Evaluation of FMP CW2 // For Submission

The planning for my FMP has been an ongoing process for about 3 months. I started thinking about what I wanted before Christmas and it was a very vague idea of holding an exhibition, much like an art installation but with all the complications that come with being able to pull that off successfully I had to re-plan and re-evaluate what it is that is within my possibilities at this point in time. 360MC has been a challenging module, which I have been frustrated and excited about – I’d have it no other way as a challenge means it’ll be all the more worth it in the end. During 360MC and the creative artefacts I found new ways of expressing myself creatively through different techniques such as stop animation, split-scan and photography. Although my final major project doesn’t necessarily embody these first three artefacts I know it has helped me to open my mind more artistically when thinking about my fmp.

The idea for creating an interactive website documentary was recommended to me by one of my tutors. At first I thought “oh god, I can’t do this” it felt huge, more than what I was capable of, and it still is a huge project but after more weeks of thinking about it and the details to make it possible it became more of a reality that actually, this could work. I’ve always loved interactive websites, being a internet junkie and a fan of the ever evolving way media is displayed on different platforms, I believe an interactive website is something that will really push me to excel creatively and artistically.

I’ve been passionate about feminism and body positivity for a long time now, having felt my own share of body shaming and not feeling like I can be my own person or express myself truly because of what people would say about me in real life and over social media. It would be false to say that social media doesn’t have a huge impact on the world and it’s youth and it will continue to grow and be more powerful. So, I figured to help not only myself but others, to embrace it’s rapidly growing pace and create something that everyone worldwide could have access to. To feel empowered and not suffocated.

My production website is something I have taken a lot of time into making as professional as I possible could, I displayed everything I could think of to get my message across in a stylistic and modern way, an aesthetic I have always been associated with. I made it concise and informative to really show my desire for my fmp and as a media professional and I believe I did this accordingly.

I always knew, ever since starting the media production course here at Coventry University, that my fmp was going to be the most difficult project I’ve ever done – and personally what I’ve decided to do it will be the most challenging thing for me to pull off individually, but I know that I am capable of doing it and doing it well. Since I am the producer/director of the project I will search for volunteers but ultimately I am the DoP, sound and editor for this project and it will embody everything I have to offer as a media artists.

For future improve, I will spend much more time researching and understanding my platform, for example, I don’t know anything about building a website so will need to hire help in. In future I’d like to be able to have these transferable skills and the time to perfect them so that if I want to create more interactive websites I will have the skills needed to do so independently.  As much as I already know about documentary, I’d also study this further and develop a better understanding of what it means to create a move documentary as well as tuning my feminist knowledge on self-acceptance movements.

Ultimately, I am happy with how I have grown as a media professional and as an individual since starting this course. I have develop a much wider understanding to the media industry in many ways, discovered new skills, styles and theorists. I’ve become more confident with equipment and expressing my ideas creatively. With my proposal video I believe this shows as it’s something quite different from the others on my course . I am eager to get started on this huge part of my life and really showcase my abilities as a student of Coventry University and as a media professional.

 

FMP Proposal CW2 // For Submission

Below is my final major project (FMP) proposal for ‘Femme’ An Interactive Website Documentary. Looking into the real stories, experiences and struggles of real women dealing with the constant need to meet societies beauty standards in social media today.

I’m happy with what I managed to fit together, unfortunately there is limited footage of my own as I haven’t been able to film any of the participants as of yet as they’re still to be 100% confirmed. However, I believe the message in this proposal is clear and expresses my passion and enthusiasm for the body positive movement in social media.

Michaela Knight // FMP Proposal // ‘Femme’ an Interactive Website Documentary from Michaela Knight on Vimeo.

I’ve also included the transcript for my proposal below:

Hi, my name is Michaela Knight and this short video is my proposal for my online project “Femme”. In 2016 I experienced a lot of feedback on one of my photos on my personal Instagram account. The photo itself was a topless image, with only my back on show. Some people may see this as provocative, as sensual – my purpose for this photo was I simply liked the way I looked. Once posted I received messages from students and strangers about the photo saying I had “changed” or this wasn’t “like me” – I found this odd because in fact, this was me it couldn’t be more me. After all it was my body.

