Congratulations. VCE Media is an outstanding choice. You’re going to be challenged both intellectually and creatively. Although Media is a fascinating area of study, it’s also going to be very demanding. Here are some hints and tips to help you survive Unit 3 Media. The Study Design is the document that VCE Media is based on. Throughout the year, your teacher will no doubt be photocopying or modifying parts of this document to explain the key knowledge and skills you need to acquire to achieve the learning outcomes.
THE STUDY DESIGN
The Media Study Design can be downloaded from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority website. Here you’ll find all the important information about what you’re supposed to learn. Don’t be daunted by all of the jargon. Your teacher will be explaining the terminology throughout the year. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the Study Design because this is the document that the exam is based on. Each year, when the questions are set for the Media exam, they are drawn from the Study Design.
This year, you will be studying two narrative texts. Most teachers will choose films. The texts you are studying may be challenging or unfamiliar. It’s important to remember that your teacher has selected the text because it will allow you to write well about narrative. Watch the texts several times before you study them in class. Take notes. Complete activities. List examples illustrating both production elements and story elements.
During Unit 3, you will complete an assessment task on the texts you have studied. The task is worth 40 marks and contributes 6% to your total study score. Prepare for your Narrative SAC by answering practice questions. Past exam papers are always a good place to find these. Once you’ve seen a few of the questions your teacher has written, you can start making up your own questions based on the key knowledge and skills for Narrative. For example, “In Run Lola Run, describe how two production elements contribute to character development.” Or, “Describe how editing is used to structure time in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho?’
MEDIA PRODUCTION DESIGN
The production design plan can’t be rushed. You are going to spend a significant chunk of Unit 3 working on it. When your teacher looks over the production design plan, they should see a very clear blueprint of your finished media product – whether it’s a film, magazine, radio program, website or series of photographs. It is very important that you address each of the production design plan specifications for your medium. In the case of video, for example, this covers things like: audience, intention, style, genre, storyline, techniques of engagement, setting, dialogue, camera techniques, editing, lighting, music and sound. For a complete list of the production design plan specifications, check the VCE Media Study Design or consult the notes that your teacher gives you.
Every year, the VCAA holds an exhibition of excellent VCE Media work. You can find out more about the Season of Excellence at the VCAA website. The Australian Teachers of Media host design plans from previous exhibitions online. It’s worth checking these out to see what a good production design plan looks like.
As a VCE Media teacher, I have seen a lot of design plans. One morning, one of my VCE students came into class. She’d spent a significant part of the previous night laboriously staining the pages of her design plan with coffee. It looked sensational. And I got a caffeine buzz every time I opened the pages. Unfortunately, it was also a colossal waste of time. You can bet that M Night Shyamalan doesn’t stay up late at night staining the pages of his screenplays with coffee. Ridley Scott doesn’t go to the scrapbooking store every time he scribbles down one of his famous storyboards. You don’t need to spend hours decorating your production design plan. Your teacher will appreciate it if you spend more time crafting your storyboards, writing the screenplay or addressing the production design plan specifications.
It’s time to start thinking about the VCE Media Exam. The year will be over in a flash. You can cram twelve months of learning into the exam period. In Year Twelve, the exam is worth 45% of your total study score. There will be three areas on the exam: Narrative, Social Value and Media Influence. As you’re studying these topics throughout the year, make sure you organise your notes carefully and complete all of the activities given by your teacher. This will give you an edge when you start exam revision.
EXAM REVISION LECTURES
The Australian Teachers of Media run exam revision lectures in the September holidays. Although this is a busy time for VCE students, start planning to attend one of these lectures now. Your school will receive information about the exam revision lectures closer to the September school holidays. You can also check the Australian Teachers of Media website for more information as they draw closer.