Wednesday, 13 January 2010

We're Ba-aaaack!

The first week back is usually the worst. After three weeks of delicious lie-ins and generally not doing very much at all (on my days off, that is), the prospect of hauling my sorry self out of bed at 7am sounded as enticing as going on Blind Date and winning a wet weekend in Margate with Peter Tobin. Praise be then, that our first class of the shiny new term wasn't until 2pm on Monday- perfect, especially since a successful decorating stint at work the previous night had led to a few celebratory, umm, sherries.

Term commenced in our home from home, the delectable AGOS 9. We had a nice little introduction into the history of cinema.- which I have studied before and therefore is the one class I don't feel the need to scribble furious notes down verbatim. So, a gentle introduction to the new term considering we were only in for an hour or so! I did feel particularly guilty so that night I went home and tried to remember everything I'd watched during my sloth-like Christmas period.

Next day was one I was looking forward to, but not... It was our first day of lighting with Ray. I found camera class the most challenging last term, it didn't click as quickly for me as it did the others. Mostly because early in the term I was hefty feart of the camera and couldn't trust myself to pick it up. I'd made a resolution that I was going to be more forward with techy classes; a decision I came to regret when having to cart a monitor and lighting stands up to the second floor.

Still, it paid off and as well as fairly impressive biceps (HA!) I also got a chance to put a camera on the tripod AND attach, detach and re-attach a lamp. I think now that the focus isn't primarily on camera it'll seem less of a Huge Scary Thing, and it'll become like second nature before long. I hope. Yes... We had to connect the camera and monitor and see what a shot looked like with lighting behind it. Chris and I had to sit in the dreaded hot seat to see how our mugs looked when we were all lit up proper. I liked adding another element to what we've already learned and even just sitting in a chair with the lamps on looked much more 'professional' (for lack of a better word)... like a 'real' shot, rather than just pointing the camera at something.

Wednesday meant yet another shiny new room, the board room- terribly exciting stuff! Honestly, after pretty much a full term in AGOS 9 any other room is like a holiday. The class was on authorship in television. We'd been prepped beforehand that it'd be quite dry and statistic-y and dull but, in the end, I actually found it really interesting.
(BY THE WAY- d'ya know the effort I went to, to get this picture? Google toolbar autofill kept throwing up images of The Streets and Mike Skinner's greasy mug. So, take in Matt Smith and his handsome face. Enjoy it).

We were discussing who really creates television- the writers? Producers? Directors? With film, I think, it's more of a director's medium. Or at least, we assume it is. Film and television are both collaborative efforts- there's no way anyone could make an entire film or TV series entirely by themselves. Or if they did, it'd be quite a feat- and probably a really, really boring one. Television seems to be more variable with regards to authorship- we learned that in its formative years it was largely producer-driven, but during the 1960s the industry expanded and a (relatively) young generation of new writers and directors flooded in, fresh from university. It's useful for us, a class of uni students aspiring to work in the industry. In saying that, we're alot better off even than this generation, so when we graduate we'll be even better placed to move into working in film and TV. Always reassuring!

In the second half of the lesson, we watched an episode of The Street. I'd never watched it before; I actually thought it was some sort of reality show- like The Family, that kind of thing. HOW WRONG WAS I?? After about five minutes, I was completely absorbed. It was fairly realistic in style, and made it feel like we were in the room with the characters. As each episode deals with a different family, I didn't feel like we were missing out or had anything to catch up on. The performances were phenomenal too- even though most of the actors were recognisable faces it never felt like we were watching 'the new Doctor' or 'him out Harry Potter'. Every character was totally believable and I really empathised with them as they agonised to make the right decision. I won't revel too much, but it's gripping stuff- it made me want to watch every other episode, despite them not being related at all to the one we saw.

