Wednesday, 13 May 2009

i feel

that the exam went okay

mesed up my timing n_n finished 15 and a half pages with 25 mins to go. i couldve done abit more to each question but i didnt have the space so mehhhh. added more to the american question and just chilled like a bitch. happy i suppose just gotta wait and see, no point worrying ^.^

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Crash Essay

oo revision

Friday, 3 April 2009

worktarawork - aims andcontext cover sheet

Aims & Context cover sheet

For our creative project; Myself, Tara Costello, Callum Jackson and George Elfwood plan to create a short film three minutes in length. I plan to take on the role of director, and my main tasks will to shoot our footage and help in the construction of the mise-en-scene. The lighting shall be ambient to keep the setting looking as naturalistic as possible; this will be paired with a messy mise-en-scene within a school classroom. This working environment within a classroom will be captured on film throughout Work Tara Work, anchoring the narrative and allowing the audience to develop an understanding of the characters intentions and her school background.

My role within our project will be to direct and film the majority of our footage. I will make sure that my camera work is concise and sufficient in capturing the mindset of our protagonist Tara. Overall I hope to film at least ten minutes of footage, repeating various scenes all from different angles to allow a lot of fast paced editing in post-production which shall add to its (sometimes) fast paced style. Work Tara Work will not be a specific genre piece, but we envisage it to be a modernistic outlook of school life and “geeks” in school who work hard; challenging the stereotype that all geeks are kids in glasses who do nothing but work all day.

In a stylistic sense; Work Tara work will be an intimate piece of film focusing upon one person, yet it will still be fast paced at times to anchor her work-crazy mindset. To capture this I plan to use a variety of shots whilst filming: close ups of her expressions and gestures to anchor her “workaholic” mind frame, panning shots of the room to help establish the mise-en-scene for the audience, and various point of view shots to allow the audience to see from Tara’s perspective. A tripod will be used for shots such as the establishing shot, but the rest will be hand held to allow it to become more realistic; allowing the audience to feel like they’re with Tara in the room watching her. I also plan to improvise for a short while once we’ve finished the bulk of filming, which I hope will add an element of spontaneity to Work Tara work.

Our aim is for our short film to appeal to a young, “modern” demographic, we hope to have added in a non-diegetic mainstream electro soundtrack to our piece which would add to its appeal to a youth audience. Also through use of camera work I will establish that Tara is a student in school studying/working hard on her sketchbooks; hopefully this will also help Work Tara Work cater for a youth audience.

reflective analysis mhmmm

Reflective Analysis - Work Tara Work.

For the FM1 creative project, myself, Tara Costello, Callum Jackson and George Woolford decided to work together to create a short film. After planning and preparation we came up with the idea for “Work Tara Work” - a short film based upon a girl who has the impulse to do nothing but work within her sketchbook. (the name was inspired by Run Lola Run) We wanted to make the protagonist somewhat hyperbolic with her work, yet we strived to make the mundane task of “work” seem more fun, or worthwhile as a workaholic would see it.

My role within the group was to film the majority of the footage and help motivate the group along the way.(director). On our first filming date we all set up the mise-en-scene within an art classroom; making the table messy and full of items which someone who was working within a sketchbook would use. Items such as: pencils, scalpels, pencil shavings, drink, cut up magazines and glue. We wanted to emphasize her constant desire for work, as that was what our narrative framework was to be built upon. As camera man I decided to film the opening of the film, which is just Tara flipping through her book, numerous times from different angles to allow fast paced editing and experimentation during post production between different shots. Flipping through 6 pages within one shot would have been boring, whereas cuts between them from different angles paired with music adds life to the film. Also we decided at the start to have the title of the film integrated into the film instead of adding it in during post production, so we wrote “Work Tara Work” on the front of her book and I filmed this as our opening shot.

To introduce the mise-en-scene I filmed two tracking shots panning from left to right, which showed the room and environment which Tara was working in. These work as they establish the mise-en-scene for the audience and from this we gather that she is a student studying what seems to be art work in an art class room: developing the audiences understanding of the short film and its narrative.

