Sunday, 30 November 2008

Year 12 Film Studies - Learning focus this week: EDITING

Week Beginning 1st December 2008

I am absolutely thrilled that you have managed to shoot the rushes for your short films and I have particularly enjoyed looking at Tara and Jake's blogs where they have documented their filming processes. Check them out - they are both fantastic! The focus of this week is therefore going to be looking at post production technique - editing. Although you are ambitious, we are going to begin with i-movie because if you can edit well here without all the amazing frills of 'Final Cut Pro', you can edit on any software. Editing is a craft that needs to be learnt without frills first. Once competent here, you can graduate to 'Final Cut'. We are going to be watching the first installment of a BBC4 documentary in this week's lesson entitled: 'The Cutting Edge'. I have decided to post it here alongside part 2 for you to watch at your leisure.

Part 1

Part 2:

See you on Tuesday x

Year 12 Media Studies - Lesson Outcomes This Week 1/12/08


This week, the focus of our lessons is going to be on developing the 'Big Picture' for your film - the narrative framework for the entire film in the form of a detailed mind-map.

What happens to who? In what sequential order? Where? Why? Linear? Non-linear?

You are then going to move from MACRO (Big Picture) to MICRO (your opening title sequence) in developing an effective 'Logline' and film title/name that will sum-up your film to all parties interested. The following link takes you through how to create a 'logline' - a process integral to developing a 'pitch'.

The 'Logline' will serve as a compass for the story as it develops, and is the single most important tool in marketing the script or concept to film production companies. Odds are, if you can't boil your script down to a solid 1 or 2 sentences of the basic idea, producers will never be attracted to it for development. Developing your logline is also an opportunity to express a very original hook that your story has to separate it from others within the same genre or theme. A great logline should provoke interest and inspire the producer to see the potential of the film.

Here are three questions to ask yourself as you write your logline:

1. Who is the main character and what does he or she want?

2. Who (villain) or what is standing in the way of the main character?

3. What makes this story unique?

Use action words when writing your logline. Film captures the actions of characters.Add descriptive words to create an image that will stay in the mind of your reader.
The following examples show how dull loglines can be made exciting by adding descriptive words.

Dull logline: A woman plots to murder her sister.
Intriguing logline: A woman obsessed by jealousy plots to murder her sister, who married the man she loves.

Dull logline: Two lovers plan to flee from their feuding families who forbid them to marry.
Intriguing logline: Two young lovers living in a ghetto defy their feuding families' ban on marrying and plan an escape that propels them toward tragedy.

Young lovers defying their feuding families is not unique. But, putting the lovers in a ghetto setting and adding the element of tragedy to their escape plan gives the story an interesting twist. It's Romeo and Juliet in a ghetto, a setting that helps add conflict to the story.

Dull logline: A woman confronts her past when her illegitimate daughter shows up after twenty years.
Intriguing logline: A minister's wife confronts her long-buried past when her illegitimate daughter shows up after twenty years.

An illegitimate daughter showing up after twenty years is not an unusual plot. But, the fact that the main character is a minister's wife implies conflict, morality vs. immorality, and deception. Defining the woman's past as "long-buried" peaks interest.

These logline examples all have a hook, something that can stimulate serious interest. They make a statement about the central problem that will be resolved by the character(s), and they define a concept that gives the story its power to entertain.

Use the suggestions in this article to help you write your own loglines. Keep in mind that a well-constructed logline answers three key questions and post your ideas on a 'Post-it' :

1. Who is the main character and what does he/she want?

2. Who (villain) or what is standing in the way of the main character?

3. What makes this story unique?

Once this is complete you will be ready to create your 'storyboard' that will embody your creative ambitions for the title sequence. Combined, these two elements will form your PITCH in a couple of weeks.


Enjoy your 1st week of Christmas. Only two weeks to go until the holidays and until filming! Ninax

Year 12 Media Studies - Homework 2 and a 'Moan'

It appears that lots of you have not completed the Saul Bass research and posted this on your blogs which is quite disappointing. You should be spending 4 hours a week on media work outside of lesson time and this is not evident from looking through many of the blogs. Also, there are a number of you who have not yet e-mailed me with your blog URL address links - Shazna, Deepak, Becky O'Keefe, Becky Hammond, Luke Bradshaw, Harry, Ellis, Hannah Davies come to mind. I know some of you have done it, but I have not yet received an e-mail from you. My e-mail address is:

If you want to see some great blogging visit Tara Costello and Joe Smith's links as they are looking super-duper. By now, you should have the following on your blog:
  1. An introduction to your brief and film production team with some initial ideas for your title sequence documented as an entry.
  2. Your completed 'Continuity Sequence' embeded in your blog.
  3. A 500 word analysis/critique of the work of Saul Bass having looked at a minimum of three Saul Bass titles and the documentary posted last week


I'm sorry if I sound grumpy but I want the best for all of you and if you fall behind at this stage, it is difficult to catch-up later especially since Blogs record dates of entry! Alan and I are really looking forward to seeing the development of your title sequences and feel confident that they will look fantastic. However, it is essential that you put the work into evidencing and showcasing your film development as this forms a significant part of your overall grade for coursework and cannot be done 'last-minute' as sketch books could. Rise to the challenge! 

