Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Poster ideas

Poster ideas which i have considered are based on the target audience and what we already expect them to know. I have decided to design a poster in which maslow's hierarchy is turned upside down and put money at the top of the scale, however the point of the traingular scale is pointing at the bottom. The symbolic meaning of this is that money has a greater power (which is proved during the recession as everything is collapsed at this time). And also to show what sort of society we live in, that money controls humans... not the other way around. We are ruled by organisations and a cloud of norms which is out of our hands as human beings (even though we created them initially).

The image of the triangle shape is also an optical illusion which i recreated the shape myself to reflect the idea that no one is sure what to do

Research: New drama 'Freefall'

Dominic Savage writes and directs the sort of TV drama (Out of Control, Born Equal) that traditionally attracts the adjective “gritty”. Perhaps for this reason, his work generally appeals to critics, who always appreciate a break from their usual bland diet of adultery and murder. Here at last, the argument runs, is somebody willing to tackle big issues – and to make television that comes palpably from the heart.

Yet, while both of these things are true, that doesn’t necessarily make the results as brilliant as his champions claim. In last night’s Freefall (BBC Two), Savage took on the credit crunch. Once again, his heartfelt approach was on full display – but so was its most obvious downside: a complete lack of subtlety.

In the opening scene, set in the far-off days of 2007, the boss of a Watford mortgage firm was exhorting his troops. They must, he told them, banish all compassion as they flogged dodgy packages to people who couldn’t afford them. Inspired by these words, his star salesman Dave (Dominic Cooper) now went about his business with almost satanic glee – cackling “What a d--khead” as he drove away from another soon-to-be-destitute punter.

It turned out, too, that Dave had some serious competition in the greedy-villain stakes. In the City of London, banker Gus (Aidan Gillen) was so excited by closing another deal that he went to the toilets to masturbate. Over lunch with his teenage daughter, his utter obsession with money meant that he gave her (and us) a handy explanation of mortgage collateralised debt obligations.

In the meantime Dave was chasing his biggest-baddie crown even harder than before. His old school-friend Jim (Joseph Mawle) had already been established as the very definition of “poor but happy”, joshing away with his loving family in their rented council house. Even so, Dave persuaded him to take out a discounted mortgage, without explaining how much the repayments would increase in the second year.

And with that, the caption “one year later” appeared. Sure enough, Jim was about to open a letter from the mortgage company and look stricken. Life wasn’t much better for Gus. “I’m afraid it’s still going down,” an underling reported. “We’ve just lost another 10billion.”

Jim’s story did pack a genuine emotional punch, with Mawle and Anna Maxwell Martin as his wife Mandy both doing a superb job of capturing the couple’s mixture of anger, horror and bewilderment. But as representatives of The Human Cost of the Credit Crunch, their characters had the advantage of enjoying Savage’s sympathy. Poor old Gillen and Cooper weren’t so lucky. Cooper in particular was stuck with such a caricature that he had little choice but to play it to the hilt. Unfortunately, this made it impossible to see how Dave could ever have taken anybody in – given that he might as well have had horns and a forked tail.

In these sledgehammer circumstances, the last thing Freefall needed at the end was an author’s message. Naturally, however, Savage couldn’t resist. “This,” Gus obligingly pointed out as the crash hit, “is payback time.” We then got a stern lecture from Mandy on the corrupting power of greed.

Earlier in the evening, the fourth series of Coast (BBC Two) began by explaining why some later episodes will take place in Norway and France. Apparently it’s because “the connections with other countries” have made us what we are today – and not, as you may have thought, that the makers are running out of British coastline to tell us about.

In the meantime, though, yesterday’s programme was largely business as usual. Presenter Neil Oliver addressed the camera with that whispered intimacy that’s either irresistible or faintly creepy according to taste. He also introduced a series of vaguely coast-related items treated in a way known in the trade as “presenter-led”. Anthropology expert Alice Roberts, for example, supplied a history of the hovercraft that heavily featured her own reactions to travelling in a hovercraft. Oliver himself explored early film-making by dressing up in a director’s outfit and waving a megaphone around.

Luckily, Coast does retain its happy knack of choosing interesting subjects in the first place, and cramming them in. Certainly I can’t think of many other hour-long programmes that could find room – among the hovercrafts, movies and much else besides – for Finland’s leading crazy-golf player, the story of the Hungarian marsh frog and the history of the Isle of Wight over the past 135million years. Or of one that could successfully demonstrate the geological concept of “isostatic rebound” using a rucksack and an inflatable mattress

(TV review) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/5828281/TV-review-Freefall-BBC-Two-and-Coast-BBC-Two.html


It’s a story that will have resonated with the British public, tackling the credit crunch and the highs of the boom where mortgage lending was offered to pretty much anyone, and the inevitable lows of the bust when their repayments were missed.

