GCSE Media Studies - Exam Revision Pack

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GCSE Media Studies
Exam Revision Pack
B322A: Action & Adventure Films
B322B: T.V. Comedy and Institutions

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GCSE Media Studies - Exam Revision Pack

  1. 1. GCSE Media Studies Revision Pack Contents: 2 Mark Scheme Unit B322: Section A – Action/Adventure Films 6 Terminology Glossary 9 What is Section A about? 11 Action/Adventure Conventions Revision 12 Superman Returns screenshot analysis 13 Action/Adventure Representation Revision 14 Representation screenshot analysis Unit B322: Section B – T.V. Comedy and Institutions 18 Terminology Glossary 19 What is Section B about? 20 Audience Pleasures in TV Comedy Revision 21 Institution and scheduling Revision 23 Practice Exam Questions 24 Example Answers
  2. 2. 2 Mark Scheme – Section A: Action/Adventure Films Question 1: Explain two ways in which the narrative (characters and events) in the extract fits the action/adventure genre. Use examples from the extract. Level 1: • Describe some aspects of the text • Shows minimal understanding of generic conventions • Minimal or inaccurate use of terminology • Some simple ideas expressed with errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. Writing may also lack legibility. 0 – 2 Marks Level 2: • States at least one generic narrative feature • Shows some understanding of generic conventions • Offers some textual evidence • Limited use of terminology • Simple ideas expressed appropriately but possibly with some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. 3 – 5 Marks Level 3: • States two generic narrative features • Shows sound understanding of appropriate generic conventions • Offers sound textual evidence • Some accurate use of terminology • Ideas expressed with some clarity and fluency; errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar do not obscure meaning. 6 – 7 Marks Level 4: • Explain two generic narrative features • Shows thorough understanding of appropriate generic conventions • Ideas and arguments supported by evidence • Precise and accurate use of terminology • Ideas expressed clearly and fluently in well-structured sentences with few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. 8 – 10 Marks Question 2: Explain how each of the following is used in the extract to create effect: soundtrack, editing, mise-en- scène, camerawork. Use examples from the extract. Level 1: • Attempts one or two bullet points • Describes some aspects of the extract • Minimal or inaccurate use of terminology • Minimal or no understanding of connotative effect • Some simple ideas expressed with errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. Writing may also lack legibility. 0 – 5 Marks Level 2: • Attempts at least three bullet points • Offers some textual evidence from the extract • Limited use of terminology • Some understanding of connotative effect • Some simple ideas expressed appropriately but possibly with some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. 6 – 11 Marks Level 3: • Comprehensive range of examples (all bullet points covered) • Offers sound textual evidence from the extract • Some accurate use of terminology • Sound understanding of connotative effect • Ideas expressed with some clarity and fluency; errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar do not obscure meaning. 12 – 15 Marks Level 4: • Comprehensive range of examples • Detailed analysis of textual evidence from the extract • Precise and accurate use of terminology • Thorough understanding of connotative effect • Ideas expressed clearly and fluently in well-structured sentences with few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. • Competent understanding of connotative effect. 16 – 20 Marks Question 3: Discuss the ways in which people and/or war are represented in the extract. Candidates should recognise the stereotypical representation of violence as a male activity. They may further recognise the deliberate anti-stereotyping.
  3. 3. 3 Level 1: • Describes some aspects of the extract • Shows minimal understanding of representation issues • Offers minimal textual evidence from the extract • Some simple ideas expressed with errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. Writing may also lack legibility. 0 – 5 Marks Level 2: • Describes aspects of representation in the extract • Shows some limited understanding of representation issues • Offers some textual evidence from the extract • Simple ideas expressed appropriately but possibly with some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. 6 – 11 Marks Level 3: • Discusses one or two of the issues of the representation of people and/or war in the extract • Shows sound understanding of appropriate representation issues • Offers textual evidence from the extract that exemplifies these issues • Ideas expressed with some clarity and fluency; errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar do not obscure meaning. 12 – 15 Marks Level 4: • Discusses a range of the representation of people and/or war in the extract, or discusses fewer issues in depth • Shows thorough understanding of appropriate representation issues • Offers a range of textual evidence from the extract that exemplifies these issues • Ideas expressed clearly and fluently in well-structured sentences with few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. 16 – 20 Marks Mark Scheme – Section B: T.V. Comedy and Institutions Question 4A: Pick two TV comedies you have studied. Discuss why they were scheduled: • On the channels that chose them • On the days and times they were transmitted Candidates should have studied two programmes on different radio and television channel/stations. Answers that only discuss one programme and discuss two programmes on the same channel/station are highly unlikely to gain marks above level 2. Candidates will probably discuss two contrasting comedy programmes and show how they fit their different institutional contexts. However, they could discuss how very similar comedies are used on different channels/ stations and this approach should not be penalised if it fulfils the assessment criteria. The question asks for a discussion of the relationship between institutional context and scheduling practices, on the one hand, and the texts the candidates have studied, on the other. Better answers will focus on how the texts fit the institution and its scheduling. Weaker answers might focus solely on the texts, or might simply