Skill Development

In order to survive in today’s working climate, it seems as though being multi-talented is becoming compulsory. It’s something that has been taught to me during my time at BOA as well as seeing it in practice in the real world. Take a look the next time you go and order in a restaurant. The waiter does not just bring over food and take orders. The waiter might also work behind the bar, clean the restaurant and even prepare some of the desserts. So why should I expect to be any different?
Recently I have been expanding my skills by learning how to code. Although this is not directly related to media industry it is a skill that is in the same general field and I am certain it will be useful. The idea to code initially came from thinking about what services I could offer as a freelance professional alongside my University studies, the first thought being to help create online advertisements for local businesses. However, how useful will these advertisements be, buried on the company website, many local businesses do not have much of an online presence outside of a Facebook page. To put it in simpler terms, it is vertical integration.
As complicated and as difficult as learning to code may sound, it is actually very simple and is also free to learn online. I have been learning to code through the website ‘Codecademy’. It’s extremely unusual to find a service this good for free. The website clean and aesthetically pleasing( something you’d expect from a website teaching how to make websites) and extremely informative. I can not recommend it more.

Delete me

BOA and Beyond

Almost two years ago I began my Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production at Birmingham Ormiston Academy. My course has finally finished and although my grades are not yet set in stone, I am fairly certain that I have achieved a high grade for this course. What I am certain of is that for me, going to BOA has been a success and the best decision I could have made.
This course and my time at BOA has been about more than just getting good grades at the end. It’s been about more than a piece of paper that says how well I did here. It has been about learning new skills and developing myself as a person and a media professional. The things I have learned from my tutors, Nathan Dodzo and Eric Pryce will be invaluable as I go through life.
So now that BOA is finished I will be moving onto my new course at Birmingham City University, a BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Television Production). To me this is the best course that I could have picked, at one of the best Universities that I could have picked. I was accepted into the acclaimed Ravensbourne School of Art and Design in London onto their television production course. However, in terms of television production, I found the course lacking compared to BCU. The course at BCU also enables me to learn a large range of skills, something that our changing industry is now asking for as a requirement.
My idea of my future is constantly changing as I have new experiences and come up with new ideas. I would like to work in the television industry as a production manager as having experienced this position during the last two years, I feel as though it is the most exciting to me. However I am also extremely interested in being my own boss,  creating my own production company and having the freedom to create my own shows . To do this would require a large amount of industry experience and perhaps is something further along in my life.
This blog was formerly used to store all of my coursework, however now as I develop my career, it will be updated with progress in my career as well as other thoughts as I see fit.

