Friday, 30 December 2011

Institutions and Audiences Question and Plan #5

Successful media products depend as much on marketing and distribution to a specific audience as they do upon good production practices. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

1. Film distribution = everything that happens between the film being made and it being exhibited, whether in a cinema, on DVD, TV, the internet or anywhere else. Distribution is the most important part of the film industry, where completed films are brought to life and connected with an audience
2. Distribution is about releasing and sustaining films in the market place. In the practice of Hollywood and other forms of industrial cinema, the phases of production, distribution and exhibition operate most effectively when 'vertically integrated', where the three stages are seen as part of the same larger process, under the control of one company. In the UK, distribution is very much focused on marketing and sustaining a global product in local markets.
3. In the independent film sector, vertical integration does not operate so commonly. Producers tend not to have long-term economic links with distributors, who likewise have no formal connections with exhibitors. Here, as the pig-in-the-middle, distribution is necessarily a collaborative process, requiring the materials and rights of the producer and the cooperation of the exhibitor to promote and show the film in the best way possible.
4. 50% of money spent on a film often goes on promotion Film is a business like any other; it doesn’t rely on waiting and listening to audience response before delivering the product; it relies on knowing which part of the world and the media need its products and will pay for them. Does market forces competition give the consumer more power and choice and, therefore, influence, what’s made OR does it convince us that what we want is being made for us? Do millions go to see The Dark Knight when it opens because it’s a great film or because it’s been well-marketed? Or both?
5. Promotion involves above the line advertising, such as posters, trailers, billboards and spin-offs and promotional partners. It also involves related merchandising and below the line publicity which is not paid for but generates mutual interest. For example, an interview with a star in a newspaper or reviews in a magazine. Not all films are treated equally.
6. Bigger companies (i.e. those Hollywood majors like Sony-Columbia) have more financial muscle to promote their product and the big companies who control much of the industry, control not only the distribution of their own products, but that of others.
7. However, the product itself can be ‘shaped’ or ‘tailored’ to certain audiences. Slumdog was devised in a way that it would appeal to a global audience – explain how – talk about the significance of the deal with Celador, of hiring the particular writer and director; the significance of the Indian nationality of most of the crew; the language; the cast; the storyline and the way it was changed from the already successful source material; the style of filming.
8. Beyond that, though, the film had to carefully marketed and distributed – look at the deals made to ensure distribution around the world, because Celador/Film 4 isn’t a vertically integrated company with its own distribution companies in other countries.
9. Look at the way it shown in film festivals – especially in Toronto, a city with a large Asian population.
10. Look at the effect of its platform release
11. What about the marketing/promotional tactics – backed by Fox, the director amd stars had access to Fox TV shows and Fox websites to promote Slumdog; the film had its own website – what was on it? How was the film promoted using the website? Use of social networking and below the line adbertising by fans of the film on their social networking sites? Viral marketing?
12. Note the long tail effect of the way the film’s release and its website serve to promote the DVD and BluRay releases long after the film has been shown in cinemas

Institutions and Audiences Question and Plan #4

Discuss the ways in which media products are produced and distributed to audiences within a media are you have studied.
1. Look at Slumdog in detail – how Film4 and Celador had to overcome the financial issues and the dominance of the major US companies in the UK. Note the way that steps were taken during the production to ensure the film appealed to a wide – even global – audience in order to combat films released by major studios – but that it had to sell distribution rights overseas in order to secure further funding and support.
2. Note the way it was initially released at film festivals and distributed to build its audience
3. When you do this you will need to talk about an example of a large US company – what are the advantages of Sony being a vertically integrated company in terms of production and distribution?
4. In complete contrast, look at the way a small independent company like Amber funds, produces and distributes their product. Long Tail aspect – their DVDs will continue to sell over a long period of time
5. Look at the role of film websites and viral marketing – don’t forget that websites exist long after the film has finished the run in the cinemas and they promote the DVD/BluRay
6. Don’t forget to talk about downloading, legal and illegal and the way audiences have become prosumers, using social networking sites etc to unofficially promote views to a potential audience of millions around the world.
7. Note the development of the digital screen network in the UK and talk about the hopes for digital distribution in the future and how and why it will be an improvement

Institutions and Audiences Question and Plan #3

How important is technological convergence for institutions and audiences within a media area you have studied?
1. Very…
2. Say what it is
3. Note how a major vertically integrated company like Sony can use convergence – look at a film website, use of viral marketing, social networking – look at 2012 as an example.
4. Then discuss how a UK production company like Film4 and Celador have to make deals to ensure successful production, marketing, distribution, and exhibition.
5. Note the website acts a hub for information about the film – uses flash and streaming technologies, using links to information about the film, cast, crew; using links to social network sites. Talk about the way social network sites can target ads to audiences based on user profiles. Note the Long Tail effect – the film website will act as a promotional tool for the DVD/BluRay long after the film has finished being exhibited in cinemas. On some websites, such as those for Sony films, there are links to other upcoming Sony films. Note the advantages of being a vertically integrated company like Sony.
6. Talk about Slumdog’s use of viral marketing
7. Talk about the use of new smart phone technology to allow you to surf the net, download information, have trailers sent to your phones and watch movies (legally or illegally) on the phone
8. Talk about the way the audience have become prosumers… audiences use social networking sites –post their own reviews, post trailers from YouTube, post their own mash-ups, post songs from the soundtracks. These sites have a potential audience of millions. Some ‘audience’ sites, like, have been quoted in press reviews. Negative reviews/comments on widely read sites like this can have an effect on other users and make up their minds about whether or not they see the film

Institutions and Audiences Question and Plan #2

Media Production is dominated by global institutions which sell their products and services to national audiences. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

1. Yes – there are a handful of media conglomerates that dominate the film business in the UK. Vertical integration allows a company like SONY to dominate all stages – production, marketing, distribution, exhibition – give some explanation of Sony’s development and don’t miss out the link with Columbia…
2. How can smaller companies fight back? Use Celador and Slumdog to explain – look at the deals made to get the film made and distributed and marketed. Look at its deal with Fox and how Fox promoted it on its website. Look at its use of social networking sites and viral marketing.
3. See how the film was crafted to appeal to as large an audience as possible (storyline, cast, crew, deal with Celador etc...) including the vast and largely untapped (by Hollywood) Asian audience.
4. How was Slumdog released to gain the widest audience possible?
5. Danger – these companies almost have a monopoly and the ability to squeeze out small companies. Larger companies can write off the odd loss or bankroll films aimed at a niche audience too because their other films and other aspects of the business are so profitable whereas smaller companies can go bankrupt, unless their product is created astutely or they can make deals with major companies, even, in the case of Working Title, becoming part of a larger US company and having links with the French company Canal Plus. However, smaller British regional films without the appeal to a huge audience will be tougher to make. How does Amber survive?