list facts about the institutions. Candidates might briefly discuss the channel’s brand identities, perhaps in terms of other programmes played on those channels and the ways the channels market themselves. This may include how an institution has branded a time slot, e.g. ‘Thursdays are funny’. They may mention regulatory (e.g. Public Service Broadcasting) requirements in terms of the watershed and limitations on content or in terms of requirements for British (or regional) programmes. They may touch on channel ethos and history in relation to the distinctiveness of the BBC or Channel 4, for example, if these are relevant to their texts. They should be able to state whether the texts are scheduled on mass audience or niche audience channels/stations and perhaps make some judgements about the nature of those niche audiences. Candidates may produce audience figures; better answers will use these to illustrate institutional context (but note that this can be equally well done without statistics). Candidates should know the days and times of transmission for the two texts and be able to discuss which programmes were scheduled before and after them. They might state which programmes were scheduled on competing channels/stations at the same times. They should attempt to evaluate how these time slots would attract the target audience for the texts, whether this be a mass or niche audience. Better candidates will use evidence from the schedules to back up this evaluation, not unsubstantiated assertions about what the audiences will be doing at this time of day. Stronger candidates may show awareness of the crucial role of scheduling in a multi-channel TV and discuss the role of stripped schedules. Level 1: • Describes the scheduling of one or two comedies • Minimal or inaccurate use of terminology 0 – 3 Marks
  4. 4. 4 • Shows minimal knowledge of TV or radio channels and scheduling • Minimal or no understanding of how channels use scheduling to reach audiences • Some simple ideas expressed with errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. Writing may also lack legibility. Level 2: • Accurately describes the scheduling of two comedies • Limited use of terminology • Shows some knowledge of TV or radio channels and scheduling • Some understanding of how channels use scheduling to reach audiences • Simple ideas expressed appropriately but possibly with some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. 4 – 8 Marks Level 3: • Describes and evaluates the scheduling of two comedies • Some accurate use of terminology • Shows sound knowledge of TV or radio channels and scheduling with some understanding of how programmes reflect institutional contexts • Sound understanding of how channels use scheduling to reach audiences • Ideas expressed with some clarity and fluency; errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar do not obscure meaning. 9 – 11 Marks Level 4: • Discusses the scheduling of two comedies • Precise and accurate use of terminology • Shows detailed knowledge of TV or radio channels and scheduling with understanding of how programmes reflect institutional contexts • Thorough understanding of how channels use scheduling to reach audiences • Ideas expressed clearly and fluently in well structured sentences with few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. 12 – 15 Marks Question 4B: Show how these two programmes offer their audiences different pleasures. Higher level answers will explicitly contrast a range of pleasures offered by two texts with detailed exemplification of these pleasures by reference to one or more episodes of the programmes. These pleasures may range through comedic effect to narrative pleasures (e.g. opportunities for identification and narrative resolution), generic pleasures, audience uses and gratifications, high (or deliberately low) production values, pleasurable themes, and so on. Middle level answers are likely to discuss fewer pleasures, with little or no explicit contrasting, and more limited examples, probably from only one programme or part of a programme. Lower level answers are likely to describe the texts with little identification of pleasure beyond the text ‘being funny’. Level 1: • Describe one or two texts • Shows minimal knowledge of audience pleasures • Minimal or no understanding of how programmes offer audience pleasures • Some simple ideas expressed with errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. Writing may also lack legibility. 0 – 3 Marks Level 2: • Shows knowledge of one or two audience pleasures • Basic understanding of how programmes offer audience pleasures • Some textual exemplification • Some ideas expressed appropriately but possibly with some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that obscure meaning. 4 – 8 Marks Level 3: • Shows sound knowledge of different audience pleasures • Sound understanding of how programmes offer audience pleasures • Some understanding of differences between programmes • Relevant textual exemplification • Ideas expressed with some clarity and fluency; errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar do not obscure meaning. 9 – 11 Marks Level 4: • Shows detailed knowledge of audience pleasures • Thorough understanding of how programmes offer audience pleasures • Thorough understanding of differences between programmes • Detailed and appropriate exemplification • Ideas expressed clearly and fluently in well-structured sentences with few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. 12 – 15 Marks
  5. 5. 5 GCSE Media Studies Revision Pack Unit B322: Section A – Action/Adventure Films
