Friday, 23 June 2017

TV reboots

Even better this time round: The Crystal Maze, Twin Peaks and our golden age of TV reboots

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Summer work 2017

For current Year 10s entering Y11 in September 2017, your summer work tasks have been discussed, and are detailed in pages 9-10 of the guide below:

OPTIONAL: You will also have returned work from assignments 1 and 2, and can get ahead by re-drafting these during the summer.

As explained, email replies will be minimal until late July, but you will get a response. You should use your Office365 account to do so - and look out for new resources being added in August (which will be announced through Office365). You need to access your Office365 mail and click to join the class you've been invited to!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

TV Game Show presenter - justifying your choice

There are similarities with your magazine cover star and film leads in what you need to consider and be prepared to write about:

AUDIENCE: Everything comes back to this in the end; all decisions need to be justifiable with reference to target audience. Remember you can split up and discuss the audience (type) in many ways:
  • primary (main; core), secondary
  • mainstream (eg a family audience!), niche
  • four quadrant (really a film term - say so if using it - but still a useful concept)
  • ABC1C2DE (socio-economic groups: high to low incomes, where ABC1s are targeted with complex, sophisticated media productions and C2DEs with simpler, less sophisticated productions; your range may be any range within this, eg C1C2DE for a gameshow with ANY element of sophistication or audience (intellectual) challenge
  • sophisticated, upmarket (ABC1) and tabloid, downmarket (C2DE) is another way of describing these
  • Uses and gratifications model!!! Also vital for...

Monday, 24 April 2017

TV Game Show exam tasks

You have now been given your exam prelim material (see below). You need to research a range of issues in preparation for this...


Key points to consider:
  1. your idea would be pitched to a digital channel, NOT a terrestrial or free-to-air channel
  2. they've asked members of the public to pitch, perhaps further connoting low budget...
  3. it must have a USP
    • you'll quickly see there are MANY competing game shows
    • what will make YOURS stand out?
  4. it must appeal to all the family, younger, older, male, female (four quadrants)
    • look at how shows like Family Fortunes tried to appeal to a family audience
    • think carefully about Key Concepts Representation/Media Language: the presenter/s, set, contestants, task or competition - and difficulty level of any questions or challenges (can younger viewers engage, or (U+G theory!) identify?) 
    • the programme title itself is very important - and, just like a magazine masthead, you need to plan the look of this: you could search for a specific font and mock this up, just be prepared to denote the font (serif, bubble, case, colour etc)
  5. "the focus on the family audience must be clear from the opening title sequence" 
    • be prepared to storyboard your title sequence
  6. the slot is Saturday evening primetime, scheduled for autumn
    • research what shows currently hold these slots
    • a good sign of success is it coming back for more than one year or season!!!
  7. viewers at home must be able to play along in some way: audience interactivity, engagement
  8. social media/e-media are vital to promoting the show and brand + increase the audience
    • this could also be about monetising: SMS/premium rate phone voting or competition entry, but also (freemium?) apps, board games, DVD games etc
    • be prepared to draw a website, app or social media home page (or more)
    • research existing examples
  9. your idea needs to be backed up with evidence from existing, successful game shows

Friday, 31 March 2017

TRAILERS The It remake

This is a side-by-side comparison of the upcoming 2017 version and the original 1990 TV minseries, a useful example of how important UNoriginality plays in a film industry that recognises the difficulty in marketing new ideas, and seeks to draw in secondary older audiences through nostalgia.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

FILM pitching

Use your practice pitch, and notes/handouts to help develop a strong pitch - the process of presenting a film proposal to film financiers/distributors, trying to convince them to risk money on your movie.

Your pitch should be backed by a PowerPoint or video with plentiful, frequent, relevant illustration.

This needs to be emailed (a YouTube link if video) before the Friday 7th April lesson. You will also Monday's lesson to work on this.

It should address:

In no more than 2 sentences, sum up the narrative.
State at least 2 films this has similarities to (explain how), noting their box office + which audience/s you think those examples appeal to.
RESEARCH TIP: if you google 'film title box office' you might find useful analysis on the audience, or just try 'film title audience' - Avatar example1; example2.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

TV Game Shows lists and clips


BBC game shows Wiki;
UK Game Shows (site dedicated to this);











There have been many of these, from It's a Knockout to Channel 4's disastrous The Jump, a hybrid with reality TV in which contestants kept getting seriously injured (so it was axed).

This became a successful international format/franchise, and even saw international spin-offs, with various national champions facing off against each other.


A classic format, with Blind Date the queen of the format, fuelled by 60s pop star Cilla Black's catchphrases delivered in a broad scouse accent. Take Me Out is a more modern version, losing all the gentleness of its predecessors and putting an unsubtle meat market on screen. Mr and Mrs was a long running, very old-fashioned show.




The format is adopted not just for mainstream mass 'family' audiences (primetime, teatime and lunchtime slots, not to mention endless re-runs throughout the day on channels such as Dave or Challenge, with very occasional post-watershed 'adult' shows too), but also for younger niche audiences. Runaround and Crackerjack are two classic examples, combining quiz and physical competition elements, and Crackerjack being something of a hybrid, almost a variety or chat show with its special guests. 

