Short Film Research-Terrorists Motives – FOR ASSESSMENT

We now have a final Idea for our short film, its main theme is terrorists, what terrorists will sacrifice for their cause and why. This is quite a delicate matter and one that becomes even more complicated as in our particular film contains a mother sacrificing her child, our question will be, what could drive someone to do this? What could possibly motivate someone to send their own child to their death knowingly?

To understand this we must first look at why terrorists do what they do, after some looking on the internet (which hopefully won’t get me flagged up by the CIA) I found a psychological paper on the psychology of terrorists, it was quite a long winded paper but here are some of the key points I drew from it (here is a link to it):

– Violence could simply be viewed as a instinct or human trait. Humans have the energy of life force (eros) and death force (thanatos) that sought internal balance and violence is the displacement of thanatos from yourself onto others (Freud)

-Drive theory: the link between frustration and aggression.

-Fundamental learning theory suggests that we link behaviour and its consequences. If behaviours are rewarded then they are more likely to be repeated and if they are punished not so much (basic social learning theory). In the terms of violence if we see someone being rewarded for a violent act we link the violence to the success and rewards and so repeat them.

-“The actions of terrorists are based on a subjective interpretation of the world rather than objective reality” (Crenshaw) The view of the world from a terrorists point of view of the world is based on subjective views that do not show the whole truth and without a chance to make up their own opinion of the world they lead to a twisted view.

-Narcissistic rage caused by childhood trauma, abuse and humiliation can lead to a need to kill themselves off as victims. They in turn devalue others, malignant narcissism, warping their internal voice of reason and morality.

-Martha Crenshaw suggest there are 4 main motivations to join a terrorist group, 1. the opportunity for action 2. the need to belong 3. the desire for social status and 4. the acquisition of material reward.

-Most involvement in terrorism results from gradual exposure and socialisation towards extreme behaviour.

-They believe that violence is the only way to force social change.

-The process of ideological development – 1. It’s not right 2. It’s not fair 3. Its your fault 4. You’re evil. This shows the development of extremist ideas and their justification for violence.

– Suicide attackers view their act as one of martyrdom, whether for their faith, their people, or their cause. “the primary aim of suicide terrorists is not suicide, because to the terrorist group, suicide is simply a means to an end with motivation that stems from rage and a sense of self-righteousness. They see themselves as having a higher purpose and are convinced of an eternal reward through their action” (Salib)

I have learnt a lot about the motives and psychology behind terrorism and suicide attacks from this paper. The main point that is relevant to our short film is that they don’t believe what they are doing is wrong. They see it as freedom or justified vengeance on those who have wronged them or their people. The view of the world they have been taught to believe is not a correct or a view which takes other opinions in to account, this leads to a very twisted view of the world and therefore a warped view of right and wrong.


Anti-Airbrushing Campaign

As part of my creative activism against airbrushing of models in make-up adverts I have created a poster demonstrating the kinds of messages that those adverts are sending to young women.


I feel that this poster accurately depicts the messages put forward by the make-up industry, the faded words are those that should be heard but are overpowered by the huge message of “YOU NEED THIS MAKE-UP” put forward by the industries. The idea is that they are selling a product that is not necessarily needed to a public that have been convinced they need it by the unrealistic and modified  images used in the adverts. The girls face is cracked to show the plastic and fake effect that the make-up is causing, taking away from natural beauty. Rather than girls wanting to buy the make-up to make themselves better looking they are being told by adverts that they NEED their products rather than simply wanting them.

Short Film Final Idea Outline – What’s Up?

After having some feedback on some script ideas I have settled on a final idea to put forward:

The short comprises of 3 1 minute stories,

Two business men leave a coffee shop talking, they walk down a street passing various different types of people. As they continue down the street one of the men casually throws some change down to a homeless busker sitting on the street.

A girl is having an argument with her boyfriend, she pushes him away and storms off, crying and up set she keeps looking back and shouting, she passes two well dressed business men. Further down the street she gets to the coffee shop where she stops outside and sits at one of the tables.

A homeless man is busking on the street, all he has is a ripped hat to collect the money, two business men are walking towards him, one of them throws his loose change into the man’s hat. He pauses for a moment and then looks at how much he has given him, while he is doing this a crying girl storms past. The homeless man picks up his money and hat and walks towards the coffee shop where he sees a crying girl alone outside, he goes into the coffee shop and buys a drink and sits opposite her. He pushes it towards her and says “what’s wrong?”.

I intend for each story to only have one shot and the only edits to be when a new story begins. Logistically this might be quite hard but I only see this as a challenge and think that it would give the whole piece a good effect. There would be no sound from the actual scenes instead a quiet slow soundtrack over the top, possibly a piano, guitar or ukulele.