  6. 6. 6 Moving Image Glossary General Convention A common set of standards used to make texts easily identifiable. Connotation/connotates What you associate with an image or the deeper or hidden meanings and associations. For example: The use of a spaceship set, green lighting and make-up which makes the actors look like aliens connotates to the audience that this is a science-fiction film. Signify/signifies The associations that a sign or symbol refers to. For example: The antagonist has a gun which signifies he is violent. Mise-en-scene This term is used in film to describe what is in the frame/scene and why. There are several areas to consider when talking about mise-en -scène: • Setting & location • Props • Costume and make-up • Character performance (Body language and facial expression) • Blocking (character location & positioning in relation to other characters or objects) • Lighting Lighting Lighting quickly creates an atmosphere on screen. If it is dark and shadowy we might be made to feel uneasy, as in a thriller; if the lighting is bright we feel happy and confident. The filmmaker can use lighting to draw our attention to a person/object or equally, to hide them. Hybrid Genre When the films could be categorised as more than one film genre. For example an action/adventure comedy or an action/adventure sci-fi. Protagonist The hero Antagonist The villain Camera Shots Establishing Shot Tells the audience where we are; establishes a location. For example, a shot of an office building or restaurant. Long shot Shows entire body of a character, shows background/location. Mid/medium shot Shows torso and some background. Close-up Head and shoulders, usually used to draw focus to a specific character or object. Extreme Close-up A specific facial feature fills the frame to ensure the audience focuses on that facial feature and the characters emotion/reaction. Point-of-view shot Helps us to see the action from a character’s viewpoint and thus empathise with them. Two characters fill the frame.
  7. 7. 7 Two-shot Over-the-shoulder This shot looks over an actor’s shoulder, looking at another actor to show that they are having a conversation. Camera Angles Eye-level The audience is at the same height/level as the actors/characters. High angle The camera is higher than most of the actors, and looks down on a character/actor. This can show the audience difference in height, power, etc. Low angle The camera is lower than most of the actors, and looks up on a character/actor. This can show the audience difference in height, power, etc. Canted angle The camera is at an awkward angle to show the audience something is “off” in the scene. To make the audience feel uneasy, confused, or build tension in a scene. Birds-eye View (Aerial) The view from high above, as if you were looking from the perspective of a bird. Worms-eye View As if the camera was on the ground, and you were looking through the eyes of an insect/worm from the ground. Camera Movements In the same way that framing can be used to enhance our involvement in the film action, the way in which a camera is moved can be used to direct our attention to emphasise a particular viewpoint. Camera movements include: Pan Where the camera moves across from side to side from a fixed position. Tilt Where the camera moves up and down from a fixed position. Crane Shot Where the camera, mounted on a crane, moves around at a distance above ground level; capable of achieving high elevations and movements. Tracking Shot Where the camera follows the action, moving along tracks or a dolly.
  8. 8. 8 Hand-held This technique is often used to suggest a greater sense of authenticity, for example it could be used to provide ‘eye witness’ accounts of situations, linked to the point-of-view of a particular character or characters. Can also be used to create tension within a scene; a greater sense uneasiness. Steadicam Often used to create the illusion that the audience is in the action, while providing smooth and wide- range of motion. Dolly Zoom A cinematic technique in which the camera moves closer or further from the subject while at the same time adjusting the zoom to keep the subject the same size in the frame. The effect is that the subject appears stationary while the background size changes. Shallow Focus Part of the image is in focus while the rest is out of focus or blurred. This draws the audiences’ attention to a particular action/character. Editing The term editing refers to the changing shots within a piece of film. The speed with which this happens has important role in creating atmosphere. For instance, if there is a car chase on screen, the editing will be rapid, making us excited. A countryside picnic scene, on the other hand, will probably feature slow editing; we relax and take in the details on the screen. Continuity editing The system of cutting used in most mainstream films. The intention is to establish the illusion of continuous action and keep the audiences’ attention on the story. Non-continuity editing Use of editing style which draws the audience attention to the film making process to reveal that film is ‘constructed’, not ‘natural’. Shot-reverse-shot This is when one character is shown looking at another character (often off-screen), and then the other character is shown looking "back" at the first character. Cross-cutting Cross-cutting is an editing technique most often used in films to establish action occurring at the same time in two different locations. In a cross-cut, the camera will cut away from one action to another action, which can suggest the simultaneity of these two actions but this is not always the case. It can be used to build suspense. Fast-paced editing When scenes are edited together using lots of shots cut together quickly. Has the effect the action is taking place quickly and can build tension. Dissolve The gradual transition from one image to another. Cut An abrupt transition from one shot to another. Usually it is used to maintain continuity editing. Wipe A transition from one image to another. One image is replaced by another with a distinct edge that forms a shape. For example a simple edge, an expanding circle, or the turning of a page. Makes the audience more ‘aware’ they are watching a film. Fade Transition generally used at the end of a scene to signify to the audience an end of action. Generally action will fade to black. Jump cut Two shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly. It causes the subject to appear to ‘jump’ in an abrupt way, drawing the audiences’ attention to the editing. CGI Computer generated imagery. Any still or moving image created using software. Slow motion A post-production effect in which time seems to slow down. Sound Diegetic sound Sound which has a source on-screen. For example: dialogue. Non-diegetic sound Sound which does not have a source on-screen. For example: music or voiceover. Sound bridge The sound from one scene continuing to the next or the sound from the next scene being used before the audience see the relevant images. It gives the sense that the film is ‘linked’ together. Synchronous sound Sounds which are expected with what is viewed. For example in a birthday party you expect to hear laughter, singing and music Asynchronous sound Sound which does not match or is unexpected with the images on the screen. Can be used to build tension, suspense or emotion. Voiceover Non-diegetic sound of a person speaking over a scene.
