Sunday, 19 December 2010

Post Modern Media Controversy Essay

Postmodern Media Controversy Essay by tom and chris
Okay as an example. But it is possible to do better by exploring scenes and parts of texts.

Video Games and Tentpole (event) films - which is the more rewarding experience?

Is playing modern video games a more rewarding experience than watching "tentpole" (event) films? Here's a insightful video essay which suggest this is so. This is worth watching for AS students who want the latest angle on media convergence for their case studies and for A2 students studying Post Modern Media for the Media Issues and Debates unit. Yes, the genre boundries are blurred between the silver screen and video games. And the latter offer a far more immersive experience.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Some Case Study Concepts Mapped Across The Key Areas For Film4

Click on the image to enlarge. Then click on it again to magnify it. This may help you see where you can argue some of the seven key concepts across your case study. This one is for Film4 but the principle would hold for other institutions and their films.

Tron Legacy - Case Study Information for Marketing This Film.

Here's a link to excellent resources on this film and its institutions by Mr Smith. It's fresh and up-to-date. I know of at least one re-sit student who will appreciate this link, as he has been telling me about this film.

Postmodernism and ways of identifying post modern texts

A glossary of useful terms with explanations.

Just one of the links to one area of text, television. You might easily explore music videos or films instead.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Chris Anderson Explains His Theory of "The Long Tail" and The Potential for Marketing in Our Age

Shelf space in supermarkets for selling DVDs and screens for showing films in multiplexes are limited. Bottleneck's in distribution have distorted our understanding of the market for films and by extension, our culture. Chris Anderson argues that niche products/films have an enormous untapped audience which can now be reached digitally through Web 2.0 and the internet. The digital marketing revolution is upon us - and will bring those who understand it wealth beyond their dreams! 

"Selling less of more".
Chris Anderson explains it in this short video.

And here he explains it using the film industry more informally.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Up-to-date institutional information for Film4 - with questions to help you establish an overview

This institutional information for Film4 is crucial for keeping case studies up-to-date; if, for example, your main case study is "Slumdog Millionare", then you ALSO need to show awareness of other films Film4 have recently produced: their genres, budgets, directors, producers, box office success, etc.. You need to know how they go about making films. Remember that things are ALWAYS changing, so you need to be one step ahead of other students by keeping your case studies on your institutions current. The image on the right is of Film4's Tessa Ross.

Great institutional information on Film4 from page 14.

Read the articles in this section and answer as fully as you can the following questions:

1. What is Film4's remit (its reason and purpose for being)?
2. What types of films are green-lighted by Film4? Give examples of films and genres.
3.  Why is Tessa Ross regarded as "the mother of British film-making" and therefore instrumental for Film4's success?
4. How much is Film4's yearly budget and how much of it did "Slumdog Millionaire take up? ( Be careful with this one as co-productions, UK Lottery money and deals with Pathe, etc. helps make Film4's budget stretch further!)
5. Why does Film4 form partnerships with other companies/individuals?
6. What is the future for Film4 - budget and film-wise?

Read this article to assess the state of the UK film industry!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Excellent resources on "Kick Ass" from Mr Smith

This is very useful for a case study on the UK film industry; You would also need to research the institutions and people behind the film.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

simulacra and simulation

Of a suburban battle in Iraq. If you click through to the You Tube video the people's comments show that they are lost in hyperreality. They cannot tell the difference between the simulation and the "real". They relate to the real from their knowledge of a video game.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The British Film Industry 2 ( An overview )

Both parts of this presentation offer a good overview of the UK film industry and where it stands today. Unfortunately, The UK Film Council no longer exists, as it has fallen victim to the Government cuts! View them on Slide Share to see them full size.

The British Film Industry 2, CGS
View more presentations from filmcgs.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Matthew Vaughn Talks To Jonathan Ross about Kick Ass and the British Film Industry

The discussion on the state of the British Film industry begins four minutes in - but it is worth waiting for! Use this information for your case studies.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

British film institutions, film makers and films are on the up!

If you need a comparative film institution and film which reflects the creativity and ingenuity of the British film industry you could hardly do better than "Moon", starring Sam Rockwell and made by the UK's Liberty Films. There is a link on Liberty Film's' website which gives you most of what you need to know about the production of this film. You can also Google the film's production notes. The extras on the DVD has a great interview with the creative team behind "Moon" at the Sundance Film Festival in which they discuss several issues that would be perfect for a case study for 322 Section B. What with Edgar Wright, Matthew Vaughn and "Moon's" Duncan Jones young British directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, producers, special effects people, etc. have made a huge impact on audiences in the UK and USA this year.

