Production Research.

Posted: October 5, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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One of the major issues we have with Production research is defining exactly what is is. Truth is, there is no right or wrong – just effective and ineffective.

Production Research is the research you need to do to ensure the production is viable – funding, logistics, technology – as well as worthwhile – position in market, potential audience etc. It is often used to raise he money to make the production so will often be used to present ideas to an investor. So, think Dragons Den.

This is the stuff that backs up your pitch.

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Use, Make, Explain, Evaluate Relevance, Pitch, Evaluate Pitch and Pitch Again.

So, in discussions we agreed on certain meanings for the unit in order to define the task. As you can see, we have the basic structure of

“Use Research Techniques (and justify them) to develop an idea, evaluating the relevence of the material, and present your findings as a research folder to support your pitch.”

In other words, develop an idea. You will make this product as your Major Project.

So, what techniques can we use?

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A few terms defined in class – we have identified a few good books on Social and Media Research that explain the pitfalls.

Well, the main one is reading. Find books, websites etc – develop an idea. This is the big bit, but actually not the bit you are really marked on – just having a good idea will power you through the whole year.

After this, you are pretty much conducting market research to examine other products, and audience research to test your ideas – and this is the catch. You will need to justify and explain what methods you use. You have surveys, questionnaires, 1:1 interviews, focus groups – all these techniques at your disposal. Which ones you choose to use, and how you combine them is your methodology.

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I have also recommended you use a research cycle – so keep reviewing where you are up to, and let your research influence your idea. If you need to change the idea, do it – especially if your research has told you to
do it, and you are justifying the changes you have made.

There is a very tight deadline on this – I need you to pitch and submit 1st draft the week after Half term – 6th November. This gives you a chance to then re-draft everything (should you need to) before the final submission on 21st November.

You submission for this project will be a research folder, compromising your raw data (Photocopies, images, moodboards, script, storyboards, artist designs, survey results etc) and a report that draws together your findings to justify your production.

We have tried to put everything you need into this report template, but please don’t treat it as a comprehensive list. Add extra things to it, and remove things you don’t need to consider – a fictional film is different to a factual film, and adapting a script is different to creating your own.

My first recommendation, as you dig through the research on what you are interested in, is to do a skills and resource audit – what are you good at? What equipment do you have access to? What locations can you get into? Don’t go planning to film a dinosaur invasion on a Red in the Houses of Parliament without at least a test shot. read up on Roger Corman, who had a habit of making films on days of in production schedules – we have actors, we have cameras, we have a set – quick, write a script…

The point is to produce a document that proves you have thought about everything in this production. Then you will pitch it with a proposal, and then make it.

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