Archive for December, 2011


Alan Wake (xbox 360)

You might think that I took longer to write this review than Remedy did to actually make the game. That being said, I don’t want to diminish what a fantastic game this is. here’s why:

There an abundance of nods towards Stephen King and his stories throughout this game, which works well with the eerie style it is trying to create. The game is very atmospheric, it is best to play it with the curtains closed and the lights off. I lost count at how many times this game made me jump, but I class that as a success to the team at Remedy. The narrative was great in this game, you will be hard pushed to find a better plot and story line in any game on any system.

I ad very high hopes for this game and had been waiting for it for a long time, I’m glad to say that I was not disappointed. The combat flows like a fighting game and although the story and the world is rather linear, because the environment is so rich in detail and the horizons are so vast you do not for on moment feel confined.

The pacing of the plot is just right, you never feel that things are going to fast, or even too slow, they have the perfect balance, which in a game like this is very hard to do.

This game is an Xbox 360 exclusive and shows off the power and style of the system. Although it did not do as well as projected in it’s original sales, things are staring to pick up again with the announcement of a new installment which will be available for download from the system in quarter 1 2012. With two pieces of downloadable content already to it’s name, Alan Wake certainly has a fan base waiting and yearning for a chance to play as the writer Alan once again.

For those of you who are on the brink of deciding to buy this game, or even to rent it. I urge you to do so, and make sure you play it all the way through. I assure you that you will not be dissapointed!

Rating: 9.1/10

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So, I just came back from the 1940’s. Or at least that’s how I feel, because I have just finished playing and completing Rockstar’s ‘L.A Noire’. The way they effortlessly make you feel you are in the 40’s is truly staggering; with fantastic ambient music from that era, the classic cars, adverts, scenery and countless other throwbacks.

The detail on the facial expression is key to this game as you have to judge by that whether the person you are interviewing/interrogating/investigating is telling the truth.  You feel like a real detective the way you are going round looking for clues and then thrusting them in the suspects face when they try and feed you a lie.

The open World environment is also so expansive and impressive. I spent a lot of time driving round L.A and soaking up the atmosphere. It is so rich in detail is staggering.

The Game play is also fantastic. It is extremely smooth for a narrative driven game. Rockstar have certainly outdone themselves here.

On the Xbox 360 edition it comes with three disks. The game really does give you value for money with plenty of hours of game time in the main story alone. Then you have collectible to collect, sights to be found and street crime missions to be solved.

I’m hard pushed to find negatives about this game and I’m not going to go down pedantic boulevard and find one either, because that would not be fair to the game.

If you want a game that is;  immersible, expansive, value for money, has a fantastic narrative plot and just oozes style, then I urge you to get this game

Rating: 9.6/10

There is something about this story that Stephen King wrote which makes The Boogeyman seem real. The tone is drenched in horror and the story is one of the creepiest I have read. King only gave us a small insight into the lives of The Billing’s, but myself and my co-writer and Director Lewis A. Beach have gone a step further. We have expanded on King’s fantastic short story and thus making it into a feature film. We wanted to make the story believable and haunting, and I hope we are achieving that. The film is more of a psychological horror. One that will set deep inside your skin and dig deep, where it will relentlessly keep hold of you long after the end credits have gone. Well, that’s our aim. We don’t just want to scare people, we want to make a great film that will engage our audience and make them think. this film is not just for people who have read the short story, as is the case with most adaptations. Whilst on the subject of adaptations, when transferring story’s from books to the screen, changes have to be made to accommodate the new medium. Rest assured however, that king’s original story remains fully intact, we have just expanded on his story. I’m not going to give away too much, but what I can say is Lester is not the only main character, we are focusing on his Marriage with Rita, and Rita herself. We also have a focus on the children too. For those of you who don’t know, we have raised the age of the children. This was something that I personally felt was necessary as I was not comfortable showing babies dieing in a film. This does not mean that we have shied away from the subject matter however, as as I pointed out earlier, this is going to be a psychological horror. We have some fantastic child actors lined up for this who are eager to be a part of this ambitious project. As you all know, I am a big fan of King’s work, and this project is been taken with the up-most respect, which is one of the reasons why it has been in development for a while. I want to make this film right. There have been no short-cuts along the way. We (The Director and myself) are going at this whole-heartedly.

We both thank you for your fantastic support and kind words.

We hope that you will keep spreading the news about this film too.

 

Thank You

Below is the amended version of Together.

