Thursday, December 15, 2011


'Up in Flames: Mr Reeves and the Riots'

Tonight on BBC1 at 22:45, there is a documentary being aired about the 2011 UK Riots. It looks like it will be worth watching.

Even without having seen it, I am positive that by analysing the text it will add to your understanding of media representations and postmodernism.

If you can't catch it tonight, check BBC iPlayer, it is more than likely to be made available online.

More info here:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A2: 2011 UK Riots: A Hyperreal Event?

Christmas Homework: Part 1:

Based on your understanding of Baudrillard's theory of Hyperreality, complete the following essay. You must refer to the David Buckingham article: "There's a riot going on" featured in Media Magazine - December 2011. However, you may also wish to refer to the 9/11 and Saddam Statue examples as well as 'The Matrix' and 'Blade Runner' to support your arguments.

"The 2011 UK Riots can only be understood as a hyperreal event." To what extent do you agree with this statement?

The word count is 800. Please read over your targets from your previous assessment before completing this one.

Christmas Homework: Part 2:

Complete the following research (you might want to do this before you write the essay):

  • What is the 'effects model'?
  • What is the agenda setting model'?
  • What is the 'uses and gratifications' theory?
  • What is 'selective exposure'?
  • What is 'selective perception'?

Bonus Material: Here are David Buckingham' slides that accompanied a presentation he gave at the Media Magazine conference. They make a useful accompaniment to the article.

AS: Media Ownership: Convergence and Expansion

Why study media ownership?

The issue of who owns the media, and how much of it they own, matters. It is important for broadly two reasons.  The first is pluralism.  A great many writers have focused attention on the potential harms that may result from concentrated media ownership, including the abuse of political power by media owners or the under-representation diverse and pluralistic media provision.  Concentrations of media ownership narrow the range of voices that predominate in the media and consequently pose a threat to the interests of society.

Recognition of the need to safeguard pluralism has historically been the main reason for regulating ownership of the media.  However, concentrated media ownership matters to society, not only because of pluralism and democracy, but also because ownership patterns may affect the way in which the media industry is able to manage the resources available for media provision.  Restrictions on ownership could, for example, result in a duplication of resources which prevents the industry from capitalising on all potential economies of scale.  The ways in which ownership patterns affect the economic strength and efficiency of the sector are not solely a mater for broad societal interest but are obviously of immense and particular concern to media forms.

Industrial or ‘economic’ arguments favouring a more liberal approach toward concentrations of ownership seem to have become more influential in determining media ownership policies in the UK and Europe since the early 1990s.  The elevation of industrial interests may, at least in part, be attributed to ‘technological mystique’ surrounding developments such as convergence and globalisation and to the perception that policy-making ought to help industry capitalise on such developments (Hitchens, 1995: 640).  But relatively little work has been done to quantify precisely what efficiency gains or other economic benefits or, indeed, what disadvantages greater concentrations of media ownership might bring about.  This book sets out to uncover, based on the experiences of leading UK media corporations, exactly what sort of economic or commercial advantages are created as media firms enlarge and diversify.

Above all, ownership and control over the media raise special concerns that do not apply in the case of other sectors of industry.  Media concentrations matter because, as exemplified in the notorious case of the Berlusconi media empire in Italy (and, on a lesser scale, as frequently evidenced elsewhere), media have the power to make or break political careers.  As was said of a former UK media baron: ‘Without his newspaper, he is just an ordinary millionaire.  With it, he can knock on the door of 10 Downing Street any day he pleases’  (Financial Times, 2000: 24).  Control over a substantial share of the more popular avenues for dissemination of media content can, as politicians are well aware, confer very considerable influence on public opinion.

So policies that affect media concentrations have very significant political and cultural as well as economic implications.  As these policies undergo sweeping ‘reforms’ to cater for the perceived needs of an increasingly dynamic media and communications environment in the 21st century, it is important to question whether the structures we are left with adequately safeguard the need of European citizens for media plurality.  This text traces the development of media ownership policies in the UK and at the European level since the early 1900s.  Taking account of the conflicting objectives that policy-makers have been faced with, it analyses key shifts in position and assesses who stands to gain or lose out from the wholesale redesign of media and cross-media ownership policies.The term ‘convergence’ is used in different ways but, generally speaking, it refers to the coming together of the technologies of media, telecommunications and computing.  It is also used sometimes to denote greater technological overlap between broadcasting and other conventional media forms.  Digital technology – i.e. the reduction of pieces of information to the form of digits in a binary code consisting of zeros and ones – is the driving force behind convergence.  Sectors of industry that were previously seen as separate are now converging or beginning to overlap because of the shift towards using common digital technologies.