Monday, 18 October 2010

The aim of this blog

My aim is to share information, advice, explanations, analysis and links in a readily accessible place.

Tasks and essays for my students will be placed on Moodle. My students need to submit their assignments and essays there. No doubt, I hope that looking over this blog and the links to other blogs and websites will help my students and others achieve tasks, etc.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Advice on how to create your case studies for Institutions and Audiences G322, Section B

    This is aimed my students and anyone else who might find it useful.

Creating and maintaing your case study on film institutions and example films
You need to keep your work together on a word-processing program like Microsoft's Word or Apple's Pages. Everything you do should have clear headings, titles, etc. so you can find, add or edit your information. You can use a blog, if you wish to do this.  I need to see what you have covered in your case study so you it should be available for me to see on your computers, online or on hard-copy. If you have made written notes type them up with headings on one of the word processing programs mentioned above. Add images and links where appropriate. Aside from class tests I will ask to see your case studies regularly and grade them each half term.

Revising for class tests and the exam
When revising for class tests and the exam you will need to be able to pull your work together to get a clearer overview.  You could then use Prezi or Power Point or the mind-mapping program, Inspiration, etc. to do this. Of course, you can create your own mind-map on A3 paper and keep your overview that way. This worked well for several students last year who did well in the exam. It is harder, however, to get an overview of your case study from a blog, given the way they record and show information.

Your case study which focuses on the British film industry
You need to be able to establish how the British film industry survives in the face of the overwhelming dominance of the main competitor for English-speaking films, the USA. That means alongside your British case study institution, for instance, Channel4's Film4 and Slumdog Millionaire, you will need to create another, US-based case study by choosing another institution for comparative purposes and at least one of their films from which you can use as an example: for instance, the US's Legendary Pictures whose agreement with Warner Brothers enabled to to produce Watchmen which was distributed by Warner Bros in the US and Paramount Pictures in Europe.

Your case studies as journeys
The order in which you may find your information will vary as gain experience. Yet you should find your institutional information first. You have been give lists of things to find out for Film4 and Slumdog Millionaire. But you should find out about the types and genres of the films Film4 produces and be able to compare their budgets and genres with Slumdog Millionaire to establish how Slumdog fits into the slate of films which Film4 produces these daysWikipedia and IMDB are great places to begin your search for institutional information. Get hold of a copy of the film, too and examine the opening credits for institutional information and key personnel. You will need to track down and establish the significance of the information you research from doing this. Other sources of information apart from the Internet would be Empire Magazine's back issues and other hard copy sources that may be found in libraries such as film books, etc. which examine issues like this. Don't forget that a key resource is the production notes for the issues and patterns in any film. You should Google them.

Remember as you work that the issues and patterns that film production companies, distributors and cinema exhibitors have to contend with are ALL AUDIENCE RELATED. This is the key factor that affects institutions at each stage in the process of producing, distributing and marketing and exhibiting (showing) a film.

The areas covered in your case study

  • Production (the decisions, issues and patterns in making a film with audiences in mind)
  • Distribution and Marketing (how the campaign targeted audiences)
  • Exhibition ( the theatrical, TV and DVD releases and again how audiences saw and reacted to the film )
  • Exchange ( how the public use Web 2.0 digital technology to interact with the film, to post bits of the film on You Tube, create videos and blog sites about films, Twitter and discuss the film on Facebook, make pirate copies, file share, etc.)

There are seven key concept areas from which the exam board will select one for an exam question.
(My students have been given a hard copy of those so they can refer to them as they produce their case studies.) I will post these areas with brief explanations in the next post.

The up-dated lists of what would be profitable to research for case studies under the key case study headings will be given in forth-coming posts.

For your coursework ( Unit G321 ) you will need to keep a blog so you can show how your work progressed.

Scott Pilgrim" and its post modern features

Here's a few reviews, etc. to read on this film. I'll be asking my students after Half Term to give brief presentations of post modern films and will expect them to identify post modern features in scenes and trailers as well as in a macro sense across the films.

Scott Pilgrim review which touches on its post modern features

The Director, Edgar Wright, talks about his film ( a review which touches on reality).