Short Film Reviews – FOR ASSESSMENT

To help me in my writing of a short film I have been looking at other short films to give me some inspiration. These are a few of my favourite ones I have found from around the web.

This is an adorable animation made by a student completing his masters thesis at the School Of Visual Arts in New York. It brilliantly keeps your attention throughout by not quite revealing what exactly is going on until the end. The cute character keeps the interest even when you haven’t got a clue what’s going on with his cute little mannerisms and quirks he has. After the film has ended you are left in a mixture of feelings, you are filled with happiness at the joy the little Kiwi has got by experiencing flight but then ask yourself, what happened when he went through the clouds? Although the film doesn’t say your imagination can fill in the details, which is quite upsetting. This is a brilliant example of a film which can be carried on its story alone and doesn’t rely on amazing visuals and state of the art animation.

Goodbye to the Normals 

Goodbye to the Normals is a film about a little boy called Magnus. Like all little children, who dream of running away from home. The difference is, he’s packed, ready to go and seems to have a plan in place. I thought this was a brilliant film with a clever script and great actors. The conversation between the father and Magnus is done in a way to make the father seem like he is the one who has everything wrong and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. One part of the conversation involves the father trying to appeal to the boys young age only to be told he is being stupid. I liked the idea of the script being the part of the film which keeps your attention, I’m not sure I’d be able to do this because it requires a certain skill in conversation that, to be honest, I don’t think I have.

Where Have I Been All Your Life

This short film features James Corden which helps massively to add humour to the film. It takes the quite serious situation of someone trying to find their birth father and turns it into a hilarious sequence of escalating events including the separation of a couple that have been together for 30 years. One of the cleverest scenes in this film is when the characters Angela and John are splitting up and using Liam as a messenger to talk to each other even though their in the same room, the messages get increasingly crude and personal and Liam eventually gets far too into the anger in the messages. I really liked this film as a whole because I was interested the whole way through and it kept up humour with some great acting and line -delivery.

Provoking Imagery: Money=Happiness?

Our first task in Creative Activism was to create an image that would provoke, it could highlight an issue or just provoke an emotional response. This was quite a general task and meant we could use any issue we wanted, recently I have been thinking about the link between money and happiness and peoples general theory that the more money you have the happier you will be. This idea was probably provoked by recently watching “The Pursuit of Happyness”, the film stars Will Smith as a father struggling to support his wife and son due to his difficulty selling portable x-ray machines to hospitals when the opportunity to become a stock broker presents itself and, being an intelligent man, he gets the job. It was a very good film and actually based on a true story but the message of the film troubled me, it essentially said because they didn’t have money they were not happy and the answer to “The Pursuit of Happiness” is money. Obviously the film had very good messages such as the strength of family and how if you persist at something you can achieve anything but I still felt it relied far too much on the money problems.

However some would argue this is true, without money how can you be happy? If you can’t afford money, food, school and other basic needs then how can you get through life, I suppose this is true and I can understand that in that sense money does help you be happy but after these needs are met is excessive amounts of money only going to increase your happiness? This got me thinking about the extremely wealthy, are they happy? Do their huge mansions and countless cars really make them happy? Think about African tribes or those who live with far less developed lifestyles, they are still happy, in fact their very happy. They haven’t got a 50 inch HD TV or the latest smartphone to flash around to their mates, perhaps we have decided that these are the things we need to be happy? Because we live in a society entirely based money and the chase for more of it maybe we have lost our perception of what happiness is.

After a bit of research into studies comparing the correlation between money and happiness I have found that there is one main problem, you cannot put a measurement on happiness. There are so many factors that can affect how happy someone is as well as peoples perceptions of what happy is. This brings me to my provocative image I created, I chose to question this perception of money causing happiness by using well known millionaires, the dragons from “Dragons Den”.

My image is meant to play on the idea of poor people holding pieces of cardboard to beg for money on the street. They are supposed to be begging for happiness from the poor, rather than the poor begging for money from the rich, almost saying that wealth is not money but happiness is. I almost over edited it to give it some kind of deterioration to reflect their moral views. I know its a bit harsh to say that these people are evil because they have lots of money and of course I don’t believe that but I’m simply making a point about money not being the route to happiness. There a lot of factors that affect this argument and it doesn’t look like there will be resolution any time soon.

Airbrushing: Evil?

According to magazines and adverts models are perfect, there isn’t a blemish on their face or the slightest fold in their skin and this is the way everyone should look. If you don’t look like this then there’s something wrong with you, look at yourself in the mirror, do you have imperfections? probably, would they put you on the front cover of a magazine or in a make-up advert? probably not, because your an actual person. But here’s the secret, those perfect models, there not perfect either! They have imperfections but the make-up and fashion agencies wouldn’t want you to think that, because then you wouldn’t buy their products so that you can be like them.

