Archive for the ‘FdA 11_13’ Category

Final Major Project Report

Posted: May 15, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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As you may have noticed, the reports in the second year are slightly different to the 1st year reports.

It all seemed so easy at level C – I give you a subject, you read about it and repeat what you have read to form an understanding of the given subject. Documentary? Easy. Studio Production? Oooh, I got a history. Location? Look at the Health & safety Paperwork! LOOK AT IT! and despair….



Research Plan

Posted: October 10, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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Now is the time to knuckle down and actually create a plan to follow. This should act as a check list of what you need to do.

Take this mindmap as a starting guide. The best idea is to turn it into a list, making it relevant to your area. This is the point where you start to focus in the pragmatic “I’m going to get good grades” and produce research rather than being all creative and planning what film you can do. In other words, time for reality.

The list should be simple – break your tasks down to the most basic element.

What I need to find out Research Techniques I need to use
Distribution: Festivals: Range of Horror Festivals Internet search; Look for horror festivals – Forum search; horror fan sites to see what is mentioned / pose a question
Audience: Identify Target Demographic Find Forums, Conduct Surveys to find Demographic / psychographic

Here I have stopped at “Create a Survey”. It may be worth you breaking that down further – using any of the survey / questionnaire advice mentioned in any of our research books.

Make sure you have referred back to the Report Template for other headings – and expect this plan to change. Each time you get information back, draw conclusion about what you have found out review your plan – let it change, as this will mean your final idea will be as realistic as possible.

Production Research.

Posted: October 5, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13

One of the major issues we have with Production research is defining exactly what is is. Truth is, there is no right or wrong – just effective and ineffective.

Production Research is the research you need to do to ensure the production is viable – funding, logistics, technology – as well as worthwhile – position in market, potential audience etc. It is often used to raise he money to make the production so will often be used to present ideas to an investor. So, think Dragons Den.

This is the stuff that backs up your pitch.


Use, Make, Explain, Evaluate Relevance, Pitch, Evaluate Pitch and Pitch Again.

So, in discussions we agreed on certain meanings for the unit in order to define the task. As you can see, we have the basic structure of

“Use Research Techniques (and justify them) to develop an idea, evaluating the relevence of the material, and present your findings as a research folder to support your pitch.”

In other words, develop an idea. You will make this product as your Major Project.

So, what techniques can we use?


A few terms defined in class – we have identified a few good books on Social and Media Research that explain the pitfalls.

Well, the main one is reading. Find books, websites etc – develop an idea. This is the big bit, but actually not the bit you are really marked on – just having a good idea will power you through the whole year.

After this, you are pretty much conducting market research to examine other products, and audience research to test your ideas – and this is the catch. You will need to justify and explain what methods you use. You have surveys, questionnaires, 1:1 interviews, focus groups – all these techniques at your disposal. Which ones you choose to use, and how you combine them is your methodology.


I have also recommended you use a research cycle – so keep reviewing where you are up to, and let your research influence your idea. If you need to change the idea, do it – especially if your research has told you to
do it, and you are justifying the changes you have made.

There is a very tight deadline on this – I need you to pitch and submit 1st draft the week after Half term – 6th November. This gives you a chance to then re-draft everything (should you need to) before the final submission on 21st November.

You submission for this project will be a research folder, compromising your raw data (Photocopies, images, moodboards, script, storyboards, artist designs, survey results etc) and a report that draws together your findings to justify your production.

We have tried to put everything you need into this report template, but please don’t treat it as a comprehensive list. Add extra things to it, and remove things you don’t need to consider – a fictional film is different to a factual film, and adapting a script is different to creating your own.

My first recommendation, as you dig through the research on what you are interested in, is to do a skills and resource audit – what are you good at? What equipment do you have access to? What locations can you get into? Don’t go planning to film a dinosaur invasion on a Red in the Houses of Parliament without at least a test shot. read up on Roger Corman, who had a habit of making films on days of in production schedules – we have actors, we have cameras, we have a set – quick, write a script…

The point is to produce a document that proves you have thought about everything in this production. Then you will pitch it with a proposal, and then make it.

PDP: Learning Styles

Posted: April 30, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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The "How" of the matter

Posted: April 23, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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Now is the time to spell out exactly how you are doing your documentary.

How are you presenting your idea? What are you saying with it? These should be contained within a proposal that you can pitch at a moment notice (eg for Somerset.TV!). This should start with a tag line (What if…?). This used to be 25 words or less, but now see if you can tweet it.

