Friday, 18 May 2012

Land Documentary and Analysis

The original plan for our project was to base it on William Cobbett and Rural Rides. This meant that we would do all of our filming in Hampshire, both the countryside and the towns, juxtaposing together. We also filmed in Salisbury too as Cobbett spoke about this town. We planned a sunrise so as the sun was rising and time was moving on we would have less of the countryside and more and more of the towns. Please refer to Appendix A to see our entire running order for the documentary.

We agreed that we needed a historian to talk about Cobbett and pull the documentary together. Richard Ingrams wrote a biography about the poet entitled, ‘The Life and Adventures of William Cobbett’. He would have been able to give the documentary much more knowledge and a famous name. We were not able to get him, through many different communications so we decided to try and find a historian on campus. We did feel that our documentary just needed someone to talk about Cobbett and not necessarily be well known. Dr Jean Morrin agreed to be filmed and said that she knew quite a bit about the poet.

Her interview went really well but when we started editing we realised that there was a grain on her voice that we could not rectify. As we were short on time before showing our rushes we decided to keep it in but re-do it later. Having her in the rushes just showed what she looked like and the knowledge of Cobbett that she had.

We picked some of our best shots for our rushes but I found that our shots of the towns, such as Southampton and Winchester just were not as nice or as well filmed as the ones of the countryside. We had a lot of problems with some having lots of the public in that were recognisable and even though this was an art documentary we were still aware of showing peoples identity.

After we showed our rushes I felt a lot more confident in our project. We were told to scrap the interview with Dr Morrin, there were sound problems, and she waffled a lot. We needed succinct sound bites to be used throughout our documentary and not told a story. We were also told to cut out most of the city shots, to get rid of William Cobbett completely and to make it all about the poem; The Mask of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the music, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

This worked out well for us because we had Professor Anthony Dean recorded reading the entire poem all ready. His voice was very clear and he put emotions in to the poem at the correct parts.

We started again placing every best shot we had as well as filming in the fields on the outskirts of Winchester. We felt we needed some more simple shots of the countryside and more colour. We started with the pictures instead of the music or the poem. We are always told write to the pictures but in this case, the best parts of our documentary were the poem and the music and we needed to lay them down first; however we did not realise this until Professor Chris Horrie pointed it out to us. They were our strongest points and so they needed to come first.

We cut up the music to stings, themes, pattering and the bed of the music. Second, we chose the best stanzas of the poem, the ones with the most emotion and drama. We laid these down and put a sting after every stanza Professor Dean spoke. Then we put in the bed and mixed the two together. Lastly we put in some themes and some pattering in places we thought were too quiet. Once we had done this everything else flowed so smoothly and I think we now have a much better documentary.

To explain the poem we had an English student, Hollie Ward record a script we wrote for her. The script is in Appendix B. We did not use everything; just some parts we thought were necessary and tied her parts in with the music and Professor Dean. Originally we were going to have stanza’s, 10,11,12,39,40,41 and 91 but when we changed our focus we changed the stanzas too. However our script for Hollie still made sense so we did not have to re-film her. Lastly, we laid the pictures in, making sure for some of them that when there was a sting the picture changed.

We were advised to cut the sunrise out at the beginning as it was not telling a story but as a group we decided to keep it in. It was no longer the beginning of a story but starting our documentary and the poem. It was really beautiful and went with the music amazingly well. I decided that our pictures juxtaposed with the poem and what was scripted for Hollie. Both were about riots, starvation, deportation and feudalism, put against a backdrop of beautiful pictures and music. This is why I thought that the sunrise should stay.

I think that our documentary started to look better as soon as we focused on the music and poem. We understood them both and knew exactly what we wanted to do with it. When we were trying to focus on William Cobbett we were always a little confused and I did not know how to show it though pictures. Our plan was hazy and not very artistic, it was very plain and I do not think it would hold anyone’s attention for five minutes.

Since our focus changed the documentary started to look better and better. I found the locations for filming and think that these locations worked well for both the documentaries we did but they really stand out in our final documentary with The Mask of Anarchy and Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis.

