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Lauren Reeves

Media Production

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Weekly Blog

Trimester 3 – Week 8

This week, I began designing my work on InDesign.

As I began working on the designing process, I decided to keep the colour palette to a minimal and fairly monochrome as I didn’t want to include bold colours for several reasons.

The first being, I wanted my book to have a similar layout and aesthetic look to other crime novels.

The other reason being, I didn’t want to draw attention away from the dark topic. I felt that it would be inappropriate to have a crime piece have a bright, colourful layout.

I also designed the front cover with this mindset in place.

When I started, I decided to gather inspiration from other novels, including those in the crime genre. I took covers I liked and put them all together to see what I could come up with.

Front cover inspiration

From these covers, I learnt that books with a darker theme had a different colour palette to those that were more ‘coming of ages’ stories. Crime novels mostly had impactful covers that grabbed your attention, they usually used darker colours such as blacks, maroons, navy’s and purples. Most crime novel covers also had a subtle yet hidden message on the cover that the audience would understand after reading the novel. I wanted to incorporate this into my own cover.

The overall tone of the crime novels was a lot darker and fit the topic they were writing about. The covers were also more intricate than the other genres I researched. Front covers are the audiences first impression so you want to put across the feeling and tone that you are writing about. I took all of these thoughts on board.

From that, I began to design.

After talking with two of my tutors, the idea of a flashlight being shone on a crown was created. I loved this idea as it could be interpreted in so many different ways. To me, the first thing that came to mind was the idea that the limelight was always on JonBenet’s crown and pageant achievements, rather than her school work or other achievements a child would be praised for. She was seen as a pageant queen, more than a child.

The cover could also be seen as a spotlight shining on a queen and then after reading the story, they could go back to the cover and see that it is actually a flashlight, the flashlight that plays a big part in the case.

I really love this idea as I feel it stays true to the crime genre whilst also not disrespecting or exploiting the situation.

finished jonbenet cover.jpg

Trimester 3 – Week 7

This week was self-directed study week. As I booked the week off work, I made the most of this time and finished my story.

FMP Scenes (1)

Although I found it tough to write about this subject, I feel that I wrote respectfully and to a high standard.

I am very happy with the way my story turned out and I learnt a lot, both as a writer and as a teenager.

For this piece, I took a lot of inspiration from books such as Devils Knot- The true story of the West Memphis Three By Mara Leveritt, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine by Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt.

For example, in No Easy Answers, the story is told from the point of view from someone who was actually there. Brooks Brown, former friend of Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, tells the tale from his eyes and what he personally experienced.

I’m alone on a staircase outside Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

This spot is a quiet one, bordered by concrete recesses that merge into a sidewalk

leading up toward the math wing. I’ve stood here many times before; this place was

always secluded enough for me to get in one last quick drag before an administrator

would yell at me to quit smoking on school grounds.

This is the opening to the book and starts off with a description and a personal link. He describes the actions taken place at the location instead of over describing it. I took this writing style into consideration when writing my piece.

When writing, I reread every scene after writing it to make sure I had correctly portrayed what I had aimed to do. When I felt that I had lost a scene, I left it and began writing another until I found inspiration for the former scene.

I feel that throughout this writing process, my skills regarding syntax have improved. I now look at a sentence and identify the nouns, verbs etc and debate if there are alternate synonyms or sentence structures that could be better suited.

Overall, I am very proud of my work and I feel that I understand the true crime genre a lot better now.

 

No Easy Answers- Brooks Brown & Rob Merritt. 2002, Lantern Books. 

Devil’s Knot- Mara Leveritt. 2003, Atria Books.

In Cold Blood- Truman Capote. 1965, Vintage Books. 

Trimester 3 – Week 6

This week, writing was the main focus.

I started off by writing down layout ideas for my story, what scenes I wanted to include and a general synopsis.

Story layout ideas FMP

I found that writing down helped a lot as I could visualize my work more clearly and I knew what my end goal was. I had a much better idea of what I wanted my writing style to be and how to achieve it as I had what I wanted to write in front of me.

So far, the writing process has been anything but organized. I have begun writing a scene and then lost direction and started writing another. However, I am finding this better than forcing myself to write a scene I don’t know where to take yet.

