Monday, 28 November 2011


The following (which, in terms of shot order, I slightly messed up!) is an example of how you can use the YouTube annotation tool to create effective posts which work in a similar way to a vodcast.

OPENINGS EG: The Lost Boys (J. Schumacher, 1987)

Can't find full uploads of this classic opening, but there are two clips which show parts of the opening. We get almost a double opening - a helicopter shot over coastal waters, eventually tracking and zooming in to a fairground, where some obvious badass types in long leather coats and with heavy metal hair stylings (simple but effective mise-en-scene to set them as the binary opposite of the ordinary innocent folk enjoying the carnival rides) cause havoc before being ejected by a security guard. With nice use of ellipsis we shift to later on and the guard is locking up the empty fairground ... and gets taken out by the now flying vampires (a second helicopter shot is revealed to be them, as the first presumably also was!).
We cut then to a second ELS helicopter shot, and hear voices and radio from within an unseen car - an audio bridge as we gradually cut in closer to a road, then a car and finally inside the car. YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO INSTANTLY INCLUDE A SHOT OF CHARACTERS TO START USING DIEGETIC SOUND!!!
Here's the first part, tho' it cuts out before the killing:
This is a longer version, but seems to cut out the sequence with the guard:

The following (which, in terms of shot order, I slightly messed up!) is an example of how you can use the YouTube annotation tool to create effective posts which work in a similar way to a vodcast.

OPENINGS EG: Trick or Treat (M. Smith, 1986)

A fun, inventive movie, as cheesy as it looks now a quarter of a century on. Fetauring Ozzy Osbourne as a televangelist. Most useful for the great example of using mise-en-scene for exposition: the tracking shots across the protagonist's bedroom tell us a great deal about him. This also delays showing us his face - that simple bit of narrative enigma is generally a good convention to follow yourselves.

We also see a classic convention of teen movies (which, furthermore, hints at the romance sub-plot [hybridity] which we see in so many horrors, as production co's are well aware of the importance of attracting a female audience; the book Blood Money centres on this): intercutting between the geek/outsider and a glamorous cheerleader type, with the outsider thinking she's looking at him ... only she sails past to greet a jock type.

We also see the diary used as a device for exposition, plus a good example of humililation of the outsider - which often appears in slasher movies as the cause of the killer's transformation into a psychpath (see Prom Night and Terror Train, both featuring Jamie Lee Curtis).

The opening contains one use of strong language 5:17 in, so I'll only provide the link:

OPENINGS EG: Halloween (J. Carpenter, 1978)

Contains nudity so I won't embed it, but you can view the classic opening, largely shot as a single take (there is a clever join), and featuring aspects of media language which became part of the genre (blue-filtered lighting, suburban setting, steadicam, subjective POV shots) and that classic soundtrack...

OPENINGS EG: The Warriors (W. Hill, 1979)

Low budget, but a great example of inventive crosscutting and carrying on diegetic sound over shots of other scenes; a very effective soundtrack and distinctive titles font too.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Using YouTube for interactive quizzes

Nice work from Rob here:

Using YouTube video to pitch

If you've got a spare $45k you can get this into production...
The detail from the YouTube page is added below

thepaperboatman | Aug 30, 2010 | likes, 2 dislikes
COST TO MAKE: $45,000

Synopsis: Professor William Seabrook, an obsessed American researcher, uncovers what he had
been searching for the last five years of his life-- an ancient meteorite made of pure
diamond that landed on a desolated island in Zambales, Philippines a hundred years
ago. But the local pirates he hired to help him uncover the treasure want the diamond
for themselves and betrayed the Professor. Unbeknownst to the pirates, the diamond
contains microscopic alien virus. Despite the warnings from the Professor, the pirates
keep the diamond. The pirates die after contracting the virus and their body resurrect
into mindless flesh-eatiing creatures.

And so they remain on the island, undead, hungry for flesh, thirsty for blood...

In a not so distant town roam the Grave Bandits, Romy and Peewee, two orphan
kids wanted by the law for making a career out of stealing precious belongings from the
dead. As they try to escape the townspeople, they end up on the desolated island and
discover a greater foe: The undead, lots of them! The Grave Bandits hide in a cave
where they meet Maiya, a beautiful native girl and Professor Seabrook.

Trapped on an island and left with nothing to defend themselves, the Grave
Bandits formulate a plan to escape and battle the undead using
improvised tools. But a diamond the size of a tangerine is hard to resist, just
when things are going according to plan, they discover greater enemies
amongst themselves. Will the Grave Bandits become our unlikely heroes or will they
ulitmately succumb to greed?

