Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Film Four Production Practices

Film Four is an independant British Film Company which is owned by Tessa Ross. The company was founded in the year on 1998. After the recent 50% rise the company now has a budget of £15 million per year.

Film Four's philosophy is to experiment, innovate and cater for audiences not addressed by other channels. They tend to look for a distinctive films which will make their mark within a competitive cinema market. The company tend to focus on films which are based around social realism. One of Film Fours' huge successes was the film Slumdog Millionaire; this is not your typical film.

The company have said that they would like to produce films which are 'British Talent Led'. Film's that are shown on the FilmFour channel are usually around 2 years old from the original theatrical release. Film Four are joined with 'sister channels' such as Channel 4, E4, More4 and 4music.  Originally it cost £6 per month to view the channel until it changed on the 26th of July when the channel then changed to a free air service.

The Film Four website allows visitors to preview and read up on the new films which they are produces throughout the year. This contains key information such as producers, director and cast.  http://www.film4.com/features/film4-in-production

The website also suggests and post pages containing the top 50 films they suggest you see. These come under different genres for example; 'Top 50 horror films to see before you die' and another example would be 'Top 50 British films to see'.

Film Four have recently partnered with 'Filmflex' which is now a Film4 on demand service. It will supply a selection of films to rent online, with a lot of them available on the same day as the DVD release. 500 films will be available at launch to rent from 50p-£3.99.

Working Title Production Practices

Working Title is a British film company which consists of co-chairpersons; Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The company was founded in 1984. The company have been described as having the most powerful figures within the British film industry. The size of the company is reflected by the number of staff. There are only 42 full time staff which are also split between the low budget sister company; Working Title 2.

The Working Title philosophy has always been to make films for an audience- by this they mean play in a multiplex. The company are linked with the Hollywood company; Universal Studios. Universal own a 67% stake in the company and many of its recent films are co-productions with Studio Canal. The rest of the shares are owned by the company's founders which are BBC films and private investors.

On average Working Title make 4 films each year. More than 85 of Working Title films have grossed over $4 billion worldwide. The company are recognised due to their catologue of wide genre. Mainly for their punchy romantic comedies. Some of Working Titles' successes are About a boy, Notting Hill, Dead Man Walking, Billy Elliot and Hot Fuzz. On the other hand the company has experience the flop of films, for example, Wimbeldon and Thunderbirds. Working Title are known for working with fresh new talent and directors. Names that can be recognised within WT productions are Joe Wright, Stephen Daldry, Shekhar Kapor and Stephen Frears.

Working Title 2 creates films as an independent film company. The films that they create are of a low budget. Something that they are known for is their long history with American actors playing leading roles within their films.

On the Working Title website, they reguarly offer video blogs and updates of films that are currently in production. These can be found here; http://www.workingtitlefilms.com/features/video/id/194/hello-world-from-simon-and-nick

Sunday, 28 November 2010

How is regional identity represented in the clip?

Within this clip two Northern workers are taken out for dinner by their Southern bosses. Firstly the clip begins with a close up on the meal they have chosen which consists of steak and chips. Straight away the characters of the North are stereotyped in relation to their food. The meal that is present is something that is not seen as your typical sophisticated business meal. It is honest food, which does not try and hide the simplicity of the Northern lifestyle. As well as the meal, we are also shown the drinks which have been brought by the characters. The two Northern men drinking beer which is most likely to be bitter following the typical stereotype. On the other hand the two Southern boss's drinking wine showing the difference in class. Also we are shown as the camera zooms out, the bosses are sat on one side of the table whilst the Northern workers are sat at the other. Here we are able to see an example of binary opposites between the two sets of characters due to their regional identity.

They then engage in conversation which involves the topic of the 'Trade Union'. We once again get a view of the Northern stereotype which is that they 'know their rights'. The camera then moves into a mid shot which allows us to see all of the men sat at the table and the type of environment they are in. We are shown that they are eating somewhere which represents a pub rather than a restaurant. From this we could assume that the bosses have chosen a setting where the two workers would feel more comfortable and 'fit in' better. It also triggers the enigma code at this stage to question as to why they did not take them to a higher class restaurant.

During the conversation which is taking place we learn the different social status' of the sets of characters, due to many different noticeable points regarding regional identity. A Northern character which we are able to refer to as 'Roy' portrays a very arrogant and stubborn personality. Whilst he is speaking the facial expression from the character appears be angry and we are able to see the lack of trust Roy has in the much more presentable character in the grey suit which seemingly is his boss. Although our two Northern workers are dressed smartly and have clearly made the effort, going on the stereotype we can see that this would not usually be something they would choose to wear and have gone out of their way especially.