Blockbusters was a hugely popular quiz show in the 80s and 90s with school and uni students, featuring sixth formers (Year 12/13; age 16-19). Slightly older university level students have become a key part of the audience for other daytime quiz shows, not least Countdown.





Monday, 13 March 2017

MUSIC VIDEO audience research

These A2 students created a video survey, embedded below
As this is a new topic for GCSE here, there aren't any past examples to show you - but you can take inspiration from some A2 Media work.

This document, aimed at A2 students, sets out some of the ways you can evidence audience research:

You need to show you TESTED your initial judgement on a suitable target audience, and gathering SOME survey data on whether teens (or others) recognise your genre, artist or specific track is a good starting point. Getting some brief descriptions of what those vaguely familiar with the genre/artist expect to see is also useful.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Warp v Working Title Film examples


We'll watch and compare these two trailers shortly

You can find additional resources in these posts:
We'll focus on two contrasting companies to begin exploring this industry.
  • Working Title is owned by a huge US conglomerate (company that owns other companies), and so can make high budget movies
  • Warp is an Indie (not owned by a larger company), and so makes low budget films

You can see the trump cards below for a selection of these. NOTE: I've blogged on many of these films in much more detail over on my Cinema blog.

Here are the boxofficemojo links for each (this site gives budgets, box office figures):

2 contrasting companies in trump cards (gallery further down)
Bridget Jones's Baby (Maguire, 2016)
Sequel to Bridget Jones' Diary and Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason
Green Zone (Greengrass, 2010)
Marketing of this action/spy thriller tried to tap into the Bond rip-off Bourne's success by focusing on Matt Damon, with disappointing resultd
Hot Fuzz (Wright, 2007)
Second of the 'Cornetto Trilogy' this cop buddy satire was a sizeable hit despite its low budget.
Legend (Helgeland, 2014)
International audiences just weren't familiar with the Kray Twins (real life post-war London gangsters), and so box office was low outwith the UK
Les Miserables (Hooper, 2012)
Global IP/brand + A-list stars = global hit!
The sort of A-list star-studded movie, based on a globally successful IP (the long-running musical), that Indies couldn't dream of, this was a solid success
Notting Hill (Michell, 1999)
The company's second global hit rom-com starred megastar Julia Roberts, and made a star of Hugh Grant, fresh of Four Weddings and a Funeral success.
Paul (Mottola, 2011)
Featuring the (British) Cornetto Trilogy leads, this sci-fi/comedy hybrid used an A-lister (Seth Rogen) and a US setting to boost its US and international appeal
Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
Still popular with today's teens, the zom-rom-com that kickstarted the Corentto Trilogy
The World's End (Wright, 2013)
The budget was much higher than the previous Cornetto Trilogy movies, but the box office wasn't - I've blogged on why in detail
Theory of Everything (Marsh, 2014)
Typical Working Title: well off white southern English characters in a grand setting, with the romance framework boosting appeal to this biopic of Stephen Hawking.

Budget: just £48k!
'71 (Demange, 2014)
Set at the start of the Northern Ireland 'Troubles' (armed conflict verging on civil war), this action/thriller could have been a hit with a star or two
Four Lions (Morris, 2010)
Such a bizarre idea: a comedy about a su*icide b*mber! A suprise hit in the UK, but it didn't do well in the US
She a Chinese (Xiaolu, 2011) [no entry]
You can't get much more uncommercial (unlikely to make money) than this: a Chinese woman illegally stays in Britain after running off from an official tour
Submarine (Ayaode, 2010)
Ingenious Welsh teen rom-com
This is England (Meadows, 2006)
The franchise continued on TV, with 3 series of sometimes brutal social realist drama
Tyrannosaur (Considine, 2011)
Another dark drama, despite the (sort-of) romance, it proved a hard sell with its two unglamorous middle-aged leads
Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee (Meadows, 2009)
Shane Meadows shot this mockumentary in just 5 days! Its entire budget wouldn't cover the catering on some tentpole Hollywood shoots!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Crossword challenge 1

You can type directly into this; click through to
If you're really stuck, I can give you a list of the words used for answers - though you'll still need to match them up to the right answer!

2017 Y11 crosswords are below the read more link...

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

FILM POSTER media language to audience analysis

The high angle and shocked facial expression (of Pegg especially) connotes the vulnerability of the two humans in the picture. As well as a convincing alien figure achieving verisimilitude for this, the sci-fi genre is also signified through the purple/violet circle of light. More anchorage for the genre is given through the graphic design of the 'a' in Paul, featuring an alien figure.
The choice of a white bubble font signifies a less serious tone, and a target audience that includes teens, even though the uses and gratifications theory suggests teens might not so easily identify with the mature adult pair.

FILM drafts


CW's alt version:


MAGAZINE your drafts


Missed HI's (click to expand):


Saturday, 28 January 2017

MAGAZINE audience research - get the advertiser profiles!

