Question 1a – Skills and Processes You must discuss two pieces of coursework in order

to show progression and development of skills.
Conventions of real media texts Post-Production Research and Planning Digital Technology
Explain how you have used, developed Discuss the decisions you made during How did your Research and Planning How has digital technology aided your
or challenged conventions of real media post-production of two pieces of inform your production? (GDS) creativity to during your coursework
products. (GDS) coursework. productions? (GDS)
Evaluate how you creatively drew upon Discuss the ways in which you have Describe how you developed research “Digital technology turns media
and/ or developed conventions of real exercised creativity during post- consumers into media producers”. In
and planning skills for media production
media products. production? your own experience, how has your
and evaluate how these skills contributed creativity developed through using digital
to creative decision making. Refer to a technology to complete your coursework
range of examples in your answer to productions? (Exam board example)
show how these skills developed over
In what ways have your productions
used or developed conventions adopted time. (Jan10)
from real media products? How much of your text was ‘created’ in How did your research into genre
How has digital technology helped you to
In what ways have your productions post-production? contribute to your production work?
How did your research into audience capture your ideas?
challenged or played with conventions What technologies did you use to modify What benefits do digital technologies
adopted from real media products? your raw material? How did this change contribute to your production work?
How did your research into institutions offer over analogue? Are there any
In other words, is your work generic, or the meaning of your work? disadvantages?
experimental – or both? What transitions/ effects did you apply responsible for the production and
How did digital technology influence your
Some media producers adopt a style of during post-production? How did you regulation of the media influence your
production work? work in pre-production, production, and
working that is quite distinctive – explore manipulate narrative/ colours/ lighting/
how work you have produced may have contrast/ brightness/ sound etc during What pre-production planning techniques post-production?
How have your skills with digital
been influenced by your own favourite the edit? did you employ (scripting, storyboarding,
shot-listing, flat-planning etc.)? How technology developed, and how has this
producers/ directors/ designers/ How much of your footage ended up ‘on
effective was your planning – how did it influenced your productions?
publishers. Do you have a ‘style’? Are the cutting room floor’ (unused) and
help you in the production phase? What role might digital technology plan in
you an auteur? why?
What did you learn from planning your the distribution of your work?
What would Andrew Goodwin say about
first production that helped you to How is digital technology changing
your work?
improve your planning for the second? media production?
How did you use audience feedback to
influence your production work while it
was in progress?
Creativity
You will not get a question on creativity on its own. Creativity is ONLY used in conjunction with one of the other key areas. (GDS)
What features of your work would you say are original to you?
Which media texts and producers have influenced your creative decisions?
How successfully does your work engage its audience and provoke its interest?
Consider some of the creative choices you had to make during the course of your production – how to use cameras, lighting, dialogue, colour etc. How did you make these
decisions, and how did these contribute to the final production?
How did digital technology/ real media texts/ research and planning/ post-production give you an opportunity to express and stretch your creativity?
Question 1b – Concepts

Media Language Genre Audience
“Media is communication.” Discuss the ways that you “Media texts rely on audience knowledge of generic “Media texts will never be successful unless they are
have used media language to create meanings in one codes and conventions in order for them to create carefully constructed to target established audience
of your media products. meaning.” Explain how you have used or subverted needs or desires.” Evaluate the ways that you
generic conventions in one of your production pieces. constructed your media text to target a specific
How useful is the concept of genre in understanding audience.
your work?
How can genre be used to understand music videos,
and how is this different to genre and (thriller) films?
How is your work intertextual? How does it fit in with How useful is the concept of audience in understanding
‘Media language’ means the language of the medium other music videos? your work?
you are working within. For example, there is a How is your production conventional of the genre? Who is your target audience? How did you develop your
language of film which is different to the language of Why is genre useful to you as a media producer/ useful target audience? How does your production appeal to
music video/ television drama etc. This is different to to audiences? your target audience?
genre: genre can cut across media (e.g. a sci-fi film/ TV Genre theorists you have quotes from: Gunther Kress, How useful are various segmentation models to
programme/ music video (!)). Denis McQuail, Nicholas Abercrombie, Christine describe your target audience? Demographics?
How are you using the language of the medium? Gledhill, Katie Wales, John Fiske. Jacques Derrida: “A Psychographics? Findyourtribe?
How have you used the language of music videos/ film text cannot belong to no genre, it cannot be without... a Consider theorists and theories such as: Stuart Hall:
openings/ digipaks/ magazine adverts? genre. Every text participates in one or several genres, Encoding and Decoding; Preferred/ negotiated/
What would Andrew Goodwin say about your music there is no genreless text.” oppositional readings; Denis McQuail – (Uses and
video? How could you use the theories to discuss genre and Gratification theory); Ien Ang - “Audiencehood is
understand your production? becoming an even more multifaceted, fragmented and
What would Andrew Goodwin say about your work in diversified repertoire of practices and experiences.”;
terms of genre? Hypodermic Needle Theory
Genres change and evolve (see Christian Metz and
David Buckingham). How is your production using/
developing the genre?
Narrative Representation
“Media texts rely on cultural experiences in order for audiences to easily make sense Analyse media representation in one of your coursework productions. (Jan10)
of narratives”. Explain how you used conventional and / or experimental narrative “Representations in media texts are often simplistic and reinforce dominant
approaches in one of your production pieces. (Exam Board Example) ideologies so that audiences can make sense of them.” Evaluate the ways that you
How useful is the concept of narrative in understanding your work? have used/ challenged simplistic representations in one of the media products you
How is narrative and music videos different to narrative and film? have produced.
How is your narrative structured? (convergent/ parallel/ circular/ linear/ non-linear/ How does your video represent different social groups/ people/ places/ lifestyles?
interweaving/ fragmented/ impressionist…?) How did you use chapters/phases?
What pleasure(s) does your narrative offer the audience? What values/ ideologies are you representing/ promoting?
How do you use characters in your narrative? How have you used protagonists/ Does your production create a hegemonic representation/ does it represent and
antagonists? Is Vladimir Propp useful to understand your production? reinforce the dominant ideology?
Some theorists and theories you may be able to apply: Story versus plot; Tzetvan What positive/ negative/ stereotypical connotations and representations are you
Todorov (equilibrium etc); Claude Levi-Strauss (binary opposition); Roland Barthes
constructing/ using/ challenging?
(Enigma code; Action code. Also, Open and Closed texts); Pam Cook; Noam
Chomsky (narrative is fundamental to human understanding) How are the representations in your production the products of your own cultural
experience/ background/ ideology/ values?
• How does the narrative structure/ ending shape the meaning of your production?