The only point where the characters seem to have a connection within the scene is when Roy makes a sleazy remark towards the waitress. Playing on the Northern stereotype, Roy matches the creepy Northern man, with the cheesy chat up lines. The male gaze is clearly introduced to us here, as each characters eyes are focused on the waitresses features which would typically be noticed by a man. As the narrative continues, another typical Northern stereotype is presented within the scene. This is the fear of homosexuality. Roy says to his fellow worker the rude statement which is that his 'kid' goes to a 'poncy toffs academy'. This is said in the manner which implies that because of this his child is not 'hard' or tough' as he should be. The different levels of formality between the two groups are made very clear at this point during the conversation. The workers happily swear and use a lower standard of language in comparison to their bosses. The cultural code is introduced here as we are able to understand this is mostly likely a consequence of the North having 'little education' according to their stereotype. The fear of homosexuality is then repeated towards the end of the clip when the other worker begins to make jokes about it. He informs his boss of the nickname his son has received which he states as being 'Bent Rotter' rather than being called by his real name 'Ben Trotter'.

After being informed of the situation the camera then moves into a close up on the bosses face which shows he is shocked by the remark and also a little worried. During the scene no soundtrack or background music is added, as a result of this, social realism is created. To conclude, regional identity is represented in the clip with the use of stereotypes. It may seem that these stereotypes are very judgmental but by associating these the regional identity of the characters is able to be clearly understood throughout the clip.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Regional Identity

The Northern Stereotype
- Flat cap wearing
- Pigeon racers
- Friendly but 'bloody minded'
- Stubborn and argumentative
- Whippet owning
- Manual (hard) jobs
- Very little education
- Sexist
- Thick accent
- Bitter drinkers
- Hot pot
- Miserable weather
- Cobbled streets

The Country Stereotype
- Scrumpy addeled yokels
- Inbred
- Happy
- Stupid
- Livestock bothering
- Farm hand yokel
- Hunting toff
- Lord of the manor
- Slow pace of life
- Owners of animals
- Landrover/Tractor owners

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

How is disability represented in The Street?

During this clip we are able to see the different ways in which disability is represented. Firstly the clip opens with a close up of barbed wire which could straight away be representing a cage. We then get a close up of a characters face, standing behind what could be referred to as 'the cage' just before the camera moves onto what is known as the 'disabled' character throughout the clip. This is surrounded by the diagetic sound of voices and movement which would be something that is naturally found within any working environment. This helps to create the thought of social realism. Also straight away we have the use of the enigma code, this is the audience posing the question as to what happened to his face to result in the scars he has at present.

The first line of dialect that we are able to establish in the clip is our character with the scars stating that he wants his job back. This could represent that he is trying to rebuild his life and look into to futute rather than dwell on something that has clearly happened to him in the past. Shot reverse shot is then being used on the two characters which are engaging in conversation. Something that is extremely noticable is the focus the camera has on the scarred side of his face rather than the healthy. This is when we able to guess the way in which the rest of his society look at him. Relating to the dominant notions of disability, we can see that the social model of disability is being cast upon the character rather than the impairment that he actually appears to have. As the narrative continues it becomes clear to the audience that what we assume to be his previous work mates, are wary of what has happened to his face. Also the characters seem as if they pity the character with the scarred face and also try to avoid eye contact as if he is not would what be considered as 'normal'.

As the 'disabled' character is declined of his job and walks aways from the building site, we are once again shown a close up of barbed wire with our character walking behind it. Relating back to the thoughts on society putting him behind bars, due to his impairment. When the clip moves into the next scene a women who  appears to have been shopping drops her goods whilst getting out of a taxi. The character then speeds up pace to help her retrieve what she has dropped. As he 'gives her a hand', the camera quickly flashes onto an extreme close up of the scars on his face which then triggers an action code of the women reacting with a slight scream. This may allow us to recognise the real view that society have on the character. Nick, our main character immediately assumes her reaction is down to what he has on his face. This could representing disabilty as something that people fear and the lack of relation people may have towards it. At this point Nick walks away, whilst the women attempts to dig her self out of a hole after realising the offence she may have just infliced on the character.
Whilst this is all taking place no sound is used, once again to create social realism. Also to enforce and put emphasis on the descrimination he is recieving as a result of the way he looks.

As the narrative continues a sound bridge is used to connect our present scene with the next one. Asyncrynous sound is used as he is walking which ables the audience to realise the anger the character is experiencing. The music which is played sounds rather 'tribal' like which could relate to something rather animalistic. If we were to connect this with the previous theory of society putting him into a cage, we are able to establish a strong connection between that and the present music. Whilst walking the camera switches on close ups of members of society that we assume are reacting to seeing Nick's face. The social model of disability is able to be applied at this stage. Nick is clearly being seen as something which is not 'normal' and therefore being looked upon as having a 'difference' to other members in society.

