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Coursework marking is split into 3 sections, or 3 AOs: AO2, AO3, AO...
CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 3
CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 4
These are all inter-linked and overlap considerably, but you can consider the following:
This is a complement to the blog...
The Brief Simply restate the brief, precisely as the exam put it
Assessment criteria As above, but also include notes or b...
Working Title1: Short history + changing strategy A few lines or bullets on the company; you can return
to edit this once ...
you’ve looked at would or would not be realistic/appropriate – as an Indie your actual choice would be quite
limited, but ...
Sound EG1: Film Title (director, year) You can revisit films you’ve already analysed if you’re adding more
detail. You mig...
Genre specific research, and audience research/analysis. It is CRUCIAL that you keep making
AUDIENCE Reflect on what you’ve learned from looking at Warp and Working Title films:
how do their production strategies r...
use images or clips from a small sample of films, ask your sample to identify them, indicate whether they like
films like ...
pitched to some part of an ABC1 audience (as are broadsheet newspapers like The Guardian), while a
conventional slasher, o...
Pre-production: casting, costume, props, make-up (clear evidenced reference to your research
into e...
Animatic Optional but also very valuable, here’s a simple google on animatic. This is simply an animated
storyboard – and ...
Practice exercises: wha...
Production schedule As and when this changes at all, no matter how brief the post blog with an update post –
ALWAYS explai...
posts with video, and in the YouTube description - if your videos are set to unlisted, then you
could screenshot the YouTu...
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AS cwk guide 10 steps


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Guide to the CIE AS coursework film brief, taking a 10 steps approach. These overlap considerably.

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AS cwk guide 10 steps

  1. 1. AS COURSEWORKAS COURSEWORK ASSESSMENT OBJECTIVES (AOs) Coursework marking is split into 3 sections, or 3 AOs: AO2, AO3, AO4. These are marked in levels, Level 5 being the highest and equivalent to an A. Mark out of: 60 20 Grade (approx.) Grade boundaries  LEVEL 0/1 MINIMAL U 0-11 0-3 U (19%; 15%) U 0-39%  LEVEL 2 LIMITED U 12-23 4-7 U (20-39% 20-35%) E 40-49  Level 3 SATISFACTORY E/D 24-35 8-11 E-D (40-59%, 40-55) D 50-59  LEVEL 4 COMPETENT C/B 36-47 12-15 C (60-79%, 60-75) C 60-69 B 70-79  LEVEL 5 EXCELLENT A 48-60 16-20 A (80-100%) A 80-100 AO2: 20/100 AO3: 60/100 AO4: 20/100 CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 1
  3. 3. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 3
  4. 4. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 4
  5. 5. WHAT TO INCLUDE These are all inter-linked and overlap considerably, but you can consider the following: AO2: APPLY KNOWLEDGE + UNDERSTANDING IN BRIEF: Show that your research has not been done for the sake of it, but rather it has clearly influenced and shaped most of your major decisions. HOW TO EVDIENCE THIS: Look over the factors highlighted under ‘AO4’. For most of these, provide the following:  A CLEAR SUMMARY OF FINDINGS – you can go back to these and add updates as and when you consider new examples. If you make sure to include plentiful screenshots and video clips (even better: edited vodcasts), plus any relevant hyperlinks (credit/evidence your sources and research), you will find this makes your job of completing multimedia, creative, well-illustrated Evaluation responses much easier. Post example: Titles Research Summary  A CLEAR SUMMARY OF HOW THESE WILL/IS/HAS INFLUENCE/D YOUR WORK – This comes in three stages.  First, sum up which of the example/s (be very specific!) are most likely to influence your work. Post example: Titles: examples that will influence my/our ideas  Second, using a numbering system, clearly present your ideas and how they evolve, and also your drafts (with feedback and response to this) … including images/clips from BOTH your own work and the existing texts/examples that have influenced your work. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF REPETITION!!! Post example: Titles Draft 1: Fonts try-out and feedback; Titles Draft 2: New Font and feedback; Titles Draft 3: Order and wording completed; OR Music Ideas 1: Initial possibilities; Music Ideas 2: 3 possible influences; Music Ideas 3: Draft 1 + feedback)  Third, and this is direct preparation for the Evaluation, sum up your influences on each element of media language, with extensive illustration through screenshots, clips, ideally vodcast. Post example: Titles: The key influences on our choices. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 5
  6. 6. PLAN OFPLAN OF ATTACK:ATTACK: BLOGBLOG CHECKLISTCHECKLIST This is a complement to the blog. I’ve broken the entire process, including Evaluation, into 10 steps, and listed sample posts you might do for each, but this can never be an exhaustive list. The order is changeable – you will have done some practice exercises before ‘step 5’ for example. My post titles are suggestions – just make sure yours are clear and specific. STEP 1: INITIAL RESEARCH - OPENING CONVENTIONS; THE INDUSTRY Initial research into the conventions of the film opening format (general) and the film industry. Technologies used. This is the largest section of blogging, a key way to evidence ability to undertake and apply appropriate research (AO4) especially. BASIC This might begin with initial posts to get you started with blogging: My Fave Film With an embedded trailer + poster + brief explanation of why – the example right has an embedded image, hyperlinks and institutional information clearly set out My existing Media skills/experience Brief summary of any initial skills or experience with filming, editing, production, textual analysis – including anything you’ve done independently, not just school work Last 5 movies I watched With embedded trailers and IMDB links; compare your view (in 1 sentence) to the rating CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 6 (yes, that is the Czech Republic and composer Franz Liszt…)