The Grave Bandits is a feature length horror-adventrue film filled with twists and
dark humor. It's a film no horror fans can afforrd to miss!
Running time: approx 1 hr 45 min.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Researching recent genre egs: as vid

Cross-posted from my horror blog.

The following vids were compiled by a horror enthusiast; they contain both more and less detail than you'd need: there are so many films it must be close to comprehensive, and must have taken quite a while to research (and find the posters) ... but, on the other hand, provides zero further info on screen by way of titles, which you would (and/or via a voiceover).
The vid is essentially simple to create, once the research is done and images gathered.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Evaluation General Guidelines

You must employ a range of multimedia to access the higher marks
Evidence what you're referring to: screenshots, video clips etc
When writing, use specific media language and semiotic terminology - be precise
You can access existing examples from past IGS students and current students at other centres
Each time you sit down to work on any of the Eval Qs, re-read the assessment criteria first, keep this fresh and prominent in your mind as you work!
Critique your work - its no good saying its perfect; you get rewarded for discussing aspects you'd like to have been more polished/different in some way ...
But that doesn't mean you can't show off a little too!
Make links into existing texts

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Being Human

(cross-posting this from the Horror blog as it has wider use beyond the genre...)
The BBC show is very useful to look at as an example of the contemporary horror production. Postmodern to its core with characters questioning all the traditional cliches of horror roles even as they live them, aimed at a broad 15-34 (despite the post-watershed timing its 15-rated by the BBFC) youth audience, with characters and plotlines to attract both genders, infused with humour to leaven the horror, and with its own online-only spin-off or companion series, it truly is 21st century horror.All the episodes from the latest season (S3) are available on iPlayer as I write.
You will see that moral issues and debates are rehearsed through the issues and disputes; the situations (dis-equilibriums if you like) the protagonists get themselves into, and the efforts and attitudes of the antagonists they face. Horror has always been a platform for exploring moral codes and issues, not just a means to shock and appal; titillate and terrify.
In S3 Ep2 we see a great example of the representation of age - a teen vampire who starts out as the amoral teen thug of tabloid headlines but, through the episode's narrative arc, is transformed when given a chance by initially dismissive adults.
In S3 Ep3 we see a great exploration of the zombie - worth looking at for various reasons. Watch it to see how vital a role sound plays; the zombie is only made truly disgusting and horrifying with the overdubbing of bones cracking and rotting flesh 'sloshing' - strip these away and even with the effective music the zombie lacks verisimilitude; fails to convince let alone scare. Furthermore, as always with zombies, the character is a metaphor for part of the zeitgeist (the spirit of the age; common features or values of our time): the wealth-obsessed WAG, and the focus on celebrity culture and material goods/brands in the 21st century Western world. Critics of globalisation (an issue we look at in A2) argue that our media, from hip-hop videos to the various national editions of Hello magazine, are a conduit for spreading these vacuous, empty values across the globe.
As a UK TV drama, looking at and applying the semiotic terminology and framework of analysis is useful for your AS exam, and work into A2 Media (this technique lies at the core of all Media Studies work across the 2 years).

Friday, 18 February 2011

Call sheet + production logs

You can download and modify these, or simply print off

Sample Call Sheet2                                                            

Db Production Log Details of Shots Taken Quality of Outcome and Follow-ups                                                            

Thursday, 17 February 2011


have added a number of rough cuts, vodcasts and behind-the-scenes from both AS and A2 today to playlists on the IGSMediaStudies channel
I'll try to arrange some feedback from students elsewhere in the UK for the week back after half term, but it would be good to see you commenting on each other's work!
For curious AS, you can get a snapshot of what A2 folk have been working on, and for curious A2 you can compare the crop of 2010-11 to your prestigious selves (and maybe pass on some tips from your own experience filming for AS)!
There are many, many examples of top-notch work; two are embedded below:

There are more rough cuts etc on music vids for Gorillaz, Doors, We Are the Ocean and more, plus a range of material on the AS slashers, psychological thriller, zombie and rom-com productions!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Rasam Productions' new blog

Excellent example of an idea raised in your coursework guide, lessons and this blog: Rob, Asa and Sam P. have set up a sep blog for their production blog, packed with behind-the-scenes features!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Issues with filming in darkness

There are of course health and safety issues to consider!
What I want to flag up here - and I urge you to get some test footage to test this out and show you've done so - are problems with the cameras as regards shooting in darkness.
If you look at several of the past examples of AS coursework you may notice shots at night seem to blur, and movement, whether walking or running, seems odd or unnatural. This is because, without natural light levels, the camera - digital remember - is struggling to both capture and process the footage, giving the effect of skipping frames.
If you have some footage shot at night, try shooting something similar in daytime, so you compare the two versions side by side. You'll likely see the quality greatly improved in daytime.
While nighttime may be the ideal for your ideas, think about the consequences of shooting in darkness (and/or innovate a lighting rig!).