We once again witness another sound bridge being used from this scene to the final one. We see that our character has visited the army recruitment office.  Straight away we are able to see the shadow cast upon his face which may represent that he wishes to hide away from society from the person he has now become. This shadow is being cast by the blinds which once again creates the caged effect upon his face. Editing is used several times within this scene to show the different sides that Nick's character may have. The camera switches from extreme close ups on each side of the face. One being the scarred side and one being the previous 'healthy side'. Something that could be taken into consideration is that the two sides of his face are infact binary opposites. It seems that the character has taken the option to visit the office for honesty. What i mean by this is that he is not treated differently by the character who is addressing him and he tells him straight. Also the army relates to expressing violence to settle matters. This relates as to why Nick is there, as he is angry but also expressing the feelings towards himself due to his impairement. Lastly, we capture the fact that Nick also has part of his hand missing. The reason for this being displayed near the end of the clip is to show the impressions that society have cast upon him. By this i mean even though he has had more than one injury, society are only focusing on the more noticeable one, and therefore judging his character by this.

To conclude i feel that a very stereotypical view of disabilty has been represented throughout the clip. It delivers the message to an audience that disability or impairement is something that is treated different within our society. It seems that in relation to this clip, many members of society may choose to treat someone like Nick different due to the way that they look, before engaging with the character and then gaining an opinion of them which is how it should be.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

How is sexuality represented in the Skins clip?

During the 10 second clip we learn a lot about the Skins character Tony. The clip has no dialect and is based around sound which influences thoughts and feelings. The clip begins with an extreme close up on the characters eyes which then the camera slowly begins to zoom out. At this point we are able to hear church bells in the background. The asynchronous sound is what appears to wake the character.The church bells automatically represent that the day is Sunday and that it's likely a British Sunday service taking place. This is a clear cultural code which would be recognised by all British civilians.On the other hand this could also be interpreted as the enigma code due to the audience asking questions such as why is he awake so early on Sunday morning? This would be questioned due to the fact teenagers are portrayed stay out very late on a Saturday night which would then result in a lie in the next morning.

As the camera continues to zoom out the next thing that comes into view during the clip is the characters bed spread. It is a clear picture of a naked man and naked woman's body next to each other. Tony's head is directly in the middle of these two bodies which triggers the enigma code of his sexuality. Him being in between the two genders, whilst looking deep in thought and little intention to sleep makes the audience question if he has been awake all night, questioning his sexuality. This once again has connection with the church bells we are able to hear. This is the sign of disapproval towards his mixed opinion on his sexuality. Due to this he is immediately being reminded of how complicated it can sometimes be to be accepted in society after releasing and coming out with new thoughts on ones sexuality.

Relating back to his duvet, another enigma code is influenced at this point as to what his parents would have to say about the explicit bed spread. The options could be that he is a comfortable, confident teenage lad and feels he can be open with his parents or simply the fact that his parents do not care. Something else we are able to learn from the image on his duvet is a snippet from his personality, this would be maybe that he really is just a typical teenage boy. We are next able to pick up on the fact that the character has very little intention of sleeping due to the abrupt wake up, the bed which has not been slept in, and the light which is shining on his face. The curtains are not drawn, the light as a consequence of this casts a shadow of the characters face, this is sat either side of him which once again relates to his questionable sexuality. On the other hand this could illustrate his face being hidden due to his thoughts on being bi sexual or even homosexual. Either option this could be representing two possible frame of minds and represent confusion towards his sexuality. 

The last part of the camera slowly zooming out allows us to get a glimpse of Tony's bedroom. The organisation of the teenagers room is something that is easily noticed. This is because it stands out due to the fact it is the opposite of a typical teenagers bedroom. Everything is perfectly positioned, clean and very neutral which influences the symbolic code that he may be a character that enjoys control and needs to be in power. Relating back to the neutral colours of his bedroom, these contrast the two naked characters on his duvet which leads them to stand out much more. Once again drawing the audience's attention to his approach on his sexuality. From what we can already see, he appears to be fairly wealthy but then questions are raised as to why he has supermarket storage item standing in place as a bedside table. Taking this into consideration, raises the enigma code once again. We then consider the fact he would have to get the trolley into his house and into his bedroom. This makes us wonder if his parents care about him very little. Also if it reflects the type of teenager that may make a habit of stealing.