  7. 7. The Brief Simply restate the brief, precisely as the exam put it Assessment criteria As above, but also include notes or bullet list on what you’ll need to do to gain good marks for this unit BLOGGER1: Initial blog adjustments and settings As you’ll later be Evaluating your use of technology (Q3/Q4) start blogging on your tech steps as you go; include screenshots and/or screen recording (with annotation or voiceover) for this and for any such post. Use this post to note everything you’ve dow done with Blogger: the settings you’ve changed [widths, fonts/size/colour, background image, template, name and URL, embedding image and using caption tool, embedding video (including where you get the embed code from), embedding links and anything else so far] See post on setting up new blogs. (STEP 1 contd.) Use a numbering system: denote posts that explore a single clear topic, eg FilmEG1, SlasherEG1 [general v genre], TITLES1, FCPX1: Getting started, FCPX2: Exporting a video; YOUTUBE1: Setting up channel, branding, YOUTUBE2: First upload, tagging, titling and descriptions etc INDUSTRY INITIAL You will begin learning to identify and assess ‘media language’, including ‘semiotics’ as well as start looking at film examples. Such work is equally for exam and coursework, but by blogging it you can gain marks for research. This might include posts such as the following: Issues with discussing ‘British’ cinema As our core company case studies are from the UK we will look briefly at a range of notionally ‘British’ films, which you’ll soon begin to understand have as many differences as common links; embed trailers for any examples used. See post, Blogging on films: the level of detail can vary depending on the context, but for most films considered you should provide the director’s name, year of release, production companies, budget, box office (UK/US/world) and distributor (number of countries + BBFC/MPAA age rating are also useful). This will help you with Evaluation Q2. Media language: angles and shot types You should embed some screenshots to illustrate these; you can do this in a PowerPoint, using SlideShare or an alternative document uploading site to do so. It is advisable to pick ONE film to go back to for posts like this, to help YOU see how your analysis + understanding builds. Terminology: highlight using bold+pink This is England opening1: Media language Include key institutional information, hyperlinked so your source is clear, and set out; use screenshots to illustrate the media language you found – if using captions, make sure you adjust these to normal font size! This post is mainly about showing you can correctly identify shot types but also research institutional information. See this post for hyperlinks + worksheet. Semiotics key terms and examples You should include full, formal sentences to start practicing using terms like signifier, and screenshots again to illustrate your points. Tagging: this is a key blog tool (the Blogger gadget is called ‘labels’); start this early and you will make the jobs of adding links lists, sharing posts in groups, finding posts for review, and working on your Evaluation all much, much easier (whilst also driving traffic to your blogs!) Mise-en-scene: what this means Illustrate with analysis of ONE shot. This is England opening2: Applying semiotics In-depth application of what you’ve learned so far, written as formal paragraphs with screenshots to illustrate points made. Use screenshots in this post. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 7
  8. 8. Working Title1: Short history + changing strategy A few lines or bullets on the company; you can return to edit this once we spend more time on the subject if you wish. Use this post to examine what may be a new strategy; this is a lengthy post also designed to help you see how you can extract useful information from reading. Warp1: An initial outline Your initial notes on the company – brief history, and what its known for. Mainstream/commercial or niche/arthouse? High or low budgets? Stars? Familiar settings? Genre/s? Social realism genre explained Use this post and this label. (STEP 1 contd.) TECHNOLOGIES You will use a wide range of technologies as you go, and Evaluation Q4 requires you to discuss how you used these – so build up precise evidence of the tools you used and to what effect (purpose) as you go, remembering to keep adding links lists. BLOGGER2: Tagging and the tag cloud Show you’ve tagged your initial posts and set up the labels gadget. This post will preview some of the gadgets you will be adding. BLOGGER3: Quotes and RSS feed Detail how you are setting out quotes (Trebuchet, purple, “ tool to indent, with SOURCE hyperlinked at the end of the quote. Show how you added an RSS feed and explain what it is. Use this post. BLOGGER4: Pageviews The pageviews gadget, and reiterate how you’re using tags to drive traffic. Note who has the most views in the class and compare your total! BLOGGER5: Links lists Start with a links list for Blogger tools, settings and gadgets. BLOGGER6: Text box Add a short introduction message. INDUSTRY ADVANCED You begin to grapple more with distribution, marketing and how production and distribution companies identify and strategise to target specific (primary and secondary) audiences. You make clear the differing realities for studios and their subsidiaries and Indies … but also grapple with the disruptive power of digitisation, which many see as levelling the playing field as it cuts costs and opens up new marketing and distribution outlets. You can turn any work on the exam essay into useful blog posts, creating several links lists along the way: distribution; target audience; production strategies; budgets and box office – YOU decide how best to present this learning. Gant rule tested out Explain what it is and use current box office top 10 for UK and US to test it out. You can start here. Distribution, box office and the big six Define the two terms, make sure you clearly include your sources and set out any quotes clearly – helps to evidence research skills. Give examples: look at recent box office for the US/UK; go into detail on a WT + a Warp film, including the number of countries theatrically distributed in. You should return repeatedly to the specific topics of marketing and distribution; a series of posts on specific films will provide good evidence of research but also a useful exam revision source. You should also cover VoD + self-distribution and analyse to what extent digitisation represents an opportunity for Indies to compete with studios and their subsidiaries. Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee is a useful example, while Tyrannosaur is a great example to show the potential issues for UK companies seeking even Indie US distribution. You will have to assess which actual distributor you might work with for the evaluation, so it is useful to build up a range of posts + a links list on distribution, including brief notes on whether you think a distributor CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 8
  9. 9. you’ve looked at would or would not be realistic/appropriate – as an Indie your actual choice would be quite limited, but you’d certainly consider VoD and self-distribution as well as selling your production to a conventional (but probably Indie) distributor, and might struggle for distribution outwith your home (UK) market. This post looks at the (UK) evaluation question on distribution; the BritCinema blog should be used if you need to develop your evidence of research, including the tags distribution, self-distribution, VoD, big 6, Gant rule, StudioCanal and more] You can blog on ANY aspect of learning for the exam as part of your coursework learning: developing your grasp of media language and ability to semiotically analyse/deconstruct media texts, and any aspect of the film industry, are relevant to your brief to research, plan, construct a film opening. Just make sure that your post is edited and written to be addressed to your ongoing coursework task, not just mysterious notes. (STEP 1 contd.) PRELIMINARY TASK Early in the year you will have your first practical exercise to plan, shoot, edit and reflect on (evaluate). See Step 5, but don’t rearrange posts to lump all the exercises together; my ‘steps’ are themes or strands that frequently overlap + some carry on throughout the coursework. Preliminary task: the brief + the editing terms Note the brief precisely; explain each of the terms, including what ‘continuity editing’ is. See this post. Prelim: equipment used This may be your first use of a specific camera or tripod; state what this is and reflect on how you used it. FCPX1: Getting started Sum up/list tools and techniques you’ve learned in FCPX, including the difference between a Library, Event and Project; importing footage; basic edits; exporting to YouTube. Prelim: the video! Remember to give your YouTube upload a clear title and description (tagging is a good idea too). Prelim: What I’ve learned Short reflection on/summary of what you’ve learned from this task – including on cinematography. It would be useful to speculate on what you might need to spend more time on for a longer, more important production! OPENING CONVENTIONS (post2) This isn’t separate from the above industry research – as you analyse WT and Warp examples you are building up evidence of research into the conventions (media language) of film openings. You can add a post to more than one links list. What you must comprehensively evidence is having researched a range of film openings from multiple genres (you’re not yet focused on any single genre) and eventually summarised what you think are the common elements of these. You can focus on analysing entire opening sections and/or on specific elements of the media language and conventions: duration, idents, titles [use tag too], 1st and last shot (+ transition to main film), soundtrack (audio bridge?); signifying genre, protagonist/antagonist (Propp + other narrative; editing techniques); audience. Your minimum sample should be 5 films – look at past student blogs and you’ll see that there are usually more. Opening EG1: Film Title (director, year) You can consolidate some of your earlier work, on This is England for example, into posts like this. You will have at least one very detailed analysis but might have many shorter posts. Use lots of screenshots, providing clear, detailed denotation and analysis underneath each (watch out for captions going to small text size). Titles EG1: Film Title (director, year) Posts on this topic need to be VERY comprehensive: list every title – you need to be VERY clear on the conventions on this: typical order, duration, phrasing used etc CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 9
  10. 10. Sound EG1: Film Title (director, year) You can revisit films you’ve already analysed if you’re adding more detail. You might tackle aspects like sound in a single post or in multiple posts like this. GENERAL Opening conventions vodcast summary You will sum up your findings and analysis on the media language of film openings as a FORMAT – I’ve put this as ‘step 6’ but these should really follow directly on from this research, including some vodcasts. It is a good idea to split this into multiple posts, taking titles for example as a topic to summarise. STEP 2: APPLY RESEARCH - PITCH, GROUPS, REVISE IDEA If step 1 is the mammoth initial phase of building your knowledge and understanding of the film industry and media language, particularly of the film opening format, step 2 is where you begin to clearly APPLY this and initial genre research to develop and pitch an idea; possibly form groups; revise the idea