That’s a Wrap.

Here we are. The end of the year. It’s been said a few too many times, but it’s gone by insanely fast. Before I continue into reflecting and evaluating everything, take a look at the completed episode of DLC:

So there it is. The completed show was a success, and it was good to see the majority of Team Philip come together and work so well. I’m not going to go on about it again, but you can read about my ramblings about Team Philip here. As I mentioned in the previous post, I would’ve liked it if I could’ve incorporated more modern elements into the show, such as a banner along the bottom, as well as name banners in the lower third of the frame, for Ben, Rheà, and Rich.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 21.00.19As I’m obnoxiously picky about these kind of things, the fact that the TV studio runs in 4:3 makes my skin crawl. As much as I really want to experiment with various aspect ratios to portray different eras of time, much like how Wes Anderson does in The Grand Budapest Hotel, DLC isn’t something that should be in 4:3. If I had to do the whole ‘blab-my-way-round-a-mistake,’ I could go on about how it takes a look back to the golden age of gaming in the nineties, and back then, even the games played in 4:3 blah, blah, blah- I’d rather it was in 16:9 okay?!

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 21.00.31Just quickly, while I’m on the topic of bitching about aspect ratio, the fact we had to scale down all of the VTs, including opening and closing titles into 4:3, leaving it with horrid black bars at the top and bottom, just made the whole thing look less professional. Okay, ratio rant over. One of the things missing from the show that was in the brief, was the performance element. Even after enquiring as to what exactly would be accepted as a performance element, only to be told we were ‘allowed to use your imagination,’ we still couldn’t find something suitable. The closest thing we had to a performance element, was Ben chasing Rich out of the studio with my Minecraft sword. Even then, it did add to the more casual element of the show, but I am disappointed at the lack of performance. One idea, conjured up by the rest of the group, was to have a performer in playing video games themes on whatever instrument they could play, and have Ben, Rheà, and Rich to guess what they are. It was a great idea, but it was only conceived a few days before recording, so it couldn’t be seen through.

Overall, before I go way over the word count once again, I am extremely happy with the final outcome of DLC. After this module, I am now considering doing Television in second year. However, if Radio swings my way, no-one’s stopping me.

As for first year, it’s been inspiring.

More Shouting at People.

Okay, personal development. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve mainly been a director. I was the Director of Photography on the short film Sarah, but that’s about it.

So, before I go on about being a director, through both film and television, yes, I should’ve broadened my horizons a bit. However, being a camera operator would make me feel like I’m being lazy, so I try something more challenging. Being a director of a live television programme is a hell of a lot different to being sat in my flatmates bedroom for three hours directing him talking to a door. There’s a lot more people to be talking to, well, shouting at, so it’s a whole new kettle of fish. The most obvious fact is that it’s not film, it’s television.

Rheà and I discuss the script.

Rheà and I discuss the script.

I always mention that I’m confident around people. I’m confident in myself at times, and thankfully, those times spike at points when I really need them. When I’m telling people what to do. Not in a bad way, in a Directorial way.

Teamwork is something usually quite difficult to achieve, and in Team Philip’s case, it didn’t properly arrive until probably the day of the final shoot. As we were doing at least half of the show off the bat. The team all clicked as one that day. Well, most of us. Those of us who did work together that day, on building the set, piecing together the rest of the show, and jumping in to help whenever anything went wrong, did so to the best of their ability, and that’s the reason why the final outcome ended up looking so good.

In terms of personal development overall, I feel I’ve finally come to be comfortable with working in a large group, as you’re always told to trust no-one. Admittedly, that is the case with certain people, but just standing up and doing what someone won’t, makes everything work better. That’s what Cory and I did, and it worked immensely.

Goodbye, Three.

