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Evaluation Question Three - Radio Interview

Interviewer (Mike): That was Daniel with part 2 of How to Create a


Documentary, exploring what goes on behind the scenes. If youre
just tuning in this is Screen Sunday on BBC Radio 4. Later on in the
programme we will be talking to producer Andrew Willard to
discover why he has gone back to his roots to find the story for his
new film Commonside, and director Mark Dean will be joining us to
talk about his controversial casting decision that sent shock waves
through the UKs independent film sector more on that later. Right
now, Im Mike Browning, and Im here interviewing young director
Jordan Crichlow about how important it is to listen to your audience
when creating a film, and how their input can be used to shape the
creative process.
Interviewer (Mike): Jordan Crichlow emerged last year with his
directing debut in Truant, a film dipped in social realism about a
treacherous absentee. This year hes taken a different route in
creating his first short film. Solitude is unexpected and
compelling, as it centres on a lonesome young man with his camera,
and the ultimatum he is faced with when approaching a young
female. With his directional debut achieving something of a cult
following on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Jordan
knows how important the audience is. But how far do they influence
elements beyond the main film such as promotion and marketing?
And how do you go about finding the right audience? Jordan shares
his experiences with audience feedback with us now.
So, Jordan, lets start from the beginning. How did you first establish
who your audience would be?
Jordan: Well, Mike, we began by employing a mix of both
quantitative and qualitative types of research in a basic paper-based
questionnaire
Mike: Sorry, could you explain for those at home what the terms
quantitative and qualitative mean?
Jordan: Of course. Quantitative refers to research that deals with
measurable information, using closed questions to generate
numerical and statistical data, which are often shown to us in the
form of tables, charts or diagrams. On the other hand, qualitative
refers to research focused more on an individuals or groups
thoughts and feelings, using open questions to allow the individual
to go into more detail about their opinions, attitudes and
preferences.
Mike: Okay, thanks, as you were saying

Jordan: Yes, we employed a mixture of these two types of research


to gain information on whom our audience would be. We began with
simple questions about age and gender, to establish a basic
demographic, which eventually led to asking their address to
establish a geodemographic. Then the questions became more
specifically centered around short films, as that was the product we
were creating, to learn more about the psychographics. So such
questions as where you consume short films, and seeing what
shorts they had already consumed. Lastly, we ended the
questionnaire by trying to gain a basic knowledge of how they think
short films could be developed, as this would help us tailor our film
more specifically towards our audience.
Mike: Okay, you mentioned three key terms there; demographic,
geodemographic and psychographics. Could you please explain
those for the people at home?
Jordan: Well, demographics are the measurable characteristics of
the audience, for example, gender and age, which I mentioned
earlier. Geodemographics, on the other hand, is information based
upon regional identity, and understanding the issues there, and how
to reach them. And lastly, psychographics are the individuals
attitudes and opinions, hence the more specific questions around
short film.
Mike: Thanks again. So, going back to that piece of audience
research, what did you learn from it?
Jordan: Well, after every piece of audience research, we set about
analysing our results. From this first piece of research, we learned
that our audience were young adults, with a slightly greater
distribution of males compared with females, all around Surrey. From
the results of their current educational status, we reasoned that our
audience had, at the least, a basic knowledge of film, and issues of
today, meaning they were likely not strangers to the format.
Therefore, we figured we had the challenge of creating a film with
elements of thriller and drama, whilst still being as original as
possible, whilst still being accessible. Our audience also taught us
that issues in the film would engage them more if they were better
relevant to today, and more easily relatable. We could do this by
trying to convey a wider representation of classes, so our audience
could easily understand, and relate to them.
Mike: I see, I see. So, once you established your audience, what did
you do from there?
Jordan: We then went and made a synopsis of the film. With this
synopsis, we asked a select group of our target demographic to read

