Sunday, December 06, 2015

Mock exam

As promised, here's the details for your AS mock exam, taking the form of a controlled test.

The timings and style of this combines elements from both exam questions (1: semiotic analysis of media language + representations in a TV drama clip, 2: British Cinema essay, centred on Warp/WT comparative case studies).

This is available as a Slideshare document, but also below the line as plain text.



Discuss and compare how the media language in these film openings is shaped by the need to target specific audiences and the institutional contexts of their production.
TOTAL TIME: 75 minutes, including two screenings of edited 2.5minute clips from the openings of Bridget Jones’s Diary and This is England (which you have access to in advance), with a 5-minute gap between screenings.
TIMING OF SUMMER EXAM: To ensure you’re clear on this: in your 2 hour summer exam, you first see a 4-5 minute clip from TV drama (not revealed before the exam) 4 times in 30 minutes, with gaps between the 2nd/3rd and 3rd/4th screenings. You can start note-taking after the first complete screening. You then have 45 minutes for your essay; you also have 45 mins for your British Cinema essay.
MOCK/SUMMER EXAM MARKING: You will be marked on three criteria, requiring you to back up points (EAA) with examples (EX) and use specific media terminology (T).
[EX] USE OF EXAMPLES:                                          40/100
[T] USE OF TERMINOLOGY:                                     20/100
You cannot take notes into the exam, but have one week to research and prepare your analysis.

MEDIA LANGUAGE: The AS exam breaks this down to four key areas: camera work (framing, lighting, shot selection); editing; sound; mise-en-scene. These overlap, and the best analysis will consider how these work together – use the semiotic concept of anchorage to help identify how these work together. You need to provide very precise denotation, employing accurate shot type/angle names, for your EX marks here. You can refer to narrative theories and terms.
REPRESENTATION: In your summer exam you are also tasked with discussing the representations in the clip. For your mock you can consider age, gender and sexuality, though national or regional identity is the most important category of representation to consider (that includes places/mise-en-scene as well as people).
AUDIENCE: Film producers have to consider age ratings; we’re focussing on the UK (BBFC) ratings: U, PG, 12, 15, 18 (and R for specific adult films). Language and the inclusion/realism (or not) of violence and sexual depictions are important, but ‘tone’ is too, and themes like abuse and drug-taking can cause higher ratings. There will always be an intended primary audience with some consideration of a secondary audience too. A text may be mainstream (commercial) or niche (difficult, arthouse). Production decisions (cast, genre and hybridity, link to any pre-existing material/audience, director profile, soundtrack, budget etc) all impact.
AUDIENCE + INSTITUTION: All of these choices influence the prospects for distribution. Your EX should also include some reference to the range of distribution, and the data behind this: box office – including screen count and the length of run if you think it is relevant. Box office figures might be given for the UK, US and world. Consider the Gant rule; exceptions, with hit movies, are often because a movie has a particularly British character more strongly appealing to a UK audience than US-produced hits.
TERMINOLOGY: At this stage, you are most familiar with semiotic and media language terms. Use whatever cinema industry terminology you can too.

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