Finally, I know some of you are interested in creating an animated title sequence and this is great. Here is a nice little site I found to share with you that has some good tips for creating different styles of animation in i-movie. Check it out!

Year 13 Media - Critical Research Study Mock Exam Countdown

With your Critical Research Study Mock Exam in 
it is crucial that you complete the two essays that we have gone through in lessons. I have posted essay frameworks on 'The Noodle' already and you need to use these to write your responses. If you have missed these lessons, take a look at the paper so that you are familiar with its structure (again posted on an earlier Critical Research post). This week I will focus on writing the four sides of notes that you can take into the mock with you next week. I hope you will rise to the challenge and work hard to realise your potential. We have spent one term on the research, and now it's time to communicate what you have learnt from this process. Dave Jelliman is the only student so far to submit 'Essay 1 - Research Methods'. Well Done Dave - you are high on my 'Love-O-Meter'. See you all next week and Good Luck with your Drama performances this week.  

Friday, 28 November 2008

A'Level Media Studies - Music Promo Coursework Evaluation Part 1

As Christmas moves closer, so too does the writing of your 3,000 word 'Advanced Production' music promo evaluation. The essay is split into three distinct 1,000 word parts, all of which you will be given writing frames for:

1. Research, planning and production of your video.
2. Textual Analysis of your finished music video.
3. How your music video fits into the current music industry.

Leanne will be taking a lead on this aspect of the course, but Mummy-Media will lend a hand, a here is the first of my offerings for 'Section 3' - a short video exploring the rise of manufactured music. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Media and Film Studies: Mindmap Examples

Here are a few examples of mindmaps that I have created to support you with the process of creating your own masterpieces this week. There are no hard and fast rules but try to make your mindmaps visually stimulating; colourful and memorable by consolidating ideas through key words, terminology and ideas. Have fun! 

A/S Film Studies - FM2 Film Marketing Case Study

Hello Film-noodlers. Welcome to 'The Noodle'. I am going to begin posting information for you on the blog including homework and links, and of course some movies and clips.

You have been working on your FM2 case studies undertaking a detailed study into the marketing and promotion of a Hollywood film of your choosing. Your collection of artefacts can take two forms -

a. A dedicated FM2 blog where you can post all your research, videos, trailers, links etc.


b. A paper based file where you keep all of your research in a print form.

Ideally I would like all of you to create a Film Studies blog where you can keep all of your film work from here on (including all your preparatory work for FM2). Your Hollywood case study needs to show evidence of the following:

1. Research into the studio/s involved in the production and distribution of your chosen film. What questions does this raise?

2. What marketing, promotion and merchandise deals have you discovered? What do these say about the target audience/ the ideology of the film and the company behind it?

3. How successful was the movie in terms of box-office ratings both here and abroad? What was it's USP? What led to its success?

In short I want you to find out as much information about your chosen film from the initial stages of production through to marketing, distribution, exhibition and audience reception (some primary research) and exploration of the REVIEWS process and the impact this has on reception. You will then use all of your collected material to construct an essay on the main thrust of this examination - the relationship between PRODUCERS and AUDIENCES. Here is an example of the WJEC FM2 exam paper for you to see how this project relates:

I have also found some really useful links to support you with the Hollywood case study below.

This case study work will need to be completed in readiness to complete the essay by Tuesday 9th December 2008. 2 WEEKS!
Good Luck

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Year 12 Media Studies : WEEKLY HOMEWORK

Week Beginning 24th November 2008

This week I want you to complete the following tasks for homework on your new BLOG:

1. Set-up a BLOG and e-mail me your link if you have not yet done so. My e-mail is 

2. Write-up your BRIEF as a posting and give the reader some thoughts on your initial ideas

3. Read my posting on the 'Noodle' and watch the Saul Bass documentary via the You-tube link and 3 of his title sequences in Youtube. 

4. Write a 500 word 'Research Posting' on Saul Bass on your Blog with some analysis of 2/3 of his title sequences + a summary of the documentary. You can add videos, images and links if you find some useful stuff that you want to evidence. This forms part of your AS assessment as evidence of research.