Institutions and Audiences Question and Plan #1

What significance does the continuing development of digital media technology have for media institutions and audiences?

1. New developments all the time
2. Recent developments can be illustrated in the use of technological convergence to promote films – look at official film websites e.g. Slumdog a) streaming of video material b) flash technology c) links to games etc to increase interactivity, which in turn creates the illusion of giving the audience a sense of ownership so they will be more likely to see the film/DVD d) links to social networking (sites such as…), which again creates a sense of interactivity e) links to reviews, interviews etc. f) the Long Tail effect – the film website will act as a promotional tool for the DVD/BluRay long after the film has finished being exhibited in cinemas. On some websites, such as those for Sony films, there are links to other upcoming Sony films. Note the advantages of being a vertically integrated company like Sony.
3. Viral marketing – look at Slumdog, again…
4. Use of phones to watch trailers, films, to browse the net for information about films
5. Use of digital movie cameras and editing – refer to Slumdog and Amber…
6. Owners of social network sites target adverts, including those for films, to individuals based on their profiles
7. Use of CGI – can create more realistic effects; can create the illusion of crowds, landscapes and cityscapes that could save money – although over reliance on effects can lead to movies where the effects are the main reason to see the movie! However, these kind of films are popular with the main cinema-going audience, the 16-25 year-olds
8. Digital distribution and exhibition – what state is it currently in the UK? What are the hopes for future development? How does a small, independent company like Amber use new technology to promote and distribute their works?
9. Legal downloads – has the music industry shown the way? Will the trend be for people to download from sites such as netflix?
10. Illegal downloads – how have companies tried to combat this i.e. early DVD/BluRay releases…
11. The audience as prosumers… audiences use social networking sites –post their own reviews, post trailers from YouTube, post their own mash-ups, post songs from the soundtracks. These sites have a potential audience of millions. Some ‘audience’ sites, like, have been quoted in press reviews. Negative reviews/comments on widely read sites like this can have an effect on other users and make up their minds about whether or not they see the film

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Sony and Vertical Integration

Media Ownership Essay for first week back

Discuss the issues raised by Media Ownership in the production and exchange of media texts in your chosen media area.

Key issues – UK dominated by the Hollywood industrial model and vertically integrated companies – easier to use synergy and convergence to produce and promote their products – e.g Sony and Spider Man – or pick your own example.

British film industry – difficult to get funding; difficult to get distribution and exhibition. One third of the film not in English. How did Slumdog achieve its success in the face of this? The appeal of the story? Look at the deals that had to be made to get the film funded and produced. The use of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Its appeal to the Indian market both in India and amongst the diaspora (the Indian audience abroad – in the UK, Canada and the USA, for example). Look at the deals that were made to get it distributed and promoted (remember, because of the distribution deal it had access to Fox websites and Fox TV to help with promotion). Look at the way it was released. Look at the use of digital technology – which is another issue facing the film industry – so look at the Slumdog website, its use of flash and streaming technology and how it acts as a hub; note the use of interactivity to give the audience a sense of ownership so they’d be more likely to pay to see it so you can talk about the possibilities of digital distribution and the way things might go in the future; use of viral marketing to attract an audience – be specific about what was done.

Other issues – illegal downloads – early release of DVD/BluRay to combat this – and ‘long tail’ aspects of this – the DVD will still be bringing in money long after the film has been available in the cinemas.

Monday, 12 December 2011

OCR Unit G332

Questions from the last few years:

1. Discuss the issues raised by Media Ownership in the production and exchange of media texts in your chosen media area.

2. What significance does the continuing development of digital media technology have for media institutions and audiences?

3. Media production is dominated by global institutions, which sell their products and services to national audiences. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

4. How important is technological convergence for institutions and audiences within a media area you have studied?

5. Successful media products depend as much upon marketing and distribution to a specific audience as they do upon good production practices. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

6. Discuss the ways in which media products are produced and distributed to audiences within a media area you have studied.

Slumdog Millionaire Viral Trailer

A remixed viral trailer for the UK release of the Oscar-tipped Danny Boyle film 'Slumdog Millionaire', using only images and sounds from the film was produced by audiovisual artists Addictive TV.

Addictive TV was approached by French film company Pathe and filmmaker Boyle to create a mash-up video for 'Slumdog Millionaire' after giving similar treatments to previous blockbuster film releases such as 'Iron Man'.

Pathe, who also led viral-based marketing with the release of the Michel Gondry film 'Be Kind Rewind' last year, approached Addictive TV to help market 'Slumdog Millionaire' through online video sharing sites.

Graham Daniels, Addictive TV front man, said: "It's great Pathe are taking a lead in the independent film sector like this, and sharing our vision of film remixing.

"With our style of work, 'Slumdog Millionaire' is an amazing film to play with, it's so cinematic and evocative in both sound and picture, it's really colourful and vibrant, and with Danny Boyle known for his cutting edge approach to music and film, making this kind of remix for his movie seems like a natural fit."

Director Danny Boyle asked Addictive TV to create an alternative web trailer for "Slumdog Millionaire", by sampling sounds and images from the film and producing something entirely new made from only those audiovisual samples.

Slumdog Millionaire and Viral Marketing

So, how did a British film produced by Danny Boyle with a modest budget become such a huge hit? How was the film, depicting life in the slums of Mumbai, so well marketed that everyone was talking about it long before it went on general release?

As they developed their marketing launch plan Pathé focused on digital marketing as an effective and highly accountable route to build awareness of the film with the public.

They appointed digital media agency Tug to work with them to raise awareness of the film in the UK while also targeting niche audiences such as Indian movie goers and Danny Boyle enthusiasts.

To support their above the line advertising Pathé developed a suite of online marketing collateral. These included a viral application, a widget and a trailer focused microsite for Tug to work with.

Tug developed a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign on the major UK search engines targeting searchers interested in: Pathé , Bollywood, Danny Boyle, Slumdog, Indie movies and the like.

Tug launched targeted banners across the Google Content network to build awareness of the film on a cost per click model.

Tug worked with Google to create click to play trailer ads. Pathé only paid when the surfer clicked through to the microsite. Banner and even trailer views were free!

Tug tested and improved ad copy weekly, and included “Bafta award” and “box office hit” messaging when the movie met these milestones.