Media convergence

The implications of convergence are far-reaching.  With the arrival of common digital storage, manipulation, packaging and delivery techniques for information (including all types of media content), media output can more readily be repackaged for dissemination in alternative formats.  For example, images and text gathered for a magazine, once reduced to digits, can very easily be retrieved, reassembled and delivered as another product (say, an electronic newsletter).  So, digitisation and convergence are weakening some of the market boundaries that used to separate different media products.

Convergence is also drawing together the broadcasting, computing and IT sectors.  According to some, ‘(u)ltimately, there will be no differences between broadcasting and telecommunications’ (Styles et al., 1996: 8).  More and more homes are now linked into advanced high capacity communication networks and, through these, are able to receive a range of multimedia, interactive and other ‘new’ media and communication services that can be delivered to consumers via the same communications infrastructure, the better the economics of each service.

The ongoing globalisation of media markets and convergence in technology between media and other industries (especially telecommunications and broadcasting) have caused many media firms to adapt their business and corporate strategies accordingly.  As traditional market boundaries and barriers have begun to blur and fade away, the increase in competition amongst the media has been characterised by a steady increase in the number of perceived distributive outlets or ‘windows’ that are available to media firms.

The logic of exploiting economies of scale creates an incentive to expand product sales into secondary external or overseas markets.  As market structures have been freed up and have become more competitive and international in outlook, the opportunities to exploit economies of scale and economies of scope have increased.  Globalisation and convergence have created additional possibilities and incentives to re-package or to ‘repurpose’ media content into as many different formats as is technically and commercially feasible (e.g. book, magazine serialisations, television programmes and formats, video, etc) and to sell that product through as many distribution channels or ‘windows’ in as many geographic markets and to as many paying consumers as possible.

The media industry’s response to these developments has been marked.  Media firms have been joining forces at a faster pace than ever before.  They have been involved in takeovers, mergers and other strategic deals and alliances, not only with rivals in the same business sector, but also with firms involved in other areas that are now seen as complimentary.

Convergence and globalisation have increased trends towards concentrated media and cross-media (e.g. Time Warner/AOL, Pearson, Bertelsmann etc.) whose activities span several areas of the industry.  This makes sense.  Highly concentrated firms who can spread production costs across wider product and geographic markets will, of course, benefit from natural economies of scale and scope in the media (DTI/DCMS, 2000: 50).  Enlarged diversified and vertically integrated groups seem well suited to exploit the technological and other market changes sweeping across the media and communications industries.

Three types of expansion

At least three major strategies of corporate growth can be identified and distinguished: horizontal, vertical and diagonal expansion.  A ‘horizontal’ merger occurs when two firms at the same stage in the supply chain or who are engaged in the same activity combine forces.  Horizontal expansion is a common strategy in many sectors and it allows firms to expand their market share and usually, to rationalise resources and gain economies of scale.  Companies that do business in the same area can benefit from joining forces in a number of ways including, for example, by applying common managerial techniques or through greater opportunities for specialisation of labour as the firm gets larger.  In the media industry, the prevalence of economies of scale makes horizontal expansion a very attractive strategy.

Vertical growth involves expanding either ‘forward’ into succeeding stages or ‘backward’ into preceding stages in the supply chain.  Vertically integrated media firms may have activities that span from creation of media output (which brings ownership of copyright) through to distribution or retail of that output in various guises.  Vertical expansion generally results in reduced transaction costs for the enlarged firm.  Another benefit, which may be of great significance for media players, is that vertical integration gives firms some control over their operating environment and it can help them to avoid losing market access in important ‘upstream’ or ‘downstream’ phases.

Diagonal or ‘lateral’ expansion occurs when firms diversify into new business areas.  For example, a merger between a telecommunications operator and a television company might generate efficiency gains as both sorts of service – audiovisual and telephony – are distributed jointly across the same communications infrastructure.  Newspaper publishers may expand diagonally into television broadcasting or radio companies may diversity into magazine publishing.  A myriad of possibilities exists for diagonal expansion across media and related industries.  One useful benefit of this strategy is that it helps to spread risk.  Large diversified media firms are, to some extent at least, cushioned against any damaging movements that may affect any single one of the sectors they are involved in.  More importantly perhaps, the widespread availability of economies of scale and scope means that many media firms stand to benefit from strategies of diagonal expansion.

