Your blog is intended as an in-depth record of the learning that has taken place over the entire period of the coursework production, and as evidence of the planning and research that has shaped and informed your media product. Remember, your blog is the main means by which we, and the exam board, will assess your research, planning and evaluation. You are also marked on the level of care in the presentation of this, and your use of ICT within it. So, use the following as a checklist to ensure your blog provides all the evidence of planning and research that it should. Don’t hesitate to ask for more info/details on any of these points. The headings are suggestions; you can modify these as you see fit – so long as someone looking at your list of entries can easily tell what each posting will be about! (You should check through your current headings) Please DON’T save posts to ‘draft’ – if it’s a work in progress simply add [DRAFT] to the end of the post title until its complete. Timely progress with your blog is assessed as ‘time management’. As you’re looking through these, try to bear in mind the specific questions you will need to address for your Evaluation – have you blogged on these matters as you go? Life will be much easier if you do…

In the evaluation the following questions must be answered: 1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 2. How does your media product represent particular social groups? 3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? 4. Who would be the audience for your media product? 5. How did you attract/address your audience? 6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? 7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
I’ll flag up below some of the areas where you might be considering these as you go, using numbers. Various terms are highlighted in bold, not all of which we have covered – ask about any you’re unsure of.

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To include the specific tasks (include the prelim description too), and your various deadline dates.

• • • • • • • •

EVAL 6,7

Use the AS COURSEWORK ROADMAP handout to help you with this. You should comment on:

• • • •

what is sweding/where does the term come from provide links to (better still, embed) an example/s from YouTube (from home!) or alternatives your initial shortlist of possible films detail your 30sec pitch what film did you go with and why any initial reflections on using iMovie and the camcorders/tripods themselves? once your finished piece is saved as a QuickTime file, upload and embed this, possibly into a new post either give precise timings or cut a shorter film with the prelim task featured, making sure you explain what each of the required terms mean also embed a clip from the film or a trailer from YouTube in due course you will have to analyse how you developed from this prelim task to the main production, so good notes now will help! with this in mind, make some brief notes on what you've learned in general from this task if this actually was your main production what would you do differently?

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...

Save your swede as a QuickTime movie through iMovie (File – Export…). You should save 2 copies, named accordingly: FULL QUALITY (you may want to add this to your final DVD as an extra) and WEB QUALITY (a much smaller file size more suitable for uploading to your blog). Audience feedback and use of ICT are key aspects of your work: try to get both, perhaps achieving this by posting your swede on YouTube (a really simple process once you’ve set up a free account) and doing a PrintScreen/screen grab of any comments posted (Facebook and MySpace could also be used).

Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS


Its quicker to upload to YouTube and then embed the file in Blogger than trying to use Blogger’s own upload tool, and gains more marks. It is actually also closer to the real film industry’s practice as publicity and generating potential fan interest is critical to a film’s fortunes.

What was this task? What did you do, and what did you learn from this? Have you uploaded this video? Give a summary of the narrative theory covered – it would be useful to apply this later to your production. Remember, the Media course is designed to integrate and build on your textual and theory work from earlier in the year; your practical, and the written work supporting this, should reflect this knowledge and understanding. If you can (try asking colleagues who do English if unsure), try to add brief explanations of the terms omniscient narrator, linear narrative, and non-linear narrative, which you can later apply to your production.

Again, refer to your worksheets on this. Specify the task set. Describe the production process, and include some evaluation. If you re-shot or re-cut some parts to more clearly meet the criteria for including an example of match-on-action, for example, say so and summarise what you learnt from the process. Have you given clear, precise explanations [in your own words] of what the three principle terms (match-onaction, shot/reverse shot, the 180 degree rule) mean? You could add something on the 30 degree rule… This technical test is designed to reinforce your understanding of classic continuity editing (think about how editing is made unobtrusive, almost invisible or un-noticable) – include an explanation in your own words of what this is. Many of you unintentionally included jump cuts when initially cutting your matchon-action sequence – can you explain this term? [You could use the posters in F6 for this!!!!] Have you uploaded your completed video? You might want to make some notes under hardware/software.

Its useful to keep in mind the specific criteria used for marking your work – you’ve been given a copy of a grid summarising how your Research & Planning, Production and Evaluation are each marked. You can either type this up, or use the copy in the AS Coursework Blog to embed the document as an easy reference point every time you’re blogging. Make careful note of what you’re being asked to do, and keep checking back to self-assess whether you’re currently at the Minimal, Basic, Proficient or Excellent level on each.