Scott-Pilgrim-vs-the-World-Notes  Useful also for producing an institutions and audience case study.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

How to analyse a film poster - The importance of the marketing campaign for distributing a film

My students need to analyse both main theatrical posters for Slumdog Millionaire to see how the distributors, ( Pathe and Fox Searchlight ) targeted audiences through their marketing campaign for the film.
One of the main theatrical posters for Slumdog Millionaire   Click on this link and the poster to enlarge it!

Use this link to help you analyse Slumdog's film posters and the film posters for your comparative case study institution's film.

These posts should also help. But unfortunately  College seems to be blocking out Slideshare Power Points at the moment. You will have to view some of this information at home.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Simulation, Simulacrum, Simulacra and the representation of the reality

With the invention of photography the image of reality could be copied ad infinitum. You no longer needed to paint it. Now we have the biggest copying machine ever invented in the Internet. Jean Baudrillard's ideas on simulacra and simulacrum and the representation of reality through the media and mass communication are very cleverly put across in this must-see video by Jimmy Weng.

Selected Key Terms for Institutions and Audiences

Of course there are others, but these are the key concepts you will need to know and by able to use when you write essay answers on your completed case studies.

Key terms to learn for your case studies for Institutions and Audiences

Monday, 20 September 2010

Saturday, 18 September 2010

AS Media Course Outline

Danny Boyle and how he matched new technology with old to film "Slumdog Millionaire"

Last week a student asked how Boyle managed to keep his images stable as he filmed fast-moving scenes in India's Mubai.
Asking relevant questions can provoke outstanding analysis that will be valuable for your case studies. It is too simplistic to argue that that digital technology and cameras on their own led to Boyle's outstanding results - it was achieved through a combination of very old and new technology.  That is, technological convergence in its widest sense! Danny Boyle simply showed ingenuity and fine practical sense when he combined an old technological device with the latest digital, hand-held cameras.

Be prepared to fine-tune your arguments and beware of making simplistic claims.

In his interview with the director of The Wrestler, Danny Boyle explained how he used a "gyro" to stabilise his new silicon imaging cameras.       ( Invented in 1817 ) !!!

A link to Danny Boyles interview with Darren Aronovsky on how he filmed Slumdog Millionaire

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Film making techniques

Click the link to Curtis Brownjohn's High School video from Australia  on film-making techniques.

Film Techiques

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Engaging Web 2.0 Tools

After you have viewed the presentation give your thoughts on watching "A Vision of Students Today". (It can be found part-way through the PREZI.)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

"Life on Mars," Series 1, Episode 2 essay task on postmodernism

 Transition class from AS to A2

Prepare by writing notes for this essay question.
In what ways is Life on Mars a post modern TV drama?
You can watch the first part of the episode again by clicking this link
Find the others so you can fill out your notes further.

Pick up the final intertextual references and contrasts between the reality of 1973 and 2006 in this last part of the episode. Use the info. below to help you make notes and points. ( The 1968 film, The Good, The Bad and Ugly and the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. Why are these references there? What meanings do they add to "Life On Mars" or it characters?)
CLICK HERE for the link to the end of this episode.

Essay Task: how do audiences react to this post modern TV drama?
As you watch the second episode of Life On Mars (2006)  pause sometimes so you can write notes on the following points:

How is reality represented?
1. What is real and what is hyperrealHow does the programme suggest Sam Tyler may be dreaming up the early 1970s while in a coma from his hospital bed? How does the programme show that this may just be an immersive dream?

2. Intertextuality Can you identify references to other texts/programmes/music from the past: the 1970s buddy cop shows, The Sweeney (UK) and Starsky and Hutch (USA). When you spot or hear an intertextual or cultural reference try to explain how to adds meaning to your text.

3. The historical context - How the programme’ meaning(s) for our time comes out of being set in the past. Consider the issues of Sam Tyler’s identity and his political correctness from 2006 and how this clashes in particular with Gene Hunt. Consider also how Sam's ethics and police methods clash with Gene Hunt's: a scientific approach verses instinct.

