Letter to self
Dear My Self, AKA Emma.
Well this is a little strange, having to writ to yourself about things you want to do and get from a course that barely feels like its started yet, and commenting on things I’ve done in the past in regards to media and my academic career so far. Well firstly I did not always want to do media at university, much like all small children I had other ideas to start with, like archaeology, but I think that was mostly to satisfy my ability to get messy and digging in the dirty around the back of my first primary school. My first experience of anything to do with media was during my a-levels at collage and in fact it was the creative outlet along with the analytical nature of the course that made me fall head over heals in love with it. I hope to be able to still say that music is still a big influence on my work in media, with both my AS and A2 course works being situated within a cultural mostly associated with the rock genre. The way the mood of a film or a video can be effected by the music it is accompanied with, can have an impact upon its success. For example a lot of horror films use dramatic music to build tension towards a dramatic moment, however the use of silences within these films if used effectively can have just as great of an effect. But that being said there are many different genres of media that I enjoy, and then there are plenty of films and music which would be associated with these genres which I don’t enjoy. This would probably be due to a mixture of reasons, but I find that the more predictable a program or a film is the less I enjoy it.
While it is true that I do like to analyse media products there is also apart of me which is quite excited by the prospect of being able to produce some of my own peaces wether its creating videos or editing image. In away being able to critically analyse not only other people media but also my own will help me to develop in both my analytical capabilities and my practical skills when it come to the development of certain media products.
The main way in which I have interacted within the media is through photography and video production. There are main of my own edited videos on youtube, I made these in order to gain some small grasp and understanding of video editing which I might be able to further expand upon in my media course. I lot of the photography that I have done in the past could be considered amateurish, hopefully I will be able to expand my technical abilities in order to produces something which I will be truly proud of. This might be a little difficult as I can be extremely critical of my own productions, the website I designed and created within my A2 year even now I still pick up on issues and ideas that I could of used in the production.
I guess the main point of this would have to be that I want to be able to say that I have done something that I haven’t done before, that I have learned about something that I didn’t know existed before and that I have developed my skills with different media formats to such an extent that I am able to be successful in my pursuit for a career in media. Even if at this every moment in time I cant quite decide on what it is I want to do after university.
Sincerely My Self, AKA Emma
My choice of Add+ Vantage
The Add Vantage module I have chosen to take this year is Photography as a professional tool. There are a few reasons why I have chosen to do this course, the main one being that I enjoy photography already and it is part of my belief that in order to gain the best results from my academic experience is to enjoy what I am learning. That being said this course will add to my media course as it will allow me to gain the technical skills needed when using camera equipment. While understandably the first year of my course is predominately theoretical, it will give me an advantage later on in the course. At the end of the photography course the grade is judged predominantly upon coursework, which I would presume would result in me acquiring a portfolio which I could add to my personal professional development blog. This would be a great course for me to showcase my work. I have a little experience already in using DSLR cameras and have been able to create some amateur photographs. But hopefully this course will allow me to learn how to use my photography in a more professional capacity, for example instead of personal family moments it could be used to create unique images for advertising purposes or indeed in a journalistic capacity if I were to document social events through my photography. It is true I could of picked a course that might of been more skill based such as academic writing, and this would of given me useful skills that I need in order to make a coherent structured argument within my assignments. However the course I have chosen I feel meets my needs for a creative outlet, which in the first year of my main course I will need as it is mainly theoretical.
Introduction week, group presentation. Group 7. Emma Lawson, Connor Balding, Andreea Slujitoru, Lucy Barber, Megan Campbell
For our group presentation we decided to use the website prezi, in order to make our presentation. We felt that it might give it a more protectional appearance than we would of been able to achieve by simply using powerpoint presentation. I felt that it appeared to flow well due to the graphics that we chose.
Below is a copy of the link to the presentation.
We received a mixture of different feed back about our presentation, from a positive comment upon the accent of one of the members of our group, to the observation that the use of mobile phones in order to read a script looked unprofessional.
My part of the presentation, on how to be successful at the course, was taken by some of the audience to be too aggressive especially my “you are not a child” point. I might be able to take this on board for my next presentation, by using less forceful direct language and a more calm tone when speaking.