We decided as a group to add the notion of repetition within the film, focusing on her constant use of masking tape. So I filmed her pulling and ripping masking tape from various angles to allow them to be edited into faster sequences in post-production. Which adds a faster pace to our film at times and breaks the mundane stereotype of “work” that some people may hold; work can be fun or exhilarating depending upon your individual perspective or mindset. Further on in the filming process I filmed various angles of Tara slicing paper on a guillotine, once again this was so that during post-production this could be edited at different intervals when she was cutting pieces of paper; our film relies heavily upon it’s pieces of fast paced editing and I feel I made this possible due to my determination to capture as much footage from different angles to allow for various possibilities during editing.

I also decided to film various point-of-view shots to allow the audience to see from Tara’s perspective; one shot in particular where she seeks and grabs a roll of masking tape works particularly well. Mainly because the way the camera moves follows her arm movements clutching for masking tape and allows the audience to view the mise-en-scene as Tara would; allowing us an insight into her frantic workaholic mindset.

I feel I as if my role as director was carried out successfully. Overall we had filmed over twelve minutes of varied footage which we felt we could successfully piece together to create a successful short film. In retrospect I don’t feel like we should have done anything differently; we worked as a team, each with our own roles and places throughout the making of our film and now I feel our efforts have been made worthwhile. Our film is of high quality edited in Final Cut Pro, and filmed on broadcast cameras which I feel added to the professionalism of our creative piece and made it as stylistically rich as it is. Given the chance again all I would have done differently was not underestimate the endless possibilities of editing and how the editing in a creative piece can either make it successful, or fail abysmally.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Films which portray the American Dream

First of all i thought i'd start off with quotes from some films which evoke different thoughts and feelings about the American Dream:

Coming To America, 1988

Maurice- "Oh yeah, I started out mopping the floor just like you guys. Then I moved up to washing lettuce. Now, I'm working the fat fryer. Pretty soon I'll make assistant manager and that's when the big bucks start rolling in."

Boiler Room, 2000

Jim Young - "I am a millionaire. A weird thing to hear? Well let me tell you, it's a weird thing to say. I am a fuckin' millionaire. And guess how old I am - 27. Do you know what that makes me around here? A fuckin' senior citizen . . . They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face . . . Ear to ear, baby."

Risky Business, 1983

Joel - "My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?"

Office Space, 1999

Milton - "And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year and I used to be over by the window and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and its not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire."

American Beauty, 2000

Lester Burnham - ". . . today I quit my job. And then I told my boss to go fuck himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost sixty thousand dollars. Pass the asparagus."

Fight Club, 1999

Tyler Durden - "I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables—slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war . . . our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

ROCKY, 1976

Rocky Balboa - "I just wanna prove somethin'—I ain't no bum . . . It don't matter if I lose . . . Don't matter if he opens my head . . . The only thing I wanna do is go the distance—That's all. Nobody's ever gone 15 rounds with Creed. If I go them fifteen rounds, an' that bell rings an' I'm still standin', I'm gonna know then I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood . . ."

The notion or concept of "The American Dream"

Seeing as i didn't wake up until 12 oclock last tuesday, i missed out film studies lesson on hollywood and films which portray the american dream. therefore; independant study and shit.

The term American Dream was coined in 1931 by JAmes Tuslow Adams in his book "Epic of America"

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

But y'know alot of people at the time wouldn't have kinda gone along with the whole "be happy with what you got" way of thinking because it was a time revelling from the great economic depression. so! people were most likely more focused on obtaining jobs which paid well in order to live out a happier more beneficial life for themselves or their families. But with changing times and attitudes, the american dream nowadays and it's whole concept is more open to interpretation or personalisation due to how a person feels, how they were raised, or what their long term goals are.

General overlook:

The american dream is basically the notion of freedom and hope that allows all peope of the US to seek out their goals and aims in life and succeed in them through hard work and determination. Ultimately being able to choose and shape their own fate and reach the highest goals possible if they put the effort in; without having any restrictions as to their ethnicity, class, religion gender, or sexuality.