This brought my attention to the year 2015 when the body positive, “Free the Nipple” and female body empowerment movements really blew up on social media. Social media is more than ever the culprit to criticising female body image, nurturing it or destroying it there is a sense of power within social media that controls how we see others and ourselves. I myself have been a feminist for many years and have followed these movements but never acted on it. A model named Charlie Howard popped up on my newsfeed one day starring in a short video by a company called StyleLikeU and their project “What’s Underneath” and I immediately fell in love with what she was pushing for – her own project “The All Woman Project” and telling her story of criticism and body shaming in the modelling industry – what captured this and made it all the more powerful was the fact she spoke starting fully dressed and ending her interview in her underwear. To me this is power, not vulnerability.

From here on out a spiral of instragram account stalking and following later it hit me – I want to create something that I am passionate about, that will get peoples attention, provoke thought and inspire women of all ages, shapes and skin tones.

My proposal is to create an interactive website that tells the stories of a variety of women, including myself, their struggles with self-acceptance and how they have overcome these. To show that being vulnerable is not being in your underwear, is not showing your body and is not letting yourself be you. The website was stylistically inspired by a another website called “blacknegative.com” a beautifully designed website that flows with ease and elegance – obviously mine would have images of the female form, I’d like to express this in an almost “grudge”, rebellion aesthetic somewhat similar to how the Sex Pistols promoted their image – anarchy in fuelled or like the style of the Guerrilla Girls a feminist activist group.

I’ve contacted many of these movements via email and have had a response from one a company called RAW Beauty Talks. I’m hoping to get as many supporters or volunteers from these movements as possible – even if I receive one, or none I will ask friends, family, strangers to volunteer to be apart of the 10, 3-5 minute clips that will showcase on my website. These will be filmed in a documentary style, having the volunteers dressed comfortably whether that is fully clothed or in their underwear, being themselves – it will be an intimate shoot with close ups to really showcase the emotions of each person.

My aim is to bring recognition to an already rising movement of female empowerment through an interactive, engaging, touching and raw website. The girls of today are the women of tomorrow and if we don’t continue to encourage and empower them, make them see their beauty that is not defined by social media – then there will be no tomorrow.

Thank you for listening.

R&D // FMP CW2 // Website Designer Research // For Submission

First and foremost, I am no website designer. For project ‘Femme’ to be a success I’ll need to hire a website designer to help me. I’ve spent hours researching different designers and kept coming to the same dead end of dodgy websites, or web site designers who didn’t cover interactive designs that specified to my needs.

I gave up looking on generic website designer pages that were owned by a bigger company and started searching for freelance workers. I came across a designer named James Dowen based in Birmingham who has 6 years of work experience under his belt in web design. His website was very impressive, with interactive elements and a chat to speak to him directly.

We spoke for over an hour about what it is I was looking for and I gave him my examples, from the conversation we had it seems promising. There will be future emails and the finalising of prices and details but it seems like this is the designer for me.

Below is some examples of his previous work, his own website and a screenshot of our conversation:

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-15-06screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-30-01screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-30-47

https://jamesdowen.com/

R&D // FMP Pat Mitchell & Marvin Gaye Chetwynd // For Submission

Whilst looking into movements I came across two people Pat Mitchell and Marvin Gaye Chetwynd.

Pat Mitchell is well known in the media world for she is a CEO of PBS and former President of CNN Productions. She’s also an activists and focused her media career on forcing social change, with special emphasis on the representation of women’s voices and stories. She was a guest speaker in the Sundance Film Festival Special Entry “Miss Representation” opening the documentary with a quote “media is the message and the messenger and increasingly a powerful one” this is so important to remember when I am researching into my topic and why social media has such a huge impact on people. Jim Steyer once said that “if you think about media and technology, they’re delivering content that is shaping our society. They’re shaping our politics, they’re shaping our national discourse and most of all they’re shaping our childrens brains, lives and emotions.”