Amendments include:

More dialogue

AS some of you may or may not know, in February I’m going to Iceland with a group of University students to shoot some films. I will be producer for tow films, Snow-blind’ and the short film that I wrote, Together. Below is the updated version and what the updates include

An added scene in a restaurant where they eat real Icelandic food

A new version of scene one and scene two

A new version of the last scene

Together version 2

No Offence, but…..

So, our new University project was launched yesterday. It’s all about offense. This is an interesting one for me, as everyone who knows me will know, I am not offended by 98% of things in this world. I am also not someone who dishes out offense. There has been a lot of talk about offense in the past few weeks. ‘Big’ name ‘celebrities’ have been misbehaving. The tall bumbling auto car enthusiast Jeremy Clarkson caused offense when he jokingly said live on ‘The One Show’ that all the people who went on strike should be shot. Now, anybody who knows Clarkson, will know that that was a joke. And what did the big wigs at the BBC expect when they asked him to come on the show? that he was just going to sit there and be quiet? They say you should know your audience, well you should know your guests too! Take a look for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVbZz5WW0CA

Now, I don’t quite understand this outrage towards him, because Stand up comics like Jimmy Carr have been getting away with being offensive for a very long time. We accept this because it is in a different environment, but it is still offensive. Here is Jimmy Carr making offensive jokes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SagayzX2T7Y    Now, to most people THOSE jokes are more offensive than Jeremy Clarkson’s remarks.

 

Moving onto Rick Gervais now, He has caused a storm with his new show ‘Life’s Too Short’ which is a documentary following a dwarf. People have been outraged by this because they feel he is making fun of the disability. I have not yet seen this show, so I will reserve judgment until viewing, but here is a trailer for the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yCx3etQdl0  Ricky claims that this is a serious documentary about  very day challenges of being a dwarf, but clearly this is a comedy too, He is not poking fun at dwarfs, but having a laugh with his friend Warwick Davis. Anybody who knows Ricky, will know that this is his type of humor, what has outraged people the most though is that it is on the BBC and the licenecepayer is footing the bill.

 

I will be watching the entire series and will comment on the episodes. then I will form my own opinion.

Audio Essay 260MC

Here is the link to my Audio Essay.

 

 

The Radio Program

http://vimeo.com/groups/262mcformatsprod/videos/32907025

The above link is our radio program. I feel that it is a polished show, and is of as high quality. I say this because we researched many shows and we tried to emulate, but at the same time create something unique with our own show, which I feel we have achieved.

I looked into BBC Coventry and Warwickshire’s BBC introducing, which has a similar format to our show, but without the vox pops and info on places to go on a night out.

I feel we hit our target demographic with our chatty and informative, yet professional style.

If I was to improve on it, I would make it longer and have a longer interview with the artist and get interviews with the local band/singer night organizers. This I feel will add more depth to our show.

On the day of the show I feel that we all came into our won element, we became a cohesive unit and work extremely well together. The director was very clear on what he wanted out of my camera shots and I feel that I delivered.

I feel that the editing was to a very high standard, this was a process I was not involved in, but it is something I would like to learn in the future. There was a minor problem whilst Chroma keying as one of the guest was wearing blue, which was eventually sorted.

Looking back at the show it looks like a professional standard product, which is what we set it out to be like.

Whilst filming the show everyone acted in a professional manor, which is what we had been doing in rehearsals too.

If I was to do this project again, I would like a longer time limit, up to 20 minutes, so we can have more questions and more audience participation and interaction. I would also improve on the set. I thought our set was good, but it could be improved with lighter, fresher colours.

This was another project that I was late for. (again, see other blog for explanation) I found this project incredibly enjoyable. I have not done Radio before and I was very glad to hear that I would be doing it in this module. We were put into small groups of four. Our task was to create a short piece about ‘Undiscovered Coventry’. We settled on a subtitle; Unsigned Coventry’. Our project was to discover undiscovered talents and places in Coventry. In my opinion we unearthed a gem with our guest ‘Lloyd McGrath’ who did an acoustic session with us, I interviewed him after the set which was great to do as I have not presented on the Radio before, so that was a new skill I have acquired  throughout this project.

There was  lot of preparation throughout this project, the team I was working with was fantastic and we worked hard for each other.

My job roles included: getting the ‘talent’ (I knew Lloyd from a previous project two years ago and have stayed in touch since.)  booked and to the radio studio on time.  This was a fun part of the project, again something I have not done before but it was a simple enough task.