In addition, many media firms have become transnationals – i.e. corporations with a presence in many countries and (in some cases) an increasingly centralised management structure.  Globalisation has encouraged media operators to look beyond the local or home market as a way of expanding their consumer base horizontally and of extending their economies of scale.  For example, UK media conglomerate EMAP acquired several magazine publishing operations in France in the mid 1990s and has since expanded heavily into the US market.  French media company Vivendi, a majority shareholder of Canal Plus, has pay-television operations in several national markets across Europe and recently acquired Swedish group Bonnier which specialises in business news and information recently expanded into the UK with the launch of a new daily newspaper called Business AM in Scotland.

The basic rationale behind all strategies of enlargement is usually to try and use common resources more fully.  Diversified and large scale media organisations are clearly in the best position to exploit common resources across different product and geographic markets.  So, enlarged enterprises are better able to reap the economies of scale and scope which are naturally present in the industry and which, thanks to globalisation and convergence, have become even more pronounced.

This points towards what Demers calls the ‘paradox of capitalism’ – that intensified global competition results in less competition over the long run (Demers, 1999: 48).  Even with a loosening up of national markets and fewer technological barriers to protect media incumbents from new competitors, the trend that exists in the media of increased concentration of ownership and power into the hands of a few very large transnational corporations – clearly reflects the overwhelming advantages that accrue to large scale firms.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Baudrillard In Practice

Below are several videos, which are useful in illustrating Baudrillard's argument about the hyperreality in which we reside. The first 3 video's are parts 1, 2 and 3 of the real time news reporting from the BBC as the September 11 attacks occurred. Remember even this does not represent reality or truth. The mediation and 'framing' of the story as it happens, alters the viewers perception and understanding of events.


There are another nine parts to this footage as BBC World News continued to report on events throughout the day. It is also worth considering the effect of this "live" coverage and how much of it is recycled, as well as the conjecture presented on the part of the BBC and the reporters.

The fourth video is the BBC News at 10PM. Watch to see how a dramatic and ling winded event is compressed to fit the needs of the evening news audience. Also, consider how certain aspects of the reporting have changed, including the speculation about who is behind the attacks, etc.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The first post-modern film?

Once Upon a Time in the West: Is it really the first post-modern film?
To understand post-modernism in its simplest forms, return to your notes on Genre from the start of Year 12. The first lesson focused on those ideas of “familiarity, repetition and variation”. This led to an exploration of hybridisation and regenrification, with a brief exploration of stars becoming synonymous with genres of films and types of characters.

Throw in intertextuality

Philosopher Jean Baudrillard has been credited with claiming alternately that Sergio Leone was the first post-modernist director and that Once Upon a Time in the West was the first post-modern film. Either seems like a specious claim, in that the French New Wave fairly lived in Hollywood’s history. But it may not be hyperbolic to say that the film was the first post-modern Western.

Its post-modernity lies almost exclusively in the tenet of self-reflexivity, the ability to recognize that a work lies not outside its history, but is, indeed, a product of it. Sergio Leone, along with Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, who helped him fashion the treatment for Once Upon a Time in the West, repeatedly watched their favourite old Westerns during the story process, then consciously cribbed and quoted those films to lay the groundwork of familiarity against which the plot of the film would be set. In this way, they honoured the conventions of the Westerns of their youth, while using them to deconstruct the Western itself.

The most striking use of this technique is in the casting. Henry Fonda, whose career had featured a long-line of heroic and morally-upright characters, including Abraham Lincoln, Tom Joad, Wyatt Earp, Mister Roberts, JFK, and Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., was cast as the evil, amoral Frank, a fact which was hidden from the audience until after he and his men had massacred an entire family, and just before he gunned down a child. The audience’s expectations for the character, then, were completely shattered, giving Frank full reign to be as brutal as he needed to be.

Also familiar to Western fans was Charles Bronson, who had appeared in Vera Cruz, Jubal, 4 For Texas, and Guns of Diablo. But it was his role as the wood-whittling Bernardo O’Reilly in The Magnificent Seven that made him the perfect choice for the role of Harmonica. What was, in The Magnificent Seven, a sweet and generous gift of music became a totem of revenge in Leone’s film.