Malta Mobility Project Evaluation 2014

The Malta Mobility Project has been a success for all involved. I think the general group consensus is that it truly was a once in a lifetime experience. Of course there were mistakes that were made and lessons that could have been learnt, however that is to be expected from a project of this scale. However, I personally am fairly satisfied with the way that the experience went.
Our preproduction got underway on the 21/01/14 and our last meeting was 11/02/14, however pre-production was not finished until the day before we left for Malta. Generally, our pre-production work was tight. Our research manager Ellie, took charge of delegating who research which topics and although at first I was concerned with the amount of research that she had given herself, she managed to do it all in an extremely swift manner. It felt to me, however, that our research didn’t really need to be that in-depth. Many of the things that we had gone away and researched we then learned about on the tours that we went on. Whilst it was useful to have some contextual knowledge, and to be able to show that were not ignorant of Malta, and that we were trying to show how to correctly work in the industry, I feel as though going as deep with our research as we did was a waste of time.
We finally got to Malta on the 21/02/14 and we were greeted by Charles Theuma, the principal of St. Martin’s Institute and the first day was a free day to familiarise ourselves with the island and our hostel.
On 22/02/14, we went to St. Martin’s Institute and met the Maltese students that we would be working with for the next two weeks or so. In hindsight, connecting with the Maltese students earlier in the project via email, or even Skype would have made for a much better project. We could have identified which areas the students wanted to develop skills in and made sure that there were things for them to do in that area. Another issue was that some of the students were not fully informed what the project was going to be. This felt as though it was more of a miscommunication, however it led to the Maltese students sometimes not having anything to do. We also had all of our lectures on this day too. I feel as though this was good as it would have been much easier as opposed to having the lectures spread across the days.
The next two days were purely tours that took us to some of the best places in Malta. These included the ancient temples of Malta, where there is a deep history of man dating back to around 5200BC. Probably the most impressive place that we went to was the Grandmaster’s Palace. Not many people get to go to this place and so for this to be organised is quite incredible and is a testament to the organisation of the MarBOA project. We also got our brief from a representative from the MTA. I feel as though as a group we would have been better prepared if we had gotten the brief earlier. An earlier brief would have been better as we could have gotten a better idea of some of the things that should be in the final product. Having the brief when we started would also have been significantly better as we could have honed in our research instead of having it so broad. Our first production meeting with our new Maltese team members also went extremely well.
Over the next couple of days we experienced different aspects of Malta, including getting meeting the mayor of Valletta, probably one of the biggest honours on the trip.
I think one of the biggest problems with the Mobility Project was the effective use of the Maltese students. At times it the students had very little to do and it felt like they were fed up with waiting around. I think this was partly because the timing of the trip was wrong as they had their exams the following week. It is also partly because it felt as though the students weren’t that interested in film.
The trip to Gozo was an interesting experience and one that I fully enjoyed. It was odd as it felt as though Gozo was a break away from doing the production work in Malta, however it was an incredible experience. I think in the future a trip to Gozo or even Comino can be viewed as a chance to create a secondary product about the island itself. One of the problems was that at the time we visited Gozo, we had already decided and mapped out our product, so at times it felt as though the trip was more for recreation. However in terms of the cultural exchange, it was immeasurably valuable.
After we came back from Gozo we got into typical production mode, which unfortunately was a slight issue. During a production, the whole crew will not be involved in the actual filming of the product. This left the issue of that sometimes the rest of the crew had very little to do, which in turn is probably the reason as to why the Maltese students felt frustrated. This was rectified as Mr Dodzo began to find projects and other things for us to do, which, on reflection, should have been the initiative that the students took. However, for many of us, we did not consider branching out as we had the task at hand. If I could do it again, I would put more emphasis on doing secondary projects and exploring other avenues.
In terms of my group I think that we all worked extremely well. Our director, Connor Hickey  was a very efficient director. He was sure and firm in what he wanted and took suggestions when necessary. Although at times he was overbearing and his decisions felt slightly brash, I feel that these actions were completely justified by his role as a director.
Our camera operator and editor, Laythan Jones, was also extremely efficient at his job. He is an extremely skilled camera operator and highly professional.
I believe I worked well with the fellow production manager, Jodie Hadley. When there was a job that was needed to be done, she would complete it with an incredible level of professionalism and with the level of urgency required. At times, there was not enough of work for the both of us, however Jodie managed to find another project to keep herself busy with.
Our project researcher, Eleanor Jordan, also worked very hard. During our time in England before we left for Malta, she led the researching very well, directing the areas that we should research, as well as taking in suggestions from the rest of the group. At times, however it felt as though she was giving herself too much work to do, although she managed to complete it on time.
In conclusion, the Malta Mobility Project can be regarded as a success. The Project was not without its flaws, however as Mr Dodzo said before we left, it truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity. For more information, please visit the Marboa blog:

Half-Term Reflection

Things that I have left to do:

Multicamera Production – I have been hired to help film Jodie’s multicamera, which will fulfil my production. I am also in the middle of producing a QuestionTime multicamera production and a game show called “The Ultimate Pathway”.
I need to complete my evaluation for my Single Camera Drama
I need to complete my evaluation for my Final Major Project
I need to complete my evaluation
I need to complete my showreel
I need to complete my Music-Based Programming production and evaluation
I need to complete the entirety of my Editing Techniques unit.