However that being said the feed back we gain from the lecturer, was positive in regards to this statement, which goes to show that not everyone has the same opinion about the presentation. The comments we gained from the lecturers were more about the use of graphics, and their concern that our choice in graphic style might subtract from the presentation, making hard for the audience to follow the presented argument.
I enjoyed putting this presentation together mainly because it gave me a chance to work with people that I hadn’t meet before. I found it was a fun ice breaker to the course in getting use to know one another. But that being said I felt that I need to be more organised when I do another presentation. While we did complete the presentation on time we had trouble printing off the script which is why we resorted to using our phones in order to read the script. However had I practised my part more prior to presenting, it might of flowed better and I would of been less nerves.
The cabinet of curiosities
What is a cabinet of curiosities?
This is a collection of different media which interest me, and in some cases infuriates me. There are many different genres which interest me in a wide variety of media outlets from the traditional such as tv, music and film, to also include computer games. Which understandably has been a growingly successful media outlet since the 20th century.
I have found that if a media product is not predictable and doesn’t completely follow the codes and conventions placed upon it by the use of genre I find it more enjoyable. This might be a view shared by others as well as my self and if so it might suggest that the codes and convention which we used so willingly to categories the media products in order to target audiences is in fact holding us back in the production of new and inventive forms more media. But if this is the case then why is it that the traditional genres are still very successful? Is it because as human beings we strive to live in a state of perpetual balance between the familiar and the strange?
My cabinet of curiosities, contains media from a wide variety based within different formats. In one way this is typical of the majority of people through out the world, this is due to the fact that the we are subjected to a media world which is made up of mullet layers, not simple physical but also digital. For example if I watch ad advert of a car some times the you are able to ‘Shazam’ the song and then gain further information of the product. Not only this but people are more and more likely to watch tv online or on the go. On the one hand it gives more power to the consumer they get to decide when and what they watch rather than relying upon the scheduling system surrounding most tv broadcasters.
The impact of music
When we think about how me interact with music on a day to day basis, a lot of the time we don’t see the impact that it has on us and our emotional state. We might say things like oh I only listen to music when I’m in the car, or when I’m doing other things. Its something on in the background, be most of the time we’re not really listening to it. The same can be said for tv’s now days, its switched on and your watching it, but your not really seeing it because your on your phone or computer at the same time.
Our taste in music changes over time, I would be the first to admit that S-Club 7 is no longer on my top ten. Some times when you talk to people and they say they listen to one particular genre, it seams kind of silly. Due to the fact that many bands and artists are influenced by different artists and genres, can we really say that there is a genre of music which has no other influence other than itself.
I would have to say that my taste in music can vary from Ella Fitzgerald to Slipknot, there is not a lot I won’t listen to. Of course there are things I enjoy more than others and I find it depends what mood I’m in as to what I want to listen to.
There are many things advertising uses to promote a emotional response to their advert, for example the use of cinematography, but most often the music used within an advert will help to create that desired response. This principle can by put towards the making of our own videos. If I was to talk about a emotional topic which I found resinated with my self, I wouldn’t pair that music with a cheery pop tune. Instead I might pair it with either an inspirational or sad tune, depending on what message I wanted to portray.
Looking back on term 1 Module 105MC
During 105MC we were set discussion topics as groups, on subjects we had discussed in class, for example genre. As a group we were quite good at meeting up and discussing these topics. The coursework for this module was the 72 hour challenge, we were given 72 hours to create a documentary. The subject of the documentary was a ‘day in the life of’. As a group we decided to create a documentary called ‘A day in the life of a phone-less teenager’. We all produced footage on our phones as this was a condition of the documentary. Because our groups were made up of people from the different media course, it was decided that the media producers would be the ones to edit the documentary together.
The second part of the coursework for this module was to right a book, about our documentary. We were each expected to write a chapter within the book, of about 1,000 words. My chapter was on the narrative of the production and looking at the different theories behind narrative and what style of narrative was present within our documentary. I found this enjoyable, but I think I would of gotten a better mark had I used more references from different sources.
