#361MC // Final Major Project: ‘Femme’ Day 1 Reflection

‘Femme’ has changed so much from the first initial idea of wanting to showcase in an  exhibition, to an interactive website and finally to a documentary. It’s come a long way with many hiccups and tough decisions but after day one of filming I’m feeling positive with it’s final outcome.

The day started late at 3:30pm with 3 interviews every hour – I spaced them out this way as I wasn’t sure how long each interviewee would need to answer ten questions on body image in social media – turns out each interview only lasted 5-10 minutes which was a blessing for my equipment recording space.

Being someone completely new to filming my own interviews was a gold mine for my anxiety and during the set up, which took an hour, I kept having to remind myself I could handle the situation. When the first interviewee appeared I felt more nervous than they did but after the first couple of questions I soon began to feel comfortable talking to each person about their experiences and opinions and was able to have a conversation that flowed quite nicely.

I used the Dedo lights to create a 3-point set up on the subject as I was working with white walls and needed to create some background interest, using the LED panel as well to bounce light into the subjects eyes off the ceiling created a beautiful ring light giving life to each person which I was super pleased with. My final day of shooting is Monday 24th April with the same set up and two camera perspective – overall the day went smoothly minus the H5 Zoom cutting out and not recording every so often which meant I opted at loaning the H6 Zoom instead for Monday’s shoot. Hopefully the second day will go just as well as the first with another 4 interviews, including myself.

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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:

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https://jamesdowen.com/