The Western Genre and Intertextuality
Beyond this, there are many scenes or sequences in the film that refer directly or obliquely to previous Westerns. The beginning of the film is similar to that of High Noon, where three men wait for a single passenger at a train station. The person they are waiting for is a bad man named Frank. The massacre of the McBain family at Sweetwater was influenced by a similar sequence in The Searchers, where the Edwards family is setting their places for dinner, as the anticipation of an attack by unseen Indians mounts. The massacre is conducted by five men in dusters, including Frank, much the same way that the stagecoach is robbed by five men in dusters, including Liberty Valance, in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

The funeral scene is borrowed very closely from the Sonewall Torrey funeral scene in Shane. The character of Jill McBain bears close resemblance to that of Joan Crawford’s Vienna in Johnny Guitar, in what Bertolucci called “one of the more explicit references in Once Upon a Time in the West.” Henry Fonda, working the dark side of his personality in Warlock, wears clothes similar to what Frank wears here. His character also kicks a crippled man off his crutches, much as Frank does to Morton near the end of the film. And, of course, the entire concept of the colonization of the West, and the role of the railroad in it, is a common theme in Westerns. Veteran writer Frank Gruber calls it one of the seven basic Western plots. But in Leone’s interpretation, it bears closest resemblance to John Ford’s The Iron Horse and Cecil B. DeMille’s Union Pacific in its affectionate close-ups of the trains.

Filmic Hybridity
But the references did not stop at Westerns. Leone pulled from all of film history, including a reference to the final scene of film noir Farewell, My Lovely, in which Marlowe says “She made good coffee, anyway,” echoing Cheyenne’s views on the beverage. In the gangster film Murder, Inc., there is a shot of someone taking over the strop and razor from an Italian barber, as seen in this film. And Frank’s line “How can you trust a man that wears both a belt and suspenders. Man can’t even trust his own pants!” is taken almost verbatim from Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole. And even beyond film, Bertolucci claims that Brett McBain’s name is a combination of crime writers Brett Halliday and Ed McBain.

Jorge Luis Borges once wrote that “every writer creates his own precursors.” Filmmakers are no different. Rarely are they as apparent in Once Upon a Time in the West, but we all live with a collective past, a collective memory, that exists to shape our perception of what is to come. Whether what is to come agrees with or contradicts what has passed is the choice of the artist.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Critical Perspectives - Postmodern Media (Slides)

The slides that I am using throughout our lessons will be permanently available and updating here as the unit progresses. Please use this to refer back to along with all of the documents that you are given/directed to.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bricolage and Self-reference in the Matrix

Please remember to watch the rest of this video and makes notes as your homework. Will be discussed in Tuesday's lesson.

Have a good weekend.
Mr. M.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Critical Perspectives: Postmodern Media

Follow the link below to access an electronic version of 'Postmodernism and the Media: An Introduction' document you were given today.

You will be able to access all of the links to videos, articles and key documents.

Mr. M.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Mouth Taped Shut

Check out this fantastic blog promoting the upcoming release of David Fincher's 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'.

It includes many artistic images on-set, on-location and in the editing suite. Also, you can see the film poster, parts of the script and also the trailer.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Media @ CCC: Title Sequences

Click on the above to look at title sequences. Look for the film "Splice" and the comments on the relationship between title sequences and the actual film.

Will make for an outstanding blog entry, if you include visual examples..please add comments...


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How Research Should Be Done

Follow the link to view an excellent example of A2 Media Studies: Advanced Portfolio research and planning in progress.

This is the standard I expect from you all! :-)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mr Ford's Film List

In no particular order: Watch these!!

Film Fun! Number 10 is the funniest film in the world!

1. The Breakfast Club
2. Beverley Hills Cop
3. Taxi Driver
4. Goodfellas
5. The Shawshank Redemption
6. Citizen Kane
7. Ghostbusters
8. The Exocist
9. Nightmare on Elm Street
10. Monty Python's Life of Brian

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mr. Michie's 10 films to see before you die

These are not necessarily my favourite films nor are they listed in a particular order.
  • Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Fargo
  • Aliens
  • On The Waterfront
  • Modern Times
  • Pulp Fiction
  • High Noon
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish Version)
  • Amelie
  • Jaws

Thursday, September 22, 2011

AS: Group Presentations (22.09.11)