  9. 9. 9 What is Section A about? Section A includes assesses your textual analysis skills. In the exam you will watch a short extract from an action/adventure film (around 6 minutes long) four times and will then be expected to answer three questions about the extract. Question 1 – will ask you how the extract you have just seen fits the codes and conventions of action/adventure in general. These are some of the points you could include if asked about how the characters and/or events are conventional: REMEMBER – you need to use examples from the extract to support your point: - The protagonist is brave in the face of danger and will often (but not always) easily beat the antagonists even when outnumbered. - The protagonist is resourceful and clever - The protagonists are attractive and youthful when compared with the antagonists. - The antagonists are violent and intimidating (could be seen through their costumes or props). - There is a clear theme of good vs. evil - Conflict is resolved through violence. It is possible the extract may NOT be typical in places. This needs to be mentioned. Question 2 – will ask you to analyse how the camera, editing, soundtrack and mise-en-scene are used in the extract to create a particular effect which fits the action/adventure genre. You will be expected to give direct examples from the extract and explain the connotative effect your examples have on the audience. You should also link back to action/adventure conventions. Question 3 will ask you to show your understanding of issues of representation used within the extract. You may be asked to consider any of the following are represented: - Gender - Ethnicity - Sexuality - Age - Disability - War - Authority - Etc... In your answer you should: - identify your examples - describe the representations of the named area (e.g. ethnicity) - describe the messages and values in these representations - Shown your wider understanding of issues of representation in Action/Adventure films Throughout all three questions you will be expected to structure your answers clearly and use media terminology!
  10. 10. 10 Action/Adventure Conventions Revision Activities The activities below should help remind you of the conventions used in the action/adventure genre to help you revise for your GCSE mock exam. 1. Write a bullet point list or create a spider-diagram to show what characteristics you think each of the following character types have: a) The protagonist (main character) b) The antagonist (villain) c) The side-kick d) The female lead You should focus: what they wear, how they speak, their personality, their appearance (their looks), their role in the film (what do they typically want/do?) 2. Look at the different technical elements below. Explain how each of the follow elements is used to create a particular effect in action/adventure films. For example: An arc shot could be used to create tension and signify something bad is going to happen, which would build adrenaline for the audience. You should try to think of an example from an action/adventure film to support your ideas. a) Camera a) Close-up b) Tracking shot c) Low angle d) Dolly Zoom b) Editing a) Fast-paced editing b) Cross-cutting c) Jump cuts d) CGI e) Slow motion Now try the other technical elements listed in your glossary. How could they be used? c) Sound a) Diegetic sound b) Non-diegetic sound c) Sound effects d) Asynchronous sound d) Mise-en-scene a) Costume b) Sets and location c) Casting choices d) Props e) Lighting
  11. 11. 11 Superman Returns...Again! Look at the screenshots below and think about how the technical elements in the questions below were used to create a particular effect on the audience... A CGI image of Superman in space (why have they used CGI? How does it make Superman appear to the audience?). Effect: CGI is used as the makers of Superman could not really film in space. Therefore the effect is used to excite the audience as the impossible is made possible. It also shows that Superman can go into space and survive which signifies he is super-human and could connote to the audience he is powerful and strong. An over-the-shoulder shot of Superman looking down on the Earth. The sound of the city can be heard as Superman listens (How does this make him appear to the audience?). Effect: Slow motion effect used to show bullets heading towards two security guards. Superman flies in. Effect: Close-up of Superman’s chest stopping the bullets. They bounce of him without any effect. Effect:
  12. 12. 12 Watch the scene for yourself on youtube.com. Search for Superman Returns bullet scene – what other elements in the scene could you analyse? The mise-en-scene? The sound? Low-angle shot of Superman walking towards the antagonist. Effect: Slow motion effect of bullet being shot at Superman. It hits him in the eye but doesn’t harm him. It simply crushes then falls. Effect: Low-angle, slow motion shot of bullet falling to the ground. The only sound that is heard is the diegetic sound of the bullet hitting the ground. Effect: Close-up of antagonist. He looks scared and shocked. Effect:
  13. 13. 13 Action/Adventure Representation Revision Activities The activities below should help remind you of issues of representation used in the action/adventure genre to help you revise for your GCSE mock exam. 1. Think about how you would expect the following types of social/cultural groups to be represented in action/adventure. Which characters do you think they would be cast as? For example: A young, attractive, white male would be represented positively in action/adventure. He would probably be seen in the protagonist’s role and therefore be represented as heroic, masculine and brave. a) An attractive and feminine woman b) A middle-aged white male with a scar on his face c) A child d) An elderly black person e) A criminal f) A soldier in the U.S. Army g) A British scientist 2. Complete the worksheet on the next page. Annotate the pictures analysing how they you think they are represented to an audience. Try to include a good amount of detail and analyse all areas of mise-en-scene (props, costumes, locations, lighting, casting etc) 3. Using the notes you have made from the previous activity. Answer the question: “Which social/cultural groups are represented the most positively in action/adventure films? You should refer to examples studied.”