Jean Kilbourne is a author, film maker and speaker who is recognised for her work with women representation in the media and I came across and interview with her talking about women representation which I found really helpful when trying to understand the ways in which media warps peoples opinions on women:

We had a trip to the Tate Modern last year where I came across another artist, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, British artist known for her reworking of iconic moments from cultural history in improvised performances. I saw her piece called Hermitos Children (images below from iphone)img_1449img_1450

This piece really inspired me when I was initially brainstorming what I wanted my fmp to become. After further research I realised that Chetwynd hosted a workshop titled Female Sexuality in Media: Who Passes Judgement on Suitability. “This Film Has Not Been Rated”, which exposed the flaws in the film rating system, often unnecessarily censoring portrayals of female sexuality. This film served as inspiration for Marvin Gaye to create Hermitos Children in 2009, in which she wanted to see “what kind of freedom of expression she could get away with.” It’s this kind of work and expression of women in media that inspires to me create something that will provoke thought and the ideologies of social media today.

References

“Bio”. Pat Mitchell. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

“Female Representation In Media – Jean Kilbourne, Edd, Author & Social Theorist”. YouTube. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

“Female Sexuality In Media: An Intermedia Workshop | Edinburgh College Of Art”. Eca.ed.ac.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

“Jean Kilbourne”. Jean Kilbourne. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

R&D FMP CW2 // Style Inspo // For Submission

I’ve spent endless hours on social media and finding inspiration for my fmp. With what I want to achieve I feel like the aesthetic is crucial to getting across the right message. Many weeks a go I came across StyleLikeU’s videos on YouTube entitled “What’s Underneath” a series of interviews ranging from 15-30 minutes of a variety of women all different ages, shapes and skin tones expressing their emotions and journey with self-acceptance and body image within today’s society.

A mother and daughter duo, StyleLikeU started a kickstarter campaign in November 2014 for their documentary “What’s Underneath” coming out in Spring 2017 – following the same clips as their YouTube channel but in full documentary form.

Below is one of my favourite interviews from this series that helped inspire the look I’d like my documentary clips to show:

As  you can see from the clip above, the interviews are very real, hardly stylised at all and in a “homely” location. I love the brick wall backdrop and the fact there is only a stool and a rug in shot – this brings the focus onto the subject in question and all our attention as viewers are on them. The way this is shot with a two-camera set up is also something I want for my interviews, not only does it speed up filming but it enables me to capture those truly unique and emotional moments of the participant. There’s no way you can ask someone who has willingly spilled out an touching story to then repeat themselves twice just for a different angle. This is why the two-camera set up is ideal one focusing on the close ups, the details and the other on a static long shot.

What I also love about StyleLikeU’s videos is the clean cut, minimalism nothing is too fancy or too false everything is real.

Another spot of inspiration for me was a Netflix documentary, also a Sundance Film Official Selection, called “Miss Representation” (2011) by director Jennifer Siebel Newsom. I found this documentary to be again, quite raw visually, there was a lot of archive footage to support and back up the way media industries categorise women into certain stigmas, ultimately holding us back from any sort of leadership or important roles in life. What I liked about this was how clean and clinical the interviews were held. Some may see this as too clinical but I appreciate the sharp and bright backdrop of just white to bring full attention to the participants.

As for the website design I came across an interactive website called blacknegative.com

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-11-16screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-11-48BlackNegative is a beautiful website, that flows elegantly and displays it’s images and content in a wonderfully modern way – I took inspiration from this when thinking about how I want my website to look – ultimately though I want my website to be a bit more rough, raw and rebellious some what like the Sex Pistols own album design or another interactive website Pine Point.screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-12-57screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-13-27screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-18-13-48

I absolutely adore this interactive website design, there’s something about the scrap book element that really draws you in as an audience and makes you feel apart of the journey through Pine Point. I want to apply some of this to my own website with video footage and quotes and personal images to really tell each persons story.