Group Presentations from today's lesson have been compressed and uploaded to YouTube. You can find them here:

Group 1 (Averielle, Alice and Danielle):

Group 2 (Lucy, Amy and Nicole):

Group 3 (Josh and Hannah):

Group 4 (Rhiannon and Alice):

To add them to your posts you need to click on the "Share" button below the posts and select "Embed". Copy the code in to your blog post.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A recent study carried out by the University of Virginia would have you believe that watching SpongeBob SquarePants for little more than nine minutes can result in "short-term attention and learning problems". I doubt that very much. What this study does demonstrate however is how not to do research. Read Fox News' take here and the New York Times' response here. Oh, and keep watching SpongeBob, after all it's down right hilarious!

[Update] Nickelodeon's response to the report.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

AS Media Studies - Y12 Homework Link & QR Code

Year 12. This is a permanent link for your homework. You can scan the code with your phone or simply click on the link.

Remember, you can also subscribe to the Twitter feed to keep up to date with the course. See the link in the sidebar on the right.

Homework Link:

Homework QR Code:

GCSE Media Studies - Y11 Homework Link & QR Code

Year 11 Media Studies students. Scan the code or click the link to see your homework.

New homework will be set each week but the link / QR Code will remain the same.

QR Code:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Plot Device

Great demonstration of narrative (plot) devices!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Those of you who have opted for the advertising brief should check out D&AD.

In their own words:

"Well, if you were keeping it short, if you were writing it on the side of a pencil, for example, you’d probably say something like: D&AD exists to inform, educate and inspire those who work in and around the creative industries."

Thanks to ex-student @GabiCerenzia for sharing this!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A2: Advanced Portfolio (w/b: 27.06.11)

Please use this week to kick start your research for your A2 Portfolio.

You should have already set up a blog to record your progress and posted an initial post explaining which brief you have settled on.

You now need to begin both primary and secondary research.

Primary research - should at this stage take the form of textual analysis. Try to immerse yourself in the medium of your chosen brief - post this on your blog with detailed analysis and both the macro and micro level. Those of you aiming for B/A grades should try to consider semiotic analysis; structuralist approaches and also reception based approaches.

Secondary research - should constitue both physical and online reading. Feel free to use the books in the cupboard (Room 72) and the Macs in the hub. There are also many useful books available in the LRC.

You need to understand the following issues in relation to your chosen medium:

  • Generic conventions (types)
  • Textual codes and conventions (including stylistic elements)
  • How audiences are being targeted
  • Representational issues
  • What constraints the medium has to adhere to (adverts are subject to a wide range of rules for example)

Record everything on your blog and please remember to post as you go rather than draft. It allows me to see and assess your progress.

Mr. M.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A2: The Breakfast Club

Below are the questions you need to complete for Tuesday's lesson, based on your viewing of The Breakfast Club:

1. How do the characters deviate from their normal roles during the detention session? 
2. What is the status of each character prior to the detention session? How does this change during their detention session?
3. Who exhibits power, and how is it conveyed in the movie? 
4. What factors contribute to the group's cohesiveness? 
5. Discuss the role that stereotyping plays in this movie.

Extension: Consider what you learned about audience theories and how you might apply those apposing ideas to this film. For example how might an analysis of the film based on 'Reception Theory' differ from a 'Structuralist' analysis?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Everything is a Remix - Part 3

Part three of Kirby Ferguson's excellent series on post-modernism.

If you missed parts 1 and 2, you can watch them here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Human Centipede II director angered by BBFC's 'stiff upper lip' |

Follow the link to read an article including direct comments from Tom Six, about the BBFC's refusal to issue a certificate for Human Centipede II.

Friday, June 03, 2011

A2 Media: Revision Sessions Reminder!

Session 1: Monday 6th June - 2:00 until 3:40
Session 2: Wednesday 8th June - 11:30 until 13:10
Session 3: Monday 13th June - 9:20 until 11:10
Session 4: Wednesday 15th June - 11:30 until 13:10

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TV Drama - Example Responses

In preparation for Monday's revision session (and your exam) please use the following link. Watch the extract and then read the example responses making notes about the differences between the two.

Mr. M.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Concept of Consumption

When completing your evaluations don't forget to consider the place of consumption for your film/music video/ads etc...

Here is an interesting example on 'Short of the Week'.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The evolution of film titles

Useful exploration of the way film titles have evolved - can you recognise all the genres represented by their titles?