A tactical search engine optimisation (SEO) programme was also put in place concentrating on the film name to ensure top positioning for the difficult to index, flash microsite.

The PPC campaign drove more than 75,000 new visitors to Over 73,000 movie goers engaged with and viewed the video trailer and more than 21 million ad impressions were served and viewed by targeted audiences– for free. (on a blind network at £5 CPM that would have cost over £100K)

These results cost £13,000 in media spend over a 5 week burst. And the overall result? Slumdog Millionaire smashed UK box office records and has won 7 Bafta awards and eight Oscars.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Textual Analysis – The Next Steps

It is very important for everyone to review their progress in textual analysis. You are about to embark on an Assessment for Learning unit where you will:
a) Find out more about how your work will be assessed
b) Identify both good practice and become more critical in identifying how work can be improved
c) Critically reflect upon your own work and make changes in your approach to boost your attainment.

You need to:
1) Watch the exam text again
2) Read through the assessment criteria (blue sheets) and identify what skills / standards are required (you should all be aiming for Levels 3 and 4)
3) Make sure you understand the three different assessment objects and understand what they actually mean by these terms a) Explanation, analysis and argument b)Use of example c) Use of terminology
4) Using the stimulus material provided by SO analyse the strengths and areas for improvement in both essays
5) Award marks and be prepared to justify your judgements making specific references to the mark scheme
Following this discussion, and following further analysis of good practice you will:
a) Be expected to redraft your orginal attempt in order to put into practice “good practice”
b) Sit another mock exam on textual analysis AND film institution the week before the Christmas hols.
Please note – you will be receiving your marked scripts early next week as we are currently identifying anyone who needs to attend booster classes in advance of the exam.

VERY IMPORTANT – our departmental blog – is packed with very useful revision materials and this is regularly updated so make sure you use it!!!!!!

Please remember – this is a very large class but teaching staff in Media Studies are very keen to support you in the run up to the exam and with your coursework. Always ask questions and seek out feedback if you are unsure how to make progress.

Many thanks

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Film Industry Essay

For next Tuesday's lesson...

How significant have convergence, synergy and vertical integration been in the development of Sony and its ability to produce, promote and distribute films? Make reference to Spider-Man and your own choice of recent release. You must consider DVD and BluRay as product too - note the role Sony played in the development of BluRay technology.

Start by saying that vertical integration (which you'll need to define) has allowed Sony to use synergy and convergence in its production, promotion and distribution/exhibtion of films.

As well as your own research, use the following:

See if you can find anything about Sony's use of viral marketing - google the movie 2012 (the Wikipedia site is good for this) or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (but make sure you get the right version, not the original Swedish one!)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Year 12 Textual Analysis: The representation of Gender in Doctor Who

Read the two essay responses very carefully. Answer the following questions:
1. Compare and contrast the two introductions. Which one do you think is more effective? Why?

2. Look at how each candidate uses PEE. Identify the strongest section of analysis in each section. Why is it effective?

3. Identify a weak section of analysis. How can it be improved? Redraft the PEE chain you have chosen making the necessary improvements.
4. Mark the essay overall according to the assessment criteria

Explanation – analysis & argument /20
Evidence - Use of examples /20
Use of terminology
(Including accuracy and spelling) /10

Total………………………………………… /50

5. Give the essay 2 stars and 2 wishes.

6. Compare and contrast the two conclusions. Top tip – Conclusions MUST relate to the representation. You could end it by summarising which technical code emerges as the most powerful and why. You should have commented on this in the main body of your essay.
Which conclusion is more effective and why?

Monday, 31 October 2011

Year 12 - Media Extended Project

Cinema through the Ages

• Group 1: The rise of the “Gore Films” compared to the classic horror
• Group 2: The transition to “talkies”
• Group 3: Making Money! The Importance of studios and institutions & their
love of franchise
• Group 4: The role of women in film
• Group 5: Iconic films: The impact of ‘big’ films on the industry
• Group 6: Cinema in the 1980s: Focus on 2 directors
• Group 7: Iconic actors and their impact on the film industry
• Group 8: The silent movies

You must produce a presentation on your given topic. You can use moving image, Photoshop, PowerPoint, posters, collage, costume, props, acting…be creative. We don’t want death by PowerPoint!

Remember EVERYONE must focus on a second section: The rise of the Viral Campaign – how might you promote YOUR film (hypothetically!) now, in 2011?



Thursday, 20 October 2011

Year 12 Textual Analysis - State of Play

AS Media Studies

Read through the sample analysis as evidence of good practice. You will notice that analysis is good, however there is a lack of attention on representation of race. This is an essential aspect of your analysis and you must ensure that you repeatedly reread the question to check the focus for your answer.

• Circle / highlight what you consider to be subject specific language – what proportion of this essay uses media language appropriately?
• Comment on the strengths of this analysis – to what extent is it really evaluative
• How could you further embed analysis on representation of ethnicity – remember your focus shouldn’t just be on the black youth BUT the other characters AND you can be brave enough to only select THE MOST relevant sections of the extract.
• TASK – redraft this essay making all the necessary improvements

Essay title:
How are representations of ethnicity established through the following technical codes: mise en scene, camera shot, angle, movement and position (cinematography), sound and editing.

In exploring the technical codes we can see that mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound and editing is used exhaustively throughout the sequence to immediately establish genre and attract immediate interest. In particular the use of costume, props, setting, and lighting reinforces the contrast of the three separate narratives (stories) that appear to be connected. As a result the opening sequence deliberately does not make sense so the audience is pulled into watching more.

In the first narrative we see through mise-en-scene of lighting and setting that the location for each narrative is daytime, innercity London. The opening shot features a tracking shot, possibly using steadycam, as the audience are positioned in the middle of a frantic chase between two unknown characters. The deliberate cinematography focusing only on their feet and legs immediately creates intrigue. Through a series of mid shots and close ups the main character is revealed to be a black youth who is dressed in a hoodie, jeans and he wears an earring; this is arguably a stereotypical representation of a black youth, particularly as he seems to be in trouble..He is being chased by an assassin who is dressed in dark, formal clothing, (arguably anti hero characters are often dressed using a dark palette), however this assassin is also smartly dressed which connotates he is a professional. The use of handheld camera and tracking shots places the audience in the centre of the action and a series of short cuts increases the pace of the editing to create excitement. At the point when the black youth is hiding from his assassin the pace of the editing slows dramatically as the audience waits on tenterhooks until the climax of the murder conveyed through a dramatic point of view shot. A combination of diegetic sound, for example heavy breathing from the youth to connotate a lengthy chase, and non diegetic sound through ambient music- (arguably tribal music is played during the chase sequence to further represent his black identity)- ensures the opening sequence makes full use of the technical codes to excite the audience.

In sharp contrast the second narrative introduces a dramatically different character: a white, male middle aged and of high social status. His clothing immediately symbolises his superior status as he wears a shirt, tie and expensive suit. With reference to props he is reading a Financial Times which is indicative that he has a professional occupation. Through the mise en scene of gesture he has a serious disposition and the dimmed lighting and surroundings indicate that he is on the tube, possibly on his way to work in the city. Most of the cinematography focussing on this character features a series of mid and long shots so that the audience can pick up clues through clothing and gestures.

The third narrative introduces another contrast; a young girl aged approximately twelve who is waiting in a café with an essential prop central to the narrative: a black plastic bag disguising a silver brief case. A mid shot pans down to a close up of the bag to reinforce the significance of this prop to the narrative. The director uses mise en scene to reflect the passage of time as we see within the frame that the girl has had time to consume three cans of coke. Through gesture and a series of returning mid shots and close ups, the girl is directed to appear nervous and anxious through body language and facial expression.

All three narratives combine to embed conventions of the thriller / conspiracy genrepresent the audience with a series of questions: why are these three disparate (different )characters connected? Why was the black youth assassinated? What is in the bag?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Collective Identity Stuff...

Collective Identity

You must refer to two or more media and you must bring in some historical references, even if the question doesn’t ask for them directly. You should be able to show awareness of how representation has changed or developed.

Likewise, while the question may not refer directly to collective identity, you will have to refer to theory.

Representation - Gurevitch and Roberts in Stuart Price's "Media Studies" book 1993: "Mediation is the process of the representation of events through the media."
Thomas De Zengotita (2005) – Almost everything we know about the world comes to us through some sort of media and this influences our view of the world and even our self-definition.

One aspect to consider is WHY that particular representation has been created. Remember that the working classes had been pretty much marginalised in popular film until the late 1950s/early 1960s. There were exceptions like Love on the Dole (1941), but in most films, the working class knew their place, supportive of the middle or upper classes – as in the World War Two dramas like Went the Day Well and The Way Ahead. This type of representation could be seen to reinforce Gramsci’s theory of hegemony: much of the media is controlled by the dominant group in society and the viewpoints associated with this group inevitably become embedded in the products themselves (representation of class, for example), even if the promotion of these views isn’t conscious, dominant views come to be seen as the norm - hence the marginalisation in the representation of the working class in British cinema until the late 1950s.

Note that the ‘angry young man’ films sprang up from novels and theatre of the period, so they were already reflecting a genre, if you like. Note the conventional centrality of the male character to films like Room at the Top and Saturday Night, Sunday Morning. Despite the working class milieu, these were major films and would be vying with Hollywood product of the time, and would comfortably fit in with the social realist American cinema of Elia Kazan, as well as the French New Wave. They were aimed at the traditional cinema-going audience and would open in major cinema chains, something which only popular working class films can do today because of the dominance of Hollywood.

Note how the representation of working class life was so obviously different on the small screen on Coronation Street. What does this tell you about the aims of the makers and their intended audience?

How has representation of the working class changed in soaps? You need to state the influence of early Brookside, but the success of Neighbours with its focus on young members of the cast has probably been influential too.

Soaps’ appeal to women:
Soaps were originally conceived as dramas to appeal to women – serialised domestic dramas on US radio from the 1930s sponsored by various advertisers, including soap powder manufacturers– rooted in popular serialised novels for women from the 19th century. Maintained popularity until 1950s – transferred to TV.

Soaps… focus on female characters not as mysterious or peripheral figures of crime and action series, but as everyday people coping with the problems of life (Glaessner, 1987).

Geraghty (1991) – four elements explain why TV soap appeals to women:

1) Central female character the audience can identify with
2) An acknowledgement of the importance of domestic sphere in people’s lives
3) An emphasis on the importance of relationships
4) The privileging of fantasy linked to the private sphere.

Note also Hobson (1982) talking about Crossroads, claimed soaps gave the female viewers a ‘cultural space’ in the dominant patriarchal society that they could call their own.

Soap narrative appeals to women because there is no real beginning, middle or end (Modleski, 1997); Soap is ‘an infinitely extended middle’ (Fiske, 1987). They mean that there is often no real resolution to stories and this reflects the position of women in a patriarchal society: men succeed, but for women, success is endlessly deferred – they are less likely to succeed, like likely to achieve resolution.

Why the increase in crime stories in soaps? Why the blurring of the line between middle and working class characters (particularly in Eastenders)? How do they attempt to appeal to a multi-cultural audience?

At the same time, look how the credits of Coronation Street have recently changed – as if the makers of the show are playing on nostalgia and affection for the past – and it’s true that the audience for Coronation Street is generally older than for Eastenders. So who is constructing what particular kind of working class identity here and for what purpose?

What do the popular working class films (and stress you are discussing popular working class films) of recent years have in common? The use of traditional working class visual signifiers (and audio, in terms of brass band music); family dysfunction and hardship caused by loss of employment; accent; males having to overcome stereotypes (or is that a stereotype in itself). What is the representation of women like? Are any of the films directly political? As with many films, American money was needed to help the production so to recoup costs they had to be successful on the foreign market. What seem to be quintessentially British films also have a universal appeal. Why was the Full Monty (which was later turned into an Americanised Broadway musical) a success in America?

Another aspect you must refer to is that certain tropes used in the representation of working class life have roots in writing and illustration from the 1840s (in the works of writers such as Mrs Gaskell, for example) and photography of the late 1800s. These images seem to have been culturally ingrained in the collective consciousness of what working class life is: cobbled streets, terraced houses in the shadow of smoky factories, men in big coats and caps, northern accents.

According to Eley (1995), the images and stereotypes of the ′traditional working class culture′ as they are presented in many films refer back to ′a historically specific formation of the period between the 1880s and the 1940s′. And… the north of England has been identified since the nineteenth century in the popular imagination as the “land of the working class.” (Rob Shields, 1991) and these films use the iconography of working class social realism – presumably because the image of ‘working class’ in the collective consciousness is just that!

Thomas De Zengotita defined representation by saying, “Almost everything we know about the world comes to us through some sort of media and this influences our view of the world and even our self-definition” (2005) and we need to go beyond this and note that representation of working class in film and on TV often uses tropes that we have seen before and they may well be shaped by earlier representations of working class life that the film-makers have seen in other films or, at least, in other texts. The 1960s working class sitcom, The Likely Lads, was set in Newcastle but filmed in London but the makers wanted to show back lanes, which are one of the visual signifiers of the working class industrial north. Rather than film the scene on location, however, they found the back lanes a few hundred yards from the studios in London…

Watching Made in Dagenham, we can see the workers leaving the factory on foot and riding bicycles. Where have we seen this image of working class life before? It may well be an accurate depiction of Dagenham in the late 1960s but the scene certainly reminds me of a similar one at the start of Saturday Night, Sunday Morning. Arthur Seaton’s checked shirt in Saturday Night, Sunday Morning would seem to have connotations of working class masculinity and Ken Barlow’s (factory working) brother wears one in the first episode of Coronation Street. Is this why Robert Carlyle wears one in the Full Monty? Is it a post-modern intertextual homage?

The issue of identity has moved on and theorists, like Blulmer and Katz and Hall and Morley have recognised that audiences are active consumers of the media. Gammon and Marshment (1998) stress the role of the audience in the construction of meaning from texts and suggest there is a range of interpretations offered by any text. Audience response to soaps, for example, is rich and varied, as befits active viewers See, for example, The Broadcasting Standards Commission to research audience attitude to the British Soap Opera in 2002, where even viewers placed in the ‘fanatic’ category understand the programme makers are creating dramas and not reflecting real life.
However, in terms of collective identity, you need to look at Gauntlett and other key theorists.

Foucault – Identity is a shifting, temporary construction.

Gary Giddens (1991) claims that mediated experiences make us reflect upon and
rethink our own self-narrative in relation to others: the self is not something we are born with, and it is not fixed. Instead, the self is reflexively made- thoughtfully constructed by the individual. We all choose a lifestyle.

Henry Jenkins (1992): We need to interact in order to form our identity - with other people – or with the media; this can involve partaking in an event (in reality, or virtually) with people with whom we feel affinity helps us to form collective identity.

David Gauntlett (2002) suggests that the media disseminates a huge number of messages about identity and acceptable forms of self-expression, gender, sexuality and lifestyle. At the same time, the public have their own robust set of diverse feelings on these issues. The media's suggestions may be seductive, but can never simply overpower contrary feelings in the audience. It seems appropriate to speak of a slow but engaged dialogue between media and media consumers. Neither the media nor the audience are powerful in themselves, but both have powerful arguments.

Media products provide numerous kinds of 'guidance' - in the myriad suggestions of ways of living which they imply. We lap up this material because the social construction of identity today is the knowing social construction of identity. Your life is your project. The media provides some of the tools which can be used in this work. Like many toolkits, it contains some good utensils and some useless ones; some that might give beauty to the project, and some that might spoil it. (People find different uses for different materials, too, so one person's 'bad' tool might be a gift to another.)

Gauntlett (2002): in contrast with the past - or the modern popular view of the past - we no longer get singular, straightforward messages about ideal types of male and female identities. Today, nothing about identity is clear-cut, and the contradictory messages of popular culture make the 'ideal' model for the self even more indistinct.

Note the way, in the age of web 2.0, that collective identity is also reflected in the use of websites, blogs etc that use these images of working class to create a community amongst fans e.g.;; (currently running this story: “Tens of thousands of people living in Britain think Weatherfield actually exists according to a survey by”),; There are also the inevitable facebook pages:; and the soaps are, of course, on Twitter, officially and unofficially.

Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media Group notes that the audience does not exist as a silent mass with a collective identity, but as active, thinking, reflective, creative audiences who share cultural experiences in common – and this is surely all the more so when viewers can re-evaluate their relationship to the text by interacting with each other through conversation or through fan sites.

Is representation further mediated through critics? For instance, negative interpretation of the representation of working class life in, say, Billy Elliott, by middle class critics for not considering the importance of the role of women in the miners' strike - though I realise, the impact of such criticism on the actual working class (and most others) is negligible.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Making Monsters

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Monsters on a Microbudget

Monsters: Fearless, Fearsome, Imperfect, Important
Jonathan Stromberg
Oct 29, 2010

The following review is partially adapted from a workshop I gave to film students at the State University of New York at Purchase College on 6 October 2010.

“Monsters”, the debut feature of writer/director Gareth Edwards, is, from the point of view of a spectator, an imperfect film. It is, however, from the point of view of a filmmaker, one of the most exciting releases I’ve seen this year. Edwards’s production reads like a map for young filmmakers, marking pitfalls with his struggles and showing a way forward with his successes. “Monsters” is one of the clearest case studies yet for the challenges—and advantages—of micro-budget filmmaking.

The ostensible auteur Edwards approached his first feature from his background in visual effects and documentary television. In some ways, this spelled destiny for the production style of “Monsters.” The narrative is basically theatrical, but the shooting style is strongly influenced by the production necessities of non-fiction television. For example, the film has no script per se. Edwards shot using scene outlines and necessary plot points but allowed his cast, Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy, to improvise freely within the scene. The apparent production doctrine was for Edwards, also the cinematographer, to shoot the scene multiple times from different angles to get broad coverage of every beat. The film in this way develops a signature somewhat different from more traditional narrative constructions. Edwards foregoes the “establishing wide then punch in for medium shots and close ups” archetype for something that ends up more like a multi-camera shoot. The angles in any particular scene are more varied, but also less predictable. In documentary television we—I work in non-fiction television as well—often shoot this way. In this way, a decision regarding the mode of production has significant impact on the film’s aesthetic, for better or worse, in a way that contrasts it to traditional productions.

The improvisation itself—by which I also mean the virtual lack of a script—is perhaps Edwards’s most obvious production choice, both because its results were so rewarding and so limiting. Production anecdotes in Edwards’s own press kit tell of his directorial inexperience and the minimal rehearsal before shooting. However, they also speak to his intuition as a filmmaker. Able and McNairy, who play strangers becoming romantically entwined in the crucible of alien invasion, were real-life lovers prior to and during production. Utilizing their emotional connection to enrich scenes that might otherwise have been dull or expository was an extraordinarily wise decision. To take the critical perspective, even if it were a gamble, Edwards was right to guess that the potential dramatic reward greatly outweighed risks of any subtextual disconnect with the narrative. On the other hand, scenes which do not leverage Able and McNairy’s existing relationship do feel dull and expository, particularly the interminable one-sided phone calls with off-screen personas. This is where Edwards was remiss in not providing a quality script. He abandoned his responsibility to the subtlety of exposition to the hamfistedness of McNairy’s instincts. Given that the story is carried entirely on the strength of the leads’ performances, the neglected script is a regrettable and unnecessary blemish.

