/ Final Post for Semester 1 /

Well the semester has come to a close and what can I say, it’s been a busy but insightful 12/13 weeks. I feel blessed to have been accepted into this course, it has been my dream since I was in primary school.

This semester I have learnt quite a lot within my elective and contextual study for this course, Popular Culture and Cinema Studies respectively. However I have to admit, Media has definitely been the basis for the things I have learnt.

I found the individual work more challenging than group work which I think was more a function of the fact that we had to do a lot of filming, something that is definitely not my forté at all. Whilst the group work was hard at times because often it was impossible to get everyone to do their work at the same time and to catch up due to various other commitments, I think have more than one brain doing research really enabled our Project Brief 4 to give a very deep insight into what we discovered about media ‘Texts’. Here is a blog post I wrote during this time to outline the task and to reflect: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/samantha-beniac-brooks/2015/05/26/feedback-in-class-group-work-project-brief-4/

Within my own creative practice, I think that looking and reflecting on the things around me has been really important as it allows me to have something to work up to or outdo. An example of this is the post I made reflecting on Sound Design within film. I have always loved film and seek to hopefully further my knowledge in the area in the near future. When reflecting on others work, I often make myself more inspired to create something quite similar but completely unique to my tastes. Here is the blog post I made about Sound Design in cinema: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/samantha-beniac-brooks/2015/05/24/sound-design/

To follow on from the theme of me loving sound, I thoroughly enjoyed the Week 7 Lectorial which gave the Media 1 students an insight into the world of sound in which I had no idea about. These lectorials have been important in providing a basis for what us media students have been learning this semester whilst also relating these things to the world beyond Level 11, Building 80. Here is a post reflecting on the lecture: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/samantha-beniac-brooks/2015/04/21/week-7-lectorial-reflection/

This semester, I have also become quite aware of the media that surrounds us and the way in which it is presented to us as an audience. It is amazing when I walk down Swanston Street and I feel quite ‘bombarded’ by the media texts that surround me almost as if there is no way out (which is a little scary at times). However there is a good side. I watched the Logies during the semester and something that stood out for me was the way in which Carrie Bickmore wore a beanie to raise awareness for Brain Cancer. I love the way in which celebrities use their power and fame to not just promote themselves and their product, but to raise awareness for charities and give information about these diseases. Here is a blog post I wrote after the Logies where I discuss the night and my reflection of Carrie’s wonderful gesture: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/samantha-beniac-brooks/2015/05/05/the-media-and-raising-awareness/

I have also loved doing the readings this semester and tried to realise how important they are for not only myself as a media practitioner but also to gain knowledge and to become more open-minded within my creations and also the creations of others. Here is a blog post reflection on a reading we were given in the first week of classes seeking the difference between a selfie and a self-portrait: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/samantha-beniac-brooks/2015/03/03/whats-the-difference-between-a-selfie-and-a-self-portrait/

And finally, here is a Learning Curve for showing progress in Semester 1 for Media 1:



/ 800 Word Reflection – Brief 4 Group Project /

For Project Brief 4, I was teamed with Annie Goldring and Jenny Pham Vo to undergo an analysis on media ‘texts’. At first we found the project brief a little difficult to tackle as the area of media texts is one that is quite large. We had to narrow it down and look at a particular area (and one that intrigued us all). From this, we chose that looking at advertisements was the best choice as we are bombarded with these texts every single day whether it be on social media or whilst waiting for a tram at the tram stop. We originally set out to create a bombardment video along with a short mock youtube clip at the beginning and pop up ads, however as a group, decided that our assignment needed to be more analytical to fit in with the task description. From this we decided to create an eBook where we could explore the three different media advertising platforms in which we were most interested in (print publication, radio and video/television). However the idea that “media is everywhere” remained a key point when creating our own case studies and at this point, this is when we decided to look deeper into the formulas of these advertisements.


Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the group work as it enabled me to gather a deeper understanding of media texts, with the use of three minds. Our annotated bibliographies were incredibly vital to the project as we all went away and did research that gathered theories and case studies from past researchers who were interested in the study of media texts. Moreover, the case studies often mentioned audiences and the ways in which advertisers attempt to persuade an audience. From this, we decided to consider the formulas in which are used to advertise a particular product. These annotated bibliographies created a basis for the idea of the eBook, in which we have included many case studies looking at a handful of advertisements that we are bombarded with in our everyday lives. The idea of the eBook enabled our group to show in depth, each of our case studies as well as inform readers with a general overview of what we believed media ‘texts’ were.


Unfortunately at times I found the idea of group work difficult. Whilst also having other assignments, we all have busy lives and it is very hard to come together outside of class time (however we did manage to catch up at least 4 times outside of class which resulted in quite productive work where we were sharing ideas and helping each other out with our own case studies). This project has definitely taught me to in future create some sort of schedule that enables the group to come together at the beginning to decide when we were all free and to save dates. Another problem we faced was the numerous last minute meetings that often had to be cut short because of other distractions.


In terms of being a media practitioner, this project has taught me that it is important to stay on top of the work and to communicate with your group members as often as possible. Communication within the group is something I would like to work on in the next media group project as without it, it is impossible to understand where your team members are at and what work they are doing. I would also like to stick to the group rules set out at the beginning (do work when required etc.) as within the group, we had lost track of each other’s work and I became concerned that perhaps we were all at different stages within the project. Although, I am incredibly happy with the work we are submitting as I believe it provides a deep insight and shows the depth we went into, to fully understand media texts.


After completing the work, I feel I have gathered a sound understanding of media texts. It was interesting to note the similarities between many of the advertisements we compared within our case studies. The use of formulas like slogans, colours and even monotone voices in advertisements, enables each advertisement to target a specific audience (sometimes even a wide demographic), to ‘sell’ an idea or product. The process of research and analysing specific advertisements allowed me to form a deeper understanding of the way in which the media attempts to bombard us with messages. Overall, the project has made me more aware of the bombardment of texts within our everyday lives which almost makes me feel as if I am not just another ‘audience member’ to these advertisers as I now understand the ways in which advertisers try and sell me a product or idea.

/ Feedback (in class) – Group Work Project Brief 4 /

This week our group presented the layout of our eBook to the class. We were pleasantly surprised when the whole class seemed satisfied with the work we had done at this point. People enjoyed the look of it, stating that it was “unique” and “colourful” which enables readers to keep attracted to it. This is important as we wanted to give off the effect that media advertisements do.

Annie chose www.canva.com and I have been very satisfied with her choice. It allows us to show a deep analysis with the options to include images as well as text to show the reader what research we have done.

My case studies are coming along nicely. I will be submitting them to Annie by Friday in order for us to begin the introduction and conclusion and complete any last minute work before submission on Thursday June 4. Something that came up in my research was that of the common formulas used between the two breakfast ads that I am comparing. It is interesting to note the use of families in both as well as children perhaps showing that there is a particular audience target. I will be looking deeper into this within the eBook.

I have loved researching deeper into the bombardment of media texts (and more specifically advertisements).

Our group seems to be on top of the work!

/ Week 12 – Lectorial Reflection /

Wow… well it’s the last lecture for Semester one. Crazy to think how quickly this semester has come and gone.

Today in the last lecture we discussed Media Materialism.

Some notes I took:


  1. identifying subgroups within population – youth group etc.
  2. the world as culture, humankind – think about humanity as a whole/we are a human culture
  3. art, theatre, cinema: creative expression – what you would find in the newspaper under culture.
  • Culture is multiple – different classes/races/ages
  • Messy, unpredictable, confused.
  • Brian Eno – “culture is everything we do not have to do” – we don’t need to have certain cuisines or clothing but we need to be clothed and need to eat. (we could survive without them)
  • Culture is something that we do, but also something that we are.

Technological Determinism: Technology determines its own path – each development has a preconceived course

  • – Invention of the Walkman – shut out oral cues of the world, we could shape our own music.

Social Constructivism: we control it

  • No matter how radical the innovation is, we ultimately have control.
  • Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
  • It is not a straight line, it is unpredictable.


