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Statement of Intent

Introduction

Before you complete your coursework, you might have to submit a Statement of Intent which explains your production in terms of your target audience while applying your knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework of media studies. Put simply, it is your chance to outline your aims and objectives. You can also use the Statement of Intent as an opportunity to justify some of your choices regarding representation and media form.

This document is a compulsory element of the non-exam assessment (NEA) must be submitted to your teacher no later than 1 April and will be sent to the exam board for marking with your product.

The Statement

A Statement of Intent is a broad outline of what you hope to achieve in your cross-media product. However, these details should be supported by the language of Media Studies.

For example, you could define your target audience in terms of their demographics and psychographics. There are a number of theories that define audience and their relationship with the media: Uses and Gratifications, Hypodermic Needle Model, Two-Step Flow Theory, Cultivation Theory, interactive, narrowcast, and niche. If you have any of these theories in mind when you make your choices about your product, you should integrate them into your Statement of Intent.

It is also important to establish some of the codes and conventions that will influence your texts. Think about media form and define the type of product you are creating in terms of genre.

What marketing techniques will you apply to target your audience? Are you going to use shock tactics, humour, glamour or celebrity endorsement. Perhaps your narrative will focus on enigma codes to intrigue your audience.

Since representation is one of the key concepts, you could explain how you will ask your actors to pose and what visual codes you are hoping to employ to deliver you message effectively to the audience. Again, make sure you justify your choices.

You need to pick some dominant signifiers and what they might signify to your target audience. These might be clothing and costume, make-up, lighting, body language, facial expression, general appearance, and iconic images. Is stereotyping an aspect of your cross-media product?

Finally, you need to conceptualise and develop the institutions behind the products. Consider your use of slogans and how other lexical codes meet the brand values. Logos are always important.

Generic Example

Even though there might be a 500-word limit at A2 Level, the following example tries to squeeze in lots of media language and theory.

The demographic for my media product are females in the late teens and twenties.

In terms of psychographics, this audience likes fast-fixes of celebrity gossip but also want to delve beneath the superficial filters and representation of the Instagram generation. They want something more considered. When it comes to trends, they poke fun at the ridiculous crazes. My target audience would be the fun seekers and armchair rebels of the Youth Facts IAOs: work hard, play hard and have attitude. VALS (Value Life Styles) classification would place audience on the outer-direct category: they are belongers and achievers.

There is also the secondary audience of males and a similar age range to the sceptical main audience.

Since my target audience have a natural and healthy suspicion of the world, they are not victims of “fake news”. Therefore, humour and irony will be a key element of my branding and representation. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that “lack of prejudice” is part of the self-actualisation classification of consumption. This freedom of thought will be an important motif in my narrative.

I would like several of my images to shock the audience and take advantage of the hypodermic needle model of conveying the message. This should “attract” their attention in line with the AIDA principle.

There will certainly be disequilibrium throughout the narrative. I will use enigma codes and sustain the audience’s “interest” (AIDA) until the final reveal and the equilibrium is restored.

I think it is important to use celebrity endorsement. This one of Gillian Dyer’s Lines of Appeal. This idea also utilises the Two-Step Flow Theory so my message mediated through my fake celebrity.

Representation is incredibly important. I will use well-known signifiers that will immediate connote excitement and glamour. My actor will pose appropriately, directly gazing at the audience to grab their attention. The mise-en-scene will reinforce the sense of fun. Even some angles will be tilted to create that playful tone.

This Statement of Intent is intentionally vague so it can apply to many different briefs. However, you would need to be more specific and focus your ideas on your chosen brief. There are so many other theories and theorists that can be used, so please do not limit your own Statement to the ones in this example.

Statement of Intent Examples

Student Example One

The brief for this particular response required the student to promote a music magazine and a band.

The demographic for my media product are both male and females in early twenties to late thirties who have an interest in the vibrant music scene, particularly in the city of Bristol.

The psychographics of my audience could be categorised as free spirits. This group are very laid back but identify heavily with their musical influences, expressing themselves and their views openly. They are a new-age group of young adults with strong political views and a passion for what they believe in and their interests. They also may be open to explore and discover new interests like different music genres and styles.

Another psychographic label would be the armchair rebels. Sometimes, reckless and careless, this group do not always follow the norm in society, dressing and acting as individuals. They can be reckless and careless, with no worries for anything like the future or their general wellbeing.

