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AS Media – Exam tips

The first question will always ask you to analyse the text in terms of visual codes, technical codes, and either genre or narrative.

VISUAL CODES includes:

  • Clothing and physical appearance
  • Gesture and body language
  • Facial Expressions
  • Settings
  • Use of colour
  • Any use of graphics

TECHNICAL CODES includes

  • Sound – diagetic and non diegetic
  • Any ambient noise
  • Voicover
  • Music
  • Shots – range of shots and why they’re used – wide shots? Close ups? High/low angle shots?
  • Any camera movement
  • Editing – the way scenes change from one to the next
  • The pace of the text – fast? slow? why?
  • Lighting
  • Mise en Scene – what’s in the shot.

GENRE

What Genre is it – how do you know – what is in the text that tells you? Iconography? Generic conventions?

NARRATIVE

  • How is the story told – does it have a beginning middle and end?
  • Are there any BINARY OPPOSITES that make the text more interesting?
  • Are there any ENIGMA CODES – puzzles that the audience needs to work out to make it more interesting?
  • Are there any ACTION CODES  – plot events that lead to yet other actions

AUDIENCE & REPRESENTATION

The other 2 questions will be about Audience and Representation.

The AUDIENCE question may ask you what the target audience is, maybe to suggest other audience for the text, and most importantly WHAT THE MODE OF ADDRESS OF THE TEXT IS.

Mode of Address is a very important media term. It simply means how the text speaks to the audience, and involves them. It also involves how atext INFLUENCES an audience to respond to a text in a certain way, and that depends on: them.

  • Social and cultural/ethnic/class background.
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Experience
  • The construction of the audience WITHIN the text.

The way the audience is POSITIONED – The argument is that media texts are structured in ways that position audiences to adopt a particular perspective or point of view.

The way different people might put a different MEANING on the text:

  • PREFERRED or DOMINANT READING – What the producers want the audience to get out of the text – something they want the audience to do.
  • NEGOTIATED READING – that’s a COMPROMISE between what the producers want you to do and what you might get out of it. I like the Cadbury’s Gorilla advert but I don’t like the chocolate!
  • OPPOSITIONAL READING – The audience is completely turned off by the text and does the complete opposite of what the producers want – who might do this and why?

REPRESENTATION –  Remember that HOW people, places and situations depeneds on their dress, language, settings, body language, relationship with others.

How does this affect the audience response – are they shown as stereotypes, or ‘anti’ types. What is the impact of these representatations – negative or positive?

Remember that all representation is RE-PRESENTATION- the media is constructing a representation through MEDIATION & SELECTION. How does this affect how the audience receives the text.

THINK OF YOUR OWN EXAMPLES – TV PROGRAMMES, FILMS, ADVERTS – THAT YOU CAN REFER TO.

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