References

“About Us – Stylelikeu.”. StyleLikeU. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

“Blacknegative”. Blacknegative.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

“Miss Representation – The Representation Project”. The Representation Project. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

“NFB – Welcome To Pine Point”. Pinepoint.nfb.ca. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

 

 

R&D // FMP Research into Body Positive Movement & Social Media Impact // For Submission

The video above is a clear, simple and modern way of looking at the body positive movement. I first became aware of this back in 2015 when the talk of female empowerment started to rise up again with movements such as #FatKini, #IAmNoAngel and “The Perfect Body” we’re appearing all over social media platforms such as Instagram.

In the year 2015 we saw the rise of the first plus-size models on the modelling scene after over 20 years of photoshopped models. It’s easy to say the body positive movement is targeted mainly at women but this isn’t necessarily true, the body positive movement is viable to all bodies, male and female and it’s these movements that are pushing the boundaries on what is socially acceptable – natural, normal bodies. It’s about redefining what “beautiful” really means. There has been a cultural shift in attitudes towards the words “fat” and “skinny” and we have the internet to thank for that.

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become the norm in everyones lives, especially teenagers but do they help or hinder our view on our own bodies? It’s not the exposure of the images we see on tv, social media or magazines it’s how we interact with them that damages our emotional, physically and mental state. There is a constant pressure to get a certain amount or “likes” on the perfect profile photo and the constant comparisons we make with each other. Why don’t I look like them? Why is my hair not like that? Why is my body not like that?

Proud2BMe asked the questions and teens from all over answered their thoughts on whether social media helps or hurts us:

“It’s only the ‘standard beauty’ who gets the ‘likes’ I feel like to be the hot girl, you have to be like that, or wear your shirt too low and your skirt too high.” –Kirby, 18

“I think that social media platforms hurt because young people are now having their bodies judged online in addition to being judged in person, which causes them to feel trapped.” –Jen, 17

A study conducted by Florida State University asked 20 women to browse Facebook for 20 minutes and then see how they felt about themselves after versus 20 women who browsed images of rainforests and cats to compare the impact social media has on us. The results were a greater dissatisfaction with oneself browsing Facebook than the other and this is due to social media embodying all the elements to contribute to low self-esteem.

“Social media creates an environment where disordered thoughts and behaviours really thrive.” – Claire Mysko, award winning author and expert on body image.

The way to combat the negative community and comments harvesting in social media platforms is to post uplifting, positive messages. Not only will this empower the individual who posted it but the thousands who will see it.

The All Woman Project founded by Charli Howard and Clementine Desseaux is a online project that promotes self-acceptance and female body empowerment they have this to say:

“Women are often segregated or stereotyped in fashion and the media; some are deemed the “real” women of the industry, whereas others are deemed “high-fashion” and editorial. Your body shape shouldn’t define your femininity or ability as a woman! We believe size or colour doesn’t limit us as models or as women. We believe all body shapes and ethnicities deserve to be represented in fashion and in the media, helping girls worldwide feel positive and confident about themselves. The All Woman Project illuminates the idea that all women are more similar than we’re made out to think. We all have physical flaws and imperfections, and that does not make us more or less beautiful. Rather than retouching or shying away from them, we should embrace them. Our physical attributes do not define us as women; our strength and character does. All of this make us all woman.”

It’s clear that as the years go on social media and body image are a steady positive movement – with my fmp I want to contribute to this movement by including myself, my own story and the stories of others.

References

“All Woman Project”. Allwomanproject.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

Fischer, Erin. “9 Body Positive Social Media Campaigns That Are Changing How We Perceive Beauty Both In And Outside The Fashion World”. Bustle.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

“How Does Social Media Affect Your Body Image?”. Proud2Bme. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

Ospina, Marie. “What Is The Body Positive Movement? – Everyday Feminism”. Everyday Feminism. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

“Positive Body Confidence – How Social Media Can Affect Body Image”. Dove UK. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.