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G322 Session PJW 01/14

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Phil Ward

on 10 February 2014

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Transcript of G322 Session PJW 01/14

G322 Session
Representation in TV Drama
What are the most important ingredients of a good essay on representation in a TV Drama extract?
What are the most important ingredients of a good essay on an Audiences and Institutions essay?
Develop teaching approaches to G322. Improve students’ results in G322 exam.
Identify required content of G322 units. Take away new ideas for classroom teaching.
Share teaching resources and discuss ideas for case study material.
Explore methods of structuring responses for exam questions.

Audiences and Institutions
1. Precise technical analysis including a range of examples from all four technical areas
2. Discussion of a range of representations of the social groups identified in the question
3. Areas 1 and 2 must be consistently and effectively linked throughout
4. Subject specific terminology used fluently
Learning about film language
[Camera, Sound, Editing and Mise en Scene!]
Mise en Scene
Shot type diagrams
Camera lesson Ideas...
1. Camera hooked up to white board and get students to demonstrate different shot types/angles/movements/composition. This can be done as a test/quiz. If no whiteboard can get students to do this in groups with a mobile phone.
Four key areas?
1. Shot type
2. Movement
3. Height
4. Framing (composition)
Five key areas?
1. Diegetic/Non diegetic music
2. Sound editing - synchronous sounds accentuated in sound mix
3. Ambient sound
4. Dialogue - focus on voice (tone/pace)/dialect/register
5. Sound effects
Sound lesson ideas...
1. Sound off on the sequence and guess what the sounds are
2. Listen to the sound without watching the image and guess what the image is
3. Foreign language extract to help students ignore dialogue and listen to other sounds
4. Show mash ups The Happy Shining – editing and sound
How are representations of gender constructed through sound in the coffin scene of Kill Bill Vol. 2?
Get them to practice structuring a written response to the extract...
POINT How are men and women represented in the first scene?
EVIDENCE How did sound help to construct those representations?
ANALYSIS What does this clip 'say' about women and men? How does this reinforce or contradict dominant ideology?
Same questions for another paragraph on the second scene...
A good extract to analyse how sound has been technically recorded and why!
Here are some likely contenders
How many seconds does each shot last? Fast pace editing can make a scene feel action-packed, dramatic and urgent. Slower editing pace generally slows the pace of a scene down, so it could be gentle, romantic, boring, awkward, depending on the context of the scene.
Inserted shots and cutaways
- information given to the audience by the insertion of a close up (eg. reaction shots or close ups of significant aspects of mise en scene etc.)
Elliptical editing
- how time has been manipulated by the editor. By selecting a few key moments the editor may accentuate particular aspects of the characters, simplify their representations, and boil them down into familiar stereotypes.
(parallel editing). Suggests two scenes are taking place at the same time. Can encourage the audience to contrast and compare characters and scenes.
Screen time
(editing for perspective). Which character is shown on the screen for the longest? May be represented as a dominant character. May also be given biggest shots (BCUs, CUs and MCUs), as well as the screen to themselves (whilst other characters share 2 shots or 3 shots). The combination of these factors can strongly establish perspective and encourage the audience to interpret the scene from their point of view. Point of View shots and/or over the shoulder shots can further add to this effect.
. Can provide a generalised and simplified representation of a place, period of time or group of persons
Discontinuity editing
, e.g. crossing the line or jump cuts. Break continuity editing and may suggest shock, bewilderment, disorientation, confusion, a mental struggle
meaning create d by the placing of two shots or scenes next to one another. Sometimes used to compare/contrast characters for example through shot reverse shot where a high and low angle are alternated.
Lots of areas!
Editing lesson ideas...
1. Give students a basic 1-2 minute scene to produce and some editing techniques to include. Get them to draw a stick figure storyboard detailing each shot in order. Students then film using a mobile phone, cutting in camera. Give groups different techniques to include and get them to show films and to explain how technique creates meaning.
2. Show mash ups that have reframed the meaning of films by re-editing and changing the sound - MES and camera have not changed. Especially good for juxtaposition and non diegetic music. If students do not know original film can show original trailer first for comparison.
Six key areas - CLAMPS
1. Costume
2. Lighting
3. Actors (expression, body language, casting)
4. Make up/Hair
5. Props
6. Locations and sets
MES lesson ideas...
1. Draw a stereotype of...
2. Annotate a YouTube video - need to provide copy of sequence (mp4/wmv/QuickTime file)
3. Analysing film posters or stills taken from extracts - also good for analysing camera (shot type, angle, composition)
Terminology to include in representation essay...
Exploring the significance of representation
Students that understand the significance of representation and mediation can move beyond solely deconstructing characters. An important aspect of this is to confront their own prejudices and consider how the media has contributed to their understanding of social groups, which students may not have much first hand knowledge
Scripting disability exercise
Challenge the simplistic and generalised representations
Class/Ethnicity Lesson ideas...
1. Get small groups to make a collage each by cutting up text and images from newspapers and magazines. Tried it with sexuality this year and didn't work as well because there were hardly any representations of gay men and even less of gay women. Still provoked useful discussion as to lack of positive representations of gay men and women and straight being constantly reinforced as 'normal'.
Many of these resources have been cannibalised from former and current colleagues at City and Islington Sixth Form College and Hurtwood House School. Not to mention some online resources! Thanks to all especially Simon Wood!
Warning contains profanity!
Linking together technical analysis with representations
Lesson ideas...
1. After discussing a particular type of stereotype of representation then ask students to brainstorm how they could use the different technical areas to construct that representation.
Structured representations
- understanding the ways that signs' meanings are understood within a context
Lesson ideas...
1. Gender stereotypes matching exercise - write up pairs of oppositional stereotypical assumptions of men and women on the board (all mixed up) e.g. practical and emotional. Ask students to work in pairs to find the opposites and ascribe them to male or female stereotypes. Discuss in relation to binary opposition. Nice starter exercise for a lesson is to have them all written up when they come in and ask them to work out what the lesson is about.
Then show a sequence and see if the students can spot some of the techniques they came up with...
Analysing the extract under exam conditions
Step 1.
Turn over paper draw a big circle around the area of representation that is the focus. Before extract starts write down what different groups you are expecting and any stereotypes that spring to mind
Step 2.
During the first viewing identify what are the FOUR clearest representations of the area (e.g. age) and in which parts of the clip are they most clearly addressed?Make sure to focus on representations from at least 2 different groups so you can compare them e.g. teenagers and middle aged persons
Step 3.
During the next 3 viewings focus in on the four representations that you have identified and analyse how camera, editing, sound and mise en scene contribute towards the representation. Make notes using a grid like this....
Try not to repeat technical evidence but look for a RANGE. There are probably not any additional marks for mentioning the emotion revealed by a close up in three different scenes. Analysing how dialogue contributes to four different representations does not show an understanding of how all of the different aspects of sound contribute to the construction of representations - what about the music, ambient sound, sound effects and synchronous sounds???
Equally important!!!
It is also important to identify a RANGE of representations, there are likely to be different aspects of the representation shown through the main character, there will certainly be other characters from different social groups that should be discussed. Comparing and contrasting the different representations is one of the richest areas of discussion (status/hierarchy/binary opposition/dominance/subservience/sympathetic/unsympathetic...)
Step 4. Write up essays using the PEA structure for each paragraph.
POINT what is the representation you are describing and in which part of the extract?
EVIDENCE how is that representation constructed through camera, sound, editing and mise en scene?
ANALYSIS In what ways does this representation reinforce/adhere to stereotypes and dominant ideology or challenge/subvert them? In what ways are the representations positive or negative? How does this representation compare to that of others in the extract? What message does this representation give the audience about the social group as a whole?
Step 5.
A really great response might include a short conclusion explaining the overall perspective that is shown in the clip - from whose point of view are the events interpreted, who is the audience encouraged to identify and empathise with? Typical ways of establishing this through media language are:

Editing: 1. screentime (which character is in all of the scenes, within scenes which character gets the most seconds onscreen?) 2. Eyeline matches
Camera: 1. Point of view shots, 2. close ups (who gets the most or biggest shots?) 3. Is the camera at the same height as one of the character's eyeline?
Sound 1. Voiceover narration strongly establishes perspective
1. Precise and detailed knowledge/understanding of case studies
2. Sustained focus on concept identified in the question
3. Areas 1 and 2 must be consistently and effectively linked throughout
4. Subject specific terminology used fluently
A Teaching Strategy
Develop a broad and detailed understanding of the case studies and then use these later as examples to explain concepts.
Getting started, checking existing knowledge...
Most students already know a lot about the film production, marketing and different forms of exhibition. Most of them don't yet know how the different aspects are linked though...
This unit needs to be studied primarily from an industrial perspective - it is not significantly about any artistic appreciation of film narrative, genre or language
As with a semiotics approach though, students still find the cultural circuit a useful reference point
Let's share some learning methods that we have used successfully and hopefully we will all come away with something new we can use in our classrooms. If there are resources you can send them to me and I will insert into this presentation. Here's something I have tried that worked well...
Other ideas for teaching sound please...
Other ideas for teaching editing please...
Ideas for teaching mise en scene please...
Sum up representations to board during presentations, they are likely to be overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical. Then read through traditional stereotypes of disability and identify those that students have used.
Lesson ideas for exploring representation please...
Lesson ideas introducing audiences and institutions...
1. Start off with a brainstorm of all of the different processes that are involved between somebody coming up with an idea for a film and it being watched by an audience. Introduce terminology whilst identifying whether these are part of production, distribution and marketing or exhibition. Type answers into a grid.
Researching case studies
1. Select two films from two contrasting studios (e.g. one of the Big Six and a British independent) and get pairs to produce a prezi to show their findings. E.g. two sets of pairs research The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros), two pairs research Gravity (Warner Bros), two pairs research Monsters (Vertigo Films) and two pairs research Street Dance 2 (Vertigo Films).
This is a great open ended task for developing research skills, technical skills and presentation skills
You will also be surprised about how much information the students find out - these presentations will form the backbone of the case study detail. During presentations draw out similarities in the way the studios operate on their different films as well as differences between the way the different studios operate.
Research into who the companies are, ownership structures, motivations, output,strategies...
Lesson ideas for researching case studies...
1. Watching featurettes about making of specific scenes (cameras, set building, locations, stunts, CGI...). There are always masses of interviews with the director explaining what he wanted to achieve and how he went about it, these are gold dust.
2. Short video showing assembly of an IMAX screen
3. Visit to local cinema! Talk from manager of local cinema to explain the process from exhibitors perspective
Some terminology to embed - Not in any order!
Horizontal and vertical integration, conglomerates, cross-media convergence, cross-promotion, tie-ins, sponsorship, pre-sold elements, franchises, ROI (return on investment), release strategy, frontloading, synergy,
grass roots activity, astro-turfing, output deals, value chain, guerilla filming, digital prints, shooting ratios, tapeless workflow, cost/revenue/profit, box office, word of mouth, crowdsourcing, piracy, unauthorised circulation, above and below the line costs, digital distribution, immersive experience, saturation marketing campaign, tent-pole movies, 3D, IMAX, niche and mass market...
Grass Roots activity
What to look for when selecting case studies?
1. Different companies should provide a contrast
2. Exemplar films should provide enough material to respond to all of the seven question areas
• the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;

