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.

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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:
marboaproject.net

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

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

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.