Media Studies @ Transylvania College

In Media Studies you will be encouraged to construct and understand media products, the forms and conventions they use, the contexts in which they are produced, their technologies, their audiences and the social messages they contain. The AS and A2 specifications balance production work and written exams, combining creative media tasks with analysis and debate.

  • There are 4 exam parts:
  • AS: Components 01 & 02 (Year 12)
  • A2: Component 03 & 04 (Year 13)
The structure of the exam for AS:

Component 01.

Foundation Portfolio

You have the opportunity to choose from two set briefs: you either create the opening title sequence of a new film or the cover, table of contents and double spread of a new magazine in any style you want, all of these based on your own research and creative ideas.

FILM OPENING TASK (video) 100pts
  • the titles and opening of a new fiction film (to last a maximum of two minutes). Titles should follow the institutional conventions of commercial cinema. The task may be undertaken individually or as a group. There should be a maximum of four members to a group.

Some examples of works done by past students:

MAGAZINE TASK (print) 100pts
  • the front page, contents and double-page spread of a new magazine (if done as a group task, each member of the group to produce an individual edition of the magazine, following the same house style). There should be a maximum of four members to a group. All images and text used in the main task must be original and produced by the candidate(s) with a minimum of four images per candidate.

Some examples of magazines done by students:

YOUTH CULTURE & FASHION - Maria Streang 2014
ART MAGAZINE - Maria Bega 2015
GAMING MAGAZINE - Georgia Duna 2016

After completing your coursework, you will need to answer to 4 Creative Critical Reflection questions ("CCR").

  1. How does your product use or challenge conventions and how does it represent social groups or issues?
  2. How does your product engage with audiences and how would it be distributed as a real media text?
  3. How did your production skills develop throughout this project?
  4. How did you integrate technologies – software, hardware and online – in this project?

Each answer needs to be presented using a different online app or media tool - eg. Prezi, Fanzine, podcast, director's commentaries video, vlog, etc. Look for examples of answers on other students' blogs (see below links).

You will post all your work on a personal blog you will create for this course.

Some examples of students’ blogs:

BLOGS

MAGAZINE BLOG Maria 2015 | FILM OPENING BLOG Alex 2015

FILM OPENING BLOG Diana 2016 |MAGAZINE BLOG Georgia 2016

FILM OPENING & MAGAZINE BLOG Mara 2017

Component 02.

Section A. Textual Analysis and representation (50pts)

You analyse a TV drama extract, considering how it uses the micro elements of cinematography:

  • camera shots, angles, movement, composition,
  • editing,
  • sound,
  • mise-en-scene

to represent social ideas like gender, age or ability.

What different messages does this sequence convey to you about age?

Section B. Institutions and Audiences (50pts)

You research current examples of a media industry (choose from film/music/print/video games/radio) and find out how digital technology is transforming its relationship with its audiences. Does Netflix or Youtube mean your local cinema is finished? Are social media a threat or an advantage to Warner Brothers? Is print dead?

The structure of the exam for A2:

COMPONENT 03.

Advanced Portfolio

You will continue using your blogs that you created for AS, but will create a separate menu for A2, stating the brief you chose.

The briefs you can choose from are the following:

  • Option 1: music promotion package: A promotion package for the release of an album, to include a music video (major task), together with a website for the band and a digipak for the album’s release (minor tasks).
  • Option 2: film promotion package: A promotion package for a new film, to include two trailers (major task), together with a website for the film and a poster for the film (minor tasks).
  • Option 3: documentary package: An extract from an original documentary TV programme, lasting approximately five minutes (major task), together with a website for the documentary and a poster for the documentary (minor tasks).
  • Option 4: short film package: A short film in its entirety, lasting approximately five minutes (major task), which may be live action or animated or a combination of both, together with a website for the short film and a postcard advertisement for the film at a short film festival (minor tasks).

Examples of past works of students:

MAJOR TASKS:

MINOR TASKS:

Websites & Digipacks

Followed by the usual, slightly different Creative Critical Reflection questions ("CCR"):

  1. How do your products use or challenge conventions and how do they represent social groups or issues?
  2. How do the elements of your production work together to create a sense of ‘branding’?
  3. How do your products engage with the audience and how would they be distributed as real media products?
  4. How did you integrate technologies – software, hardware and online – in this project?

COMPONENT 04.

Section A. Evaluation of Production Skills development

You will be asked to answer to 2 questions to describe and evaluate your skills development in your production work from Components 1 and 3.

Part (a)

This part will require you to focus the discussion of your own skills development on to one or two specific production practices from the list below:

  • use of digital technology
  • creativity
  • research and planning
  • using conventions from real media texts.

Part (b)

This part will require you to select one of your own productions and evaluate it in relation to a media concept from the list below:

  • genre
  • narrative
  • representation
  • audience
  • media language.
Section B. Contemporary media issues: Post-modern media

We will approach this topic by answering to 4 QUESTIONS:

  • What are the different versions of post-modernism (historical period, style, theoretical approach)?
  • What are the arguments for and against understanding some forms of media as post-modern?
  • How do post-modern media texts challenge traditional text-reader relations and the concept of representation?
  • In what ways do media audiences and industries operate differently in a post-modern world?

You will manage to answer to the above questions by referring to and studying at least 2 different types of media: ways in which post-modern media relate to genre and narrative across two media, computer/video games, virtual worlds, augmented reality and new forms of representation, post-modern cinema, interactive media, social media and social networking, reality TV, music video, advertising, post-modern audience theories, aspects of globalisation, parody and pastiche in media texts, or a range of other applications of post-modern media theory.

Expect to Have fun, teach your colleagues, discuss about memes and other social media issues, use your phone during classes, act or guide actors, visit the cinema projection room and printing companies, Meet media professionals, watch movies, organise & visit art exhibitions, take part in the annual Art&media camp @ Baisoara, meet other international students, be creative and resourceful when it comes to ideas, locations, photoshoots, technologies.

Background needed

Reasonably good writing skills, confidence in working independently, and an ability to meet deadlines always helps….but an enthusiasm for media learning and the participatory possibilities of new media is the key to succeeding with and enjoying this subject.

Suitable combinations

The portfolio-based two-component structure means that this A-level combines particularly well with creative arts subjects like Art & Design. Its emphasis on theory and analysis equally allies it with more traditional academic subjects like History and English; for discussing representation it definitely helps to back your knowledge with notions from Sociology and Psychology. Business Studies and Economics are very useful when it comes to Institutions and Audiences, how they produce, market and distribute media products.

After A-Level

This A-Level will offer you a great start for a future career in the media industries, you will acquire valuable practical, technical skills and the skills evaluation elements will help you reflect and encourage continuous development. The combination of production, research and analytic work is a very good grounding for the independent study skills you will need in higher education. Media Studies is one of the most popular and expanding areas in higher education.

Wherever you are based in the 21st century global village, you will benefit from a critical and creative grasp of the media.

Credits:

Created with images by neonow - "III" • kurtdeiner - "murals in jeżyce poznań apartment poznań"

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