I've realised there IS a way to change the publication dates of posts; its a little cheeky but...

Here's how: if I clicked PUBLISH now on this post its date would be 3rd Feb 2011. For ever!
BUT ... I can click in POST OPTIONS and change the default setting at POST DATE AND TIME to SCHEDULED AT and type in the ideal date!

See pic below

Word doc not printing as we designed it

Working on the treatments, many of you had issues with the design you'd worked on being altered once I received it (other than me making various changes!)
Typically this comes down to a font you've used not being on the Macbook I use, or another computer you've tried to access. 2 egs: Hannah/Rebecca used Chiller font for a nice large heading; my computer doesn't have it so replaced this with a font which, as its a different size, destroyed the positioning of every single image in the 8-page doc! Hattie/Maddie used a font called HfW cursive in theirs - my Macbook doesn't have it and substituted the loathesomely ugly Courier font instead!

The solution?

When saving, go:
[make sure its as Word doc, NOT Word 2003 etc which saves as a .docx and NOT the universal .doc]
[check the box for] EMBED TRUETYPE FONTS
That means that the Word doc contains the font files too, so it wouldn't matter if another computer didn't have these installed.

The image below shows how this works.
I haven't yet checked 'Embed TrueType fonts' here; doing so ensures my formatting and design will stay in place!

Treatments - update + probs with formatting

Now have most of these in, and generally they're rather splendid! When time permits I'll be creating a display from these which I think will represent yourelves, the subject and indeed the school for any visitors really well..
I hope you've each learned a few useful pointers about using Word to create attractive documents, but I'd also be interested in your thoughts on the concept of treatments - did you find doing them useful? did they help to organise and bring together your thoughts/plans/ideas? above all, I'm thinking of bringing these in at an earlier point next year, with class time set aside to work on these - would it have been useful to work on these earlier?
In three years the way we've done Media coursework has been substantially different each time; your feedback is listened to and does influence planning for the subject, so your general thoughts are also welcomed at any time, whether by email, blog comment or informal chat!

I'll add scribd links to all the treatments when I get time.

Many of you had probs with your nicely arranged text/images jumping around - I'll outline a solution in a sep post

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Treatments - VERY overdue!

Can you all look again at the original post:

I've updated the eg on there and added more on the basic design aspects I'm after.
This one aside, I need all the rest to be revised and re-emailed with ALL the details above, including group pic, URLs, ident/logo pics etc

Saturday, 29 January 2011


Still a couple of you who have yet to take word verification off your blog settings, as repeatedly directed to do! Please sort that out.

A word on YouTube comments
Keep checking your own YouTube channels for fatuous/rude comments. When logged in you can delete any comments and block the users who made them.

Various vids from blogs

Some excellent stuff coming in! I've added a playlist for the vids you're doing on your blogs - rough cuts, idents, discussions about ideas etc etc - to the IGSMedia channel.
So far, that various rough cuts/sample rushes or draft scenes/behind-the-scenes/ident drafts etc
Please pass on full quality copies of these to me!!!


Here's a nice eg of a group doing a post highlighting their group dynamic, and showing the creative process - and the role of aud feedback in this - at work. Some suspicion the 'feedback' was a tad rehearsed, but then what reality shows these do show actualite/reality?!

  1. how did the shoot for this go?
  2. what lessons did you learn from this?
  3. make any changes to idea/storyboard/cast/roles/production schedule etc?
  4. have any behind-the-scenes vids/photos of the shoot?
  5. what do you intend to add/change/re-do now?
  6. what works and what doesn't?
  7. what aud feedback have you received, and what influence has this had?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Idents in progress

Good progress on these by some of you - don't neglect these! Make sure you get time booked in with John BEFORE the last two weeks when the real time pressures kick in, and F6 is constantly filled with AS and A2 production groups frenziedly editing!
Here's an initial ident draft from Alex, SamB and Kyle (working on a zombie flick):

It would be good if you could leave comments for each other, including constructive advice and opinion! All your blogs are linked through the blog remember!