Magazine Spread Analysis

My first magazine spread is a confessional about throat cancer. I decided to do this because a confessional is very structured and I had an acquaintance that had had cancer. I did now know until I interviewed John Atkinson that he had had cancer three times but it made the article even better.

Whilst interviewing Mr Atkinson I had questions prepared and I tried to make a timeline as he told his story. This helped immensely when writing the article. I took notes and recorded him whilst he spoke; I then loosely transcribed the interview and combined it with my notes. 

As it was a confessional I tried to get him to remember how he felt during his experiences. I noticed that he seemed very reluctant to try and remember his feelings and at one point I found I had pushed him too far and he needed a break. At this point I did get the feeling that the article, if written right, would show emotions to the reader too. 

When writing the article I kept the main, distinct features of a confessional in mind. That it should be written in first person, should have a general beginning, have drama throughout and that it should end on a high and have the whole story wrapped up in the last sentence. Following this structure meant that I was sticking to the confessional criteria throughout the article. 

Once I had the article I started to put the spread together in Fireworks, I wanted this to look like a confessional in a type of ‘real life’ magazine. To do this whilst making the spread I looked over magazines such as, ‘Pick me Up’, ‘Closer’ and the confessional spreads in ‘Cosmopolitan’. They all stuck to a simple spread of just a couple of pictures, a headline and then columns for the story . 

Some of the magazines had dramatic lines picked out of the story and placed in bold on the page and I decided to do this too. Mr Atkinson had a difficult and shocking experience during his time with cancer and I thought it may help to pull the reader in with the headline, “My Triple Cancer Hell, but I’m still winning!” and bold quotes such as, “a steel plate, staples and stitches held my jaw in place. 

I kept it on a white background to accentuate the words and keep the attention on the article and the pictures of Mr Atkinson. It was quite hard to put the article in columns and keep the columns a certain size, without it all looking squashed and a little boring. I think I managed it well and I do think that this spread could easily be found in a magazine like, ‘Real Life’. 

My second magazine spread is part review/part general feature. I wanted to write something about Rome. It would mean that this spread would draw the reader in with the pictures and the look of the spread as opposed to the story itself. I visited Rome last summer so I was able to use my own pictures, which meant no copyright. 

In class we had no focused on the structure of a general feature so I tried to find my structure in other magazines that I thought my spread would appear in. To get ideas of travel features I looked through Tattler, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. In Tattler I found that their spread and introduction was about the Caribbean Islands but they then went in to detail in to each Island and separated them with little lines. I thought that this would be perfect for my travel article. 

I picked four main areas to focus on based on my best pictures. They were Pompeii, The Vatican, Rome itself and the Trevi fountain. As with news I thought that it would be best to write to my best pictures as this would be what pulled the reader in. 

I laid them out in the same way as the spread in Tattler looked and then wrote my article for each section. I did not want to write in first person saying, “I did this,” and “you have to try that.” I wrote in third person giving facts and examples. This meant that the reader would learn about Rome, what there was to do there and how to do it without getting an opinion from the writer. 

This spread would be found in a lifestyle magazine for people that could afford to go on holiday and would look in the magazine for things to do whilst on holiday. I found this spread a lot harder to do than my first with Mr Atkinson as there was not much structure and it was mostly based on the spread itself than the article.

I do not think that both these spreads would be in the same magazine, they are tailored to two different types of magazine reader. The first is more of a real life magazine whilst my second spread is more for a glossy magazine with readers that have money to spend on luxury items.

Please find both my magazine spreads in the previous two spreads.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Magazine Spread - My triple cancer hell, 'but I'm still winnng!'

John's story is very sad and for a few years death was at his door but he is fighting fit now and ready to take on anything.

Please click on the picture to see the spread in full.

Magazine Spread - City Escape: Roma!

Please click on the picture above to see it in a larger format. If you need any additional information about Rome I have another blog about it in December 2011.