Then, you need to put your money where your mouth is – How will you get it made? What equipment do you need? Who are you filming? What equipment are you using?

So, get your schedule together – print of a Month that covers the deadline, and plan what you need to do by when to complete the filming, the edit and teh written work.

Now, Be Realistic…!

Your Background

Posted: March 19, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13

This section allows you to record your current skills, knowledge and competence in relation to qualifications, work-experience, positions of responsibility and extracurricular activities. Here is the chance to look in detail at how you have developed as a result of all these experiences, using both your own self-reflection and feedback from objective sources. There is also an opportunity to pinpoint your key strengths and key areas for improvement.

The more information you can gather from other sources the better. Look back at your school reports and examination comments; it will help you to gain a greater perspective on how you have developed.

As you gain more qualifications, add the details to this record – you’ll be glad you did when it comes to writing your CV or filling in application forms.

Take time to make notes in the Editable Word Doc Background Extra Curricular Activities on how you have developed as a result of your non academic life.

Your Qualifications

Your Key Strengths

Your Areas for Imporvement

Extra Curricular Activites

All documentation generated by Bridgwater College.

The PDP Programme

Posted: March 19, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13

The PDP programme contains sections on the following which we will be lookign at in tutorial over the next few months. You will also find a numbe rof these are covered in WBL.

1 Key Skills

This section covers the important area of Key Skills: What are they? Why are employers so keen on them? Do I have any? How do I develop mine? Completing the audit will help you to plan how you will move your key skills forward.

2 Background

This section allows you to record your current skills, knowledge and competence in relation to qualifications, work-experience, positions of responsibility and extracurricular activities. Here is the chance to look in detail at how you have developed as a result of all these experiences, using both your own self-reflection and feedback from objective sources. There is also an opportunity to pinpoint your key strengths and key areas for improvement.

3 Learning Style

The quiz in this section helps you recognise your learning style. A crucial step in increasing your effectiveness and reaching your potential.

4 Goals
Setting clear goals for the different areas of your life can be invaluable. This section allows you to bring into focus your aspirations in terms of your career, your academic ambitions and your personal goals.

5 Employability

This section describes some of the characteristics that employers are seeking from their employees.

6 Job Applications

This section contains useful tips on producing a professional CV. By completing the main sections of this guide you will have already done much of the hard work. It pays to keep track of things as you go along so that you have all the information at your fingertips when it comes to applying for your next step.

7 Interviews

This section looks at the skills required in order to come across well at an interview.

8 Reference

This section includes a link to your Reference Summary page. This is the only part of your file which will be held by your tutor and will contain the information you want to be included in your references.

Personal Development Planning (PDP)

Posted: March 19, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13


Personal Development Planning will help you to define and explore your goals and map out ways of turning them into reality. It will enable you to identify the skills you are developing now which will help you to open up opportunities in the future.

Using the templates in this guide you can build up your Personal Development Plan. It will grow according to your input and should help you to manage your own development.

You can either print your documents, or store them to disk. However you decide to manage your files, make sure you keep them safe to use as a reference when you leave.

Whilst studying, it is likely that you will have many opportunities to expand your academic, professional and personal horizons. The level of engagement and what you get out of your period of higher education is your choice. You have responsibility for your own learning.

Taking stock of your position and setting goals in all areas of your life is an important step. In order to maximise your potential it will be helpful if you are clear about how you can transfer the skills and knowledge you have acquired into other situations. You should learn to articulate your unique skills and abilities.

This guide to Personal Development Planning is designed to help you identify where you are and where you want to be.

To use your PDP effectively, you should start by familiarising yourself with its contents. Scan through each section so that you have a clear idea of what is to be achieved. Decide which sections you want to concentrate on first and which will be more appropriate to focus on later in your studies. Take your time and return to update or add to each section as often as you like.

By choosing to work through this guide you are carrying out a number of key functions:

Firstly you are taking stock. Evaluating the skills and abilities you already possess. You’ll hopefully recognise some of your strengths and spot some of your weaknesses.

You will have the space to reflect upon where you want to be. Recognising your personal goals, your objectives and dreams is the first step to achieving them.

You will have the chance to plan ahead. There is space to plan what you want to achieve from your academic, career and personal life; to think about both the knowledge you can develop and the skills you can improve.

