Home » Film (Page 2)
Category Archives: Film
Tips on how best to deliver a presentation – with or without bells and whistles
Fig.1. Sample production screen-grabs from Jonathan Vernon’s show-reel (that’s him on the far left)
Develop the craft skills of a storyteller.
Use a creative brief from the outset to nail down the topic, coming up with ideas, flesh out a treatment and deliver a script.
Pace and variety are crucial.
The industry standard creative brief that I have used in a career in advertising, corporate communications and training is:
- What is the problem?
- Who are you speaking to?
- What do you want to say?
- How should they respond to this message?
- What else do we need ro know?
Keep this to a single sheet of A4 then hand it to a professional writer/art director team.
- Expect back a selection of synopses. Choose one.
- Get a treatment from this.
- Once approved writing the script is easy.
- Only then think of execution.
It pays to have a professional graphics person who can make the platform used sing, or video production, or web design …
Death by power point is far, far too common.
Be sensitive to pace, have variety.
Rehearse and change stuff that doesn’t work or is dull.
If in doubt a good presenter should be able to deliver without any AV support as it is the message delivered with conviction, authenticity and enthusiasm that is more important that how slides wipe, or the music track on a piece of video.
There’s too much ‘death by papermation’ out there
Too long, long winded, rambling presentations with the artist trying to keep up and offering nothing at all new other than translating it – about as useful as having someone sign with no one in the audience with a hearing impairment. A literal expression of text is pointless – the imagination does a better job. Rather the images must juxtapose, complement even conflict with what is being said. You are trying afterall to get and retain attention – controversy, irony and inventiveness works.
The software never solves your problem.
Have something worthwhile to say first, then choose from a plethora of delivery mechanisms the one which has the most appropriate fit.
As a Producer, Director and Writer working in corporate communications Jonathan has amassed substantial experience co-ordinating and leading all kinds of projects for Government and Blue Chip clients in the UK and France.
Skills & experience embrace video, interactive CD & DVD, live TV and Live events, websites, webinars and social media. Jonathan has cast and directed actors, reconstructed bank robberies and car accidents, shot multi-camera in studios and live on location, even from helicopters, inside the Sheer Cave of a nuclear power plant and at Paris Fashion shows. He has moderated and developed substantial social media networks too. He has attended and spoken at global events, including the World Education Market, while pitching projects at Cannes & NABS.
Productions include short film ‘Listening in’ which was bought by Channel 4.
Jonathan has produced, written &/or directed projects for production houses and agencies, Jacaranda, Talkback, TVL, BBS, 2Cs, Complete Communications, Chancery Communications, The Post Office Film Unit, Final Touch, Imagicians, Robson Brown and the Open University.
In the Financial Sector (for city PR companies, the FT, investment banks, clearing banks and city lawyers).
What is love?
‘Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two. But sometimes the petals fall away and the roots have not entwined. Imagine giving up your home and your people, only to discover after six months, a year, three years, that the trees have had no roots and have fallen over. Imagine the desolation. Imagine the imprisonment.’
Louis de Bernieres, 1994, ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’
(Picked out for me by my mother as she read the book)
La Tete du Travail
I used this character very successfully in France when developing my freelancing directing career.
‘J’ai la tete du Travail’ was the expression I used, ‘the head for the job’. I went on to work across the country for the French Ministry of Culture visiting every corner of the country, to work on a Saturday Night Variety Show, the haute couture and pret a porter fashion shows (video and vision mixing the live events) and agency work for international broadcasters.
Oxford University taped 1982-1984: Forty hours of video of undergraduate life and activities
From early 1982 to graduation in June 1984 I used a Sony Betamax kit to video undergraduate life at Oxford University.
The 18 tapes and some 40 hours of content I am digitizing includes:
- The Oxford Union Debating Society (featuring Hilali Noordeen) The day I was in the Union Chamber I was sitting next to Susanna White and Steve Garvey who were shooting a documentary about ‘Women in Oxford’.
- The Oxford Theatre Group at the Edinburgh Fringe (Featuring all the plays: 13 Clocks, The Hunger Artist, Edward II, Titus Alone directed by Patrick Harbinson, produced by Nicky King and the Oxford Review)
- I shot this over three weeks while helping out behind the scenes at St. Mary’s Street Hall (the OTG venue) and kipping in a Free Mason’s Lodge by the Castle. Nicky King and Matthew Faulk edited in my Balliol Room (now the Oxford Internet Institute) cum edit suite the following term.
- The Oxford Student Union elections.
