Monday, 30 November 2009

Merlin- Misenscene

The first scene takes place in a fighting arena with crowds surrounding it cheering, to me this immediately signifies to me that this is set in the medieval times due to my knowledge and background. We see knights in shining armour with swords which are the stereotype of the period. We also see old fashion tents and the outside of a castle which seems to add a bit of anchorage to the time period that it is set in.
There is a scene inside a great big hall with entirely medieval decor like the candelabras on the walls which are quite gothic almost and also signify perhaps an element of fantasy, also we see flags and rugs of the period, also a very high ceiling which was common in history and is not a modern thing at all.
We see a few different rooms in this section, the hall, then a bedroom in which the boy performs magic in we are not completely able to anchor down whether it is his room or not as it is very basic but it seems likely that it is.

Merlin- Editing

The scene starts with some long takes and some are done in slow motion to signify that there is a struggle going on and it gives in suspense too, the dramatic music emphasizes this also.
There is also good use of special effects too when the boy is in his room performing magic and there are objects floating in mid air, from this we denote that the show is a fantasy and perhaps aimed at a younger audience, the light hearted childish music helps us to anchor this meaning down. 
When the knight is talking to the young attractive woman and there is the use of shot reverse shot, the angles used help us to anchor down how they are trying to portray gender in this scene.
The man talks down from a high angle signifying that he is dominant and supreme, whereas when the woman speaks she is taking up to him from a low angle which hints she is perhaps vulnerable or less dominant.
We also see the breath of the characters when they speak which signifies it is cold, this is likely to be a special effect added in to emphasize the temperature.
There is also good use of elliptical time when the boy dresses the knight up in his armour through the use of short takes showing a new piece of the outfit being put on also the fast paced music helps with the elliptical time.
In the final fight scene there is the use of match-on-action shots as the blades hit each other which adds drama to the scene and makes it quite exciting and this again signifies to us the struggle that the two warriors are going though.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Merlin- Sound and Representation of Gender

The clip begins with loud heroic music during a medieval battle between knights, we can denote this from their costume, you can hear the swords clashing as they fight and the music signifies bravery and masculinity and the clip shows a courageous man fighting.

The accents in the clip are all generally quite posh English accents which we can use to denote where It is set and it would seem it was the south of England, however one of the characters has a Manchurian accent which almost seems like a juxtaposition in the setting of the clip also the language used in the clip is a juxtaposition as it seems to modern for what we can denote as a medieval set clip.

The change in music to jolly, silly music when the boy is playing with magic denotes youth and happiness.

Also the sounds of birds chirping and church bells ringing in the background shows verisimilitude and gives it a sense of realism, this is also apparent when they are all talking in the grand hall and their voices echo this certainly shows verisimilitude.

The different use of music in each scene shows very different feelings; scary music gives feelings of vulnerability whereas the happier music makes for a more light hearted scene being when the boy is helping the knight get changed. The jolly music used sounds like medieval folk and so It is in keeping with what we can denote as the time period.

When the knight comes out to battle we here loud applause and cheering which denotes that this person is a hero and adored and it adds excitement to the scene, we then here brave heroic music playing and makes the scene feel quite serious.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Warp X Research Task

1. Warp X and Warp Films are different in the respect that Warp X makes films which they want to reach cinema audiences across the globe, whereas Warp Films tends to concentrate more on the British audience. Warp X was set up manage and co-produce for the low budget feature scheme which is linked to the UK Film Council and Film Four.

2. Warp Films was set up in 2002, Warp X was set up in 2005.

3. Warp Films have made the following films:
Submarine (2010)
Curtains (2009)
Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee (2009)
The Taxidermist (2009) Budget- £22,000
Four Lions (2009)
Arctic Monkeys at the Apollo (2008)
Crack Willow (2008)
Fur TV (2008)
The Archivist (2008)
Exhibit A (2007)
Dog Altogether (2007)
Grow Your Own (2007)
Dog's Mercury (2006)
This Is England (2006) Budget- £1,500,000
Scummy Man (2006) Budget- £60,000
Rubber Johnny (2005)
Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
My Wrong 8245-8249 and 117 (2002) Budget- £100,000

Warp X have made the following films:
Bunny and the Bull (2009)
She, A Chinese (2009)
All Tomorrow's Parties (2009)
Hush (2009) Budget- £1,000,000
Donkey Punch (2008) Budget- £3,000,000, Top Gross £295,141
A Complete History of My Sexual Failures (2008)

4. Warp X is allied to Warp Films and Warp Records, some of the key financial backers are EM Media and Screen Yorkshire. A good example of production credits is on the Donkey Punch trailer it shows a production company called Magnet.

5. UKFC is the United Kingdom Film Council, and it set up the low budget feature film project in association with Film Four and Warp X has been chosen as the company to run it, in association with it's financiers EM Media nd Screen Yorkshire. They think they will focus on directing, producing and writing and sourcing a diverse range of talent. Also to encourage filmakers to explore unusual issues like disability or ethnic diversity.

6. Donkey Punch was filmed in three weeks and most of the filming took place on a boat, and that almost all of the budget was spent on hiring out the boat for filming, as they used pretty much relatively unknown actors and no major special effects.

