Thursday, December 07, 2006

Evalution of group narrative project

Highlight the skills and knowledge you have gained and developed and show how you have gained them. Provide suggestions for improvement and how these attributes will inform your study in future modules this year.

In this essay I shall review the project that was created by me and my narrative group. As a group we firstly arranged a meeting and decided that we would post our ideas on the discussion forum where we could post from either University or accommodation, meaning that ideas could be exchanged at the same time as keeping a record of them. Although we did use the discussion forum we found that we generally exchanged more ideas when we were in meetings where we could use and develop each others ideas more freely than online where we would post ideas and then have to wait for ideas. As well as this not everyone had internet access at their places of accommodation and therefore we found that we only used it in situations where we had ideas outside of meetings or to arrange our next meeting and log it so that everyone knew when and where it was.

As a group we came up with many ideas, our first idea was a narrative which portrayed people who had compulsions to do something that they knew they shouldn’t, this idea could have been developed into serious or comical situations, as well as making the events trivial or important. The group’s second idea was about our reliance on technology, and in this case especially mobile phone and what would happen if this technology is taken away from people, how it affects their lives and whether or not they could live with out it. Another idea was to base the narrative on how people with opposite personalities clash, this may have been something as simple as musical tastes, or a more complex subject such as political views and how it effects relationships.

We eventually decided to create a narrative with a focus on an aspect of university life. Our chosen genre was comedy and our target audience was chosen as university students, more specifically first year university students, this is because we believed that they could relate to any university related events. After this we agreed that it would be set on a first year students first day at university and so created the title “Day One”. As the narrative had to be 2 minutes long exactly we concluded that we would have to write the narrative based on key events of the 24 hour time span which would be a series of comical events occurring to the student on his first day and would be done in the style of a linear narrative.

The next step was to agree on what type of format our narrative would be shown as. After deciding on using pictures (stills) to create our narrative, we thought that it would be a good idea to add in a comic book style to give it more of a comedy effect and we were heavily influenced by ‘Max Payne’ (Rockstar/Remedy, 2002, a successful, multi award winning video game which was first released on PC and then made successful transitions to both PS2 and XBOX video games consoles. The game was most notable for the style in which it portrayed its narrative through use of a visual comic book style and was also accompanied by a VO (voice over) which helped to carry the narrative as well add more definition and depth to the main character, this character being Max Payne.(

As well as being influenced by Max Payne, we were interested in the music video for Roll Deep Crew’s song, ‘The Avenue’ (AKA ‘Heartbreak Avenue’) (2004, in which the band members are transformed into comic book characters after being real life human beings and it was also taken into consideration that we could use both real life video footage which could the transform into a comic book style using images, although this idea was never brought to fruition.

After we had finalised the ideas we decided which tasks and roles each of us would be assigned, at this point we agreed that even if people did not have skill in a certain area then they could be helped by experiencing the process. We then made a schedule of work that each area would have to be completed by, although this was not followed as closely as the group had planned or hoped, the end product was completed in time.

When our ideas and plans were then presented in front of other narrative groups and the lectures, this allowed us to realise how much of the project we had not considered and how we could improve on our ideas. This feedback was necessary for us as a group to hear and be able to improve on future project presentations as individuals.

The first part of the post production stage involved editing photos in Adobe Photoshop where we added a Max Payne style, after which we added speech bubbles and storyline banners along the top and/or bottom of the pictures which told the narrative. The ‘Max Payne’ cartoon style effect was added to the pictures by Isaac, who worked on his own from home and therefore no one else was able to learn the process in which the pictures were changed from normal to comic book style and in this section of production I believe that team work should have been enforced better, therefore allowing the whole group to learn new skills or enhanced their currently existing skills. The research into Photoshop tutorials led me to find a mass of information which could be helpful in future work and in learning new techniques (

At this point in the project I tried to help by finding tutorials for Adobe Photoshop of how to create a ‘Max Payne’ style and decided that such things could be used as a contingency plan if Isaac’s method failed. I also experimented with my own methods and found that a simple method in Photoshop was to use the ‘Fresco’ effect, which created a good ‘mock’ ‘Max Payne’ style image.

The next stage in the project was to record the sounds, this was done in one of the sound booths and we therefore learnt about some of the equipment involved in the recording of sound. As we had not yet learnt about how to use the equipment, we firstly recorded the sounds using a portable mini tape recorder. After this we were required to transfer this sound to a file on the computer and therefore we requested the help of a technician who taught us how to transfer this sound using audio jacks and a program named Sound Forge. After the sound was transferred to the computer we decided that it would be more appropriate to edit it in Adobe Premiere at the same time as the pictures.

In the final stages of editing, Sejpaal who was knowledgeable of Adobe Premiere put together the edited stills and then edited the sound by selecting the parts that we needed from the recording session. In this part of the project I observed what Sejpaal was doing in Premiere, this is so that I could add to the knowledge that I already had which is only a basic understanding of the program. I also attempted some of my own tests in which I practiced using the transition which was relevant to our groups project, this being the ‘page curl’ as we wanted to achieve the effect of the viewer reading a comic book.

I believe that although my contribution to this project may not have been much I did still have input on what went into the final product and this is reflected in my 65% effort grade which was award to me by the team. I believe that I was able to achieve a good relationship with the rest of my team which allowed me to learn new skills and to refresh my memory of old ones. I feel that although this project was largely focused on creating a good end product, its main target was to get people used to working in a team and learning new skills.

When reviewing the end production I believe that although it was visually very well done, the narrative left a lot to be desired, this is because I do not believe it was funny enough to warrant it being in the genre of comedy and this should have been more of a focus. As well as this I believe that we did not leave or self enough time to review the end product after we had produced it and it should have been tested on our target audience before being handed in, this could have notified us of any problem that may have occurred as well as being able to have feedback on the actual narrative.

In the future if I was to do another group project I would want to be more involved, therefore I will work on my technical skills and hopefully be able to be a bigger part of the final product. I would also ensure that as a group everyone could trust each other and be able to rely on them, as well as trying to involve everyone in every task as this would not only improve knowledge and skills, but team relationships which are very important for group projects.

No comments: