I highly commend the web page 'Nine top tips for Media students'. From the people behind theory.org.uk, its worth a read!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018


links list e.g. (Sophie, A2)
Throughout the year you have been urged to podcast and post (pre/post-)production schedule updates to help evidence "THE JOURNEY", a key phrase in the assessment criteria.

The links list on the left is an example of some of the work a previous high-achieving student did in this regard - just have a look at the links lists alone to get a good sense of the range of what she did to get (almost) 100%.

Today you will be creating a summary of this, which should also help you identify some key gaps, and along the way demonstrating to a visiting student what you have done throughout the year. You need to clearly demonstrate answers with blog and other relevant content, and should edit in clear screenshots/clips afterwards.
You can add to this before submitting your final blog to help secure high marks on this criteria. Providing clear summaries on your work in posts BEFORE the Evaluation answers (though you could create these at the same time) is very useful in helping secure marks - and for you to identify gaps.
Be clear and specific - but don't waffle!!!
Below is the list of questions you will answer.

You should film this - your interviewer could do this for you, so it is only the production team (and Mac screen/s (groups could flip between multiple screens) in shot.

Up next: for AS completing Eval Q2b, for A2 creating a sample digipak image using the chosen Photoshop SFX tutorial (and then Eval Q3b, which is also an opportunity to check on blogging research on industry).


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Website task

You're going to create a draft of a vodcast - VERY quickly.

Use the screenshots and links from this post, and open/screenshot the homepage of 3 more OFFICIAL artist websites from different genres.

Assemble your images and QUICKLY comment (using VO or titles) on these 3 basic elements, including a summary of what you now think is the typical (or best) approach:
  • BANNER this should tie in with icons/banners for all social media, and will often change to reflect the latest album release or tour
  • TOP LINKS any decent website has clear, specific top-links, accessible on every page for quick navigation through the site. 4 or 5 (sometimes 6) is the norm. Some will include dropdown menus with sub-pages. 'Contact' or 'social media' shouldn't be one of these as those icons should also be on every page AND their content featured heavily throughout EDIT: JUST DO THIS ONE, THE TOP LINKS, OTHERS IF THERE'S TIME
  • COLOURSCHEME/OVERALL LOOK there should be a clear feel throughout the site. That doesn't necessarily mean the same background colour/image, but there should some clear feel of consistency

Publish your quickfire draft vodcast 10MINS BEFORE THE LESSON ENDS for viewing + initial discussion.

I'm sure you'll have observed the link at the top of musividz for follow-on work...

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Key dates up to Xmas 2017

For Xmas you should have:
  • completed blogs (bar Evaluation), including thorough proof-reading, presentational improvements (eg NO posts with video/podcast only, no textual summary/explanation), comprehensive links lists, clear post titles using numbering system where relevant
  • posted provisional final website (video/PowerPoint with screenshots/recording), digipak, video
    • there will be brief opportunity in January for final improvements: NONE permitted after January 22nd, when Eval will be the exclusive coursework focus
  • gathered resources for all Evaluation Qs, eg through folders of named screenshots/recordings, post tags, unpublished notes posts, ideas for creative presentation


All things which should have been completed earlier:

Up to date with podcasts
Links lists up to date
Post titles, publish dates checked as part of this
Tagged posts
Incomplete posts/needing improvement tagged for follow-up
Updated, comprehensive pre-production summary video, which should feature evidence [vodcast/video clips, blog/YT/website screenshots etc] (not long discussion of) work on such aspects as:
  • Audience moodboards (1 male, 1 female), wider primary and secondary research, definition
  • Character, especially performer, moodboards + clear costume/hair/make-up/props summary
  • Cast/ing, rehearsals (this will help make shoots go MUCH faster)
  • Locations, scouting, planned set dressing
  • General conventions research (all 3 texts)
  • Genre/artist conventions + wider research
  • Track analysis, idea updates
  • Lyric timing sheets featuring possible edit structures
  • Scenes list
  • Storyboards
  • Shoot planning (eg call sheets)
  • Equipment list
  • Health and safety review (list ALL possible risks, and actions to reduce risk, eg driving: keeping within safe speeds, not distracting the driver; train station: personal items/equipment in bags/zipped pockets to avoid theft, keeping clear of platforms)
  • Permissions to use footage of cast (hard copy of signed forms for each performer/actor handed to me; its enough to splay out your sheets, take a single photo, and use this as blog evidence; you don't need to embed every signed sheet)
  • Production schedule

VODCAST x 2: GENERAL digipak conventions; ARTIST/GENRE digipak conventions. Remember to highlight POSSIBLE INFLUENCES (= 'applying research')
The digipak format
My digipak ideas and initial mock-ups
How my promo package will be linked (clear summary of how you'll make explicit links between the 3, which links to the next point...)
My Social Media (sample your posts, especially highlight links to website + viral concept; discuss the branding (including user icons, YT banner etc), making clear links to any of the 3 texts. Make sure they're in top links list)
Sample scene 2 (still RD's 1st) of 60secs+, no gaps, with some evidence of audience feedback

Up to date with podcasts and general blogging, including links lists
VODCAST x 2: GENERAL website conventions; ARTIST/GENRE wesbite conventions. Remember to highlight POSSIBLE INFLUENCES (= 'applying research')
Digipak draft + evidence of aud feedback + reflection on this; Also note technologies used (including how you found video tutorials etc).
Full rough cut + evidence of aud feedback + reflection on this; use YT comment tool to denote planned changes

You have the questions; 2 practice exam Q1b (see wording below), one without notes (Audience: 30/37.5mins), one with (but limited to 1 side, no full sentences) on Genre (up to 1 hour for both). RD typing. You are welcome to submit a practice essay on any of the other 3 MANGeR topics by Friday 8th for marking over the weekend.


Up to date with podcasts and general blogging, including links lists
Industry summary [you should have already done this; refer to my Bicep Ppt to help, and use musividz posts to help]
My Website: Key Design Choices Explained
Website full draft (as screen recording/VO video and/or annotated screenshots in PowerPoint or alternative), including evidence of aud feedback and your response. Also note technologies used.
My Promo Package (summarise links between your texts; effectively drafting the Eval Q. You must include clear evidence of social media, viral elements)

In January we'll do a full blog review, and final text feedback for final improvements by Jan 22nd.
You'll be drafting 1 Eval Q (2 where I suggest splitting a single Q) each week, with no further changes to any component after Monday Feb 19th. No exceptions - final marks will be based on whats on the blog then.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Summer tasks

To commence the A2 we resume lessons to explore the conventions of the music video format, and plan your initial idea.

If you wish to engage in some independent reading over the holidays, then see this post for suggestions - but of course my 3 main blogs for the A2 would be useful! The book Money For Nothing is especially recommended as light reading that links into industry, audience and audience, and should help you with some ideas too (especially if you look up some of the videos or directors discussed in it).

ALL my blogs are listed here, with links for YouTube coursework playlists by year in this post. Student blogs here.

For 2017 the focus is on advancing your main proposal. To this end you should return with:

  1. Your blog set up and formatted as instructed.
  2. Initial Posts completed (see below for details)
  3. Posts on a minimum 5 videos you've analysed. See 'Conventions Research' below for details, and go through this guide before completing these posts. OPTIONAL: work on the initial general video conventions vodcast. You could also begin OPTIONAL posting on the industry or any other aspect.
  4. Posts on your idea/pre-production planning - see the list below. You should return with some sample footage and a highly detailed revised pitch, backed up by the specific posts listed below.
  5. If for any reason you cannot finalise a clear idea at this stage, you must then complete the general conventions posts + vodcast AND the industry research posts and vodcast.

Follow instructions here. Note one change: use the 'simple' template. NOT picture window. There are lots of minor changes to follow through, so read the post carefully.

1: Welcome to my blog! OR And so it begins again!
[whatever you want to call it] Introduce yourself. Address the following:
  • say a little about yourself and your media profile: experience, skillsets, strengths, interests, ambitions.
  • your hopes for the A2
  • 5 key lessons/things you'll approach differently from the AS
  • embed your AS opening + link your blog

2: The Brief 
music promotion package  A promotion package for the release of an album, to include a music video (major task), together with a website for the band and a digipak for the album’s release (minor tasks).
3: Thoughts on some past A2 Media Coursework
View and reflect on at least 1 past (IGS or StG) final video - as we will view chapters from my 2014 documentary on the 2014 work, they (Storm Queen, Faithless, Atomic Kitten) might be a good choice (blogs; YouTube). The 2016 StG A2 videos are here (blogs here). 
  • embed each video being discussed, and provide student blog links
  • did they make any mistakes you can learn from?
  • are there any clear differences from AS film brief to A2 music promo package brief?
  • were you impressed/inspired by any feature of each vid?
  • does your developing editor's eye see anything you could improve?
  • any other thoughts/points?
  • sum up: what do you think you'll need to work on to create a successful music promo?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Press links

Current ABCs (March 2017): Press Gazette.

ROUGHLY what % of NATIONAL DAILY circulation is accounted for by the Murdoch press?

Does ownership (ignored by GCP, PC, PCC and now IPSO) matter? Would it bother you if, say, Donald Trump or Marie Le Pen owned the biggest selling papers in your country, with no laws to prevent them from ensuring they represented their political views? Does it matter that Silvio Berlusconi attained a position of media dominance in Italy then political and legal dominance? Does it matter that Murdoch has successfully backed every election winning party for 40 years, and seems to get privileged access to the PM and government ministers in the UK? Maybe he should be allowed to make SkyNews into a political mouthpiece for right-wing ideology like Fox News in the US (not allowed under much stricter impartiality laws for TV enforced by OfCom - there is no equivalent for the press)? This opinion piece certainly thinks it does.

