learning Agreement 

 

Before embarking on my MA in Digital Media, I completed my Undergraduate Degree in Film Production with the plan to hone in my skills and pursue my career goal of becoming a  screenwriter. My only issue during the beginning of my Undergrad was my refusal to explore any other skills I may have in the realm of Film Production, I limited my focus before even understanding what else there could be for me to experience. But, luckily I was introduced to the role of Producing and how that could actually help improve my writing. The two roles work together closely, A writer knows the story in and out and what messages should be portrayed to the audience, A Producer brings that world into reality. This realisation initially came from a selfish place, as I should be the only one allowed to continue my work as I know it inside and out, but after a combination of writing and producing several short films during my time at University (Evidence of this can be seen in my Filmography & Showreel)  I learnt to separate the ‘Writer’ & ‘Producer’ parts of my brain and realise that the most important thing was creating a story that meant something to an audience, not that it was all my own work. I learnt to open up and allow other collaborators into whatever story I was trying to tell, to give it the justice it deserved.

 

Fast forward to my MA. Due admittedly self-sabotaging my learning in Undergrad by only focusing on one or two elements of Film Production, I felt that my skills weren’t as polished as they could be or even should be. I wanted to understand more about what goes into telling a story and how to present it in the best way. So, how could doing this MA help me further my goal to becoming a  Screenwriter/Producer/Production Coordinator? 

 

This led me to creating these Learning Goals:

  • Understand the psychology of Ad Campaigns for Films and how they are used to generate audience interest. Plus understand and research the correlation between a good campaign and the overall success of a film once it is released. 

  • How to create a solid, successful marketing campaign. 

  • Don’t limit myself to specific skills, as from previous experience, it’s never a bad thing to learn something new. For this it will be continuing to improve my skills in Adobe Creative Cloud (After Effects, Photoshop & Illustrator). This will help build up my portfolio and therefore increase my employability. (In both the Film Sector and potentially the Marketing Sector)

  • Improve Project/Time Management skills to ensure that whatever project I carry out is done to the best of my ability.




 

 

The crux of my Learning Goals are to boost my skills and essentially make me more employable. Gaining knowledge of Film Campaigns and how to create a successful one would leave me in good standing in the eyes of an employer, as it infers I know what i’m doing and possess a wide range of insight to multiple platforms of a production which could prove valuable. However, the Film Industry is very much a ‘Don’t tell me, show me’ industry. So I need to implement what I’ve learnt into a physical product,  which is why creating an ad campaign for a film/web-series is a great way of showcasing what I’ve learnt. The basis of employability in my sector is experience over everything, this was also evident in jobs related to Digital Marketing (another sector I could be eligible for if I continue carry out my Learning Goals).  So I need to make sure that throughout my MA, I need to constantly be putting what I’ve learnt into practise. By deciding to opt for the pathway of ‘Marketing, Advertising and Brand Design, this will help expand my knowledge and practise and begin my understanding of the Advertising world.

 

After deciding my learning goals, I had to understand what disciplines I needed in order to carry out my goals to their full potential. These are:

 

  • Filtering the importance of ideas and projects, and prioritising my time. 

  • Understand the rigorous development needed to create projects to their highest quality (Be that film work or design work carried out during my first semester)

  • Observe trends in both the film and marketing sector and decide whether my work’s success requires me to follow them or step apart from them. 

  • Focus on developing my own professional brand and making sure that is reflected in my work. 


 

My strengths that could help with my Learning Goals and future employability are that I am a capable practitioner in filmmaking, especially in the Pre-production stage as that became my specialism at the end of my Undergrad. I’m currently in the process of creating two web-series which will add weight to my existing showreel. I have gained an understanding of what audiences respond to and are looking for.  I’m very critical of any work I produce, which I view as more of a strength than a weakness, because I’m constantly wanting to improve and see how it can be better. Whilst it is important to have confidence in your ability and work (something which I’m always trying to improve) but being my own worst enemy in my work pushes me to prove myself wrong. 

 

There are various barriers and weaknesses that could prevent me from accomplishing my learning goals on time. I struggle with prioritisation, I procrastinate often, which takes away time I could be spending on improving my work, this then leads me to rushing and then suffering from creative blocks. One thing I have learnt from this semester is how much my time management skills have improved due to the lengthy design processes needed to reach various outcomes, particularly in my Design Practise module. Designing and creating a prototype for an App was uncharted territory for me, and required teaching myself how to navigate a software that was completely new, Adobe XD. So I needed to dedicate as much time as I could to learning the software through practise and tutorials so I could create an end product that was to the beat of my ability.(This is shown in my blog post on my experience of learning Adobe Xd. This led me to examine what I needed to do very early on in the semester to overcome these barriers. This was becoming stricter with my time management, setting weekly goals of what I needed to achieve for a specific project, carry out extensive research into design works, the design & marketing industry and follow tutorials on software such as Adobe XD, Photoshop and Illustrator. 