  14. 14. 14 Action/Adventure Representation Images 1. How are women represented in these pictures? Annotate the pictures showing what mise-en-scene has been used to represent them a particular way. 2. Which one do you think is the more conventional female in action/adventure? Why?
  15. 15. 15 1. How are men represented in these pictures? Annotate the pictures showing what mise-en-scene has been used to represent them a particular way. 2. Why are they conventional male protagonists for an action/adventure film?
  16. 16. 16 1. How is ethnicity represented in these pictures? Annotate the pictures showing what mise-en-scene has been used to represent them a particular way. 2. Which characters are represented more positively? How do you know from the pictures?
  17. 17. 17 GCSE Media Studies Revision Pack Unit B322: Section B – T.V. Comedy and Institutions
  18. 18. 18 TV Comedy Glossary Terminology What it means... Institution A large media corporation or company. For example Channel 4 or the BBC. Watershed The watershed is the time before 9pm on television. It is in place to protect younger audience members from offensive material, such as swearing, sex and violence. Any show shown after 9pm is referred to as post-watershed. Intertextuality Intertextuality is when one media text refers to another. For example when The Simpsons included a reference to JK Rowling and the Harry Potter books. It is a way to create audience pleasure as the audience would feel clever for noticing the reference. Audience ‘hook’ An audience hook is a method used by television channel to encourage the audience to stay watching that channel. For example putting on a popular TV show before another show they want to encourage you to watch. Universal audience A universal audience is a wide audience which includes everyone. Everyone will like the product/media text. Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) Any terrestrial channel. BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5. These channels must follow particular charters to make the audience happy. Niche audience A small and specific target audience. For example teenagers. Mass audience A wide audience. For example families. Stripped schedule A stripped schedule is the practice of running a television series at the same time daily (or at least on Mondays to Fridays), so that it appears as a strip straight across the weekly schedule. Audience Pleasures What it means… Audience Superiority When the audience feels better than the character[s] because the audience knows they wouldn't get themselves into those ridiculous or stupid situations, or make the same mistakes. Use of Stereotypes TV comedies use stereotypes to create predictability, as the audience can already expect certain characters to act or present themselves in a certain way. I.E. Blondes are unintelligent; people with glasses are nerds. Satire Features such as irony and sarcasm are the main focus of this type of comedy that tends to focus on "making fun" of existing issues in the world. Relatable Characters Audiences can relate to the characters within the show as they demonstrate similar lifestyles and/or characteristics; Bart Simpson is a mischievous boy who attends school – easily relates to young boys. Relatable Situations Audiences can relate to situations or themes within a programme; I.E. Modern Family, the day-to-day life of in-laws, aunts, uncles, parents, and teenagers. Familiarity (i.e. catch phrases) When an audience can predict how a character will respond or react in situations within a T.V. programme. i.e. Catchphrases such as Homer’s “D’oh!” or Bart Simpsons’ “Ay Carumba!”. Slapstick Comedy Silly and exaggerated physical actions; for example, the cliche pie in the face. Think of, The Three Stooges. Farce Comedy When situations are more exaggerated than they would be in reality.
