Friday, 28 September 2012

Sweding task: deadline 5th Oct

Your Media workload for the next week is as follows:
  1. Upload your prelim to your individual YouTube channel; embed this into a post titled Prelim
  2. Blog on another post titled Learning from prelim task - you should discuss what you've learned about Final Cut Express 4 (which tools you've used etc - screenshots are vital); what media language is used in your prelim (name the specific terms and explain each - screenshots would be useful) + how these techniques combine to form common characteristics of continuity editing (if unsure what this is research it!!!) you will have noted most film examples we've looked at employ continuity editing)
  3. Improve upon your post on the media lang used in a 30sec+ sequence of a film you've selected - make sure you've actually used a sequence with good shot variety to give you something to write about
  4. Blog post titled 'Sweded films explained' (we'll be discussing this today)
  5. Blog post titled 'My swede pitch', in which you'll outline your idea for a sweded film the class can tackle (we may pick more than one project to work on). Use whatever multimedia you think you need to communicate and sell your idea, and make sure you've worked out what props, locations etc are needed and that it can be shot and edited quickly
  6. Planning, shooting and editing the swede
  7. Blogging on planning; the shoot; and the editing process
  8. Uploading and embedding the final cut and reflecting on what you've learnt from this process
  9. We'll watch the final cuts in Friday's lesson
To get started, here's a classic swede:

Now here's Jack Black + director Michel Gondry explaining the concept (which they invented for their film Be Kind Rewind):

You can find further info (useful for blogging) at:
Urban Dictionary;;
Guardian article: are sweded movies the end of Hollywood as we know it? [this is also v useful for the exam and your Evaluation]
Absolutely everything we do from now until your work is submitted should be reflected on your blog, with the sweding task no exception. You should blog on what a swede is/where the term comes from' your idea + pitch; the idea selected for group production (you could take some of this from the post of whomever pitched it - you do need some vid clip/s to illustrate the film selected; the planning + challenges (organisation) involved in achieving this; any learning on hardware or software; the completed swede uploaded to your own channel and embedded in your blog; reflection on the process - what might you do differently/better if doing this again (eg more shot variety, better planning/organisation, better use of costume/props + consideration/manipulation of location/s and mise-en-scene).

From the very start, try to ensure your blog is fully multimedia and well illustrated with relevant* images; avoid at all costs long continuous paragraphs - feel free to use bullet points!!!

*you can always try quirky too, such as the vegetable variety of swede pictured here...

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Your mission is to carry out the following brief:
Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.
Main task: the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes.
All video and audio material must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

The coursework is worth 50% of the AS (same at A2) and the marking (detailed later) is divided into 3 sections:

Your work is marked partially on my observations of your approach and level of organisation, but fundamentally its a DVD and your blog that are marked.


Even before you start shooting (let alone planning) your production, you need to keep this final stage in mind. If you start (b)logging notes on this now it will save you a lot of stress as the final deadline (in May!) approaches. You are tasked with answering these questions (see below for details on how this is marked):

  • In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 
  • How does your media product represent particular social groups?
  • What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? 
  • Who would be the audience for your media product? 
  • How did you attract/address your audience? 
  • What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? 
  • Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?


When I'm marking all this, I've got to write a paragraph for the exam board justifying the marks I've given you. The grid embedded below summarises the criteria I have to follow, and so you're advised to occasionally re-read this and ask yourself where you think you'll fall within the marking scheme!
For each section there are key components of the work which I have to assess as being one of the following:
If you think you're currently at the 'minimal' or 'basic' level for any of these, ask yourself (and me!) what you can do to jump up to at least proficient.
G321 - Simplified Marking Criteria as 1 Sheet                                                         

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Femen: radical feminist protest movement

I raise this as a potentially useful concept to include in your consideration of representation issues. This is a feminist protest group that is using nudity to protest at the sexist, misogynistic patriarchy that they believe dominates global culture.
Its pertinent to analysis of music videos and slasher films as each feature near-nudity or nudity frequently, with artists such as Madonna, Rhianna and Lady Gaga clearly trading on their bodies and sexual appeal ... BUT claiming (as post-feminists would argue) to be strong women in control and expressing themselves, rather than victims of the male gaze. The slasher movie is often criticised for its wide use of female nudity, though these feminist campaigners are partly making the point that women have long been encouraged to feel ashamed of their bodies - can a seemingly sexist genre really be reclaimed as a positive expression of female liberation?!
The starkly contrasting ways in which traditional feminists and post-feminists (who believe that equality of the sexes has been achieved, so its outmoded to perceive women as victims of a male-dominated culture, or patriarchal society) read media texts is certainly something for you to consider when analysing your own work as well as existing media texts.