7. This Is England was not percieved as well in the United States as it was in the United Kingdom, in the opening weekend it made $18,430 in revenue and there was only one screening, whereas in the UK it made £207,676 and there were 62 screenings, this seems to hint that American audiences were not that interested in this film compared to people in the UK.
Many Americans would not undersatnd the film as it is a complete countertype of what Americans generally see the British or more so English, this portrays lower class skinheads and very nasty areas of the North of England, but Americans prefer to watch films about middle-upper class southern English people that show landmarks like "Buck House" or "the Palace of Westminster".

8. There is a Warp X website and it features a brief bit of information about how the company was formed and how you can get in touch with them and if you want to send in a script for a film however at the moment it says they are currently not accepting submissions. It also shows you there releases however does not give you any information about budget or box office which is irritating as it's something I would want on a film company's website!

9. There is also a Warp Films website which is a little too complex and not overly straight forward, there is biogrpahy of the company currently in progress but there is some information about the history of the company and it's current situation. It is also connected with Warp Records on the website. It is also talks about upcoming events and new releases. There is also quite a bit of multimedia on it!

10. Warp seems to be a typical British film production company in the respect that it makes films which generally are most suitable for a UK/British Isles audience and that certainly they are likely to understand.
In This Is England it shows clips of famous scenes of Britain in the 1980's which foreigners are unlikely to see as much as they have a very glamourous idea of Britain which is arguably not the case within the country.
It is quite low budget and doens't really have any special effects, and has verisimilatude as it seems quite close to reality, in the way it is filmed, the dialect, clothes, music, background, etc.

11. I supposed Warp's equivalent of Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant in their films would perhaps be actor Paddy Considine as he has appeared in quite a few of their films. And as a director Shane Meadows and also a writer!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Researching Working Title

The company Working Title seems to mainly make films that are in the comedy genre, for example Hot Fuzz or Notting Hill, they also make some dramas like Ned Kelly or Elizabeth.
They tend to be associated with actors like Hugh Grant, Simon Pegg, Rhys Ifans, Emma Thompson and many others. Also they are often associated with writers and directors like Richard Curtis.
They range of audience that they target are clear from the films they make, for example Ali G Indahouse and Jonny English will appeal more to teenagers, whereas Notting Hill, Love Actually and Wimbledon appeal more to adults and in particular women as they are romantic comedy which is generally associated with females.
Films like The Borrowers, Nanny McPhee and Loch Ness are more for children and younger audiences, and then there are films like Elizabeth, United 93 and Frost/Nixon which are more serious and these will appeal mainly to adults.
On the working title website they use different types of multimedia, such as trailers, photographs and film posters to try to get people who visit the site interested in their films. For new releases they give little tasters, like trailers, to try and encourage people to go to the cinema and watch them. Also the have an archive for old films they've made to encourage people to go and buy their films on DVD.
To date Working Title has produced 120 films the first being My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985 and the most recently produced being an Indian Summer due for release in 2011.
They currently have no films in production but they have many release over the next few years.
The company was formed by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe in 1982.
The company was born out of Universal Studios and the BBC.
I would not class Working Title as an "Indie" film company as it is a large company and it is essentially owned by Universal and is not really Independent!
Some UK films produced by the company are: About a Boy, Bean, Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Some US films produced by the company are: Frost/Nixon, Wild Child, Smokin' Aces.
Of all the Working Title films I have seen 18.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

House of Saddam

In the clip we can denote a man in an army uniform being led to a car with a chauffeur, this to me connotes that he is important and has a role or it could mean he is a leader or a dictator, however there is not yet any anchorage and so it is still polysemic. We see explosions on the horizon which signifies threat or danger or warfare. In the clip we also see armoured vehicles like tanks, helicopters, trucks, etc. and these signify militaristic prescence this is anchored by the soldiers we see walking around. The geographical setting of the scene looks like barren land or dessert, maybe the middle east or west asia, this is anchored by the text subtitle over the shot saying "Tikrit, Iraq". It looks like a very run down, poor area and there is binary opposition between this mis-en-scene and when the man is on the phone to the woman who is in a very clean, lavish house.

The editing is clever in this clip, one bit being with the helicopters as you only see them briefly however you can constantly hear the sound of helicopters in the background which creates the impression that they are constantly there in the background.
Also when the two characters are talking to each other on the phone they use shot reverse shot to it continuation during the phone call.
There is also natural lighting which emphasises the overpowering sunlight in the dessert.
They is also a lot of tracking in the clip as if the characters are being followed which adds realism to the scene.

Camera Shots:
High angle shots are used to connote vunerability when the characters are walking away and they also zoom out to long shots to show the background, like an establishing shot showing tanks and vehicles in the background and also the explosions. The camera tends to track the characters a lot to give it a realistic feel .
When in the phone box, it has a mid-close up on the man's face to show his facial feature so that we can see his emotions. When the woman on the other end of the phone walks to pick it up, it starts with a mid-close up of her bottom and legs, which connotes that she is a bit of eye candy and she has sex appeal and is rather feminine, and this is binary opposition to the very scruffy, masculine man on the other end of the phone. There are also quite a lot of two-shots used to show the clip is revolving around these two men, the man and his servant.

