Friday, October 30, 2009

newspapers, a dying art form

Print newspaper have been the largest consumed form of readily available information since the printing press was invented. Now days, the newspaper medium is taking a back seat to the other information outlets that new technology have made available. With television and the internet, fewer and fewer Americans are running out in the morning to fetch the daily news. Newspapers arent dying in other locations around the globe, it just happens to be in the U.S. Why is that? Is it because the U.S. has many technological outlets and opportunities to view the news in a different medium. It could be. But my theory is that Newspaper sales are declining because they are just plain old boring. Newspapers in Europe and Asia follow a very different out line of what a newspaper should look like. They use racy pictures, and controversial dialect, to draw the audience in. Their articles are concise but not boring, and they don't clutter the front page with type. I think that the newspaper industry can be revived in the U.S. if we give it a face lift. Try something new, step outside the box, design the paper to give the reader and incentive or want to read it.

Obama featured in 3 new documentaries

President Barack Obama is featured in 3 new documentaries about his life, politics, and family.

All 3 have different sides of the Obama story. The first is directed by Edward Norton (star of Fight Club) and deals with Obama's historic rise to the top of the political world. The doc was actually started before Obama announced he was running for president. Obama was actually advised by his people to continue shooting the film once he announced his presidential candidacy, but Barack thought it would offer the public an "interesting slant" on American politics. It will air on November 3rd on HBO.

The second documentary is titled Labor Day, a movie about how the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) quickly mobilized to ensure a Democratic victor in the 2008 election. Directed by Glenn Silber, the documentary is more about the events leading up to the election. The movie goes into theaters today.

The final documentary, Becoming Barack, will be released on DVD November 3rd. It tells the life story of how Barack Obama, from his younger years all the way to the present. The documentary attempts to give viewers a sense of what Obama is like outside of the White House, from his early days as a community activist to his time spent teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago.

All 3 films should give a really interesting perspective on the real Barack Obama. You may not agree with everything that's happened so far while he's been in the White House, but the journey he's taken to become President of the United Sates is certainly fascinating.


I am a big time sports fan. But I must admit that ESPN is starting to get a little old. I can only watch so much SportsCenter over and over again. The station runs the same stories over and over again. The news in general has been accused of looking for every possible angle when a big story hits (think Michael Jackson’s death); ESPN does this with practically every story. I find myself rooting for Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez just because I don’t want to hear countless reports on how he can’t perform in the post season.

ESPN should take a cue from MTV’s relative abandonment from music videos, and ditch ESPN for different programming. Well, maybe not that extreme. Just get rid of the 3 hour block of the same stories in which the most informative bits run quickly across the crawler at the bottom of the screen.
In Eminem’s m music video for his song “3 a.m.” the director did a masterful job of styling the video in order to really bring the viewer into the story. The use, or lack thereof, of color and lighting throughout the video really helped to set the depressive/drug induced scene that was the theme of the song. The majority of the video is shot in black and white with very dull lighting with the exception of brief ‘blasts’ of bright light to enhance the eerie feeling of the location. In addition to the lighting used, the filming technique is key to immersing the viewer in the story. Most of the scenes were shot with what appeared to be a handheld camera in the style of “The Blair Witch.” The jerkiness of the camera along with the scratchy quality of the video played a large role in creating the tone of the video. The final main element that I noticed play a large role in making the video very effective was the use of editing. To kind of go along with the handheld technique used, the editing jumped around a lot in quick bursts. When all of these elements are combined with the beat and lyrics, they come together to really bring the song to life. In this day and age of music video basically being short films, the creators of this one have done a masterful job of telling this particular story


Disorderly Conduct for McDonalds Rap

Most people have seen the video of the kids rapping their order in the McDonald's drive-through. Many I'm sure would agree that it is pure entertainment to watch and listen to. Apparently in Utah, employees didn't find it so funny, and they called the cops on four kids who did a similar rendition of the popular video. Though it is pretty hilarious that these kids got a disorderly conduct for rapping about some burgers and fries, it is beyond ridiculous. Maybe in Utah there isn't a whole lot of crime, but that doesn't mean people/cops should classify minor incidents as criminal. All this was about was a couple of kids wanting to have a good time and joking around for their own entertainment. I feel like the whole law enforcement process is incredibly twisted. Just because you can’t find crime doesn’t mean you should create one out of nothing. Would you rather these kids be sneaking around after curfew doing drugs or drinking? Let’s get real here.