NB: the web page contains a topless image, so if you do follow the link take care not to do so in a school setting or around younger siblings. I've copied in the full article below so you needn't do so!

In a chaotic and crumbling former public washhouse in a rundown district of northern Paris, Inna Shevchenko was explaining how a large leather punchbag hanging from the rafters might be used by the foot soldiers of a new generation of feminists.
As she prepared to welcome recruits to the Ukrainian-based feminist group Femen's first "international training camp", it was clear that the instruction would not be all ideological. The talk was of "war", "soldiers", "terrorism" and "enemies". Was it not curious, one French journalist asked, that Inna and her warriors had adopted the language of combat, traditionally a male domain, to describe their mission?
Was it not also inconsistent, another asked, that the new feminists were using nakedness to rail against female exploitation? In a week that had seen the banning of photographs of a topless Duchess of Cambridge, it was certainly topical.
"Ah, but we have a different idea; we are talking about peaceful war, peaceful terrorism," Inna said. "We are taking off our clothes so people can see that we have no weapons except our bodies. It's a powerful way to fight in a man's world. We live with men's domination and this is the only way to provoke them, the only way to get attention.
"We don't hide our bodies, we don't hide our faces, we confront our enemies face to face. We look them in the eyes and we have to be well prepared physically for that."
There was, she explained patiently, no contradiction in going topless or naked to protest against what they view as the three main evils of a global "patriarchal society": sexual exploitation, dictatorship and religion. Protesting naked, as Femen's slogans insist, is liberté, a reappropriation of their own bodies as opposed to pornography or snatched photographs which are exploitation.
On a less intellectual level, taking their clothes off ensures a lot of publicity.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Warp-Meadows openings pres'n

Pants? You decide...
In 3s you will have at least one full lesson to work on a presentation on the media language used in the opening section of one of director Shane Meadows' films produced by Warp Films: 24-7, A Room For Romeo Brass, Dead Man's Shoes. You will also be asked to do some research into the production context. You can borrow the DVD from the Library: all Media DVDs are kept behind the Librarian's desk for the exclusive use of Media students. Further details follow. Two of these are 15-rated while DMShoes is 18-rated: take care where you watch these.

Later in the year you will begin to produce podcasts and vodcasts, and next week you'll start blogging. For this task though a PowerPoint is fine - make sure the text is large enough to read and that you include useful images or links where relevant (make clear where any info or quotes come from).
Take screenshots to illustrate points you wish to make about shots/scenes/details from the film, and take care to change the file name so that it will be clear later what it is - and make sure you place all images into a named folder that you can each share via memory sticks. (1-15 HA MCU victim fear is an eg of how you might name a file: the time within the film, shot type + brief description of who/what/why)
Start with production context (your research findings) then move on to the media language.

Shane Meadows
Rather than give you a definitive list of what to include, I'll provide some suggestions of info that helps to put into context the production of any film. The info that you gathered on TisEng is a good starting point, though also add the budget. You won't always find box office info on IMDB - lower budget films especially often fail to get a cinema release and are 'straight-toDVD' or made-for-TV.
Some further info on what the director has said about the film; blurb from the company website; snippets of reviews or general articles about the director/film are also useful. You can try Wikipedia, googling, my BritishCinema blog, the index of The British Cinema Book or other library books, Media Magazine (one issues has a cover story on Meadows) etc to find some further info.

Film openings tend to be self-contained and vary in length, although most are much longer than the 2mins you get for your coursework opening. Watch it at least twice - note the length of the section you think contains the complete opening. On the first viewing note what exposition (clues or information) is provided for the audience on location, era, characters, genre etc. Remember to try and take screen shots. You could consider here how media language has been used to lead the audience to an interpretation desired by the director (through use of camera work, editing, sound, mise-en-scene).
On your second viewing, try to find one eg of each of the main shot types: ELS (maybe an EstS?), LS, MLS, MS, MCU, CU, ECU; LA, MA, HA, Dutch angle; POV, OTS, 2-shot. You may find you've already noted some from your work on exposition. Where you can, add a note of why you think the director/editor has selected this shot type here.

You'll find plenty of links on Meadows/Warp on the BritishCinema blog. Here's a couple more links:
Eclectica interview with Meadows;
Meadows discusses TisEng 88; [scroll down for more articles]
Empire: Meadows on Meadows (talks about each of his films);
Uncut: Meadows' Stone Roses doc ready by Xmas.