Monday, 2 May 2011

Yes Men

I had never seen either of the ‘Yes Men’ movies, so was intrigued to watch the older one. At first I was like, whaaaat? However, their technique seemed to be pretty effective in certain environments. I found it quite amusing that in the scholarly setting, people did not seem to react, for instance when one of the guys donned the gold ‘leisure suit’. It made me wonder if the people were even listening to the presentation or paying any attention whatsoever. Ironically, the students did react to the offensive presentation and in a pretty strong way too. Who knew that the students would pay more attention than the scholars? Hmmm.

I found it really hard to believe that they could get away with pretending to be the WTO when in fact they were exploiting that organisation... It seems quite scary to me and makes you wonder how many other people have had the same idea without others noticing what’s going on.
I feel that the ‘Yes Men’ movie did partly relate to our assignment for this week because it is all about adding a new meaning to something or twisting existing information to give a new meaning. Another example of this that I know of is on a comedy show in the UK called ‘Mock the Week’. (Check it out, it’s very funny). Occasionally on this show, they will show a clip which is a couple of minutes long, for example they might choose the now famous clip of the newly wedded royal couple greeting their public on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. A comedian from ‘Mock the Week’ would then alter that clip by adding their own voiceover commentary in order to make the clip amusing and something it was not intended for. Another example which my friend showed me last week is of an Australian politician – someone had taken phrases or just words that she had spoken and put them together to make a rather offensive music video.
Although these types of media manipulation can be offensive, they can also be very effective and are sometimes needed in order to bring a situation to light. For example, in my video for the found footage project, I wanted to show that achieving a goal is not going to happen just because the President’s wife wants it to. There are so many barriers in the way and misleading commercials which prevent a goal which will most likely never be achieved on a large scale basis.

Friday, 22 April 2011

The last two classes

I have loved the last two classes for 6x1. It’s refreshing to do something different and feel as though the class is working as a team, rather than competing with each other. I feel like competing with your peers can often be the case when it comes to more traditional classes. Creating the 3D film was really fun. We couldn’t think of what to film for ages, and for a while considered getting Cory’s dog to take the lead role but decided to go for human pinball in the end. Think we may have got a little over excited and disturbed the class next door, (sorry) but it was totally worth it. I’m always surprised at the different ideas than can come up when a group brainstorms. I definitely think working in a team is so much better than working alone for something like this, as everyone can bring different perspectives to the project and the more input there is, the better the end result will be. The film looked really cool in the end, especially through our homemade 3D glasses. I chose to make mine sort of aviator style and Leanne showed me how to write my name in Japanese which looked pretty good!
When we were told to bring blankets and food to class, I was pretty confused about what we would be doing. I guessed it would be for some sort of screening though, and as it turned out, we made our own rough theatre by building a fort with a makeshift screen in order to watch our assignments. I thought that was a really good idea, it got us all involved and it was great to see everyone’s video race projects. Mine wasn’t shown until last and I became kind of nervous – it is a little bit scary showing your work to your peers! But luckily everyone seemed to find my film amusing which is what I was going for... I would also like to say that Leanne’s dip was soo yummy J I went home and told my roommates what I’d been up to in class and as usual they were pretty jealous and I have a feeling they didn’t quite believe me. It is rare to be building a fort in a university classroom, but I think it’s great! I have said this before, but we don’t have any classes like 6x1 at home, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to be given a lot of creative freedom.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Rough Theatre