Check it out:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A2: Postmodernism

As you continue to develop your understanding of critical theory you should probably check this site out to revise the work we did on Postmodernsim back when you started the course.

If you want to go the extra mile, find the suggested reading material at the bottom of the page to develop a fuller understanding.

AS: Magazines still have some ammunition left in them (

Short but timely article from the Observer this weekend:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Recommended Website: Video Copilot

If you wish to take your video editing to the next level and have been trying to learn after effects then this website is for you:

It features advanced plugins and tutorials for use with after effects. In the words of James Hall (a current A2 Media student): "You learn so much from using it."

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Media Language - Huge 30 Page Resource

The document below is 30 pages of useful material (Courtesy of Mr Wallis at Ringwood) that will help all AS and A2 students with your exam preparations. I hope that most of you know the material within but I recommend downloading and printing it to kick start your revision which should be happening now. Don't wait until May!

Friday, February 04, 2011

today we put up my last album, 'wait for me' on mobygratis

From Moby's blog:

today we put up my last album, 'wait for me' on mobygratis:

as some of you might know, i have a website called mobygratis:

it provides free film music for indie and student and non-profit filmmakers.

today we put up my last album, 'wait for me' (which features prominently in academy award nominated 'waste land', as well as paul haggis' last movie 'the next 3 days') on mobygratis.

so if you're an independent or student or non-profit filmmaker (or all 3, as the case often is) who needs free music you can now use the songs from 'wait for me', as well as the other 100 or so pieces of music up on the site.

free music for indie, student, and non-profit films.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Nothing is original, it's all just a remix!

Thank go once again to Mr Wallis over at Ringwood School. He posted the two videos below on his Media Studies blog. They are excellent examples of Dominic Strinati's post-modern thesis on the media. Worth a watch for all AS and A2 Media Studies students.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Seriously, the game is not the problem!

Teenager describes becoming addicted to playing computer games

Another fine example of the mainstream media presenting one point of view and ignoring the real reasons behind game addiction.

Why is a child playing an 18 certificated games when they are not emotionally ready?

And why have the parents not limed his access to and time spent on his games console?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if people are allowed to play highly intense and engaging games unabated for long periods of time then the effects are not likely to be good.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Story Analysis for Media Students

Happy New Year Media Students, even if it's 15 days late!

This is your student blogger from Bristol Sophie speaking, just thought I'd introduce you to another website I've discovered. It has served to be very helpful in not only my work in animation and developing my story-telling but will also serve as a good way to analyse your work and offers good rules to follow.

The website stated is here:

I hope you make some use of it!

On a more self promotional note, I've started a new blog collaborating with another story artist in Bristol under the guise of 'Inky Teapot' which can be found here:

I'd appreciate it if you had some time to let us know what you all think when we start putting up our joint efforts as it's always great to get feedback.

Thank you, and until next time!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

A2: In Mr. M's absence...

...please continue working on your coursework. In particular, your ancillary texts. I expect to be back in on Monday and would like to be able to sit down with each of you, ready to discuss your first complete piece of work for this unit.

Have a good weekend.

Mr. M.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A2: Cover Work From Mr. M.

1. Continue with the work on your coursework.

2. Homework: Click on this link and follow the instructions. To be completed in time for your next lesson with Mrs Neale.

Mr. M.

Friday, January 07, 2011

AS: Editing and Representation

Must read material on how editing effects representation by David Allison.

As a technical code, editing is primarily related to narrative, and many students struggle to make connections between editing and representation. They see how camera-work – such as close-ups and low angles – conveys status and emotion to the audience. The use of costume, props and settings – functions of mise en scène – are also pretty transparent. But what does match-on-action have to do with character or representation?

This list is designed to help you to start thinking about how editing can, if sometimes subtly, influence the audience’s reading of a character, and lead on to wider questions of representation. It is not an exhaustive list, and you should be wary of assuming these suggestions are either a) complete or b) foolproof – for the same reason that black and white don’t always represent good and evil (just ask a penguin). The role of editing in representation is open to interpretation, and is greatly dependent on context.. So use your own intelligence!

Action match
When following a single character (e.g. Billy Elliot) this is a purely technical device. However, when an action match is used for intercutting, it can heighten the parallels/contrasts between two different characters in two different situations – an opportunity for juxtaposition. eg: in Skins, the young Russian woman’s swinging of the axe – all sex and power – is juxtaposed with the fat Russian dinnerlady’s heavy serving of congealed mashed potato. It draws attention to the contrasting ways in which Russian women are being represented.