Therefore, with such a dynamic target audience, the genre of my magazine is music, but will have an edgy centre in Bristol, focusing on different interests of different social groups in the city such as indie-pop, reggae and rave culture. However, it will be distributed for free at gigs and concerts so I will rely on advertising to pay for the production. I will also rely on the different print advertisements to promote the magazine.

The Two-Step Flow Theory would help to promote my magazine because consumers of the product will already have an interest in the local music scene and the connection with the bands they have just seen can spread the magazine’s content with their social circle and people who have similar tastes and views as them. Also, people will have seen the poster advertisements promoting the content of the magazine and will want to read up on it. The Uses and Gratifications Model will also be useful in selling my media product as people will use it to feed their ‘Personal Identity’ which Blumer and Katz define as the need to understand our own identity. Music helps people have a sense of self-identity and purpose, along with the style they develop from their preferred music genre. ‘Diversion’ is also encouragement for an audience to buy my product as it provides entertainment and time to relax, or just to satisfy their interests.

Style is an obvious a marketing tactic because it is hand-in-hand with music genre and the culture that comes along with the music people choose to listen to. Different music preferences influence people to adopt a specific fashion sense, attitude and set of views. I will also include information on local venues and events that readers can get involved in or attend themselves and meet other people who share the same musical identity.

Representation is important in my media product and the composition of my shots will be equally as important due to the nature of the environment the photos will be taken in. They will include a variety of angles including long shots of live performances in venues and low angle shots of people influenced by music and the style that comes with it. Each of my print medias will appear coherent and will have recurring themes that means an audience will be able to recognise each one as from the same campaign.

Example One

This Statement of Intent defines the target audience in tremendous detail, but this could be at the expense of important aspects of representation and industry. Perhaps a more balanced approach would take this response into Level 5.

Student Example Two

This cross-media brief required the candidates to create a lifestyle magazine and advertisements that would appeal to its audience.

I intend to create an art magazine that will showcase a variety of different urban art around Leeds known as “Graffito”. I will also create a series of three print advertisements alongside my magazine to promote local artist’s art shows and special events through billboards, magazines, and bus advertisements.

The target demographic is both males and females in their late teens and twenties. Since they are active and energetic, the psychographics would be the free spirits who are laid back and enjoy being outside. They care about the environment and appreciate the beauty of it, as well as being interested in social matters, which can be reflected in urban street art. Another psychographic would be the armchair rebel which consist of the active youth who enjoy exploring and discovering new things.

My target audience appreciate the colourful, urban style of street art and are, themselves, unique and alternative. There is also a secondary audience of an older generation of men and women who appreciate urban art around their local city of Leeds and like to look at and know the meaning behind some of the most iconic murals hidden around Leeds in hope to learn more about their local surroundings. I will also create a series of print advertisements to further promote local art in Leeds that is related to my magazine.

They have a natural suspicion of the world so branding and representation will evoke debate because, for example, the uses and gratification theories see audiences as active participators in media transactions and not as passive receivers. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that “lack of prejudice” is part of the self-actualisation classification of consumption. This freedom of thought will be an important motif in my narrative because it is vital that people have their own unique and individual thoughts and interpretations when looking at any type of art.

Including the two-step flow theory, the magazine will be “curated” by experts because this theory suggests that information from the media moves from the opinion leaders who pass on their own interpretations of the message in addition to the original media content to the wider audience. This can anchor meaning for the reader.

Representation is very important in any product and shot composition is even more vital in an art magazine. Therefore, my variety of images will contain a range of angles including low angles, to make the art look bigger and more powerful; extreme long shots, in order to show the street art in relation to its surroundings to add the style of the photo as the art is located on sides of buildings. The mise-en-scene of these shots will hopefully pierce the viewer, and inject them with an immediate sense of style. My print advertisements will all be unique and individual to each other but will all have an aspect of the same theme and therefore will be able to be related back to each other so that the audience will know each of the advertisements is for the same event.

Example Two

Activity

Read through the Statement of Intent examples and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

Further Reading

Making media products can be tremendous fun, but there are a number of targets you need tor reach if you want to achieve the top grade. Our outline of the coursework assessment objectives might help clarify how your texts are being marked. If you are not sure about what to create, read our guide to media studies indicative content.

Unassessed Participants

Inevitably, you will have friends and family appearing in your products, or you might need help to operate the lighting and sound equipment. You must acknowledge their efforts, stating what they did and outlining what direction you have them to help complete your tasks. This can be done on the Candidate Record Form (CRF) or on a supplementary page.

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