Written by BAFTA award-winning Dominic Savage with a brilliant all-star cast improvising through each scene, we delve into the uncomfortable world of finance. The drama kicks off in the heady days of 2007 where lending was readily available. Dave Matthews (played by Dominic Cooper pictured) is a hot-shot broker armed with a fatal discounted mortgage which he sells to the gullible. Pushing all morals aside, he’s well aware they can’t afford them, but there’s money to be made and he’ll stop at nothing.

Equally without a conscience, we explore City banker Aidan Gillen’s addiction to closing the deals on a mammoth scale. Gus’s relationship breakdown with his daughter and girlfriend of sorts Anna (Rosamund Pike) make us believe his sole drive in life is to make as much money as possible, losing the ability to care and love.

He leads a simple life and is happy with his lot, but that soon changes when he hooks up with old school pal Dave who encourages him to have greater aspirations.

At the bottom of the chain, we follow Jim (Joseph Mawle) and his family living a rented council flat. He leads a simple life and is happy with his lot, but that soon changes when he hooks up with old school pal Dave who encourages him to have greater aspirations. Jim ultimately succumbs and although his wife Mandy (Anna Maxwell Martin) has her doubts, they sign up for one of Dave’s dodgy mortgages. Of course, he fails to tell them that after the year’s fixed rate, the repayments will rocket for the remaining two year term.

One year later, Jim opens the letter from his building society with news of the increase. It’s a devastating revelation for the security guard who has to take on extra shifts and is eventually sacked for falling asleep on the job. Repayments mount up and in the end they’re back where they started, a lesson that almost destroys them.

It’s not much better for Gus in the City, who loses billions in the downturn. It’s not long before things spiral out of control. “This is payback time,” he says predicting the outcome. Doing the deals defined who he was, what was left for him?

Freefall is a gritty and real drama that exposes the greedy and selfish.

Yet it’s ex-broker Dave who seems to readjust well to his new life. Although he has to sell his big house in the suburbs, he downscales to a stylish apartment, acquires a new girlfriend and starts a new job selling solar power, seemingly indicating that a top salesperson will always ‘get by’.

Freefall is a gritty and real drama that exposes the greedy and selfish. The ‘fly on the wall’ filming style is effective and Savage manages to bring out some skilful performances, in particular from Mawle and Maxwell Martin’s broke husband and wife. At times though the dialogue is overplayed and would have perhaps benefited by a touch of subtlety here and there. Nevertheless, Freefall is a compelling view of the devastating impact on those at each end of the scale of capitalism.


WOW. This is an excellent example of what we would like to acheive. Representations of the spectrum of classes. "going down the ladder" of classes and representing contemporary British identity. Fixing up the missing links of well-known soaps such as EastEnders and bringing it forwards to the contemporary working world (where some people have washing machines!).

The reviews are quite pleasing. "The fly on the wall" effect is just what we wanted.. not decorating storylines with hollywood inspired happy merry endings.. the raw version of represented life. People want the truth! Some of the characters are happy with their life even thought they are not advantaged as others in luxury.. there are people like that! The real people who are happy just to have a roof over their head and people to talk to.

As a media consumer and producer it is exciting to see new dramas and soaps which is relatable. As humans we want to know what is happening to other people and why people are upset and to have sympathy as well as empathy for people.

Poster idea

This is another idea for a poster. It has a satirical theme. I was inspired to create this poster because of the term "Credit Crunch" and emphasised on the word "crunch".

I used microsoft paint to create this. It does not look professional, however i beleive it adds to the satirical message it sends and looks sarcastic in a way. It also resembles a comic strip usually on newspapers such as "Metro". I think this poster conveys alot of ideas and is enigmatic. The writing on the cereal box is eye catching and will get the attention of those affected by the recession.

Everything on this poster is copyright free and and i have simply edited the pound coin which i took a picture of.

Even though it does not introduce any characters from the production it would still attract our target audience and more likely to in this way. Pictures of our character would be something new to them and they would not be able to be familiar with it. This poster is explicit in its message and at the same time introduces the soap.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Poster brainstorm

The first three posters show dominant female characters. We want to emphasize on this idea on our trailer on empowering women. It has elements of film noir because of the silhouettes and shadows. i think this is a good way in showing that there is a "dark side" to the business in some way. The idea of a woman holding a cigarette is quite good because of the masculine connotations it has.

The banner across this poster reading "tha office" is a good example of representing the narrative for this production. the it skills used is good because they have manipulated the image by adding paper clips on the banner (emphasis on office props and incorporating it with the poster).

This poster is of a postcard format. It is not a film poster but the effectiveness to the audience is good. It is satirical as the writing glamorizes it but the picture gives a different impression, as if to say "no, this is the truth". it is fun to look at too because it sends this message and also it is something someone could keep.