FMP Scenes

At the moment, I am only writing the backbone of the story, very few of the scenes are finished. Once I am done laying out the plot, I will go back and add to it, finish the scenes and then craft them together.

I am exploring a new format and genre of writing through this project and I feel I am constantly learning because of it.

I feel that this is a huge step for me as a writer as I’m out of my comfort zone and I have to write in a way I am not used to. I am not only writing for myself but for JonBenet and I keep that in my foresight constantly.

Trimester 3 – Week 5

This week, I focused solely on my research.

I completed my secondary research however I expect to discover a lot more when I start writing. Altogether, I have collected reliable facts from multiple sources across all formats including, websites, official medical reports, documentaries and books.

Research fmp (3)

I found the research to be a really thought-provoking process as so many different sources were saying such contrasting things. The statements that weren’t professionally confirmed, I took with a pinch of salt. Whilst I am going to keep them in mind when writing, I will only include the known facts as the backbone for my writing and then use my imagination for the rest.

I feel that through this process, I have become more aware of what sources are credible. I have also explored the parts played in the crime by separating the facts into profiles by relevancy.

I am still working on my primary research; however, I am finding it difficult as I am not able to get enough participants to complete my survey. I plan to gather answers manually though which will increase the number of participants.

Next week, I plan on working on my primary research and writing.

Trimester 3 – Week 4

This week, I focused mainly on one thing. Research.

I started out by making bullet points on the case such as Suspects, Evidence, Investigation etc to establish the facts and would help create a timeline in the future.

I would then write down different statements I had established through various sources and then find more sources to back them up.

For example:

‘JonBenet was found dead by her Father in the cellar of her home.’

With this statement, I would then find different reliable sources backing them up and Harvard reference them.

Research fmp

This process so far has definitely been very time consuming and I’ve had to search through countless articles, not to mention the documentaries and books.

However, I feel that I have become better at researching now as I am better at skimming out the necessary information and finding reliable sources.

As I am writing a factual fiction piece, I am only taking the information I need from the research by filtering through it before writing it down. This way, it will be easier when writing my piece as the facts will be easier to navigate.

Although, I am concerned about the time management aspect as it took me days to acquire some basic research with several sources to each fact. I will be working extra hard to ensure that I have all the research I need to start my writing.

All sources for my research will be listed in the research document above.

 

Trimester 3 : Week 3

This week, we focused on our Final Presentations to present. Below is the final version of my Presentation.

FMP pitch presentation

This final version has differed greatly from the original piece. I have expanded more on my target audience and have narrowed it down to British women between the ages of 18 to 40.

Originally, my target audience was a lot wider. It was only aimed at people over the age of 18 with no regard to gender or nationality. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realised who I was aiming my work at.

I have also greatly expanded on the evaluation process, talking about what I would do at the end of the project to see if I had achieved what I set out to do. I will also be looking at how my message would’ve differed if I had chosen a different format for my project, had I maintained a fair amount of bias when writing etc.

Through the process of creating my Pitch, I feel that my production skills have increased. Before, I wasn’t very confident when it came to the actual production whereas now, I feel more able to produce this work of a higher quality.

I am still not as confident in this process than I am compared to the actual creative writing process but I am feel I am definitely getting better.

I feel that, over time, as I get better with this, my overall work quality will get better.

I took inspiration from this website for my pitch. 

Summarize all of the information before you present it, and use this opportunity to get your audience interested in your company. (Bill Clark, 2011. 10 Things to Include in your Startup Pitch Presentation. mashable.com. Last accessed: 13.05.17)

I took the quote above when creating my pitch and used it as inspiration. My Final Pitch gives a basic outline of my project at the beginning before going into detail further into the presentation.

I also took a quote from this website.

She aims to pique readers’ interest by crafting her opening pitch line as she would a click-worthy headline. (Joanne Cleaver, 2015. 3 Steps to the Perfect 3-Minute Pitch. Entrepreneur.com. Last accessed: 13.05.17)

I took this into consideration and ended up using this advice. In my Presentation, the second slide is a synopsis to capture the audiences attention. I feel this really worked with my project topic.

I hope to continue working on my production skills as they will definitely be useful in the future and make all the difference when creating.