following feedback/collaboration. PITCH You must show how your idea reflects the research you’ve already undertaken into the practices of the film industry AND the media language/conventions of film openings. You need to do SOME research into the chosen genre, but will expand on this in step 3 once the final idea is settled. So, you will blog on… IDEA1: Working title Short posts outlining any initial ideas, always with SOME evidence of linkage to your existing research – for example, re-using a screenshot, or even screenshot one of your own posts or links lists! No matter how rough the idea, always give it a working title – which means the title can change. Initial x genre research How much you do is down to you – but the less you do, the slimmer the chances of presenting a convincing pitch, or convincingly answering questions (including from your teacher) on this. Do some reading on the genre’s conventions and analyse some openings from the genre (genres if it is a hybrid). You may want to separate opening analyses into separate post/s. This would also include distribution, box office research into comparable films – I’ve included this in the post below. Pitch preparation The more you do the more likely it is you have an idea that can convince others to join your production and so reduce your individual workload for the rest of the year. Location scouting; props, costume, make-up research (compare to existing examples, show you’ve sourced/priced anything required); technical assistants (musicians, make-up artists, dressmakers you know?); sample shoot/s; budget, distribution, box office research into comparable films; sound/music ideas/issues; challenges and opportunites. Final pitch idea Clarify your idea, and embed any video or other material (PowerPoint etc) you want to use with your pitch. Any idea that cannot be explained within two short sentences will not work. You are applying research here. Pitch and reflection Embed filmed footage of your pitch and the Q+A that followed; sum up your response. PITCH OUTCOME, GROUP, CLARIFY IDEA Idea UPDATE1 Clearly outline the idea, using a similar approach/range of topics as for the pitch and the posts above. From this point, post ANY changes to the idea no matter how minor – this will help evidence your ‘journey’. THE GROUP Introduce any group members and outline what they bring to the production team. If working by yourself, discuss why. From this point, step 4 (pre-production) begins. Step 3 is really part of this but I’ve artificially separated this to help emphasize the importance of genre and audience research. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 10
  11. 11. STEP 3: GENRE, AUDIENCE Genre specific research, and audience research/analysis. It is CRUCIAL that you keep making reference to research (format, genre, industry, audience) throughout the process right up to the point of final cuts. You are assessed on how you APPLY research, and this also needs to be clear within the production itself, so keep making clear, explicit references to your research – don’t worry about repetition. Any media production, regardless of the industry or format, will begin with a clear sense of the target audience – how else can it ever be marketed? – but this can change following research. Your posts should ALSO reference the target audience(s – primary + secondary) from this point to the end of blogging. GENRE RESEARCH Each of you should analyse at least 3 genre openings each; each group at least 10 (the level of detail can vary, especially in small/solo groups), but also identify a range of resources (this can include chapters in the same book) to read and summarise [genre] Resources What books, websites, articles, YouTube playlists/channels, fansites can you find? Detail your research method. Specifically identify a shorter list of resources that one or more named person in the group will use for genre research. A links list would be useful. You can find links + tips in this post. [genre] Research tasks State what topics each person will investigate, with an initial indication of the resources they will use (as research may identify more/better resources). [genre] History What are the key films in the genre’s development? WHY?! Are there key directors? Significant stars? Particular production companies? [genre] Budgets, box office and critics This could be partially from posts on individual film openings, but you’re looking for a general sense of how likely a film from this genre is to be: Indie/studio production; high/medium/low/micro budget; a hit; (widely?) distributed, and to many countries?; which company/ies are most identified with distributing this genre?; Marketing is part of this but I’ll cover that under audience. [genre] EG1: Title (director, year) As before, clearly label your openings research. [genre] Conventions1: Sound Yes, you need a clear overall summary of the genre-specific conventions, but its not a bad idea to also split these up. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT REPETITION ON YOUR BLOG. Focus on making it user-friendly, and easy to find information you need (and for examiners to see evidence of your work). Titles, costume/props/make-up, locations, characters/narrative etc [genre] Conventions summary vodcast Make sure this has a clear description of contents, and a brief overview of findings BEFORE the embedded video, and that you have given an appropriate YouTube video title and description. Adding tags also helps you evidence engaging with your audience and using technology to do so. Key [genre] conventions we will use Make it very clear how your research has influenced your production planning CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 11