This all needs to be completed by next Monday. I'll be showcasing work next Monday morning in lesson and giving out 'Blogger of the Week' Awards (highly desirable and sought after badges!). 

Year 12 Media Studies : Title Sequence Film Production Support

Thank you to all of you who have created your blogs and e-mailed me your links. If you forgot to note down my e-mail address it is: 

You have four weeks now until Christmas to get your 'Blogs' looking 'supernoodledandy', and I would strongly suggest that you have a look at the Longroad Media Thriller blogs produced by students at this Sixth Form College - they are 'the Mutt's Nuts!' . Given my highly competetive streak and an innate desire to be the 'Best', it is only natural for me to want you to rise to the challenge and produce coursework this year that is creative, innovative, cutting-edge and that 'thinks outside the box'. Here is the Longroad site:

This link will help you begin the process of researching title sequences and looking for inspiration that will hopefully drive your film sequence forward. There are so many amazing sequences collected here along with audio clips from directors, artists etc. deconstructing specific titles, particularly those that have won awards and acclaim. I love the way the titles have been put together to create really beautiful little single images of the whole. I hope you enjoy this site as much as I have. Check out 'Fight Club', 'Seven' and the Saul Bass links - Great Stuff!

Over the next few weeks I will post some of the 'Great' title sequences of cinema history and ones that have really inspired me. To get you started, I have posted some clips from the 'Main-man' - Mr Saul Bass whose work has inspired so many contemporary film makers. My first offering is one of my favourite title sequences by Bass for 'North by Northwest' plus a great little documentary where Bass explores his cannon of work and the power of the title sequence and its significance in the films that he has worked on. Watch them and comment. I'd love to know what you think of my hero. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK-OUT THE HOMEWORK POSTING FOR INFORMATION ON BLOGGING HOMEWORK THIS WEEK! 


Mind-mapping for Media and Film - This Week's Media and Film Focus


Good evenin
g bloggers. I hope you have all enjoyed this chilly weekend and have been working hard on your FS4 and critical Research tasks I set you last week. The focus for both these projects this week is the development of Mind-maps to:

1. Plan Q.2 and summarise all research findings in readiness for the Critical Research Study draft essay
2. Summarise primary and secondary findings in readiness for developing the FS4 Presentation Scripts.

the end of this week, I am expecting ALL my Year 13 students in Film and Media to have completed an A3 Mind-map which summarises and condenses your research in readiness for the next developmental stage in your projects.

I love mind-mapping and use it all the time to document, develop and condense ideas. I hope you will find the process creative and useful in helping you to consolidate the research processes you have gone through so far. Here is a link to an excellent mindmapping site that will help you with this process of condensing the 'key elements and debates' your research has presented. There is a good little Youtube video on there with 'Tony Buzan' the guru of this learning approach. 

I will give you lots of examples of mind-maps I have created for Media and Film Studies but essentially you can create your own style and use this tool to support your learning and progress in whatever way suits. Enjoy!

See you all on Monday! 

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Help with Answering Q1 and Q2 on Critical Research

As we move towards the mock exam in three weeks, it is imperative that you begin to prepare your written essay responses. You should have started the process of 'summarising' your research evidence and now be ready to begin the process of drafting essays. 

Your homework for next week's lesson is to write your response to Q1 using the guidance below.

Here is an example of a Critical Research Past Paper to get you familiar with its layout and structure:

Here is the 'Word' document I used in class today to help you with the structuring of Q1 and Q2:

A’ Level Media Studies 2008/2009
Critical Research Study Exam: Top Tips

What you have to do...10 useful tips

To do well in this project you must...

1. Use six different methods, some secondary and some primary
2. Use at least two different sources for each method
3. Fully reference all your sources
4. Be able to detail advantages and disadvantages of each method and source
5. Show how the material you have used links together and forms a trail of research
6. Back all your points with examples and explanation
7. Write for an hour each on your methods and your findings, relating the latter to the broader topic itself
8. Do the work yourself!
9. Be ready for the exam on Jan 22 2009
10. Write your responses before the Mock Exam

How to Answer Question 1:

1. You need a brief introduction which sets out which area you are investigating and what your specific focus is. Make sure you outline clearly your ‘hypothesis/question’ and make specific reference to any key texts that form the basis of your research (Crime Watch / Key film texts/ focus papers if looking at Tabloids).

