The Crazy Girl – scriptwriting

Nellie Bly (Elizabeth J Cochrane)

Nellie Bly (Elizabeth J Cochrane)

I’m not really a massive fan of discussing my own film ideas online for the world to see, especially when they’re only just beginning to form. But, I’ll make an exception because…in my head right now, it seems like maybe I could write a decent script from my premise.

If you’re a student or professional in Psychology or journalism, I expect you may have heard of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane – also known as Nellie Bly. Ring any bells?

Well if not, don’t fret. Elizabeth Cochrane was a very famous American journalist for the New York World in the late 1800’s. She was pretty adventurous and inspiring as far as women from the era go, she held the world record for fastest travel around the world for a time, the trip taking her 72 days, six hours, eleven minutes and fourteen seconds I believe. But let’s not get bogged down in the specifics.

Basically for a woman living in a very sexist world she did extraordinarily well for herself – but that’s not what really interests me. In the 1880’s Elizabeth went undercover, she convinced Doctors and healthcare professionals, police and courts that she was insane so that she could investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island; then write about it for the world to see. The article she wrote was received so well that the people demanded she turn it into a book – which, she did. (http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/bly/madhouse/madhouse.html – link to the book there for you, welcome.)

“Positively demented,” he said. “I consider it a hopeless case. She needs to be put where some one will take care of her.”

And so I passed my second medical expert.’ (Bly, N (1887). Ten Days in a Mad-House. New York: Ian L. Munro. VI).

I don’t literally want to take what she wrote and put it on screen, that is way too easy. Where’s the fun? However, this Patient-Beds-in-Hallway-Due-to-Overcrowding-Colorado-Insane-Asylumpremise blew up in my mind with possible narratives jumping out at me everywhere. I have narrowed it down to four main ideas, so I’ll have to work on each of them intently and decide on the most effective. None of the ideas I have put down on paper are too similar with Nellie Bly’s experience – obviously historical accuracy is a must, but it’s important to remember that my character is not Bly. And her story is going to be totally different to mine. Nellie Bly is the basic premise, which I am tearing a part and re-writing in an even more shell-shocking tale.

images (1) Insane asylums have always really intrigued me, and creeped me out to be completely honest. Visually, I think that they have so much potential and the true-life stories are just as hard hitting as fictional compilations.

I didn’t want to delve into the four different ideas that I have until I have looked even deeper into them myself, but…watch out for more – The pitches will be up soon.

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Would You Rather? Film Review

would-you-rather-david-guy-levy-movie-poster

Would You Rather is a sadistic Thriller movie released in 2012.

The film follows Iris (Brittany Snow), a young woman struggling to make ends meet following the untimely death of her parents, and terminally ill younger brother Raleigh (Logan Miller). Just as things reach a new low, a suspicious aristocrat makes an appearance…offering Iris endless wealth and medical help if she can complete one game at a dinner party, which involves seven other desperate souls.

A dark twist on the child’s game ‘Would You Rather’ leaves the guests playing for their lives.

The film is classed as a Horror/Thriller, I would add cringe in if that too was a genre. The film wasn’t particularly scary as such, but Psychological Thriller definitely fits – with a fair amount of gruesome activity, but not so much that you need a pillow to grasp. It’s definitely not a dinner party I would like to go to.

The film basically follows a similar premise to the ‘Saw’ franchise – a sick, twisted game being played among people in a low situation run by a sadistic antagonist. Obviously, this film is totally different from Saw, it’s nowhere near as gory but there are similarities – maybe what Saw would have been like if he were a lot nicer. In any case, this film definitely had it’s moments of pure engagement. I mean, waiting in suspense as a man decides whether to get shot or slit his own eye open with a razor is definitely an intriguing move. And I have to say, I had no nails left by the credits.

On a more negative note, though the film tries to keep the tension levels high, it often comes across fairly dull – mainly during the first half of the game, I was tempted to fast forward. I didn’t though, which I suppose is a good sign.

I’d only ever seen Brittany Snow in comedies, musicals and light dramas; films like Pitch Perfect, Hairspray and teen movie John Tucker Must Die. And she plays that type of character well, so I was interested in seeing whether she’d be able to pull off the tortured mind type. Which she did, she was a convincing character and it really shows the variety she can bring to the table.