  12. 12. AUDIENCE Reflect on what you’ve learned from looking at Warp and Working Title films: how do their production strategies reflect a defined target audience? How did marketing by the distributors reinforce this? As low budget Indie filmmakers, do you face any restrictions or challenges on audience/box office? You need to clearly set out YOUR target audiences (primary and secondary), breaking this down by age, gender, wealth and other demographics … and making very clear what production choices are designed to appeal to/’engage with’ (Evaluation Q2) the audience. As you will have done through genre research, you need to establish there is an audience for films of this type. You need to set out a clearly argued BBFC rating. You will later need to seek and reflect upon audience feedback. This tag is for BritCinema blog posts on audience. This post has details on the rom-com audience. [genre] Audience summarised go through your genre research and set out what you’ve found on the audience. Its especially important to look for specific quotes on the genre’s audience (from books, articles, box office analysis etc). [genre] BBFC age ratings What age rating is typical for your genre? Again, using your existing research, look at a range of recent examples and note the age rating. Note clearly what the BBFC say about the difference between these (this post sums up MPAA and BBFC). Be clear on the downsides of an 18 rating (see this post comparing This is England, Hot Fuzz + World's End, but also analysis of Deadpool). Audience: the Indie factor Sum up any issues or challenges posed by being low budget Indie filmmakers. Use Warp examples to help back up your points (once more this is likely to overlap with earlier blogging: on distribution – REPETITION IS OKAY!!!!) Our target audience defined Set out an initial summary of your primary AND secondary target audiences. The more you justify this with reference to existing films (your previous research) and production plans (how you will appeal to these demographics) the better! See below for more guidance on audience. It is a good idea to sum this up with a single image of someone you know (it could be a group member) who you think is a typical audience member, but it is also worth separately blogging a … Moodboard of typical audience for our film A moodboard is a collage of images which reflect a typical individual who would fall within your intended target audience. This might include everyday people as well as objects (phones, gadgets), clothing, characters from films/TV, titles of film/TV etc. Our target BBFC rating explained State which rating you think you’d get, why, and (briefly repeating some earlier work) what impact you think this will have on your box office prospects. Our intertextual references and audience List ALL planned intertextual references (eg basing a character name on one or more characters from famous genre films; the music; costume; dialogue) and for each one note which part of your audience you think this will help appeal to. Primary research into [genre] audience Construct a simple survey to test whether teens (a) are familiar with films from the genre (b) would watch films from this genre and (c) think your idea would work. You could CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 12
  13. 13. use images or clips from a small sample of films, ask your sample to identify them, indicate whether they like films like this (not the specific films) – and you could ask why or why not! Go on then to briefly sum up your idea – maybe using a blog post or a very short summary and ask if they think they might go to see this. You don’t need a large sample, but ideally try to ask about 10 people. Its helpful to film this (always check they give you permission to use the footage). TARGET AUDIENCE & NOTIONAL BBFC Consider core and secondary audiences. AGE: 15-24? 15-34? 25-44+? Your lower starting point will be influenced by the notional BBFC rating you ascribe to your work (also compare to similar films) – the BBFC’s website has some very student-friendly features to help you with this. You may argue your film potentially appeals to viewers younger than the age rating as part of the secondary audience as they are increasingly able to circumvent these age restrictions through downloads [digitisation + convergence] for example, and motivated to do so by aspiring [uses and gratifications model!] to be like their older peers (eg tweenagers). Are your cast reflective of your target audience age? Do you employ any slang, music or other cultural (intertextual?) references which might be primarily familiar to a youth audience? How important is the youth audience to the film industry? (You should be able to find articles which demonstrate that cinemas target your age group more than any other) ETHNICITY: If your product does include non-Caucasian characters, this will help reinforce its appeal to a multi-ethnic audience. However, you should not argue your text specifically targets a narrow Caucasian audience, many mainstream productions continuing to sideline non-Caucasian talent without commercially suffering for this. As always, think of real-world examples here, especially if you are restricted to an entirely Caucasian cast. There is an interesting flipside to this: a range of low-budget, straight-to-DVD films principally targeted at an African-American audience (especially within the horror and crime/gangster genres) produced by and starring the likes of Snoop Dogg. The impact of Asian horror over the past decade (eg The Ring), not just through the remakes, might be something to consider. GENDER: many genres are seen as gendered: sci-fi, action-adventure and horror as primarily male-oriented, period dramas and rom-coms as female, for example. This is true up to a point – film producers don’t want to exclude half the available audience! The tough, resourceful female character (‘final girl’) at the centre of many horrors (and sci-fi/horror: Alien’s Ripley) helps to draw in a female audience notwithstanding the crude, exploitative stereotyping of the invariably topless ‘scream queens’. The comedy aspect of rom-coms helps males to overcome their reticence – and in both cases, especially for a youth audience, the movie-as-date factor cannot be overlooked! Do make some explicit consideration of how you have chosen to represent gender here. You might want to consider the male gaze theory here. Can you use any examples from the work on the AS exam here? SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUPINGS: In crude class terms, ABs are ‘upper class’, C1 upper-middle class, C2 lower-middle class, and DE working- class (see handout for more precise detail). Typically, a complex, challenging text, perhaps relying more on dialogue than action, might be CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 13 Would Rab C*. Nesbitt & the boys be part of your target demographic? *UK sitcom on an unemployed Glaswegian alcoholic
