Creating An Impact On The World One Smile At A Time

So I finally got round to creating an impact on the world with my joke idea, however due to time and other factors I had to try a much more anonymous project. My original idea is out lined here and as you will see what I did is not far off it. I still used jokes and I still wanted to spread happiness and smiles throughout the city of Coventry but instead of telling the jokes to people I simply left them stuck to walls around town for them to stumble upon. I thought that people would be more likely to read them if they were left there for them to read rather than someone coming up to them with a camera asking them if they wanted to hear a joke. Unfortunately in this world we live in if someone in the street comes up to you to ask you something you instantly assume that they want to sell you something or want your money for charity (annoyingly true). My aim was just to bring a smile to someone’s day, even it was just one person, smiles are infectious. The problem with this method of distribution is that I can’t see the effect my posters are having, I can just  hope that they are.

The jokes I used were very simple ones that are not particularly clever or intellectual making them accessible to everyone from young to old. Here are the Four I used:

As you can see I went for very childish simple jokes with bold writing to entice people towards them. I think that, although it is a very simple idea, it will have a brilliant effect on the public and make a few people giggle at least.

Before I produced this project I did a bit of research into happiness and what it means for different people. Wikipedia defines it like this:

Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.[1] A variety of biological,psychologicalreligious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.

Every religion seems to have some kind of answer for it, and even science thinks it knows, but at the end of the day it cannot be measured or tested so its up to those affected. Its an objective emotion that can be brought on by many different things ranging from watching a baby making funny faces or by just doing something for someone else. Who knows, all I know is that you would have to be inhuman to not give a smile for at least one of these jokes so I am comfortable that I brought a bit of what I would call happiness to someone. There you go impact created!

 

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Empathy Documentary – My Day Without Food

So the other day I decided (stupidly) to go an entire 24 hours without food to see how it made me feel and to see if I could show empathy towards those who have less than we do. Here’s how I got on:

https://vimeo.com/38980157

As you can see from that it was quite hard. It almost seems ridiculous that even at only 2:00 I was absolutely starving but I think because I consciously knew that I wasn’t allowed to eat this made me even more hungry. Throughout the day I felt sick, annoyed and generally grumpy, it wasn’t a nice experience and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone! But obviously it did make me think about those less fortunate than us (I know a little cliché but its true), the moment I wake up I get something to eat, I don’t really think about it I just do it I mean I’m hungry so I eat, it seems so simple. But what if I didn’t have that option? What if when I woke up my first priority was simply to find some water that wouldn’t kill me, or to go to work so that I can earn enough for the rest of my family to eat a simply one thing that week.

Even after a matter of hours I felt sick and and stomach pains and I couldn’t help but think how pathetic that was, that I couldn’t go a few hours without food! When I was doing a lot of my friends kept saying to me, “oh I could do that!” and things like “I do that all the time!” but I don’t think any of them really think about going an entire 24 hours without a single thing to eat. It was so much harder than I first thought it was going to be, I don’t think I really looked at it properly and imagined what it would it would be like. I guess I thought id be really hungry but I actually spent a lot of time in physical pain, not helped by the copious amounts of food around me throughout the day.

Just looking at this graph you cans see how many people have to deal with that type of pain every day of their lives, 642 million people in Asia and the pacific alone. We really have to think about how lucky we are in this country and in this society where we are surrounded by food and have the opportunity to food pretty much whenever we want. Even as students we are constantly moaning we don’t have enough money for food and that were always hungry but I guess we just have to think, are we actually hungry? Next time you say your starving, actually think about it your not, your just a little peckish to be honest.

Short Film Evaluation – FOR ASSESSMENT

After 10 long weeks we have finally finished our short film and I am very happy with the final edit. I think it is a testament too how much we, as media producers, have developed, technically and organisationally. We almost done everything without a hitch from planning to filming. This is of course ignoring the beginning where we had to scrap our original idea for a simpler one. This was a decision we are all glad we made and not one I feel we would have had the confidence to make last year, to scrap everything we had done and start again considering the research and development I personally had out towards it as you can read here. But anyway here is the rough cut and final cut so you can see the “polished turd”.

38498131 – Rough Cut

38917297 – Final Cut

As you can see not a huge amount was changed but I feel the things that were changed made a massive impact. The sound is a lot more consistent throughout, keeping it looking and sounding professional. Some shot were taken out on the basis that I believe less is sometimes more, some of the shots were unnecessary  such as the close-up of the cigarette tapping on the table, as all it did was momentarily distract from the script which only tore the audience out from the film. Through some meticulous sound editing I managed to lip-sync most of the sound from one shot to other clips so that the levels were consistent all the way through which gave it a much more professional feel than before where the sound levels were jumping all over the place and the speech was not as consistent.

