Masterpost on How to Study For Media/Film
In the WACE Curriculum the Media Production and Analysis is a class where you analyse media texts and then produce a short film/photographic portfolio. The production part is pretty self explanatory and down to your creativity, however the analysis part is much harder.
Analysis is much like English, but I do Literature so I can’t say to what extent this is true. You look at the codes and conventions and contextual factors that make up how a film is created and for what purpose.
Approaching the text
When approaching the text, it’s important to take in several factors:
- are you looking at a specific director? If so, watch some of their other films. Notice things about their style that will be beneficial to your study of this text.
- When was the film made? What was happening then? This is the context. Look at cultural, social, political and economic factors, as well as trends in the media industry.
- Is the film commercial or independent? Note down the budget, distribution, financing and production, and this will inform you of the controls and constraints within the specific industry.
Context is essentially what was happening within the film and outside the film. The context is important for deciphering what audience the film was made for, what kind of films were being made at the time, why the film was accepted/rejected by the wider audience according to their own context etc.
Leave the film alone and focus on the political climate in the world at that time. What was happening? In the industry? Make sure you look at all these factors and note them down. Later, you’ll find some connections between the context and the film itself in terms of content, values, audience etc.
The audience is the most important part of a film - they are who the film is being made for. Deciphering the target audience of the film helps to discuss the values being presented in the text as well as the way the audience is positioned to view certain themes within the text.
- Are they a niche audience? Art-cinema?
- What age group? Teenagers? Children? Adults?
- What socioeconomic background? Wealthy, white middle class people? Working class people?
- Is it a mainstream audience? If so, how does the film appeal to a widespread set of global values?
Codes and Conventions
Now you have why and who for the film was created. The codes and conventions will allow you to use evidence by identifying the techniques used to position the audience to accept an issue in a certain way.
Aesthetic Codes and Conventions
Mise en Scene:
- body language
- set design
- camera movement
- pull in/out
- titles and font
Audio Codes and Conventions
- natural sounds
- sound effects
Narrative Codes and Conventions
Characterisation - The use of character as a vehicle to communicate themes and issues
Representing Themes and Issues
- social issues (e.g. depression, anxiety, bullying)
- political issues (e.g. inequality, feminism, racism)
- cultural issues (e.g. stereotypes, discrimination)
- economic issues (e.g. poverty, debt)
How these are represented
- Character action and dialogue
- Body language
- Reaction from other characters
Plot - the use of plot and structure to create a film sequence and storyline
- linear, three-part story structure
- non-linear, irresolution, ambiguity
- circular - loops around to end where it began
- chapter-divided chronological story
When studying make sure you note all these things down. Make a mind map to see how they connect to one another if you’re confused, and then write essays and plan responses to practice as well as embed the knowledge in your mind.
I’m not an expert but these are my tips and I really love media it’s my favourite class. Hope these help xx