Airbrushing of models has been an issue brought up by the media a few times over the last few years as well as arguments over size zero models. The obvious issue being, should young women be aspiring to look like these people? Essentially they are aspiring to be something that doesn’t exist, the woman in that magazine, she doesn’t exist, a woman who looks almost identical but with a few imperfections does. When a girl looks at make -up adverts and see’s these touched up pictures they believe that if they buy the make-up then they will look like this and be glamorous and popular, they arnt selling make-up their selling a fake plastic way of life. To quote one of my female house mates in boots the other day while looking at make up, “you need to spend money, to look pretty”, without a hint of irony.

Proof about how bad this has become is shown in a recent advertising campaign by L’oreal  featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington which had to be pulled due to complaints about its over use of post editing to enhance the models, read the article here. They admitted the image had been “digitally retouched to lighten the skin, clean up makeup, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows” but still affectively showed the benefits of the anti-ageing make-up. That list of changes and touch ups is quite extensive and after reading it you can’t help but wonder what was left of her real face?

On the flip-side the dancer and Pussycat Dolls member Kimberly Wyatt has tried to raise awareness about the issue by showing what companies do to enhance their images on this facebook page. The alterations are mostly getting rid of natural and real things such as shadows and creases, which is just unnecessary. Seeing the stupid minor things that they change just to make money really makes you think about the immorality of this industry and their futile strive for fake perfection.

To conclude, the make-up industry is promoting a strive for perfection to sell make-up which doesn’t even show the true effects to girls who aspire to be unrealistic plastic models. Obviously there are companies who don’t try and mislead their consumers and truthfully sell their products, unfortunately these are over shadowed by the lying majority. We can only hope that the laws in place get extended to make sure that advertisements are fair and truthful to the consumers, especially when aiming towards younger girls.


The Manipulating Power of the Media

Today’s lecture was an interesting look into the power of the media and its manipulation of the consumer. Its sometimes scary to think about the power that the media has over us, even when we don’t know it. In some cases it can a small group of people (maybe even one person) who is controlling the vast majority of the worlds media, they could make the world believe a lie or forget an important truth. If  for example you were to look at the News Corporation company owned by Rupert Murdoch and its list of assets here you can see that they own various newspapers and TV networks in enough countries to control the popular opinion of the world. These days everyone believes what they read in the papers as long as enough facts and figures are put in the right places, potentially if News Corporation wanted to make up a story, they own enough of the media that it wouldn’t be questioned, if other newspapers tried to go against the story News Corporation have the controlling market to overpower them. Obviously this is a hypothetical situation and hopefully would never happen but nevertheless the potential is still there and this is wrong.

With organisations having this much power over the public, consideration should be taken into what effect this is having over consumers. Many people believe that what we see on TV and in films can directly affect our behaviour in real life, the biggest concern being the young. There have been many psychological studies into this issue, especially with the case of Jamie Bulger’s murder. It is claimed that the reason the two boys committed the murder was because they were copying a film they had seen earlier, if this is true then it would be compelling evidence that the glorifying of violence in the media directly affects peoples actions. Personally I believe that a sane sound minded human knows the difference between a film and real life, there are many factors that could change this including age and upbringing.

There are many theories into the affect of the media on its consumers, some that say they wish to imitate what they see and some that say that it actually vents frustration and anger so that they are less likely to be violent in real life. If you look at any newspaper over the last few years you will find a story that has a letter from an angry mother complaining that the latest video game glorifies violence and war and in turn making their child violent. Grand Theft Auto has been of particular interest to such moaning mothers as the game allows you to (this is my favourite ridiculous quote from the news about this game) “buy a hooker sleep with her and then kill her”, and I cant deny, if you really want to do this then you can. But the moment you do it you don’t have this sudden urge to jump into a car that’s not yours, cruise around town looking for a hooker that you can pick up have your way with them and then murder them on the street with a pair of Uzi’s. This is an extreme example but you get the idea, you’d have to be clinically insane to copy what you see in films and games or we’d have people everywhere setting up Saw style games and shooting up entire towns.

As consumers we need to start questioning the media we consume, if we accept everything that is told to us by our televisions and newspapers then we will loose all sense of independence and the ability to question those in positions of power. When we loose our independent thought and ability to question we only send our selves deeper into a 1984 style, totalitarian future, which no one wants. Unfortunately media producers, especially advertisers have realised something about the majority of the media consuming public, there stupid, they will buy things they don’t want for needs they don’ t have, they will watch crap about celebrities lives because they crave to be like them. I realise I’m starting to sound like Tyler Durden from fight club now but its just scary to think about what might become.