Remaking A Spectacle For Society

 

Guy Debord’s film was the subject for scrutiny this week, with a remake being undertaken by everyone in our seminar group. We were each given a 4 minute section to recreate, this being our section:

The first section showed images of war and showed soldiers engaged in battle. I wanted to mirror this section to show the continuity over time and how war is still a very large part of our society even if it isn’t quite as prominent as latter days. This was done by adding in images of an army preparing for war rather than engaging in battle.

The next section just had writing. Whilst it is assumed that the text on the screen was the same as the subtitles, we decided to translate it. The text actually uncovered some added meanings to the film so the decision was made to add the literal translation into the remake as an image to further compliment the message.

The next images we saw in the original were images of beauty shown in the media. The voiceover speaks of memory and how art makes the world seem a much more beautiful place. So, we added in 70’s iconic and beautiful women as an overlay to match the theme of outward facing beauty in the media. We felt this was the most effective way to convey the message.

We then see a scene in which a man and his wife are speaking to each other about their issues. The main message we took from that scene was reliance on external substances to fix an issue. We thought we would drill in this idea by using images from an LSD study and overlaying the subtitles from the original scene which were oddly fitting. I feel this effectively conveyed the underlying theme we found in the original scene.

Then, at the end we used images from the Royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William as Debord was speaking about specialists of power of the spectacle. We thought the Royal Family in particular fitting this criteria to a tee.

 

Here is the original film in it’s entirety, the section of our remake was the 12-16 minute marks.

 

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FML – Artifact 1

After production and post production, I feel like this is a good start but quite a distance away from reaching its full comedic, cinematic and audio potential. I feel with certain remakes this could be a very entertaining and cinematically sound piece.

My main gripe about the production is the sound. We used an attached rode mic to the camera which created certain inconsistencies in audio quality. Whilst it picked up the dialogue to an acceptable level, it picked up a certain level of background noise which was unacceptable. Also, some pieces of audio had to be added in post production due to them not being picked up in production, which felt sometimes jarring. Furthermore, in our script we created a framework for dialogue but allowed a lot of improvisation to allow for more natural flowing dialogue. However, this made it hard to cut the conversation together as often the two different shots had dialogue which was too dissimilar. So, next time we should perhaps create a tighter framework for dialogue to make it easier in post.

Cinematically, we had different ideas. In the storyboard we used a lot of tracking shots. However, when on location we found this was not feasible due to physical restraints of space. Next time we should do more diligent  in our location scouting so we can plan in advance accurately and not waste time on the day improvising.

Furthermore, the shots often varied in colours and lightness due to the changing of rooms and daylight. To prevent this from becoming an issue next time we should aim to plan our shooting around a time in which we would have the most consistent daylight and check our shots more diligently to ensure they match to the best of our abilities. This will ensure that the post production is more of a matter of polishing a diamond rather than a turd. (so to speak)

 

What is Beauty Survey Research

To start off task two, we decided to undergo some initial research into beauty via a survey. We asked for their opinions on what they thought beauty meant, what they found beautiful and what they found unattractive and repulsive. Of the responses we have received, here are 5 responses for each category. The responses are mixed between male and female for each question, with the two age ranges 18-29 and 30-44.

When you hear the word beauty, what does it mean to you?

  • In its literal sense it’s describing something that’s aesthetically pleasing. Emotionally I’d say it means something makes me smile whenever I see it. I’m forever in awe of it. I gravitate towards it.
  • Something that evokes strong emotions of awe. It’s a word that describes the almost undescribable.
  • Something natural that is aesthetically pleasing to one or more person.
  • It means pure truth.
  • It’s subjective everyone has a different version of what they class as beauty

What do you think is beautiful?

  • Handsome people, exciting natural scenery. Wild animals, well-written music.
  • Everything above us is beautiful, the sky, clouds and stars. Certain songs and sounds like rain or a crackling fire. I think it’s beautiful when someone is really passionate about something, to see their eyes light up when they talk about it.
  • From the allure of nature, sitting under the stars or a picturesque view of the countryside, to even the majestic flair of an elite sportsman/woman that does the unexpected with precision and grace, beauty is caught in the moment and knows no boundaries. Music with emotion is beautiful to hear, also poetry that sums up an event or emotion without caution and allows the listener a clear view into the thought process at that exact time.
  • Absolute truth, raw emotion and seeing something/someone absolutely bare and honest.
  • Completely silent times with nature, wonderful minded people and passion.

What do the words repulsive/unattractiveness/inelegance mean to you?

  • Upsetting stimulus to the major senses, ie, nose, eyes, ears.
  • It has several meanings but opposite to beauty and attract; repulsive always reminds me of poison. It can be used to describe someone with malevolent intentions or something that literally makes me feel worse. I make an effort to avoid it.
  • Something I try not to see often. I try to find beauty in repulsion.
  • Something that I couldn’t use. I’ll never use it to describe a person
  • The absence of beauty in one person’s subjective opinion.