Imagine, I’m sat at a desk, with two large red buttons in front of me. One has Top Gear on it, and the other, BBC Three. Pressing either of these buttons causes the respective programme or television station to spontaneously combust, then implode or explode. Either is fine, as long as it’s gone. Before I go on into the pros and cons of each, I’ll tell you now. I’d hit that BBC Three button so hard, I’ll be surprised I don’t break the table in two.

top-gear-10So, why would I defend Top Gear? Well, the show has been running for twelve years now, and it’s always been hugely successful, humorous, and always controversial in one respect or another. Jeremy Clarkson is always subject to criticism, usually constantly, for one reason or another. He’s been under scrutiny again recently, but for a topic that’s getting mixed opinions across the board, to whether it’s even remotely controversial. As much as I don’t watch the series as religiously as I used to, I could tune in on a sunday, and expect the usual. Of course, the format has changed over the years, and the show takes itself much less seriously than it used to, but it is still some darn good entertainment. Okay. There’s why Top Gear‘s staying. So what’s my beef with BBC Three?

bbcthreeBBC Three kicked off in 2003, as a digital channel, to which it has remained. Now, if I was asked this question only a matter of years ago, I would have curled up in a corner, and cried, as I love both. Now, however, BBC Three is not what it used to be. Back in the day, BBC Three was where smaller shows got their potential kickstart, as back in 2003, few people were on digital television, unlike me. Hugely famous actors, writers, and most important, shows launched on BBC Three, only to become huge and on-going, or to forever remain a cult classic. The likes of Little Britain, Gavin and Stacey, Torchwood, and Bad Education launched on BBC Three, as well as people such as Matt Lucas’, Jack Whitehall’s, and James Corden’s careers.

Okay, so BBC Three sounds all well and good, and frankly, it was. However, as I said before, BBC Three today is not what it used to be. There are few things that the current BBC Three spews out that are actually good. The likes of Bad Education and In The Flesh are the Little Britain and Gavin and Stacey of our time, yet the rest is, quite honestly, absolute cack. I could go on about how it’s all just down to representation of my age group not being correct- yadda, yadda, yadda, but I’,m already getting toward twice the word count. So there we are. Goodbye, Three.

Weren’t you on Blue Peter?

I’m referring to Matt Baker, who alongside Alex Jones (and on Fridays, Baker is replaced by Chris Evans), hosts The One Show, BBC One’s topical magazine programme. Personally, I have only watched it a couple of times recreative-ly, but only once because I genuinely wanted to watch it (Lee Evans was a guest), other than that, I’ve barely watched it.

Matt Baker and Alex Jones.

Matt Baker and Alex Jones.

The One Show features your usual sofa-chatter, usually with a guest, as well as cutting to VTs from around the UK, usually touching upon important topics, be they the usual, such as environment etc, or based around more current affairs at the time, such as the upcoming elections. In the most recent episode I watched, it featured Jay Leno acknowledging his Scottish heritage, and the episode ended with him attempting to play the bagpipes, with ‘stepped-on-cat’ sounding results.

In modern-day television, in the first thirty seconds or so of pretty much every live television programme, be it magazine or not, you’ll normally get a hashtag thrown your way, so you can ‘connect’ with the show. If I remember rightly, The One Show didn’t feature a hashtag, but as I said, I may have not been paying attention. Even then, at no point during the programme, did one of the presenters pull out an iPad and begin reading tweets out which were sent during the show.

In terms of modern delivery of television, The One Show comes across as quite the traditional magazine programme. As, as I’ve mentioned before, it didn’t seem to feature the likes of Social Media interactions, nor did it have the up-to-date modern features either, such as Vine inclusion in segments, and featuring viral YouTube clips, much like how Ellen is structured.

In DLC, we are using twitter interaction, even though it is scripted, and not actually live, is does still incorporate a modern twist. If it were possible, I would have incorporated a scrolling banner along the bottom of the screen, featuring tweets including the show’s hashtag, ‘#DLCTV’, obviously moderated first, much like the banners you see on live programmes, such as Ten o’Clock Live, and Children in Need.

Overall, I want DLC to be an extremely up-to-date programme, with up-to-date delivery, and features.

Useful This Time.

Back in the 161MC weekly tasks assignment, I used an online video editing program called ‘Mozilla Popcorn Maker,’ and if you read my previous post, it was Barely Useful. So, now we get to do anything on a Friday, much like Google Fridays and Apple’s Blue-Sky something.

So, as I rather enjoyed the concept of doing a short documentary on video games, I decided to take this ‘free time’ opportunity to re-create my documentary Are They? But this time, I’m going to make it better, how want to make it, and use a program that actually has an ‘undo’ function.

