feedback so valuable during the production of our teaser poster, we decided to trust it again and cut the small scene of dialogue.
- Trailer: We felt like scenes were moving too fast, Ryan "liked, didn't feel like he was missing anything, was definitely interested to see more." not so keen on font. He's opposite sex to our demographic, but has same interest in the arts and fashion.

The next time we shared our trailer with outside critics was after we had cut all of the scenes to fit our music, to both the "Decode" intro and the intro to Muse's "MK Ultra". The fast pace of "MK Ultra" had lead to our cutting our scenes quite finely to run in sync with it.

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