Why Study Media?
A recent report said that American teens use the Media for an average of 9 hours a day. (For tweens, it's six hours.) To get that in context, it means the Media is more of a presence in teenage lives than...
As such, there are many reasons to study Media - you might want to work in the industry, or you might simply want to understand contemporary culture more. At a basic level, though, we study it because it is what we 'do' more than anything else; arguably, it is the single biggest influence on our lives. It's probably a good idea to understand what effect that is having on us as individuals and societies and perhaps to make us think a bit more about how and why we consume Media.
In order to understand the media, we can start by examining our own use of it. Create your own 'timeline' - choose a day - weekend, holiday, school day, whatever - and note all the uses of media you have that day.
That's the first part. The second part is to decide how to present this information. You can use whatever you want. Prezi is popular. You could present it as a vlog, made using MovieMaker or iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Really ambitious people could make a Flash animation. It could be print based - a diagram created in Illustrator or Photoshop. (Infographics are good...) I don't particularly want to see Word docs or PowerPoint unless you can do absolutely outstanding work in those formats! Media students need to think and care about presentation - this is your first chance.
What are we looking for?
We want to see examples of work where students have done their PRE-PRODUCTION properly. That is, where they have genuinely thought about the range of media they consume and have made an effort to go into some detail (don't just tell us you go online - list the websites. Tell us what music you might listen to. Which TV shows are you watching? Detail is important.)
We want to see thoughtful PRODUCTION. If you are making a video, plan it. If you need actors, get people who can act. Think about the shots you are using. Put the camera on a tripod. Have a voiceover.
We don't really want to see templates. (I'm not a big fan of Powtoon...) More capable students realise that it is harder to make good work when confined by templates; the best way to start is with a blank canvas.
We want to see creative, engaging work. The biggest sin in Media production is being boring. Keep it short, make it interesting. Planning it properly helps lot with this.
Finally, we want to see you working hard. Media production takes a long time if you want to do it well!
Our course is based around 4 key concepts. Everything you do will be assessing your understanding of one or more of these. They are:
In class, we will introduce them by applying them to a music video.
How many cuts are there?
Which shots are being used the most?
Does the camera move a lot or is it quite still?
What colours dominate the palette?
Why has it been made in this way?
Are men and women being represented differently in this video?
Are people of different ethniciites being representaed differently?
What image is being constructed for the star?
Is there anything offensive about the video?
Who is this video targeted at?
How does it try to appeal to them?
Is there more than one audience?
Does it work? Will it attract an audience?
Is it suitable for all audiences?
What is this video for? What purpose does it serve?
Who paid for it to be made?
How much did it cost?
Are they allowed to do whatever they want in the video?
Is it a good video? Did it do what it was meant to do?