What would Laura Mulvey say about your production?
Section B: Media and Collective identity

There are four areas you need to understand in preparing for the exam:
1. How do the contemporary media represent nations, regions and ethnic / social / collective groups
of people in different ways?
a. How are young people/ males/ females/ gay people/ Northerners/ any social group represented?
Discuss how the representations use stereotypes; are the representations hegemonic/ reinforcing
dominant ideologies; do they challenge hegemony; are they represented as heterogenous/
homogenous; how could terms and phrases like Female solidarity/ teen solidarity/ male solidarity,
Constructed certitude, Consciously cultivated (fe)male bond/ teen bond, Socialisation, Binary,
Plurality, Femininities/ masculinities be useful in discussing the representations?; Who are these
representations aimed at, and how does this affect the way the group are represented?; Who is
creating these representations?; How are different social groups represented in the media industry, as
well as by the media?; What is the purpose of these representations?; How does the media construct
representations of groups of people?; How is collective identity constructed?

2. How does contemporary representation compare to previous time periods?
a. Compare recent texts (last 4 years) to past texts in terms of the ideas in question 1. What differences/
similarities are there?;

3. What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people?
a. What impact does the media have on audiences’ sense of identity?; How do audiences respond to/
use media representations?; To what extent are audiences active in constructing their own sense of
identity?; How useful are Uses and Gratification theory/ Hypodermic Needle Theory/ Cultivation theory
in understanding audiences’ responses to media representations?; Does the media reflect or shape
our sense of who we are?

4. To what extent is human identity increasingly ‘mediated’?
a. Does the media reflect or shape our sense of who we are?; Is the media increasingly important in how
we shape our identity?; How powerful is the media in shaping/ helping us to shape who we are?

In the exam you:
b. have a choice of two questions
c. have 60 minutes to answer the ‘Collective identity’ question
d. MUST write about two media (e.g. film and magazines. It doesn’t need to be even between the two
media, so could be 90% on one and 10% on the other)
e. Must include theory or theorists and apply them to your case studies
f. Should be able to discuss past, present and future

We have looked at collective identity in terms of British youth and working class. Other schools will have
looked at all sorts (e.g. Africans; Muslims; Northerners; gender. The exam question will be broad enough so
that you can write about whatever area you have studied.
_______________________________________________________________

These are the kind of questions you will be asked.
1. Discuss the contemporary representation of a nation, region or social group in the media, using specific
textual examples from at least two media to support your answer. (Exam Board Sample)
2. How far does the representation of a particular social group change over time? Refer to at least two
media in your answer. (Exam Board Sample)
3. Looking at two media, describe the ways in which a particular group of people are collectively
represented or provided for, using specific examples to support your response. (Textbook)
4. Analyse the ways in which the media represent one group of people that you have studied. (Jan 2010)
5. “The media do not construct collective identity; they merely reflect it”. Discuss. (Jan 2010)
A couple of bonus ideas:
6. To what extent do audiences use media to construct their own sense of collective identity?
7. “The media has replaced family, society and religion as the main source of collective identity.” Discuss.
G325 Critical Perspective in Media – Information from the Exam Board
The purpose of this unit is to assess candidates’ knowledge and understanding of media concepts, contexts and critical debates, through their understanding of
one contemporary media issue and their ability to evaluate their own practical work in reflective and theoretical ways.
The examination is two hours. Candidates are required to answer two compulsory questions, on their own production work, and one question from a choice of six
topic areas. The unit is marked out of a total of 100, with the two questions on production work marked out of 25 each, and the media theory question marked out
of 50.
There are two sections to this paper:
Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production (50 marks)
Section B: Contemporary Media Issues (50 marks)
Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production
Candidates answer two compulsory questions. The first requires them to
describe and evaluate their skills development over the course of their
production work, from Foundation Portfolio to Advanced Portfolio. The second
asks them to identify one production and evaluate it in relation to one theoretical
concept.

Question 1(a) requires candidates to describe and evaluate their skills
development over the course of their production work, from Foundation Portfolio
to Advanced Portfolio. The focus of this evaluation must be on skills
development, and the question will require them to adapt this to one or two
specific production practices. The list of practices to which questions will relate
is as follows:
 Digital Technology
 Research and planning
 Post-production
 Using conventions from real media texts
 Creativity (will only be asked alongside one of the other categories)
Questions will be posed using one or two of these categories.
Where candidates have produced relevant work outside the context of their A
Level media course, they are free to additionally refer to this experience.

Question 1(b) requires candidates to select one production and evaluate it in
relation to a media concept. The list of concepts to which questions will relate is
as follows:
 Genre
 Narrative
 Representation
 Audience
 Media language

In the examination, questions will be set using one of these concepts only.
In some circumstances, candidates will be expected to select the production
that appears to relate most effectively to the specific concept that arises in the
exam question. However, the requirement for candidates to evaluate one of
their productions in relation to a concept does not assume that the concept will