Concepts• Genre (Jun 2010)• Narrative (Jan 2011)• Representation (Jan 2012)• Audience (Jun 2011)• Media Language
Three Essential Tips• Plan and prepare before the exam – this willbe about ONE concept and ONE product soknow which you will use for what!!!• Consider the mark scheme – 10 for EAA, 10 forEG and 5 for T.• Evaluate – the importance of the concept,how well you used or challenged it, howeffective your product is
Narrative• ‘Narrative was handled fairly well by most candidates, oftenapplying one or two ‘classic’ theoretical models to their ownwork – character types, equilibrium and disruption, actionand enigma, semiotic codes etc. The choice of text to analyseis very important in question 1b and in some cases examinerswere surprised with the choices made in this regard (forexample, writing about a film in 1a and a magazine in 1b).Many candidates were able to accurately reference narrativetheories – Propp and Todorov, Barthes, Levi-Strauss, Goodwinand Mulvey were well described, with some very stronganalyses of radio news work and of film trailers and openings.Level 4 answers were those that successfully related thesetheories to elements of candidates’ own texts. Weak answerswere often just an account of “how we made it” but strongeranswers were able to apply some critical distance. In somecases there was even too much theory (with unsupportedreferences to Fiske and Adorno) with little, if any, analysis oftheir own (in cases not yet completed) coursework.’
Genre• Stronger answers to this question were able to do three things well. Firstly,they set up the concept of genre for discussion, with reference to writingon the subject from the likes of Altman, Buckingham, Buscombe, Neale,McQuail, Stam, Boardwell, Miller, Goodwin or in some cases, with varyingrelevance, Propp and Todorov, Mulvey and Barthes, Strauss and Saussure.Level 4 answers generally offered references to writing about theparticular genre in question as well as the more general work. Secondly,these higher-marked answers went on to apply these ideas to a range ofspecific elements of their own chosen production. And thirdly, the extentto which the ideas in the referenced writing fit with the product beinganalysed would be discussed. Mid-range answers would morestraightforwardly list generic elements of the work with less reference totheoretical material. Lower level answers would neglect theories of genrealtogether and/or lack specific examples. To what extent the production inquestion adhered to or challenged genre conventions is, at least, requiredin order for Candidates to be credited for both understanding and applyingthe concept. Many answers dealt with narrative theory which is, of course,appropriate – as it is so closely linked to genre – providing Candidatesexplicitly make this connection for the examiner, so it does not have to beinferred in the marking.
Media Language?• Talk about specific technical features of yourproduct (camerawork, editing, graphics, sound,mise en scene etc)• Conventions of Media language/ PoMo• Denotative and Connotative meaning (Barthes –Semiotics – Signifer and Signified)• Encoding – the meaning added to an object (howdid you encode?)• Decoding – the audience ‘unpacking’ themeaning (how did the audience ‘read’ yourproduct)