How does the programme consciously show politically incorrect behaviour and attitudes for audiences to judge them in our time:

• racism

• sexism including the treatment of women

• homophobia and masculinity

• inappropriate language/terms

• smoking

• drinking

• swearing

• references to people from our time ( in some episodes)

• ideology ( out of place beliefs )

• violence

• driving

• police behaviour and other inappropriate behaviour

• your ideas

4. How useful are technical forms of representation for understanding this “text” as postmodern? (Camerawork, mise-en-scene, editing, lighting, etc.) For example, Gene Hunt’s POV shot of the female witness with the close up of her chest.
Here is just ONE of the intertextual links that you might easily miss. The main villain, Kim Trent, triumphantly whistles "Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)" (1967) as he leaves the police station. Listen to the song's lyrics and consider why. Identify other intertextual references and think about the meaning(s) that they add to the episode.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism

A challenging read for beginners - but worthwhile.
The difference between modernism and postmodernism

Here's and explanation of post modernism with images from Metapedia

Saturday, 19 June 2010

A Key Terms Media Studies Quiz

Drag the term to its explanation ( or vice-versa ) to make it disappear.

Quiz 1 Key Terms Quiz
Quiz 2 for Textual Analysis
Quiz 3 Postmodernism (Too tough for beginners!)

A comedian's view of postmodernism

Postmodernists reject any notion of grand "truth",  such as say belief in God or the narratives associated with God. Similarly,  the idea or narrative that science is going to improve our lives is rejected also. Indeed any grand narratives are held suspect. For postmodernists "truth", if it exists at all, is all relative and may only be found in little stories or micro narratives and experiences of ordinary people and those living on society's fringe. No one religion has the answer as each faith group has its own beliefs - and "may" have some "truth" on its side. The main French theorist who advances this idea is Jean-Francois Lyotard (1924-1998).

Of course, you do not need to believe in any of this, as this comedian makes clear. And in any case, to argue that there can be no "truth" is somewhat contradictory as one is trying to advance a grand "truth" that there is no "truth"!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Revision for the post modern media

                 Don Draper's "Carousel" pitch to Kodak on "The Wheel".

This is the chief examiner's advice on how to write an an exam answer. It's for "Media In The Online Age" but the approach is transferable. Note also his advice for question 1b for the five areas.
  • Audience
  • Narrative
  • Genre
  • Representation
  • Media Language

Most of you did this in class, but there were a few absences. It is certainly easier to argue that the texts you studied are post modern rather than being not. However you still need to be aware of counter arguments: it has all been done before and the arguments are not new - Plato's "Allegory of the cave" (see the earlier post) and arguments from other websites on this page:
 and on this one:

What you need to revise to write about in the exam ( if you answer on post modern media )
Each of the four texts we studied in class lend themselves to being labelled "post modern" in different ways. Sometimes these ways overlap, sometimes, not. For revision you should use the key concept guides you have been given for key terms and your own notes and understanding to help you create a table which identifies four or five key, post modern features of each text. Then be able to ARGUE FOUR detailed examples from at least TWO selected areas in the examRemember that you will only have to answer on two post modern media texts and not all four! 

You studied advertising, AMC's TV drama,  Rockstar Leeds's video game GTA IV and from film, Paramount's The Truman Show (1998)

As an alternative, Dave did "Contemporary Media Regulation" with you. The post modern media texts that you studied with me were:

  • TV drama - AMC's Mad Men 2007-2009 (Mostly early episodes from the first series).
  • Video games - focusing mainly on Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Advertising - The Cadbury's Gorilla and Sony's TV adverts
  • Film - The Truman Show (1998); some of you also worked on Fight Club and The Matrix (1999)
Go over the key concept glossaries that you have been given so you can identify the ways in which each text can be identified as post modern.  For instance, "Mad Men"'s  opening sequence has extensive intertextual references that provide plenty of post modern food for thought. Go over your notes on this and watch it again. Freeze frame it to make detailed notes. You should also use Check out You Tube for key clips from Series One: good ones are The Kodak scene in episode 12 on nostalgia and an earlier episode in which Don Draper takes identity tag from a dead officer in the Korean war - and later lives a new life as this man. The programme's non linear narrative is notable post modern feature. Historical events, attitudes and behaviour  are filtered through fictional characters for whom few people can have sympathy. See this post:

 Click on this link to see Jefferson Robbins' brief, but excellent video essay on the programme at    It's great for how the programme blurs genre boundries between TV and the Cinema ( another post modern feature ) and for the show's 'visual grammar' and how historical and intertextual/filmic influences and references were assimilated into this TV drama.
Don and Betty Draper try out "Connie" Hilton's hotel in Rome (Series 3)

The programme has also been pastiched and parodied extensively on the Internet, examples of which can be found on You Tube. Consider also the motifs within the programme which are also post modern: the characters' names, i.e. Don and Betty Draper. Don has draped a new identify over his old one as Dick Whitman and Betty Draper once modeled clothes in Italy.  Identity is a key issue for post modern media. It could be argued that when we immerse ourselves in in the spaces found in video games we usually lose our identity and assume that of another. ( An avatar.) There again, when people immerse themselves on the hyperreal world of the Internet they also lose track of time and what we take as the "real world".