Type these up in this post (or copy/paste from my blog). Its easy to leave this to the last minute and so lose out on most of the 20% available for this section – which is challenging. You should try to use each of the 7 questions as a heading, and add brief notes as you go, which will make life much easier as you enter the often very stressful final week of editing, with limited time left to complete the Evaluation. These notes do not constitute your Evaluation, which will be your very last post on the blog.

Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS


Give your answers to the 5 questions for this task, which were: (1) List the last 5 movies you've seen (2) What was the last movie you paid to go and see in the cinema? (3) What are your favourite TWO film genres? (4) What are your all-time top FIVE films? (5) Which ONE of these is your absolute favourite ... and why (be fairly detailed on why!)



This is essentially your notes from film openings screened and dissected by myself and your colleagues with their individual presentations. You are looking to tease out the general (not genre-specific yet) codes and conventions of film openings – including discussing the variety of approaches taken. Is there generally a self-contained section of narrative action? How long does this typically last (give a range of examples, including some you think are not typical)? What logos do we tend to see, and when? What credits do we see? How is sound/music used? What stage of the narrative (think Todorov) do we typically see? Are the central protagonist/s and/or central antagonist/s signified? Is there narrative enigma? Is the genre anchored, or is this left polysemic? Possibly linked to this last point, how are social groups represented? Is there any foreshadowing of future events? How many locations do we get? Which transitions or effects are used? Also consider how achievable these openings would be for a student working on a micro-budget – what sort of shots, specifically, could you not achieve (the main point here is to reflect on camera equipment, aspects such as dollys and cranes, and CGI – not to mention the use of stars [think Richard Dyer’s star theory]).



You should have a PowerPoint or Word document from this work. There is a method to directly post these documents to your blog (google ‘word doc on blogger’ or visit, or you can copy/paste in your text, adding any images in the usual fashion. Note that if you copy/paste from any Microsoft Office document Blogger will refuse to publish the post – you need to highlight the text in your blogger post and use the remove formatting tool (the T with an x underneath).

This is intended as a clear SUMMARY, with specific examples though, of your observations from the variety of general film openings you’ve seen. Looking at the wide variety of openings screened and analysed in class, what trends have you noticed? [try to give specific examples to illustrate your points] What do we expect to see from a film opening? Does this vary significantly (…yes!)? What don’t we expect to see? Can you think of any particularly odd or unusual examples of film openings perhaps? Consider the importance of exposition: how much information are we typically fed in the opening minutes, and how do film-makers prevent this from being clunky, dialogue-heavy content along the lines of ‘Hi, I’m
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Joe. I was born in Outer Mongolia in 1902 and my hobbies include surfing and stamp-collecting. Tell me all there is to know about you…’ What are film-makers most often (though not always – there are no fixed rules!!!) trying to signify; to anchor for the audience – and what role does narrative enigma play? (There may be intentional polysemic encoding if mystery is intended)



There is a suggested separate post for GENRE RESEARCH which you could start working on now. You’ve detailed a range of film openings across a variety of openings, but by now you’re pinning down your own idea/s and have a fairly clear notion of which genre/s you’ll be working in. It is of fundamental importance that you can evidence at every stage from this point your knowledge and understanding of ‘forms and conventions of real media products’. To do this you need to be engaging in extensive research. This means reading – books, not just web sources! – and viewing a wide variety of films (and perhaps also TV) from within your genre/s. Use this research to tease out the most common conventions seen in film openings within your genre/s, including aspects such as (this is not intended as an exhaustive list!!!): • • • • • • • • • • • production co logo/s (and distribution co’s?) titles (do we again see production/distribution co names?) – note the specific phrasing used, and the font styles, pus any animation/FX used for titles how is exposition provided? (voiceover? Titles? Dialogue? Mise-en-scene?) which (and how many) characters are we introduced to? (Can you relate this to Propp?) How is the central protagonist/antagonist signified? Consider editing – especially pace; is there any variation in this (a rhythm if you like), or mostly long/short takes? Which transitions/FX are used? What sort of music is used, and how is sound linked to editing? How, in general, is the genre signified? (iconography, settings, character types, common narrative elements, mise-en-scene, music and sound, editing style, shot types etc) In what ways can the target audience be deduced? Is there anything to suggest an effort being made to widen out from this by including some crossover appeal, perhaps to a younger/older audience? Is intertextuality an important aspect? If you can, consider the concept of postmodernism here. How long is a typical self-contained opening scene? Does this establish the equilibrium or edge into the dis-equilibrium? In some cases, a film opens with the ending, effectively the new equilibrium. How many set-ups are there (shots in different locations, and/or at different times)?