The story overarching the narrative is unpolished as well. By the literary standards of genre, “Monsters” is bad science fiction. In my opinion, this was Edwards biggest mistake. I won’t be spoiling anything by saying that the monsters in “Monsters” don’t represent anything—though they nearly do—and are completely at odds with any kind of informed perspective on the science of astrobiology. This isn’t nitpicking. There’s a reason that most science fiction writers are scientists: the genre requires a specifically empirical approach to allegory with which Edwards is clearly uncomfortable. Instead, “Monsters” adopts the trappings of science fiction, without addressing them directly. In my view, this is the tragedy of “Monsters.” The dramatic scenes are so strong—they truly are—and the monsters are so superfluous, that the whole film as small as it is could have been re-conceived as an even smaller picture, with virtually no change in plot or production. This smaller film wouldn’t have indulged Edwards’s visual effects virtuosity, and perhaps he wouldn’t have been interested in making it, but it would have been a better film.

If writing and story and even directing aren’t Edwards’s strongest suits, his intuition and audacity as a producer is. Of the plethora of despicable filmmakers peddling their despicable $15,000 films (which, until seeing “Monsters” I had written off as either practically implausible or ethically irresponsible), Gareth Edwards stands head and shoulders above. “Monsters” takes the extreme micro-budget film out of the province of gimmick. For a film of such production value, it sports only two starring actors, supported by local Latino non-actors and amateurs. Edwards and his sound recordist were the only on-location crew. The four of them shot more or less alone for three weeks at real locations—in jungles, in villages, atop Mesoamerican pyramids. And unlike many of the other micro-budget charlatans, “Monsters” is a true independent film produced on a small advance from a small but dedicated studio and sold by specialty distributors. The circumstances of its production harken back to the New York Independent mode of the early nineties—without the support of the stock market boom. In this way, “Monsters” is anything but Hollywood fodder, like “Paranormal Activity” (2009), or amateur hour, like “Breaking Upwards” (2009). Unlike both these films, and the others they typify, Edwards made the film he knew he could make well, without compromise, and with integrity. That in itself should earn the respect of any post-millennial filmmaker. “Monsters” is a success in spite of itself because Edwards made a few crucially important production decisions and stuck to them: to write a film he knew he could produce properly, to trust the drama to his actors and cast actors he could trust, to shoot on location and pull the most value from each location, to shoot with the edit in mind and adapt the mode of production according to the aesthetic of the film. On the other hand, hiring an editor probably saved the movie and might easily have been the most expensive addition to the original $15,000 budget.

I don’t love “Monsters” as a film, but I did thoroughly enjoy despite its flaws. More importantly, it represents the ideal of responsible post-millennial filmmaking. As the global economy recovers over the next decade, hopefully the model “Monsters” represents will thrive. I have no doubt it will: it’s almost a necessity given current market realities. Good or bad, the ticket price is better spent on this film than almost any other commercial release this year—especially for filmmakers and cineastes.

See also

Monday, 4 April 2011

Monsters - Production and Release

Production The film was devised, storyboarded and directed by Gareth Edwards, who also worked as the visual effects artist. Allan Niblo and James Richardson of Vertigo Films work as producers on the production. The filming equipment cost approximately $15,000, with the budget coming in at under $500,000. The film was shot entirely on location: any settings featured in the film were real locations often used without permission asked in advance, and the extras were just people who happened to be there at the time. Edwards had the idea for the film while watching some fishermen struggling to haul in their net and imagining a monster. He had the idea to make a monster movie set "years after most other monster movies end, when people aren't running and screaming, but life is going on" and "where a giant, dead sea monster is considered completely normal." He pitched the idea to Vertigo Films, and they asked Edwards to watch a film called In Search of a Midnight Kiss which starred Scoot McNairy and had been made for $15,000. As the chemistry between Edwards' two characters was so important, he wanted a real couple, and luckily McNairy's then-girlfriend (and now wife) Whitney Able was an actress, and joined the project. The film was shot in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Texas in the US, over three weeks. For about 90% of the filming the crew comprised seven people transported in one van: Ian Maclagan (sound operator), Jim Spencer (line producer), Verity Oswin the Mexican 'fixer', Edwards, a driver, and Able and McNairy, the stars. As the low-budget production didn't run to a camera dolly, Edwards made do by sticking the camera out of the van window, cushioned on some bundled-up clothing. As most of the extras were non-actors who were persuaded to be in the film, their action was improvised. "As a result of all this random behaviour, the idea of scripting the film went out of the window. Instead I had a loose paragraph describing the scene with just the main points that had to be hit; how the actors carried this out was left up to them." Each night during the shooting period the editor Colin Goudie and his assistant Justin Hall would download the day's footage so the memory sticks could be cleared and ready for the next day's filming. Back in the UK, Edwards had over 100 hours of unique ad-libbed footage (rather than repeated takes of scripted scenes which would be very similar) to edit into a coherent film. Edwards did all the special effects himself using off-the-shelf Adobe software and Autodesk 3ds Max. The first assembly was over four hours long, and over eight months of editing was trimmed to 94 minutes. Once the film was locked, Edwards had five months to create all 250 visual effects shots, a process he undertook in his bedroom. "[I was] churning out about two shots a day, which was fine until I got to the first creature shot. Then suddenly two months went by and I still hadn't finished a single creature shot; it turned out to be the hardest part of the whole process." Due to time constraints, the sound effects had to be produced before the special effects were undertaken.

Release Monsters premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival, as part of the SX Fantastic screenings, on 13 March 2010. On 17 March, Magnet Releasing acquired the rights for the North American distribution. In May, the film was screened at the Cannes Film Market. Monsters had its UK premiere as part of the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival, on 18 June 2010. The Los Angeles Film Festival also held two screenings, part of the Summer Showcase, on 23 and 26 June. The film's theatrical release took place in Russia on 30 September, distributed by Volgafilm. Magnolia Pictures released Monsters in US theatres on 29 October 2010. The Canadian theatrical release was on 5 November, after DFilms acquired the rights on 24 May 2010.

A New View on Monster Movies

'Monsters' offers up a new view on classic giant monster movies

By Drew McWeeny - Magnolia picks up the SXSW midnight movie, and could have a hit on their hands

Mar 23, 2010 1:45 PM

Gareth Edwards is a very smart guy with a keen eye for composition, and I'm guessing when we look back at 2010 in film, his name will be one of the names that helps define the year.

