OCR Media StudiesConference 2012G235: Critical Perspectives inMediaTheoretical Evaluation ofProduction: Q 1a and Q 1b
Victoria AllenHead of Media Studiesat Thomas RotherhamSixth Form CollegeExaminer for A2Media Studies
Rubric for 1a)Evaluate skills development across mediaproduction work over two years of ‘A’ Levelorany other media production within the areas of:• Digital Technology• Creativity• Research and Planning• Post Production• Use of Real Media TextsQuestion can be based on one or two of the areas.
Rubric for 1b)Evaluate one production piece (AS or A2 mainproject or either of the A2 ancillaries) againstone of the below theoretical concepts:• Genre• Narrative• Representation• Audience• Media LanguageAnswers can demonstrate how work supportsor challenges ideas within the areas.
Q1a) Structure...It is possible to teach some essay structure for theseoptions if we structure a plan to the three elements ofthe production process (which is what the wholequestion is essentially asking the students toevaluate).- Pre-Production- Production- Post-Production
The three options that can be taught tothis easy structure are:- Digital Technology- Creativity- Use of Real Media TextsAn ‘affect on/effects of’ structure can beapplied that takes into account the stages ofproduction to more difficult options:- Research and Planning- Post Production
Applying a simple structure:Digital TechnologyAS A2Pre-Production
Applying a simple structure:Digital TechnologyAS A2Production
Applying a simple structure:Digital TechnologyAS A2Post-Production
Marks and Timing•All that does seem a lot for the students towrite in 30 minutes.•But to get the marks the students needexamples from their work.•So – could limit the examples to 3 persection (e.g. 3 digital technologies at AS atpre-production stage and at A2 3development examples)
•Try to always stick to PDQ format – thishelps for the two option questions...•In terms of essay introductions for 1a), use athree part structure1. Answer or give point of view to question.2. Outline briefly what they made acrossboth years.3. Explain to the examiner how they aregoing to structure their essay.Marks and Timing
Q1a) Theory and Terminology...It is possible to remind students of basic theory orreferences to ideas and key terms that they can put intotheir essays. (magazines = preferred meaning, starpersona, ideal self/partner)It isn’t vital that there is theory but if it helps supporttheir answer then their application of it andunderstanding can be credited.
Question 1b)What we can do to helpthe students structuretheir essays?
• Introductions - could follow 3 part structure:1. Define the concept2. Outline the production they will evaluate.3. Tell the examiner they are going to discuss (Xnumber of ideas about the concept in the essay).• Again the students should try to follow a PDQformat, but the emphasis is on examples (D) fromtheir work to support or challenge a theory/ideaabout the concept.Q1b) Guidance on Teaching
• Genre• Generally, this should cover not just genericconventions of the particular sub-genre of theirproduct but should include ideas about how genresdevelop/evolve (in relation to their particularproduct (e.g. Changing sub-genres of music video,magazines) and how institutions use genre to targetaudiences.Q1b) Breakdown of the Options?
• Narrative• Essentially, the basic and familiar narrative theoriescan be applied to many video pieces the studentshave undertaken.• This is a harder one to apply to print products butcan be done in terms of looking a narratives behindthe ideologies that are apparent within the text.• Ideas about juxtaposition of elements are useful inhelping to explain how design work and layout inprint products creates a logical ‘story’ for thereader.Q1b) Breakdown of the Options?
• Representation• There are numerous theories about representationof gender, age, ethnicity, regional identity etc.which may have already been covered at AS.• Students may evaluate how their product hasmediated certain representations about socialgroups/artists/characters.• They can also evaluate how certain subcultureshave been represented within the product.Q1b) Breakdown of the Options?
• Audience• Again, there are numerous ways to tackle this andan idea about each allows the students to fully showthey understand the concept.• How the audience is represented, how the productcan be applied to audienceeffects/reception/pleasures theories, how theproduct is a reflection of ideas about changingaudience consumption habits, how the audience forthe text was constructed and researched.Q1b) Breakdown of the Options?
