Thursday, November 20, 2014


Year 12 cover work: Mr Halsey 21/11/14

12A: 21/11/14 P3
Firstly, make sure you've finished Monday's work on Uses and Gratifications theory (plus the two tasks reinforcing the Hypodermic Needle and Two-Step Flow theories).

The final aspect of audience theory is one step beyond Uses and Gratifications - read the notes below then complete the questions in a separate blog post.

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.

Blog task - answer the following questions

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? 

12C: 21/11/14 P6
Your Preliminary Exercise is due on Monday - make sure you have edited it, exported it and uploaded it to YouTube. It needs to be up on your blog for the screening on Monday.

If you have completed that, you can get ahead on next week's work and start to evaluate your preliminary exercise. Write a list of the strengths and weaknesses of your preliminary exercise, thinking carefully about the lessons you have learned for the real coursework you'll start next week.

Monday, November 17, 2014


12A: Uses and gratifications theory (Blumler & Katz)

Researchers Blumler and Katz reignited audience theory in 1974 by stating that media audiences are active and make conscious choices about the way they consume media.

They suggested there are four main uses or gratifications (pleasures) that audiences get from the media.

Diversion: escape from everyday problems and routine - entertainment.

Personal Relationships: using the media for emotional and other interaction (e.g. developing affection for characters in TV)

Personal Identity: finding ourselves reflected in texts or learning behaviour and values from the media. Reality TV or documentary (Educating Yorkshire) are good examples.

Surveillance: Information useful for living (e.g. Weather, traffic news, holiday bargains etc.)

Uses and Gratifications: blog task

Create a blog post called ‘Uses and Gratifications Theory’.

For each of the four categories, write about one media text that fits that particular audience use or pleasure. Make sure you explain WHY it fits the category and use images or clips to illustrate your points.

Audience theory: classwork/homework

1) Complete the Uses and Gratifications blog task above if you did not complete it in the lesson.

2) Read this Mail Online article about the effects of videogames. How does this article link to the hypodermic needle model?

3) Read this BBC profile of Jamal Edwards. How does Jamal Edwards link to the two-step flow model?

Friday, November 14, 2014


12A: Audience theory

The hypodermic needle model

This is a crude theory from the 1920s that suggests the media injects information into the audience like a hypodermic needle and therefore can have a dangerous effect on us.

The two-step flow model

The two-step flow model was developed in the 1940s because the hypodermic needle theory was considered too simplistic, assuming the audience consumed media without thinking.

The two-step flow model instead suggests the audience are influenced by ‘opinion leaders’ in the media who mediate how the audience react to media texts. The theory suggests the media is not all-powerful and that social factors are important.

Task: Two-step flow model

1) Summarise the two-step flow model. 

2) In your opinion, is the two-step flow theory still relevant today?

3) How does this YouTube blogger fit into the two-step flow model?

4) How this this Telegraph article on influential tweeters fit the two-step flow model?

Finish for homework if you don't get it done in the lesson - due Monday.

Friday, November 07, 2014


Preliminary exercise

Continuity task

Your preliminary exercise involves 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

Time allowed: two weeks

You are advised to work in the group that you will work in for your MEST2 coursework project.

Note: you must have your filming completed by the end of Monday 17 November in order to have footage for the Apple Store trip on Wednesday 19 November.

Key skills

The following clips and links should help you with the key skills you need to demonstrate in your preliminary exercise.

Match on action

Match on action (or cutting on action) is an editing technique for continuity editing in which one shot cuts to another shot showing the same action of the subject in the first shot.

This creates the impression of continuity - the action creates a 'visual bridge' which is easy for the audience to follow.

Look at this YouTube clip for match on action - the cuts you want to look at in particular are at 2 seconds, then again at 18 seconds:

Shot/reverse shot

Shot/reverse shot uses over-the-shoulder shots to show a conversation between two characters. Look at this example from the Hunger Games movie - specifically between 0.50 and 1.30.

With shot/reverse shot, you need to observe the 180 degree rule

180 degree rule

The 180-degree rule of shooting and editing keeps the camera on one side of the action. This keeps characters grounded compositionally on a particular side of the screen or frame, and keeps them looking at one another when only one character is seen onscreen at a time. 

It is referred to as a rule because the camera, when shooting two actors, must not cross over the axis of action; if it does, it risks giving the impression that the actors' positions in the scene have been reversed. [source: Columbia Film Language Glossary]

In other words, draw an imaginary line between the two characters facing each other and then make sure the camera never crosses that line during the filming of that scene. This video is a brilliant explanation of the rule:

Task list: planning

  1. Sort out your group (if you haven’t done so already)
  2. Discuss what your preliminary exercise will involve – location, sequence of events, who will act etc.
  3. Write a short script for the preliminary exercise. Remember, scripts outline movement and shots as well as dialogue. The BBC Writer's Room is a brilliant resource for tips and examples of TV scriptwriting. Here's a genuine TV script example from Luther to check you are formatting your script correctly.
  4. Write a shot list of every possible shot (and a few extra) you will need for this preliminary exercise. An example shot list is here.
  5. Draw a rough storyboard for the sequence you plan to shoot.
  6. Upload your completed planning to your blog then let your teacher know. You can then book out a camera and start shooting.

Monday, November 03, 2014


Audience: Psychographics

Media institutions are always looking for more detailed audience profiling – so they can target their product more successfully.

These include VALS (values, attitudes and lifestyles) or Mosaic consumer classification. They also use Psychographics.