2. You then need a series of paragraphs on each of your methods, which should include reference to at least four secondary and at least two primary. Each paragraph needs to include:
an account of the method which will involve some explanation of the reasons why it has been employed.
examples (for secondary) of two sources, fully referenced and their content briefly explained; at least one specific detail from each source (e.g. a quote) and an evaluatioon of the strengths and weaknesses of the method overall.

You should end with a conclusion, which should be brief and sum up your main points. Your FINDINGS can be left to Question 2

Extra tips: Leave a line between each paragraph, don't make your paragraphs last more than a page, highlight key points if you want.

How to answer Question 2:

Question 1 was about METHODS and paragraphs should be organised by method, Question 2 is about FINDINGS and paragraphs should perhaps be organised by concepts so that there is clear distinction between the two.

A structure something like this should work

1. Introduction- what are the key issues in relation to your area of study ?

For example you might consider:

Women and Film: funding/ distribution/ the celluloid ceiling/patriarchal order/ feminist perspectives of industry(Inst) how they reach audiences and how audiences receive/ interpret and watch the films / audience pleasures (Aud) how they represent women/men/gender and what social, political and historical commentary they offer about gender politics (Rep) how they are similar to/differ from similar genre films created by men / similar different to other films of same era/What film language is used to convey representations - editing, sound, cinematography, mise-en-scene etc. (forms and conventions).

World Cinema: funding/distribution (Inst) how they reach audiences and how audiences receive/interpret/watch the films (aud) how they represent the culture (rep) how they are similar to/differ from western films (forms/conv)

TV Drama: budgets/scheduling/distribution in other formats e.g. DVD, competition with other genres, extra-textual life e.g. spin-off progs (Inst) issues covered and how they represent social groups (Rep) conventions e.g. genre, innovation or not (F and C) audience pleasures (Aud)

Politics: how we learn about issues and politics (Rep), forms and conventions of coverage (F/C) audience participation (aud) bias and PSB (Inst)

Sport: how sports may be represented (nationalism, gender etc) dominance of certain sports and certain teams v minority coverage (Rep) conventions of coverage (F/C) importance of sport to media and of media to sport local sport/media (inst) and audience reception of sport in media (aud)

Children: concerns about what is represented to children/how they are represented (Rep) what kids understand/the impact of media texts upon them/their pleasures (aud) importance of child audiences to media institutions (Inst) the forms and convs of children’s media texts (F/C)

2. Paragraph 2: How does your specific focus relate to the issues in the topic as a whole?

3. Paragraphs 3-6 one on each of the conceptual areas:
Institution, Representation, Forms and Conventions, Audience as they relate to your topic. Maybe more than one paragraph on some areas but throughout referring to research method, sources, references, quotes, ideas, etc.

4. Paragraph 7 – A conclusion summing-up whether or not you have successfully answered your hypothesis/question.

The Key to success is to cross reference concepts (Institution, Representation, Forms and Conventions, Audience) with your research

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Is it getting critical? Some useful stuff for all you Critical Researchers

Liam: I know you have struggled with finding some relevant stuff for your topic of Junk Food Advertising and the impact on Teens. There is a lot of stuff written about children but lots of it relevant to the age group being explored in your study. I have found a few super links for you to read and annotate and I hope these are useful. The first is an A'level student blog with some excellent theory and references to some really interesting research sites. Have a good browse.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Film Studies Stuff For You! A gift from The Noodler

I hope you are all looking forward to a lovely weekend. I'm sorry I forgot to give out 'Blogger' badges this week.....I'm so damn ditzy sometimes! I'll double-up my awards next week. I'm really pleased with all the FS4 Small Scale Film Studies work. You are all working really hard and I'm chuffed and excited with the progress you are making. I'm busy watching 'Gardener's World' and indulging my guilty pleasure of growing my own veg! I love it! Given that I'm a super multi-tasker I thought I'd have a rummage on Google for some little nuggets of info to support your Small Scale studies. So here goes:

Mr I Love Will Smith (Langford),will-smith-itv-series-2-show-3_28.htm

This one is interesting as it draws upon Will Smith's faith - a feature that often underpins his performances:

This is a lovely little article Langford with some super references to Sydney Poitier and drawing parallels between Smith and this infamous black actor.

Reference to Will Smith as "Mr July 4th" showing his power in the States to draw massive audiences on 'Independence Day':

I found this part of a review in the NY Times Langford and thought the last 'performance' element in the statement was quite nice:
"And in its last section “I Am Legend” reverts to generic type, with chases and explosions and a redemptive softening of its bleak premise. The presence of the lovely Brazilian actress Alice Braga does seem promising; if she and Mr. Smith were to reboot the species together, Humanity 2.0 would be quite a bit sexier than the present version, as well as friendlier. But really the movie is best when its hero is on his own, and Mr. Smith, walking in the footsteps of Vincent Price and Charlton Heston, who played earlier versions of the Robert Neville character, outdoes both of them. There is something graceful and effortless about this performance, which not only shows what it might feel like to be the last man on earth, but also demonstrates what it is to be a movie star."

