Narrative Part 01

Narrative ScreenshotAs promised, here are the slides from today. The main thing at the moment is to realise that there are different narrative models. As you watch films over the summer, just give a thought to which model(s) the film is using to tell its story. Many of the films I reference are available via Netflix/Amazon and/or Sky… just be aware of relevant classifications. 🙂

Click the pic to download!

Gods of Egypt – Kermode Uncut

Wassup, class!

This is how to review a film… 😉

And then I strongly recommend you subscribe to the Kermode and Mayo Wittertainment Podcast.

Mark Kermode is one of the most highly regarded film critics in the world and is — rightly or wrongly — renowned for his occasional ‘rants’. You will not enjoy all the films he recommends, you will disagree with his comments at times, but he is usually right… and there is always something worth seeing and or learning in the films he does recommend.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 11.57.27The Wittertainment show can appear a bit intimidating at first… not least because of all the in-jokes… but there is a helpful wiki to fill in the gaps: It has an index of most of the running gags and references, and explains much about the show, and why you should always say Hello to Jason Isaacs (Go to Google, and search “Jason Isaacs“)…

And finally… there’s even an iWittr app (DISCLAIMER: This app is not endorsed by the BBC, the presenters or, indeed, Witterpedia. However, at the moment it seems to work and comes with a handy copy of the Code of Conduct) so you can see how many other members of the Church of Wittertainment there are near you.

How do you use the iWittr app? Well, you just use the iWittr app.

Enjoy… and if you want a taster of what is possible, search for Kermode’s review of Sex and the City 2… then try his take on Entourage. 🙂

BFI Discovery Film School 2016

BFI_FIlm_Academy_with_certificates_2015_600_400_70“Hey kid… you wanna be in the movies?”

The BFI Film Academy are running a film school in Dundee from August to December. It’s a big commitment as you will need to get through to Dundee every Thursday from 6pm – 8:30pm, and participate in a week long film school during the October break. It’ll also cost £25. (BTW: That’s for the whole course, not per week!) It’ll be hard work. And you’ll learn loads!

More importantly, it’s a fabulous opportunity to get experience in professional practice, meet others who have an interest in film-making, and this year, if you complete the course successfully,  you will receive the NCFE Level 2 Award in Preparing to Work in the Film Industry. Given that the next few years will see at least one new dedicated film studio complex opening in Scotland, and that the film industry has been identified as a potentially crucial contributor to the Scottish economy, there has never been a better time to consider film and TV as a future career…

You can see the course timetable here: COURSE TIMETABLE

And full details and application form are here: BFI/DCA Film School 2016

Applications close 8th August… so get busy! 😉

Wanna Win $100,000?

FilmScreenChallengeSeriously. This competition is for real and has some fantastic prizes up for grabs. If you fancy a challenge… and access to more free resources than you can throw a clapperboard at to make your next production pure dead professional… then head over to Film Supply Challenge.

In short, you have to use the free resources they provide to create either an advert, a title sequence, or a film trailer. The prizes are phenomenal, but you’ll likely get more out of the process. (ie: you probably won’t win, but you could learn a LOT by taking part)…

Head over to if you’re interested. Watch the video, read the site, then download the Starter Pack/FAQ.

Good luck… and if you win, send us a postcard from SxSW in Texas! 😉

Public Health Warning

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Moon Hitler!

OK… you asked, so here it is! This is the list of Netflix films I put together for last year’s class at Christmas (BTW: You should check out New on Netflix which allows you to find and search the NF catalogue much more easily than using NF itself!). There are wee comments from me about every one, and you will not like every film on the list… but then, I’ll bet there are a load of films you like that I wouldn’t, so let’s call it quits.

The Health Warning Bit is simply because Netflix change their list regularly, and so I cannot guarantee that all the films are still available. I will produce an updated list in December.

Click on the image to download the list as a PDF file, and please feel free to leave a comment or two here if you agree/disagree with any of the selections, or even better, if you’ve got any Netflix suggestions of your own.

PS: If you have Amazon Prime you may have access to some more of these, or ones that have disappeared from Netflix… Happy Viewing! 🙂

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Lights… Camera… In-Action…

Raptors in the kitchenHi everyone. Here’s a primer for next week’s shenanigans.

As mentioned, you will be filming your ‘scene-stealers‘ (and mahoosive thanks to Ms Lynch of Blairgowrie HS for sharing the idea!) so you’d better be prepared/ready… here’s how:

  1. Choose a scene from a film you will recreate…
  2. Find the script (10 Great Websites to Download Movie Scripts) or transcribe the scene/sequence you have chosen
  3. Look closely at the use of cameras (shots, angles, motion), and also any deliberate lighting effects
  4. Storyboard your own version
  5. Film (you can use your phone(s)/Eng. Dept. iPads/DSLR), but don’t get too hung up on the quality at the moment… it is recreating the shots that is the focus
  6. Edit (using any software you can get access to, like Windows Movie Maker in school, or YouTube editor online)
  7. Get ready for the premiere!

We’ll be working on 1, 2 and 3 in class on Monday, but you can jump straight to 4/5 if you do some preparation between now and then. 🙂

As ever, leave a comment if you have any questions.

Spectre Opening Sequence

Thanks for the question about the Spectre opening. Made me go back and look at it again, and that’s always a good thing. 🙂

Here it is:

And here are a couple of links that talk about how it was filmed…

How They Pulled Off The ‘Spectre’ of Death…

FXGuide to Spectre…

ASC Interview with Sam Mendes

And finally, here are some behind-the-scenes pics of the filming. Enjoy!


Sign Signifier Signified

So… the real fun starts here.

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You are to choose an advert (Press/magazine/poster/TV) and identify five of the signs used in its creation… and also give some thoughts on what they signify. Bonus points for seeing if you can combine all the separate signs into an overview of the adverts overall message. I’m looking forward to seeing what you hand me on Monday 🙂

What’s that, you say? You’d like the slides from class to refer to? Oh, all right. Here they are…

Click to download the slides!


Class of 2017

Welcome! As you will soon realise, I love teaching Media, and you are going to end up seeing the world around you in a very different way… but first… the basics! 😉

Have a look round… this blog is your one-stop shop for everything to do with the Media course. You can find the handouts, deadlines, clips, and all sorts of added Media goodness. In addition, when you are stuck, you can add a comment to a post asking for help and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 🙂

First up is one of the trailers from last year’s class… this is here to show what you is possible!

And yes… I really do expect your trailers to be this good as well! 😉

Stay tuned… your first homework will be along shortly.