As well as the film being better than anything I produced last year I think as a group we demonstrated clearly how much we have learnt over the last year. The organisation was so much better, last year we would never have thought of using a shooting schedule, detailed storyboards, monitor, etc. Things like using professional actors was never even considered last year and it made such a big impact this time around, one of our actors is even in a recently aired Visa Olympic advert with Usian Bolt!

I think I have developed as a person during this process as well, it has helped me be more organised and more constructive with my time. I believe I gave everything I could towards this project all of the way through from the initial planning stages to the final bits of editing. Although I was pinpointed as the editor at the start of the project I gave myself various roles at the planning and shooting stages such as assistant director, director of photography as well helping with the lighting and getting one of the actors. When it came to the editing I learnt quite a lot such as using Adobe After Effects, which I had never used in a production before, and extended my knowledge of sound mixing further.

I believe this film could go further, with a few more tweaks here and there we will definitely be looking at entering it for a festival. I would have to say this is my proudest piece of work, I have spent hours overall editing it, looking for any little imperfections, I must have seen the entire film at least 50 times and there will always be little things I wanted to change but couldn’t due to time or the inability to re-shoot. Overall the reception from our peers about our film was good, because of the way we changed the end we got a much better laugh out of them and overall came second in a vote of the best film out of the 10, which I am very proud of.

KONY 2012: Charity or War Profiteering?

There probably isn’t anyone left in the world who hasn’t seen the KONY 2012 video, a video spreading awareness about the ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony and his use of child soldiers. In case you’ve been living under in a sound proof bunker for the last month heres the 30 minute video

As you can see there is a clear problem that something has to be done about, I mean theres no question of it. Did you see that video? Were all awful people for ignoring this terrible crime. But its okay because thankfully Jason Russell is giving us the means to force change by, as he put it “Covering the night” on april 22nd with posters and stickers of Joseph Kony so that the american government knows that we are still interested in bringing him to justice. As most people did I watched the video and immediately afterwards posted it to spread the word as I thought I was doing my bit, however not long afterwards I began to question what I had just done. I had watched a video and accepted its facts, figures and claims at face value without any more knowledge than had just been presented to me.

Most people, as far as I could tell on facebook, stopped at this point and looked no further into it they had seen a video telling them they need to spread the word about this terrible man and so they had done this, as far as they were concerned they had done their bit. But then something else started to spread around the internet, almost as quickly as the original video, was the suggestion that maybe invisible children wasn’t doing as much good as we first thought. Statistics and figures about their profit through campaigns such as this starting flying around everywhere. The first article I read on the subject can be seen here, it tells how the organisation spent $8,676,614 with only 31% going to the actual charity. It also details how Jason Russell is looking for a military solution and not a peaceful one, apparently invisible children is directly funding the Ugandan government who themselves are not the most morally right military.

 

So here we are presented with an alternative point of view, and once again I feel inclined to spread this as its awful that through clever film making I have been manipulated into believing whatever facts are thrown my way! But then again is that not just what this article is doing as well? Have I not just been presented with some facts that I am to just believe? The honest truth is that when it comes to seeing and reading things on the internet we can never be sure if something is true or accurate unless we have collected the data itself. This is why I have chosen to not take one extreme or another’s point of view.

I think People are being far to quick to make a decision, whether it is that Jason Russell is a brilliant man who deserves to be praised for the amazing work he is doing or wether he should be ridiculed for his manipulation of the public with his use of social media. Whatever is to be said no one can deny he has done what he has incredibly, the video was put on vimeo 4 weeks ago and currently has 17.5 million views, on youtube where it was out up 2 weeks ago it has over 84 million. The current power of social media sites such as facebook and twitter, I believe, have more power than any tv channel, newspaper or advertiser.

It is now getting to the point where people are on social media sites and the internet in general more than watching tv or listening to the radio than ever before . This has been perfectly been taken advantage of the filmmakers of KONY 2012 with them encouraging to share on facebook or twitter the video directly after watching it (which can now be done in literally one click of a button). Even in this very post where I am claiming to not take a side I myself have shared the video because the moment I post this blog it links to my facebook and shows every one the link at the beginning of this post. We can’t even escape it,most of the time this is a good thing when it comes to awareness and the spread of ideas but perhaps when it comes to KONY 2012 it has been misused? As I have said its up to you and your interpretation of the facts.

WHODUNIT? Rough Cut Feedback

Today we showed our rough cut to the rest of the year and received some feedback on it.