My rough theatre is probably my living room in my parent’s house. So Brook talks about rough theatre as being something that allows the strongest relationship between people and by no means must it be luxury. A cinema is luxury – there are big, comfy chairs with a huge screen and surround sound. A theatre is even grander, with velvet curtains, rows upon rows of sweeping seats, chandeliers, and a stage at the front which the whole room is centred around. A basketball court is luxury – the shiny wooden floor, the scoreboard in the middle, the team’s colours decorating the room and the spectator chairs which look down upon the players.
All these types of theatres are beautiful and are made for being a great place for an event. However, I don’t go home very often, and when I do, there’s nothing better than gathering the family around the television to watch a TV programme, not even necessarily a film. It may not be grand, and the TV may not be the size of a cinema screen, but it most definitely helps us to develop a stronger relationship between us. The relaxed environment allows conversation to flow when it might not otherwise at a public place and it is not as restrictive. People are allowed to talk without being told to be quiet and you don’t have to stay for the duration of the programme/film if you don’t want to. Being within your home environment with the people you have known longer than anyone else is surely a great place for a rough theatre and the most comfortable.
The other night when the tornadoes hit North Carolina, I was a little bit scared because the UK does not experience any kind of extreme weather. Ever. The worst we get is snow, which can get pretty bad but it’s not scary or generally life threatening! So, luckily the tornado passed by Wilmington. However, the lightning the storm brought with it fascinated me – if we get lightning at home, there will be a couple of flashes and it’s over. This lightning was continuous, all night, so my friends and I decided to drive down to the beach. We walked to the very end of the pier and looked out into the ocean at the sky before us. It was one of those moments in life where you feel so grateful to be in that place at that time and it really brought about the vivid relationship which Brook talks about. The sky was like the stage in a theatre as it lit up the sky, sometimes there would be bolts, other times just flashes, but it was constant. I’ve never seen anything like it. That was a pretty cool abstract rough theatre for me.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Beet Stretch

I listened to the third movement, from the beginning. It started out kind of sinister in a single tone and over the first few minutes that tone became louder and more intense. The pitch seemed to go up as well. There was definitely something eerie about it and it reminded me of something which could be used to build up suspense in a horror movie, before it mellowed out again. The first few minutes consists of this same sound and after a while it begins to become irritating, although it is barely there and technically should be easily ignored. I guess because I wasn’t doing anything other than listening to it, you can’t help but notice. I’m not sure what instrument is actually being played – I’m not that knowledgeable in the world of music, but it began to remind me of a church. Not really of Sunday church, but more like a wedding ceremony. It’s strange, it felt that the music was going from being happy one minute, to sad the next, to creepy the next. The level and pitch are factors in this I guess.
I feel like it is quite an intense piece of music, so when it becomes quieter, it is almost a relief in a way. Also, I am not used to listening to something of this length either which is probably a factor in my judgement. To be honest, I’m starting to feel as though I want to turn it off. It feels never ending! It’s sort of uneventful in a way. I mean, after about 15 minutes I was expecting it to break out into something new and bring in some more instruments and diversity, but it stayed very similar throughout the whole hour. After I listened to an hour, I skipped to random sections of the rest of the movement to see what it sounded like, and it seemed rather similar. I know it sounds like I’m writing this piece of music off, but I feel like I don’t know enough about music to really appreciate it for what it is! It isn’t helping that the construction workers outside my building have started drilling which is extremely loud and is making my room vibrate! Anyway, what I will say is towards the end of the hour I was beginning to feel pretty relaxed which I suppose is a result of the constant flow of sound, which became kind of soothing after a while.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Friday, Friday, Friday...

The Molotov Man reading seemed to remind me of our assignment which requires us to collect recycled footage. The idea of getting in copyright issues is a very scary thought and one which is similar to something that worries me when writing papers. Here and at home, we are always dealing with recycled work and plagiarism is very much banned in essay writing and is given severe punishments. At home, we hand in our papers online through a program called Turnitin. Once you have submitted your paper, the program scans your paper for any copied work, using thousands of books, scholarly articles and websites as reference. Once it has finished, it will give you a percentage of how much is ‘plagiarised’ although usually it will just be the bibliography or the odd sentence. However, it is a very useful tool because if you do have a problem, you can remove the plagiarised section and re-submit. It was interesting to read Sue Meisela’s perspective of her piece of art and her view of plagiarism. I agree with her in that it seems significant to work hard to put art into context in order to allow less manipulation to the work. Nowadays, particularly with YouTube, many pieces of art are copied or made into a parody and it must be questioned where the line can be drawn. For example, Rebecca Black, the singer of ‘Friday’, whose music video went viral on YouTube has now had lots of parodies made and people have taken apart her video and manipulated it. Should that really be allowed? (I have included one of the parody videos below which is pretty funny if you've seen the original!)
Again, with ‘The Ecstasy of Influence’, Lethem discusses the idea of plagiarism and influence. Thinking about influence is very interesting to me. I am currently writing a paper for another class in which my professor has told us to write something original which has not been discussed before. That is a very hard task because there is a lot of writing on the films and time frame that we are looking at, so you cannot help but be influenced by what other people have written previously. Although imitation can be considered copying, it is also said to be the highest form of flattery... so maybe it’s not all that bad! Like the article says, without imitation there would be no ‘South Park’, amongst other shows. I was actually watching TV yesterday when an advert came on for the ‘Shake Weight’. My friend and I then looked it up on YouTube because it was amusing and found that ‘South Park’ had taken the idea and incorporated it into their show for comedic purposes. I had to admit it was funny, even if the makers of the ‘Shake Weight’ didn’t like it!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Saturday Shoot