• the importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing;

• the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;

• the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;

• the importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;

• the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;

• the ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.

One company is sufficient but two can provide a contrast (more range of arguments and examples) and also encourage students to construct arguments about how the two companies operate differently to achieve their goals. Should look at one or two films from each company in a lot of detail.
Ideal pairing might be one of the Big Six and an independent British film company? Last year we used Warner Bros (focusing on The Dark Knight Rises) and Vertigo Films (focusing on Monsters and Streetdance 2).
One problem that may arise from researching a film that is made on a micro budget is that it may not have sufficient aspects to consider in light of cross-media convergence and synergy (cross-media promotion). Has the company worked alongside any other companies in the marketing of the film?

Lots of other benefits though, different ways of raising finance, innovative uses of production technologies and online marketing...
Some contrasts that will emerge...

Conglomerate vs independent (sister companies to work with vs on their own)

Big budgets vs small budgets

Global audiences vs British (+Europe)

Premium technology (IMAX/3D) vs cheap digital technology

Digital distribution: Combatting piracy vs utilising new forms of digital distribution to reach wider audiences (VOD, digital prints, etc)

Saturation marketing campaigns vs cheap online campaigns (user-generated distribution via social media)

Planning essays...

Take one exam prompt at a time and discuss the meaning of the concept
Get students to brainstorm what aspect of each of the case study films is relevant (considering all of production, distribution, marketing and exhibition).
It is important at this stage to tease out the significance of how the company has operated, what it enabled them to achieve.
Structuring paragraphs...
Use a PEA structure for each paragraph:
POINT what aspect of the concept are you discussing about which case study film?
EVIDENCE detailed and technical discussion of what the company did
ANALYSIS what did operating in that way enable them to achieve, how does this fit into the long term aims of the company, how does this contrast to the other studio?
An essay structure...
Intro should include some important facts about the companies that establish ownership, scale and ambition
Warner Bros is a vertically integrated film studio that is a subsidiary of Time Warner, a global multimedia conglomerate with a turnover of $Xbn in 2013. WB has access to enormous budgets and also benefits from the support of sister companies within the conglomerate to help market its films. In this essay I will analyse the importance of [insert concept identified in question] in the production/distribution/marketing/exhibition of The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) which was produced in 2013 with an estimated production budget of $250-$300m.
Then alternate paragraphs between the two companies comparing like for like e.g. Technolgies used in production and marketing?

Para 1. Cameras used in TDKR
Para 2. Cameras used in Monsters
Para 3. Post production of TDKR
Para 4. Post production of Monsters
Para 5. Use of social media in marketing of TDKR
Para 6. Use of social media in marketing of Monsters
Responding under exam conditions
Step 1. Read the question carefully and put a big circle around both the concept featured e.g. technological convergence AND the stage(s) referred to e.g. distribution and marketing
Step 2. Plan the paragraphs that you are going to write in order, alternating between the two companies and comparing like for like where possible
Step 4. Write up essay including lots of detailed evidence, terminology and arguments
Step 3. Write intro explaining the two companies and films that you are going to analyse and highlighting some of the key differences between the companies
Step 5. Write a brief conclusion explaining how the case study films are an example of the companies' broader aims
Film Industry Definitions
Then get students to analyse an extract that constructs representations of disability. Hopefully they should be able to spot where stereotypes are adhered to or subverted and argue about these reinforce of challenge dominant ideology.
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