Some positive points included:

  • Good use of tension
  • Good humour
  • The actors portrayed the characters well and believable
  • The camera work was done well

Most of the suggested improvements were very shot specific such as shots being to long or unnecessary. A lot of people commented on the audio, that it had varying levels and could do with some more background noise to add to the tension in the silent. Basically it could do with polishing off, hopefully enough to win the coveted Steve Dawkins golden turd prize!

I don’t think any major changes need to be made to the rough cut that will drastically change the film, just fiddly bits like changing levels and the length of clips. Overall I am happy with the feedback that we received and it was expected. The negative points were almost all things I had already thought about and knew need to be adjusted.

Empathy Documentary Ideas

I’ve already had some ideas for this task which you you can have a look at here but for several reasons these ideas are not able to materialize so I’ve had to come up with something else. I’ve kept along with the theme of what I couldn’t live without but gone for something a little bit more extreme, a whole day WITHOUT EATING!

As a student I’m sure you think that I’m used to just not eating but unlike a lot of other students I like to try and make sure I have 3 solid meals a day including a little thing called breakfast which I’m sure a lot of students have never heard of. When I wake up my first thought is food,  I wake up and I’m starving and will go looking for any food I can find. Due to a recent lack of money I have even been eating Austerity sandwiches (a sandwich with the filling of toast, made popular by the student beans website in this article) which shows that I will do anything to get a substantial meal in me.

I believe that this project will help me understand the plight of hundreds of people, in this country and others around the world. Obviously only very very marginally but still I think it will help me reflect on the luxuries I take for granted everyday. Even though I dot eat a large amount of food and still sort of struggle to get enough food in me everyday, I have food all around me that I can have access to if I really need it whereas in other less developed countries they don’t even have the option to steal food let alone own it.

I will make a few rules for myself over the course of the 24 hours:

  • It will start at 00:00am Saturday morning and end on 11:59 Saturday evening
  • I will only be able to consume water throughout the day
  • I cannot deviate from my normal daily plans to avoid food or temptation

 

I believe that with these rules I will accurately be able to experience an entire day without food. It will be very interesting to see if I can even do it because the more I think about it the more implausible it seems, I get hungry quite often, probably more often than a normal person (considering my size).

Creating An Impact: Idea

I have thought about this a lot and have a few ideas for what I could do for this task. Most people are trying to find ways they can help a charity or make people aware of a world problem but I thought I would try something a little different, like simply making more people smile. People spend a lot of their time annoyed or upset or telling other people why they should be annoyed or upset or why the world is fucked up and were terrible people for not doing anything about it. There are some problems with the world that make it pretty fucked up but we won’t ever be able to even start solving these problems until we solve our problems right here at home and that problem is the lack of happiness. The impact I want to have on the world is to make it a happier place for everyone and just put a few similes on a few people’s faces which hopefully will spread all around.

The reason I feel this world be a good idea is that ever since I have come to Coventry all people seem to do is moan about it as a city. They say it’s a concrete jungle full of weirdos, teenage mums, crime around every corner and streets as dangerous as Compton. This is of course a bit of an exaggeration but you can see the point I’m trying to make, I’m not saying there isn’t crime and problems in Coventry In fact I was mugged at knife-point within my first week of being here and just the other day I saw a drunk girl racially then physically abuse a group of young black people just trying to enjoy their Mcdonalds but I think we need to focus on the positives.

My plan is simply to set up a stall offering free jokes for anyone who wants them, I might even bring some face paint and draw little smiley faces on peoples cheeks possibly spreading a few more smiles. Its a simple plan that I think could be very effective in spreading a little joy in the city of Coventry, all I need is a table and a couple of friends its very doable and will take less than a day to film and edit . Another thing I may do on the day is do some vox pops of people telling me what makes them happy and good things about Coventry and put them together with some happy music and I think I’ll have a nice happy film to share around.

 

Short Film Shooting and Editing – FOR ASSESSMENT

We have now shot and got a rough edit for the short film “WHODUNIT?”. The shooting went pretty much as smoothly as it could due to the large amount of preparation that had happened before the day. All the props had been acquired and actors knew when and where to be, there was a shooting schedule and the lighting had already been planned. We had all learnt a lot from our experience with filming last year where we turned up on the day with only a script and no professional actors, we simply shot according to the script meaning that we were basically blagging it as we went along without any kind of plan, here was the end result of that project:

This time we made sure we had thought of everything from the moment we had a finalised script; we used professional casting websites to get our actors and wrote a list of props and equipment to get before shooting which was divided equally between the crew. When we were at the location we had a very clear idea of what shots we wanted and how we wanted them to look. The entire day as a whole started at around 9 and was finished by about 3, as filming goes this was a very short day. Now usually if filming is this quick you would have to assume we missed something and when we finished I did have to keep looking at the script and shooting schedule to double and triple check that everything had indeed been done but no matter how much I checked I couldn’t find anything we missed.

