Media Conventions

Explain the most significant ways in which your media productions were informed by your understanding of real media texts. Refer to a range of examples in your answer to demonstrate how this understanding developed over time.

Plan:

Genre features: Last year I only watched The Machinist and followed the conventions that I’d found from this film. Then, when making my film I realised it didn’t suit the general layout of thriller films as it started with a flashback, when films such as Silence of the Lambs and Shutter Island do not. This year, I made sure to watch plenty of short films so I could get more of a feel for the kinds of things that were shown in them. Focus, From 1994 and Full Circle -only featured a few characters, and are a visual medium – mine is – Sunlight/ 4 characters

Format: based on the one film-  mostly just initiative, featured credits and idents. This year watched short films Musca and Focus and made detailed notes- titles lasted for different amounts of times, showed on black screen/over film – replicated the general rule – showed titles for 15 seconds

Stereotypes: last year tried to create the stereotype of a young girl but our own interpretation – didn’t feel the need to do research. Turned out in our characters not being that realistic. This year watched Gone Girl and A Good Marriage to see how dysfunctional relationships were presented – more convincing

Director: This year followed style of a real director – researched into his typical techniques – hands in grass, two shots, ‘magic hour’ and shots of nature. Last year loosely followed genre let alone director – didn’t really have a particular style

Essay

As of last year’s AS media project, my understanding of real media texts have been greatly developed which in turn has improved the authenticity of my A2 coursework, Green Fingers. Through having a deeper understanding of common conventions, I have been able to create more professional looking film projects.

Last year, I only watched one film opening as I thought this would be enough to inform my groups perception of what was included in the opening two minutes of pre existing media texts. I watched The Machinist, which although contained idents, several credits and very little action, I later found out that it was quite dissimilar to the format of other thriller films. In hindsight, since having watched Shutter Island and Silence of the Lambs I realised that flashbacks were very uncommon to thriller films and they mainly began with exposition of the characters. A flashback didn’t suit the plot of Mummy’s Girl (my groups AS coursework), and ultimately we found ourselves creating a film opening with very little understanding of what actually happens in the opening two minutes. This year for the production of Green Fingers, I made sure to watch plenty of 5 minute short films so I could begin to understand what, in terms of plot, actually happened in the short time period. From watching Focus, From 1994 and Full Circle, I could see common features between all of these films. They only contained a few characters, maximum four, and they are all some kind of visual medium as they were each very interesting to watch. Through watching these 3 short films, I was able to translate these features from the media texts into Green Fingers and made sure that the start of my film was aesthetically pleasing to watch. I feel that this was achieved by the sunlight and the way it flares on the lens, making my film look quite beautiful. I also only included four characters, so that the plot wasn’t confusing to follow. Through watching multiple media texts, I feel that my understanding was much deeper than it was last year which allowed me to create a more realistic short film.

When deciding on the format for Mummy’s Girl, a lot of it was just based on initiative which was informed by films we’d seen in the past as we only watched the Machinist, so most of our ideas came from that film. This lead to a lot of time wasted on deciding when the idents and credits should show and for how long, and also whether or not our opening two minutes should show a title. This meant that time was spent making decisions when it could have been spend editing, and also that out film opening didn’t really replicate the sequence of a professional film. With this in mind, when planning Green Fingers I watched and made detailed notes on multiple short films, such as Musca, The Laundromat and again Focus and from 1994, to help develop my understanding of the conventions found in real media texts. From this I realised several common themes: there are always credits at the end and I made sure to include which credits were given so that I could do the same. Also, the title shows for around five seconds and it can either be shown on a blank screen or on top of the film, and there aren’t usually any idents shown. This helped me to understand which aspects of short film format varied, such as idents, and which aspects stayed the same, for example the credits that are shown. The development in my understanding from As to A2 of the format of professional films allowed me to create a well ordered short film which was in keeping with standards set by the industry.

When creating Mummy’s Girl, the plot was mainly developed by our own creativity and we didn’t really follow the style of a particular genre or director, only thriller films we had seen before such as Gone Girl and Inception. Since we weren’t professional film makers, the plot seemed to be a bit weak and didn’t have anything particularly interesting about it, which which was common in the films we had previously watched. As I wanted to make my short film as interesting and as successful as possible, I chose to follow the style of Terrence Malick as I found his films really beautiful to watch at points. When watching The Thin Red Line, I noticed that there were a lot of shots filmed in ‘the magic hour’ which lead to a golden hue around the actors, making the film a visual medium. Malick also included a lot of two shots in The Tree of Life rather than the typical shot reverse shot. I found this made the film more immersive and I wanted to translate this into Green Fingers. I feel that through watching films by Terrence Malick and specifically attempting to replicate his style at times, rather than just using my own style, I was able to create a plot that was interesting to watch. This development in my understanding of directors ensured that the style of my film was a visual medium, just as Malick’s films are.

Ultimately, I feel that through doing deeper research into the conventions and styles used in professional media texts, my understanding has allowed me to be able to create projects that are in keeping with typical film conventions. The development of my understanding has also meant that Green Fingers was a well structured and executed film.

 

 

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One thought on “Media Conventions

  1. Ms Walker,

    The following is the exam board’s description of a level 4 answer, from the January 2012 mark scheme (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0-c7NOkBricRzhzWV96RUMxczg):

    Level 4 (21-25 marks).

    There is a clear sense of progression and of how examples have been selected, and a range of articulate reflections on creative media practice. There is a fluent evaluation of progress made over time. Candidates offer a broad range of specific, relevant and clear examples of real media conventions in relation to creative practice. The use of media terminology and production terms is excellent.

    Complex issues have been expressed clearly and fluently using a style of writing appropriate to the complex subject matter. Sentences and paragraphs, consistently relevant, have been well structured, using appropriate technical terminology. There may be few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

    I would mark your current answer as being Level 4, possibly 24 (lol)/25.

    – Thank you, Chloe – you have restored my faith in the human race. This is exactly the answer I was hoping to read: engaging, detailed and containing specific detail.
    – Don’t over use the phrase “media texts”, though – it sounds weird.
    – Proof-read! Some of your phrasing is a bit clunky.

    Like

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