Reflective Evaluation 4.1

This is my final product of my Final Major Project. My podcast is in the form of a radio show that discusses humans and zombies living together. I also produced a logo to make it look more professional and help identify my podcast.

This is the final version of my script that I used to make the podcast.
Script Zombie Time

This is the thumbnail that I created to go with my podcast.
New logo

This is the character bible that I created.

 

 

 

 

Pre-Production

What was the purpose of the project? What did you hope to learn?
The purpose of my project was to entertain people and provide something different involving zombies, so that I don’t just recreate something that already exists and can make something that is unique to me. From this project I hoped to learn more about sound production and editing techniques, and also learn more about how to produce authentic sounding foley because I am interested in this and want to get better at it and maybe work in sound production in the future.

What was the theme for the project?
The theme for my project was zombies and exploring a world where zombies and humans co-exist, instead of a traditional apocalypse where humans and zombies are against each other.

How have you developed your ideas?
At the start of the project I had three ideas for my final major project. My original idea was to create a digital comic set during a zombie apocalypse following two survivors. My second idea was to produce a podcast series that is set up as a radio show that discusses zombies in human society. My third idea was to create a choose your own adventure book that puts readers in the position of a survivor who is the leader of a group and has to make choices about how the group acts to other groups and what actions the group takes to survive.

To help me decide which idea would be the most appropriate one for me to do I performed tasks that would provide me with feedback about each idea and also make me consider the strengths and weaknesses of each idea. To get feedback I took part in a focus group where I told other people my three ideas and they told me what worked and what didn’t and what I could do to improve each idea. I also analysed my three ideas to see what was good about them that I would be able to do and what about them I would maybe struggle with. Also I analysed what opportunities each project would offer me so I could decide which project I would enjoy more. I also did a task that was designed to inform me about what has influenced me throughout my life that has made me the person I am now because it would inform me about what kind of project would be better for me and what affects my decision making.

From doing these tasks I decided that I would go with my second idea of a podcast for my final major project as this idea is better suited to my skill set and would provide me with the opportunity to learn the skills that I am interested in.

How much reference material did you find (primary and secondary research)? Do you think you could have done more? If so, explain what you think you could have done.
I found a wide variety of secondary sources on topics that I needed to research, such as colour theory, listening to existing radio shows to learn the format. I did some primary research as I got feedback from other people about my ideas and used that feedback when making the product, and I also listened to other existing radio shows and podcasts, such as Bunker Buddies which talks about similar topics to my idea, and I also listened to radio shows on BBC to learn the format of a radio show and how I could use it in my podcast. I feel I could have done more research as I could have looked more into similar products. Also I think I could maybe have done more primary research, such as questionnaires to get peoples opinions about my idea.

Which developers, art movements, designers, media companies/campaigns and industry examples have you looked at to assist you and inspire you? Why?
To assist and inspire me for this project I looked at Bunker Buddies podcasts, Anthony Horowitz, and The Archers on BBC radio 2.

I listened to Bunker Buddies to deconstruct it so that I could learn about the format of podcasts and what goes into a podcast, such as the music, and how characters interact with each other.

I listened to The Archers to learn the format of radio shows so that I could make my podcast sound as authentic as possible, by including things like an opening piece of music.

I looked at Anthony Horowitz because I needed to create characters and write a script and I believe his work is a good example of how to create characters as he makes them interesting by having them be believable so readers can relate to them. Also he creates interesting worlds by having them be very realistic but have enough fictional elements to make them exiting for the readers, and I wanted to try and create a world like that through my script and also create interesting believable characters that are slightly exaggerated to make them more interesting to my listeners.

Explain how your production board went. What feedback did you receive and how did this help you focus your production?
My production board went very well as my idea was approved so I could start production immediately. The feedback I received was to research the format of radio shows so that I could make my podcast sound like an authentic radio show and make sure I listened to podcasts so that I knew what they sound like and their format. This helped me focus my production as after I had done the research I knew what I needed to do in order to make it sound authentic, which made planning it easier and producing it was also easier as I knew exactly what I would be able to produce myself and what I would need to get elsewhere.

Production

How did your work change through the project?
My work changed throughout the project as I created four different drafts of my script, and had the characters say and do different things in each one, to experiment with what would work best. Also after I had done a practice recording session I felt I needed to change some things as the host character was too controlling of the other characters, and also the other characters didn’t interact with each other much and I felt it would be more authentic if they had more interaction. Also originally I did not plan to create a logo for my podcast but after looking at existing podcasts I noticed they all had a thumbnail with them, and as I had completed my podcast with enough time to spare, I decided that I would make my final product more professional and authentic by using the time I had left to create a logo, so I created five possible designs for a logo and created two versions of a logo because I was not satisfied with my first version and felt I could do a lot better by putting more time and effort into it.

Which technical skills, methods, and techniques did you use?
The technical skills I used to complete my project include script writing, proofreading, Photoshop skills for my logo and character bible, drawing skills with a graphics tablet for my logo, sound recording and performance skills, and editing skills in Audacity. One of the methods I used for sound production was foley, I did this to get the sound of chains rustling in the background by using my keys, the sound of a zombie groan by having someone groan into the microphone, and the sound of a character falling over on their chair by pushing a chair over and recording the sound it made.

One of the techniques I used was in Photoshop I used the liquify tool to create the effect that blood was dripping on my logo, I also used inner and outer glow on parts of my logo to make them stand out against the background. Other techniques I used were in Audacity where I changed the pitch and amplified some sounds to make them sound like the object I wanted them to be, for example to get my keys to sound like a chain I lowered the pitch so that they would sound heavier.

What were the key areas of development in this project?
The key areas of development in this project were script writing, character creation, recording, editing, and design.