Do the web readership figures match the narrative of falling circulation? Does this suggest any more or less urgent need for regulation of OWNERSHIP, and/or to ensure PLURALISM?

What is the Editors' Code? Save a full copy for yourself. What does it have to say about children? What does it have to say about ownership? Advertising?
Do you think this is a sufficient basis for press regulation?

Have a look at rulings - any useful cases on children?

Now have a look for Guardian reports on IPSO and children - anything to add?


Monday, 15 May 2017

CIE Past exam papers

Your exam is similar to but not identical with the OCR (UK) syllabus it is based on, so there is value in also looking at those for further practice questions. You've only got 2015, 2016 and sample past papers so far from CIE as it is a new syllabus (the OCR started in 2008).

Below you can access these in two formats: first, the full past paper (sample, June 15, Nov 15, June 16) THEN screenshots of the questions only for Q1a+Q1b THEN for the Media regulation topic.

2015 JUNE: 1A Use of conventions       1B Representation
         NOV:  1A Research + Planning     1B Genre
2016 JUNE: 1A R+P/Creativity             1B Narrative
         NOV:  1A Digital tech/creativity   1B Audience
2017 JUNE: Use of conventions + Media Lang the most likely?

This is used to help teachers plan and prepare.

Monday, 1 May 2017

BBFC background and cases

Main blogging is on the MediaReg blog (BBFC tag), eg this overview post.
A new overview will be added.


Question: why is there is a separate 12A for cinema only (12 for DVD/Blu-Ray)? [BBFC guide]

Very student-friendly, and also intended to be highly parent friendly, this has details on every new rating, detailed explanations of the current ratings, and case studies on controversial rulings.
For now, visit the site and note:
  1. the names of each BBFC age rating
  2. the key differences between the 12/12A, 15 and 18 rating: focus on the issues of SEX, VIOLENCE, SWEARING

Friday, 10 February 2017

Crossword Challenge 1

The 1st of a series of crossword challenges - also a way, with a bit of thought, of adding some creativity to your evaluations ...

This combines some easy and some not so easy questions, and will increasingly require hunting through your exam pack for answers ...

See https://crosswordlabs.com/view/some-major-media-terms

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Eval Q1a prep

Have a look at Joe (2016 StG) + Amber's (IGS 2015) answers for this. 'Creative' is not part of the UK requirement.

For Qia you need to clearly evidence (summarise) your research into conventions: general, then genre specific.

We'll start with the general, using Goodwin.

Can you find examples to reflect Goodwin's arguments in Joe's NIN video?
Do you think you list 5 or more genre signifiers? (use your best judgement as to what might apply within industrial/gothic metal)
Note each specific term you use on the terminology log sheet.

Next: identify at least 5 (but try for 10) format conventions from your latest draft, and be prepared to talk us through the precise media language.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Genre task

2 lessons today to complete this
Including specific illustrations/relevant links

POST: Reflections on genre theory
[you may follow this up with more later - use a numbering system if so; feel free to include theorist surnames in title]

Outline a minimum of 5 theories linked to the concept of genre, and discuss in the context of your A2 production and existing texts you've researched.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

DEC 2016 mock exam

This will combine coursework and exam elements, and is important Evaluation preparation, but takes the form of a practice Section A (Q1a, Q1b). Q1a requires comparison of your AS and A2 productions, and drawing out specific examples of how these developed from AS to A2 work. Q1b requires exploring how a range of theories you've selected can be applied to your work, AS or A2 (it makes sense to use A2, so thats what I require). That could/should include some critique - not every media theory fits neatly with every media format - many narrative theories do not fit so well with music video for example. You are using your own work as EXamples (including PLANNED work at this stage: what you intend to do), but also (especially in Q1b) contextualising with EXamples from existing videos.


Assessment will apply the exam markscheme: EAA 30/50, EX 20/50 (unlike the AS exam, T is effectively within EAA).

In the exam you will have 30mins for Q1a and 30mins for Q1b. You will have the full 2 periods for this mock; those of you with extra time can have an additional supervised 25 mins. Your response will be as a blog post (including links, relevant illustrations etc), not handwritten.

If you wish to improve this afterwards, copy the post into a new post with a different title to save as draft; do not make changes to the mock exam post until you have received marks and feedback.

You can have 1 side of typed and printed A4 notes, or 2 sides of handwritten A4 notes, but these must be in bullet point form only, no long quotes or continuous paragraph-style prose.