Go over all the post modern posts on this blog as you will get reminders and prompts from several posts on each area studied to help you with your arguments.

Don't forget to revise the main theorists and know how you can apply their arguments to the texts that you have studied! (Baudrillard and Lyotard) You might even look up Guy Debord as well as his ideas on "Spectacle" were very similar to Baudrillard's for simulacra.

Dave has sent you revision material by post for the five areas in which you could be expected evaluate your productions from AS and A2. You will find information for Todorov on this site.

This is a link to  generic questions for this part of the paper:

All the best for the exam

Friday, 11 June 2010

"Mad Men": postmodernism and history

In Series 3 Sally's grandfather lets her drive around the neighbourhood!

This post is about an area I forgot to mention during the revision of our post modern media texts.

Several but not all post modern texts draw their meaning from real historical events, together with nostalgia. In literature texts that filter real events through fictional characters' lives are called historiographical fiction. "Mad Men" draws much of its meaning for audiences from real historical events as well as attitudes and behaviour from nearly fifty years ago.

Real events such as the death of Marilyn Monroe, the Cuban  missile crisis of 1962 and the assassination of President Kennedy are filtered through characters' lives and experiences.

Prejudices, behaviours and attitudes are also presented in such a way that modern audiences would find them surprising and perhaps, even callous. Visit You Tube for a range of clips from "Mad Men" in which the following attitudes and behaviours are revealed through characters's lives:
  • Smoking ( pre the health warnng period of our time )
  • Drinking to excesss. Again, pre our concerns with units, etc.
  • Drinking during pregnancy: Betty Draper smokes and drinks her way through her pregnancy for her third child in series three.
  • Sexism and male and sometimes female attitudes towards roles in the workplace, promotion and pay.
  • Attitudes towards children and their safety. Betty Draper is more concerned with her children not creasing freshly dry cleaned clothes than running around wearing the plastic covers for those clothes!
  • Homosexuality and the descrimination and hypocricy practiced against gay people during the 1960s
  • False liberal attitudes: in series 3 Betty thinks people are not ready for equality for black people in 1963!  Paul Kinsey thinks he is a liberal but does not really practice what he speaks.
  • Several characters show no concern for the environment. In an episode in Series One Betty Draper casually throws away rubbish after a picnic in a park by flapping it away from a picnic blanket.
  • There are lots of others!
Of course, all kinds of intertextual references have their own historical and cultural origins which audience either get, if they are either old or savvy enough or they do not. There are also several parodies and pastiches of the programme on You Tube which make fun of the characters's attitudes towards these issues.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Revision Questions and exam technique for Institutions and Audiences

The key assessment objectives for Institutions and Audiences and TV Drama are:

AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of media concepts, contexts and critical debates, using terminology appropriately and with accurate and coherent written expression. ( 30% of the mark)

AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding to show how meanings are created when analysing media products and evaluating their own practical work. ( 20% of the mark )

Write a brief plan which addresses the question's key words.

Think about your institution(s) and how they target their audiences in the UK.

 What are/were the issues and patterns for:
  • Production
  • Distribution and Marketing
  •  Exhibition
  •  Exchange
  • Technological Convergence (can be in any of the above)
  • Synergies (can be in any of the above)
  • Cross Media Ownership, etc.?

Remember to analyse the exam question for its key words and phrases to ensure that your answer's ARGUMENT is relevant. It's good exam technique to use some of the question's key words and phrases in your introduction to get you started with your essay's argument. You also need to refer to the question's key words and phrases regularly in subsequent paragraphs in which you make various points in your argument.

AO1 is the most important assessment objective for Institutions and Audiences: (The UK Film industry) You can show a broader context by making comparisons with big US institutions and their films to throw light on the issues facing UK based institutions for choices of genre, budgets, casting, technology, special effects, marketing, exhibition, the targeting of audiences, critical reception, etc.

Practice Exam Questions
Answer the questions below, making detailed reference to examples from your case study material to support the points made in your answer.

