In a world in which poverty and hunger exist, having a mobile phone is a privilege. It gives me the possibility to carry my office around, anywhere I go, giving me access to internet in order to analyse an d synthesise information - being always connected, up to date. For media studies students, for our creative minds, this is a great opportunity. An idea never comes at a fixed time so you must be prepared to write it down before you forget it. A device like a laptop or a mobile phone gives me a lot of flexibility in the creative process. I can work anywhere, anytime, whenever I feel inspired, having my software at hand. Like in any artistic process, first of all, there is the research part. I couldn't design an A magazine without a proper research in the gaming magazine field. In order to do this, I used Wikipedia and Issuu. Google helped me when it comes to images, fonts, social media logos and nevertheless, google forms- through which I could create my target audience questionnaire in order to see what people expect to find in a gaming magazine. This shaped a lot my initial thought of the magazine - it opened my eyes I may say. The questionnaire was posted on Facebook and Reddit. All these websites were extremely very useful in research but Weebly became my best friend because it helped me in tracking every step I took, from concept to final work. I kept my initial ideas on the blog so I can observe the evolution, the progress that I made in the last year. Along the way I realised the importance of high quality images. I used a DSLR camera in order to take professional pictures so my magazine would look "real". Softwares were also crucial wgen it comes to editing and creating. I built a character using DAZ studio, which was presented on the double spread. I am grateful because I learned to use Photoshop and Illustrator, which provided me with lifetime skills. I had to edit the photos from the two photo sessions in Photoshop, play with many tools, smudge, blur, burn and edit different layers. Illustrator on the other hand, helped me in vectorising images, creating anchor points and shaping the masthead as I desired. I could modify and adjust details in order to personalise some standard labels for example the "subscribe now" logo. Even though it was a long process, I spend most of my time in InDesign, arranging elements on the pages. InDesign is basically like a skeleton for the whole magazine where you have all the right tools and you just have to try different arrangements until you find the best possible composition. Feedback from peers, through email or Facebook, was esential because it offered me another perspective. Being so involved, working at the magazine 24/7, I couldn't see the big picture anymore. This is why a new opinion from outside is extremely useful. It can inspire you and it ca be the starting point of something else.
For me, creativity means artistic evolution - the ability to adapt and create new trends from your unique point of view, without copy / paste-ing someone else's ideas. Entering a new domain, I did a proper research using ISSUU in order to avoid off-topic creativity because it's time consuming and it's not efficient in any way. So I started my creative process, having a clear starting point (my mood board) on which I could build a complex further structure. I had to include a couple of photo sessions: one for Cosplaying princess Leia and another one for the winners of League of Legends International Championship, with my colleagues. The first one I did it myself at home because I know exactly what attitude I want to transmit through Princess Leia and I also knew her position and facial expression. The second one was done in my school because it was very accessible. Furthermore, we have a green wall which I could use as a green screen. The photo sessions weren't complicated so I used my camera and a tripod. The angle was standard, respecting the usual convention for cosplays and Championship winners - medium shots. This year because I chose the music promotion package, I have the opportunity to experiment new techniques in filming the music video. The editing part was relatively standard because I already noted all the conventions I wanted to follow (minimalistic front cover, Masthead, A few headlines, classic issues like game reviews and upcoming games) and the ones I want to break (complex cover full of headlines and pictures, many ads, reductionist structure - focus on only one main topic). I had the chance to create my unique selling point because I focused on many topics. The production process involved a lot of attention to details, developing my artistic sense and my self criticism. I never used Photoshop or InDesign before so I had to practice a lot until I could obtain what I desire. Even if I was proud of my work one day, the other day I found something I changed - this is called progress. Every emotion had an impact on my creative vision. When I could balance my emotions, my ideas were systematised, as a result of my new way of thinking. When we create something, we put our energy into it, leaving a fingerprint. We are reflected by the things we create. All things come to an end besides the creative process.
Research and planning
I had to familiarise myself with the gaming industry, by making an in depth research - this was my starting point. Nowgamer.com informed me about the latest trends when it comes to video games, reviews and new technology. I was still unclear for me how could I select the relevant information and synthesise it intro a magazine. This is the point where ISSUU lend me a hand. I analysed the most popular gaming magazines in terms of aesthetics and consistent information. Then I could finally start using my imagination in creating a gaming magazine through my own perspective. The target audience questionnaire had a great impact on my vision because I posted it on Facebook and Reddit and a lot of people from many different social groups completed it. There are many famous magazines who focus on only one detailed issue, for example PC Gamer - which focuses only on PC video games, reviews and new technology. Another examples would be Control and Control500 which focus mostly on game developers, designers and how a game was made. It is very difficult to enter this market segment because they have their loyal subscribers and monopoly over this domain. After analysing the answers from the questionnaire, I realised that there are many demands from my audience so in order to attract more customers I had to focus on multiple brief subjects, instead of only one, in depth. If your product is respecting the audience's wants, they are more likely to desire it eventually buy it. My ability of analysing and synthesising relevant information have developed throughout the last year and now I am able to develop more easily a personal idea based on a research in any domain. The only similar task with a storyboard was the mood board for AS which was much simpler. I included the colour palette, some sketches, photos and text arrangements. It was a great practice for me and it helped me when I had new ideas: I had a standard and a theme - some of my new ideas were different from the general theme so I didn't develop them. Now I feel prepared to construct a detailed storyboard because I know its purpose and I have the necessarly technical skills. For AS I used "accessibility" as the main criteria in choosing the locations for the photo sessions, but for the A level I have to include other, more important criteria when it comes to filming: light, noise, equipment, weather, safety and so on. For the cast I must repeat myself: I won't use the people who are the most reachable or handy. Different types of people fit to different scenes, so I am considering to cast the right people with auditions in which I will evaluate their physical aspects and acting qualities - because they are the most important when starring in a music video. Nevertheless, the preliminary tasks from AS were focusing on photography and using different editing softwares in creating the AS magazine task. I planned the two photo shootings: one in which I included myself doing a cosplay and another one in which I included e few of my colleagues as the winners of an international championship. The A2 preliminary tasks are centralised on different filming techniques and learning to use FinalCut. Due to a proper research and planning , I gained the fundamental skills to assemble a complex media product.
Using Real Media Conventions
Conventions are the generally accepted way of communicating certain ideas. In filmmaking industry, there are technical conventions like camera angles, sound and lighting and symbolic conventions like body language, props and clothes. During media studies classes, not only I learned what conventions are but also I learned how to use conventions on my side, in a creative way. For the AS exam I used many conventions in order to create the gaming magazine but I also broke some in order for it to look minimalistic, for artistic purposes. My magazine is included in the vast category of video game magazines but it has its particular features. It uses conventions when it comes to layout: the masthead, the website, background image, cover lines, barcode, date, issues number, puff and plugs. On the other hand, the design of the magazine is way more minimalistic/ futuristic than the mainstream version of a gaming magazine, like Xbox360 or PcGamer. I also broke the conventions when it comes to content: the majority of video game magazines are focused on one main topic like game development, character design, review, cosplay and so on. “For the win” covers a wide range of topics - this is my unique selling point- which include illustrations, character design, reviews, new tech, debates, q&a, fan art, e-sports and cosplay. I have a bit of everything. People may like a certain topic, for example cosplay, but they wouldn’t buy a magazine fully based on this unless they are truly passionate about it. I didn’t focus on only one topic because there are popular magazines which do that and it would have been harder to enter that market segment.
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