What do you think is repulsive?

  • Pollution, human rights abuse. Screaming.
  • I think it’s a lot easier to be repulsed by something than it is to see the beauty in it. I find certain smells to be repulsive. A persons behaviour. Some food looks repulsive to me, either in its quantity or combinations. Various insects.
  • It could be something such as someone with poor manners -eating with mouths open. Or to me corporatism is Repulsive, watching the rich get richer at the expense of the world’s most vulnerable people. Hearing people are treated with total lack of respect.
  • To see a bad situation in which you can do nothing to improve.
  • Lack of empathy. Lack of basic human emotions which make us a higher species.

Artifact 2: Beauty Research.

By definition, beauty is described as “A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight” (Oxford Dictionary 2015). I began undertaking this research by considering and asking myself and others what they considered to be beautiful. It is difficult to put a name on what beauty is, as many say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When surveying people, we noticed a trend in people leaning towards the idea that beauty is something that is natural rather than something you can construct. People seemed to believe that beauty is truth and that beauty evokes strong emotions. The main point of surprise for me is that nobody came up with the answer or lead us to believe that they thought beauty could be manufactured. People leant towards what was beautiful to them and lead their opinions from a very emotional standpoint. They would say they found the careless nature beautiful as an example. Nobody seemed to lead with the point that they agree with, or have an as an ideal, these media ideals of the perfect image we see across the newspapers, magazines and social media daily.

We wanted to investigate the social media app, Instagram, to see how beauty is perceived on this platform. Instagram is an online social media platform which allows users to upload and edit photos and videos to share with their followers and a wider audience through hashtags and their discover page. I have been using this app for nearing 3 years and during that time I have noticed how instagram seems to in itself glamourise everything from people to nature and food. In itself, #beauty has more than 84,000,000 posts and #nofilter has over 140,000,000 posts, leading us to believe that natural beauty is very prevalent within the app. This falls in line with our primary research where the people interviewed answered that beauty was natural. However, when looking at these hashtags, we can see that many of the pictures, if not the majority, actually do have a filter on them. This leads us to believe that outwardly facing we show something as naturally beauty, when it is actually manufactured.   Why do we try and uphold our images to an unrealistic standard whilst still trying to maintain the natural integrity of these images? Perhaps it is because of unrealistic images fed to us by brands.

(Jenn’s Trends, 2014)

From this graph we can see that it is staggering quite the percentage of companies who adopt the social media platform. Not only that, they harbour a massive audience.

(Lindig, 2015)

This leads us to believe that they are massive opinion leaders, the image they give out to the world is strived to achieve. Thus we see flocks of people trying to effortlessly copy this look in the way it is portrayed; as natural and beautiful as possible.

Sometimes in glamorizes darker subjects such as depression and self harm “The glamorization of self-harm and suicide on social media websites (such as Tumblr and Instagram) has led to an incorrect perspective of the seriousness of these disorders, as well as the desire to “fit in”, which is then triggering these tendencies in many susceptible users” (Storify, 2015). With people posting these disorders on Instagram and receiving moral support it is leading them to believe that self harm and depression is a way to fit in and that it is a beautiful thing. Thus, numbing quite how serious disorders such as these are.

So, in my piece I can discuss how many people believe beauty to be natural and how it is perhaps manufactured through the actions of people and corporations putting images out there to be admired and then replicated due to perceived social gratification.

References

Jenn’s Trends, (2014). Instagram Statistics for 2014 – Jenn’s Trends. [online] Available at: http://www.jennstrends.com/instagram-statistics-for-2014/ [Accessed 20 Nov. 2015].

Lindig, S. (2015). The 20 Most Relevant Fashion Brands on Instagram. [online] Harper’s BAZAAR. Available at: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/designers/a12215/top-20-fashion-brands-on-instagram/ [Accessed 20 Nov. 2015].

Oxford Dictionary (2015) Beauty [Online] Available from:http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/beauty [24 October 2015]

Storify, (2015). “Beautiful Sadness”: The Internet’s Romanticism of Self-Harm (with images, tweets) · rachelegore. [online] Available at: https://storify.com/rachelegore/the-internet-s-romanticism-of-self-harm [Accessed 20 Nov. 2015].

Flash Fiction Script

After generating the flash fiction idea, we developed a script for shooting.

Summary:

He’s waiting for someone to arrive.

She is outside by her car.

He goes down to meet her and get his stuff.

She jokes with him for a minute and then he opens the boot.

He is shocked and angry.

The boot is full of fruit. He asks why

She reads the text he sent her listing all the slang/fruit names for the drugs he wanted.

End

Nathan stared at the clock on his phone, watching as each minute passed by, each minute that meant she was late. He was getting impatient, tapping his feet and banging his phone on the desk. He was just about to text her when, ‘beep’ a horn sounded from outside.