- The Lightweights Boat Crew in training with David Foster et al (11th March 1983)
- Torpids (various)
- Romeo & Juliet (in which I played Mercutio and lost my pants during the fight scene)
- The Taming of the Shrew: an OUDS production (in which I played Baptista) And the rehearsals.
- Abigail’s Party (directed by Anthony Geffen)
- Various other plays and boat crews
- The May Day Celebrations 1982
- Training for the Oxford Students Union president
- Oxford Television News (Various episodes of OTN in which Hugo Dixon does a Jeremy Paxman and we are introduced to the Chicken Pal Society at the Gate of India + TCG, PWG and CJP) (9th May 1983)
- OTN. Visit of Prince Charles (18th May 1983) + ‘Exter guy in glasses’ or is this in fact a Jesus guy doing a ‘party political broadcast’.
- Oxford University Boxing
- A workshop on how to shoot video (10th February 1983)
- A corporate promotional film for the language school ‘Speakeasy’
- The Oxford & Cambridge Varsity Ski Trip to Wengen
- perhaps a play produced by Tessa Ross directed by Clive Brill
- perhaps Andrew Sullivan directed by Alex Ogilvie in ‘Another Country’
- and perhaps the Women’s Eight.
and various other antics around Balliol College and the university that will reveal themselves in the course of being downloaded, graded and digitized.
I believe my aim should be to use this as the foundation for a documentary.
I need to raise £2000 to digitize/archive this content and am therefore looking for backers.
P.S. It is six weeks since I was behind a camera. I may be about to shoot some swimmers for a swimming e-learning app but if you have anything immediate let me know.
Fig. 1 Gerard Depardieu in Mammuth
The production company is called ‘No Money’, sadly, the obvious lack of a budget to do the film got in the way. They could have done with it to finish the film; the third act is rushed/truncated.
The story though is both simple and compelling: a guy retires, needs the paperwork from former employers 30 odd years in his past. Serge, nickname Mammuth, played by an obese, but loveable Gerard Depardieu sets off to get the affidavits he requires. He meets some odd people, in some odd ways.
It could have turned into a series of sketches : the men all crying in the hotel restaurant, Miss Ming his niece, the metal detector, the ‘Thelma and Louise‘ moment for his wife and he friend.
It inspires me: low budget films can be made. Hollywood should do a remake NOT with Depardieu, but perhaps Kurt Russell or even Jack Nicholson, with a cameo from Lady Gaga and Elizabeth Taylor (especially as she’s dead).
The print was fair easier to view and the subtitles to read at Lewes. The Lewes Film Club in the All Saints Church is more intimate. There were more belly-laughs, with some people drifting into periods of chortles and constant giggles. There are a series of moments that tickly you, especially his first day of retirement (which is perhaps how the idea started out?)
Educational Social Networking
The environment does not need to be so different.
Isn’t ‘re-invention’ the word? (Rogers, P114 & P115, 2002)
Not wholesale repurposing, but as Rogers puts it ‘It should be acknowledged that rejection, discontinuance and re-invention frequently occur during the diffusion of an innovation and that such behaviour may be rational and appropriate from the individual’s point of view.’ (Rogers, p114 2002)
Picking up from your response on 10 May.
http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=29716#p211986, I appreciate the a ‘team,’ the OU administrators I guess, assign us to groups and tutors – I’m not intentionally being critical of either or any. Just trying to see if I appreciate also that there is demonstrable fluidity and a desire to try different ways to achieve student interaction … this in what I might describe as a digital ocean … in which anyone, inside or outside the OU is accessible at a click. I wonder how my experience might have been with a group of colleagues or friends, signing up together … but might this too ‘spoil the party.’ And how over a longer period fellow students would be emailing and messaging and getting on the phone … let alone meeting up.
This fascinates me primarily because I am convinced that collaboration, sharing, discussion and so on is crucial to a deeper learning outcome. But does this not have to be down to the drive of the individual and permitted by the institution they belong to?
How much motivation can others really offer or be expected to offer?
If neither a carrot or stick will work with adult learners, especially in a online environment, then what do you do? ‘You can take a horse to the trough, but you can’t make it drink.’ As I’m about to take a course on the Psychology of Sport as a Senior Swimming Coach I may gain some further insights into waht motivates people to do something and how outsiders can influence this in a positive way.
And just because we’re invited to drink from this trough once, dos not mean we will do it again, or often or with enthusiasm. Our moods will wax and wane, or commitments beyond the course will impinge.