Here's the infamous McDonalds Rap from 2 years ago:


After the Twilight, it seems that every media text is imitating the theme. But this is how the business runs. Often times the imitated media text that is created from the original fails and other times (doesn't happen often) they are more successful or just as successful. I know The CW is going to run or is running the Vampire Diaries. The commercials of the preview to that program has bit more of a vampire feel than I thought Twilight did. I am not into the whole vampire theme; I actually think it's kind of silly, but Twilight was more of a love story for me.

I walked into a bookstore a few months ago and all of the books were about vampires. It was insane. I can't imagine all of those books being successful.
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire Assistant, is another new movie that is out right now about vampires. It's different because it seems to have a comical appeal, yet the same genre.

Fritz's Corner

The video I chose to do my textual analysis on is a music video by a band called Local H. The song is called “Fritz’s Corner.” In this video the main focus of discussion would definitely be about the camera shots and angles used in the video. The shots that are mainly used in this video are ECU’s or extreme close-ups. Most of the video is a close-up of the lead singer or the drummer’s face which shows the intensity that the band has while playing their songs. The one shot that stuck out to me the most starts at 2:00 in the video. It is a close up of the lead singer’s mouth, but the shot is through the view of the microphone. This utilizes the concept of Depth of Field. The lead singer’s mouth is in focus and the microphone is out of focus. This makes for shot that I have never seen before. The other type of camera shot that is used frequently in the video is long shots. When these shots are used it makes the venue seem huge, and makes it look like there are more people than there probably is.
The angles used in the video also add a lot to the video. The use of low angles gives the crowd’s view of the band’s performance, while the use of high angles gives the view of the crowd from the bands perspective. The video also uses a lot of low-key lighting. In the shots with ECU’s the light is directly in the band member’s faces, while everything else in the shot is very dark. This draws more attention to the intensity in the band’s faces. The video is very fast-paced in changing camera shots in angles, but if you pay enough attention you can almost find every camera angle and shot that we have discussed in class.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can't Get Enough of Blood-sucking programs

Okay even though I don't want to say this out loud, just because I don't want to believe it, I am one of biggest fans of Twilight, True Blood and basically all shows that have to do with blood- sucking vampires. I just have this fascination knowing that there still can be this undying love for someone. The idea that someone would risk their life for me and I for him makes everything just so much more exciting! I think that is why these kinds of shows and films have such a big fan base. People, especially young girls, love knowing that someone would go through all this trouble in order to be with them. But, it is getting to a point where basically every channel you turn on is about vampires; I even watched a Tyra episode where she actually interviewed people who thought they were vampires and drank animal blood; they actually believed that they couldn't come out in the sun characteristics that go with being a vampire. I just think that the media really is squeezing every ounce of this in order to profit as much as they can from this new and continues phenomena of blood sucking entertainment!

Can't Get Enough of Blood-Sucking programs

McDonald's in Iceland

I found this article on, that is titled, “Big Macs off menu as Iceland’s economic crisis bites.” I found this interesting because it seems that no matter where we go the economy is suffering in some way. Iceland has three McDonald’s locations and is getting rid of all three of them. I think it would be hard to imagine not having a McDonald’s, because literally they are off of almost every highway exit, they’re around the corner from campuses and their simply just everywhere. I wonder what kind of fast food they’re going to eat in Iceland if it isn’t McDonald’s.

I found throughout reading that article the prices of a Big Mac in various countries. A Big Mac in Iceland costs $5.29 compared to in the United States it is $3.54 for a Big Mac. I can’t believe how much a Big Mac costs in Iceland, it makes sense to me why they have to shut them down, seems very expensive for McDonald’s. I guess even thinking about $3.54 for a Big Mac sounds expensive, after all it’s fast food, not gourmet eating. Good thing they came up with the dollar menu, or maybe McDonald’s in the states would be closing but surely also. Doubtful!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Party in the...

So apparently this Miley Cyrus girl is pretty popular. She's got a music label, TV show, even two names. And now she's got people spoofing her music videos. If you haven't seen the video called "Party in the FIP" yet, here ya go. It's pretty entertaining.

This video has only been on the net for just over two months and already has over 2.2 million views. Not bad.

All that said, this next video is what gets me.

I'm not saying it's good, bad, or whatever, but this second video "Party in the MLC" has only been on YouTube for three weeks and has over 80,000 views. That's a spoof of a spoof getting pretty close to going viral in a short amount of time.