This only issue we really came across was the lighting conditions as we blacked out the windows so that no natural light was seen and so we could have complete control over the light. This meant that every shadow was seen and would have to be counteracted to make it look as professional as possible. I’m happy with the footage we got from the shoot, it’s definitely the most professional looking piece I have filmed to this day.

As the head of editing it is up to me to make something people will actually want to watch out of the footage rather than just lots of shots put together in an order that makes sense. I have put together a rough cut to show the rest of our year on Thursday to receive some  feedback and helpful suggestions for the film. As far as the images are concerned most of the shots are good and consistent with the light however a couple of the close-ups look a bit more warm than the others meaning that they take away from the film and need to be colour corrected before the final edit.

A lot of film makers will say that sound is more important that sound when it comes to producing an effective piece of media and I agree with them. I have mostly just put together the images in the order they need to be in for this rough cut but almost all my time after the rough cut viewing will be spent on making the sound as consistent and professional as possible. Luckily for us our main actor playing the role of DCI Scott was very professional with his performance and consistent throughout meaning using audio from other shots is easy to sync and keeps the continuity of the audio. Here is the rough edit we have for now:

Overall I am very happy with the shooting and rough edit. It shows how much we have developed as media producers over the last year. We were much more efficient in every way when it came to the shooting day, everyone knew their roles and what to do so there wasn’t very much “what do you want me to do?” or people standing around doing nothing when there was things to be done. I look forward to the feedback of the rest of the year and their suggestions on how to advance this production further.

Varsity Ice Hockey Filming

As part of the annual varsity Coventry were to face Warwick in ice hockey, an event that historically gets one of the biggest crowds out of all the varsity events. I volunteered to help with the filming of the event for source TV, I was part of a team of about 3 people that were filming the event from different angles around the stadium. One of the brilliant benefits of being apart of this event was getting unbelievable seats in the “Champions Box” up in the far right corner where we set up the camera. My camera was the action camera that would be getting all the close-ups of the players during the game, this meant paying attention to the game throughout and making sure I kept on the action, capturing any goals, tackles, fouls, etc.

This was something very different which I had never done before, sport filming. I’ve always had a bit of interest in sport photography but never really explored it much as a hobby. I enjoyed it quite a lot as unlike filming short films and documentaries you don’t really know what’s going to happen and you never have to just sit there with the camera stationary. I definitely developed my ability to zoom and focus quickly to keep up with the action which is something which is important in any area of filming so something I can use in all aspects of my work.

Flash Mob Task

Today we were tasked with performing some kind of a flash mob in the streets of Coventry. Now the term flash mob is actually a lot more broad than it may first seem, I, like most people instantly thought of large dancing troupes full of professional performers giving it their all to surprise and impress the public and wasn’t too happy about the idea of doing one. But as we learnt more about it we saw that the term simply meant some kind of public display that would get attention from everyone who saw it. A few ideas were thrown around such as instant sunbathing (which would have been a little on the chilly side), acting like children and a huge conga. After much deliberation an idea that a few different groups had actually thought of was picked, make-up a fake celebrity and see if we can attract public attention with an outdoor interview with fake press. Our celebrities were AUDIOCHEQUE!

We started to start a very quick advertising campaign for the band including a Facebook page, Youtube channel and even a fake song. Once some quick leaflets and posters had been created we went out to spread the word that Audiocheque were in Coventry, we did this by using all our social media resources available to us to spread the word as quickly as possible. Advertising campaigns from all over the world use social media as a quick way to release information and so we thought this would work the best when it came to getting the word out. We all updated our Facebook status and twitter feeds letting everyone know that Audiocheque would be outside HMV at 2 o,clock. We then set our celebrities on the unsuspecting public to see if we could get some undeserved attention:

As you can see it took a couple of tries but we got some attention and even a couple of people asking for autographs. People saw cameras and bodyguards and clearly couldn’t help themselves and had to come have a look. In some ways it shows how fickle people when it comes to celebrities, even if they don’t know who they are they are desperate to glorify them. This could explain the influx of talentless celebrities over the last 5 years or so that are simply famous because they are famous. The public desperation for celebrity is almost pathetic and kind of makes you worry about the general public and where we are headed, I’m just being massively pessimistic for the fuck of it but you get the point.

Overall I think our flash mob actually went pretty good, when we started it I kept thinking “this is never going to work …no one will think there celebrities” but when it actually came down to it we definitely convinced a few people. I’m not saying we had flocks of people coming at us screaming “AUDIOCHEQUE HAVE MY BABIES!” but for the time we had we did pretty well if I do say so myself.