• Media Language• This is all about the specific medium and how thelanguage of the medium has been used to createmeaning for the audience. The meanings generally are asynoptic round up of other options covered (genre,narrative/stories, representations).• As part of this it is important to include terminologyabout how signs work in the media.• Essentially, however, this is one where a genericapproach is more difficult and the language of themedium needs careful revision to encourage students totextually analyse their own essay against mediumspecific theory (e.g. Goodwin and music videos).Q1b) Breakdown of the Options?
Definition• ‘Genre’ is a critical tool that helps usstudy texts and audience responses to textsby dividing them into categories based oncommon elements.• Daniel Chandler (2001) details that theword genre comes from the word for kindor class. The term is widely used inrhetoric, literary theory, media theory torefer to a “distinctive type of ‘text’”.
• All genres have sub genres (genrewithin a genre).• This means that they are divided upinto more specific categories. BarryKeith Grant (1995) suggests that thisallows audiences to identify themspecifically by their familiar andwhat become recognisablecharacteristics.
Task –Chandler’s and Grant’stheories.• You have 5 minutes to write down how theproduction you are writing about for Q1b)fits into a specific genre/sub-genre/hybridgenre.• Back this up with at least 5 specificelements/examples from this productionthat show how you have replicated genreconventions.• Must be specific – headlines, photogaphs,fonts, editing techniques.
Steve Nealegenres are instances of repetition and difference (Neale 1980)difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre (Neale1980): mere repetition would not attractan audience.David Buckinghamgenre is not... simply "given" by the culture: rather, it is in a constant process of negotiation and change(Buckingham 1993)Nicholas Abercrombiethe boundaries between genres are shifting and becoming more permeable (Abercrombie 1996)Andrew Tudora genre... defines a moral and social world (Tudor 1974)
Jason Mittell (2001) argues thatindustries use genre to sell productsto audiences. Media producers usefamiliar codes and conventions thatvery often make references to theiraudience knowledge of society,other texts.
Task – Jason Mittel’s theory.• You have 5 minutes to write down how youused real media products in your chosenindustry to help you construct yourproduct. How, for example, does the localnewspaper provide familiar expectations?• Back this up with at least 5 specificelements/examples from this industry thatshow how you have replicated/challengedgenre conventions.• Finally, write a sentence about how thesechoices would make sure your productappealed to your demographic.
• Genre also allows audiences to make choicesabout what products they want to consumethrough acceptance in order to fulfil aparticular pleasure.• Theorist Rick Altman (1999) argues that genreoffers audiences ‘a set of pleasures’.• This can also be linked to Denis McQuail’s(1972) theory on ‘uses and gratifications’ ofmedia texts for audiences.• Basically, the genre of your text will haveprovided your demographic/subculture withsome satisfaction upon their consumption.
Task – Rick Altman’s and DenisMcQuail’s theories.• You have 5 minutes to write down:• Altman’s three pleasures. Decide whichone might relate to your product and writedown in detail 5 examples from yourproduct which offer this for your audience.• McQuail’s four uses and gratifications.Decide which ones might relate to yourproduct and write down in detail 5examples from your product which offerthis for your audience
Genres are not fixed. They constantly changeand evolve over time – your courseworkproductions, as we have discussed, arepostmodern pieces and/or adapt to changes toadvances in technology.Christian Metz (1974) argued that genres gothrough a typical cycle of changes during theirlifetime.David Buckingham (1993) argues that genre isnot... Simply "given" by the culture: rather, it is ina constant process of negotiation and change’.Steve Neale (1995) “genres are processes ofsystemisation” – they change over time.
Task – ‘Evolving’ genretheories.• You have 5 minutes to write down:• How your product is part of a genre thathas changed over time.• Give 3 examples of texts that were part of‘experimental’ or ‘classic’ ideas ofyour product within the genre and 5examples that show your text as a‘classic’ or as an ‘evolving’ piece.
Certain genres are also said to havecertain themes.David Bordwell (1989) notes, anytheme may appear in any genre‘.
Task – genre themes.• You have 5 minutes to write down:• 5 themes that appear within your productthat are part of your genre.• Back each one up with examples fromyour work.
Plenary• Write down 3 genre theorists (notincluding Chandler or Grant) that you havelearnt today and what they have said.• Write down 2 pieces of medium specifictheory and relate it to your sub genre.
Homework“Analyse one of your courseworkproductions in relation to genre”.