1. Eric Fellner, who heads Working Title Films argues, "It's not the film industry, it's the film business".
To what extent to you agree with this statement?

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?

3. To what extent is production, marketing and distribution important for an institution's success in the British marketplace?

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

5. To what extent have audiences influenced and affected an institution which you have studied?

6. Discuss the issues raised by an institution's need to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied.

7. To what extent has exhibition and exchange affected an institution which you have studied?

Friday, 2 April 2010

Perception and Reality in "Mad Men", Episode 10, Series 3

Here's a well-written write up of a remarkable episode, "The Color Blue" from Mad Men's Season 3. The episodes deals with the characters perceptions of reality - a post modern idea our class is "looking at" presently with "The Truman Show".

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Do you suffer from "Truman Syndrome"?

The next time you log onto Face-book, and "immerse" yourselves in a hyperreal world of avatars and simulated friendship, consider whether you imagine yourselves to be in a "reality TV show" where everyone is pretending to be your friends.
  • How genuine is this "friendship" in hyperspace, particularly from those you have never met?
  • Is hyperbole and flattery and a lack of sincerity representative of "real" friendship?
  • Do you like to be watched and observed because you think you are important?
  • Do you imagine yourself to be in everyday film in which the world around you is your set, with you acting out a role?
  • Are you growing increasingly paranoid at being ignored or being observed?
  • Do you think you should be a 'celebrity" because you have hidden talents?
  • When you are in college do you think you are acting a role or being a version of yourself when you talk with others?
  • Do you think your life lacks meaning unless you put on an act?

Then you could be suffering from "Truman Syndrome"!

Roy Greenslade on The Truman Syndrome - with readers comments

A Kodak TV ad from the early 1960s - nostalgia

Was this the inspiration for Don Draper's Kodak Carousel presentation from episode 12 of the first series of "Mad Men"? Examples of Don's nostalgic view of early married life can be found on YouTube. Of course, the audience knows about his life as a serial adulterer.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Advice for AS presentations on institutions and audiences ( Film )

The AS Media Presentations on your case study institutions and audiences.  

General Advice
Mostly use your blogs for the information that you need. If you are producing a Keynote/Power Point use images with key words as much as you can to explain your issues, as lots of bullet points and presentations that are text heavy are boring. You can also include hyperlinks to trailers and post images of the cast, director, producer, film posters, screenshots of the official website, screenshots or hyperlinks to You Tube videos for exchange, etc. Then talk over your images/videos/ links to explain their significance as "issues" for your film institution and how they are intended to connect with audiences. Never lose sight of the importance of how audiences are targeted.

This is important for effective revision for the exam.

In pairs or small groups in either mind-map or keynote (Power Point) form

Use images and key terms to help you make your points. Include key terms like synergies and technological convergence where necessary. Some areas like "distribution and marketing" may be covered in more depth than others.

Give the key issues your main case study institution and films for:

• production issues
• distribution/marketing issues ( how the institutions targeted specific audiences)
• exhibition issues (Audience)
• exchange issues

See this blog for details more these on issues

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

From The Truman Show to Survivor: Narrative versus Reality in Fake and Real Reality TV

This is not always an easy read for sixth form level - but it will be rewarding. BTW "a panoptic society" is the idea that our society is under surveillance by thousands of police cameras all the time and that we are little more than prisoners in such a society. The essay focuses on two major theorists, Jean Baudrillard and his ideas about the hyperreality of the image and Michel Foucault's concept of power, surveillance and ideology in the panoptic society.
Click here for an essay by Marie-Laure Ryan

For another article which explains several key ideas about the film you should read this.
The Meaning of The Truman Show

Jean Baudrillard's simulacra is applied intelligently in this article from another blog.
zoominanalysis on The Truman Show Part 1
zoominanalysis The Truman Show Part Two

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Editing - the invisible art

In film-world editing is known as "the invisible art" - and it's probably the hardest to teach. After the director, the editor is the next most important person on the production side of making films. Once the film has been shot the editor gets to work and the process of shaping and creating a story out of a film's thousands of miles of footage can take months - and sometimes years!

Most of the terms you need to understand for editing in TV drama can be found in the link below.
This link has most of the BASIC information on editing you need to know.

For practice in seeing how editing works in TV drama we can view a few sequences to identify the main types of edits and how they create meaning and narrative in a sequence from a TV drama.