Tell me what you think about my first Magaxine Spread.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Katy Perry Profile

Christian, bi-curios Katy Perry is divorcing comedian husband Russell Brand. After the year long marriage comes to an we take a look at where Katy's been and what the future may hold.

Failed folk singer, Katy Hudson shot to fame after throwing off her christian image and proclaiming she 'kissed a girl.' A change of name, a fourth recording contact and a multi million selling album, One of the Boys, meant she had finally made it in the career; she dropped out of high school for.

Taking her mothers maiden name Katy Perry started receiving attention from the press with her christian childhood contrasting with the bi-curious singer she was becoming. Tabloids commented on how ashamed her religious parents were that she was 'promoting a sin'. Mary and Keith have since said how proud they are of their middle child and that forgiveness is part of the bible.

After never being allowed to have MTV or VH1 on in the house, she is now a singer that dominates them with top ten hits such as California Gurls, Fireworks and E.T. Her world tour in 2011, California Dreams, ran for just shy of 1 year and earned her nearly 50 million dollars. There were acts in Europe and America with a candy land theme; based on her duet with Snoop Dog on California Girls.

She admitted herself to Perez Hilton that being married and on tour for such a long time was hard on her marriage with Russell Brand but that they made time for each other. One month before tour was due to end Brand filed for divorce after only a year of marriage, citing that they had irreconcilable differences. With albums to promote, singing, tours and some acting thrown in, single Katy will have plenty to keep her busy.

Jacquie noted: There would be no 'we take a look at' and I need a stronger pay off line (last sentence).

To find Russell Brands Profile on being ditched have a look on Becky's blog.
Picture from Flickr

Monday, 30 January 2012

Fireworks Dog

I am now in my final year of University and I am learning about magazine journalism. This is the career I always thought I would enjoy and on this course I am finding that I do love it as much as Broadcast Journalism. We learnt last week about Fireworks and creating spreads. This is what I will have to do for my final assessment but this week I had a play around and you can find what the outcome is above.

The thought bubble reads: "He who says there is no such thing as an honest man, you may be sure is himself a knave."

Both these pictures I picked up from Google Images so they are copyrighted. As were not publishing it or making any money from it this will be OK. For my actual magazine spreads the pictures will need to be from Creative Commons or taken myself.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Week Two at The Daily Echo

Week two of working at the Daily Echo. It is not as tiring now, I know everyone's names - just about - and it kind of feels homely.

On Monday I wrote up quite a few press releases. Some were small, some lengthy but I think I am getting better at news writing now. I did 150 words on Chortle's student comedian awards. 150 words about a man that got fined £75 for letting all four of his greyhounds foul the pavement. A very small piece on The Eastleigh Ramblers meeting place and times. I also re-worked my male childcare lecturer article from the Monday before for features instead. It just needed a few more words and a little re-organising of the paragraphs. Lastly, I wrote a small article on The Hamble Point Boat Show in April. Mostly a promotional piece about what you can expect there, when it is etc. Julian Robinson, the Eastleugh reporter, also showed me how to write and put together an article from a press release. It was really helpful and showed me what I need to improve on.

I have discovered that everyone has short hand. There are notepads everywhere with little shorthand scrawlings on them. Just taking a phone message, it is taken in short hand. I managed to get 30 words a minute in my first year of university but now all that I can remember is what 'the' is. I have all the books at home and I think that even if I am not 100 percent on becoming a reporter, shorthand will still be useful. During my interview with Barbra, last Friday I found I could not write quick enough and did not have many quotes that I could put in the article word for word.

Tuesday, I went to the Magistrates court with Sian Davies for a case about a man not keeping his dog under control. It was scheduled for 10.30am but when we got there it was delayed. We went in to another court room and watched to see if there were any other stories we could get whilst waiting for the dog case. I found it really interesting. It felt like a soap opera. The amount of people coming in, one after the other, I was surprised to see. I think I was quite naiive about the amount of crime in Southampton. After a while, the dog case still was not being heard so we went back to the newsroom.