Next we are able to hear the diegetic sound of his alarm. This once again raises thoughts as to why he has an alarm set on a Sunday and why he was previously awake before his alarm. The alarm in this scene is an action code as it leads him to abruptly get out of bed and move into his morning routine. Lastly the camera throughout the clip moves very slowly and calmly, which is actually the opposite to a teenagers hyper and hectic weekend. Contrasting this though is the connection between the camera and the day of the week which is Sunday; due to this day being laid back and 'the day of rest'. Overall the clip from first glance would seem that it does not hint towards sexuality what so ever, but taking the above points into consideration we are able to see they have been added to influence questions as to where his thoughts may be regarding his own sexuality.

How is editing used in the film Momento?

As a class we watched the first 10 minutes from the film Momento. From these 10 minutes the editing within the film was crucial to our understanding. The film begins using an extreme close up of a polariod photograph, which the camera focuses on this for a fairly long time before any action begins. Along side this non-diegetic sound is added and this is to connect with the audience, create emotion and to inform that this is a key element of the story. This immediately triggers the enigma code for the audience, due to the photo having an unknown explanation. The photo itself raises many questions as to what has taken place due to the gruesomeness displayed within. At this point the character who is holding the photograph influences the audience to think he was guilty of a murder related crime. As the editing continues throughout the film we learn in fact this is not the case.

The narrative of the film then moves onto our character continuously shaking the photo which gradually fades out. This was the first noticeable piece of editing within the clip, which also raises awareness of the enigma code once again as we question as to why this photo is fading away. The next scene actually is reverting back into the past. A quick snapshot of the scene is shown which then follows with everything returning to its starting position. For example, glasses returning off the floor back onto the victim, a bullet entering back into it's gun and the helpless yelp of the victim making its way back to it's throat. Beginning to slightly unravel the polariod photo we firstly had glance of, the help editing ables us to establish thoughts on what maybe has taken place. As the narrative moves into the next scene of our film we are immediately able to notice the sequence of monochrome shots taking place. This scene would be labelled as a sequence of shots due to the substantial amount of editing throughout. It begins with once again an extreme close up which is on the characters face and abruptly moves into another close up of the characters hand picking up keys. This occurs again with our characters face parallel to the camera in a mid shot. We then become the eyes of our character looking at objects based around the room he is in, which stands out as being unfamiliar to him. Along side the monochrome sequence is what appears to be a commentary from the character we have been shown, discussing the issue of his illness; amnesia. The editing which we are shown here allows us to take a step into his mind and the way in which he is thinking.

As the story continues the film moves away from the monochrome sequence of thoughts and moves back into what seems to be the story. An extreme close up of a poloriod photo, the same as in the previous scene, is being spoken about by our main character. We are then introduced to a new character walking into the scene which links to the polaroid he seemed to be investigating just a few seconds before. The shot is edited as many close ups are used on the new character which ables us to gain slight knowledge. As the two characters head towards what appears to be a previously planned destination, they engage in conversation. From what we hear, we assume our main character may be a police man or a detective due to his comments such have 'i got a lead on a place'. We also learn more about how little he can remember due to his condition. Action that takes place in the next scene ables the us to now pick up on what is happening in relation to the time and previous events. As our main character is holding what appears to be a pistol we then get a close up from the camera which implies and relates to the previous murder scene. The picture of 'Teddy' the character that he has just been sharing conversation and time with is in another one of his polariod photos with a caption that reveals many clues to us. It reads 'don't believe his lies, he is he one, kill him.' Once our character has viewed this a sequence of editing begins when a slight 'fight' arises. A series of what are called invisible cuts are put together during this action which results in each moment of editing piecing together smoothly and makes change very unnoticeable.

We are then shown the second monochrome sequence of editing in the film. This once again consists of a mixture of close up and extreme close ups helping up us to understand his frame of mind and lets us into a more detail of the actual plot itself. Within these small snippets or editing this allows the audience to gain vital information, that if this editing had not taken place, they could find it extremely challenging to grasp the film. The colour sequence once again takes place and begins with an extreme close up of the polaroid photo our character had just used to help him track down what seemed to be a suspect for something we are still unsure about. Just from the focus on these polaroid photos we are taught a lot about his mind set, due to his thoughts and memory being written down on these. The first editing sequence that we were shown is actually the result of the action taken place in the film so therefore we have a backwards narrative rather than forward.