"Monsters" played SXSW this year as part of the Fantastic Fest at midnight line-up, and with a title like that, it was easy for the festival to fill the theater every time they played the movie. Going into the film, though, I knew nothing about it aside from the title. Someone in line told me that they'd heard it was "the first mumblecore horror film," which sent a chill down my spine and not in a good way. I'm not a fan of mumblecore as a genre or even as a descriptive word. I think it's an excuse for people to make films that are damn close to anti-audience, like a dare. I love small-scale character drama, but there's a fine line between effective and personal and deadly dull whining. Having seen "Monsters," I can see why someone would describe the film that way, but I disagree. I think it sells short of what Edwards has accomplished, and I worry that it would scare off people who would end up really liking the movie.

Right now, there are a number of companies chasing the success of last year's "Paranormal Activity" and "District 9," realizing that the idea of what you can do on film and how much you can make certain films for has changed. Paramount's got a new division that wants to make ten movies for a total of a million dollars. I hope they take a look at "Monsters" and reach out to more people like Gareth Edwards, who has been working for a while in the FX community. Makes sense, because while there are some inventive and ambitious special effects in the film, there's a handmade feel to it all that is a big part of its charm. Edwards pretty much ran this all as a one-man show. He wrote and directed, he shot the film himself, and he did all of his own FX work, on a budget of $7000. This is what independent filmmaking in the 21st century is going to look like. The most impressive thing about that is how you can sit in the theater and never once question how much the film cost. It's a "real" movie. And thankfully, Edwards chose not to make a "found footage" movie, something which I'm personally very tired of, and a cheap solution to a budget issue. His film has a documentary feel to it that comes from how it was shot, but the camera isn't an actual character in the film.

Set several years after a space probe carrying samples of extraterrestrial life broke up during re-entry, scattering samples all across North and Central America, the film concerns a journalist who is asked by his publisher to track down the publisher's daughter and bring her home. The journalist, Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy), is determined to get into the most dangerous part of the infected zone so he can capture some images of the giant monsters in action, so the last thing he wants to do is babysit Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able), especially if that means leaving the place where the monsters are located. Edwards took his actors to Central America and shot his entire movie guerilla, using real people as much as possible, layering in the textures of the world, the details that sell the idea that alien invasion has become a way of life, all in post-production. It's a seamless world he's created, and the film has a lovely, authentic quality to it. Both McNairy and Able are low-key, never pushing the drama too hard, but selling a real sense that they are living these events.

I remember Quentin Tarantino at one of the many festivals he threw in Austin talking about how he wanted to make a movie set in Tokyo that was just a low-key love story that played out while Godzilla rampaged elsewhere in the city, a distant threat that never became front and center, using the giant monster as background during a human story. Well, Quentin, Gareth Edwards beat you to it. Ultimately, his movie is about these two people realizing that they've got a genuine connection and that they would rather spend a life of uncertainty together than continue to protect themselves and be alone. Which is not to say that there are no giant monsters in the film... there are, and they are genuinely freaky and alien. It's just that there's never the feeling that the movie is about the monsters or about the infected zone or even about the invasion of Earth. Edwards is far more interested in what's happening between these two people and what it is that has driven them to this place where they meet than he is in just throwing effects and sensation at you. It's a very controlled film, very intimate. Because so much of it is improvised, not every character thread adds up, but the big picture works.

Magnolia picked the movie up during SXSW, and with some careful nurturing and a smart campaign, this could be a real break-out hit for them. And if nothing else, it's a fascinating look at just how much it's possible to do with limited resources, a miniscule crew, and boundless ambition.

Monsters - Publicity

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Monsters received generally positive reviews from critics, with the film garnering a 71% "fresh", or 6.6/10 rating, on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes with the site's consensus stating, "It doesn't quite live up to its intriguing premise, but Monsters is a surprising blend of alien-invasion tropes, political themes, and relationship drama."

Roger Ebert awarded the film three and a half out of four stars and said "Monsters holds our attention ever more deeply as we realize it's not a casual exploitation picture."

The film ranked #3 on Moviefone's Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies of 2010 list.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is a fan of the film, saying on his Podcast Hollywood Babble-On "It will appeal to everything about the child in you that used to like the Four o'clock movie."


Monsters was nominated for six British Independent Film Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor,[23] and eventually won the Best Director, Best Technical Achievement, and Best Achievement in Production awards. At the 2011 BAFTA's Monsters was nominated for Outstanding Debut by a British Director, but ultimately lost to Four Lions.


In the weeks leading up to the UK release date of 3 December 2010 a marketing campaign using social network Foursquare was announced. Vue Entertainment and Cineworld Cinemas set up 'infected locations' which gave users access to exclusive Monsters content and the chance to win random on-the-spot prizes.

Monsters - Official Trailer 2

Monsters - Official Trailer

Friday, 1 April 2011

Development of the Action Adventure Film

The simplified version; largely stolen from Wikipedia ( )

Monday, 28 March 2011

Sixth Form Media Studies – Collecting Audience Research

On the afternoon of Monday 11th April, we are holding a special event to ensure that you have every opportunity to complete your audience research in time for the Easter holidays. Unfortunately this clashes with a sociology trip therefore some of you will need to find other opportunities to a) distribute questionnaires b) talk to focus groups. However you will be able to make full use of any footage collected by the group as you may choose to make a short video of the event to post on your blog. This helps to satisfy the multi-media challenge of creating a blog

What is Audience Research
· Every media producer wants to know to what extent their media product has satisfied his or her target audience. Often if it fails to do so the text is modified to accommodate (e.g. endings of films can sometimes be changed)
· You should aim to have your product virtually completed no later than Monday 11th April so you can collect feedback!!!!!
· You will work collaboratively throughout the afternoon with Year 13 to give constructive feedback on their work AND in return they will give you feedback
· Feedback will take many forms: a) open and closed questionnaires b) focus groups interviews c) one-to-one interviews d) producing your own pieces to camera to outline what you’ve learned from the process of audience research
· Those students aspiring towards A and B grades would also be expected to comment on the effectiveness of the research method e.g. does one particular research method give you clearer feedback than another?

