Teaching Tools

Core Concepts of Media Analysis

Core Concepts of Media Analysis

Posted by: San Francisco Film Society

Use the Student Worksheets on Critical Viewing (available for different grade levels in the Lesson Library) to help students answer these questions in writing after viewing films or media samples. 


MEDIUM - All Media Messages Are Constructed. 

Key question: What type of film is this? 

Scaffolded questions: 

• What type of film is this? (e.g., fiction, documentary, PSA, etc.) 

• How do you know what type of film it is? (e.g., the acting, editing, lighting, music, narration, etc.) 

• What is successful about this style of filmmaking, and why? 

• Does the film remind you of other things you’ve seen, and in what ways? 

AUTHOR - All Media Messages Are Constructed by Someone. 

Key question: Who created this film? 

Scaffolded questions: 

• What choices did the filmmaker(s) make to communicate his or her message? 

• Do you think the filmmaker(s) were influenced by other people (e.g., funders, investors, corporate sponsors, studios, public opinion, trends)? 

• What do you know about the filmmaker(s) from watching the film? 

CONTENT - All Media Messages Have a Point of View. 

Key question: What ideas and information are conveyed? 

Scaffolded Questions: 

• Does the film present a particular point of view or opinion? Is it objective or subjective? 

• What do you think inspired the making of this film? 

• To what extent did the content meet your expectations, given the format/author?

AUDIENCE - All Media Messages Reach an Audience. 

Key question: How might different people understand or interpret the message differently? 

Scaffolded Questions: 

• Who do you think the intended audience is, and why? 

• Do you think you are the intended audience? If yes, did it succeed in engaging you? 

• What is your reaction to the media content and/or its message? 

• How might others perceive this message differently? Why? 


PURPOSE - All Media Messages Are Constructed for a Reason. 

Key question: Why was this message conveyed? 

Scaffolded Questions: 

• Is the film trying to convince its audience of something or affect your opinions or beliefs? 

• Why do you think we’re watching this as an example/part of class?

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