It startled him. He stood and moved towards the window. Seeing that it was her, leaning against her car with a big grin on her face, he rushed outside to meet her.

“Where the hell have you been?”

“Just be grateful that I wasted my time with your petty request.”

They stared at each other for a second before the grin replaced her dismay at his tone.

“Where is it?”

“In the boot.”

He glanced at the rear end of the car, about to move when she dangled the keys in front of his face. His hand shot towards them but he was still to slow. She laughed, “Can’t want it that much.”

He made a grab for it again but missed, “Stop messing around now, this is serious.” He was pissed off. The smile dropped from her face as she threw the keys at him.

They went to the boot. Nathan gave a glance round to see if anyone was watching, before he put the key in and opened it halfway.

She couldn’t see his face; he’d leaned to far in.

He let the boot open all the way and turned to her, “What the hell is this?”

“I know it’s not in a bag, but they’re 5p now don’t you know?”

“This is a joke, this isn’t what I asked for, you know what I asked for, seriously, where is it.”

“This is everything you asked for Nathan, look at the text.”

She showed him the text she’d received, which she had clearly gotten mixed up!

He slammed the boot shut and stormed back inside.

“Yeah all that was about £20, pay me later yeah?”

His door slams.

Storyboard:

IMG_0265IMG_0268

Flash Fiction Idea

As a media producer, ideas are supposed to be bread and butter to us. But ask someone to write a script on the spot without stopping and the narrative becomes diluted and without proper structure. However, ideas flow out of your fingers that you never thought you had. It is then a matter of sieving through these ideas and adding structure.

As a group, we analysed our ideas and came up with an idea based on this two images:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 10.45.04We were excited about using this first image as it could lead to many different narrative points and left us with a many different ways in which we could create an intriguing story around the image and how the characters got to that frame.

IMG_0310When looking for creative inspiration, the first place you look into your own lives, whether that is literal or the society around you that you often see and perhaps are affected by. One thing we have experienced as a group, not necessarily first hand, is drug culture.

Our second image is this message, received by a friend, from a drug dealer. We decided to incorporate this image into our story due to the slang used in the message. Blue cheese? To most people this wouldn’t initially stand out to them as a drug reference.

When undertaking further research, it became apparent that a number of drugs had nicknames which correlated with food names:

Cocaine – Sugar, Depressants – M&M’s, Heroin – Brown Sugar, Marijuana – Herbs, Mescaline – Beans, MDMA – Disco Biscuits, Opium – Chocolate. Psilocin – Mushrooms. (Staff, 2007)

So, our idea was to play on the fact of people’s lack of knowledge and portray one character as someone who was very aware of the drug culture and another who is hopelessly unaware, mixing up the others drug orders for groceries.

To create comedy around the idea we want to be able to hint at it all throughout through confusion in dialogue and suggestive cinematics. This will be done by giving the audience suggestions by the actor imitating drug takers habits through actions and dialogue. When undertaking research, we found out that anger, paranoia, suspicious behaviour, mood swings and life revolving around drug taking are all common signs of drug addicts. (Narconon – Addiction and Recovery, 2015) (Helpguide.org, 2015)All of these we aim to personify in our actor. This will give the audience the maximum chance of understanding the underlying drug theme without explicitly saying it. Hopefully having the other actors confusion conflicting with the main actors drug obsession and then, at the end, having a grand reveal of the groceries it will be a very gratifying and comedic ending.

To fully be able to create an artifact of the highest quality, we must do some further research into the comedy genre. “There is no single adequate theory of comedy, despite various efforts to produce an all-embracing account. Various different theoretical approaches are available and of differing degrees of use, depending on the precise nature of the comedy involved in any individual case and the different questions we might seek to answer.” (King, 2002). So, we must identify the topic we are trying to tackle so we know what type of comedic approach to take. Whilst we are tackling a topic of drugs, we can repurpose what is not generally seen as a comedic topic to be funny. “Material not intended to be in the realm of comedy can also be re-purposed to comical or partially comical effect…. in a manner that renders it to be absurd”. (King, 2002). So, by making this topic absolutely absurd we can create comedy rather than the usual dramatic sense that drugs are usually seen in.

References

King, G. (2002). Film comedy. London: Wallflower Press. p.5. p.200-201.

Staff, C. (2007). Top 20 Drugs And Their Street Names. [online] Casa Palmera. Available at: https://casapalmera.com/top-20-drugs-and-their-street-names/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2015].

Narconon – Addiction and Recovery, (2015). The 5 Most Common Behavior Traits of an Addict | Narconon – Addiction and Recovery. [online] Available at: http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/5-common-behavior-traits-addict/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2015].

Helpguide.org, (2015). Drug Abuse and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drug Problems & Substance Abuse. [online] Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/drug-abuse-and-addiction.htm [Accessed 24 Oct. 2015].