Femininity In Film (Ginger Snaps)
This is a series of films reflecting upon the role women play in film and how they are portrayed. The first film shown was ‘Ginger Snaps’ 2002 directed by John Fawcett, it is class as a horror genre, the film follows two sisters as they face the changes that occur in their lives such as puberty, while also combating the dangers of turning into a werewolf. The changes seen in Ginger one of the leading characters as she is turned into a werewolf, are used as a metaphor for the changes she is going through during puberty, suggesting that in some way women turn into monsters.
This film was used as a means to analysis women in horror films and the roles that they play. As stated by the speaker ‘moving beyond misogyny’. Horror films are known for having a bad reputation when it comes to the representation of women, they usually portray male killers and female victims.
The audience of this genre of films tend to be adolescent males, this makes the portrayal of women even more disturbing. The speaker made the spoke about some sort of voyeurism gained by the viewer. For example special visual attention is paid to the killing women, getting some pleasure out of stalking and killing women.
Femininity in Film (Tammy)
One of the films in the Femininity in Film series looked at the film ‘Tammy’ in order to discus issues of body image, and how women who are perceived to be ‘Fat’ are depicted within film. This lecture was based upon the research of Dr Katrina Kyroia, regarding ‘Feminist Fat studies and comedy. Dr Kyroia made the suggestion that women who are seen as ‘fat’ in films are often depicted in a comical way. The film does this by making fun of the characters weight. This reinforcement of negative body images can have a drastically negative effect upon what both men and women perceive as the bodily ideal.
‘Tammy’ is one of many examples of ‘fat shaming’ ideology seen within the media. For example Eddie Murphy in Norbit (2007) in which he used a fat suit as one of the characters. The use of fat suits give the impression that it is not a really body and so does not need to be treated ethically. It creates the idea that a ‘fat’ person in realy life also suggested be treated ethically (fat jokes are ok), this can be damaging to the individual.
Over all this was an interesting lecture on the relationship between the power that women have and the way they are portrayed in the media.
The university sometimes hold seminars, with guest speakers who come in and share the findings of their research with students and staff. One such seminar was on propaganda, the types of propaganda used (mostly focusing on the US). This seminar was given by Dr Emma Briant, in which she discussed her research findings.
The idea of propaganda as we know it, originated in the 17th century and used by the Catholic church in order to ‘propagate the faith’.
Propaganda may and may not contain lies. The intended audience of the propaganda depends upon weather or not it uses lies. For example propaganda intended for an domestic audience (know as public affairs) are less likely to use lies (misrepresentation) ignored to gain support. However propaganda intended for a foreign audience (psychological operations) are more likely to contain lies
Propaganda has been used by a variety of governments and political movements, such as feminist movement and environmental moments.
White propaganda -Overt, its source known to the audience
Black propaganda -Contains lies and deception, the source of the information is not given
Grey propaganda -Some where in between
Psychological operations = foreign audience , can contain black propaganda
Public Affairs = domestic audience , predominantly is made up of white propaganda. Has a transparency. This gives justification to using propaganda within democracy.
Looking back on term 1 module 181MC
The module was made up of two parts. The first was a series of tasks to be completed and then discussed in a theoretical manner, writing 500 words on four of the tasks and the last task was to create a documentary about racism. The second task was an individual 1,500 word essay using one of the themes discussed in class (Gender, Race, Class, etc) to write about a recent issue/controversy/debate of our choosing. For example I chose to look at hate crimes against the LBGT community, using theories base in the theme of gender and sexuality.
The first set of tasks were accomplished though group work. I helped to organize group meetings and group trips we went on in order to complete the tasks set. As a group we each played a part in writing the 500 word tasks up. I had a large part to play in the creation of the final project, I helped to direct and film with my group, and I used the video editing software to edit the documentary together. I received 62% for this part of my course work.
I recieved 55% on my 1,500 essay, the over all argument was good but the use of references needed to be more structured in order to create a coherent argument.
Over all in this module I received 58.50%.
Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Within the university, there is a regular film showing every week in which a different film is shown each week. This weeks showing was of the 2014 film Birdman directed by Alejando G. It is considered to be a satirical black comedy-drama, which addresses issues of aging and growing older. It does also have other themes throughout the film such as drug addiction, and physical intimacy.
The film follows an aging hollywood actor, who had a successful career in a series of superhero films. This film is set within a theater on Broadway as this actor attempts to direct and star in a play by Raymond Carver ‘What we talk about when we talk about love’. He faces fears of being forgotten and not being loved as he gets older. There are also fears of the idea that he is not taken seriously in the theater industry, as seen when he argues with a critic over the review she was going to write for the play.
The film also looks at the relationship between this man and his daughter, who has recently been released from a rehab facility. There is apart in the film where she brings her farther attention to the fact that the human race is very insignificant. This is a turning point in the film (for the character) as you can see how he come to accept that in todays online social world his actions don’t matter (in the fact that people will not remember). But this also has an impact upon their relationship with each other, as his daughter shows him a video of him running through the street in only his underwear (he got locked outside the theater) she starts to see him in a new light. Before we can only make the assumption that she feels like a screw up, but after this she begins to se that her father is human too. They grow a little closer with them accepting that they are both screw ups.
In a lot of films music is used as a non-diagetic sound track over the film. However within Birdman music is at the foreground of the film and is actually within the film itself. There are instances when drumming can be heard, at first it might appear as a sound track, but it is revealed that there is a drummer outside the theater. There is instance when the main character approaches a climactic act when you can see the drummer inside the theater. This drumming can be argued to be used as a means to create a feeling of building anxiety which the main charter is feeling. As such there are instances where you don’t hear any drumming at all.
There are also ideas of self-identity within this film, as the persona of the actors film career takes on a voice (slightly menacing), and later on in the film the voice of ‘Birdman’ takes on a physical persona which only the main character can see. Birdman becomes more and more solidified as the main character comes to accept his decision to attempt suicide.
New media gate keepers.
A conference was put together that discussed a variety of different events within the media industry. One of the main focus during this seminar was upon the power that people have with distribution of data and more likely who has the power to distribute information. These tent to be controlled by the ‘GateKeeper’. They have the power to decide what games, books, digital art and tv series we has cases to. The updating of gaming consoles is used to make previous consoles and games obsolete, which on the one hand encourages the consumable culture we are in. Where we need to constantly update our technology in order to appear successful. For example the most up to date phone. And lines forming out of the apple stores in order to get the new latest iPhone. The game developer EA, has in resent years taken over many smaller game developer such as Lion Head Studios (know for developing games such as the Fable franchisee). However the take over of the smaller companies means that they have a larger control over the market. EA has become the main gate-keeper of the games industry. Our internet providers are also seines gate keepers. They control when we can connect to sites. But they also control what we can see. Some countries block sites from entering their countries.
Romeo & Juliet
This year is commentating the 400 years scenes Shakespeare death. Because of the association of Shakespeare and Strafford, there are a variety of performances and events that are conducted commemorating his work. One of these events took place in Coventry town centre. The performance was of Romeo and Juliet. However the actors within the production were made up of people who had never acted before.
Within the 180MC module we were given three main tasks for our course work. The first was to give a presentation (60%), produce a online manifesto (55%) and write a critical review essay (72%), which reviewed other groups presentations.
The layout of the manifesto made it look more like a blog rather than a political or in this case environmental manifesto. It was therefore also suggested that a better layout with headings and drop down subheadings for the different articles would of suited the codes and conventions of a manifesto better. However it did demonstrate an engagement with course material, although this could of been better interrogated into our groups overall manifesto, also requiring a much sharper analysis of the theories. Overall, the main fault in this piece was the layout and structure along with not having a clear strong mission statement.
Within the 182MC module, we were given the task to create a behind the scenes video, which contained footage from different tasks which were completed each week. This module required a large amount of out of hours planing and preparation in order to complete each task and then edit together in a coherent way. One issue we found was that we had hours of extra footage which we had to go through in order to create the video.
- clearly introduce tasks/ assignment