Focus on creative decisions informed by institutional knowledge (you did what you did partly because of what you had learned about how the media produce, distribute and share material)
Focus on creative decisions informed by theoretical understanding (you know you did what you did because of having a point of view in relation to media and meaning, and you can describe that in relation to media theories.
Evaluate the process - don’t just describe it.
Relate your media to ‘real media’ at the micro level (give clear, specific examples of how you used techniques and strategies to create intertextual references to media you have been influenced by).
Try to deconstruct yourself (don’t think of your own tastes, decisions, preferences, behaviour as just being ‘the ways things are’; instead, try to analyse the reasons for these things - tough to do but worth the effort).
Choose clearly relevant micro examples to relate to macro reflective themes (you can’t write about EVERYTHING you did, so be prepared with a ‘menu’ of examples to adapt to the needs of the reflective task).
Avoid binary oppositions (your media products will not either follow or challenge existing conventions; they will probably do a bit of both).
Try to write about your broader media culture (don’t just limit your writing to your media production pieces, but try to extend your response to include other creative work or other media-related activities you have been engaged in).
Adopt a metadiscourse (step outside of just describing your activities as a media student to reflect, if possible, on the ‘conditions of possibility’ for the subject and your role within it - what kind of activity is making a music video for media studies, compared with making it as a self-employed media producer?)
Quote, paraphrase, reference (reflective writing about production is still academic writing so remain within the mode of address)
Question 1a: Reflecting on the development of your skills This question asks you to consider how you have developed as a maker of media products across your work, including relevant work completed in other subjects (Film, Photography, Art for example) and anything made ‘for fun’ (videos on YouTube for example). So, what is ‘your work’? Make a Timeline of all relevant work completed over the past 2 years adding a brief description of each piece and noting where it can be found for reference. Use arrows to show connections between pieces.
Plan and prepare before the exam. There is a limit to what can be asked and some combinations are more likely than others (eg. Digital tech + any other or Creativity + any other). You only have 30mins but have to talk about everything you have done so make every word BRILLIANT!
Consider the mark scheme. There are 10 marks for explanation, analysis and argument, 10 marks for examples and 5 marks for terminology.
Think about where you are at the end of the course and what you have learnt in other areas of it. You’re not just giving an account of what you did but sitting back and reflecting upon it in the light of all your learning. It is GOOD to utilise things you’ve learnt/are learning in other units.
Creativity Whilst you’ve had to evaluate your work from the perspective of the other four areas, you have not before had to consider Creativity. Where does creativity come from and what does it mean anyway? Let’s BRAINSTORM! http://en. wikipedia .org/ wiki /Creativity http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creativity
Self-Evaluation: Creativity How creative do you think you’ve been? Has a set menu of tasks made it easier to be creative or would you have preferred a free choice? Were you pinned down too much by the tasks or did they free you up to be creative within the boundaries of the task? What other factors affected your creativity? Look over your timeline and write 5 bullet points, with explanations and examples, reflecting on your creativity across the course. Remember to include media terminology where appropriate.
Homework Look again at all the work you have produced over the past 2 years (referenced in your timeline) and ensure that you have access to it all next lesson. Failure to do this will mean your presence in the lesson next week be largely POINTLESS.
Digital editing programs (iMovie/Final Cut Pro/music editing)
Digital cameras/video cameras
Digital sound recorders
One way of approaching this area might be to imagine you DIDN’T have any of this technology available to you and consider how this would have negatively affected your production work. Look for examples in your production work where your use of each type of digital technology has been particularly successful and/or interesting and/or has led to or shown a development. Try to focus your ideas on your development as a media producer and try to trace a path across the two years.
Research and Planning This is an area in which some of you have been stronger than others across the past two years. The examiner has no way of knowing what you actually did, so some poetic license can be applied if this area comes up in the exam. What were the most useful Research and Planning activities you undertook in each of your projects and how did they inform the production? Find 10 examples.
You should have some analysis of your use of codes and conventions in your blog evaluations for each production (for media studies projects at least), so use these as a starting point. Find examples of times when you:
Followed a convention
Developed a convention
Deliberately ignored/contradicted a convention
For each example, explain HOW you did it and WHY.
Remember to ensure you have a range of examples from across the course.
In your experience, how has your creativity developed through using digital technology to complete your production?
Explain the tasks you have done across the 2 years,
including anything done outside the course that you intend to reference.
Write about the technology you have used, with some reflections on how you got to grips with it initially, and where you went from there. You might discuss:
Make some observations about how easy it is to get used to technology these days, particularly for young people who have access to it outside school. Refer specifically to how you used the technology in particular tasks.
Open up the question of creativity: what does it mean to you, and where have your ideas about creativity come from? What do other people say about what creativity might mean? (*Quote) How have the tasks themselves encouraged creativity? Refer to examples from what you’ve done.
Try to bring together these strands - creativity and technology - to answer the question.
Refer to ways in which the technology has also allowed you to develop other skills - teamwork, organisation, planning, research, negotiation.
Finish by opening up to a wider conclusion - that digital technology has given media consumers the opportunity to become media producers too - particularly via web distribution and that this, in turn, has allowed creative comment in wider communities such as YouTube.
Question 1b: Writing analytically about your production work
1b asks about only one of your projects (again could be something completed outside the course).
It will ask you about any one of the key concepts:
When preparing for this question you may want to pick different production pieces for each of the key concepts. The question will essentially be asking you to analyse a piece of your own work in terms of the application of one of these concepts.
A key part of answering this question successfully is showing your understanding and ability to apply media theory/critical approaches . Which theory/approach is relevant will depend on the key concept and on your own production so you will have to do some research of your own.
To get you started, you are going to work in pairs to prepare a presentation for the rest of the class on relevant critical theories for each of the key concepts. Your presentation should include:
An explanation (in words YOU understand) of the theory/approach, who came up with it, when and how.
A short quotation or two (with accreditations) that could be learnt and used in the exam.
An example of how you could apply it to your own work, using one of your productions.
REMEMBER: It may be that your production goes AGAINST the theory, or even disproves it. This is fine and makes for an interesting critical analysis of your work.
Key Concepts and Possible Theory/Critical Approaches
Uses and gratifications theory
Hypodermic needle theory
Reception theory (Stuart Hall)
Gender: Judith Butler, Laura Mulvey, Angela McRobbie, David Gauntlett