  19. 19. 19 What is Section B about? Section B assesses your awareness of audiences & institutions in relation to TV Comedy. In the exam you will be asked two questions in which you should show an understanding of institutions studied and why audiences enjoy watching TV Comedy. Question 1 – will ask you to explain why particular comedies are shown on particular channels and on particular days/timeslots. You should demonstrate your understanding of BBC 3 and Channel 4 and their differences as institutions. You should also demonstrate your awareness of audience and when they watch television and how this effects the scheduling of programmes. Remember the comedies we have focused on as a class are: 1. How Not To Live Your Life: Shown on BBC 3 – Mondays at 10.30pm 2. The Simpsons: Shown on Channel 4 – Weekdays at 6pm and Weekends at 1pm Question 2 - needs you to know about two TV Comedies to illustrate your answer. Typically, the question will ask about what pleasures TV Comedies offer their audiences. You will be expected to not only be able to name pleasures that all comedies offer but pleasures the programmes you’ve chosen offer specifically, depending on their audience. For example a sit-com with a target audience of ‘family’ is going to have different pleasures than a comedy quiz show about politics aimed at ‘adults’. Before you turn over: a) List below the different pleasures TV Comedies offer their audiences. Once you have completed the list highlight/underline in different colours which ones How Not to Live Your Life offers and which pleasures The Simpsons offer. Remember both programmes are sit-coms; therefore they follow sit-com conventions. Try to think of clear examples from the programmes to support your ideas. For example: 1) Audience superiority – When the audience watch Don or Homer make ridiculous mistakes they feel superior to the characters as they know they would not make the same mistakes themselves.
  20. 20. 20 Audience pleasures of TV Comedy Revision How many did you manage to remember? Read through the list below and again highlight/underline which pleasures How Not to Live Your Life offers and which ones The Simpsons offer. How many do the two programmes have in common? • Regular timeslot • The narrative and problems are always resolved at the end of the programme • Intertextuality • Use of celebrities • Different types of humour • Relatable characters and situations (so we can also laugh at ourselves/friends) • Audience escapism • Audience feels superior to characters as they never learn from their mistakes. • Easy to watch (30 minutes long and self-contained episodes mean audience can ‘dip’ in and out of series). • Pleasure gained from resolution at the end of episode • Social and family issues often used (audience can relate to) • Themes are easy for audience to understand • Warm mode of address - everyone can watch and enjoy. • Familiarity (e.g. Catchphrases) • Predictability – For example: audiences know character well and know how they will react. • New variations of the genre create interest Now for some detail... Pick two pleasures How Not to Live Your Life offers: a)......................................................................................................................................................................... b)......................................................................................................................................................................... Pick two pleasures The Simpsons offers: a)......................................................................................................................................................................... b)......................................................................................................................................................................... Pick two pleasures both comedies offer: a)......................................................................................................................................................................... b)......................................................................................................................................................................... Now, using clear examples from episodes studied answer the question: “Discuss in detail how two comedy programmes offer audience pleasures.” Try to take no longer than 20 minutes on your answer.
  21. 21. 21 Institution and Scheduling Revision Complete the activities below to help you revise information about BBC 3 and Channel 4. How Not To Live Your Life Scheduled day and time: ____________________________________________________ Channel: ______________________________________ Give three reasons below why you think How Not to Live Your Life is scheduled at this time and that channel. Try to give clear examples to support your ideas either about the institution or from the programme. 1. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ 2. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ 3. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ Target audience: Name 3 rules the BBC have to follow which fit with BBC 3: 1. 2. 3. Target audience: Name Channel 4’s 3 core values: 1. 2. 3.
  22. 22. 22 The Simpsons Scheduled day and time: __________________________________________ Channel: _______________________________________ Give three reasons below why you think The Simpsons is scheduled at this time and on that channel. Try to give clear examples to support your ideas either about the institution or from the programme. 1. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ 2. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ 3. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ Now, using clear examples answer the question: “Pick two TV comedies you have studied. Discuss why they were scheduled: • On the channels that chose them • On the days and times they were transmitted.” Try to take no longer than 20 minutes on your answer.