Eyeline match
Eyeline match usually provides insight to a character's private thoughts. eg: In Doctor Who: Last of the Time Lords, Martha exchanges glances with all the people she loves, as though this may be the last chance she has to communicate with them before she dies. Similarly, as she confronts the Master, we keep cutting from her to the family and friends watching her, signifying that she, the woman, is the centre of the action.

Final shot
In any scene, which character or characters are shown in the final shot of the sequence? This is often the character with whom the audience is expected to identify. eg: In Primeval, although Abby saves the day, the last shot is on Cutter, signifying that the audience is intended to adopt the male, not female, point of view. See also every EastEnders cliffhanger ever.

Intercutting: juxtaposition
Although typically a narrative device, intercutting can set up juxtaposition between parallel storylines, exaggerating the impact or meaning of each by highlighting a point of difference. eg: in EastEnders: Wedding Night, the warmth, light and music of the happy pre-wedding feast is in stark contrast with the two unhappy families represented in the cold and dark whenever we cut away. This provides a more favourable representation of Asian family life over white Londoners.

Intercutting: tension
When intercutting is used to draw two storylines together, this can be structured to create tension, and therefore heighten the audience;’s identification with a particular character. eg: in Primeval, intercutting between the tiger’s pursuit of Cutter and Abby’s running in with the rifle is action code and prompts the question: will she get there in time? In Hotel Babylon, intercutting offers both tension and juxtaposition: just as Adam is saving his colleague’s life with a jar of jam, another African immigrant, Ibrahim, is being lost. These lead the audience to identify with both characters

Jump cuts
These are rarely used in TV or film; when they are, they tend to suggest either a) chaos and disorder, b) self-conscious ellipsis (drawing attention to the rapid pace of the action) or c) a director who likes to break the rules! eg: In Primeval, two jump cuts accelerate Cutter’s preparation to slide down the zip-wire; this could be read as speedy and decisive.

A motivated edit is any transition ‘forced’ on the editor by the development of the action, narrative or character. Whenever shot (a) refers to the existence of an event outside the frame, and we then cut to (b) which shows that event, that’s a motivated edit. We can sometimes judge a character’s worth or importance by the number of cuts they motivate. eg: In Primeval, Cutter runs away from the tiger, drawing it away from Abby. His constant motion motivates many cuts in this sequence, reinforcing his status as the protagonist, if not the Proppian hero. Not sure who Propp is? Then read this: Narrative.

Pace of editing
This can imply character qualities, especially if only one or two characters are in the sequence. A fast pace might suggest energy or panic (depending on context) while infrequent cuts (long takes) might suggest calm, a casual attitude, or provide documentary-style realism (as in Cast Offs). Similar effects can be achieved with speed ramping and slow-motion.

How much screen time does a character get? The more time we see them on screen, the more important their role. This can develop during a scene to change characters’ status. eg: in Hotel Babylon, Adam is invisible – just one of many refugees – until he steps forward to treat the diabetic maid. Suddenly, the editing favours him, and we realise his importance and skill, despite his menial status in the hotel.

Selection: to show or not to show
As experienced film-makers yourselves, it can sometimes be interesting to ask what information has been included or omitted in an edit. eg: in Primeval, as Jenny comes under increased threat from West, at no point do we cut away to her colleagues approaching the barn. To do so might have reduced the tension in the scene; not doing so arguably increases Jenny’s apparent vulnerability. Narratively, it’s also a nice surprise when the team arrive in a single cut, which contrasts with the early tiger chase (see intercutting).

Shot/reverse shot and reaction shots
S/RS indicates the relationship between two characters: it signifies and sometime exaggerates their closeness – or their opposition (depending on the context). The amount of time given to a character’s reaction shots can convey their status in the scene. For example, if two character are in S/RS conversation, do they get equal screen time, or do we spend more time looking at one character, speaking and reacting? Equally (though this is also a function of camera, are the two characters framed equally? eg: in Doctor Who, the S/RS between Martha and the Master gives Martha CUs and the Master MCUs, conveying Martha’s greater status as a character, even if narratively she appears defeated.

Keep thinking
This is just the start. What ways can YOU see in which editing influences representation in TV Drama? And are you sure all of these are right? They won’t always mean the same thing!