it, and offer feedback. From this we established that there were
definite things we needed to develop.
Mike: What sort of things were these?
Jordan: Well, we established the main characters dilemma is
unclear, so we had to expand on what would make his dilemma
clearer, and how we would undertake this process. We were advised
to show moments of non-isolation for the main character, and work
with visual ways of introducing the audience to his situation. We
learnt that I had to expand on what my main characters dilemma
was, and exemplify this through what happens in my frame, thus
making the characters dilemma clearer to the audience.
Undertaking this task allowed me to enhance the storyline for this
specific character, allowing me to provide the actor himself with an
enhanced background of the character he was playing.
Mike: So, would you say your audience feedback had an impact?
Jordan: Absolutely, a significant one, yes.
Mike: So, what happened next?
Jordan: After the synopsis came the script. Once wed written what
we thought was a decent script, we got in our target demographic
again and conducted 1-on-1 interviews.
Mike: And what benefits does that have?
Jordan: Well, 1-on-1 interviews focus more around qualitative
research, which is ideal because it allows the audience to expand
upon their feedback and provide us with more detailed analysis. It
also helped develop our communication skills, which is never a bad
thing.
Mike: No, I suppose not. So, what did you learn from those
interviews?
Jordan: What we learned from our interviews helped shape the film
into what it is today. Our audience conveyed to us how our script
sounded too theatrical, which is not a necessary quality needed for
film. We were advised to create a more meaningful climax, as the
climax has an ultimate effect on the audiences interpretations of
the film. I believe this process in particular was crucial, as it allowed
me to expand upon what kind of final message the audience should
receive; the ultimatum of both characters actions.

Mike: I see. Theres something that always seems to be typically


controversial within the filming business, and thats dialogue. What
typified how much dialogue you used within your short film?
Jordan: Glad you bought that up. Our audience conveyed to us the
need to develop dialogue, by either adding more lines, or refining
the ones we already had. However, they also showed a like for
visual action. Therefore, we decided to follow Marilyn Milgroms
advice and minimise dialogue, as this will inevitably help establish
the world and the character, and allow the visual action to advance
the story. Minimal dialogue will also ensure that a short is more
cinematic, and less televisual in feel.
Mike: Theres something else that I believe has a major impact on
the storyline and that is setting did your audience advise you on
what the location of your film should be?
Jordan: Ah yes, well originally I was going to base my film by the
lake based on the outskirts of Grove Park. Due to several issues
however, we decided to film it within the basis of Grove Park, by a
stream. This was because the lake is based by the main road,
meaning there was the high risk of outside interference from
vehicles and pedestrians that could potentially disrupt myself, my
characters or any aspect of my film altogether. The stream provided
a much more naturalistic environment, and I know for a fact we all
felt extremely comfortable around this setting.
Mike: Well it sounds as though your script feedback clearly helped
you then?
Jordan: Oh yes, without a doubt.
Mike: So what happened next?
Jordan: After wed established our audience and received feedback
on two of arguably the most important aspects of pre-production,
we moved on to our ancillary tasks, namely the magazine review
and poster.
Mike: Right, well lets take the magazine review first shall we
Jordan: Sure. After conducting the first draft of my magazine
review, I found there were many flaws in this draft, which were
pointed out by our target demographic. For example, it was noted
that certain conventions should be altered, namely conventional
dotted lines which separate different sections of the review. A
common flaw was the notable absence of a snapshot of my film
within the review. Adding a snapshot would help develop certain

conventions, such as integrating with the text, making it more eyecatching and appealing to the audience.
Mike: So once youd taken all this on board, and continued with the
magazine review, what did you do next?
Jordan: Well, after the review, came the poster.
Mike: Well, please do talk us through it.
Jordan: Of course. As a basis, the image and text are the key
elements located on my poster. My audience noticed that the image
of the stream and wildlife was particularly tenuous and vague, as it
did not fully connect with the story. The absence of characters
within the frame was highlighted as another weakness, and I was
advised to recreate the image with the girl in shot, providing us with
something more visually intriguing. As my film is mainly focused on
my male character filming the young woman through his camera, I
was advised to mimic play/pause buttons that are likeable to a
normal camera; I could potentially undertake this task using
advanced ICT software, such as Photoshop.
Mike: Well, thank you for that. That was Jordan Crichlow talking
about how important listening to your target demographic is. Next
up is Andrew Willard talking about his new film, Commonside.