Nice eg of behind-scenes vid

Good work here by Will, Jem and Tom (when they're not creasing up!) giving us an insight into their production plans. Simple, but comprehensive and informative! Whether for AS romcom, slasher or zombie, or A2 music video or teaser trailer, this kind of 'walk through' video would be absolutely spot on, and a great addition to your blog.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Very important you start following this format:
if sharing ANY posts preface the post title with initials of post author, or ALL if co-created by all of you in a group
So, lets say its Kenny Dalglish analysing High School Musical 4 in a group of 3, a post copied onto Ian Rush's blog too; the post title WOULDN'T be Opening Analysis5: HSMusical4
It would be:
KD - Opening Analysis5: HSMusical4

TREATMENTS - new eg added

see orig post for an eg which shows some of the design aspects you should follow - a links list on the right lists key posts for your convenience!

Embed not working

Some of you have had problems embedding docs, vids etc ... and I've realised why!
At some stage you've randomly clicked to change a default setting...
The options in the image below appear when you click on POST OPTIONS when creating/editing a post

Blogger recognises that some blogs are about IT issues and so some users will want to include HTML (the 'hypertext markup language' that enables your browser to know what to put on the screen and where) in the body of their posts. To enable this you can set your post/blog to recognise HTML (what you copy in as an embed code) as simple text rather than interpreting it as code.

So ... check yours is set to INTERPRET TYPED HTML!!!

General principles of blogging

some useful pointers on the practice and purpose of blogging...
Some General Principles of Blogging                                                            

Monday, 24 January 2011

10 Steps of Rsch+Planning

Course Work as 10 Steps                                                              

Friday, 21 January 2011

Nice eg of post on an opening

Will has done an excellent post on Halloween, worth sharing as a good example! It combines denotation with wider analysis, and evidences his wider reading whilst also incorporating some multimedia aspects and reflects on how this might influence his group's production. See it here.

Good as it is, there is scope for yet further development! What could enhance this already excellent post?
  • specific stills from the opening to demonstrate some of the detailed denotation of shots, effects, characters etc - I've included 2, from googling (don't have the DVDs to hand), showing how the blue tint was employed in the original and remake
  • a YouTube vid linked to this topic
  • even more additional reading/further resources hyperlinks
  • set out points on 'how this film influences our production' in some combination of a different font/colour/indenting etc (Will has already denoted the quotes by both indenting AND changing the font)
  • an individual or group commentary recorded over the footage of the opening (I've embedded an example of this below)
  • discuss the remake, and the idea of film as 'franchise', comparing box office/budgets and sampling some reviews
  • also worth mentioning here how good the feature-length documentaries, both available to you, American Nightmare and Going to Pieces are on this film, with director John Carpenter featured prominently in both
Let me stress, nobody expects you to go to such lengths with every post; these are just ideas on how you can make your posts so damn good future students will be finding them from googling, and quoting from YOUR analysis!!!

Its also a good think to reflect a little on HOW you found your information/resources. When I looked for images, my first search was "halloween blue tint" - this didn't bring useful results. One brief ponder later I extended this to "carpenter halloween blue tint" and, hey presto, lots of useful results!
When I looked for YouTube vids, I tried "halloween opening scene", which immediately brought good results ... and some unexpected but useful links too.

So, here's the opening of Halloween (and more) with a fan commenting over it:

This one is a fan's own version of the iconic titles

The remake's opening is in there too; here's the link, but I'll skip embedding this given the language included!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Blog intro

Jessica emailed a query about what to put in a header/intro for your blog; I'll share my reply!

I'd suggest something along the lines of:
Welcome to the blog of [production co. name]'s Jess Thorne, charting the evolution of the opening to the new feature film [title], jointly produced with [others' names, hyperlinked to their blogs]. You'll be able to see the final cut on my YouTube channel [hyperlinked] as well as various short videos and podcasts right here on this blog! Enjoy, and please feel free to comment/add suggestions! [try to add a group photo at some stage too!]

F6 closed P1-2-3 Fri 21st Jan

Its Yr11 Taster Day tomorrow...remember that?! So, F6 is closed to all AS/A2 periods1, 2 and 3, and there will be NO Media classes tomorrow. Remember, I'll be marking your blogs on Sunday, so make good use of the freed up time! You can work in F6 from lunchtime on tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Scream queens appeal

Can anyone get me some episodes of the reality TV show "Scream Queens"?