Your notes on this are absolutely vital – you need to be able to compare your work to actual films. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow all the codes and conventions, but in order to ‘challenge’ any of these you need to have clear knowledge of the codes (and specific examples of these) in the first place!

Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS





Start with a brief synopsis of your three initial ideas. For the one you developed into a pitch you should include detail on aspects such as target audience, notional BBFC rating, shot types, editing, sound and music, locations, mise-en-scene, props, costume, characters, casting and issues of representation, genre and intertextual links.



Start again with a brief synopsis of the idea you’ve chosen to pitch. You could record your actual pitch, or record it at another time, perhaps as part of a podcast! Note any feedback on your idea; has the feedback made you tweak or change your idea in any way?



Each person in the group details a minimum of 10 useful resources on chosen genre/s (incl. min. 3 books + min. 1 resource from school Lib, + info on what is available through + If there are 2 in a group that means 20 different resources, if 3 that’s 30. The more the better though. Use this post to gather materials you can return to later to read through in detail. Useful resources could include resources on the software/hardware you use, or general sources for tips on film-making, not just aspects of genre. It would definitely be useful to partially complete this task through using the LINKS LIST gadget (Customise – add gadget, and find Links List) – evidencing use of ICT and gaining marks for ‘level of care in the presentation of research and planning’. You can include several of these; just give each one a clear title – and make sure you re-arrange these so that your post archive always remains at the top of your blog. Books should be included in this – use a link to an amazon or Play page. I really would encourage you to buy at least one book on your chosen genre. If you try searching on and you will find many bargains to be had (bear in mind books not directly sold by Amazon, but by users, attract a £2.75 postal fee; everything on Play is post-free). There will soon be a folder in F6 where you can browse the covers and content pages of all the Media books, and periodicals, held in the Library – a time-consuming task that you can thank John for sorting out on your behalf!

PODCAST 1 [new post for subsequent podcasts] 1,3,4,5,6,7
The podcast is a very useful tool in a number of ways:
Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS



 It evidences use of ICT and (assuming its embedded, not just a link to an external site) a good ‘level of care in the presentation of research & planning’  Its become a key tool to generate interest while films are still in the production stage, and is used to reach out to the target audience  It can be extremely useful to evidence audience feedback in particular!  …It can be quite fun! The basic idea of a podcast is an informal – but informative – recording of discussions on a given theme or production. You can see many examples throughout the media, ranging from Film Guardian podcasts to those for almost every BBC radio programme. The Wikipedia entry1 defines podcasting thus: A podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication. Commonly used audio file formats are Ogg Vorbis and MP3. Researchers at the Center for Journalism and Communication Research at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA are proposing a four-part definition of a podcast: A podcast is a digital audio or video file that is episodic; downloadable; programme-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually via an automated feed with computer software. The term "podcasting" was first mentioned by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2004 article, along with other proposed names for the new medium.[3] It is a portmanteau of the words "pod"—derived from iPod, a brand of portable media player produced by Apple Computer (now Apple),—and "broadcasting".[2] The name may be misleading, as despite the etymology it has never been necessary to use an iPod (or, indeed, any other form of portable media player) to use podcasts; the content can be accessed using any computer that can play media files.[4] To avoid a term suggestive of "iPod", some use the term netcast instead of podcast, such as podcaster Leo Laporte[5] You can use podcasts to simply discuss your progress/what you’ve done across the past week, and/or what you intend to do next. You can also record podcasts on certain topics, such as genre conventions, or even specific components such as the role of women in your genre. You can also include other people in your podcast – it is essentially a discussion. If you’re working by yourself, try to involve someone else in your podcasts – they will make it much livelier and stimulating. You can use these to try and attract more followers to your blog – and you could of course research podcasthosting sites which enable you to invite interested followers to subscribe to your podcasts! We have a high-quality voice recorder you can use for this, though you’re welcome to use your phones so long as you can access the sound file this generates. Make sure you embed the resulting podcast – you’re always seeking to enable your blog user to access files with one click, not having to navigate additional sites.

I have listed these as separate posts, but they could be combined.

