Media Studies Trip to Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studios

Who isn’t a Harry Potter fan these days?

The Year 10 Media Studies students got to indulge in the wonders of the boy wizard and how the film franchise produced, marketed and distributed so successfully by visiting the Warner Bros. Studios in the outskirts of London.

The trip was the essential enrichment experience for the students as it directly linked to the exam board topics, such as, the vertical integration of Time Warner and Warner Bros. Studios as a conglomerate that can facilitate both the production and distribution of film. It gave the students the perfect opportunity to get to grips with how important the producers, distributers and industry context are to the release of a film’s success in the industry. Students will be able to use the Harry Potter series as a comparable text to their set texts for their exam topics, the Bond franchise. Students’ ability to assess the industry factors, audience response and how representations are created through the camerawork will give them a memorable, hands on experience to bring their exam topic to life; particularly the part where they were invited to duel with the Death Eaters, as part of the Halloween festivities on offer during the course of the tour.

Similarly, for their coursework, the students must produce a poster and DVD cover for a film of their choice within a genre set by the exam board. Therefore, in using the work booklet to do a detailed analysis of how genre conventions were upheld or subverted in the trailer was invaluable to informing their own coursework production pieces they will need to create later on in their GCSE course. This means that research of successful film marketing would help generate ideas for both comparative texts for their exam topic and the coursework element.

The Harry Potter film series made Leavesden, its home for more than ten years. Set adjacent to the working film studios where all eight Harry Potter films were made, the Studio Tour offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and breath-taking special effects. It included the new section of the Forbidden Forest in which students could come face-to-face with Aragog and have a go at controlling the weather, the greenscreen broomstick experience, as well as a studio trail to catch the golden snitch. All of these more immerse elements were given to the students alongside a workbook, designed specifically to compliment the work they are doing in class, to stretch and challenge their knowledge of film marketing as a media form above and beyond the exam board specifications.