Creating a Flash Mob: Reflection and Evaluation – FOR ASSESSMENT

“This weeks task for the class is to design and implement a flash mob, or another kind of ‘spectacle’ in a single day to raise money for a charity or good cause.”

This to me was a real social challenge because it required us to go and make something of ourselves, it was more about us as human beings rather than media creators for me.   It felt more of a test to make a flash mob rather than to film or video one and I think this is something which hasn’t been done by myself or on the course thus far. I have seen a couple of examples such as ‘free hugs’ or the bananas in London Video where this kind of thing was more of a social impact rather than that of a video creation sort. I think this reflects on a newer generation of media production where things of a ‘spectacle’ nature help define good video making rather than that of the craft.

Back to the task itself and after being allocated a large group we decided some idea generating sessions were in order to come up with 10 or so of our best ideas. I think this worked well as we came up with some good ideas as a large group which sometimes doesn’t work so well. Then winding down to our best 3 ideas was a smart move too as we all felt like we had a proper conclusion in which idea was to go forward. Much like the Dawkins and Wynd book on ‘Video Production’, the process of choosing our best 3 ideas proved why this is the best way to effectively pick an idea. Also, by having a leader dictate our ideas (in this case, a lecturer) it also kept us in check and on time when picking which idea to go with.

There wasn’t much in the way of research into ideas, I think maybe 20 mins beforehand of researching types of flash mob may have brought a better array of choice and although we were asked to do this beforehand, a lot of people didn’t and could have done with the time to go away and find things of interest for the group, none the less the one we had gone for was a ‘fake celebrity’ idea.

The fake celebrity idea I felt wasn’t too ambitious, but wasn’t too generic and I think this worked for the group because a lot of us loosing our flash mob virginity didn’t feel too uncomfortable for it; it was also the result of quick, rationale decision-making which left us with the correct idea. The idea itself contained making a ‘fake musical celebrity’ named ‘Audio Cheque’, I think we were very decisive in picking who would play the celebrity and the roles that would go with this, the problem I felt came with allocating everyone else a role within the task. It was a case of ‘you do this’ and ‘you do that’ which left us with no structure to the task in hand and left members of the group feeling not needed (myself included). I understand the time constraints of the task (shot in a day), but just having that little bit more structure would have helped the group and possible made a better flash mob in the end. For example having more people looking into ‘maximum impact zones’ or ‘generating more buzz’ and making the people who were doing them more involved would have helped a lot.

As a flash mob I felt it was different to the usual idea of a ‘flash mob’ in that we didn’t do the usual dance/music idea nor do we spend days, weeks, months planning it. The fact that we implemented it in a day shows that it can be done that quickly and efficiently in the space of a few hours. Yes there are plenty of flash mobs online and yes there are plenty of ones which are based in Coventry but the fact that we have done something different, although slightly unoriginal shows that it both fits and stands apart from such existing material. What doesn’t work for us however is the publicity and range that we managed to achieve. At current the video has less than 70 views but changing the title of the video, the links and tags that come with the video would helpfully achieve a much better status as a spectacle.

As mentioned the time constraints played a big part in the task, having only then a day to plan and implicate it, it didn’t give us long to work with. As I mentioned this played havoc with roles and such but having a lot longer time to plan especially with the over all product, would have enhanced the quality and numbers of the finished product. Given maybe an extra 24 hours I think it would have gone a lot further. The use of social networks helped a lot too, getting my tweets retweeted by Cov Uni and Coventry Telegraph shows how quickly things can blow up, maybe then we didn’t need another 24 hours on it?

Thinking differently on the project I think having more numbers would have attracted better attention to our stunt, having more of our course involved would have helped too as more numbers behind the scenes would have improved the amount of press we achieved. Also as mentioned, having more people in charge of allocating roles such as an efficient camera team, more fans on the day, specifically positioned ‘town criers’ would also help the cause.  I think however what could make or break our project was the amount of effort put in to the task. I think the mood and mental state of everyone involved was good, even as some people had lesser roles than others the group morale was good within us and I think that sums up a lot about media production, you get out what you put in.

In terms of how well this fitted in with the module I stand firm with what I have said previously that it was more of a social task than that of a media production one. I was very unsure of the task prior to it because I didn’t think I would get much out of it, it wasn’t practical to anyone, it doesn’t have a cause, mearly a ‘bit of fun’. It’s not say I didn’t enjoy it on a personal level because over all it was an enjoyable task and one that I wouldn’t be afraid of doing in the future.

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