Finally, most important of all, you are developing the skill of critical self-reflection. You have the chance to be honest with yourself, to understand a little more about who you are and what you can actually do. Developing these abilities is essential as it will help you both academically and in your search for employment.

Mature students

As a mature student you may already have some experience of skills mapping, reflective practice, learning styles, career planning, CV and interview technique. The decision to return to education may have been step one of your career plan. It is still of benefit to continually reassess your goals and adapt your plans accordingly.

Using this guide will help you to pull together all the experience you have accumulated in one place and set new goals for the future. Taking a fresh look at your skills competencies can only increase your confidence.

Some of the examples provided may not seem relevant to your circumstances. You may have work and family responsibilities and no spare time for extracurricular activities. But in analysing your strengths, think laterally: juggling family life and your studies shows commitment, organisation, time-management and adaptability – all important skills. You can illustrate this with examples from your own activities such as helping at playgroup, listening to reading in school or committee work.

Other examples include being treasurer of a local football club, attending night classes, associations with industry, membership of a professional body and voluntary work.

If you have come back to study to facilitate a change in career, your past work experience may seem irrelevant. Analysing your job roles in terms of key skills will help you to maximise your prior experience and relate it to your chosen field.

International Students

As an international student you have much to benefit from personal development planning. Since you are living and studying in a different country you will probably be more acutely aware of your need to develop your skills and experience than ‘home’ students. This is because you will have to acquire new skills that enable you to operate in a different culture to the one you are used to.

Some of the priority areas for your PDP are likely to include:

  • English language skills
  • Learning about western styles of learning, teaching and assessment
  • Developing social skills to help you ‘settle in’
  • Coping with a different culture

Much of the material in the College PDP has been reproduced from material produced by the University of Plymouth and Bournemouth University for PDP programmes for their students.

Knowing your Subject

Posted: March 18, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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Identifying the issue you are dealing with is only scratching the surface.

All artifacts are mediated in some way – they are always a product of someones opinion or point of view. No matter how unbiased we see them, there is always an element of bias; whether concious or unconscious, whether effected by budget, culture, society or class.

If we know this, we can take it into account – both as media students and creators.

Research your subject – you will need to know everything you can about it, understand the issue inside out. Read every news report, every study, every comment. Be prepared to seek out those opinions that directly oppose yours. Find surveys. Make surveys. Do everything you can to find out about the subject and what people know about it.

Then, start talking to people. How do your family, your friends understand the issue? You don’t need to talk to experts – you have become the expert. What you need is the uneducated opinion: what does someone, who hasn’t been paying attention to it, think? This will become your starting point. There is no point making your film for the experts: 1. there aren’t that many of them, and 2. They will probably hate you for trying.

No, you need to make it for those people who have never thought about it – and suddenly realize, with surprise, that it is an interesting thing (because you have found a way in for them). You are also making it for those people who are aware – the people who have kind of thought about the subject, but haven’t had time to read around. But you have done the reading around for them, found the good stuff, and are making it interesting.


Documenting a Journey

Posted: March 14, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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So, the new unit has started. We are putting the goal posts out and beginning a new journey.

It feels slightly different this time. You are no longer expected to learn new technical skills, but to apply these to communicating and idea to an audience. As such, we are focused on the message rather than the medium – and that always feels easier.

If you have a clear idea what you want to say it is easier to actually say it. All you previous assignment work has been focusing on just saying something – so now we are thinking more clearly about what we are doing. so, the blog comes into it’s own.

Some people still use the blog as a diary – which is fine, to a point. However, I need to mark how you are guiding your own learning – marking the unmarkable, observing the unobservable. If you just describe, you are not aware of what and how you have learned – therefore, I don’t see it because you have not recognized it and displayed it. To me, that is exactly what I am marking; if you haven’t recognized it as important, you have missed the point! You need to be reflecting on what you have done.

Please read this example of Reflective writing by Jenny Moon. We will explore it in more detail in the future, but it is important to read and reflect. I highly recommend her book, which is in the LRC.

Why is this important? You are about to commit to a public space your innermost thoughts. You are leading a discussion about the issue, so you need to consider it as thoroughly as possible – or necessary. This is where the audience research comes in.

You need to consider you audience in this production – so do it right form the start. Find this opinions. Hunt for those comments in forums, on news stories. Find both halves of the argument. That way, you will know more about the issue, know your audience and probably develop a whole load of ideas for the documentary that you would not have thought of before!

Even if you do not feature in your own film, this will still bear all the marks of showing your journey through this subject. Get reflecting!