EVAL 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS


Can you clearly outline the codes and conventions of your genre, giving specific examples to illustrate each point? There isn’t a mainstream film genre that doesn’t have books written on it – have you tried using any books in addition to any web-based research? Have you provided deconstructions (can be bullet points only, doesn’t have to be too long) of a variety of openings from films in this genre? There have been a range of books on film recently added to the library, while you can often find cheap copies of useful books on and It is vital that you are clear on how your film links into the genre. Have you incorporated any intertextual links, perhaps by using character or location names familiar to a genre audience? This ‘playful’ side of our supposedly post-modern era appears to be increasingly important, especially to films targeting a youth demographic. Look at how films such as Halloween (a TV is playing The Thing – a horror classic director JC later remade, and the name Loomis is recycled from Psycho – while Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Psycho’s archetypal scream queen!), Trick or Treat and Scream (so many examples … e.g. the TV playing the movie Halloween). Intertexuality is often used as well to help extend the appeal of a youth-oriented film to an older audience (crossover appeal), using music from past decades which can evoke nostalgia being a key example. (Remember too that everyone has been young, so films centred on youths aren’t necessarily losing out on an older audience) Consider all aspects – what about titling for example, or use of sound/music? Also, consider the growing trend of hybrid genres – blending two or more generic styles is seen as helping to widen audience appeal and to help keep well-trodden genres fresh, eg Shaun of the Dead as a zom-romcom!



So, by now you’ve done your initial pitch, formed groups, tightened up the initial idea, and undertaken extensive research into the genre and a range of existing films. You need to summarise your revised narrative now, before embarking on an animatic which will visually express this. Try to include some detail here on what role audience feedback has played in your idea’s evolution, and some brief indicators of how this is tied to a genre/real-world examples. Avoid looooooong paragraphs (a principle you should follow throughout your blog); summarise your narrative, seeking to apply narrative theory when doing so. This clearly focuses on the opening but also needs to detail how the film would progress. This would be a good post in which to incorporate a podcast.

A visually arresting location can transform a conventional narrative, so its well worth thinking about your options here. You also need to ensure you can – safely and legally – get access to the location as early as possible; don’t spend weeks fine-tuning an idea centred on a very specific location only to eventually find you can’t shoot there. Before filming proper starts you need to scout all possible locations, taking images as you go to post on your blog (try to make comparisons with existing texts by posting stills from films side by side). If you take a camcorder you can practice some of the shots you hope to take later, testing out for example if you can physically position yourself to take these shots.
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This is an excellent opportunity for a podcast (record some audio as you go around) or even a vodcast (video, not just audio).

Make clear how you see your choices as reflecting or challenging genre norms, taking stills or video footage and posting these along with text explaining your rationale. Take care to provide some detail on your considerations over mise-en-scene, costume and props – look at the opening of Trick or Treat as an example of how mise-en-scene, even within a confined space, quickly and effectively sets the scene – and the tone. There may be some intertextual references worked in here? The Trick or Treat mise-en-scene is a good example of how fairly simple – but detailed – set dressing can provide significant exposition; the posters, books and even general clutter and untidiness all provide clues as to the central protagonist’s character. Again, can you make (and illustrate) comparisons with actual texts? A great example of how to approach some of these aspects can be seen in the 2008-9 AS production, Lost in Love and War. The three students behind this (Bethan, Lorna, Megan if you want to look at their blogs) thoroughly researched all the fine details they hoped would provide verisimilitude for their ambitious concept of a WW2 romantic drama: costume, hair styles, soldier’s uniform, even handwriting styles. They also thoroughly scrutinised existing examples from similar films, providing a range of useful illustrations for these.

Explain why you consider your cast appropriate. If you held a casting audition, upload film footage of this. It would be useful to compare your character to one from an actual film/s, finding a still shot to help anyone reading to relate to your point. [Many media players, such as VLC, allow you to grab a still from any film you are playing if a google search fails to work – see shots from Trick or Treat] This includes a juxtaposition of a contrasting character if you are trying to establish how you’ve employed a countertype.


