The form of audience research I was most keen to get was the focus group. I really wanted to develop some progressive ideas regarding the script, and instead of just collecting individual comments in a questionnaire. I think that by conducting a focus group, ideas could be shared a developed in a way that could not be achieved individually.
My focus group comprised of three people, two from within my target audience, Lauren and Carmel, and one not, Jack. I thought it was important to include at least one person who was not from my target audience, as obviously it will not be just my target audience who sees my film, and I wanted to get a perspective from another demographic that would be likely to come into contact with my film, in this case, males 16-25. All participants are 17. As another plus, Lauren is a fellow Media Studies student, meaning I can get some idea from the point of view of someone going through the similar processes to myself; she would be able to judge what would and would not be plausible/possible.
The following is a video of the discussion after the focus group saw both the animatic and the ‘Making of’ video. Lauren is closest to the camera, whilst Jack is at the back.
Results and impact upon production
After conducting the focus group, I was so glad I had done so, because it pretty much confirmed all the issues I had with my production, and gave me a clear view of my audience’s opinion. Below are the main issues raised by the group and how I will solve them:
Dialogue and tone issues
- The formality of the dialogue was the first issue that was raised. My focus group agreed that the dialogue was not really typical of females aged 17-21. I had hoped that this issue would be resolved by the poll I had conducted earlier, however, I think this section of my audience had the benefit of hearing the dialogue read aloud, where it becomes more obvious that it is quite inaccurate.
- One issue that was raised was the pace of the dialogue. Although I was not expecting this, I think the reason for the rushed dialogue was my editing, which removed the majority of pauses and breaks. Obviously this will not be the case with the final product, so I don’t see it as a great problem. Obviously the pace of the dialogue is something I will have to consider when re-drafting the script.
- The issue of the line ‘It’s Jacob Newson’ was brought up. The reason for this was that I accidentally cut this line out with my edits, and it was too late to re-record, hence I did it myself. Obviously, this will not be the case with the final product, so I don’t see it as a concern.
- The final dialogue issue discussed was the relevance of the dialogue. It was suggested that maybe it should be more direct, not go off topic and explain simply the basics of the plot-line to stop the audience becoming confused.
I believe that all of the above problems can be solved with a rigorous re-drafting of the script. Obviously more details of this will be explained when the re-draft is being worked upon and is complete.
- It is clear that my audience wants appropriate music to accompany the production. As mentioned, this is my blind-spot in regard to my production, and will require further research. However, at least I have specifics to work from, such as the theme of Christmas and ‘bells’.
- Diegetic sound was briefly mentioned. It was mentioned that a cafe ambience should be used to make the whole thing more realistic.It was mentioned that a radio should be playing in the background, however, copyright restraints may stop this. I should be able to record diegetic sound of the cafe (general background discussion, noise) whilst my actresses change costume. If this is not possible, then I can always, record later the same day or on another day.
I think that just further research into sound and sound production should be able to solve this problem. If worse comes to worse, I’ll work with Garageband to create a short jingle or something similar that can be present in just the first scene, or just at the beginning of each scene.