BOA: Evaluation

I’ve been at BOA for eleven months now and I thought it would be a good idea to collect my thoughts on the year.
It’s been one of the most interesting and productive years. I came into the year not entirely sure what direction I next wanted to take my future and although I am still not entirely sure what I want to do with my future. I feel as though my future lies somewhere in News Production or even broader in T.V Production.
I think my biggest downfall was choosing to take two A-Levels alongside my BTEC. I vastly underestimated the strain that this would take on me, along with having a part-time job, completing my gold DofE and other commitments. Next year I will not be taking the A2 maths course, freeing up a large amount of time for things more worth while.
Another significant downfall of mine was probably how content I was at the start with sitting back and relaxing, taking my foot off the gas. I started year well, getting involved in various projects. However I feel as though I hadn’t quite adapted to college live and I assumed that these opportunities would keep coming to me if I didn’t deliver. I feel as though that is the main reason for me being so stagnant for the first portion of the year. Some of the more successful students in my class have already had a year at college, adapting to the changes, this is why I feel my second year will be so productive.
Having said that, I am proud of all of my work this year, although some not as good as others, I feel as though I have learnt a large amount from all of it. I think I am most proud of the news piece that I have put together along with my partner Laythan Jones. I think it is the only product that had truly shown me the importance of in-depth research and how much is required for putting together a successful piece.


Argo was one of the big winners at this month’s awards season. To put it simply, this was a movie about Americans, by Americans, for Americans.

argoArgo isn’t a terrible film at all. It is very well made and some dialogue is very well done. The film has been given a distinctive style from Ben Affleck, which is quite entertaining and overall the plot is good at building tension. I especially enjoyed the way Affleck created the 70’s/80’s look for each of the characters and the set. He captured the time period extremely well.However it didn’t feel Oscar worthy. It didn’t feel like an award-winning film.

Easily the main reason that I didn’t find Argo too enjoyable was the memorable acting of Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck’s performance in Argo is one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen in a movie, especially of this caliber. I don’t think Affleck’s face moved, once during the entire film. You see Ben’s face in the poster? That’s the face of Ben Affleck for two hours, save for a smirk every now and again. I understand that for a third of the film he’s trying to look normal and act cool, but even during his break-down scene, he has the expressionless face. An award-winning film should surely have a strong lead. I presume that no one wanted to tell the director how much of a poor job he was doing.

Another main problem was that Argo in general seemed to have an agenda and therefore was predictable. It was like the CIA and America could do no wrong in Argo and any hardships faced could be dealt with solely by them. This meant that no matter what danger the group were in, no matter how tense Affleck tried to make it, it was always undercut by the fact that the CIA would win. It was so obviously structured that it became boring.
The way that the facts were skewed in Argo also suggested that they had an agenda. I know that the term “based on a true story” means almost nothing in Hollywood but the way that the story of Argo was told was a little bit too American for my liking. Britain weren’t given any credit whatsoever in the film and Canada’s role in the film was drastically downplayed. However if this film was about Britain and MI6, I’m sure the British public wouldn’t mind the facts being changed at all.

I give Argo a 5 out of 10 for it’s distinctive periodic style, good dialogue at times and for Ben Affleck’s terrible performance

Has Glee broken the law on copyright?

So, it seems that the acclaimed television program Glee may have taken a step too far with one of it’s covers this time, completely ripping someone off. Or have they?

So the story so far is that a couple of weeks ago Glee released their cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”. This was normal procedure as they usually release their  songs two weeks in advance of the episode airing. Here is the song:

The song sounds very similar, in fact almost identical to Jonathan Coulton’s cover of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Jonathan’s song goes like this:

The songs are practically identical. Obviously Jonathan gets upset and decides to look at taking legal action. Eventually FOX (the creators of Glee) respond by saying that “they’re within their legal right to do this”, which is completely true. The company stated that Jonathan should be happy with the exposure that he’s getting and basically suck it up. However Jon isn’t credited in the episode once, nor has he received any royalties for the iTunes release or the actual episode. FOX have essentially admitted that they’ve ripped-off Coulton.