Young and Rubicam invented a successful psychographic profile known as their 4Cs Marketing Model: Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation. They suggested people fit into one of seven groups:

Rigid, strict, authoritarian and chauvinist values, oriented to the past and to Resigned roles. Brand choice stresses safety, familiarity and economy. (Older)

Alienated, Struggler, disorganised - with few resources apart from physical/mechanical skills (e.g. car repair). Heavy consumers of alcohol, junk food and lotteries, also trainers. Brand choice involves impact and sensation.

Domestic, conformist, conventional, sentimental, passive, habitual. Part of the mass, favouring big and well-known value for money 'family' brands. Almost invariably the largest 4Cs group.

Materialistic, acquisitive, affiliative, oriented to extrinsics ... image, appearance, charisma, persona and fashion. Attractive packaging more important than quality of contents. (Younger, clerical/sales type occupation)

Strong goal orientation, confidence, work ethic, organisation ... support status quo, stability. Brand choice based on reward, prestige - the very best . Also attracted to 'caring' and protective brands ... stress relief. (Top management)

Energy - autonomy, experience, challenge, new frontiers. Brand choice highlights difference, sensation, adventure, indulgence and instant effect - the first to try new brands. (Younger - student)

Freedom from restriction, personal growth, social awareness, value for time, independent judgement, tolerance of complexity, anti-materialistic but intolerant of bad taste. Curious and enquiring, support growth of new product categories. Select brands for intrinsic quality, favouring natural simplicity, small is beautiful. (Higher Education)

Psychographics: pair presentations

In pairs, you are going to investigate one of Young and Rubicam’s Psychographic groups.

You need to put together a presentation in which you create an example couple for that particular psychographic group and suggest what their media consumption might involve.

Note: You need to publish the tasks on each of your blogs individually.


Who you are working with:

The psychographic group you are researching:

Introduce your example couple that represents your group:

Make up their names:

Where do they work/study?

What do they do in their spare time?

Now suggest their media consumption:

Print: What newspapers/magazines does your group read (if any)? Is this on paper or tablet? 

Broadcast: What TV programmes/channels do your group watch? Radio stations? TV package – Freeview or Sky? Films?

E-Media: What technology do they own? What websites do they visit (if any)?


1) Finish your presentation and upload all the details on your blog (it needs to be on everybody's blog individually but can be a duplicate of your partner's post).

2) Take Young and Rubicam's test to see which Pyschographic group you belong to. Write the results on your blog post and whether you agree with it.

Due: Friday

Monday, October 20, 2014


12A: Narrative

There are three key narrative theories we need to learn as part of AS Media. The notes as a reminder:

Narrative patterns
Linear Pattern: progresses forward towards a resolution - Beginning, Middle and End.
Multi-strand Narrative: popular in broadcast TV (e.g. soaps) and film. Involves more than one narrative running parallel involving different characters and locations.
Documentary narrative: this may revolve round a central theme (e.g. troublesome neighbours) or group of people.

Long-running TV series such as Breaking Bad or The Wire have one major narrative and lots of mini-narratives. The major narrative runs over the series, the mini narrative may be resolved within an episode.

Narrative theories
When studying narrative in Media, we need to be able to identify what the story is and how it is being told. There are three key theories we need to learn and apply:

Enigma and Action Codes - Roland Barthes
Barthes suggested that stories have certain codes that audiences understand and respond to.

ENIGMA codes: control how much we know and help hold our interest. It creates mystery during the narrative.

ACTION codes: events or actions in the story that are important in developing the narrative, e.g. a gun being cocked signifies that a violent scene will follow.

Todorov: equilibrium
Tzvetan Todorov proposed a theory of equilibrium:

Equilibrium: An existing state of harmony
Disequilibrium: Equilibrium is disrupted by an unfortunate event or evil character which leads to a chain of events involving conflict
New Equilibrium: The evil forces are defeated, the conflict is resolved and harmony exists once more

Character theory: Propp
Vladimir Propp came up with a list of stock characters in narratives by examining Russian fairytales. He called them the seven spheres of action:

The Villain: Creates a complication in the narrative
The Donor: Gives the hero something that will help in the resolution
The Helper: Helps the hero in restoring the resolution
The Princess: Has to be saved by the hero
The Dispatcher: Sends the hero on a task
The Hero: Central protagonist, saves the day and restores equilibrium
The False Hero: Rare character that appears to be good but is revealed to have been bad all along

Narrative blog task

1) Choose three clips from YouTube and embed them in your blog - one from film, one from TV and one of your choice.

2) For EACH clip, apply the three narrative theories: Barthes' action and enigma codes; Todorov's equilibrium; Propp's stock characters. Make specific reference to aspects of the clip (as you would in a film language analysis). Remember to highlight media language.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Year 12: Editing task

Editing is the last aspect of our Film Language unit - we'll be starting coursework after half-term. Two things to work on first:

You will have a Film Language test in your first double lesson after half-term. 

Your homework, therefore, is to revise EVERYTHING you've learned in your first half term with both your teachers - film language and the MIGRAIN key concepts. 

You need to be ready to take the test in the first lesson back.

Editing task
There are some truly fantastic clips for the Editing part of the Film Language unit but we won't watch them all in one lesson. 

Your blog task is to find a film clip on YouTube that you feel has been edited in a distinctive way and write a 750 word analysis of the clip.

Use as much media language as you can - and remember to highlight it. Try and use the key words we've learned for editing and any other aspects of film language you can apply.

If you're not sure what clip to pick, you will find plenty of lists online if you search for 'great film editing sequences' or similar. One example that comes up when you do this is something like the shootout scene from Michael Mann's Heat (3mins - 6mins particularly, but it's all brilliant):

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?