 

But how will I know when my learning goals are achieved? This falls down to a culmination of peer feedback at various stages of my work, testing out ideas, theories and seeing where it needed to be improved. By treating my peers as audience members or consumers, it can allow me to tap into what they expect to see from this piece if it was replicated in the real world. If it gains a positive response, I know I can carry on and develop my ideas, if they inform me something can be done a bit better or needs to be more fleshed out, then I know what direction I need to take my work. In both the Film and Marketing Industry, the audience and consumers are key to creating a successful piece of work. You are providing a service to them, so your work has to adhere to their needs. I’ll also be keeping a blog which contains my progress and experiences with new skills I’m learning on this MA, and evidence of my research carried out. Research is a key factor into carrying out my learning goals, as I need to be constantly observing trends in both industries as they are constantly changing and adapting to current societal attitudes,  different marketing campaigns that have gained success to gain inspiration and also gain a wider understanding of the Industries and their intricacies. 








 

 

 

The workload I faced during Semester 1 gave me the opportunity to test out new techniques of time management skills. Initially I tried using the more traditional list format and flow charts (See Appendix 4) which I had used in previous projects, however because there were a lot of tasks that needed to be carried out over the 12 weeks of semester, and I needed to keep a more accurate track of them, I moved onto using Gantt Charts. I used this to set realistic goals and deadlines, and it helped me track my weekly progress, especially with the amount of research I had to get through. The use of the Gantt Chart also helped me evaluate the time and resources I had vs the amount of work that needed to be done. I used this method in my Design Practice and Emerging Media modules 

and also to plan and track my progress in achieving my Learning Goals. 

 

I faced a sizeable challenge when it came to Time management during my Emerging Media Project as my original collaboration of creating an Interactive ad Campaign for a horror short. This fell through due to lack of communication from my collaborator, meaning I had to start a new project from scratch during Week 7 of the semester. This project ended up being an Ad Campaign focusing on Guerilla Marketing Techniques for an online Jewellery Brand. By going with a new project so late through the semester, it made me evaluate what I could realistically do with the resources and time that I had. Admittedly, the plans for this campaign were very ambitious and realistically I couldn’t carry all of the factors out, which resulted in a lot of proof of concepts instead of a physical and viable item which lessened the quality dramatically. I faced a battle between my time and my resources; I had the skills of filmmaking and producing on my side, however not the time to actually complete it.  This was the biggest strain of my time keeping and my resources, but it helped me understand the importance of prioritising and trimming down a project to make way for more realistic objectives. At the beginning of the semester, your time and resources seem limitless, but upon reflection, there isn’t as much time as you first think and you need to evaluate what you can achieve with the constraint you’ve been given. Therefore by using the Gantt charts to help plan out my projects, it allowed me to take a more realistic approach to my work. 



 

 

Coming from a very practise based Undergraduate, it felt like I had to teach myself all over again how to conduct quality research and use it to direct my learning the right way. The majority of my research has been identifying the needs and desires of audiences and consumers, using Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ as a foundation, evidence of this can be found in my blog post exploring Maslow’s theory.  Research for my learning goals revolve a lot around the changing trend within the Advertising medium.  “Traditional mediums have found new creative ways to get their advertisements out there because you’ll often see billboards, signage and other printed avenues with vibrant and visually captivating designs that stand out among the landscape.”(Neff, 2015) Over the past decade the face of Advertising has changed so much, especially with the advancement of the internet and the rise of social media, making it a much more diverse entity. “Advertisers’ goals will continue to evolve to keep pace with the ever-changing marketing environment. Their task will be to take advantage of the opportunities that are unique to social media and develop advertising strategies that will maximize their brands’ potential, conversion rate, and engagement with new consumers.” (Ahmad, 2018)  In some cases for Film Advertising and their Ad campaigns, they almost  become two separate entities instead of completing factors. “It seems that modern “hype culture” may have altered that perception. In a way, the rise of blockbusters has brought a classic television commercial problem to cinemas.” (Aberl, 2016) 

 

My research has shown that using platforms such as Instagram and Facebook when marketing a product has improved sales tenfold. Through my research into the most successful ad campaigns such as The Blair Witch Project, The Dark Knight and A Simple Favour, it has led me to realise that sometimes establishing a narrative that is separate to the film and sometimes implementing a physical campaign can be the key to box office success. If audiences are led on a treasure hunt around New York city, or believe that a Documentary crew has gone missing filming about a Witch, then they are on the hook for as long as you need them. “The Blair Witch Project wasn’t just a low-budget indie horror flick — it was a real, ongoing mystery. Moviegoers and internet users have gotten more media-savvy, so this feat likely won’t be equaled, but The Blair Witch Project was the perfect storm, a way to use technology, advertising, and psychology to turn “based upon a true story” into box office gold.” (Grebey, 2019) 

 

Another notable part of my research has been the rise of ‘Honest Marketing’ and ‘Sustainable marketing’  and how brands and companies are opting for a more truthful display of their products, something that was unheard of a few years ago.“Customers today are empowered to buy whatever they want, wherever. In order to build a more authentic relationship with customers businesses need to embrace transparency.” (Milbrath, 2019) It has also created a new narrative, instead of these products improving your life and feeding into society's desire for materialism, it takes a step back and instead shows how these products can make you a better person, a more conscious and respectable person, changing people's relationship with the things that they by. It led me to think whether that was again just a tactic to boost sales or interest, or is genuinely how society’s moods and own self-actualisation has evolved.

introduction

Analysis of Learning Goals

Timeline & workloads of Modules

research

Bibliography

© 2018 Georgie Plant

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