An animatic is a useful tool for testing out your narrative. More commonly used in animation/SFX work and advertising, it enables you to add a visual edge to a renewed pitch for your concept. It is intended as a rough and ready production: you’re simply taking a number of still images which represent some aspects of how your work will develop on screen (and perhaps how the narrative unfolds past the opening), using titles and/or audio to provide further detail. You don’t need the actual location, cast or costumes, but should try to make it as accurate as possible – the aim is not to raise laughs but to sell your narrative concept. Again, you can think about recording the feedback here. Obviously post the animatic – ideally, post it on YouTube (and evidence any feedback from there using a PrintScreen), and use the embed code it generates.
Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS

Crisis! ‘Final girl’ archetype Laurie Strode forgets her chemistry books…


The critical thing about audience feedback is not just that you get it … but what have you done with it? What alterations did you make based on this? This could be a useful topic for a podcast.

Don’t spend forever drawing out an immaculate storyboard that resembles a comic – so long as the figures you put in the frames clearly convey the shot type and content they’re fine. You really should aim to have at least two versions of a storyboard, to help evidence how you’ve applied audience feedback and generally as ‘evidence of drafting’. A Screenplay is also required – there is a ‘Narrative and Screenplays’ handout for this taking you through all the conventions. Does your screenplay match the formatting requirements? Is your dialogue indented? Have you used Courier font? Each time a new character is introduced, have you described their appearance and pertinent aspects of their personality? Scan these in, and upload them as pdf or jpg files (ensuring you save as a high quality document). Embed them, don’t just provide a link to another site like Scribd.

These can be separate posts.

Clearly this is a crucial area – if you don’t tackle this in some detail it will be difficult to score well in the two written components (worth 40 of the total 100 marks). This needs to extend well beyond a description of target age range. AGE: 15-24? 15-34? Your lower starting point will be influenced by the notional BBFC rating you ascribe to your work (also compare to similar films) – the BBFC’s website has some very student-friendly features to help you with this. You could reference your work from General Studies of course! There is also a double-DVD-ROM set in the library produced by the BBFC. You may argue your film potentially appeals to younger viewers, increasingly able to circumvent these age restrictions through downloads for example, and motivated to do so by aspiring to be like their older peers. Are your cast reflective of your target audience age? Do you employ any slang, music or other cultural references which might be primarily familiar to a youth audience? ETHNICITY: If your product does include non-Caucasian characters, this will help reinforce its appeal to a multi-ethnic audience. However, you should not argue your text specifically targets a narrow Caucasian audience, many mainstream productions continuing to sideline non-Caucasian talent but not commercially suffering for this. GENDER: many genres are seen as gendered: sci-fi, action-adventure and horror as primarily maleoriented, period dramas and rom-coms as female, for example. This is true up to a point – film producers don’t want to exclude half the available audience! The tough, resourceful female character (‘final girl’) at the centre of many horrors (and sci-fi/horror: Alien’s Ripley) helps to draw in a female audience notwithstanding the crude, exploitative stereotyping of the invariably topless ‘scream queens’. The comedy aspect of rom-coms helps males to overcome their reticence – and in both cases, especially for a youth audience, the movie-as-date factor cannot be overlooked! Do make some explicit consideration of how you have chosen to represent gender here. You might want to consider the male gaze theory here. SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUPINGS: In crude class terms, ABs are ‘upper class’, C1 upper-middle class, C2 lower-middle class, and DE working-class (see handout
Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS 10 Would Rab C. & the boys be part of your target demographic?