Deep learning, as I’ve learnt, benefits from, even requires a rapport with one or several others at various levels of understanding – a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or experts, a tutor, a couple of fellow students on the course, and perhaps someone more junior who can be in turn mentored or tutored by us (first years being buddied by a second year, a post-grad student supervising a fresher).
How much this mix can be set by what little the OU or other Distance Learning Provider knows about an individual is quite another matter.
Do you run a call-centre like team of facilitators/moderators … or aspire to the one-to-one relationship of tutor or governess to student mimicking some land-owning/aristocratic model of the distant past? Where is or how can that rapport that can work between student and tutor be recreated here? Or is this something for a DPhil?
A free-for-all would create imbalances, inevitably … for the institution. But whose experience are we prioritising here?
Whilst a balance must be found, if the best outcomes are to give tutors and SMEs much more time online to forge relationships then this should be – a good coach attracts the best athletes and attracts the interest of other coaches. How does she do that? (Expertise, training and personality … enthusiasm, putting the athlete at the centre of things)
Perhaps by pursuing ‘educational social networking’ institutions are shooting themselves in the financial foot?
The time put in to make a freer networking between students, tutors and SMEs, with students in different time zones and different priorities would be prohibitive. Undergraduates studying on campus, in a homophilous cohort, with fewer worries (other than debt) don’t know how fortunate they are to have this opportunity to study, probably for the only time, before the life of the wider world impinges.
Are Personal Learning Environment (PLE) a way or the way forward?
If I have this concept right, i.e. with the formal relationships and tutor relationship given equal potential, the tools in one place on the same homepage is a suitable progression from the VLE) Perhaps OU students are doing this anyway by starting at their own Blog or Home Page and simply anchoring the pages from the OU that matter most to them?
The New Scientist is running an interesting essay in its current edition which touches on all of this.
New Scientist (week 10th July 2010) has a piece called ‘Generation F’ by Richard Fisher (2010).
* 400 million worldwide … on social networking sites.
* The importance of weak ties as well as close ones.
* The time it takes to forge ‘reliable and trustworthy’ ties.
* The value of ‘acquaintances’ to provide relevant and trustworthy news/information.
The article is prone to the some hyperbole:
Social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace) the ‘harbingers of a sea change in our social evolution, in the same way that the arrival of language informed our ancestors.’ (Donarth, 2009)
Danah Boyd (2009) describes Facebook as ‘an essential utility like water or electricity.’
Academics are just as guilty of this kind of thing, there’s been plenty of it in the reading for H807 the democratising of education, ‘starting the world anew’ ala Tom Paine etc: and claims made in the last ten/twenty years regarding ICT and education, what it could do, will do … but hasn’t.
The essay is of value though for how, and if, social networking can be used short-term purposes:
‘Online social networking appears to be ‘very good for servicing relationships, but not for building them de novo.’ (Dunbar, 2010)
H807 tries to use an ‘educational social networking’ approach, or does it. Perhaps it is deliberately more self-contained than this. Though with emphasis on authors such as Salmon (2002) and her model for e-tivities, undue emphasis is put on getting people talking and working together? Is that so necessary.
Isn’t experience showing that this is wishful thinking?
The OU must have research on this. Why do more people quit a an online distance learning course (20-50%) compared to a traditional distance learning course? What are the views on conversations, synchronous or asynchronous between fellow students and students in the wide OU community and tutors?
At various times, the ‘weakest links’ to fellow OU students through the OU blog has produced some useful support and insights for H807, yet engagement through our own Cafe/General Forum can surely only be described as minimal?
Whilst deeper learning experiences do come from sharing (like this), it isn’t happening to the degree the OU would like?
Collaboration between some random people I may meet at the bus stop when the service is delayed is not the same as forging an academic bond with some one or some many who are equally engaged with the material, whether their opinions are the antithesis of mine would be immaterial – indeed, disagreement would be better, it feeds discussion. This is NOT a criticism of H807, we have a common purpose, we have elected to do H807, there is a common profile intellectually and absolutely the variety of life experiences enriches the experience. But clearly, as individuals, our approaches to learning, IT skills, time allocated to the task and for many other reasons will and does negate against certain ways of learning. Such as this.
If on the one hand the wishes of some students, maybe most, to stay at arms length aren’t the wishes or hopes of others who would like to engage with a wider circle being denied?
The sought of relationships between students that the OU is hoping for can surely only developed over a few years rather than a few months.
Jeff Hancock (2008) of Cornell University ‘… found that those with Facebook access asked questions to which they already knew the answers or raised things they had in common, and as a result were much more successful at winning people over.’ (New Scientist, 10July2010).
