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Author Topic: Advice for VCE Media (3/4)  (Read 16730 times)  Share 

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fareseru

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Advice for VCE Media (3/4)
« on: November 24, 2014, 01:41:10 pm »
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Hey everyone, I figured that Iíd write a guide to VCE Media (3/4) explaining how I went throughout the year and also how my folio was created etc.

Introduction

I did Media units 3 and 4 in 2014 without units 1 and 2. I scored A+ for my three SACs and A+ for my folio. Unfortunately I havenít received my exam mark yet but Iím sure that it will be similar to my other GAs (you can generally tell whether or not youíve done well). Ended up with a 49 for Media, if that makes this any more legitimate. Over the moon.

General Overview

Media is a great subject. I always tell people Ė itís the only subject that youíll be able to watch films/television shows/whatever your class studied as exam revision! As a whole, there are three SACs throughout the year and in between them all is the much feared folio/SAT. Iím not going to lieÖ it was a huge, huge amount of work. Iíll explain it more in detail later but donít fear; the subject is definitely worth doing, even more so because of the creative process that is its design and creation.

If you arenít creative, donít fear either Ė itís still possible to do very well if you make the right decisions about the folio.  Furthermore, the last AOS (media influence) is very theoretical and is often where the purely imaginative people get caught out, so thatís another area in which you can do especially well.

Summer Holidays

I didnít do much at all before school started. The first and second topics arenít extremely detailed and the third only begins in term three. If anything, get started thinking about what you would possibly like to do for your folio. The majority of my time between term one and term two was spent constantly thinking. Iíd sit around for hours at my desk, on the couch, in my spaÖ wherever, but just thinking about everything that I needed to plan. I knew that I wanted to make a film, but still had no idea what to make it about etc etc. Another thing that I did before school started was loan the films we were studying for narrative from my teacher and watched them a few times through (or you can find out which ones they are andÖ legally get them for yourself  ;)).

Narrative

The first AOS, narrative, looks at how narratives are constructed and how they, as constructions, engage audiences and develop ideas. This is detailed in the study design:

ďStudents learn that narrative is a fundamental element in the construction of meaning in media products. Audiences actively construct meaning and are engaged by texts through the manner in which narratives are organised, and respond to the narratives in different ways. Production and story elements structure an audienceís experience of narratives and contribute to the ideas communicated by the text. The nature of the viewing experience also contributes to audience reading and appreciation of narrative texts.Ē

Essentially, you will learn about both production and story elements and how these work independently and with each other to construct narratives. Youíll also look at two different films and compare their constructions. I found that it was a great area and for many is it a favorite; youíre literally studying films!

The hardest part of this AOS is, in my opinion, the terminology needed to describe various elements of each film. When speaking about camera, for example, it isnít enough to say Ďthe camera is far away from ___í; instead, youíll need to learn about shot sizes, panning, zooming, focus etc etc.  However, this all comes in handy when making the folio so donít stress too much.

Media Texts and Societyís Values (Unit Four AOS 2, but the second SAC)

ďIn this area of study students focus on the relationship between societyís values and media texts. Media representations reflect and mediate ideas from particular economic, social, cultural, political or institutional points of view.Ē

This AOS is challenging in that the majority of people studying Media havenít had to look at a text before and figure out how the society behind the text and its values influenced its construction. That is, essentially, what youíll need to do; look at a text in a similar way to how you did in narrative but then figure out the values that are evident in the text.

Values are either dominant (held by a majority of people), emerging (held by a growing number of people) or oppositional (held by a minimal amount of people). An example of a dominant value of todayís Australian society is that Ďwomen should be equal to mení. Values are always changing and the three are consistently fighting for Ďcenter stageí.
Often schools will choose texts that are from a long time ago because itís easier to identify the values; for example, our class studied the discourse on gender and our texts were all from the 1960s; therefore, it was easy to notice when women were told to remain at home, when men were given power and rewarded for being the breadwinners etc. Some schools study texts from the 80s, 90s and even 00s but these can become difficult as itís hard to spot values that we currently hold.

Media Influence

ďStudents explore the complexity of the relationship between the media, its audiences and the wider community in terms of the nature and extent of the mediaís influence. Students examine arguments and evidence arising from a range of historical and contemporary developments that offer a range of perspectives about the nature, characteristics and extent of media influence on individuals and society at large.Ē

This AOS was, for me, the easiest and yet I absolutely loved it at the same time. Essentially youíll look at how the media can influence its audiences. Because it is said that it can negatively impact upon audiences, regulation also exists within Australia and youíll look at this as well (classifications, for example).
You will probably study around four to five various theories and models that attempt to explain the influence that the media can have upon an audience. An example of one is the Ďhypodermic needleí theory which suggests that the audience is extremely powerful and that all audiences are similarly affected by a text Ė for example, it would suggest that a violent film will probably make the people who see the film violent. This is the most basic of the theories yet the easiest to explain to people who have never studied media influence.

Youíll also synthesize a range of evidence and examples of times in which the media has had an influence upon people; our school looked at the Columbine Massacre of 1999 and how the killers were said to have been influenced by the violent video game ĎDoomí. We also studied evidence that suggested that the TAC advertisements have independently brought the road toll down.

I would suggest learning the Hypodermic Needle, Agenda-Setting, Uses and Gratification and Reinforcement theories. These essentially cover the whole spectrum of the AOS and allow for a lot of discussion.

The Dreaded SAT

The SAT (school assessed task) is a very individual yet also interesting project. It takes hours upon hours of preparation and then creation but ultimately leads to an extreme sense of satisfaction as well as 37% of your eventual study score.

