GCSE Film Coursework guide pt1


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GCSE Film Coursework guide pt1

  1. 1. FILM STUDIES COURSEWORK REQUIREMENTS: Coursework is 50% of your overall grade 4 MAIN PIECES OF WORK: 1. Exploring a film of the candidate’s choice (25 marks) An exploration of the micro features of film language in a short extract from a film of the candidate’s choice (350 – 750 words). 2. Pitch and Preproduction (30 marks) Candidates create a pitch for an imaginary film (approximately150 words) and then use it to form the basis of a pre-production chosen from a range of options. 3. Production (35 marks) Create a production chosen from a range of options. 4. Evaluative Analysis (10 marks) A brief evaluative analysis highlighting what candidates have learnt about the main study areas for film from their preproduction and production work (film language, film organisations and audiences). THIS BOOKLET WILL GUIDE YOU THROUGH PART ONE OF YOUR COURSEWORK NAME: ____________________________________________
  2. 2. EXPLORING A FILM OF CANDIDATE’S CHOICE (25MARKS) This section is made up of 2 parts: Film Exploration: Industry (5 marks) Your first piece of coursework requires you to explore a film that you have particularly enjoyed and do some brief research into how it was produced, distributed and exhibited. All of your research for the film will be collected on a blog and then put into a specially design pro- forma which will allow you to summarise your findings. This initial piece of work will allow lead into a more detailed consideration of the ways in which the micro features of film language communicate meaning. Steps to completing this coursework: 1. Choose a film 2. Start a blog 3. Research how your film was produced, distributed and exhibited 4. Record all research on your blog 5. Summarise research findings on the pro-forma Textual (Micro) Analysis (20 marks) In class we have looked at a variety of different film sequences and to thought about the way in which the film’s language is used to create certain meanings and how we respond to those meanings. You should now have the analytical tools and terminology needed to succeed. For this piece of coursework you need to show an understanding the ways in which the micro features are used to communicate meaning. For example, lighting and sound (two of the micro features of film language) can combine to create a particular kind of atmosphere. You are required to produce a written analysis of 350 – 750 words which focuses on how one or more of the micro feature(s) (e.g. mise-en-scène, editing, camerawork and sound) create meanings and generate responses in a chosen film sequence from the film you researched for industry (maximum length: 5 minutes).
  3. 3. Film Exploration: Industry (5 marks) The following will help you understand the film industry so that you can start researching your film and working on your blog Production Activities involved in the actual making of the film All films begin with an idea which then gets turned into a screenplay by a screenwriter. Often film narratives [stories] are based on real- life events, books, plays or old films which are remade, sequelled or adapted. The screenwriter usually then pitches his/her screenplay to film studios/production companies or directors who will then take the screenplay on to the production stage and make the film. If a film has major stars in it the production budget could easily be more than $80 million. Generally the screenwriter is paid between 2.5%-5% of this budget, so a screenwriter with a really good screenplay could expect to earn $1 million. Distribution Deciding where a film will be shown and publicising this Once any film is made it has to travel in order to reach its audience. Distribution involves acquiring a film from its producers and trying to make it reach the widest possible audience by selling it to the places where films are going to be shown—to exhibitors (cinemas). Distributors need to make sure that when a film reaches its destination there are lots of people waiting to see it. So, we need to know about the film before it arrives at its exhibition destination. A film usually needs to make about two and a half times what it cost to produce just to ensure it doesn't lose money. Distributors have a number of roles to fulfil. Firstly, they try to find out what kind of audiences might want to go and see the film, using test screenings with test audiences where people are invited to see the film and are then asked lots of question about it This can lead to changes being made to the film. Then there's marketing and publicity—posters, merchandising, festivals and premieres—a summer blockbuster would cost around $100 million to promote! Finally, timing is very important when the film is eventually released, particularly as the opening weekend can account for 50-75% of a film's overall box office takings. The distributor also decides the release pattern for the film, release patterns refer to how often and where film will be shown – general release is as wide as possible, limited release may only be in London or specialist cinemas.