It is interesting to consider the idea of culture and the way in which it is alive within the media. This lecture confused me a little as I am quite exhausted from a long semester. However it was interesting to hear of the different ideas in culture focused on the theory that technology is pre-determined and has a direct path compared with the theory that we control everything and technology is unpredictable (social constructivism).

/ Media Tutorial – Last One /

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 9.59.47 am

So today we had our last tutorial for the semester. We continued working in our groups as the Project Brief 4 is due next week.

Our group has created an e-book in which we presented part of today. The fabulous Annie has put it together so that we are able to show research into texts and more specifically advertisements.

My section includes researching television commercials and in particular cereal ads. I am looking at the way in which these are broken down (so the formula) in order to portray a particular message and this is done by watching and analysing several cereal ads.

Above is a screenshot of a convention of a cereal ad (Milo cereal). Of course the actual cereal being advertised is mentioned, however often there is a close up of the cereal box with a faded out background so that we can clearly see the subject of the ad. This is generally paired with a voice-over stating that the cereal has “healthy” ingredients.

This project has been quite interesting to explore as it is amazing to see how simple these ads are but how effective they are.

/ Week 11 – Lectorial Reflection /

‘ The Remix and the Glitch’

Notes I took during the class:

  • The remix & the glitch – breaking things to get at the art
  • There is no such thing as an original idea
  • Remix in pre-digital era was done by the ‘DJ’
  • There were artists that released music specifically for clubs
  • Mash-ups can promote other music.
  • Culture builds on the past and the past always tries to control future

Rip! A remix manifesto – 4:40 -12:15

– Biggie Small – The Notorious B.I.G. –

– Jackson 5 – I want you back

– Lil’ Kim –


– B.O.B – nothing on you

– U2

– Get Low (Lil Jon)


When thinking about the idea of remixing, I think it is important to consider the fact that these remixes have been created by taking old material and creating something completely new with potentially a different purpose. Does this then make it a breach of copyright if it is just taken to create something new and different?

I believe it is so impossible to not copy anything.. and in my opinion copyright is sometimes a joke. You cannot expect every single human on this earth to come up with something completely new that is not related to anything else.. that’s a ridiculous idea.

/ Progress… – Project Brief 4 /

So far I have been working away at discovering the formulas for television advertisements. I will be completing two case studies in which will show a depth of analysis into the ways in which advertisers attempt to sell individuals a product/idea.

I have decided that I will be comparing two breakfast cereal advertisements, which are targeted towards parents of today’s society. I have not yet chosen which advertisements, however I want them to be similar so that it makes the study more reliable.

I have quite enjoyed this project so far as I am learning more and more about being aware of my surroundings and enabling myself to become aware of the deconstruction process behind media texts.

Feedback from peers has been good in terms of what my group is planning to discuss and analyse. I hope it comes together well 🙂

/ Week 8 – Lectorial Reflection /

wk8    Narrative//Non-Narrative

In this lecture we discussed Narrative and Non-Narrative. I have never heard of non-narrative before so it was incredibly insightful.

Narrative is any kind of retelling of events and is ‘everything’.

When considering narrative, we must consider:

Causality – cause and effect – Perth to Broome, you must be in Perth to get to Broome. A logical progression from one event to the next.

Character Development: Any kind of story we know of, character development takes time – its rare for us to know exactly who a character is and what their motivations are straight away. They must be presented with a number of situations in which the character must deal with. Allows a character to form from a blank canvas with events.

Plot: Chronological sequence of events in narrative. A person carrying out the action, the action itself and the person it is being carried out with/for.


An end.

“The stuff of story is alive and intangible”

Joseph Campbell; ‘modern myth’ or the ‘heroes journey’ – a pattern of narrative identified in many stories throughout the world.

We were then required to complete an in Class activity where we discussed the Hunger Games and the emotional highs (i.e. Katniss and Peeta winning the games)/lows (Rue dying) and the characters mapped according to prominence (Katniss then Peeta).

Repeated representations set up a pattern of expectations – if we the audience see something enough, we recognise the signs and assume what will happen next.


Non-narrative: no main story-line (that is typical or is something that we can assume), no speaking, the characters are just objects.


We watched a non-narrative film that had no main-storyline but also had elements of narrative (i.e. headings).