Post titles + openings analyses

rem: keep these short enough to be fully visible in list of archive posts
+ make sure they describe whats in it: ANALYSIS OF JAWS for example is misleading: if you're analysing an opening, say so: ANALYSIS OF JAWS OPENING
if you're drafting the post: set it up, add post title, publish, edit and THEN add the word draft to title: that way the word 'draft' doesn't appear in the hyperlink for the post!
really, really push to use media lang + semiotic terms with these; consider representation too where you can, but critically: highlight what you'll take from this to use in your own (if nothing, state so!) at the top of the post
plus, as you go through them, compare with previous openings you've looked at, highlight similarities AND differences - doing this will arm you to take part in an informed discussion your group can film then edit as a slick vodcast (and nice prep for the Eval to boot)
finally: diegetic is NOT spelt with an A - easy, and common, mistake to make!

(btw, i calculate it took me just about 60secs to find, save and upload that jaws image - but it makes the blog look better, and isn't now something i might have to do repeatedly with this and other posts later to 'tart up' the blog...try to consistently do the same your good selves!)

Blog assessment

There's been a lot added to this (and other) blog(s) - make time to read through the material provided, and keep an eye on your blogger dashboard: as a follower of this blog you can click on this blog from the list of blogs you follow and you'll see all recent/new updates.
Your blogs will be assessed and fed back on next week - you have until Saturday night to add to/improve your blogs; they'll be marked on Sunday.
Do take the time to re-read the assessment criteria, and think about which aspects you are potentially hitting 'excellent' levels for ... and consider what to do for any you're hitting minimal/basic/proficient for!


SEE ALSO PREVIOUS POST: Some Sound Advice, and note on boom

Although work on music especially can wait, you should be thinking about this; at least incorporating ideas about sound into your planning.
Each group should book time with John (for next week) to have looked at the software and process for creating your soundtracks.
If any of you are already adept at this, or play any instruments, I'd be grateful if you could identify yourself by commenting to this post!!! There is scope here to build up useful credit for future UCAS/job applications!
This can appear daunting, but every AS group, with or without prior experience of this, have done well with this, one of the hallmarks of the outstanding quality of IGS Media productions! Be thinking through ideas, and linking your ideas to existing examples.

I've previously blogged on this, so I'll keep this brief.
If you solely rely on the sound picked up through the cameras you'll find that shots recorded mere seconds apart sound very different - the air/wind for example can be highly audible, not something you'll be aware of when filming!

You can tweak sound files using software.
You could use the boom mic and/or digital sound recorder
You could (this is probably the best approach) record sound as normal BUT also record separate sound, including ALL dialogue, sound effects and 'ambient' sound (general background noise). This could be a specific role for one or more person, and something for the producer to closely supervise!
As always, test/experiment to get a clear sense of this for yourself.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Casting and creativity

Casting is discussed in the coursework guide; your post/s on this should follow a range of steps, which you might do as separate posts:
The original scream queen: Janet Leigh
Final girl archetype 'Laurie Strode'
  1. start out by describing your characters (if you have 10 characters provide 10 profiles/descriptions!): their look, clothing, attitude, gender, age, size, hair colour ... whatever seems relevant to the role. THIS IS YOUR IDEAL, IF YOU HAD 100s OF ACTORS APLYING FOR THE ROLE!
  2. now consider (stereo)typical comparable characters in existing films (critically, providing still images and/or video clips to do so)
  3. even if you are going for a COUNTERtypical approach, show your knowledge of the genre conventions before justifying your choice to go against/challenge the convention
  4. have you backed up your claims/analysis of typical representation with references from websites AND books? to help get into the top marks range you should try to back up your analysis of the codes and conventions of genre/'existing texts' with book (or newspaper/journal) references as much as possible
  5. if going for countertypes, explain why - perhaps linked into gender issues? either way, the theories associated with feminist film critics such as Barbara Creed and Laura Mulvey could be discussed here
  6. having clearly set out what look you want, and shown you've thought through the semiotics of this (how the auidience might respond if they followed your preferred reading, but also considering possible negotiated/oppositional readings - perhaps for potential non-UK viewers not familiar with UK culture?), now discuss your casting process
  7. of course, you may be limited in your choice here; provide stills/video of any casting session, and images of your actual cast, clearly identified as specific characters (repeat character details if this info is not in the same post)
  8. does the look of any of these impact on your original ideas/intentions? maybe your scream queen is now sporting the conventional final girl look? have you made adjustments for this in your script/storyboard? can you think of any low-budget films you've seen where financial restrictions appear to have impacted on casting?
  9. now you're ready to start shooting with your cast - think about their needs: build in rehearsal time (a good means of shooting video to show one of you taking on the directing role - perhaps the producer can be shot organising the casting?), provide with script/call sheets etc