Script writing was a key area as without a good script my actors would not know what they were supposed to do when the recording started, also I would not have a clear idea of what I wanted for the podcast and this would have made production and post-production difficult.

Character creation was a key area as writing a script would have been harder if I didn’t have a clear idea of who my characters were, and I wouldn’t have been able to write them with consistency. Also the actors wouldn’t have known how they needed to act to portray the characters.

Recording was a key area as the podcast needed to sound like an authentic radio show so the audio quality had to be very good, so I used a sound proof room to record in to ensure there was less echo and everything could be heard clearly.

Editing was a key are as to make it fit the podcast and radio show format I had to make sure it was edited correctly and everything fit together well, also I had to get free music that I could use at the beginning and end because music is something that radio shows use to introduce them and then again when the show is finished so I had to use music to make the podcast authentic.

Design was a key are as this was important in order for me to create my logo. First I drew some rough designs for a logo and then created one but the design of this logo did not look professional so I created another logo with a different design that looked much better and more professional and better reflected my podcast because of this.

What experiments and exploration did you do? How did it affect your projects development? Were there any significant changes?
I experimented with my scripts by creating four drafts and trying new things in them and eventually changing how much the host has to say because in previous drafts it felt he was too controlling of the other characters and restricted what they could say. This affected my projects development as due to the experimentation I was doing with the script drafts it delayed when I started recording.

Other experimentation I did was when I was creating my logo, as I created five different designs and in those designs experimented with the colours I had chosen by changing what objects would be which colour. I also experimented with two versions of my logo to see which one looked more professional and appropriate for my podcast and experimented by using a graphics tablet to draw in Photoshop because I felt this would look more professional than drawing with a mouse. This affected my projects development as it took me longer to create the logo but my logo did look professional when I was finished.

Post-Production

Is the final product appropriate for the intended platform/purpose?
The final product is appropriate for the intended platform as its format can work on both Apple and Android devices which is what I wanted, also the logo is the correct size to fit on the App store so I could put it on mobile platforms without any problems. My final product is also appropriate for its intended purpose as it does provide an alternative to existing zombie products and also I think it will entertain people listening to it as the characters argue about zombies as if they are completely normal which also different from other zombie products.

Identify the strengths and weaknesses in your final product.
I think the strengths of my product are its audio quality, its authenticity to radio shows, and the logo. I think its audio quality is a strength because it does sound like a radio show due to it being recorded in a sound proof room, which I think was a good decision instead of just recording it in a normal room, as the difference in quality would have been very noticeable as there would have been a lot of echo and reverb if I didn’t record in a sound proof room, and then it would not have sounded like a real radio show.

I think its authenticity is a strength because I intended for it to sound like a real radio show that would be on the BBC and I feel that due to its sound quality and the music at the beginning and end it does sound like a real radio show.

I think the logo is a strength because it looks very professional and represents the podcast well, and will also catch peoples attention. Also the colours I have used in the logo work well to give it a zombie feel, as all the colours relate to zombies and I think my design choices have made them work well together.

I think one of the weaknesses in the final product are some of the foley sound, as the thud of the chair doesn’t have a big enough impact, so it is hard to know what it is meant to be if you are just listening to the podcast.

I also think the editing in some parts is a weakness as the chain sounds need to come in when the zombie character groans so that it is obvious that the chains are connected to him.

Find a similar product- what comparisons/differences can you identify?
A similar product to mine is the podcast series Bunker Buddies. This series is about different apocalypse events and what people would do in those situations and what they should do survive. One similarity between my product and Bunker Buddies is both have a logo that represents what the show is about, The Bunker Buddies logo is a steel door that is shut, representing people hiding in a bunker. Another similarity is Bunker Buddies also represent apocalypse events differently and try and make them funnier than in other products. One more similarity is the Bunker Buddies theme song that is at the start and end of the podcast is more upbeat than what you would expect from a show about apocalypse events, and my podcast also has music that is not associated with zombie products.

One difference between the products is Bunker Buddies does not contain fictional characters, instead the hosts of the show talk about what they would do if these events were really happening. Also Bunker Buddies does not use foley or sound effects as they are just talking about events so they don’t need sound effects.

 

Review your proposal- what changed, what developments did you make, did you manage to complete everything you set out to?
From my original proposal, one thing that changed is the amount of script drafts I made, because I wanted to experiment with what I included in the script. Another thing that changed is I decided to produce a logo for my podcast once I had finished editing it, because I felt I needed a logo for it to be professional when I upload it and a logo will help people identify it.

I managed to complete everything I set out to in the time as I did produce one episode of the podcast and completed the logo.

Are you happy with your final piece? Are there any elements you like in particular?
I am very happy with my final piece as I think the audio quality is good and it sounds like an authentic radio show. Also I think the performance in the podcast is good. I particularly like the logo that I have made because I think it looks very professional and I am pleased with how elements of it have turned out, such as the on air light that is dripping with blood, and the zombie hand coming out of the ground looks detailed and is good quality. I also really like the quality of the audio as it is very clean and there are very little unwanted background noise and really make the podcast more professional and authentic.

Is there anything you would change? Why?
If I were to do this project again I would change parts of the script so that the host has more parts to say, but not so much that the host is just controlling what the other characters talk about like in early drafts of the script, because I feel the host doesn’t talk as much at the moment and I think adding more dialogue for the host would improve the podcast.

 

Fun, M. (2016) Haitian zombies: LIVE! Available at: http://www.maximumfun.org/bunker-buddies-andie-and-travis/haitian-zombies-live (Accessed: 17 June 2016).

Fun, M. (2015) Inevitable apocalypse! W/ Sandeep Parikh. Available at: http://www.maximumfun.org/bunker-buddies-andie-and-travis/inevitable-apocalypse-w-sandeep-parikh (Accessed: 17 June 2016).


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