Just above this caption you'll see 'Media Pack' - this is for advertisers, detailing the readership of the magazine (Conde Nast Britain)

Most magazines take in more revenue from advertising than from the cover price (from which, don't forget, distributors and retailers get their cut!).

In a very real sense, if you go out and buy a magazine, you're not buying anything ... you're being sold to advertisers!
Giant multinational conglomerate Time Inc. UK boast to advertisers of their music mag Uncut readership's spending habits

At A-Level we look at theories such as Noam Chomsky's 'propaganda model' which argues advertisers play a highly ideological role in the media industry, acting as a 'filter' to keep out radical ideas that might threaten the rich and powerful.
Part of Dennis Publishing's blurb on 1 of their many titles

For GCSE, just be aware that they play a key role in magazine branding: every title is seeking to attract an audience that will appeal to certain advertisers. This might be niche (narrow, specific, highly selective) or mainstream (broad, general) but the bottom line is that advertisers will not risk wasting valuable resources paying for space in a magazine that doesn't fit their customer profile. They MUST know who they'll be reaching with their ads - the age range, gender and income levels at a minimum.
Part of Haymarket Media's advertiser pitch for glossy footie mag FourFourTwo

Therefore, magazine publishers are under pressure to provide detailed information, including demographic data (the % of readers within categories such as age, gender, income) to advertisers. This can often be found on the main websites of publishers, and accessing some examples should help you make your own audience analysis much more sophisticated.
Bauer, one of the leading UK publishers, provides advertisers with an interactive tool to match their needs to magazine brands!
Just a few of the many magazine brands owned by Time Inc. UK

To find these you need to know who the major magazine publishers are. In the UK, the focus for this blog, these change over time as there are mergers, closures and launches of new titles and categories too, but at the time of writing that includes (with examples of their publications):

Future (MacFormat, PC Gamer - here's a full list)

Bauer UK (Empire, Grazia, Kerrang! - audience finder; case studies)

Conde Nast Britain (Vogue, GQ - here's the GQ Media Pack)

DC Thomson (WWE Kids Magazine, Shout - Shout [girls mag] Media Pack - scroll to the bottom of main site for full list of titles)

Dennis Publishing (Cyclist, Cross Stitcher, PC Pro)

Haymarket Media Group (Autocar, FourFourTwo, Senior Living)

Hearst Magazines UK (Good Living, Hello, Cosmopolitan, Inside Soap - rate card for Elle)

Time Inc. UK (NME, Golf Monthly, Yachting World, Women's Weekly)

Find more magazines by using online shops such as this.

MAGAZINE the key steps to a good cover

You need to clearly evidence engagement with the KEY CONCEPTS of Media Language and Audience. That means knowing the technical terms, understanding design conventions, and how each media language decision can impact on the likely target audience. This is a task about branding, and the media language choices that enables an institution a specific target audience that can be sold to advertisers! In a declining market suffering from digital disruption, with plenty of titles closing or going web-only, the 'migration' of ad revenue to online (especially Google and Facebook) is a massive blow for the magazine industry.

There are many terms to learn, from straplines to masthead to hyperbole ... you need to be able to apply the correct, accurate industry label to each of these common elements of cover design.

Throughout your Media Studies journey you'll be asked to research existing examples to learn industry conventions before constructing your own. You need to learn how media language choices are made to target different audiences.

Gather details of what magazines are available (we will focus on the UK market) in print of a magazine sector you think you would like to focus on for your own production. That might be music (if so, any specific genre?), fashion (men's, women's, girls?), technology (gaming - which console/platform?; futurism; general computing - or Windows, Mac, Linux...), consumer/lifestyle (homes, holidays, boats...), celebrity (usually considered women's magazines), film/TV (genre, time period...), sports/hobbies ... there are magazines covering most things you can think of.

See what ideas these examples give you - you might decide it does not seem such a good choice after all!

You should by now have an idea of what type of magazine you will work on, so should pick two from your sector. You need to carefully and accurately apply a wide range of relevant terms. You also need to use the full range of audience terms, and engage with any theories that help to explain how audiences make their choices.


MAGAZINES Institution - how digital disruption is transforming the print industry

You can find details of the many closures with a simple google.

Every media industry has faced massive, often brutal, change as a result of digitisation. New forms of distribution are transforming ways of operating, with new names like Spotify and Netflix rising to threaten the old, established giants.

The term used to describe this phenomenon and process is disruption, or digital disruption - the smooth ways of doing business have been challenged, changed ... disrupted.
INDUSTRY AWARENESSBecause of the challenge of digitisation (young people preferring screens to print, and advertisers moving online, taking their money away from magazines), many titles have closed recently, unable to survive the double whammy of falling circulation (sales) and loss of advertising revenue*If you really can't find current, ongoing titles, then you can use titles that were published during this current decade.       *magazines generally rely more on advertiser fees than the cover price to make money!

The story seems simple: digitisation means that print magazines are doomed - but there is, possibly, one exception - luxury magazines ... [article link]