You'll note the post is entitled casting AND creativity. Partially, and this is nothing to worry about, you may wish to make notes now for a long-distant A2 exam part of which asks you to analyse your own productions (its easy to forget the decisions you made so far in the future!). One possible topic there is 'creativity'. To finish up, a nice example from commercial casting, usually the preserve of specialist, qualified professionals (casting directors), of how random effective casting can be...
Towards the end of the video (can't embed it, follow the link) you'll see the contemporary auteur Darren Aronofsky discuss how a key supporting actress role was cast through iChat on a Mac (following lead actress Natalie Portman's recommendation of her friend)!
Watch the video at 
I can't recommend watching some of this director's work highly enough - especially Requiem For a Dream, which introduced a range of cinematographic techniques widely copied ever since.

I'd forgotten about this article - click 'read more' or here for the article and comments on the Guardian site - which considers some infamous casting decisions, and contains nice footage of auditions. The concept of the commutation test, by the way, is commonly applied to casting; there are many web pages which consider some of the near misses where classic films have almost, usually due to some bone-headed studio executive, badly miscast key roles that went on to become iconic but which would have been fundamentally altered with a different actor. (basic eg: picture Arnold Schwarzenegger in any Hugh Grant romcom role...or vice versa! "I'll, um, gosh, be back" anyone?!)

Online comic

You might be interested in the comicbook series published online by Mr Wozencraft Jr.! In itself an illustration of how digital media continues to open media markets to Indie operators - the Dundee-based publisher DC Thomas (see wiki - an interesting company with a rather oddball history/outlook well covered in a variety of books) has had the UK comics market (US imports aside) sewn up for decades. Without the possibility of low-cost digital distribution/exhibition (and marketing) this would remain unchanged, given the high costs of printing, marketing and distributing a new comic book (in Media "barriers to entry" are one aspect borrowed from Economic thinking when considering media industries)
Remember, what you're currently engaging in would have been very different just a decade ago: you can create sophisticated, multimedia-rich blogs and self-publish your film work through YouTube, marketing it through the likes of Facebook (getting audience feedback as you go the same way, by inviting students from other schools to look and accessing strangers worldwide by posting on targeted forums too), even create and burn your own professional-looking DVDs! All very different from when Media coursework involved cumbersome VHS cameras and computers with less processing power than a typical contemporary mobile phone!!!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Promo page for a cheapo slasher

Useful to look at this, a promo page for a micro budget slasher. Sounds a nasty flick - compare your blogs to this real-world effort: which would do a better job at promoting a film?


Its very disappointing to be still chasing up some of you - (more A2 than AS to be fair!) - for those permission slips issued many weeks ago ... LAST YEAR.
Lets get these in today/tomorrow please!
Barred From Equipment Loan                                                            
I'll update once ALL are in

For your convenience - how easy is life made for you?! - here's the form lest you're at home and noting you've lost your copy...
Loaning Media Equipment - Guidelines Db Rev Jan2011                                                            

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Please see earlier post on comments, and ensure you publish ALL of my comments - I've just seen one example of my advice being followed but my comment not published; the intention when I comment is that you always publish it

Thursday, 13 January 2011


I've updated the earlier list - if your working title has changed, please let me know by commenting below.
I've also embedded, after the groups list, a grid showing where each group is saving their film work. You can do general viewing/blogging/research work on any spare machine, but must upload + edit using this Mac only. That will ensure that no more than 2 Media groups will be trying to access any Mac at any given time - as we near the deadline you'll often want to do some work in frees, lunch, after school etc, so this maximises the chances of the computer with your footage being free to use.
Check you've set up a folder on the external hard drive (Lacie) named:
2010-11 FORENAME FORENAME FORENAME (eg 2010-11 Gina Jess)
At least once a week, copy this onto the desktop as a backup.
If you have any other files on the desktop especially, please move them into this folder (each person can set up individual folders within this if they want to), and make sure you have emptied the trash from any completed projects to save hard drive space.

If the stolen Macs are replaced in time we can look at making further changes.

As G321 GROUPS 2010-11 as Single Names                                                            

F6 mac grid JAN 2011                                                            

Monday, 10 January 2011

Ben Rhydding

Can all those involved see me at the start of Tuesday lunchtime please, to work out who is going to edit/produce sleeve - and share info between those who went up and those editing - and for when
Please add a comment to denote you've read this and to confirm you're coming tomorrow!