As I had some afternoon free from work I decided to research tv listings. I need the SKY television listings for the Monday 27th August 1990 for my FYP. After exhausting the Internet it dawned on me that the Echo keep an archive of all their past newspapers. It was a long shot but I asked about any magazines they had kept. It turns out that after ITV Meridian moved from Northam they gave all their TV Times magazines to the Echo. No one had seen them since they had been put in to the filing cabinet except me. I was optimistic that out of all magazines the TV Times would be the one to have the SKY listings that I needed. Alas, the only channels they catered for was ITV and Channel 4. Not even the BBC. At a last attempt I asked to see the newspaper itself for August 1990. As it is a local and it does not do TV listings now I did think I was slightly wasting my time but it had to be checked in order for it to be ruled out. Since the 80's they had been putting the paper on to film. I checked the dates and found that not only did the paper have TV listings, it had listings for SKY too. I printed them out and was able to find what I needed for my FYP.

Wednesday was a busy day and I now know that a reporter should not wear heels. I started by doing the 60 second headlines, which I am really enjoying. I then did a phone interview and arranged a photographer to meet with Debbie Beale. She has been collecting animal necesities for a local rescue centre. I then typed up the article and sent it in.

I then went out with Patrick Knox, a news reporter on a couple of his stories. The first was that there was going to be 10 million gallons of water drained from a reservoir on Southampton Common. This would be news worthy because recently people in Southampton have had water meters installed. Meaning that they are paying for the amount of water being used in their household. After walking around the common trying to find the reservoir we gave up. It was a story that needed pictures and we were not able to get any. This was not an easy feat in heels and mud either.

We then went on to interview, David Reynolds. He had recently built a scale model of the Titanic out of matchsticks. I found this interview really interesting and thought it was amazing with what he could do with matchsticks. He had an entire room with amazing models of ships. David was also a Guiness World Record holder for the most matchsticks used, when building a scale model of an oil rig. Patrick had to do a written story as well as a video. Again, short hand definitely comes in handy.

Lastly there had been a tip off that there were rats around a broken gate in a river in Southampton. A river that recently had people canoeing and rowing on it that had caught viles disease. This disease can kill and comes from rat urine. Due to the gate being broken there had been a lot of rubbish and waste build up. I thought it was a lot but apparently it had been cleaned and so we needed to come back in a weeks time to see a lot more waste and rats, to make the story more concrete.

Thursday was amazing! Easily the best day of the week and probably one of the highs for reporters that are more commonly used to finding rats than celebrities. Arron Hendy, another news reporter took me out to No Limits in Southampton. It is a charity that helps get young people off of the street and in to homes and jobs. This is where Matt Cardle was going to be, signing autographs and taking pictures with the young adults there to promote Sports Relief. We were allowed to film and interview him for 15 minutes as well as vox pop the people that use the No Limits service and the manager Liz Carter. Again, due to convergence I filmed all the interviews whilst Arron wrote them and asked the questions for a written piece.

When we were finished there and I had stopped drooling over Matt we moved on to the job centre. Arron has an article in the paper every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday about people that are looking for a job, entitled, 'Give Me a Chance'. Here we stopped four people for the column and asked them about what jobs they are looking for, how often they look, their education history and how long they have been out of work.

When we were back at the office we edited all of our footage an put it in to a two minute video. At the Daily Echo they use Avid whereas I use Final Cut Pro so this was something else new for me to learn. It did look a lot simpler than Final Cut but it did not look like you could do as much with it. We had problems with sound too which took a while to sort out. Whilst we watied for that to be fixed Arron wrote up the article which appeared in the paper on page 2 on Friday 20th January. Along with Patricks article about matchstick man, David Reynolds on page 3. You can find the matt cardle video here

Wow was I tired by Friday. I tried to get in touch with a local woman that is planning to run in the London Marathon in April in aid of the British Heart Foundation. I emailed, phoned and left a message for her but as she is a midwife I think that she was a little too busy.