The film does allow you to question how you would cope under such horrific circumstances and we see all the different perspectives on the game. We see Amy – who appears completely dehumanised, a noble ex army-man, the voice of logic and reason – among a few others. Making such sick decisions with 15 – 30 seconds is definitely the definition of pressure – I mean, what would you do?

WARNING SPOILER ALERT!!!!
The ending is by far the best part of the film, and if you don’t want to know why then look away now!….OK, young Iris in a moment of panic and weakness pulls the trigger on her morals leaving her the winner of the game. Unfortunately, it turns out that leaving her ill brother alone for the night with the intention of saving him, left him with the opportune moment to take his own life. Leaving poor Iris with nothing but the haunting memory of a really bad night out.

Give it a watch, even if you’re squeamish I’m sure you can handle it. Though I don’t recommend you take any dinner party tips from the film, unless you really dislike your guests.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it5XICr93wU – check out a trailer here

Playing with Photoshop…

background

Just a random design I created using Photoshop CS6 – My photoshop skills are pretty limited at the moment so I decided through helpful YouTube videos and a little bit of experimenting I would learn the tricks of the trade and improve my photo editing skills, it’s pretty important when you’re on Media Production course, especially when we have to create graphics and logos. Plus it’s pretty fun. 🙂

Researcher role for UK360

So, I have begun searching for relevant, high quality documentaries made by small UK based producers e.g. student films.

It’s not as easy as typing in what you want on YouTube or Vimeo or Google, because they never give you what you’ve searched for, that or you find a documentary with great subject matter which will fit the content of a UK360 programme perfectly, but the quality is just not TV worthy at all. OR you find a documentary that in technical terms, looks brilliant, but the subject matter is just not there. Another thing that I cannot stand is all of these unnecessary ‘artsy’ shots that randomly appear for no reason, that seem to drag out for half of the actual film with no known relevance, please stop!

I have found some brilliant films, and the search is not over, and won’t be for as long as I manage to deliver decent pieces…they are out there, they just aren’t easy to find!

Wish me luck on my quest..

Geeky Shenanigans – Sound

Soundcraft desk

Soundcraft is a brand of sound mixing desks which I have been working with for three years now. Originally I learnt how to operate sound on a Soundcraft GB8,  and went on to use equipment such as lexicon effects units, lavalier packs, sound cubes, compressor units etc.

Usually, where the sound role is about I would be designing, gathering sound effects, recording in the studio, drawing up cue sheets, working on hand drawn and CAD of the rigged studio space, create equipment lists including images and specifications as well as booking and rigging equipment, to be operated when it comes to show time.

In the case of the TV studio, none of that is particularly necessary, I’ve currently been setting up one basic floor mic, consisting of a basic floor boom standing in the middle of the floor. This is a temporary sound set up, I have requested Sennheiser radio mics for the presenters and any guests, so that I can perfect the sound of each individual voice…I have noticed that some presenters need the frequencies of their voices altering a little bit, and sound levels need to be matched for the most pleasing outcome.

We still have a good few weeks until the show itself, so one soundcheck should allow me to get all the levels I need. It’s a fairly basic show, and admittedly has left me reminiscing of the theatre days, where the work load almost killed me, but was strangely addictive and enjoyable at the same time. Not all fun takes place on the stage, a good adrenaline rush can come from putting the important parts of the show together, be it lighting, set, sound, directing, maintenance and all the other roles which pull a good show together.

Like I said, Soundcraft is a brilliant designer and producer of mixing desks and products you need for a really effective outcome, whatever you’re using it for!
So I’ll just leave this link right here … http://www.soundcraft.com/index.aspx
Check it out, you might like what you see, you may be a sound technician and just not know it yet. :’).

Funding our first independent film!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/once-bitten-twice-shy–2?show_todos=true

So, we’re coming to the end of first year now and there’s a whole summer of nothing ahead of us, which obviously means it’s time to get producing a kick ass short film!

‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ was written by the talented script writer Natasha Harmer, it’s a horror/thriller film, and is currently in the pre-production stage. The preparation for the film is coming a long brilliantly, the team is really coming together, the script is being finalised and written to perfection, actors are being contacted and the dream location is becoming a reality! This film will be perfect practice for our third year project and help set us up for any future work and projects out of University!