My second job role was to interview the talent. This was another role I had not done before the project, but it was something I was eagerly looking forward to because I have always had an interest in radio. My interview style was informal and colloquial, which fits in with the tone of our show. I hinted towards the questions I was going to ask Lloyd, but the whole of the question and the outline of the interview remained an enigma to him until the question was asked. I did this because I wanted a natural response from him. I also didn’t want it to feel scripted, but I did want it structured, which I feel came across well.

In my opinion I feel we created a high quality product which covered the BBC’s mantra of ‘Inform, Educate, and Entertain’ Which in my opinion should always be the benchmark for anything you do. I feel we also covered the brief which was to highlight and educate and discover the undiscovered parts of Coventry. If I was to improve on the project more I would extend the show to fifteen minutes and get interviews of the club owners that we talked about on our show, this I feel would add an extra depth to our show and would give it a more balanced feel.

My short time in the TV Studio can best be described as an evolutionary process. I joined the group two weeks late because I was in the first year. (details why are in another blog post) I was happy to be given the role of runner because of this. My short time as runner involved helping set up the boom microphone, something which I have never done before, so I was keen to learn how it was set up. Whilst being a runner I also observed how the studio cameras and the ‘talk back’ system was set up. This was another thing that I had not done before and I was more than happy to learn how it was all put together.

The next step in my studio evolution was a panelist on our quiz show. This was an exciting tun of events and it was nice know that the group thought of me in such a regard. Whilst I was presenting I did a lot of research on presenting styles. The following below are teh people I looked at:

Sir Bruce Forsyth

At first people may question my judgement when I say that I researched him whilst doing a University comedy quiz show, but The way he presents himself and interacts with his fellow presenters on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ was what I was interesting, he also adds comedy to his professionalism, and in my eyes is a role model  and or a measuring stick for anyone wanting to be a presenter.

Richard Hammond

Hammond’s presenting style was more of what I ended up leaning to, he has an air of confidence about him, yet he is never over confident, he allows his fellow presenters on ‘Top Gear’ to have a lot of the ‘camera time’

Anthony McParklin and Decland Donnely

This was a more obvious research choice according to our format. It was also a logical place to start seeing as I had to gel with the other presenters. They  are in my opinion very professional and yet come across as ‘one of the mates’. there is a very fine line between the two I feel and they always remain on the professional side.

Jimmy Carr

Perhaps not the most orthodox of presenters, but a fundamental one in my research because in my opinion, our show was meant to have a comedy basis, which ‘8 out of 10 cats’ has. I did not delve into Jimmy Carr’s presenting style too much as it is far too sarcastic and in some extreme cases rather demeaning, which is not what our show is about.

James Corden

James Corden and his show ‘A league of their own’ is how what I would compare our show with because they are both comedy quiz shows with  a task element which is humors. James Corden’s presenting style is professional but uses more colloquial language because the demographic for the show is that of a young and ‘trendy’ audience.

With the research done I put it into practice, with what I hoped was to good effect.

The last part of the evolutionary process was the fourth camera on the day of the shoot. I had to change roles due to a clash with  a prior arrangement with which I could not get out of. It was good going back behind the camera however, as that is what I am most useful. It does not mean however that I did not enjoy the other job roles I did throughout the project, because they were fantastic learning curves. Whilst I was camera operator, I was asked to get ECU’s (Extreme Close Up’s) and MCU’s (Medium Close Up’s) also reaction shots. I feel I handled this well as I caught some good reaction shots and I stuck to what the Director asked of me. The camera I used was a Sony Z5. This is the second time I have used this camera (The first time I sued it was earlier this year whilst doing a live four hour music broadcast for my previous College in Stratford-upon-Avon) I enjoy using this camera because it is lightweight and in my opinion easy to use because the layout of the buttons and menus is simplistic.

Whilst creating the set we all helped out to make it look the best it can be. This was another skill I gained whilst doing the project. I was involved with wallpapering the walls and putting the boards on the frames. Set design was an interesting part of the process ans it really gave our show character and another dimension, because all shows have a set, it is their identity. We worked hard on selecting the elements and the props because as I said, it is our identity. when viewers switch on their eyes will be drawn to the set first, then they will listen to the content. this is mostly personal experience, because whilst researching quiz shows and format shows I would often turn off the sound and look at the set and the camera movements, also how the presenters interact with each other.

In conclusion my metamorphosis from runner to presenter then to camera operator has been eventful and educational and always enjoyable. I feel we created a professional and entertaining show which is of a high standard.