  14. 14. pitched to some part of an ABC1 audience (as are broadsheet newspapers like The Guardian), while a conventional slasher, often with middle-class characters, might target a C2DE audience (somewhat in line with a tabloid like The S*n). If you are employing countertypes within a horror you might argue this would help to draw in the C1s. Some horror films, especially when not centred on teens, gain sufficient critical credibility to draw in that sophisticated ABC1 audience – think of Silence of the Lambs. Plush period dramas typically appeal to ABC1s (the BBC has attracted criticism for super-serving this audience with its high-budget adaptations of the classics), while the typically more basic fare of rom-coms are generally pitched to a less wealthy audience. Again, it is worth commenting on the class profile of your characters. NATIONALITY/REGION: Reflect on the differing production strategies of Warp and Working Title. Whilst producers will not wish to restrict their potential audience to a particular part of the UK, nonetheless the southern English accent and setting retains something of a hegemonic status. Films featuring northern English, Midlands, Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish accents do face a greater challenge at the box office – although the huge success of Billy Elliot, The Full Monty and others proves this barrier is not insurmountable. This aspect may influence the company you identify as distributor (look at distributors for Warp, WT, & Film4 productions as examples), but again you should stress you’d hope to tap into a UK-wide audience, whilst perhaps recognising the potential limitations on foreign sales. The contrasting fortunes of the similarly-budgeted films Son of Rambow and Mickybo & Me [a WT film] illustrate the commercial advantages of featuring southern English characters, while This is England is more typical of the fate of social realist movies than hits like The Full Monty. Once again: address representation – are you stereotyping yourselves?! Using recognisable regional stereotypes could help a film’s prospects beyond the area it reflects. Consider how Hollywood is typically including actors to appeal to the Chinese market especially. The BritishCinema blog tags China, globalisation and global market are useful. FANS OF… Perhaps linking back to your pitch, what existing films would you expect your potential audience to be fans of? If you were designing a promotional poster which film/s might you try and reference to help communicate the idea, but also to derive reflected glory/appeal from? (This could influence your titles!) SEXUALITY: Just as a typical film will still centre on Caucasian characters, so will heterosexuality be the default mode for any romantic aspects. Again, do not say you are targeting a heterosexual audience, but simply consider if you’re including anything which could help to draw in the ‘pink pound’ – being careful about stereotyping! Its not uncommon to see token, heavily stereotyped, gay characters, notably the usually very camp gay best friend in many rom-coms. If you are featuring heterosexual characters only, then this is normative representation: what is seen as normal or common sense (hegemonic!) because a culture has been so frequently exposed to this. Countertypes can usefully be described as counter-hegemonic, challenging social norms. PSYCHOGRAPHIC PROFILE: You could also describe a typical would-be punter in terms of wider lifestyle and interests (e.g. a lager-drinking Sky Sports subscriber, S*n-reading Guy Ritchie fan, or a Sky Arts- subscribing, Guardian-reading liberal interested in classic literature and history) – and if you really want to challenge yourself, do a little research on ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ (there is a fairly good Wiki on this). **remember to keep making CLEAR AND EXPLICIT reference to your research and target audience as you go on to blog on pre-production, production and post-production. Repetition is okay!!!!** CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 14
  15. 15. STEP 4: PRE-PRODUCTION Pre-production: casting, costume, props, make-up (clear evidenced reference to your research into existing examples is crucial); location scouting; sample/test shoots - audience feedback, reflection; updates on the idea as it evolves. Setting up social media profiles [for your company and/or film] is an option (helps to evidence appreciation of marketing and engaging with audience). Clarify the final idea, and storyboard this - its almost certain to change a lot, but its important to make the concept very clear. An animatic [animated storyboard] is a useful means of demonstrating your concept. Begin regular/frequent short podcasts (shows [often details!] organisation, engagement with audience, marketing + a grasp of how the industry works; also a use of technology). This is in no particular order. Most of these need a good range of illustration from existing films as well as locations/cast (etc) you intend to use or are considering. Many of these might be split into multiple posts. Idea UPDATE2 No matter how brief, keep updating any evolution of/changes to your idea. Pre-production timetable Schedule (with a name/s for each task) who will post on/be responsible for what, and their deadline for doing so. Location scouting