Go For It!

There are a couple of really interesting MOOCs starting in February that you might be well advised to check out. No, seriously. Especially if you want to get more in depth knowledge for a future career choices (or any approaching SQA exam, possibly).

They’re both free, and both supported by industry bodies. I’ve copied the blurb for each for you to check them out (Click the title to visit the site)

Film Production: Behind the Scenes of Feature Filmmaking

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 13.24.04ABOUT THE COURSE
Over three weeks, The Production Guild of Great Britain, guided by respected film and television professionals, will demystify the process of making a feature film. You will discover the key stages of how a film gets made and the different types of production.

Want to start working in film production?

We will explore the different departments, and how they interact and work together. We will look at the structure of a film crew – how individual job roles fit into the wider crew – and get to grips with industry jargon and etiquette.

Each week, you will have the opportunity to test your own knowledge and understanding via multiple choice quizzes, and post your thoughts and ideas for discussion with your fellow students

Starting out as a Runner

Anyone with a more specific interest in working in the film industry will gain an understanding of entry-level jobs and potential career progression pathways. You’ll also hear hints and tips for how to get on in the industry and pursue your dream.

An Introduction to Screenwriting

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 13.24.15

Screenplays form the starting point for most dramatic films, the essential work from which all other filmmaking flows. All of the tender romance, terrifying action and memorable lines begin at the screenwriter’s desk. This free online course will introduce you to the basic elements and key concepts behind a professional screenplay.

The University of East Anglia’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing have built this course with instructors and recent alumni from their famed course in Creative Writing.

Where could this course take me?

The course is a must for anyone new to scriptwriting and for more experienced writers who wish to raise their scriptwriting to a professional level. It will establish a common vocabulary for approaching the screenplay and form the basis for upcoming courses in dramatic adaptation, the crime screenplay, and other genres and skills.

What and how will I learn?

You’ll learn from a mixture of basic theory, script analysis and practical exercises. We will explore key principles as they’re expressed in great films, then immediately apply these concepts. Videos, articles and discussion steps will offer you the opportunity to learn and engage with other learners on key concepts and ideas.

By the end of the course, you will understand the key concepts necessary to write an effective screenplay and be fluent in the language used to discuss the form.

PS: I’ve participated in one of these courses before, and they are really interesting. I’ve also just signed up for them myself!

Well… That Went Well…

I think given the gaps in class yesterday and today, we’d better quickly revise the info on Trailers on Monday but I’ll spare you having to watch them again… I’ll collate them all into a list with links over the weekend so you can search them out yourself.

Apologies to everyone who was expecting Mr Jamieson to join us today… turns out I can’t read a calendar/email and it’s actually next Thursday that he’ll be with us. :-/

Next, can I ask everyone to be ready to share their films/product on Wednesday next week. I need to see exactly where you are so we can arrange catch up sessions for those who need them.

And finally, after the fun and games of production and prelim prep, the timetable is reverting to it’s regular schedule. This means Miss Cowan and I will be sharing you, but you’ll still come to my room on Tuesday and Friday. She’s going to be covering some really good material on the TV sit-com featuring Frasier

though you may know Kelsey Grammer better as my alter-ego, Sideshow Bob (“I’m called Little Buttercup…”)


Trailers Part 1

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 23.16.42Just finished converting the slides from today (it took a while to strip out the trailers from the document). You will get most of these as a handout as soon as I can find a working copier and time to press “print”! In the meantime, you should bear in mind that as well as allowing you to consider how you will approach your own trailer, studying trailers is an interesting media exercise in itself.

If I were to give you any advice at the moment, it would be to be making a mental note of the common features in the trailers. What does every trailer appear to have? And remember, the from the second the trailer starts (and I mean the green MPAA slide when I say that), it is trying to get you to pay to see the film. If I draw an analogy with English, one could argue that a trailer is like a poem in that there is no waste in it. Everything is there for a reason (purpose).

Anyway, here are the slides (Click THIS LINK, or click on the thumbnails on the right to download).

Part 2 tomorrow, and remember, Mr Jamieson will be sitting in and asking you about the course (so I’ll be nervous and talking far too much!). Please be honest with him. We need to know the bad as well as the good. 🙂


Ready… Set… Go…

FilmFreewayLogoJust punting this in your direction. It’s a film making competition that you could consider entering. There are prizes, and a screening at the end of March in Glasgow, and it could be a fun way of sharing your films with a wider audience.

The entry requirements are pretty much that the film can be considered Scottish (which yours are), and that the people that made it are under 25 (which you are)…

Closing date: 1st March.

Details here: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/FirstActFilmFestival


For Your Consideration…

I’ll just leave this reminder here for you from the SQA Mark Scheme for the 2015 Higher Media paper. It may help you focus on headings to think about… 😉

Candidates are expected to:

Question 1 


  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of language technical codes and/or cultural codes and/or anchorage as appropriate to the referenced content
  • give specific and valid exemplification of the referenced language concepts from at least one example of media content
  • make points which analyse the relationship between the language concepts and meaning


  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of categories and/or narrative and/or representation as appropriate to the referenced content
  • give specific and valid exemplification of the selected key aspect concept(s) from at least one example of media content
  • make points which analyse the relationship between the selected concepts and meaning

If categories is chosen, relevant concepts include: purpose, genre, tone and style.
If narrative is chosen, relevant concepts include: structures, codes and conventions.
If representation is chosen, relevant concepts include: representations, selection and portrayal, ideological discourses.


  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of target audience and mode of address and/or preferred reading and/or differential decoding, as appropriate to the referenced content
  • give specific and valid exemplification of the referenced audience concepts from at least one example of media content
  • make points which analyse the relationship between audience response and how key aspects are used

Question 2

Candidates must discuss the role of media referenced in the question. They are expected to:

  • make points that communicate ideas and information on the role of media. These points can include relevant issues, facts, perspectives or theoriesany valid point should be accepted if it is relevant to the question
  • make points of discussion which debate two sides of an argument, offer critical comment or develop a line of argument/opinion
  • draw at least one conclusion which provides a judgment in relation to terms of the question, connected to the evidence presented, and provide reasons

I’ll be about tomorrow if you want to look in when you’d normally have media. 🙂

A Little Light Reading…

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 13.54.36You may wish to read up a little more on this:

And I’ll leave you with this, the opening statement from the wikipedia entry:

Sexuality in music videos has become more widespread since the 1980s. Because of its commercial function, music videos must attract the audience’s attention and convey a message quickly. The sexual attraction provides a means of both drawing attention and conveying a message quickly.

(PS: I may be pointing out the obvious, but music videos as we understand them did not exist before the 1980s… but that should not detract from the point it is making)