In case you’re a little lost, Are They? is a documentary on the concept of video games and current gaming culture being to blame for the changing behaviour in children, teenagers, and young adults. Okay, there are times when video games are to blame, such as when an Asian couple had a child, found an online game to care for a digital child, and got so immersed in it, their real child starved to death, but in today’s world, as soon as something that stirs up the norm in terms of game ratings, and what is seen as socially acceptable, video games suddenly get a bollocking from news teams and mothers from around the globe. I pretty much question that, and throw in other tangents too, such as kids now just being genuinely stupid. Any creation has inspiration, and usually they’re incorporated into the final piece. There are a handful of relevant things going into Are They, so let’s have a gander.

yahtzee-pictureFirst, Zero PunctuationAn online video game review series, written and hosted by fellow trilby-wearing Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw. This hugely-popular and successful web series reviews video games both extremely critically and satirically. Yahtzee’s metaphors and hilarious insults towards both the producer and consumer make this weekly series an extremely memorable five minutes of my miserable life. As much as he basically slates the thing from top to bottom, he does give out some praise for titles such as Portal, which he bloody well should as it is an amazing game, and he does appreciate some of the more in-depth aspects such as a game being self-aware, and understands cultural and moral references, as well as appreciating good storytelling and character. Any triple-A games (such as modern shoot-em-ups such as Call of Duty and Battlefield) he refers to as ‘spunkgargleweewee,’ a phrase I should use more. According to Urban Dictionary,

Spunkgargleweewee
A term used to describe bland clones and unimaginative works in media.

Now if you know me well enough, I point out these things a lot, and now I’ve finally realised, there’s been a word for it all along. Enough writing about what it’s like. Enjoy a spunkgargleweewee episode for yourself!

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 18.21.51Secondly, Escape From Mount StupidA short documentary-esque series hosted by Gamespot, and literally hosted by Danny O’Dwyer. It looks at the run down of video games in general, but also more social and cultural aspects. More so than Zero Punctuation, but less, but still nevertheless funny. The ten minute-or-so documentaries do occasionally go off on a tangent to talk about particular games relevant to the main topic, and who doesn’t? Not me. There will be game related tangents too, then I’ll make my way back to the proper point of the film. Take a look at an episode of EFMS, there’s been no recent episodes, which is a shame, but either way, it’s very good.

Finally, in terms of the writing style, it’s going to be a cross between any Charlie Brooker documentary such as Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, or his annual Yearly Wipe, or 2013 Wipe as his most recent one has been aptly titled. In these, he takes a satiristic standpoint on near enough everything, and anything genuinely good, he doesn’t mention at all. Brooker even did a 2013 documentary titled How Videogames Changed The Worldwhich outlines how- well I guess you can guess that. Take a look at what Minecraft did.

So, this is what I’m setting out to do. But how? Why not take the concept of Remix videos, using Web 2.0 to re-tell a story, and making something out of nothing. Take all of those, add in a sprinkle of video games, a dash of humour, and a bucket of cynical bollocks. Then, serve it all on a plate made of pure, stonebaked Garry’s Mod.

Gmod Banner

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 18.42.18Garry’s Mod is known as a ‘sandbox’ game, in which you can do whatever you like. Literally. You can spawn in models, NPCs (non-player characters), props, weapons etc, and weld them together, add wheels or rockets, and piss around for hours on end. I know I have. There is my copy of Gmod on Steam (Valve’s PC/Mac/Linux video game service), and with 120 hours of my life wasted used appropriately, I know my way round it quite well. Why does this fit in to my upcoming documentary Are They? I’m glad you obviously didn’t ask. It is the documentary. Other than the Remix segments (probably consisting of mainly gameplay aspects), and some live action at maybe the beginning and the end, the documentary will consist of 85% Gmod with yours truly doing a voice over. Garry’s Mod has been used in visual storytelling for a while now, and it’s usually if not always used for idiotic purposes. Hugely successful YouTube series such as The Idiots of Garry’s Mod and The Gmod Idiot Box (similar titles, similar structure, different creators), were pioneers of the still strong-going, but not as popular Gmod comedy series. I’m going to take the more serious route in the use of it, but still have occasional silly visual aspects alongside the occasional silly verbal aspects in the documentary. Using a video game to taunt the media and the current population of planet earth is like shooting some bloke with his own gun. Fancy twenty minutes of pure idiocy to please your inner twelve year old? It’s pretty much the most marmite-y, marmite thing ever. You’re either going to love it so much you’ll need to change your trousers afterward, or you’re going to see gamers in a different, more immature light forever. Actually, that second one still applies to people who agree with the first bit more.