We experienced the ease with which we could share personal information, there was no drilling or phfishing for information, but clearly I will know more about some people than others. It relevance is another matter, the buy-in to these people could eventually result in a bond of sorts, at least as working on this platform is concerned. I would have to look back through the way we respond to each other to see if the above occurred … deliberately asking certain people certain things even though we knew the answer, as a catalyst to conversation. This does not work discussing trivia such as pets and the weather (though I’ve indulged in plenty of that too … it doesn’t lead to conversations on costing programming, what Vygotsky means about scaffolding or whether we are fed up with e-tivities, e-granaries, e-moderators … and e-jobs.
Mid-way through the unit we read Elliot (2008) and I took an interest in the way ‘lifelong learning’ functions.
I was looking at this as an adult learner environment, the merging of social, family and work through social networking sites and the communication habits and styles of all three merging into and becoming a messed up single entity. Historically it wasn’t long ago that work, family and social words were one … fifty years ago, seventy or a hundred years? No more.
Both of these points, revealing more and the merging, or coalescent, or the dropping of barriers between these spheres is changing behaviours.
‘Increased visibility also means our various social spheres – family, work and friends- are merging and so we will have to prepare for new societal norms. ‘Well have to learn how to live a more transparent life.’ (Holtzman, 2009)
The idea of ‘Exposure’ was used be Ellen Levy in 1999 (Levy, 1999) after she had spent a year keeping a blog and photojournal, then a novel activity. (Washington Post, 24th September, 1999).
What an employer, parent, friends or colleagues make of this is another matter, but then again, one day we’ll all be walking around with our DNA profile on a dog-tag (or embedded under our skin on a microchip).
The relevance of all of this?
How far can the individual be indulged within the parameters of an online course, that must retain students and prove its worth to the institution (financial, academic, members), the students (worth it financially, academically, career wise … and personally) … and the wider community (grants, knowledgeable workforce, content and informed citizens)
Je suis comme je suis
Je suis faite comme ça
(Jacques Prevert, 1946)
I am what I am, I was made this way.
Donath, J. New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com, p40. From Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol.13, p 231)
Dunbar, R. (2009) How many friends does one person need? Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com.
Elliott, B. (2008) Assessment 2.0: Modernising Assessment in the Age of Web 2.0 [online], Scottish Qualifications Authority; available from http://www.scribd.com/doc/461041/Assessment-20 (Accessed 1 February 2010).
Ellison, N (2007) The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume 12, Issue 4, Date: July 2007, Pages: 1143-1168
Nicole B. Ellison, Charles Steinfield, Cliff Lampe. (Accessed 11 July 2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com.
Fisher, R (2010) New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com
Granoveter, M, S. (1973) The Strength of Weak Ties. The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 78, No. 6 (May, 1973), pp. 1360-1380 http://www.jstor.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/action/exportSingleCitation?singleCitation=true&suffix=2776392
(Accessed 11 July 2010)
Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com. The University of Chicago Press.
Golbeck, J (2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com.
Hancock, J. (2008) I know something you don’t: the use of asymmetric personal information for interpersonal advantage
Jeffrey T. Hancock, Catalina L. Toma, Kate Fenner. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com. (Accessed 11 July 2010)
Holtzman, H (2010) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com
Kearns, M. (2009) Behavioral experiments on biased voting in networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 106, p1347) http://www.pnas.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/106/5/1347.full.pdf+html (Accessed 11 July 2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com.
Levy, E. (1999) Featured in article in the Washinton Post, 24 September 2010. See more at http://businessinnovationfactory.com/iss/innovators/ellen-levy
(accessed 11 July 2010)
Prevert, J, (146) Paroles.
Pentland, S (2010) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. http://www.newscientist.com
Rogers, E.M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovations (5th edn), New York, Simon and Schuster.
Salmon, E (2002) E-tivities the key to online learning. Kogan Page.
Tom Tong, S (2008) Too Much of a Good Thing? The Relationship Between Number of Friends and Interpersonal Impressions on Facebook. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, vol13 p531-549)
All the films I’ve ever seen ‘Z’
A Zed and Two Nought 1985
Peter Greenaway. I have had to see all his films … for the music. A buying frenzy on everything composed by Michael Nyman followed.
Zorba the Greek 1964
Cy Endfield, the director, invented and marketed the ‘Microwriter,’ the forerunner of PHDs by two decades.
Zulu Dawn 1979