Again, women are given a different representation to looking more powerful and independent in the "Crooked Business" poster. this is a poster of a short film. the lettering is effective because the 'e' is "crooked"

New trailer idea

Note: Each dialogue the boss speaks she will be wearing different clothes to show the different days that the redudencies were being announced.
Employee 1 - happy
lights cigarette
Employee 2 - confused
"So hows everyone working downstairs"
lights cigarette
drinks coffee
Employe 3 -nervous
*nodding* "It's a hard time now"
lights cigarette
drinks coffee
typing on keyboard
"I wanted to let you know"
lights cigarette
drinks coffee
typing on keyboard
puts cup to the side
Employee 4 - worried
"These are the expected figures"
lights cigarette
drinks coffee
typing on keyboard
puts cup to the side
"We can't afford to go the way we're going"
lights cigarette
drinks coffee
typing on keyboard
puts cup to the side
stubs cigarette out
Employee 5 - crying
"I'm going to have to let you go"
lights cigarette
drinks coffee
typing on keyboard
puts cup to the side
stubs cigarette out

I was inspired by the camera movement on an advert which we all agreed would work in showing a stressful and repetitive situation. This is the part of the advert:

This clip shows a man doing the same deal with two people and it shows that they are in the same situation. We wanted to create an effect where people were going through the same situation in our trailer (getting fired). We also wanted to emphasise on the stress of the boss who is doing the firing and how difficult it is for her too. The target audience would know how the employees would feel either they were in the same situation or knows someone in a similar situation - because of the current recession. So, we wanted to include the boss's perspective too for the trailer and how repetitive and emotionally tiring it was. This idea is also from the focus group findings.

We wanted to keep it simple and interesting and wanted to make the recession the main theme rather than introducing all the characters. It would be more interesting with the building up of trailer. This idea is to get the attention of the target audience through interesting camera shots and introducing the idea of getting fired.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Focus Group and Findings

We conducted a focus group in VERVE HOUSE to find out if our idea of the soap is effective as they were the potential target audience. We gave out hand-outs with a summary of the characters and narrative and also questionnaires on what soaps they watched and how often, also their suggestions on our soap. The information was very valuable because they are the target audience and at the same time they are consumers of this type of media. Asking questions made them think like media producers they were pointing out what would be effected through their idea of what they liked to watch

Our Focus group was in Verve House with the real workers who have the inside information on experience about the recession. I learned so many things and they also gave us feedback on our soap idea.

The information given was very personal, the recession had effected them in a vast way and it also effected their relationships with staff and family. The main information we wanted was how they survived the recession. They told us that during the recession they had gone through a lot of stress. Strangely, they actually had sympathy for the boss who was firing the employees. They understood they situation of the boss and saw him as a person, who naturally, people do go under stress.

"The workers, they only got fired once but the boss had to keep firing people all day... maybe even two days, he felt responsible and upset obviously having to fire people who worked for him all this time", "People went through it once but the boss would do it 30 times a day".

The workers showed understanding for his actions and saw it as something that "had to be done". They also said that they felt like the "group" had come together a lot closer since the recession and caused them to be more emotional. They told us that they would like to see how other people got on and that the idea of having a soap similar to their work environment is very interesting and that they would watch it.

We pitched them our idea and explained the characters and their traits and how we would represent them in the trailer. However, the feedback we got back was that we "went over the top" and that it was not realistic, especially our representation of Peter. Most of them watched EastEnders and did notice that no one had a washing machine. However they find it very interesting and have been watching it for years.

Their opinions of soap operas as consumers... "makes our life feel alot better". The consumers want to emphasise and see how other people are doing other than dealing with their own life problems. As human beings we care and want to know how other people are doing, and also as human beings we are afraid of the unknown; we want to understand and know what is happening to other people. It would feel like a first hand experience of the recession because the media may be exaggerating or not saying enough or not giving in enough insight how it effects people's personal life...

The group were very helpful, they spoke of their personal experience. The recession had effected their family life and they had to adjust to a more limited lifestyle. The work enviroment merged with the home enviroment both equally stressful. This is a good idea for our soap because we can carry storylines to a domestic setting (where soaps are usually based).

From the findings i can conclude that soaps need to adapt to a more gritty, kitchen-sink realism. Not all things on TV are merry and live happily ever after. Last year when i researched "A room for Romeo Brass" this was the exact point: That not everything in life is predictable and has a happy ending. You just move on and carry on living the next day.

"Monday Monday" was also mentioned in the discussion...

''Monday Monday is an ITV comedy drama. It stars Fay Ripley, Jenny Agutter, Neil Stuke, Holly Aird, Morven Christie and Tom Ellis.

It is set in the head office of a supermarket that has fallen on hard times and had to re-locate its staff from London to Leeds.[2] The show was initially announced as part of ITV's Winter 2007 press pack, but was "iced" until 2009 due to falling advertising in the wake of the economic downturn. (WIKIPEDIA)''

This TV drama is based on a company and its workers which is a similar peice of work as ours. It is interesting that our focus group had recognised this and I didn't. This shows that our potential target is interested in this sort of programme and that they would watch our soap.