Friday, November 20, 2015

Representation theories: blog task

A reminder of the notes on Representation theories:

Richard Dyer: Stereotyping and power
Richard Dyer's theory suggests that the complexity and variety of a group is reduced to a few key characteristics. An exaggerated version of these characteristics is then applied to everyone in the group. 

He states that those with power stereotype those with less power. 

Therefore, we have stereotypes of non-white people, poor people and women... but not so many of white, middle class men.

Medhurst: shorthand that carries value judgements

Andy Medhurst suggests stereotyping is shorthand for identification. This means we use stereotypes to tell audiences a lot in a short space of time.

However, this can carry value judgements and therefore be very negative for the representation of minority groups. Medhurst gave the example of the representation of gay men: 

"The image of the screaming queen does not just mean 'all gay men are like that', it means 'all gay men are like that and aren't they awful', which in turn means 'and they are awful because they are not like us'."

Perkins: stereotypes can be positive or partly true

Tessa Perkins suggests some stereotypes can be positive and are often true.

Specifically, she stated that stereotypes are...
  • Not always negative (the French are good cooks)
  • Not always about the less powerful (Politicians are corrupt)
  • Can be about our own social groups (Students are lazy)
  • Not always false (The Scottish wear kilts)
  • Can change over time (A typical British holiday was in Blackpool; now it is Spain)

Mulvey: the male gaze

Laura Mulvey suggests that the dominant view in the media is masculine and created for the benefit of men. Women are presented for men to look at, hence the ‘male gaze’. This links to the idea of ‘sex sells’ and women being represented as sex objects.

More recently, the idea of the ‘female gaze’ has been suggested. Rosalind Gill suggests the objectified male is an example of post-feminist media culture in modern Britain. Task: write down an example for each.

Linked to Mulvey...

Berger: ‘Ways of seeing’

An additional representation theory that influenced Mulvey:

John Berger (1972) stated that: “Men act and women appear”

“Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.”

Levi-Strauss: Representation and ideology

Claude Levi-Strauss suggests that representations in the media are informed by ideology: the set of beliefs and values held by the producer of the text.

Some things are included and others are left out to create a dominant or preferred representation. 

Representation task

Return to your TV or film clip that you have already analysed for dominant/alternative representations and stereotypes (original blog task was here).

You now need to write an in-depth analysis of the representation in this clip as if you were writing an essay or exam answer. 

Apply the representation theories we have learned (you must apply a minimum of three of the theories) and write a minimum of 500 words.

Complete for homework: due next week in double lesson

MEST2 brief

Now your preliminary exercises are complete, we need to start our actual MEST2 coursework planning.

The first aspect of this is to interrogate the brief you have been given - you can find the full 2016 MEST2 brief here.

We are working on Brief One - The Little Picturehouse.

Your tasks will be broadcast and print:

(a) Broadcasting
Select one of the following topics as a general inspiration for the film you wish to create:

  • Modern-noir
  • Play!
  • Urban Life
  • Summer
  • The Secret
  • Romance
  • Friendship.

Create approximately 3 minutes of moving image footage as an extract from the proposed film.

For example, you might choose to create:

  • the film's opening to establish genre, character and location;
  • a moment of conflict to show your ability to create emotion/atmosphere/tension/excitement;
  • contrasting scenes with transitions to show how you can create changes in tone and pace;
  • a specific set-piece for example: a family conversation over dinner; a training montage; a chase scene;
  • scenes that create or communicate a specific emotion such as unease, wonder, suspense, surprise etc.

You should identify where the extract would appear within the proposed film.

Your production should demonstrate an understanding of the way film uses camera shots, sound and editing to communicate story and ideas to the audience. Care should be taken when selecting locations, wardrobe, make-up and props. If appropriate, you could use post-production effects.

(b) Print
All entrants have been asked to create pages for a promotional booklet which will demonstrate the variety of local film-making talent and provide information on the shortlisted entries. Each entrant is therefore asked to create their own pages for the booklet. You should create two to three A4 pages. 

You are encouraged to be creative in your approach and try to make your pages distinctive and visually appealing. You should include information about you, your production team and the film itself.

As discussed in class, AQA have given us permission to create four pages of an A5 booklet - e.g. front cover, contents page, double page spread feature.

Your initial task is simple:

Confirm who you will be working with for MEST2.

Look over the topics for inspiration and start brainstorming ideas for your short film extract.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Preliminary exercise evaluation

After the screening of the Preliminary Exercises in class, you need to write an individual evaluation of the Preliminary Exercise you were involved in. As with the MEST2 coursework, you cannot work with others on your evaluation although you may wish to discuss strengths and weaknesses with other students (either within your group or others). 

Your evaluation needs to include the following:
  • Clear reference to the brief, your planning process, how your script/storyboard/shot list helped create the final product and what you would do differently next time in terms of pre-production
  • Detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your film
  • Confident use of media language, particularly film language, showing clear understanding of the key concepts of Media Studies (MIGRAIN)
Here's a good example from last year to help you.