I’m going to prove to people that video games don’t turn kids into mindless violent delinquents, by using mindless violence. That’s one way to do it.

Are They PosterOh, and typically, I’ve already re-made the poster, using my Samsung NX300, and my GameBoy Colour.

Poster 2 w: Flare

 

The Knock, We Shot.

The title is referencing my previous post, The Knockwhich outlines my original concept for my scripted piece. The ‘shot’ but refers to the fact we went with Michael’s in the end. His script is titled Sarah. Read more about it from yet another previous post.

Poster

I am the Director of Photography in this short film, and we filmed it on a Canon 5D, so it looks beautiful. Anyway, enough fangirling, as per usual, I created a poster using a still from the film, and some clever photoshopping techniques I picked up when doing some skills sessions with new Becks.

How about some stills from the shoot?

Now you won’t necessarily see these particular shots in the final cut, as the rough cut I’ve done reaches six minutes in length. It’s going to be fun cutting that thing in half. The scene-setting opening and the monologues need to be slashed, much like the prices of Freddos now. I saw one in W.H. Smiths for a good 37-odd pence. Sorry, mind wandering.

The style of Sarah is referred to a ‘Kitchen Sink Drama.’ In a nutshell, the ‘Kitchen Sink’ movement occurred between the 50′s and 60′s in Britain, affecting theatreartnovelstelevision, and film. The ‘angry young man,’ is regarded as the hero, as these Dramas take place in a socially realist, usually if not always negative universe, ours.

I’m being sinical. Sinical’s good. It means no conforming. In the meantime, I’m going to edit Sarah.

Stand By- Readers?

We’re a couple of weeks in to the second part of 161MC, therefore this post is fabulously late. Group 5 and I are now in the TV studios, which is becoming a bit of a task as there are people not turning up, but otherwise, challengingly fun.

Our group have decided to explore Fan Culture. Think of Cosplaying, Conventions, TV, Film, Tumblr etc. In terms of content, we have the barebones of a script going as well as a handful of VT’s either done or being created. Here the first post-titles VT that is currently scripted.

As for me, I am working as the Director in the Gallery, on the graphic side of the project, as well as creating the opening sequence over Easter, which adds to my already large list of stuff to do this holiday. As the Director, I will have Silvia to my left, working as a PA, and Sean to my right, working as the vision mixer. Rather than ramble on about every little detail about it, Sean and I, and Floor Manager Matt and I work pretty smoothly together.

I prefer using the headset. Shame I always get the one with the gammy mic.

I prefer using the headset. Shame I always get the one with the gammy mic.

In terms of the technical content of the show, titled ‘DLC’ to fit in to the geekiness of the whole project, it’s going to be a relaxed atmosphere, breaking the fourth wall at times, as well as have a parodical edge to it when we open the show with a ‘news desk-esque’ segment. The set is going to be quite split between ‘smart’ and ‘casual.’ As I said, we’ll have a news desk to the left, and a chair/table relaxed section for guests and general chatter to the right.

18rh58swg9hsejpgThe remainder of the set is going to consist of shelving, with various merchandise and clutter all related to the geekery of fan culture. I am going to donate my various Daleks, and a Minecraft sword and ‘Steve’ head to these shelves, as well as ask if I can borrow a friend’s Nintendo 64 to be plonked onto a shelf also. The bluescreen background to the TV studio we’re surprisingly going to keep. As I came up with a wondrously evil plan to replicate large pixelated clouds from the Super Mario Bros series to keep to the dweeby aesthetic. Below is a rough idea of how the set will be laid out.

It's rough and basic, but camera movement and presenters interacting with both the cameras and potentially crew members will add the extra parodical twist compared to standard magazine programming.

It’s rough and basic, but camera movement and presenters interacting with both the cameras and potentially crew members will add the extra parodical twist compared to standard magazine programming.

That’s the rough idea at the moment. As I said, I am currently at work on the opening sequence to the programme, which will fit to the aesthetic by using 8-bit, or ‘chiptune’ music, have an 8/16 bit sprite theme, and all be rather busy and silly, but self-aware, and be mature when it needs to. In case that last sentence has rendered you completely lost, this is what I’m currently doing; making Ben and Rheà into sprites. Cute.

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Below is a gallery of some images from our time in the TV studio:

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