for more precise detail). Typically, a complex, challenging text, perhaps relying more on dialogue than action, might be pitched to some part of an ABC1 audience (as are broadsheet newspapers like The Guardian), while a conventional slasher, often with middle-class characters, might target a C1C2DE audience (somewhat in line with a tabloid like The S*n). If you are employing countertypes within a horror you might argue this would help to draw in the C1s. Some horror films, especially when not centred on teens, gain sufficient critical credibility to draw in that sophisticated ABC1 audience – think of Silence of the Lambs. Plush period dramas typically appeal to ABC1s (the BBC has attracted criticism for superserving this audience with its high-budget adaptations of the classics), while the typically more basic fare of rom-coms are generally pitched to a less wealthy audience. Again, it is worth commenting on the class profile of your characters. NATIONALITY/REGION: Whilst producers will not wish to restrict their potential audience to a particular part of the UK, nonetheless the southern English accent and setting retains something of a hegemonic status. Films featuring northern English, Midlands, Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish accents do face a greater challenge at the box office – although the huge success of Billy Elliot, The Full Monty and others proves this barrier is not insurmountable. This aspect may influence the company you identify as distributor (look at distributors for Warp, WT, & Film4 productions as examples), but again you should stress you’d hope to tap into a UK-wide audience, whilst perhaps recognising the potential limitations on foreign sales. The contrasting fortunes of the similarly-budgeted films Son of Rambow and Mickybo & Me [a WT film] – both now in the library – illustrate the commercial advantages of featuring southern English characters, while This is England is more typical of the fate of social realist movies than hits like TFMonty. Once again: address representation – are you stereotyping yourselves?! Using recognisable regional stereotypes could help a film’s prospects beyond the area it reflects. FANS OF… Perhaps linking back to your pitch, what existing films would you expect your potential audience to be fans of? If you were designing a promotional poster which film/s might you try and reference to help communicate the idea, but also to derive reflected glory/appeal from? SEXUALITY: Just as a typical film will still centre on Caucasian characters, so will heterosexuality be the default mode for any romantic aspects. Again, do not say you are targeting a heterosexual audience, but simply consider if you’re including anything which could help to draw in the ‘pink pound’ – being careful about stereotyping! PSYCHOGRAPHIC PROFILE: You could also describe a typical would-be punter in terms of wider lifestyle and interests (e.g. a lager-drinking Sky Sports subscriber, S*n-reading Guy Ritchie fan, or a Sky Arts-subscribing, Guardian-reading liberal interested in classic literature and history) – and if you really want to challenge yourself, do a little research on ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ (there is a fairly good Wiki on this). You could also look at the box-office performance of recent films comparable to your own in terms of genre/narrative. TYPICAL AUDIENCES FOR THIS GENRE: Research audiences for your genre. If you can find articles exploring aspects such as age range, typical gender etc, great – but at the very least have a look into the institutional side of this: box office figures especially. Is yours a currently successful/popular genre? You could try some kind of opinion poll or questionnaire (you could use a blogger gadget for this) to test out whether your supposed target audience is accurate.

You should aim to have at least two drafts of a storyboard, following on from audience feedback of your idea, rough cuts etc.

Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS


A production schedule should have each and every individual shot logged. I’ll repeat that … A production schedule should have each and every individual shot logged. If you really are in control of your time and your resources, this will help to indicate so and thus gain you useful credit when marking. You could easily create some form of clapperboard (with shot numbers relating to your production schedule), using a simple notebook or anything you can write on and then wipe. Do take the time to reflect on your shoots.

Do also ensure you incorporate some coverage – add some extra shots to your carefully planned shoot, and be prepared to innovate as you, the cinematographer, finally gaze through the lens. You may find when editing you really need a cutaway shot for example, to make a dialogue scene more dynamic. Organising re-shoots can be difficult so having options when editing will clearly help.

IMAGE REPRODUCTION RIGHTS – Have you used a standard form to get actors’ written
consent for using their image? Simply embed one copy of this where you’ve substituted your name/s where it says ‘your name’ – one that hasn’t been filled in!!! [You shouldn’t be uploading someone’s signature] Check the blog for this: there is a downloadable form, which you need to type your names into. I should be given a signed copy for every person who appears in your production, which I’ll keep filed in F6.

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

The software you’re using has a great many advantages as well as some disadvantages. Try to provide some account of your learning curve in using this, and to evaluate iMovie’s strengths and weaknesses as you see them, especially if you have used other editing software elsewhere. If you do go on to A2 Media, a key requirement will be to analyse in what ways your A2 production constitutes a step up from that at AS level, so detailed notes on this will prove invaluable! You may wish to briefly research the difference between iMovie 06 and 08 if you’re working on one of the newer dual-boot machines which have both loaded – 08 is actually a step down from 06 so you shouldn’t be using it!

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS


Make sure you are familiar with the equipment you are going to use – describe it and your testing procedure (this includes any of you using your own cameras – in which case you need to ensure you’ve trained your colleagues in its use). Have you checked for a manual focus option for example? Do you know how to use the white balance setting? Are you familiar with how to transfer the footage from your camcorder onto the Macs? Are there scenes/shots for which additional hardware (e.g., a dolly, or boom mike) might have been useful – and could you rig up, or innovate, a workaround for this if so?

See above list! Detail the idea you/your group has settled on. Try to apply your narrative theory here, providing a brief outline of how your idea would develop beyond the opening 2mins. Be clear and specific on your target audience (detailing this further below).