Your evaluation needs to be a minimum of 500 words and is due for Thursday 26 November (12D).

Good luck!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Representation: Photoshop collages

Create two Photoshop collages offering the dominant and alternative representations for a certain group or place. 

Think about the usual stereotype for that group and collect words, images and colours that capture that dominant representation. For the alternative, you need words, images and colours that don't fit the usual stereotype.

For example, if you were to create a collage of the dominant representation of women, you would look for feminine colours, jobs that are associated with women and more. For the alternative representation, you'd do the opposite.

You will be using Photoshop for your MEST2 print work so it's important you get to grips with it if you're not confident already. Use YouTube tutorials, Mr Qureshi and other students in the class to help you learn the software.

When you have finished the collages, save them as JPEGs (low quality) and post them to your blog along with an explanation of the task.

Target grades, folder and index checks

While you are getting to grips with Photoshop, I'll be calling you to the front for a short discussion regarding your target grade in Media, your folder status and your blog index. Make sure you have posted everything to your blog and have your folders fully up-to-date and organised.

Monday, November 09, 2015


The key notes on our new key concept - representation:
  • Representation is the process by which the media presents the ‘real world’ to an audience.
  • Media texts are artificial versions of reality
  • Even factual media – such as news – goes through processes of selection, organisation and editing that shapes its content
  • How are particular people and groups represented in the media? How and why are stereotypes created?
  • Is anything true? Or is it simply a representation of the facts from a particular point of view?


Media texts are a construction of reality, and play an important role in the way we view the world. 

Reality is therefore subject to mediation which is the process that takes place when a media text’s meaning is created.

When mediation takes place, an institution, individual or even technology comes between the actual event and the audience.


Media messages have to be communicated quickly which often means relying on stereotypes. Stereotypes work as a kind of shorthand where a word, image or sound will stand for a lot more.

A stereotype is a standardised, usually oversimplified mental picture or attitude towards a person, group, place or event.

Stereotypes act like codes that give audiences a quick, common understanding of a person or group of people—usually relating to their gender, class, ethnicity or race, sexual orientation, social role or occupation.

Representation: dominant or alternative?

A representation in the media will either reinforce or challenge the stereotype.

If it reinforces the stereotype, it is a dominant representation.

If it challenges the stereotype, it is an alternative representation.

Representation: Blog task

Find a YouTube clip from film or TV and complete the same activity we have just done in class:

1) List the different people/groups represented in the trailer (men/women/Americans etc.)

2) For each group, decide whether the representation is a dominant or alternative portrayal.

3) What stereotypes can you identify in the trailer?

Complete for homework if you don't complete it in the lesson - due Friday.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Y12 Folder check and MIGRAIN index

As we are at the half-way point in our MIGRAIN introduction to Media unit, we need to set a couple of pieces of homework that check we are keeping up to date with all the work so far. This means a folder check and creating an index of all our MIGRAIN key concept work so far.

Folder check
On Friday you need to bring an up-to-date folder to the lesson to show you are organising all of your notes, work, test papers and more. Specifically, we will be checking you've got the following:
  • Ring binder folder or equivalent
  • Dividers - section for each teacher
  • Notes in chronological order/title/date
  • High quality notetaking
  • Blog print-out - to end of last half-term (for assessment/revision purposes)
  • Homework completed/quality of homework
Due: Friday

We have already covered many of the MIGRAIN key concepts in Media but if you've missed any lessons for whatever reason you could have missed some crucial teaching or theory that you'll need in the MEST1 exam.

In order to avoid this problem, you need to create a simple index that links to your blog post for each piece of work we've done so far this year. We'll then update this index at the end of the unit. Your index should include the following:

1) Media consumption audit
2) Reading an image: RBK advert analysis & own choice advert analysis
3) Institution: major media institution research and presentation
4) Institution: brand values
5) Institution: CoolBrands research
6) Narrative: narrative theory YouTube clip analysis
7) Audience: psychographics
8) Audience: audience theory blog tasks/questions
9) Audience: audience theory - dependency theory

For your index, the text should link to YOUR corresponding blogpost so you can access your work on each key concept quickly and easily. This also means you if you have missed anything you can catch up with the work and notes and won't underperform in the exam due to gaps in your knowledge.

Due: Friday

Friday, November 06, 2015

Dependency theory

Rokeach and DeFleur took Uses and Gratifications one step further in 1976 in suggesting that people have become dependent on the media.

With Dependency theory, they suggest that people rely on the media for information determining their decisions. This means the media can create many different feelings such as fear, anxiety, and happiness.

Dependency theory: blog task

  1. What do YOU primarily use the media for: entertainment or information? (Or something else?)
  2. To what extent do you feel we are dependent on the media?
  3. Has our dependence on the media changed over the last 10 years? How?
  4. Read this Telegraph article – does this support Dependency theory? What is your personal opinion on this issue? 

Finish for homework - due Monday.