MEST 4• Media: Research and Production• 50% of the course (80 Marks)• Two Sections: Critical Investigation (48marks)• Linked Production Piece (32 Marks).
Purpose• The unit is intended to enable candidates toexplore a text, theme, issue or debate relevantto the contemporary media landscape indepth and use this exploration to inform theirproduction piece.• (Contemporary – Within the last 5 years).
Group Work• Where candidates are working in a group on aproduction piece they may choose to producesimilar research studies or they may wish to focuson different texts, themes, issues or debatesrelevant to their chosen production piece.• Groups could work on a sequence, opening titlesor short horror film yet investigates one of themany different issues, themes and debates thatarise from the genre.
Critical Investigation• You will be required to produce an individualinvestigation which may be presented as a writtenreport of 2000 words.• The critical investigation should be word processed (ifwritten) and a detailed bibliography/source listprovided citing both the primary texts (i.e. the textsstudied) and secondary sources (e.g. textbooks andjournals). Candidates should be aware that extensiveuse of film review websites, for example, is notencouraged as they rarely consider the text critically
Investigations can be presented in anon-written format• a DVD commentary approximately 10 minuteslong – including interview, commentary on keysequences and analysis of existing material• a wiki-based investigation of at least fourpages with links, analysis, comparison andvisual materials
Ideas for Critical Investigation• Candidates should be ready to develop theirown interest and expertise and given theopportunity to research and analyse thosearea that have captured their interest andor/imagination.• Stay clear of representation
Key Points• Research Essay:• Does it allow candidates to explore the 5 Key Concepts?• Does it negotiate an issue and/or debate? Is it contemporary?• Is there a list of text(s)?• Does it go beyond MEST3 topic areas?• Is it synoptic? (presents a summary of views).• Does it answer the question ‘why’ rather than ‘how’?• Does it encourage independent research and critical autonomy?• Is it truly individual?• Does it avoid the cliché – (women in the media etc)• Would it end up just being a list of facts?
Linked Production• Critical Investigation area• Gender representations in soap operas• Linked Production• The opening sequence for an episode of a new soapOpera• Critical Investigation area• Viral marketing techniques• Linked Production• A viral advertisement suitable for distribution bymobile phone• Critical Investigation area• Japanese anime• Linked Production• Trailer for a new anime film
Linked Production• Critical Investigation area• Contemporary men’s lifestyle magazines• Linked Production• Mock-up of the first edition of a new men’s lifestyleMagazine• Critical Investigation area• Machinima and commercial game trailers• Linked Production• Machinima film for a new first-person shootercomputer game• Critical Investigation area• Shock jocks and local commercial radio stations• Linked Production• Opening section of a new late night ‘discussion’programme for a local radio station
Length of Production Pieces• Moving Images and audio work is notexpected to be longer than 5 minutes.• Print or E-Media – At least three pages for anindividual candidate – more for a groupproduction.
Groupings• Video Production – No more than groups of 4• E-media/Print – No more than groups of 2• You can work individually on this work.
Making Decisions• You need to have some solid ideas by the endof next week.• You can come up with ideas for productionpieces first – then decide what aspect of theproduction piece you can write about in yourcritical investigation.
Examiner’s Tip• Try not to choose something you’re a fan of unlessyou’re absolutely sure that you are able to maintainsufficient critical distance from your text.• Many of the best studies are chosen with the head notthe heart.• If you decide to choose a text you really like, thinkcarefully about exploring a second, contrasting, butlinked text as part of your secondary research – thiswill help your reflect on the first text.
Text Point of Comparison NotesTribe, BBC documentaryfronted by Bruce Parry,series 3, 2007This documentarypredominantly examinesthe behaviours of malegroups in tribes around theworld, as well as the rolesof women in the tribe.Women’s experiences ofeveryday life tend to getless coverage than the men.Might be interesting –morepositive representations ofmen.Local newspaper report onteen gang crime spree.An extremely negativerepresentationQuite good to use news tocontrast with documentary.This forms a really nicecross-platform link.Top Gear A more subtle text,‘laddishness’?Could be a challenge tocompare, but if managedsuccessfully could really tellme something aboutattitudes.Case Study: Ross Kemp on Gangs – an investigation as to whetherrepresentations of groups of mean in the media are always portrayed asnegative
Ideas for Research• Narrative structural devices in post-modern texts;• The superhero genre post-9/11;• extreme-sports magazines and their niche marketing.• Ugly Betty – What are the problems inherent inportraying a word of fashion, aspired to by manypeople, in a negative light?• Boys don’t cry – how do the contemporarydocumentaries Ross Kemp on Gangs and Triberepresent masculinity• How why do wildlife documentaries such as WaterVoles and Life in Cold Blood sustain the interest of BBCaudience in the digital age