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

If the above entry is all about detail, this is about brevity – can you express your film concept in a single sentence? To help you on this – and this is something actual film-makers will usually be expected to do when pitching their idea, seeking funding – can you express it as a combination of two (or three) existing films (or possibly TV shows), e.g. ‘its Silence of the Lambs meets Bambi’; ‘its Harry Potter… meets Deconstructing Harry’ [anyone recognise that title?! Or able to explain to me how that film might have a wide, if bizarre, target audience?!] This is actually a key point in your planning – look again at the list of que stions to be addressed in your Evaluation, which includes:
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

If you compare your work to actual existing films, you have a starting point for looking into possible distributors. If you want an entertaining read on this area of the film business, the frenetic, frantic business of pitching, there is always the weekly cartoon in Friday’s Film & Music supplement in The Guardian, or Art Linson’s entertaining biographies, one of which was recently made into a film (What Just Happened).

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Can you clearly outline the codes and conventions of your genre, giving specific examples to illustrate each point? There isn’t a mainstream film genre that doesn’t have books written on it – have you tried using any books in addition to any web-based research, and deconstructions of a variety of openings from films in this genre? There have been a range of books on film recently added to the library, while you can often find cheap copies of useful books on and It is vital that you are clear on how your film links into the genre. Have you incorporated any intertextual links, perhaps by using character or location names familiar to a genre audience? This ‘playful’ side of our
Plan of Attack: Blog/Coursework ChecklistMedia Studies @ IGS 13

supposedly post-modern era appears to be increasingly important, especially to films targeting a youth demographic. Look at how films such as Halloween (a TV is playing The Thing – a horror classic director JC later remade, and the name Loomis is recycled from Psycho – while Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Psycho’s archetypal scream queen!), Trick or Treat and Scream (so many examples … e.g. the TV playing the movie Halloween). Consider all aspects – what about titling for example, or use of sound/music? Also, consider the growing trend of hybrid genres – blending two or more generic styles is seen as helping to widen audience appeal and to help keep well-trodden genres fresh.

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? How did you attract/address your audience?

Have you detailed your research into copyright-free (as distinct from royalty-free, which won’t necessarily be copyright-free) sound/music resources? Can you cite some examples showing just how important the audio aspect is in this audio-visual medium? Record your ideal requirements for sound/music, and your success or otherwise in sourcing these. What about the sound recording accompanying your video footage – are there problems with ambient noise? Do you ideally need a boom mike to replace the camcorder’s microphone? Will you have to separately record and over-dub any dialogue? Is your choice of music intended to appeal to a particular type of audience? Is it ironic, or intertextual in some way? Is it typical of the genre (be clear on what would be typical for the genre).

You really must be producing sample portions of your work in advance of April 2nd. You need the opportunity to see if your grand vision is actually coming across on screen, and to be able to identify problems/remedies early on to avoid last-minute panics. Your blog needs to provide evidence of your organisation and throroughness through providing uploaded clips and initial versions (perhaps without sound fully added) – i.e. a ‘rough cut’ (as opposed to your final cut – can you remember which horror director gained final cut when he set a low $300,000 budget, or which legendary 50’s director wrote a lengthy plea to the studio to return final cut privileges to him after they butchered his now-classic film?). See below…

Who would be the audience for your media product? How did you attract/address your audience?

Clearly, the level of your engagement with, and consideration of, the broad concept of audience is central to this work – and the grade you will receive. This is why it is so vital to have planned to cut some sample scenes, or even an initial rough cut, as early as possible – to enable audience feedback. This doesn’t have to be just your classmates (assuming they fit within your target audience profile) – you could also post clips on YouTube or other social networking sites and seek feedback through this.
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Any constructive criticism will be invaluable – so long as you act on it and don’t sniffily think, ah, what do they know?! Its unusual for a film project at any level to proceed without any unplanned alterations, and it is a healthy sign if you do make adjustments, demonstrating awareness of and sensitivity to your target audience’s opinions. In effect, you are trying to adopt the mindset of actual commercial film-makers – even if its not quite millions of pounds you have at stake!

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

There may be some overlap here with earlier work, but use this to keep a clear, detailed record of the choices you have made – and rejected. Why did you use a dutch angle there – why not a close-up there? What factors went into your framing choices? Did you have to take additional footage once you started editing, perhaps to make a key scene more dynamic by adding shot variety? It will be much, much easier to semiotically deconstruct your text if your notes here enable you to easily reconstruct the creative process!

Post, with some initial comments perhaps, your final cut!

Answer the opening list of questions. It would also be useful to add a specific semiotic analysis of your text.

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