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April 27, 2010

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You lot know how much I love South Park, and how wonderful for me that they’ve recently got themselves into a bit of trouble meaning that I get to discuss the show on the blog.

South Park reached it’s 200th episode recently, and to celebrate they brought back some of their most famous and controversial storylines, including multiple references to Tom Cruise being a fudge packer (in all literal sense of the term) as well as the welcome return of Jennifer Lopez, one of my favourite characters.

But what’s got them into trouble is their depiction of the prophet Muhammad dressed in a bear costume. So incensed were a group of New York extremist Muslim activists that they stated on their website Revolutionmuslim.com that the shows creators could end up like Theo van Gogh, a director who was murdered by Muslim radicals in 2004 for his depiction of Muslim women in a short film.

Surprisingly, the creators of South Park took the threats seriously, and in the second part of the two part episode, all audio and visual references to Muhammad were bleeped out. There’s a fantastic write up on the Guardian website which is worth a read.

The episode raises a number of issues with regards to regulation. A number of other Gods were depicted in the show and nobody complained. Should the creators have bowed to the censors? Should the authorities be taking action against those who made the death threats?

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AS: In Bruges Case Study April 23, 2010

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Here’s the second case study we looked at together: http://prezi.com/jerybrgbxecv/

Case study: Avatar April 22, 2010

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Here’s te link to download the Prezi on Avatar: http://prezi.com/osdpo2l-vgtn/

Postmodern Media – and yes, it’s the Gaga again April 15, 2010

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Check out the clip below for a great example of postmodernism in practice. You’ve got the original track which has been covered and posted on the web. You’ve then got someone else doing some very careful editing to create almost a parody of the parodies. Plus it’s always funny watching people to attempt a cover on youtube. Look out for the whistler at the 1.40 mark. Soon to be hitting your screens in the next episode of Britain’s Got Talent…

The Digital Economy Bill – a new law to get your head around April 11, 2010

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Rushed through Parliament last week was the highly controversial Digital Economy Bill which has now been made law after a mere two hours of debate in central government which was a bit naughty. The Bill means that your Internet Service Provider will supply the music and film industries with information about everything you’ve downloaded and then seek a court order to cut off your internet connection. Have a gander at the following video clip from Mark Thomas which explains it all.

Considering that the Government were advised by the media industry who exclaimed that they were losing millions due to illegal file sharing, one has to wonder whose interests the Government are acting in. Considering that 100 years ago the film and music industries did not exist (nor did the billions of pounds in profit they’ve been making), surely they should be embracing change rather than challenging it? Would Lily Allen have made it to number one without her myspace website? Could the Blair Witch Project have ever made it to the silver screen without its viral advertising campaigns? Bearing in mind that last year saw the release of the 4th biggest grossing movie of all time (The Dark Knight), surely this is an indication that illegal file sharing isn’t as damaging as the industry are making out.

But then again what would I know? I’m only a media studies teacher. Let’s leave the decision in the hands of the 60 year old never-had-a-facebook-profile-in-their-lives politicians.

The onslaught has begun April 11, 2010

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Perfectly timed for your exams this year is the general election, an event which manipulates the media to its full effect with an onsluaght of spin, all carefully designed to confuse the hell out of you prior to election day. Despite the fact that some of you may not be old enough to vote, the election has untold relevence to media studies. I’ve already discussed The Sun’s switch to supporting the conservatives on this blog, and the fact that the Conservatives are wanting to move towards scrapping the license fee means that Rupert Murdoch’s News International Group is set to become even more powerful should the Tories win.

But back to my reasons for this post. Last week whilst enjoying my run on the Welly road I was bombarded with a number of billboards which informed me how Gordon Brown has effectively screwed the country over. Case in point below.

Another of these posters informs us that Brown was responsible for the rise in youth unemployment. Hold on one second, wasn’t youth unemployment caused by greedy banking institutions borrowing money left right and centre which eventually led to one of the biggest recessions the world has ever seen? Or was that Brown’s fault? Either way, rather than insist on a very public slanging match, how’s about letting us, the general public, hear about some of your policies?