  23. 23. 23 Practice Exam Questions Section A – Action/Adventure 1. Explain two ways in which characters and/or events fit the action/adventure genre. [10] 2. Explain how each of the following is used to create effects that fit the action/adventure genre. - soundtrack - camera work - editing - mise-en-scene [20] 3. Discuss the ways in which men and/or age are represented in the extract. [20] Section B – TV Comedy Answer this question using Television and/or Radio Comedy programmes you have studied. 4 Pick two TV or radio comedies you have studied. (a) Discuss why they were scheduled: • On the channels that chose them • On the days and times they were transmitted. [15] (b) Show how these two programmes offer their audiences different pleasures. [15]
  24. 24. 24 Example Answers These answers match an extract from ‘Tomb Raider’. 1) The events in the sequence fit the action/adventure genre because there is a clear conflict between two sides which is being resolved through the use of violence. The theme of good vs. evil is also used in the sequence which is conventional in action/adventure films. The protagonists and antagonists are also clear within the sequence. Lara, the protagonist, is brave and resourceful. Although she is on her own she is able to survive the antagonists’ attack. During the action which takes place in her car garage she demonstrates her resourcefulness as she is able to create weapons and defend herself using objects around her, a clever protagonist is typical in action/adventure films. In contrast the antagonists are easily beaten, despite their numbers which is again conventional in the genre. 2) To make the sequence effective the makers of Tomb Raider had to follow the conventions of the action/adventure genre. Mise-en-Scene The mise-en-scene is used firstly to establish the atmosphere of the scene. The dark, gloomy weather and the lightening lighting effect in contrast with the light, warm interior of Lara’s home signifies that danger is approaching and this builds the tension for the audience at the start of the scene. Mise-en-scene is later used to help the audience easily identify who the protagonists and antagonists are. Lara, the protagonist, is dressed all in white, connotating innocence and purity and identifying her as a good character. Whereas the antagonists are dressed all in black and carry big weaponry with them. Their faces are also concealed from the audience. This has the effect of making them seem intimidating as they are hiding themselves. Black also connotates evil and violence so this helps the audience establish that they are the antagonists in the extract. Again, dressing the antagonists in black is conventional in action/adventure films. Sound The sound in the sequence is also used to build tension and suspense in the sequence. At the beginning whilst Lara exercises the audience hear a diegetic sound of classical music play. The music is calm and relaxing and establishes how Lara feels at this point. However when the extract cuts to the antagonists outside the house a non-diegetic soundtrack of heavy bass beats is heard. When contrasted with the relaxing classical music this establishes that danger is coming as it highlights, along with the cross cutting, that Lara is unaware of the antagonists approaching and this has the effect of building up tension. Another convention used for effect is the use of sound effects. When Lara punches the antagonists a thump sound is heard. This sound effect has the effect of making Lara appear stronger than the antagonists and makes the audience feel she will win the fight; again using sound-effects to make the protagonist appear strong is conventional in action/adventure films. Editing The editing in the sequence is crucial to creating effects in the sequence. At the beginning of the sequence cross- cutting is used between Lara inside her house and the antagonists approaching outside the house. This has the effect of building tension and suspense in the audience as they would fear for Lara who is unaware of the danger approaching and would want to find out what happens next. Another editing technique which is used is jump cuts. Once the fight sequence has begun and Lara is hiding in the corner of the ceiling there is a flash of lightning. At this point a sequence of jump cuts is used to show a range of Lara’s facial expressions. This has the effect of building up tension and adrenaline in the audience who would be on Lara’s side and would see her range of emotions including anger. The jump cuts show Lara is ready for action and makes her appear brave and strong, as she is clearly not going to give up.
  25. 25. 25 Camera There is a variety of camera techniques used in the sequence for effect. Firstly, near the beginning of the sequence there is a close-up of the ‘main’ antagonist. The close-up establishes him as intimidating and focused as he stares towards Lara’s house. This establishes the antagonists as evil and willing to do anything to complete their mission, as he looks very serious. This makes the audience fearful for Lara she is unaware of the danger. Once the fight scene has begun several tracking and arc shots are used to help the audience follow the action. The tracking shots mainly focus on Lara and this has the effect of ensuring the audience follow her throughout the action and establishes her clearly as the protagonist. 3. Discuss the ways in which men and/or women are represented in the extract. The extract from ‘Tomb Raider’ represents both men and women and particular messages and values are communicated to the audience about these two groups. Firstly the protagonist, Lara, is a woman. This could be seen as unconventional for an action/adventure film as typically the protagonist is male. However Lara is seen by the audience as strong and fearless as she fights and defends herself from the male antagonists attacking her. She is also able to easily defeat them, despite being outnumbered by them, representing women as just as good, if not better than the men in the scene. This is unconventional in action/adventure films as typically women are represented as weak and easily scared when compared to the male characters. At the point in the extract when Lara is trapped in her garage she is represented as resourceful and clever as she is able to make weapons out of the DIY equipment around her. This gives a message to the audience that women are cunning and quick-thinking. Lara’s character is also a conventional representation of women in action/adventure films. Lara is attractive in comparison with the other characters, a common convention of female characters in action/adventure films. In comparison, the men in the extract are not represented as positively. The antagonists who attack Lara are all male and are seen by the audience