This project is in motion and has the potential to be something great, we aim to enter it into film festivals and let the world see our progress and hard work on the big screen.

Obviously, for this film to be a success we need funding, and being students the best way to get the money to create a professional film is to raise awareness and look for donations or any help that we can get! We need around £2000, so anything you can give, or any help in raising awareness for our film would be very much appreciated!

For your help we are offering a free DVD copy of the completed film, and you can be credited as ‘associate producer’ for your help no matter how big or small it may be!

All information on helping us out can be found at the link at the top of this page, a long with links to the script and information on the writer.

Thank you! We’re looking forward to hearing from you 🙂

The One Show review/analysis

The One Show is a live magazine show, which is broadcast daily and produced by the BBC. I’ve seen bits of the show before, but never sat down and watched a full episode, and to be totally honest, I can’t see myself sitting down to watch it for my own entertainment anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong, the show fulfills its purpose well, it informs, educates, keeps viewers up to date with current news, but for me the entertainment side just does not call out to me.

The show definitely incorporates a bright and vibrant visual appearance, including the furniture, luminous on set lights, and the large windows represent the location; London, an iconic city and view. The windows also come in handy for allowing the set to look more spacious and free, rather than being closed in. The studio looks very modern, which will appeal to a contemporary audience. The set itself is pretty minimal and simplistic, making the audience concentrate more on the presenters themselves as well as the guests – with just a bright, colourful aura surrounding them. This is visually pleasing, and the vibrant colours will appeal to younger audiences and engage their initial attention. There is also a studio audience who watch the show as it goes out live, giving it more appeal as the viewer can get more involved with the show, and as sitting in the audience for the show is free, I’m sure it’s filled out every day. A studio audience is also a positive attribute because it gives a real reaction to the show and the producers can monitor how the show is being perceived.

The regular presenters consist of Alex Jones and Matt Baker, with Chris Evans appearing on Fridays instead of Baker. All the presenters are between the ages of 30 and 50 years old – signifying the round-a-bout age of the target audience. The presenters are well known TV personalities, and have all worked in the industry for a long time including work in radio, childrens TV and general reporting. They are energetic, and have a vibrant character, they’re up to date in current affairs making them perfect for the role and the friendly ambience they create appeals to viewers.

The music for the show is upbeat; it consists mainly of a trumpet and choir-style singing over the top. It starts the show with a positive, upbeat ambience to engage the audience, and bring in viewers – especially adults who’ve spent the day at work, and are ready to sit down and relax. The graphics are 3D and the typography itself consists of a font very similar; if not the same as the BBC logo itself, adding the intertextuality and instant recognition of the production brand/company.

The shows content is pretty light, in the episode I watched it included interviews and music from Olivia Newton John and Billy Bragg (two very successful stars, signifying the success of the show). It also looks at current issues, and issues which effect everyday people – such as fraud and real life experiences – in the episode I watched around five minutes was dedicated to a fraudulent ‘Amazon’ sight and included an interview with a man who had lost £920 to this site buying a television. Therefore, the content is relatable to the audience and guest stars, such as the two previously mentioned, are there for entertainment value and promotion for themselves more often than not.

The guests vary every day, this keeps the audience entertained and interested, and allows them to look forward to certain episodes if a particular guest appeals to them personally. The guests on the episode I watched are of similar age to the target audience, and are well-known throughout generations (I’d hope at least!). But the guests are not always celebrities, and there have been episodes with members of the public who have done charity work or been in the news who have been guests on the show. This opens up the show to the public even more, making it even more relatable and current.

There are many VT’s that run throughout the show; they are in keeping with the key themes or issues being brought up. There were clips of the celebrity guests at their height of fame, performing. Also, they used clips that they had produced recently, for example the interview with the man who was a victim to the Amazon fraud website, warning people on this issue.  The VT clips are used quite often, however this allows the viewer to get out of the studio and adds more variety and substance to the show.

So overall, though it does not quite manage to keep me engaged throughout, the show is a very successful magazine, and I’m sure my mum would enjoy it!