Throughout the film we are constantly shown monochrome editing sequences which we discover are working backwards in time. Then from this we are able to spot the link that they are working forward from the previous one shown. The colour sequences appear as if they do not link, as a consequence of them working backwards in contrast to the monochrome scenes. The editing is used in a way which puts the sequence of the film into a broken up and non-chronological order. The editing allows us to understand what the character is trying to gain and what is thoughts are. Something that i have mentioned in the second paragraph was the fading away of the gruesome photo. After watching more of the film we could now make the connection of this with the characters mind. What i mean by this, is his condition only allows him to have a very short term memory which fades away and does not remember anything, and the fading action taking place appeared to be a clear reflection of his memory. The editing of the film may seem confusing and very mentally challenging to the audience, but actually it allows a deeper understand of the backwards sequence to be accessed. Overall the editing could be seen a form of enjoyment which helps the audience to grasp a deeper opinion of the film.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Throughout TV programmes and Film there is always sound. Dependant on what is going on there are different types of sound;

Diegetic- natural sound within a scene, for example the characters speaking on the scene

Non- Diegetic- sound which is added to a scene such as a soundtrack. Potential problem is that is seems very unrealistic but a bonus is that it adds a lot more dramatic effect.

Sound Bridge- sound which carries on over two different scenes which then literally  creates a bridge between two events. (two different locations)

Incidental Music- small, very brief snippets of sound to create emotion or feeling. (cultural code)

Asynchronous Sound- a natural sound, which is out of place and without a source on the scene.

Contrapunctual Sound- sounds which create opposite emotion to the one which is on screen.

Moral Panics, Hypodermic Theory and The Passive Audience

In groups we had to focus on an area within the media that has previously caused public outrage. We did this using the 'xtranormal' website to create our own presentations and discuss the information we had found out.

Colombian High School Massacre
An issue was discussed that violent video games are influencing destructive and dangerous behaviour among youths.Both the suspects of the High School Massacre were regular players of the games, but actually began to have restricted access as punishments, so therefore this contrasts the outrage the media have brought up. Something else to bare in mind was that the media reviewed the game 'Basketball Diaries' which was very controversial and violent but actually named it 'impressive' and it then went on to have thousands of downloads in 2006. Another argument to support that they boys were influenced by this game is that they actually began to get creative and started posting their own destructive work online. Violence throughout this game was also seen as a good thing as murderers are repeatedly praised by Satan.

The social networking site Facebook now has over 400 million accounts created worldwide. The media realise that it is a very common place to socialize and keep up to date with everything that is going on in the environment around us. The issue that has been raised is the lack of security, and the availability to access of almost everything. The site is very vulnerable to children that are signing up more and more now a days. Another problem that seems to have been pointed out is the fact that if someone wants to disconnected them self from the social area, Facebook are always going to have hard copies of personal information which has been previously disclosed. Examples of outrage caused by Facebook is the women who had her identity stolen for 17 months and the teenager which advertised a local gathering which then ended up 21,000 people confirming their attendance. A couple of other bad examples of the website are cyber bulling and people losing jobs due to boss's and employee's seeing inappropriate information.

Call of Duty- Airport Level
This game was said to have negative contributions towards destructive, anti social behaviour.  When a player becomes part of the game at this particular level they are able to see through a terrorists eyes and commit actions such as gunning down people within a Russian Airport. The game actually states that it does not force players to carry on playing these levels but they must keep up with the terrorists to succeed in the game. Something that appears to be a good factor of the game is that they don't actually get rewarded at the end of the level.

After this game was released it was said to be extremely controversial as the aim of the game is to kill innocent people. The media announced that the game had a high influence on violence and killing which also was leading youths into a life of crime. A boy in Leicester was brutally murdered by his best friend who was a regular player of the game itself. The game was then band in New Zealand but surprisingly not in Britain. It seems the media's bad portrayal of the game actually helps sales as this is a form of advertising.

Paranormal Activity
The horror film sent over lots of rumours to Britian before the actual release in this country. These consisted of things such as it being 'banned, driving people crazy and even to the extreme of suicides. The media complained that the film was far to scary after being named by several press as the 'scariest film ever made'. Outrage was raised as the knock on effect from the film was said to be health problems and people continuously scared to leave their houses. Consequently this attention from the media was nothing but success for the producer as it lead to huge amounts of publicity.

Rap Music
Several rap music and musicians have caused problems with their music in the media. It's been said that they are corrupting children with the music they produce. The music has been called brainwashing as it can be listened to over and over again which eventually may even be called a 'sleep state'. The problem is that listeners are dwelling on thoughts of the music and the topics are always trending. When explicit warnings are being put on the covers of Cd's this is just an even bigger influence for the public to purchase. When the stars talk about drugs, domestic violence, alcohol this may get into peoples head that it is the okay thing to do as it is repeatedly being sung about.