  4. 4. Exhibition Where the film is shown – cinemas of varying types This is the last of these three interconnected areas and is the point where we finally get to see the film. The ways in which we view films are changing rapidly. For example, big Multiplex cinemas are everywhere now, offering a variety of 'additions' to the cinematic experience such as fast-food, arcades and bowling alleys as well as a huge choice of blockbuster films to see. There are less and less smaller, Independent cinemas and many people choose to watch films at home on DVD or [legally or illegally) downloaded from the internet. During the exhibition phase, reviews are very important and can make or break a film when it reaches the cinema as audiences may avoid a film which has been negatively reviewed or make an effort to go and see one that has received positive reviews. This is not always the case; of course, Titanic critically slated in 1997 but went on to become one of the most successful films ever made. So now you know all of that start your blog and use the tick list worksheet to help you research your chosen film USEFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU RESEARCH: www.imbd.com www.filmeducation.org www.hollywood.com www.impawards.com
  5. 5. Section 1 - Introduction Write a brief synopsis of your chosen film and give some reasons why you like it. Add some screen shots of key scenes and/or a video link to a key scene. Section 2 - Production Find out where the idea for your film came from and who wrote the screenplay. Who directed the film? Has he or she directed any other well-known films? Who starred in the film? Which studio made the film? Give some details about it. What was the budget for the film? Where was it made? Did the funding come from more than one country? Can you find any other interesting facts about the production of your film? Section 3 – Distribution Find out about all the different ways your film was promoted before it reached cinemas. Find a poster advertising your film and write an analysis of it, looking at: genre elements in cluding props, costume and settings; the use of stars; special selling points; target audience; references to other films/books/TV shows; images, colours, typography (fonts) used. Find examples of any merchandising (the use of products— e.g. McDonalds toys) done to promote your film. Write a list and/or include images. Was your film screened in any film festivals or at a premiere before its release? Section 4 – Exhibition Which cinema chains screened your film in the UK? Did any independent cinemas show it? How much money did it make in the UK, the US and worldwide in its opening weekend and altogether? Find at least two reviews of your film from different publications, one from the UK and one from the US and add them. Comment on whether you agree with the reviews or not and why. Find out how much money your film has made in DVD sales (if it's been released to DVD) and/or how many copies it's sold.
  6. 6. Textual (Micro) Analysis (20 marks) So now you’ve learnt about the ways in which your favourite film was produced, distributed and exhibited, you can now analyse a sequence from the same film paying attention to one on more of the micro features. Your chosen sequence should not be more than 5 minutes long Look at Sarah's analysis below of the ways in which camera framing and camera movement combine to create meaning in the opening sequence of Tsotsi. The bold text indicates the parts where she shows her understanding of key concepts and when she uses the appropriate terminology accurately. The italic text indicates the points where she identifies camera shots or movement and then goes on to examine the meanings/effects that are created by their use. Finally, and this is very important, the underlined text shows the places where Sarah has given her own response to the sequence - how it made her feel and why An analysis of how camerawork is used In the opening sequence of Tsotsi The opening scene is introduced with a game which involves dice. There is a close-up of the dice to symbolise that life is a game of chance as nobody can choose who their parents are and how they end up in life sometimes. There is also a repeated motif of close-ups of hands which could show their working class background and the fact that they are used to doing manual labour. It could also show that we all have the power to change in our hands. Because of the camera, framing we are able to identify the main character who is Tsotsi. He isn't really introduced straight away until a, powerful dose-up that is emphasised by the music kicking in at the same time. The non-diegetic sound-track is parallel to the image of the four boys walking down the street as it highlights their authority. After we've seen them walking down the street there is an establishing shot that lets us know the circumstances they have to live in. It is a high angled shot indicating that the people in the township are small and powerless over their surroundings.
  7. 7. After this Tsotsi and his gang go to do a job which seems to be a, regular occurrence. As they arrive at the train platform there's a, panning shot so that we can pick them out of the crowd. At first it is hard to see them as they are blending in so as not to appear suspicious. Another high angled shot, this time looking down on the crowd and the gang, shows a massive orange banner centre frame. It is highly noticeable and attracts our attention straight away as it reads 'HIV affects all of us'. This is a terrible virus that has unfortunately taken its toll on Africa where, if you are lucky enough not to contract the disease, you will more than likely know someone who has. The scene which follows shows the gang scouting for their next victim. A series of medium shots are used to pick out a range of possible victims. However, the shot of a chirpy old man is longer which, instantly tells us that something is going to happen to him. Also he is portrayed as a jolly old man who smiles as he buys a gift from a stall. We have already formed an opinion of him and have warmed to him. An extreme close- up then shows us Tsotsi's eyes which show no expression; this connotes that he has no conscience. He stares intently at the man. It then quickly edits back to the victim and zooms in on an envelope of money; here the audience click on to the fact that Tsotsi is going to steal the money. I think this opening sequence really sets up the story well. We learn a lot about Tsotsi and his gang, their environment and what they are about to do through the camerawork. Very little dialogue is used but a feeling of real tension is built up very quickly and we want to watch on to find out what will happen next. Watch your sequence through at least three times, making notes as you do so. You may want to pause the film at certain points, or rewind if you think you've missed something. Remember your main focus areas but, like Sarah, you may want to mention other elements of film language when they combine to create meaning. Use your notes to write the first draft of your textual analysis essay.