Reminder of Key Aims:
1. BY APRIL 11TH -To be as far down the line in producing the final drafts of your music magazine – with plenty of evidence of drafts to show PROGRESS AND PROCESS!!!
2. To begin preparing now for AUDIENCE RESEARCH which forms one quarter of your evaluation – the collection of all your data will happen on 11th April
3. Easter holidays should be spent a) modifying your print projects b) creating your responses to these key questions:
· In what ways doe your media product use, develop, or challenge forms and conventions of real media products
· How are social groups represented in your media product?
· Define your target audience.
· How does your product attract / address your target audience?
· Discuss your use of digital technology to create an authentic product
· Comment on your progress in terms of skills from your engagement in preliminary work through to your completion of the AS practical

Other Key Points
· Where possible you should avoid a standard essay response and present visual materials to support your evaluation e.g. pie charts and graphs to quantify audience response
· Begin collecting research from the Internet with regards to the magazine industry e.g. EMAP (We will provide you with a handout to support this area of your research)
· Begin collecting your ideas for your evaluation NOW but make sure you clearly signpost the above questions as part of your EVALUATION if you begin to write up relevant materials on your blog
· You MUST be in the position by the time you leave for Easter where you have only MINOR CHANGES to apply to your practical work so you can focus on your evaluation AND REVISION FOR YOUR RESIT
· Ryan, Tanya, Shaun and Olivia will be able to concentrate on a) revision for their other subjects b) begin to think about the A” practical with reference to MOVING IMAGE
· Please note that although the summer term is always very busy after the exam season there is a lull and although this can be great we need to use our time wisely to a) have some fun b) really deepen our knowledge / learn new skills
· We’re looking into a) visiting Bradford MOMI for a day trip and b) setting up a MOVING IMAGE PROJECT to get you outside with the cameras

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Digital Technology and Creativity

Question 1a – Reflecting upon A1 and A2 projects with reference to:

Digital technology and creativity

Your answer should be driven by SKILLS. You must write about A1 and A2. You must repeatedly use the terms “digital technology” and “creativity”.

A1 – introduction to blogging through Blogspot. Must mention pro-sumerism - (the notion that everyone is creating their own media) - and global potential of Internet.

Research and planning emerged as a media product in itself.

Could reflect that A1 blog was not as creative – although point out what you did achieve creatively. Arguably in A1 you did not fully realise multi media aspects.

In contrast describe and evaluate how creative in comparison you were with your A2 blog. Detail multi media aspects of your work and how this allowed you to creatively display your progress. Make sure you point out that A2 blogs detailed both PROGRESS and PROCESS. It emerged as a LEARNING TOOL and allowed you to share your experiences on a GLOBAL PLATFORM.


Some members of our group had their work placed on a different site(s). This brings up interesting points about ownership and control. In theory a consumer can take ownership of your product and recreate it with their own creative input. This gives massive creative potential but is also arguably dangerous as increasingly how do we authenticate media products?

Make sure you very specifically outline all the creative choices you made in creating you’re A2 blog. REMINDER: The term PROSUMERSIM is key.

Skill 2: Photography

Make reference to the creative skills you’ve learned in using a digital camera – ( WHICH MODEL OF CAMERA DID YOU USE?????) - effectively to achieve a highly professional end product. Point out that the technology allows a potentially great result although ultimately it is the photographer who captures the image. Control of lighting and framing are MAN-MADE therefore to assume that the camera does all the work is an oversimplification of the creative process.

Discuss with specific reference to the most creative photographs and outline how learning progressed from A1 to A2. You can use semiological terms (denotation and connotation) to discuss meaning. Try to include the idea that good photography can make or break a project. A badly taken photograph cannot be completely rescued by Photoshop. Do you have evidence of any creativity in using Photoshop OR when shooting your film?

Skill 3: Photoshop
An integral part of of A1 and A2 are the ancillary tasks. Photoshop is an industry standard piece of software and requires considerable skill. You are all very skilful in using Photoshop but your answer would benefit from a detailed discussion of some of the more complex processes you engaged in to achieve an authentic end product. Look at the example below:

Photoshopping has emerged in the media industry as a synonym for airbrushing. In our image-obsessed world this software is ubiquitous in engineering culturally specific images of perfection. With reference to my own work, and particularly the front cover of my music magazine, I noticed from my original image that my model’s face reflected a very uneven skin tone. In using the clone stamp tool I was able to copy the pixels from another part of the face and through a rigorous approach create a much more even colour balance. Finally my application of a filter to soften the pixels allowed further blending…………

Skill 4: Shooting film
You need to make specific reference to the technical skills you learned when shooting film. You should comment on framing, positioning, the technical preparation of specific shoots using digital equipment. E.g. steadycam, tripod ……

You can discuss the creative choices you made whilst filming and possibly compare a good take with a bad one. Remember to use the term CREATIVITY and build in references to decision making.

Skill 5: Editing
Post production is an essential component of the production process and you will have made many creative choices in order to construct a meaningful narrative – (remember “narrative” is different to the term “story” dealing much more specifically with the structuring and sequencing of the story). Again try to approach this wearing your “problem –solving hat”. Can you outline the value of different versions of digital editing e.g. IMovie as opposed to Final Cut Pro? What value does Final Cut add?

Again I would make the point that professional editing software cannot correct badly shot film in the same way that a poor photograph cannot be magically transformed using Photoshop. Are there any specific edits that were more creative than others? Can you give a sense of your journey in terms of learning and progress in technical skill?

Conclusion: Important – don’t neglect this. Think of the graph!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Overall what does digital technology allow in terms of creativity?!?????? Digital technology cannot substitute raw skill and creative talent but it can facilitate. How have YOU as an individual demonstrated your creativity across A1 and A2 (show a sense of progression). How has digital technology helped you on this journey? Finally, are there any disadvantages to using digital software?

Thursday, 3 February 2011


Deadline for next Thursday (10th Feb)– The Blog

Section 1: The Introduction

· Overview of what makes a good photograph. Why is it critical for a successful print project? Evidence of a bad photograph and a good photograph – label it
· Chart what you have learned about layout. Why are the tags important in creating an IDEOLOGY for your TARGET AUDIENCE
· Present evidence of 3 drafts and justify changes – even if they are minor
· Summarise what principles you learned from this exercise – you can discuss your learning of key tools within Photoshop BUT make sure photography and layout are central to your discussion

Deadline for week on Thursday (17th Feb)

Section 2: The Music Magazine

· Discuss your chosen sub -genre and begin profiling examples
· Think about target audience – create a character profile. Literally create an imaginary person (with a picture) who will buy your product. List their consumption habits. Where do they shop, what do they wear, what do they go on holiday? You could produce up to three character profiles to demonstrate the RANGE OF YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE!!!!
· What are the key conventions of your sub-genre in terms of:
a) Photography
b) Ideology

You should now begin compiling specific evidence for the three components of your project:

1. Front page
2. Contents page
3. Feature Article

Remember to refer to multiple examples. Also you will get extra marks if your feature INSTITUTIONAL INFO – who publishes it? Distribution stats? Market share?

Every media product has a rival. WHO ARE YOU COMPETING AGAINST???????? You should make references to your rival when evaluating how your product is emerging.