This link Langford is a super little (ok it is quite long) article on star construction. Some lovely theory to support your assertions:

A Little Gem for Everyone!

This blog is sound but it has some great links to loads of other great film blogs that you can surf to your heart's content!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Research - The Essential Guide

Greetings Bloggers! Here is the BFI Essential Guide to research that you can now access electronically should you have mislaid your paper copy. A super little resource full of excellent information about research methodologies and their inherent strengths and weaknesses which will prove invaluable for all you 'Critical Researchers' but also for Film students doing small-scale research. Remember you need to have all your primary and secondary research completed by the end of this week!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Critical Research Study 2008

Only a few weeks to go before the mock exam on the week beginning 10th December 2008. It is really important that you begin to tie-up your secondary research and to help with this, I will post anything that I think is relevant for you on this thread. I hope it's useful!

George, Joe and Grant - Criminality and Music Artists (Docherty, Winehouse)
It would be good for you guys to place your topic in a context and to draw upon the idea that criminality and its link with music artists is long established and nothing new, particularly in relation to rock but also Hip-Hop, Rap etc. This site has got some nice quotes and some interesting questions to stimulate further thought. 

This blog has got some great quotes on the 'Carnival of Celebrity Criminality' as you scroll down the first posting with other 'blogger' responses. 

Oliver - Representations of Disabled Athletes
It's really important to support your primary research with secondary evidence derived from reading around the subject of disability and sport. Here are a few little gems that I have discovered that should help you to build-up a historical, social context and develop a greater understanding of the complexity of the debates and the relationships between athlete, media institutions, audience and ratings!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Media Studies Key Concepts Links

Here is a list of really useful links if you need to brush-up on your Media Studies Key Concepts. I put Britney in there just to lure you in!


Keeping a 'Gender Journal' for Film Studies

Keeping a 'Gender Film Journal' as we move through the study of Gendered Cinema for FS6 is a great way to both document and explore the complexities of this topic. Why not use  some of these superb link sites to widen your knowledge and understanding of the debates then write-up your responses on your blog or in your journal. 

Feminist Film Studies
This is a great site which highlights the continued patriarchy that 'Hollywood' presents in terms of providing opportunities for women to get to the top of their vocation in film:

This next site set up by the BFI looks at 'Women in Film' from a British perspective and offers insight into less well known Women directors like Sally Potter and Lynne Ramsay

Here is a fantastic link to Warwick University's blog to support any students Media or Film studying Women and Film. Have a look for's loaded with really interesting and useful contextual stuff about patriarchy and issues affecting women in society today. Fab for Film and Critical Research Study in Media.

Masculinity In Crisis 
A look at this topic in relation to David Fincher's awesome 'Fight Club'.

Gendered Cinema Area - Yr13 Media and Film

OK here goes! Nina-noodle has been doing some research for the topic of 'Women and Film' for A'level Media Critical Research students and for the FS6 Film Studies topic 'Gendered Cinema'. I have found some useful sites for some of you. I will add to this collection of goodies as and when I stumble accross little gems and post them here for you to browse. Maybe you too could share some resources when you find any to help your fellow comrades. Don't be selfish shellfish and keep them to yourself........SHARE. That's what makes the Media and Film Department soooooo lovely....we care and we share!

Tarantino's Women (A more academic article about Tarintino's treatment of women. The section on Female Sexuality Presentation and beyond is quite good.) (A really interesting blog focusing on Tarantino's recent move towards 'Grindhouse' with Planet Terror and Death Proof and their representations of women) (Another good blog on your topic)

Representations of Women in Disney Films
Aimee and Aaron (Some Good Stuff For You) (A really interesting blog on the topic posted by a Media comrade from another school)

Here are some possible questions to structure your Hypothesis:
How has the representation of women in Disney films has changed overtime?
Heroines or victims of a patriarchal Order? A close study of representations of women in Disney films from Snow-White to Mulan.

Female Action/Adventure Heroines

For those of you looking at Action/Adventure heroines like Lara Croft/Electra etc. for your Critical Research Study, here's a few useful bits I have found for you:,,1518634,00.html

This is the Guardian's section on Gender with just lots of useful broad ranging gender related articles:,,670739,00.html

Representations of women in American Animation - A good site on representations of women in American cartoons.

The Films of Pedro Almodavar