Meanwhile, have a look at these abridged Youtube sections from "The Cutting Edge: the magic of movie editing". This is a "must see" for understanding the "invisible art". In Hollywood "the more invisible the cuts the better the editor".

Part 1

Part 2 (Really useful for knowing about close-ups, flash-backs, parallel action, continuity editing, and editing for creating the illusion of reality, etc.)

Part 3

For more from this film on editing you will need to buy the DVD with the same title.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Essays and resources on "The Truman Show", "The Matrix" and Jean Baudrillard

Worth reading, or at least dipping into.
David J Glover's essay on "The Matrix", "The Truman Show" and Jean Baudrillard

Short but definitely enlightinging on hyperreality in "The Matrix".
Prof. Lopez's thoughts on "The Matrix"

Another short, but worthwhile piece by Prof. Lopez on "The Truman Show" and simulacrum.
"The Truman Show and Simulacrum"

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Digital technology and cinemas

This is an important Youtube video for understanding how digital technology (technological convergence or simply 'convergence') is changing the ways in which films are being produced, distributed and consumed. The old 35mm films will end up in museums with cheaper digital downloads offering an immersive experience far greater than before on new digital screens in multiplexes. This short film features translated interviews with French and German film-makers and cinema owners but what is true of them is also relevant for us as our experience is going to be the same. Watch this as you will know how to discuss 'convergence' in the consumption/exhibition part of your essays and be able to discuss the changes that digital technology will bring about in cinemas and the benefits cinema-goers.

Monday, 1 March 2010

How To Analyse a Film Poster

When analysing any film poster you need to consider the following points:

Begin by identifying the film and date of its release.

Types of poster: Identify which type of poster it is:

The Teaser poster -This poster contains basic information to whet your appetite. It often does not indicate much about the plot, but may have a picture of the stars, and the name of the film.

The main theatrical poster- This contains information about the production personnel, the stars, and the distributors.

Video/DVD release poster - This one comes out when the film is released on DVD/video and often has all of the above plus short, one line reviews from relevant publications.

Identify the Genre
eg an action film will nearly always have images of guns/weapons, a Romance will always have the 2 lovers in very close physical proximity... etc...

Character Poster – this one features the main character. Remember that the posters could be a combination of two types.

Images of the key settings and the main characters. What is the title of the film? What can you say about the way in which the title graphics have been written? Who is starring in the film? Where are the stars’ names placed on the poster? Why? Describe the key images on your poster. Why have they been chosen? Write about the images used - stars, setting, colours, symbols, (mise-en-scene). What do they suggest/signify? What other pictures can you see? What is their purpose? What are the most important colours on your poster? Why do you think these were chosen? What do you think the film will be about? Who is the target audience?

Narrative: What clues are there to the narrative? What can you tell about the genre of the film and the types of characters from their facial expression, body language, stance, appearance and position on the poster? What makes you say this? What impression do you get of the character/personalities from their expression, clothes, props. Is there an enigma being presented? Is the poster composed of a series of images (montage, lack of perspective) Is the key image a still from the film?

Colours: What colours are used in the poster? Are they relevant to the genre e.g. horror posters generally use dark strong colours especially black and red to represent death and evil. Romance films tend to employ lighter pastel and warm colours such as pinks, purples and other warm shades. Are the colours on your poster important? Why? What clues do they give about the genre, and how do they attract the target audience?

• Layout: analyse how the images are laid out. Are they are blended in without any concern for real perspective or size relationships between people and setting? Why do you think they are laid out like that? Do you know what the plot, genre and/or theme of the film is? If so, how? Most posters are portrait or landscape in shape. What shape is yours? Describe and discuss the title, font, typeface and graphics on the poster. What style are they in and where are they positioned etc? has the poster been painted and printed or produced using DTP ( mention how improvements in technology have changed production values).

• Written Text: scan the poster's written text. What does film's title and its font look like and what does this connote? Is there a catch or tagline? What does it tell us about the action, genre and attitude within the film? Who do you think is the target audience for the film? How has the poster been made attractive to these people? Discuss the billing/credit block. What information does it include about credits and information? Do we get information about who is in the cast, who directed the film, which company distributes it and promotes it etc? Where is the certificate? What does it indicate about the target audience and the content of the film? Does the poster list a website? If not, why not?

• Finally, what is the USP (the unique selling point) in each poster? What makes it different from other films? The plot, stars, themes, setting or characters?