One thing which particularly interested me was the different ways in which a show can be authored. Of these, I quite fancied the idea of being a show runner... getting all the credit for coming up with an idea, and maybe writing a few episodes? I can but dream, eh... Definitely sounds alot more appealing than fighting for attention to get even a single joke included in a writer's room full of men...

Thursday was a write-off for us as our one class with Adam was cancelled. I vowed to get hasty with my scriptwriting for Richard, and catch up on some serious blogging. BUUUUT then I got a bundle of Christmas money I'd put aside for a free day and went on a much needed shopping spree. I know, I know, it's hardly an excuse for blowing off work time, but I haven't been clothes shopping in over a year, so it was TOTALLY justified. I bought a couple of DVDs too, so really it was research.....*ahem* I WILL write a blog about the films I bought, but as yet I've only watched one of them (Takashi Miike's Audition)...and it was quite traumatising. I've seen it before, but it was about 4 years ago and I couldn't bring myself to watch the end of it then. I did have a conversation about it with the girl who served me in FOPP though, so that counts. Kind of. If me foaming at the mouth about how good it is counts as serious film discussion.... I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to horror films- for me Spanish and Asian horrors are the best in recent years because they're actually scary, and not just an excuse for frustratingly stupid American bimbos to run around in little t-shirts and scream.

For our first screening of the new term, we were... treated... to a different kind of foreign film- the black and white 1925 Russian film Battleship Potemkin. I've seen it before...partly. I think we were shown it at uni and somehow I, umm, lost consciousness about halfway in. Oops! Thankfully I didn't this time, and made it through the whole film. And oh my, was it dull. It seemed to me the whole thing was about a revolution on the basis of some sailor dudes not liking their dinner. Hmm, thrilling. The most amusing part was a man with no legs making it down the stairs faster than everyone else, and a brief flash of colour when a red flag was raised on ship. It was grey again by the next scene. Oh, well. Andy had explained beforehand how the Russians were masters of editing in the early days though, and the film was surprisingly fast paced for one of its time. Clearly alot of work had gone into it, although I found myself watching for cuts instead of watching it as I would any other film.

After class, I went to meet my friend Iain who I used to go to the pictures with pretty much aaaaall the time. Our original plan was Book of Eli but it wasn't on for another 2 hours so we opted for Daybreakers instead. It sounded so promising- vampires have taken over 95% of the population, and the remainder of humans are being farmed for blood. However, their world is being threatened by global blood shoartages and it's up to haematologist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) to find a substitute. He's one of these new 'sympathetic' vampires who refuses to drink human blood, although his substitute trials are dangerously unstable. He meets a group of rebel humans led by Willem Defoe, and discovers there's actually a cure for vampirism. I didn't actually know anything about the film beforehand, but it was a huge letdown. The first 15 minutes were promising until the appearance of Ethan's brother, who stank up the screen in a performance so wooden he should have been Ronsealed. Willem Defoe was criminally underused, aside from a few killer one-liners, and nothing happened with the female human character. I imagine she was brought in as a supposed love interest, but there was nothing between her and Edward and really, there was no need for her at all. A bit like Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York; the writers probably thought they had to shoehorn in a female role despite there being absolutely no need for one. Also, a few things about the main character... a vampire called Edward? Who doesn't drink human blood? I'm sure I've read and watched this somewhere before....! Vampires, particularly teen-orientated ones, have taken over cinema and TV in the last year or so, and it's getting more than a little bit boring. Roll on, The Wolfman!

Aaaannnyway, that brings us right up to date for week one. I finally used my Cineworld card, although next time I'll check movie times beforehand and pick something more worthy of my £13.50. I learned how to put a lamp onto a stand (this is a huge deal for me, believe me). I bought a DVD I've been desperate to own for ages, and another one I've always wanted to see. I discovered a new TV programme to get stuck into, as I'm currently suffering from X-Files Overload. Honestly, I'm one episode away from running about Buchanan Street in a trenchcoat asking people what they know about the truth....

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth Ada I think Audition is the scariest film ever made.