You have two A2 exam Section A questions to answer: Q1a (CRUD) and Q1b (MANGeR) are 30mins each (but you have 50mins each today). In this mock you will answer one Q1a of your choice, plus one Q1b. The group of 3 must pick a different CRUD/MANGeR topic each, though you can of course work together on the preparation (this applies to non-groups: feel free to share examples, and discuss theories, and discuss Q1a with Yr12 partners).

At this stage you are answering on incomplete productions, but can use as EXamples points that you PLAN to include.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

2016-17 Half-term1 deadlines and to blog

I'll add to this.
Each half-term I'll post, and update, details of work.

Week 1 + 2 lesson time is for planning, filming (possibly editing) a practice video:

Friday 16th
The main summer work, including the conventions vodcast, needs to be on blogs 

Friday 30th 
industry vodcast and completed practice video

Tuesday 4th [UPDATE: pushed back to Weds]
Pitches for main coursework production. Film these and the Q+A, and blog your response, revised ideas, plans.

Friday 7th
You'll have lesson time to work through an initial production schedule - remember, the aim is to complete principal shooting (and website/digipak photography) during half-term.
You should record the 1st of a weekly series of podcasts (upload as audio or video if you want to add visuals). PODCAST1: The Group, The Idea. In this you introduce yourselves, outline what you're working on (brief detail on the idea), and your individual strengths, ending with 'and in the upcoming week we will...'. Each week hereafter record a new episode on Friday: 'in the past week we have...; in the coming week we will...'.

Weds 12th [in lesson]
REPRESENTATION: Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball
REPRESENTATION: Lady Gaga's Bad Romance
Reflect the Tuesday lesson work, especially theories, with a detailed blog post clearly including and APPLYING the theories covered, with appropriate multimedia/illustrations (image, gif; links for articles, screenshotted headlines from those etc).
On Weds, you have 1st period to analyse the Gaga video, applying the same theories (AND any additional theories you choose from your MANGeR pack or existing wider knowledge) and approach (ie, looking at the wider context [eg see post], not just the video text itself). You could do this as a PowerPoint/KeyNote [save as PowerPoint if using KeyNote on Mac], upload and embed (or just email for now), ready to present findings in 2nd period. Focus on the potential conflicting feminist v post-feminist positions.
Relevant theories/terms include:
male gaze (Mulvey),
feminist, post-feminist (binary opposition?)
normative; hetero-normative
hegemonic, counter-hegemonic (Gramsci)
postmodern(ism): simulacrum/simulacra (Baudrillard)
Richard Dyer's star system/theory; Chomsky's propaganda model: flak (1 of 5 filters)
Freudian psychoanalytic approach: phallic imagery
Stuart Hall's reception theory (preferred OR contested/negotiated OR oppositional reading)

Weds 5th  [UPDATE: email blog link/attachment BEFORE Friday 14th]
Treatment (see guide) + production schedule (post title: PRODUCTION SCHEDULE1: Pre-production tasks). You'll need to add multiple posts as you go: PRODUCTION SCHEDULE UPDATE1: Shoot 1 [ie, description of focus of changes/additions]. Keep updating and embedding a full schedule. Don't delete changed dates, just denote they changed with strikethrough.
strikethrough blogger tool
A great google calendar is a great way to organise this, and it can even be embedded on your blogs.
Each of you also need to email me a link (with typed artist name/track title) to a music video you will be called to present your analysis of at any point starting Tuesday 18th. Your analysis should include at least 3 applied theories from 1 or more MANGeR topics. I will go through some examples next week. My guide to blogging on examples, and this huge resource on examples I've blogged on, should be used to help with your own preparation.

Fri 21st
Present a sample scene (or more) for discussion. If you've not cast or got access to cast/costume etc, don't panic - but do film in the planned location with a stand-in. This is a crucial testing out of ideas.

The audience vodcast should bring together all research and analysis so far of who your target audiences are (primary, secondary), with clear evidence to justify the age range, gender (etc) you indicate: why are they appropriate? what evidence is there for this?* how does your propsoal reflect/target this? have you considered any audience theories? (there is considerable overlap with some genre and representation theory here).
*try to get some feedback from any social media, fan forums etc, but looking for media appearances is also smart: magazines, radio, TV stations will all generally publish an audience profile for advertisers. Keep looking out for media appearances until the coursework is finished
Have you undertaken any primary research (posting question/s on forums, but also surveys, short multimedia questionnaire, possibly with a group rather than individuals?). This 2015 (UK) A2 Evaluation answer on audience contains lots of great examples, such as this tool for gaining initial evidence to back their audience outline (which changed somewhat after this process):

Fri 28th
ARTIST RESEARCH (various - see this post)  
You will have the lessons this work to research and blog on these topics. Look ahead to the Evaluation questions when doing so, and you should see how you'll benefit both from marks on research + planning and again later...
If you have any further sample scenes ready during this week, request a screening and feedback.

You should aim for some or all shooting in half-term.
Coursework to be completed by Xmas, though more time to complete Evals.