It's a widely known term used to describe the ideology of the United States.

Throughout the years the sole long-term aim of the american dream was money. Although some facts i've read claim that it all started with the whole notion that everyone is equal, anyone regardless where you come from can succeed blah blah blah. But for the majority of people who were born and bred in America, i feel that the concept of the american dream is born out of a longing for a easier life, which ultimately comes when you have money. Because in-the-end, we all need money to survive, because money is the thing gets you far in life, and provides an easier way of living. A good example of the american dream is the book "of mice and men" in which the two main characters constantly speak about the prospect of owning their own piece of land one day, being able to make their own living and not have to continue working for other people. To achieve this though, what would they need? - money. But overall the message in this book is one that the american dream is futile, because one of the pair dies and along with him dies the hope of ever achieving that dream. Although it's a book and not a film, i felt it was a realistic interpretation of the American dream. (back to films and information now)

"The phrase's meaning has evolved over the course of American history. The Founding Fathers used the phrase, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." it began as the opportunity to achieve greater material prosperity than was possible in their countries of origin. For others it is the opportunity for their children to grow up and receive an education and its consequent career opportunitie"

"Some say, that the American Dream has become the pursuit of material prosperity - that people work more hours to get bigger cars, fancier homes, the fruits of prosperity for their families - but have less time to enjoy their prosperity. Others say that the American Dream is beyond the grasp of the working poor who must work two jobs to insure their family’s survival. Yet others look toward a new American Dream with less focus on financial gain and more emphasis on living a simple, fulfilling life."

Some believe that the messages behind the original American dream were changed during the radicalistic hippie period of the 1960's. In which the whole "dudeee, love, peace, be happy with treeeeeees" stuff came along. And along with this era came a new way of thinking, and some changed their "dream" to one of spiritual gain, and since then the american dream has evolved into a phrase which can become more personalised to suit ones own feelings, beliefs and long term aims.

I think that the overall message behind it is one of "HOPE" and in moden day culture a great example would be President Barack Obama. Who was born a black man of kenyan decent, and through all of his hard work and determination he came out ontop to become the first black president of the USA. This kind of situation doesn't just give hope to black citizens of America but any and all citizens, albeit the whole "yes we can" is pretty much a sham, because obama did recieve private tuition and went to good schools, which a "typical" black american probably would not recieve. But as a hopeful realist i do somewhat see why it's good to have hope that you can succeed as long as you put your mind to it, but on the other hand if you think about it realisticly... you most probably won't come out ontop of your life long ambitions no matter how hard you work because YOU DON'T GET WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME. and this is probably the largest criticism of the american dream, because it can be seen to encourage naivity and give the people of the US false hope, and the outcome could always go downhill for them because life is unpredictable innit.

but there we have it, a general overview of the american dream, now onto hollywood and it's interpretations of the american dream in cinema.

I found an essay online which explores the American Dream and how it is presented in Hollywood media, and instead of re-writing it in a mediocre sense i'm gonna paste it on here for you to read, so take note. NOT MY WORK:

The American Dream is an often mentioned and well-known term used to describe the ideology of the United States of America. Despite the common usage of the term it is not always completely understood and so requires, at least, a brief introduction and definition. P Mueller in his writing Star Trek and the American Dream claims that “…to some the American dream is just "from rags to riches", to others it includes the realisation of high flying ideals as old as mankind itself.” Mueller then goes onto say that the term was coined in 1931 by James Truslow Adams and identifies three main roots: mythical aspects (leading back to the ancient dream of a perfect society and as paradise even before the continent was discovered), religious aspects (which Mueller describes as dealing with the puritan vision of a city upon a hill) and political aspects (arising from the declaration of independence and the constitution). It would seem that the most important of these three themes is arguably that of the political nature and various commentators have defined the American Dream in this way. Martin Luther King claimed “It [the American Dream] is found in those majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, words lifted to cosmic proportions: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." This is a dream. It’s a great dream.” Jim Bickford concurred with this view within his writing The American Dream: Our Heritage of Hope (in which he goes onto to identify several examples of the American Dream in practice throughout history) when he claimed “America was built on dreams” and went onto to discuss the importance of the declaration of independence in creating the dream by stating “Our ancestors chose to take the risk by putting their lives on the line and fighting for freedom” .