using senseless violence to achieve their goal in the extract, representing men as aggressive. This is supported again in the extract as the male antagonists are also seen by the audience in all black and carrying big weaponry, connotating they are violent and dangerous, as is conventional for the antagonists to be seen in action/adventure. In comparison with Lara the male antagonists are also seen as weak as although they outnumber her they are easily defeated and do not match her fighting skill. In contrast, Lara’s assistants Bryce and Henry provide the audience with a different representation of men. They are both represented as brave and loyal as they help Lara protect herself and her home as Bryce uses the house’s CCTV to inform her of the antagonist’s location and Henry risks his life by shooting at the antagonists on his own. This is due to the character’s playing the conventional role of the protagonist’s side-kick. Section B – TV Comedy 4 A – Scheduling: The Simpsons is shown on Channel 4 an institution which is aimed at an almost universal audience as it attracts a wide audience of all ages. It is shown at 6pm each weekday and on Sundays at 1pm. This is because the 6pm weekday slot is a competitive time for a family audience as children and teenagers would have returned from school and most adults will have returned home from work and will be looking to relax. Due to the broad appeal of the sit-com as it focuses on a family of a variety of ages and contains mainly inoffensive material. The Simpsons is appropriate for family viewing, meaning it can be shown before the 9pm watershed. Then, Channel 4 has scheduled The Simpsons as a part of its T4 line up on Sunday at 1pm which appeals directly to teenagers, a large portion of the show’s target audience. By showing it at both times and six days a week the channel is more likely to gain viewers. It could also be argued Channel 4 has used a stripped schedule for The Simpsons as it is a well- established, popular show and would not only attract advertisers for Channel 4 nearly every day of the week but also showing The Simpsons at an early evening time of 6pm may hook in the audience for programmes which follow such
  26. 26. 26 as Hollyoaks, which has a similar target audience. 6pm is also a good time to show The Simpsons as Channel 4’s main PSB competitors, BBC 1 and ITV, are showing the news at this time and this does not appeal to a younger audience, whereas The Simpsons does. How Not to Live Your Life is shown on BBC 3, which is part of the BBC institution. BBC 3 is aimed at a young audience and How Not To Live Your Life attracts a niche audience of mainly male young adults, due to the show following the protagonist Don and a mainly male point of view. It is shown at 10.30pm on Mondays. Firstly, this is because the show contains adult themes, such as bad language and sex, so must be shown after the 9pm watershed. It is also because the show’s target audience are more likely to be watching television at this time as they will have returned home from work and will be looking to relax on a Monday evening. BBC 3, as a part of the BBC, has to follow the BBC’s Charter. One of the charter rules is the BBC must produce programmes which are ‘original’ and ‘stimulate creativity’. How Not to Live Your Life is therefore appropriate for BBC 3 as although it is a sit-com, it contains surreal humour, making it an original and creative show format. B – Audience Pleasures: How Not To Live Your Life and The Simpsons are both sit-coms so offer audiences similar TV Comedy pleasures. Firstly as both shows are sit-coms they are both short, with self-contained plots. This offers the audience pleasure as they do not need to spend time following the entire series but can instead choose to watch a ‘one-off’ episode and easily follow the narrative. Also after most episodes both shows come to a conclusion and audiences like to watch a resolution. For example in The Simpsons episode ‘You Only Move Twice’ The Simpsons family leave Springfield and move to a new town when Homer gets a new job. However by the end of the episode once the episode conflict is resolved the family return to Springfield and Homer get his old job back, offering the audience a clear conclusion. The Simpsons offer pleasure through familiarity with the characters and being able to relate to the characters. The Simpsons has a family audience and members of the family would be able to relate to the different characters, for example mums can relate to Marge and how she may behave in certain situations. For example her frustration at Homer when he makes a mistake. The use of stereotypes in the programme such as Apu, the Indian shop-keeper who is given a stereotypical Indian accent and characteristics, also allows the audience to easily relate to the characters and quickly understand them; making the show easy to follow. As the programme features the same characters each episode the audience would be familiar with them and be able to predict what they may do or say in certain situations. For example when Homer makes a mistake he will often use his catch-phrase ‘D’oh’. Similarly How Not To Live Your Life also offers the audience pleasure through understanding of character, however this is mainly achieved through the audience feeling superior to the main character Don as he often makes big mistakes and gets himself into ridiculous situations. For example in the episode ‘Don’s New Job’ Don lies to his flatmate about having a new job to make himself look better than he is, however when he is caught out, instead of telling the truth he takes the lie further and pretends to go to his new office where he is mistaken for an actual employee. He then spends lots of money on ‘stuff’ online before being fired and found-out by his flat mate for the lie. In this situation the audience are able to laugh at Don and feel they are superior to him as they know they would not get into such a situation themselves. Specifically, in HNTLYL the show offers the audience pleasure through the use of surreal humour. When Don is put in certain situations the main narrative is cut away from to show several potential outcomes to the situation Don is in. For example in an episode where Don is late to work the narrative cuts to ‘4 excuses you shouldn’t give for being late’ and shows four short clips with different, comic excuses. This gives the audience pleasure as not only does it offer the audience something original from the conventional sit-com, they may also relate to the situations as the surreal cut-aways often show what the audience may like to say in a situation but cannot as it would be rude or weird to behave that way in real-life. Therefore this element of the show also offers the audience escapism.

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