I highly commend the web page 'Nine top tips for Media students'. From the people behind theory.org.uk, its worth a read!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Prominence of student work on YouTube

I've blogged previously on the growing number of made-for-fun short horror films on YouTube (especially zombie flicks), reflecting the ongoing impact of digitisation and the accessibility of digital film-making today, but its worth noting too how the battalions of Media Studies students across the land are leaving their own legacy. As students conduct research into their chosen genre before setting out to create their own genre piece, increasingly they could be accessing other students' distilled research to do so!

When doing some tagging on archive posts I came across a mention of how prominent my students' work was on YouTube search results - so, a year or so on, I had another look, and sure enough, a 'slasher openings' on YouTube (Nov 15th 2013) produced the following top results:
IGS student work came top of the pile in this search
You can help make your work more widely seen by using YouTube categories and tagging.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Audience research blogging

This is a complementary addition to another post from the MusiVidz blog, where I've frequently blogged on audience issues (search or use the tags cloud to find examples to use for your research). That post also contains links to further blog resources, including on audience theory.

At the bottom of this post I've embedded a Word doc with detail on what steps to take to help evidence your work on research.

As the Word doc at the bottom highlights, audience keeps cropping up in the markscheme for every element of the coursework and the exam! Failure to tackle this well, and provide clear evidence of having done so, will most likely cost you one or more grades.

Here's what you're trying to achieve - show that you've...
  1. Clearly defined your (primary and secondary) target audiences, and edited this whenever evidence (eg through feedback) suggests this isn't working as you'd originally intended. Always blog on every change; its fine to admit that your initial idea of a target audience was inaccurate, so long as you're clear on why any revised outline is now accurate.
  2. Tested your outlined target audience/s (see point 1!). Remember, evidence of this is key: simple video/vodcasts are useful, and will help reduce the workload for the Eval Q on this.
  3. Researched the media profile of your act/track/genre (more genre for obscure acts); looking at where they appear should provide useful evidence. This includes not just radio, web and print (papers, mags), but also films (tie-ins, soundtrack/OST, dialogue references) and ads.
  4. Listed any and all websites you might get useful aud feedback from - official and fan FB pages, Twitter accounts and hashtags, Instagram blogs, fan club and fansites etc. It doesn't take long to write up one post and add this to each. Be clear but brief on what you're doing and what sort of feedback you're after, with a clickable link for this.
  5. Keep summarizing your findings as you go; if you do this as vodcasts you'll have covered ground for the Eval Q.
  6. For every sample sequence or rough cut seek and separately post on feedback. This needs to be specific and directed; if you don't specific which elements you especially want feedback on, you'll get vague, general 'I dis/liked it' comments which tell you little.
  7. Keep updating links lists to make it highly visible that you've done this.
  8. Always add on your response. Be clear and specific. If you reject feedback, justify this.

Using Past Blogs for Inspiration
The previous post on audience highlighted one example of a student's audience analysis. I explained what was good about this, and what was missing that would push this up to the highest marks range (from basic/proficient to excellent).
Here's a few more past posts, with brief added commentary, for you to consider:

This 2015 A2 example is a good reference point: you can see a video questionnaire, and this being delivered to a class, teachers etc, as well as audience feedback on rough cuts etc

2013 - Daft Punk:
Audience outline: this was clear but too brief. It would help to add a picture of a person (either someone local or a googled image) and break down what characteristics (ie demographics, lifestyle, hobbies, consumption patterns/media use) make them an exemplar target audience member.
What was good here was the specific reference to the impact of target audiences:
We are also targeting a secondary tween audience. Many younger teens 12+ listen to music often associated with an older group as they aspire to be like them therefore we have included them in our target audience. We have not focused our project on appealing to them directly but we have considered them. For example excluding any references to sex, drug taking or drinking directly meaning our music video would be able to be played before the watershed hour. 
Evidencing research into suitability: this post was again quite brief, but made good use of data on what people view on YouTube (a reference/link is needed to the source though!) and a screenshot of data on 1 of their rough cuts from a YouTube channel.

Could have been more comprehensive, but useful evidence
Media profile: this group blogged on this twice, finding very useful examples: here and here, ... and then noted another example - this post demonstrates that you can be brief and still effective. What these posst needed was clearer, explicit analysis of how these findings would influence the design of any of the 3 texts. The group realised the helmets were iconic and so belatedly decided to incorporate this into all 3 texts, an idea that partly emerged from this research - so they should have highlighted this point! To be fair, this post contained good analysis and a useful summary.

Digipak aud feedback: this wan't neglected; this post contains early feedback on a dummy design (ie missing a lot of detail, really a proof of concept or mock-up - a little like an animatic for a video)

Using social media: as well as a separate company blog (Quack Cuts), this group ran Twitter and Facebook accounts, and blogged on these. Simple really, just screenshots and a quick note! They also used fan forums. All quick and easy to set up, and you can help push traffic (thus comments) there by using your Facebook pages etc. These can also be useful if you work on a secondary, viral concept which helps to link the 3 products.

2012 - Girls Aloud:

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Zeitgeist terminology1: sexposition

The 1st in an irregular series: as 'Use of Terminology' accounts for 20% of your exam marks (both AS and A2), I'll keep an eye out for any relevant newly-coined terms suming up elements of our new media age, starting with this one: SEXPOSITION, blending sex and exposition (to provide narrative information to an audience).
If you happen to stumble across any interesting new media terms, please pass on as a comment or email!
Here's where I picked it up (the full article is a book review, which sounds promising, and starts with a linked reference to one of the best/most inspiring books on film I've ever read):

In these days of meth-dealing school teachers, it's easy to forget how shocking the idea of a criminal protagonist used to be. The conventional TV wisdom, enforced by advertisers, had always been that Americans would watch films with morally compromised heroes, but that they would never allow them into their living rooms. However, the proliferation of cable TV channels – and later, the introduction of DVD box sets – led to the creation of new, lucrative niche markets. HBO, a pay-TV channel that doesn't take advertising, produced the first wave of these shows as part of a deliberate corporate strategy: it was seeking out a sophisticated, affluent audience, and "adult themes", as they say, were a distinctive selling point. (HBO is of course famous for its use of "sexposition", a speciality of Game of Thrones: spicing up boring exposition with a gratuitous sex scene.) Its executives were famously hands-off and sympathetic to writers. Even so, when the time came to give the go ahead to The Sopranos, HBO's two pioneering bosses, Chris Albrecht and Carolyn Strauss, asked each other: "Should we do this? We should do this! Can we do this?" After shooting the pilot, Chase told his cast and crew: "You've been great. It's been lots of fun. Unfortunately, nobody is going to watch this."