There is quite a lot of non-diegetic music used in the scene, which takes away realism but gives it emotion and feel and it connotes it is quite a serious clip as dramatic and quite scary music is used. Also the sound of the helicopters and tanks in the background are predominate to give the impression and realism that they are really there. These die down when the man is on the phone to the woman and more sad, sombre music is used to connote romance or heartbreak between these two characters.
Another important aspect of sound in this scene is the new coverage we can hear over the scene, it is non-diegetic as we never see a television or radio but this gives the impression that it is being annouced as we see what is happening on screen, it is also gives us exposition and anchorage about the character we have seen on screen being Saddam Hussein.

The representation of ethnicity in this scene shows characters who look as though they are from the Middle East or West Asia, this is supported by the accent of the characters sounding like people from this part of the world. Anchorage is given when the subtitle appears on screen saying "Tikrit, Iraq". People in the clip are wearing traditional dress and head scarf and the men have beards, they also come across in attitude as being quite aggresive and threatening which seems to back up the stereotype of predominately Iraqi people, certainly the ones you see in the media, this is of course based on your own knowledge and beliefs.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Report on "Act Now"

In our workshop we were a having a look at the differences of acting in film and television in contrast to acting to on the stage, as there are many things done differently in both.
It seems that acting for television is much more subtle and also more realistic than acting for the theatre and also in film. They say it is easier when you are acting for television as you can act quite naturally, whereas when you are acting on the stage you are very much over the top and project your voice and expressions. However in television you just talk quite normally and do natural facial expressions and gestures, but in film whilst acting is more realistic than at the theatre it is still not as easy as television as the emphasis on facial expressions is greater as there are more close ups and focuses on peoples faces to show their emotions which is something that they do not really focus on as much in television and especially theatre.
The lady doing the workshop was a former Emmerdale actress who had since moved onto theatre and then teaching and has an acting agency for all ages.
In the workshop she wanted us to show our rougher side or as she said “our inner chav” and we used inspiration from programmes like Shameless and did a few improvisations in those characters.
We met some people there that had come all the way from Culcheth High School in Warrington and they were studying Theatre and Media studies. They had also been going to the screenings as they had a film entered.
Overall I really enjoyed the trip and thought it was great to see all these different films from throughout the entire nation and see how different places did them with their own styles, the entries from the Rhondda were mainly music videos whereas the ones from Edinburgh were more dramatic.
Also nice to see the wide range of age groups from 5-19 and how different each film was and they inspired me for when we make our own film.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Skins Series One Intro

  • High angle shots
  • Shows terrace houses, trains, council estates
  • Signifies lower/middle class area
  • Shows teenagers- kissing, smoking, gambling, drinking
  • Sex appeal- topless men and attractive girls
  • Cheerful theme tune hints younger target audience
  • Shows people of different ethnicity, sexuality, age
  • Males kissing, westernized black and asian characters, female characters kissing
  • Use of bright colour hints youth but also maybe drugs?
  • Cheerful, happy images contradicting with adult themes like sex and drugs
  • Looks like Britain, more so England due to scenery and geographical area
  • Quite unconventional characters shown, not the normal types shown on television like homosexuals, asian characters, lower class people, 
  • Excessive drinking, taking drugs, smoking cigarettes

Research on "Notting Hill"

"Notting Hill" was released on the 21st of May 1999

Starring: Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Hugh Bonneville, James Dreyfuss and Rhys Ifans.

Written by Richard Curtis and Directed by Roger Michell.
Nominated for 3 Golden Globe awards.
Won a BAFTA and British comedy award.

Filmed at Coronet Cinema, Notting Hill Gate, London, England.
Rated 15

Music by Trevor Jones
Cinematography by Michael Coulter
Editing by Nick Moore
Budget of $42 million (US Dollars)
Gross Revenue of $363,889,678 (US Dollars)

Premiered at the Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, London.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Research on the Guardian newspaper

The ideological and political bias of the Guardian newspaper is towards the left of centre of the political spectrum, or the liberal left.Historically the Guardian has supported the Labour Party and most defiantely New Labour and in 1997 they were very found of Tony Blair and supported New Labour's campaign. The Guardian readers are more likely to be educated social democrats than traditional Socialist Labour supporters.
The Guardian seems to show a generally positive light on young people and it seems that they try to appeal to young people and get them to read their paper and they like talking about opportunites for young people. It seems that they try to get young readers to read a quality newspaper like the Guardian rather than just the tabloids.
It does not appear to be a Royalist newspaper at all, it comes across as being quite negative about HM the Queen and the Royal Family and they write articles about them in a rather negative light or a mocking way but this isn't surprising as the readers of the paper are likely to swing more to left and are not likely to be pro-Monarchy as it is a right wing institution.
The Guardian is also negative about the Invasion of Iraq and the war as this didn't seem like the sort of thing that a Labour government would do and as many people who lean towards the left are agaisnt war, like the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is himself a pacifist.