The only case Coulton even has is if Glee directly used his audio track to create their own as that would be a textbook copyright lawsuit. Although Jonathan doesn’t really have a case anyway (FOX is too big a company to be sued), it is quite interesting to look at the case. Coulton’s licence used to create the cover states that his cover cannot differ too much from the original and that new work by Jonathan isn’t covered by copyright. Jonathan added a melody, changed the arrangement and changed the message of Baby Got Back, which some would argue is enough for Jonathan to call the song his own.

To get his own back Coulton has re-released his cover, calling it a cover of the Glee cover and is donating all the money to Glee-backed charities. Technically speaking because he did not acquire a licence to do this cover of the Glee song, he is liable for a copyright charge for covering what is his own song. If FOX were to take him to court it would make for a very interesting court case. No comment yet from Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Copyright laws and intellectual property is generally very hard to wrap your head around. Many of the facts that are being thrown around about this case are untrue, so some of this blog may be inaccurate, however my understanding is that Jonathan has no legal rights to anything that FOX has made, whether it was stolen from him or not. Ethically, what FOX did was wrong, but there is no space for ethics in business.

Harry Fox Licence

Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad had a large amount of promise before it’s release but due to it being pushed back and having many scenes re-shot in the wake of the Aurora tragedy, by the time it was released the excitement was gone and we are left with a sub-par film.

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So in my opinion Gangster Squad was a poor film. There’s no getting around that. I feel like the director knew that too and so tried to cover it up with the excessive amount of blood and brutality within the film. It just went over the top, it became too realistic. I’m sure gangsters did do that, I’m sure they went round bashing people in the eyeball with screwdrivers, but I don’t really want to see that in all it’s glory. The problem was that the brutality wasn’t really advertised, so it was a shock to see it, I feel like the whole cinema recoiled slightly the first time someone got beaten up.

Now, I love Ryan Gosling as much as the next guy, but there was a problem with him in this film. I’m not sure whether it’s just me that had this issue but there was something wrong with his voice. Gosling’s character has a voice like an angel, which would be fine if he wasn’t playing an undercover cop battling against organised crime. Over the course of the film it lowers, but at the start I found it very difficult to understand what he was saying.

On the upside, Sean Penn’s acting was amazing. His character should have been given way more monologues, or even should have been the anti-hero in this film as Josh Brolin’s character just isn’t relatable. Josh’s character makes some bad decisions in terms of his family and came off as quite a cold character. I think here lies the main reason as to why I didn’t enjoy Gangster Squad: Brolin’s character was so unrelatable to me, that I couldn’t feel too sad when things went bad for him (when his friend dies), likewise I couldn’t feel too happy when things when well for him (when the mob boss is caught).
I suppose everyone else’s acting was okay, good enough so that it wasn’t bad. Visually the film was on point, I didn’t spot anything that looked too off, it was very well polished. The car chase scene in particular was noticeably good, probably one of the better scenes in this film.

The film’s conclusion also bothers me greatly. Gosling’s character keeps mentioning that having a strategy is important. It is shown that when they don’t have a strategy, things go wrong. So why is everything resolved by the squad going in and just shooting at everyone and everything until the mob boss dies? It actually makes me angry that that was the ending. It was done just to have a massive shoot-out which, although looked cool, was completely unnecessary. I would have been much happier with a very strategic plan, well executed plan, not this royal rumble that we’re presented with.

I give this film a 5 out of 10 for it’s good car chase scene, Sean Penn’s acting and disappointing ending.

Django Unchained

Django Unchained was definitely the best film I’ve seen this year. Whilst that isn’t much of an achievement right now, I reckon I’ll be saying that in at least six months time.