My first thought when I heard we had class on a SATURDAY was “nooooooooooo”. Anyway, luckily I was pleasantly surprised by the day and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We firstly helped out Gabby’s group which, whose idea was simple yet brilliant as it ran so smoothly. Incorporating the bee was a great idea, and at the end of their film the bee ended up chasing me so I’m sure I am going to look hilarious trying to bat it away and look scared... Acting is not my forte, but all the same, it was fun to be in front of the camera for a change!
On the way back from their shoot, our group gathered up some gorgeous petals that had dropped to the ground to include in our shoot which was based around a picnic. We took some inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy through the use of a set up of pine cones and petals around the picnic. We were ahead of time at this point which meant we had plenty of time to set up and organise ourselves. I felt we worked very well as a team together and had a lot of fun rehearsing eating our picnic! We got a few interesting looks from passers-by, and whilst we were rehearsing, three of my roommates happened to walk by... I think they are even more baffled by my Film degree than they were before, but I also think they are a little bit jealous! Whilst we were filming SOMEONE managed to somehow throw Emma’s phone in the river, which provided some extra entertainment for us all! I think she has now put it in some rice in an attempt to salvage it...
Obviously the footage in is black and white, which doesn’t show just how vibrant the set up was – a red and white checked picnic cloth, pink flower petals, red flowers, different coloured tea cups and saucers, a neon green parasol and so on. We took a few colour photos on Emma’s digital camera because it did look really cool.
Drying the film was hilarious. We did a few laps inside Kenan, before going outside to run around the courtyard whilst Barrett filmed us with the remaining film on the regular eight camera. It was a great idea to get some behind the scenes footage to remember the day by – if I had to do this activity every Saturday I would be happy, it really was so fun! I was also extremely hungover (my bad) so I’m glad we had this on as it made me forget to feel sorry for myself quite as much as I would have otherwise!  Great, great day and luckily our footage came out! From the first viewing everything looked pretty good. J

Monday, 21 March 2011

48 Hour Video Race

Ok - I have to admit, I only got back from Mexico last night, and I’m definitely still in spring break mode today... inspiration is sort of lacking. But I shall still make an attempt at this post!
Reading Emma’s post about documenting life as an exchange student is a really good idea... (dammit, why didn’t I think of that first?!) But I really liked the part about the interactive media such as Skype and email and could perhaps incorporate that into a story of my own.
When I first read the guidelines, my initial reaction was to use a cell phone as part of the film. If you think about it, cell phones really do construct our daily lives and we rely on them. As I mentioned earlier, I was in Mexico last week and once we arrived, we realised that none of our American phones worked, except mine which was absolutely no use because I couldn’t contact my friends if we got split up at any point (there were seven of us) which is not very good when you are in a place like Mexico. Cell phones can be used to arrange to meet friends or family, to look up something on the internet, to take photos or videos, to make a call to a friend and so on. The list goes on forever and is expanding all the time. However, the most important thing about a cell phone is that it makes you feel safe. You can get in touch with the police instantly, wherever you are (except in Mexico!) or if you’re out with friends and you get lost you can arrange to meet them again. They are vital to our everyday lives and therefore it feels as though using one for the 48 hour video race to perhaps document someone’s day would be a relevant idea for this film in the 21st century.
It would be cool if we were allowed to scan in photos already taken to go along with any text or voice recording from the cell phone, as it would explain the narrative further and give it more depth. As I’m writing I have come up with an idea but it literally just came into my head... I could document my spring break holiday through photos already taken and excerpts from the diary I kept. It would also be good to use cameraless filming and paint sunsets or bright blues onto filmstrips to represent the sun and sea which could be used as backgrounds. If I did use this idea, the cell phone part may then become irrelevant but I could still perhaps incorporate it somehow. I’m not sure; my brain is still fuzzy... But the more you think about it the more ideas you get! So I shall keep my thinking hat on.