Please visit the official OCR A Level Media Studies homepage for all the latest past papers, examiner reports and specifications
MATERIALS FOR NOVEMBER 2013 CPD HERE
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FROM NOVEMBER 6th and 28th EVENTS HERE
QUESTIONS FROM THE FIRST CPD DAY
1.What is recommended for audience research for AS/A2? How can this be presented? Should we discourage the numerous questionnaires approach?
The practice of students giving out questionnaires and putting all the returned examples in their evidence has been discouraged for a long time. The main problem with this approach is not the survey method per se but the limited nature of the questions and the claims made for the responses. For example, asking ten fellow students their favourite genre of film, finding that seven out of ten say ‘horror’ and then using that to justify making a horror film opening as a result. Audience research is more productive if it addresses the following:
· What do real audiences consume?
· Who are the specific audiences for particular products?
· How do media industries target those audiences?
Those questions require research of a different kind to the local questionnaire method; initial research online looking for data about the industry students are dealing with, such as box office figures for films or circulation figures for magazines would be a good starting point. Part of research involves looking for examples of how marketing works across a range of media- for films this includes considering posters, trailers and their selling points, for example.
Later audience research should be considered in a series of stages, each involving formative qualitative feedback. So, for example:
· Pitching the product to the rest of the group and taking feedback, noting the responses from this and deciding how to act as a result.
· Showing early drafts of the work (such as an animatic of the storyboard or a mock up front cover) and asking some carefully framed questions about them to get a sense of the audience’s understanding of the product rather than just a measure of whether the audience liked it.
· Taking peer feedback at later stages and then again on the finished product; asking things like “can you tell me what happened in that sequence, what the relationship between the characters is and what do you think will happen in the rest of the film?” to look for audience readings of the work. ‘
These approaches can be presented in a variety of ways- video extracts with framing commentary from the makers; audio, written. All would help move away from the pie chart of responses model which tends to be fairly unproductive.
Music Video: students have selected the same artist but different songs. Can they do this?
Yes, could be quite a good strategy for some comparative feedback within the group
Can they use existing music such as Bruno Mars?
Yes, the music video is the only task where pre-existing music can be used for the complete product. However, there should be an indication that permission has been sought to use the track. If using a well-known artist, care must be taken not to get too influenced by the existing image of the artist nor to simply reproduce an existing video (e.g. same shots, same narrative, etc.). The latter works well as an exercise but not for the assessed task.
A2 group work - can ancillary tasks be completed as a group or do they have to be done individually?
Can be done as a group but all students in the group need to contribute to their construction and the teacher must comment on contribution level on record form. An alternative which works well with some tasks is for individuals within the group to create their own competing versions, which gives everyone in the group more to consider at the evaluation stage in terms of comparison of possible approaches and allows teachers to allocate individual marks without any difficulties.
A2 music video - in the ancillary task, the group has chosen an original artist who is aspiring to be a recording artist. Therefore they are creating a website for him but have used some of his own images. Is this ok or do they have to actually use original images that they have taken themselves? Can they use a combination?
They need to take the photos themselves if they are to be submitted for assessment.
A2 ancillary task - can candidates literally mimic the complete style of say the Empire magazine review page down to the font/layout etc or do they need to develop their own style? Obviously this would need to be replicated not copied or pasted.
Yes, lots of centres take this approach. Obviously if that is what they are doing and put the Empire name on it, they would be expected to show they really do understand the conventions of Empire itself and the institutional context, so they may have more flexibility, for example in the short film brief, if they create a wholly new publication.
A2 How long does the trailer have to be? Is there an option for a teaser anymore?
There is no fixed length for this and it can be a theatrical or a teaser trailer. However, candidates should show in their planning the models on which they have based their trailer, in terms of conventions and length, so that there is some distinct rationale for their approach.
A2 advertising - advice on completing the advertising brief
COHESIVE PRODUCTS SO BRANDING IS APPARENT; RELATE THE TWO ADVERTS SO THEY ARE PART OF A CAMPAIGN; PAY ATTENTION TO PRODUCTION VALUES; RADIO AD SHOULD NOT REUSE TOO MUCH OF THE TV AD MATERIAL – BUT SHOULD STILL BE PART OF THE SAME CAMPAIGN WITH A COHESIVE STYLE AND MESSAGE; SPONSORSHIP SEQUENCE – LOTS ON ITV3, FOR EXAMPLE. TIE THE PRODUCT/SERVICE TO A PROGRAMME THAT IS FOR THE RIGHT TARGET AUDIENCE AND WHICH DEMONSTRATES SYNERGY. NO POP UPS SEEN – THESE CAN BE DESIGNS RATHER THAN HOSTED.
The centre has created their own prelim task which is slightly off the brief. The characters don't sit down and have a conversation. Considering they have spent 6 weeks on this, is it ok to submit this year but change next year?
So long as the task addresses: 180 degree rule, match on action, shot/reverse shot, it will have met the needs of learning about continuity editing.
This is a very useful question, however, as it raises issues about the purpose of preliminary tasks. It was never intended that centres should spend ages significant amounts of time making a polished product for the preliminary task, as the purpose was to ensure that candidates got more early opportunities to work with equipment, build their skills and develop understanding of media language and representations. We have always encouraged an approach involving frequent production activity and a lengthy induction to the course, but not one involving spending too long on any single task. This blog, from 2009, features a number of appropriate early activities and a preliminary task which took one lesson to introduce and plan, one lesson to shoot and one lesson to edit, then a homework to evaluate. No more than five hours in total. A similar amount of time would be appropriate for the magazine task.
Should students actually comment on other students' work on their blogs? If so, at what stage and should it stay on the blogs for moderation? They can if they like, but it needs to be clear which bits of a blog have been written by the group/individual submitting it.
Could you clarify exactly what is required for Brief 8 for G324 – Newspaper? Does this need to be two inside pages or can it be the Front page and an inside page?
FRONT AND INSIDE IS PREFERABLE
Soap Opera Trailer – how long should it be? Students have found ones which are only 1 minute but is that too short? Can students use existing song soundtrack as research suggests that this is conventional.
A MINUTE IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE FORM. FOUND AUDIO MATERIAL MUST BE LIMITED. IT MAY NOT REQUIRE MUSICAL SOUNDTRACK
Please can we have examples of local news report brief and radio advert work on the weebly? If we find any, as this is not undertaken by many centres!
Are there any courses running related to the exam side of the course? No, under Ofqual rules, this is no longer permitted.
How can a 30 second trailer gain/warrant the same marks as a 5 minute short film or 3 ½ minute music video? Good question, as parity is always hard to achieve across tasks. It would have to be really sophisticated to be only 30 seconds long and achieve a high mark. most of the examples linked to this site are longer.
Can we use Flash for website ancillary? Can we just host the flv flash file or html if in dreamweaver? So not live site? You can open files in Flash/Dreamweaver to look at site?
MUST BE A LIVE, FUNCTIONING HOSTED SITE ACCESSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE MODERATION PERIOD. MODERATORS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO LOOK AT FILES IN FLASH OR DREAMWEAVER.
Can we use the coursework to teach things for the exam? Yes, you should, and vice versa
INSET powerpoints Nov 2012
Useful stuff for teaching magazines- some notes and useful links from Dave Harrison and five downloads he used successfully with students (below)