UPDATE: Ben is to lead the editing effort, and Harry + Rob are producing a sleeve, aiming to finish for Friday 21st Jan!!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Creating a treatment UPDATED

I've added an eg from current AS Media below. Note the clear sub-headings, use of images, prominence of working title, names + blog/YouTube info!!! Also, images are pushed in neatly with text, not set out in an acre of white space!
I've tweaked this further. Please note the basic design features:
  • large, prominent film title
  • the word 'treatment' isn't used!
  • font altered + increased for sub-headings, neatly worked in with paragraphs
  • names, blog + YouTube URLs prominent
  • group pic/s
  • images flush in with text
  • no chunks of white space at the bottom of pages
  • use of text boxes to add info to pictures
  • brief summary followed by more detail on some topics

Charlotte Faye Spotlight Love Treatment DB EDIT                                                            

Here's an example of a treatment for a music video by A2 Media students from another (award-winning) centre:
Initial Voodoo Child Treatment                                                            

Yours doesn't have to be like this, but should successfully enable anyone reading it to get the gist of what you're working on!
  • THE GROUP: who's in it; any clear roles/specialisms/[relevant] interests? Include your blog URLs
  • THE BRIEF: (create the opening 2mins of a new feature film, including titles and an original soundtrack)
  • SYNOPSIS: in a sentence or 2, the essence of your film idea - MUST be brief!!! Start it off with a standalone sentence: ITS X MEETS Y, comparing yours to 2+ existing films
  • TARGET AUDIENCE: who its aimed at + why
  • GENRE: brief summary of key genre codes, conventions, practitioners, companies etc
  • LINKS TO GENRE: (can combine with above) detail which films are influencing your work (be precise and specific)
  • MISE-EN-SCENE: LOCATIONS, PROPS, COSTUMES, MAKE-UP ETC: Some detail on these, again highlighting links to industry practice (ie existing texts)
  • CAST + CREW NEEDED: This is part of the reason I want these (so, yes, once completed email or pass to me on USB stick!): think about any roles, not just casting (perhaps composer, player of specific instrument/s, make-up etc), required. If your cast is sorted, great; provide images - either way, give brief profiles of the character role, using indicative images of egs from existing texts to illustrate what you're thinking of. Indicate deadlines for expressions of interest, and/or place/time for meetings (perhaps combine with other groups)
  • CONTACT DETAILS: if you're after potential volunteer personnel they need to be able to contact you. You could as a group set up a new joint email account (simply share out the login details), which would look good if named after 1 of your companies! Use 1 of your personal emails if need be, but don't include any personal mobile nos. on this

Some tasks for week beginning Mon.10th

A few specific tasks to work on through this week:
READ COURSEWORK GUIDE: make sure you have a browse at the post below, with the cwk guide from last year; an updated version will shortly be printed for you
BROWSE/REVIEW PREVIOUS BLOGS: you've all done this in class, but have another look to remind and refresh yourselves, noting the range of content you see
FULLY UPDATE YOUR BLOGS!!!: quite a few of you aren't yet in the habit of blogging as you do specific tasks. Your blog (several do) should by now include some or all of the following:
  • a wide range of openings analysed - including use of media language, embedded images/videos + hyperlinks, and clear links made to your own ideas (which can include early, but ultimately rejected ideas); 
  • a breakdown of the group, including a photo of each and their media/technology/culture interests and skills; 
  • your individual idea and info on how the pitch went + footage of the pitch
  • the initial group idea and any subsequent changes/revsions/additions or even entirely new ideas; 
  • specific research into your genre including a range of books, journal articles and web sources - you should add a separate links list or two from this; 
  • links lists below your blog archive (look at the various themed links lists I include on blogs such as this and think of appropriate subjects for yours - a useful way to both generate multimedia content AND showcase research skills - hyperlinks to amazon entries for books you've used is one idea); 
  • shots/footage of your location scouting; 
  • an initial summary of which film/s most influence your idea, and how (be very specific); 
  • initial storyboards - doesn't matter how rough; and feel free to add lots of handwritten notes - scan these in, and keep new posts with new storyboards; 
  • casting - clear links to 'existing texts' through shots of relevant characters in other films that are close to the type your are hoping for, + footage of any casting session - add shots of actual cast once sorted!;
  • swedes - most didn't in the end get this done because of the weather, but you can reflect on the pitching process, your research, and the planning that went into it;
  • microdramas - embed and reflect on the evolution of your learning on media language, technology, planning, working in a group etc;
  • prelims - embedded, and needs to be analysed in some detail - look at the Evaluation questions; tackle this in depth now and one of them will be a lot easier in a few weeks time!;
  • target audience - who is your production aimed at; how can you justify this? There are several blog posts on this, and several pages in the coursework guide about this;
  • test/sample footage - everyone is to have been on location, with or without final cast, and shot some sample scenes, not least to test out feasibility but also to see if any new ideas emerge whilst on location with a camera; embed and reflect, then add new posts on updated narrative/storyboard as necessary;
  • schedule - do you now have a shooting schedule, written/typed into a call sheet, to share? Remember, you are partially assessed on 'time management'!;
So, does your blog include most of these features?