The first rule of advertising is to sell your product. What these adverts do is merely criticise other products out there on the market with unsubstantiated claims. Had a commercial advertiser pulled the same trick, I am sure that the ASA would have something to say about it.

Next up on their election trail is this plonker:

This is Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary for the Tories, who got himself in trouble recently when he stated that B&B owners should be able to turn away gay customers, which, according to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 is illegal. Put it this way, it’s like a politician saying that B&B owners can turn away black customers if they so wish.

Naturally, gay voters are now calling for Grayling to be sacked, and this weekend organised a FlashMob outside the Conservative HQ. Quick to act, the Tories have released  a whole pledge of promises to say that they will “consider” the concept of gay marriage and also tackle homophobic bullying in schools. Good job that. I mean, who else could tackle homophobic bullying better than a bunch of Eton educated homophobes who probably spent their teenage years being rogered senseless by other closet cases?

Please keep your eyes out for stories like these in the lead up to the election as they will really help your responses to exam questions.

A2 Posting audio clips March 31, 2010

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Right you lot, I know you’re struggling to post clips on your blogs, so this is the fail safe way of doing it.

Firstly, you will need to convert your clip to a video file. You are only able to do this on a Mac as you will need to open up Final Cut Pro. Once opened, you’ll see that the layout is very similar to Soundtrack Pro with regards to your timeline, but now you’ll have an additional V1 timeline (highlighted in red on the picture below – it’s the top circle).

Like you do in Soundtrack Pro, you will need to drag your mp3 clip on to the Audio timeline. At this stage you won’t have any visuals, so you will need to drag some still images onto the video timeline.

Once you have input the mp3, you will notice a red line at the top of your timeline, this means your audio file needs to be rendered – don’t ask me what it means, just press the “apple key + r” to make the red line go away.

You will then need to drag some images on to the V1 timeline so that your when the video is posted to youtube, your viewers will actually be able to see something when your clip is playing. Use your Newspaper Ad for this. You may need to shorten the length of your image to bring it in line with the length of your audio clip.

Then click on export and make it a Quicktime movie.

Voila. Your clip is ready to be posted to youtube. Once you’ve uploaded it to youtube it’s dead easy to add it to your blog, simply click on insert movie clip, make sure you select to insert it from URL rather than from your computer.

Mindless self indulgence March 26, 2010

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I’ve been trying to think of ways in which I can relate this to the syllabus and quite frankly, I can’t. So this is a little self indulgent post spreading the word of the new Nightmare on Elm Street remake, the original being one of my favourite movies ever. Trailer looks fantastic, but be warned, it’s not for the faint hearted.

A2 Coursework: Who’s your audience? March 25, 2010

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A common and traditional method of audience research is known as demographics. This defines the adult population largely by the work that they do. It breaks the population down into 6 groups, and labels them by using a letter code to describe the income and status of the members of each group.

Producers need to know the demographics of their potential audience so that they can shape their text or product to appeal to a group with known viewing habits. Producers of a television programme about DIY would have a target audience with a C2 demographic for example.

As well as demographics, you also need to consider the psychographic profile of your audience. This is a way of describing an audience by looking at the behaviour and personality traits of its members. Psychographics labels a particular type of person and makes an assessment about their viewing and spending habits.

The advertising agency Young and Rubican invented a successful psychographic profile known as their 4C’s Marketing Model http://www.4cs.yr.com The 4 Cs stand for Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation. They put the audience into groups with labels that suggest their position in society.

A handout with the different categories is available here: demographics-and-psychographics1. Remember that you need to be referencing your audience as ABC1 or C2DE and explain why your radio drama appeals to this audience.

Don’t forget the other mandatory areas when describing your audience i.e. age, gender, ethnicity and sexuality.

You’ll never look at Woody the same again… March 21, 2010

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Another great mashup to add to the collection.