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Charles Darwin School

Media Studies and Film Studies

Course Overview 

Media and Film Studies is offered from Year 9 onwards at the school, encompassing both Level 2 and Level 3 courses.

Film Studies: Film Studies is an academic GCSE course of study where students are challenged to understand the technical aspects and wider meanings of a range of cinematic texts. Films range from classic Hollywood and British films to World Cinema. This open, exploratory approach to cinema as a form is continued for the AS and A2 courses, combining the creative and the evaluative. Across Levels 2 and 3 in Film Studies, students have a mixed diet of production (using photography as well as video to create original film texts such as posters, trailers and title sequences) and analysis (learning the basics of Film Theory and applying key terms and ideas to specific texts and genres). We follow the WJEC course for both Level 2 and Level 3 Film Studies. Both Levels are assessed through a mix of coursework and examined units.

Media Studies: Media Studies also begins at Year 9 and is a more vocationally orientated course. There is more emphasis on production activities and, rather than focusing on one main specialist form, students get to experience television, music video, advertising, magazines and, of course, film as well. Students currently follow the WJEC Creative and Media Level 2 course that is equivalent to one GCSE. This course is more vocational in design although it does also contain an extended examined unit in Year 11 alongside 2 major coursework units. Due to the focus on a range of media forms and technologies, this course would suit an independently minded student keen to develop a wide range of creative and analytical skills across a diverse number of platforms, from Youtube to print.  

At Level 3, the vocational focus is maintained with the OCR Technicals qualification. This is an entirely coursework assessed qualification at present, with students able to produce more extended and finely honed original media texts across the forms of print and video. There is one extended written analysis of a media text of their choice, usually a film. The course once again suits those who prefer a more hands-on approach to learning, requiring excellent organisation, commitment to the development of creative ideas over a sustained period of time and a genuine interest in the possibilities of digital media.

Film Topics at GCSE
British Cinema
Hollywood Cinema
Film Promotion and Marketing
Skills for Film Analysis
Video and Audio Editing Skills

Media Topics at Level 2
Induction into practical skills
Audience research
High Concept TV Production
Advertising Print Media
Making Music Video
Short films

Film Topics at A level
Micro analysis skills in editing, cinematography, sound, performance and mise en scene
Macro analysis of narrative and genre
Studying British Horror
Film Marketing
Studying American Cinema
Film Production
World Cinema
Spectators and Effects Debate

Media Technicals Level 3
Product analysis
Film Editing
TV editing
TV production
Film Production
Music video
Graphic Design


Why choose Media and Film?

You enjoy independent learning
You relish creative opportunities
You enjoy working in vocational and simulated settings
You like the challenge of using professional digital software packages
You are curious about new and emergent ideas about cultural forms and their effects
You want to develop a skill set of tools that will allow you to deconstruct the sparkling surfaces of popular culture.
You want to think a little more closely about the kind of world we live in.


Q. Do we just watch films in Film Studies?
A. No, of course not. You study films by developing a great range of analytical tools, both aesthetic and technical. You also get to use digital technology to make your own short film sequences and promotional campaigns.

Q. Is Media an easy subject?
A. No, if you want to sit back and stare at the ceiling, then Media is not the subject for you. You are expected to be engaged and independent rising to the challenge of being allowed access to expensive digital equipment and sophisticated modes of analysis covering a wide range of traditions and forms.

Q. Why choose Film and not Media.
A. You cannot choose both as they are totally different subjects with different academic trajectories. Film is more academically respected while Media is more closely linked to the industry (whilst we cannot guarantee a job at the end of it). So, if you are more academically inclined, have a passion for film in particular rather than the media as whole, and enjoy writing extended essays as much as getting behind the camera, then Film might be for you.

who will teach me? 

Miss Hurding, Mr Archer and Mr Matthews

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