The first step in the process is deciding which form your SAT will be. Our school dictates that it must either be a film, magazine or series of photographs but it can also be a radio announcement/announcement/something else. I chose to make a film because Iíd always wanted to properly sit down, plan and create a video and I also knew that my uncle was an actor so that also helped in the decision making process. In all honesty, I believe that every form has a different set of difficulties Ė film was, ultimately, a difficult medium to Ďmasterí, especially in the middle of term three when I was trying to edit and finalize my project.

The second step is creating the Ďproduction design planí, which is, as the name implies, a plan for your entire SAT. Itís kind of like a master document that could be given to a random person who could then make your project without any further instructions. It should detail every single aspect of your SAT; for me it covered brainstorming, music, camera angles, inspiration, my script, a shot list (80 different shots were used), a production schedule and many other different areas. Examples of these can be found at http://www.atomvic.org/season-of-excellence/ . Donít worry about making it look brilliantly fancy, mine was basically a few pieces of A4 stuck onto black A3 pages in a big folio-thing from Officeworks. Stuffing around with glitter etc. is just a waste of time.  I found that the best thing to do was to type up each individual area before formatting it all nicely and then printing it out on (but donít leave this part to the night before itís due, as I did Ė youíll be awake until school starts).

The third step comes later, after you get a mark for your plan, when you can finally begin the actual production. Initially I was excited about this phase but trust me, it is painstakingly long and also problematic. Things will always go wrong, no matter how much youíve planned. I had problems with my actors, the weather, sickness, my camera, my teacherÖ everything. However, this phase is probably the shortest of the lot Ė filming took me two weekends and probably 25 hours of Ďon locationí work.

The fourth step is postproduction. This was the worst for me. I wanted to give up so often and it came right when I had a million other SACs going on. Editing my film took about 70-80 hours in total. Because I had specifically recorded my audio separately (better quality), I had to sync it individually with all of my video files before I could even begin editing. And it isnít just a case of putting everything in orderÖ you then need to correct all of the colours, fix any audio problems, find extra music etc. However, the more planning and thinking you do before this stage will eliminate a lot of problems and your teacher will help you a lot. Again, Lessonbucket is a great help for this stage as well.

And then, before you know it, you will have to hand it in and itíll be done! It really is a great feeling. Trust me, it will be worth it. 25% of students get an A+ (on average) each year for the folio, so donít think that your teacher is out to get you. They can appreciate how enormous the project is and are usually happy to make compromises. Donít be afraid to ask for a short extension; I needed a week extra because my actress got pneumonia between shoots.

DON'T PANIC ABOUT THE SAT - PANICKING ONLY MAKES EVERYTHING WORSE

The Exam

The exam sucks in a lot of ways; itís worth more than the folio and is right at the end of the exam period. However, itís fairly easy to prepare for; I essentially summarized 4-5 key scenes from each of my narrative films, went over my values texts and then summarized all of my theories/evidence etc. for media influence. Itís a relaxed exam on the day so donít feel worried about it. Itís your one chance to sit down and write your heart out about your films so look forwards to it and give it everything you can. The best piece of advice for exam prep; DONíT SPEND LONG SUMMARIZING. It is far, far better to have your summaries finished a few weeks before the exam and to then spend your time doing practice exams etc. You will now (in 2015) have three previous exams to do for this study design. Furthermore, the Engage Education ones are great and others (QAT, ATOM etc) are available each year. Ask your teacher to get some for the class if they havenít by the beginning of term four.

Exam Revision Lectures

ē   ATOM: These ones are great, go if you can. I went to the Geelong one this year and received a full set of notes as well as cue cards and some great advice from the Ďauthorityí on media teaching in Victoria. Plus theyíre cheap  ;).

ē   Engage: I didnít go to this one, but I ordered the notes which were a great summary of the entire course.

Final Words

Enjoy the subject. Enjoyment is imperative in the SAT process and it makes studying for the SACs/the exam much easier. Itís a difficult subject in that there arenít that many resources and because all schools study different texts itís hard to find notes for your own. We studied, for example, Samson and Delilah and Hugo for narrative, both of which I had to study almost completely on my own and without outside assistance.

Another thing to remember is that the examiners love marking the exams (most of them, anyway). Iíve spoken with many of them and itís true. I, for one, would love to be able to sit down and be paid to read studentsí interpretations of various texts. Theyíre looking for engagement with the topics, so show them that you love them as much as they do.

If you want my notes you can email me at [email protected] and I'll happily oblige... if I can find them, seeing as most were destroyed in the post-exam inferno that occurred in my backyard ;) nah but really email me and I'll be able to dig some stuff up :)

I figured I'd better post my film as well, so here it is:

Spoiler
« Last Edit: December 15, 2014, 04:51:24 pm by fareseru »

Rod

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Re: Advice for VCE Media (3/4)
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 07:32:19 pm »
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Great write up Fareseru :)!

Pretty awesome film as well!
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fareseru

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Re: Advice for VCE Media (3/4)
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2014, 10:06:39 pm »
+1
Great write up Fareseru :)!

Pretty awesome film as well!

Thanks mate, it took a loooong time! The film that is :P But I loved the process so it was worth it in the end. Glad you enjoyed it :)

hollidaisies

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Re: Advice for VCE Media (3/4)
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2015, 11:12:22 am »
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Studying 3&4 Media currently and this is an amazing guide!
Thanks heaps, and congratulations on your 49 :)
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fareseru

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Re: Advice for VCE Media (3/4)
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 10:59:09 pm »
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Hey - if you ever want to ask any questions email me at [email protected], I'd be happy to help! Media sucks as far as resources go... and thanks!