The performances in Django Unchained is just one of the many reason that I enjoyed this film. The performances from Christopher Waltz, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio were just incredible. A notable performance also came from Kerry Washington. I’m not sure if it was because her character had such emotional scenes, but her performance was easily my favourite. I was captivated constantly during almost all of her screen time.

The way Django was structured was very noticeable to me and played a major role in my enjoyment of this movie. Tarantino split Django into thirds. The first third was humorous, in particular the Klu Klux Klan scene was brilliant; the second third was serious and the tension rose, this takes place in the presence of DiCaprio and culminates in the death of DiCaprio’s character, and the final third was all about retribution, focusing mainly on Django and wrapping up loose ends.

There has been some criticism on how slavery is represented in Django. Obviously a film about slavery is going to attract a large amount of discussion and some people will automatically dislike it, for whatever reason. Film director Spike Lee also had some controversial comments to make about Django film. Directed at Tarantino, Lee is quoted at saying “What does he want to be made, an honorary black man?”. This is in relation to Quentin’s over-use of the word nigger (apparently used over 100 times during the film). Now, although I agree that it was over-used I also believe it was completely contextual. That is how people spoke back then and generally how black people were referenced.

There were very few criticisms I had of Django. At one stage the film slowed down too much for it to be enjoyable and it almost broke the tension completely. We also didn’t get much backstory from the German doctor, why or how he became a bounty hunter, I felt as though the film kind of skirmishes around the Doctor’s past and motives. The luck and skill of Django towards the end is also doubtable, although I’m willing to let it slide as it was fun to watch.

In conclusion, Django is a must-watch film for any Tarantino fans and fans of good cinema in general. I give this film a 9 out of 10  for it’s superb plot, performances and lack of depth in certain areas.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 2

Coming from a former Twihard, Breaking Dawn part 2 was a disappointing conclusion to the saga.

There isn’t really one overriding reason as to why I didn’t like this film, it was more a combination of really annoying little things.
Firstly, Taylor Launter delivered a terrible performance as Jacob Black. You know when your school puts on a play and you go and have a look and it’s usually full an assortment of bad actors? It was similar to that. Everything from the delivery of his lines, to his movements was just stiff. Also Jacob and the wolfpack were essentially useless in the entire film.
Secondly, I had a major problem with the green-screening. Maybe this is where I’m being too harsh, but the green-screening looked like I’d done it myself. For all of those who aren’t aware, the use of a green screen in a film is when you need to take a character and put them on a different backdrop. It was generally over-used and in a very noticable way.
Thirdly, was the issue of the CGI. I understand that babies are very difficult to work with, that they don’t often cooperate and that their demand are quite high. But there was absolutely no need to have a CGI baby. I was genuinely angry at the baby. I felt serious anger towards it. You know, it’s not even that the CGI was used, it was just that it was so badly. There was also a small amount of CGI used again at the very end of the film which was just disgusting.
I was a little disturbed about the level of violence and sex in this film and the way inwhich it is displayed. I don’t think I’m a very conservative person or anything, but when Bella is having sex with Edward, at one stage there is a face shot of Bella. Now in this close-up, Bella is obviously having a good time, she’s having such a good time that for a small moment the screen turns a sparkling and gold. I’m not quite sure what message the director is trying to say, but exposing an 8-year-old (there was one in the showing I was in) to that kind of footage seems a little strange. The head ripping and baby burning was a little morbid and grim considering practically anyone can go and see Twilight.

Now, after all of that, Twilight had one redeeming feature, the fight scene at the end. The entire film was pretty dull, until said fight scene. It genuinely had me on the edge of my seat with my mouth wide open. If only the battle scene hadn’t been rendered utterly pointless by the following scene. Having read all of the books, this unexpected fight scene was actually quite captivating. It’s just a shame the rest of the film wasn’t as exciting.

In conclusion, Breaking Dawn part 2 was an okay end to a poor saga. Perhaps not the best in the saga, but definitely up there. I rate this film a 4.5 out of 10 for it’s poor CGI, poor acting but epic fight scene.