In respect to the medium of film it comes as no surprise that the American Dream has filtered itself, both consciously and unconsciously, directly and indirectly, onto the screen. America, and in particular Hollywood, is the dominant producer of film within the world today. Where Hollywood leads other filmmaking nations follow. The American Dream is largely presented within film in the sense of the political context: life, liberty and (in particular) the pursuit of Happiness but there is no uniform depiction of this. There are various distinct ways of presenting the American Dream within film and not all of these correspond to each other. For example, for every glorious and gratifying presentation of the USA and the American Dream there is arguably a cynical and misanthropic representation, criticising America and it’s society. Situations such as this lead us to question the methods of presenting the American Dream. What forms can this presentation take? What agendas do the filmmakers have? And do the films come with any particular political, social or ideological comment intended?

The most common thread of the American Dream within film is arguably that which Mueller identified, the rags to riches story. Mueller describes this as the most basic definition of the American Dream and its simplicity may be one of the factors in increasing its appeal to filmmakers. Mueller also lists key elements within the American Dream such as “manifest destiny”, “the frontier” and “the melting pot” and it would seem prudent to include another key element, that of “the land of opportunity”, which whilst not specifically mentioned by Mueller is often held to be interlinked to the American Dream. Mueller transposes these notions onto the long running television series Star Trek and cites such elements as the ship “boldly going” and the role of space as “the final frontier”. However, he does not comment as to the motion pictures of this franchise and the difference of the two mediums (most notably reception and presentation) could make the comparison difficult. Whilst it is highly feasible to suggest that that these ideas could be applied to film it seems prudent, for the sake of both clarity and originality, to concentrate upon other examples.


i'll add examples of films and analysis and other stuff later on tonight, i just gotta do some other stuff. x

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Beautiful Thing

Today i watched a film called "Beautiful Thing", which was released in 1996 and released by Channel 4 Films. It's an adaptation of a play and that kinda showed through in some scenes, like some where Jamie and Ste were just talking their acting felt like i was back in drama in year ten and watching two boys perform an awkward scene. But that kinda added to the film i guess, it felt more real and as if i was watching real life people and not glammed up over dramatic bull. Also the fact that it's set in Thamesmeade and Greenwich and at one point on the radio you hear them speak of Shooters Hill and Bexley is just like "wow that was filmed near us!"

But, overall the film does live up to it's tagline "an urban fairytale" - filmed mostly upon council estate full of towerblocks and typical "common" south london people i've gotta say that given the areas and people i've grown up around; most of the characters in the film i could pair with somebody i know in terms of personality. >:]

Overall it is just a big soppy romantic story about first-love filled with rough pasts and the odd domestic which im sure most people would enjoy, unless your a homophobe. It does deal with coming to terms with the boys love for eachother, the consequences from their close-minded council estate community and their sexuality and stuff. Without being stupid and overdramatic like American "gay" films like Brokeback Mountain. It's a good representation of London and the struggle and secrecy that alot of gay people probably feel if they don't have the most accepting family and surroundign environment. But it deals with it well and although the plot-holes aren't really sewn up at the end, it ends upon an optimistic note and i couldn't have asked for a better film.

The black nextdoor neighbour absolutely made me die though HAHA, i haven't laughed so much at a film in so long! Leah is the black teenage girl living on the same row of flats ad the two boys and she's always drugged up out of her head, and blasting out Mama Cass at full blast, dancing around with face cream on and cussin Jamies mother, such a funny breath of fresh air throughout the film! She reminded me of quite a few people i know, which just made me laugh more. But being able to identify with characters in a movie is good eh?

Also the happy 60's soundtrack present throughout was brilliant, mainly Mama Cass songs but nontheless it works well.

So yeah, if you haven't seen it and you like the sound of it then go watch it!
(short post)