This lecture was interesting as often I overlook the importance of narrative as often it comes naturally as we experience it in our every day lives.

/ Week 7 – Lectorial Reflection /

part two
lights out for the territory – a disciplinary road map

wk7    Texts

In the first half of the lecture we discussed ‘texts’.

Where does the ‘textual analyis’ tradition come from?

‘effects’ tradition in communication studies: post WW2/mid 20th century turn against a particular idea of culture

Texts are:

  • vehicles for the production of cultural meaning (sign systems)
  • ‘texts’ in media, communications and cultural studies include cultural products, images, policy documents, social practices, institutions….
  • ‘sites were we can see the social production of ideas and values happening before our eyes’

I learnt that there is not one true accurate meaning of ‘texts’. We must also consider semiotics: A ‘sign’ can be a visual, linguistic, aural, combination etc.

Signs have two parts:

: The signifier and the signifies

– Signifier/signified – dog/(picture of dog)

– Red = signifier

(colour of red) = signified/mental concept

We then had a look at an image:


and discussed…

Denotation = literal of first order meaning and Connotation = cultural or 2nd order meaning

Denotated – man is throwing child into swimming pool

Connotated – a father throwing his child into the swimming pool

The second half of the lecture was dedicated to sound (one of my favourite elements).

Sound is defined as noise or music and is multi-directional: 360 degree angle. It is pervasive: can’t turn it off, it is everywhere and complexly layered: hear lots of sounds at any given time/can be experienced all at once.

Sounds can be prioritized by the ear: we can do this.

  • We are continually absorbing and therefore we must constantly filter out sounds.
  • Sound is intimate (e.g. radio dj talking to listeners)
  • It is also subjective – methods of representations/aural semiotics (semiotic codes of sound place the listener in a mediated/imagined relationship with the subject of representation + two crucial codes – perspective and social distance)

Theo Van Leeuwen, ‘Perspective’ – “hierarchizes elements of what is represented”.

Sound Perspective (simultaneous sounds)

  • figure: the focus of interest
  • ground: the setting or context
  • field: the background/ambient space

Social distance: consider the kinds of speech in terms of volume, pitch, relaxed, softness hardness (single sounds)

  • intimate
  • personal
  • informal
  • formal
  • public

Technology of amplification and recording has uncoupled the two and allowed them to become independent semiotic vehicles – a whisper can be projected with the use of a microphone.

Soundscape: it is a representation of a place or an environment that can be heard rather than what can be seen.

Technical elements – pitch/volume

Temporal aspects – attack/sustain/delay

Interaction of sounds

Emotional/associative aspects of sound

Where the sounds originate from

How might we be able to create/obtain/treat them?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phan_Thi_Kim_Phuc – what could be the figure, ground & field sounds?

Figure – children’s voices/screams

Ground – feet touching the floor as they run

Field – wind

Above are a whole bunch of notes taken in this lecture. This has been my favourite lecture so far as I was able to look deeper into ‘sound’. I hope to someday be able to explore even further into this area as I believe it is incredibly underrated and very often overlooked (especially in cinema).

/ Week 4 – Lectorial Reflection /

wk4  Media integrates theory and practice  [theory + creative practice + disciplinary knowledge]

Both Adrian Miles and Liam Ward came and spoke to us today.

Adrian Miles discussed the idea that media is the integration of theory and practice. He said that stories aren’t everything and that we must act on our thoughts in order to make it something as thinking means nothing in terms of the final product, in the media world. It made me realise that it is important to get off my backside and start making a name for myself in the world in order to provide myself with the best possible future opportunities within broadcasting.

Liam Ward discussed editing: it is not about “fixing problems”. It is about deliberately breaking things (putting gaps in there) – encouraging viewers to have fun with the ideas. If you break it – it creates meaning – Why those parts? What does it mean? Why those edits?

We considered, 2001 Space Odyssey – primates fighting over water (using tools to fight) : cut: history of human species – from using bones to break things, to orbiting the earth with a spaceship.

And the 1920s – the chair is more than just a picture – it has colours/meanings – what the images can mean rather than just what they are.

We must consider the spatial/temporal relations of media.