Making sure to link your research into existing films, highlight any POSSIBLE locations. Google Maps is useful to narrow down the likely spots (evidence this!), but you should visit the most likely shoot locations, and do some filming – ideally with the camera you will film with, but even smartphone footage is useful. Address any possible issues: permission to shoot; accessibility for cast; lighting; any health and safety concerns etc. Characters Use narrative terms/theories; make clear links to existing films; make clear links to your target audience. Casting In the characters post you will have made clear the look and attitude you hope to achieve; in this you will record any casting process (auditions? Simply trying out the people you think will work with a short screen test?). Address any changes casting issues might make to your production. Be clear on how you have arranged to communicate with your cast. Costume, props, make-up Overlapping with the above posts, but this needs very clear and specific treatment. Each small detail of your character’s appearance should be considered for how it can help signify a preferred reading. Again, make clear references to existing examples and to audience. Post on anything you need to order. Make sure you assign responsibility and deadlines for an individual to order/source. Production budget List anything you will need to buy and your overall budget. Consider transport and ‘catering’ as part of this! Food/drink for you and the cast on shoots! Treatment A one or two-sided summary of your production proposal. See this post. This is very much worth doing even if you have to come back to it. If your idea changes substantially, it is worth updating the treatment. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 15
  16. 16. Animatic Optional but also very valuable, here’s a simple google on animatic. This is simply an animated storyboard – and the level of drawing is never important! A voiceover (+ maybe some sound FX/music) are a good idea. Animatics are often used as part of a pitch, and you might mix storyboard panels with sample footage. Screenplay draft 1 This is highly likely to change! Embed through Slideshare or an equivalent, following the layout conventions on the handout provided. (See post) Sample shoot1: [description] The earlier you try out your ideas the quicker you will discover problems and issues to sort through, and the more time you have to sort these out. Company idents You should have blogged on this as part of your openings analysis, but may want to refresh or simply review it. My company ident ideas Brainstorm more than one idea for a company name and the ident that would go with it, including detail of any sound. My company ident and wider brand-building Don’t forget to add a post (FCPX2 etc) on any new technology used. Use this ident at the start of any future vodcasts to give it your brand! You should use a freeze frame to rebrand your YouTube channel, and I suggest setting up one or more social media profiles (maybe 1 per group member) to tweet/FB/instagram previews of the production, just as a production company would, to build up interest (reflecting knowledge of the industry, giving you more to discuss in Evaluation Q4 on technologies, as well as Q2 on engaging with the audience!!! This needn’t be much more than cross- posting content from your blog, adjusting anything written for the context. If you do this, add a link to your top links list. Storyboard This is likely to change a lot – Alfred Hitchcock is legendary for his ability to stick rigidly to his detailed storyboards when filming, it is almost impossible to anticipate every issue on ‘set’! So, don’t agonise over pretty drawings – as long as it is clear what shot type and mise-en-scene you have planned, and you have written in any movement/edits/crosscutting etc, then you have storyboarded. Rather than produce any new overall storyboards you’re better to do this (if needed) for each shoot. Podcast 1: Introducing the group and the idea This should be roughly weekly; at least twice a month, and should be brief – around 60 seconds is fine (keep it under 3 minutes). For podcast1, audio record the group introducing themselves (same if solo) and their media background, and providing a SHORT summary of the chosen idea. From podcast 2 onwards, simply sum up what you’ve done since the last one and what is upcoming in your production work (including any research). Use SoundCloud or an equivalent to embed (unless you want to add images and so upload to YouTube). As this is likely to involve new technology (SoundCloud), don’t forget to add a TECHNOLOGY post. Pre-production complete! At the point when you’re ready to begin full shooting, briefly sum up the steps you’ve taken to get this far. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 16
  17. 17. STEP 5: PRACTICE EXERCISES - EQUIPMENT, PLANNING, CINEMATOGRAPHY, EDITING + GENERAL MEDIA LANGUAGE Practice exercises: what you did (camera operation, direction, producing, editing), level of planning, your specific role; technology used and what you learned from this - what will you apply to your full film shoot. These might occur at multiple phases of your coursework; DON’T artificially gather all your practice exercise blogging into a narrow date range! Work on this will take you a long way towards answering Evaluation Q3: How did your production skills develop throughout this project? This post has instructions/links for each of these. The crucial point is that you break down the phases involved: ideas, (possibly) pitching, planning (which will build with each exercise): storyboards, script, call sheet, characters, costume, props, make-up, locations, sound, (possibly) conventions research; (possibly) practice shoot; detail use of camera and tripod, and any new editing tools; engagement with/consideration of target audience (if any); analysis of the media language of your edited film – a key opportunity to practice applying semiotic and media language terms but