Term 3: Week 2 Blog

This week, we worked through this PowerPoint. fmp-week-2 (1)

However, as I had already done most of this work, I spent the time re-editing my Project Proposal and Pitch which is linked here.

I also spent the week researching. Through this, I found out I knew more about True Crime novels than I thought.

I remembered a Movie I watched a while ago based on the case of the West Memphis Three.

On May 5th 1993, three 8 year-old boys, Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and James Michael Moore, went missing. The next day, Police found the boys’ mutilated bodies in a nearby river.

In 1994, Jessie Misskelly, 17, Jason Baldwin, 16 and Damien Echols, 18, were sentenced for the murders of Branch, Byers and Moore, with Echols being sentenced to death.

This is one of the most controversial cases in history, with conflicting evidence proving their innocence. As of 2011, Misskelly, Baldwin and Echols are now free due to help from celebrities such as Johnny Depp, protesting their innocence.

The film I watched about the case was called Devil’s Knot and starred Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon. After rewatching it this week, I have noticed little details in how they told the story. Whilst they told all the facts, they also included several scenes that have not been confirmed to have happened, yet are not so unbelievable that they could be considered outright lies. However, it is considered a ‘dramatized version of the events.’

Baldwin said, ‘I went through the script with a fine-tooth comb, page after page. The producers made changes without any fuss.’ 

So it’s confirmed that the film is reasonably trustworthy with the events of what happened.

I want the same to be said of my work, I want to tell the story of JonBenet through accounts of what happened and confirmed facts. I do want my work to be honest but dramatization may become a part of it if need be.

I have also taken inspiration from the book A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold, the mother of Columbine shooter, Dylan Klebold. The book tells her story on how she coped after the tragedy and the story of her sons life.

Over the week, I feel as though my horizons have broadened, if that makes sense, regarding how I want to do my FMP.

For primary research, I have created a survey on SurveyMonkey which you can complete here. 

I have chosen to do a survey focusing on the method for researching true crime as then I can get an insight into which is the most popular and I can then incorporate into my own work.

The past week has definitely made me think about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. All I can hope is that I do JonBenet justice by keeping her memory alive.

Term 3: Week 1 Blog

This week, we began on our Final Major Project. We were introduced the project and our criteria through a Powerpoint presentation.

The Presentation talked us through our own self growth and the skills we have learnt over the year as well as our likes, dislikes, fears, goals etc.

We were also told to come up with at least three ideas for our FMP and then choose one and start on our proposal.

My three ideas were:

  • Article spread of unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey
  • Biography of actor River Phoenix
  • Collection of short stories that are all linked (Each story would be left on a cliffhanger and at the end of the book, the reader would find out how they all intertwined, focusing on the butterfly effect.)

 

After a lot of thought, I chose to do my FMP on JonBenet Ramsey. JonBenet was a 6 year old beauty pageant queen when she was murdered in her home on Christmas Day 1996. Over 20 years later, the case still remains unsolved.

I decided on this project as I find the case very interesting and I want her memory to be honored. Although, she is yet to find justice, I hope to get her name out there and let her live on in peoples memories. I am not doing this in an effort to solve the case, but purely to remember a young girl whose life was taken from her.

At first, I was going to do my FMP in non-fiction article spread format, however, after some thought, I was unable to find a good source for Primary Research so instead, I changed it to Factual Fiction.

After talking to Greg, I was informed about the book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote which tells the story of a crime as if it was fiction.

Here is the link to my blog post with my proposal and presentation.

Inspirations so far:

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. 1966.

The Case of JonBenet Ramsey

 

Term 2 Week 9 Blog

This week, I worked more on my InDesign piece. I also worked on missed work that I missed uploading before.

Through my InDesign work, I worked more on the content and how it looked. I delved deeper into how I wanted the overall booklet to look. I settled on a fairly monochromatic theme with muted tones but bold text.

I worked more on my Photoshop skills as well and created more images for, including the front cover, for the project. There is a detailed explanation in a document below.

front cover.jpg

Here I explained how I created my visual aspects.

illustration explanation

picture explanation

 

And here is my research on the genres.

Horror and Mystery Genres 2

 

 

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