Having uploaded, edited, reviewed and blogged on your sample footage, plus any new storyboards/narrative synopsis, look to tackle the following during this week:
  1. UPDATE BLOG: simply, bring your blog up to date!!!
  2. PODCAST 1: No later than Friday of each week every group will add at least one podcast - which is a remarkably simple process! We'll discuss this in class.
  3. PRODUCTION CO + DISTRIBUTION CO: at minimum come up with names + a concept for your company idents; look again at the idents showreel of past students' work for inspiration! Each group will work with John to master the specific software required for this; all need to be completed by Thursday 20th
  4. FINAL IDEA: don't panic if you're still struggling to pin down the idea, but do ensure its 100% worked through and storyboarded by Friday at the latest. If you are still unsure, alert me at the start of the lesson and we'll go through it until sorted! This leads into a...
  5. TREATMENT: partly to help with casting a 'treatment', a 1 or 2 page doc briefly summarising key points about your production (with prominent visuals!), is required by Friday (details below)
  6. CASTING: Again, no later than Thursday 20th, but preferrably sooner than that, casting needs to be finalised - you need to leave at least 3 weeks for editing and Evaluations, so shooting must take place in the next 2-3 weeks! By the end of this week make sure your blog has a detailed post on cast + characters, with clear visual links made to existing films - this can include shots of binary opposites of what you're going for if you hope to use countertypes.
  7. VIDEO IDEA1: Don't always use the written word for your posts!!! To access the marks for 'excellent' your blog MUST feature a range of videos made by yourself/group: eg film yourselves in a pseudo-studio set up discussing your genre in general, 1 aspect of it (killers, locations, teens, editing styles, use of sound etc), important + influential genre films, films which have most influenced your work etc etc etc Critically, you'd then edit in stills and/or clips (you can use the VLC Media Player, which is freeware, to capture short specific scenes or sequences from a DVD) so your audience isn't solely staring at your visages! 2-5 mins (or shorter) is the ideal. See and the other links included in that post. So, for Friday, have at least a plan for one such vid, either individually or as a group.

2009-10 coursework guide

Still working on a revised version of this for photocopying (hopefully completed and distributed this upcoming week), but here's a detailed guide from last year:
Blog Course Work Checklist as Feb 2010 Compressed                                                            

use of cut 2 black/fade-in + hybridity

I highlighted this on an A2 blog; a trailer for a film which exemplifies the use of cuts to black and then fade-in, accompanied by an audio leitmotif (a recurring sound effect).
A trailer is a very different format from a film opening, but this example is also useful for how it highlights a recent trend - sparked by the zom-rom-com Shaun of the Dead and now, eventually, being picked up by Hollywood - of oddball hybrids: blending binary opposite genres with no seeming common ground.
If toiling still for ideas this could be fertile territory to consider.
The trailer is embedded below; an article with more examples can be found at

What do YOU make of this new move towards unconventional hybrids? Your comments, as always, welcomed

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Your blog settings for COMMENTS

At various points your blogs are looked at and comments added; its vital you check your blog's settings so that each time I look to do this my time isn't wasted having to type in the captcha word. I'm going to cease commenting on any that don't remove this! You will also be looking for 'audience feedback', a key part of coursework assessment at both AS and A2, which I'll help with through the links set up with other centres across the UK - you don't want to be discouraging comments by leaving this on.
When logged in to your blog, clicking though DESIGN > SETTINGS > COMMENTS you should have your blog set up as in the screenshot below:

You'll note comment verification is left on - this ensures no idiotic or spam comments can appear; you will see any comment and then choose whether to publish or delete it. But word verification - which you yourselves find very annoying! - is turned off.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Critics v Popular Culture?

Brief article about the Twilight franchise picking up awards voted for by the US public (as did HSMusical); horror movies - especially teen-centred horror - tend to be dismissed as worthless, empty commercial vehicles by critics ... yet remain enduringly popular with the public. See
This links into previous posts about female directors, and the prevailing scorn for female-targeted cultural forms: celeb mags, soap operas, rom-coms etc