also for Evaluation Q1 (the part on representing social groups or issues); and overall reflection then on what you’ve learned. Flag up any mistakes you made!!! STEP 6: SUMMARIES - PAUSE + REVIEW! LINKS LISTS Summaries: This is really part of the previous steps but worth highlighting. For anything you've done multiple posts on (the idea; conventions research; etc) look back and post a clear summary if you haven't already. You are looking not just to sum up your findings but also what and how you intend to apply to your production. Update links lists. You can re-post these with additional updates (or add to these posts) as you go - very useful to help you quickly find what you'll need for the Evaluation questions - and also another 'use of technology'. STEP 7: PRODUCTION (+ EVIDENCE SHOOT PLANNING, FEEDBACK, REFLECTION, IDEA UPDATES) Production: storyboards/shot lists for each shoot, call sheets; production schedule (and updates); 'rushes'/clips from shoots (useful to post on social media too); reflection on how the shoot went - if any problems, make it clear how you dealt with these (if postponement, state so and post production schedule update). Evidence directing of cast. If in a group, across the production make sure there is firm evidence of each of you carrying out each role (direct, camera, producer [call sheets, props, costume, organise cast]). Be explicit on any coverage taken (extra shots, new ideas that weren't storyboarded). Be clear on how and why the idea evolved. Be very clear - repetition is fine; better to repeat a point than to lose credit for it - on the research elements (including into industry, not just from videos/digipaks/websites) CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 17
  18. 18. Production schedule As and when this changes at all, no matter how brief the post blog with an update post – ALWAYS explaining clearly WHY. Google calendar is a smart way to work within a group (useful even if solo). You can include in this, or keep separate, Blog tasks schedule, delegated within the group. It is helpful if I can view this to monitor individual contributions. SHOOT PLANNING Provide shot lists, storyboards and a call sheet for each shoot. If by some miracle your original storyboard remains accurate, then copy in the relevant sections! The call sheet is important as that sums up your planning: who’s in the shoot, their lines and actions, props and equipment needed, where and when. Break down the fine details: communicating with cast – ANY rehearsal is useful to evidence – including passing on call sheets/screenplay (probably using Facebook – screenshot if so, Photoshop to black out details as need be); schedule; transport; refreshments; costume/make-up preparation. SHOOT REFLECTION Any filmed evidence of each of your contributions (directing cast; producing by organising through the call sheet; cinematographer) is useful, no matter the image quality (smartphone is fine). Aim to blog on the shoot within 24 hours – ideally, tweet or do a short live post! What went well, and what didn’t? Why? Did you add/change/remove anything? (Coverage is generally a smart thing to film, and you might spot new cutaway shots) Do you need to re-shoot? If so, when? Are there cast issues – if so, what are you doing about it? Include some raw footage and/or screenshots. Idea UPDATE1 It is very likely your idea will evolve – make sure this is bLOGGED. Production schedule update1 STEP 8: SAMPLE CUT/S, POSSIBLE RESHOOTS Initial sample cut/s, audience feedback: test your footage, test your ideas. If necessary, organise reshoots. As always be clear on what; why ... and when. SAMPLE CUTS At this stage you are producing short clips or individual scenes. Clearly describe the context (how it will fit into the full opening; anything that will be added – editing, sound, SFX, titles; if it is a shoot you think you might re-do [if so, state WHY]). Film some sample audience giving feedback on these. Does your idea work or do you need to make changes? Major or minor? Have you identified any issues with filming or preparation after screening sample scenes? Framing; shot shakiness; lack of shot variety; lighting; sound; costume or other mise-en-scene issues; cast/acting (direction?! rehearsal time?)… Has nediting this and screening it given you any new ideas for the opening (if so … post idea updates!!!). Have you used any new technology/tools? Maybe tried manual camera settings, or a second lens, or more FCPX, or sound recording? Never forget to make reference to your earlier research: are your influences clear? STEP 9: POST-PRODUCTION Post-production: the main editing stage, shoots/reshoots essentially finished. Keep logging technology (editing tools, social media profile creating + updating etc) as you use them: screenshots, screen recording (use QuickTime). DON'T wait until you've got near-complete cuts, post samples; alternative edits of scenes. Seek audience feedback on every sample/rough cut/design experiment AND reflect on the results. Splitscreen or shot-in-shot alternative edits of short sequences/design elements are a good idea. Be clear what you're asking an audience to reflect on. Make an effort to post on genre/fan sites/groups. If in a group, identify when YOU are the editor. Keep making reference to your target audience; the intended preferred reading (semiotics); your audience + mode of address. Use a clear numbering and naming system for posts and cuts. Always include clear contextual detail in CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 18
  19. 19. posts with video, and in the YouTube description - if your videos are set to unlisted, then you could screenshot the YouTube info and tagging. STEP 10: EVALUATION Important to rehearse arguments and apply theory you might use in the exam. Also use to improve and develop past posts where you are now more familiar with terms and concepts (or have simply gathered material that would be useful as part of research and planning evidence. CIE AS coursework as 10 steps 19