Sad to say this video will be taken down by its creators in a few days because of some controversy it has sparked but I just think it's pretty interesting to see how videos like this (i.e. anything redoing the All the Single Ladies videos we watched in class) can draw so much viewership. And it just kind of makes me wonder...what makes a video go viral?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pandora Radio

Just recently I joined the new fad of Pandora Radio, but to some not such a “new fad”. I was just introduced to the online radio and fell in love. I found myself sitting there exploring and looking up different stations for what seemed like minutes, but was in reality hours.

Pandora Radio was created by Music Genome Project. It both plays music as a radio would, and also recommends. The user can either enter an artist or song title and Pandora responds by playing songs and other artists similar to that. The user then has the option to comment on that selection, allowing Pandora to take note and keep that in mind for future selections. Pandora also encourages the promotion of purchasing the songs or albums through a variety of online retailers. The best part is no commercials! Every few songs there will be a thirty second advertisement from one of Pandora’s sponsors, but compared to the radio we listen to in the car, that is nothing! I have a few friends that also have Pandora Radio on their phones, making listening to music convenient wherever you are!

Although I am new to Pandora I can honestly say I love it! It’s the perfect way to expand your musical horizons!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Catalina Wine Mixer T-Shirt > H1N1 Vaccine

In response to Katie’s post about how she will not be receiving the Swine flu vaccine. I completely agree with you Katie. I also will not be standing in long lines or dealing with adverse weather conditions just to snort a vaccine. Instead, I will continue to be neurotic when it comes to contacting or touching anything. So if I don't shake your hand don't be offened. I will continue to wash my hands at least 8 times a day. I will refrain from touching my mouth or nose. In addition, I will keep little packets of tissue in my pocket. Also, I will continue to strategically place bottles of hand sanitizer in my backpack, car, and where ever else it is needed. I mean -- whatever happened to the practice of good hygiene?
I think this situation has gotten complete blown out of proportion. I understand the H1N1 virus is prevalent in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the United States. However, I do not agree with President Obama’s announcement to declare the H1N1 virus a national emergency. I think he just added to the fears of the American people and caused more of frenzy. If you’re a healthy individual you should be just fine. So instead of wasting your time standing in ridiculously long lines to snort a vaccine that might cause a terrible side effect; invest in a Catalina Wine Mixer t-shirt. The event is a spoof based off one of the funniest movies “OF ALL TIME”! (Kanye’s voice at MTV VMA’s) Sorry. That will never get old to me. Anyway, if you do not know what I’m talking about please make sure you rent the movie Step Brothers, starring Will Ferrell and John C. Riley. It is hilarious and Prestige Worldwide is an upincoming conglomerate that will soon dominate the media market. If you are not familiar with this corporation you should check out their music video, Boats N’ Hoes.
So in conclusion, I guess I’d rather buy a Catalina Wine Mixer t-shirt then receive the swine flu vaccine. If you also would like to buy a Catalina Wine Mixer t-shirt here’s the website.

When the Sun Goes Down...

The Arctic Monkeys video for their song, "When the Sun Goes Down" is a great example of a narrative approach to producing a music video. The song tells a story, and the video shows it.The video features a variety of different shots that seperate the different emotions of the song. The video and song begin with slow, sad intros. The lyrics about the prostitute dealing with this particularly "scummy man" are paired with intermediate and close-up shots of the woman playing that role, as well as longer shots of her going interacting with the deprived environment that is the setting. When the song gets faster and more energetic, the shots mirror the song. As the cresecendo builds, the shots are distorted and blurred, and edited wildly and quickly to match the new tone of the song. The visual aspect of music videos allows the producers to emphasize the discrepancy of happiness between the main characters of the story. Shots of her are usually either low-lit closeups of the sad expression on her face or low-lit shots of her in an equally drab and depressing setting. These are contrasted with brighter shots of the men taking advantage of her poor situation

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I am NOT getting a flu shot

My mother, a RN, never wants me to get shots or vaccines. She's in the medical field, and she straight up admits she doesn't always trust it. Tetnis shot? Never. HPV? Don't even consider it. Flu Shot? Maybe. Actually, after this video I can safely say that my mother will not decide this one for me. I will NOT get the flu shot. This beautiful and young perspective cheerleader for the Redskins had a flu shot her life at age 25 turned upside down. She developed a side effect in which she has muscle contractions and spasms, making it extremely difficult for her to walk. However, she can walk backwards, run and talk normal (she cannot when she is walking or sitting) just fine. I know this is a one in a million chance. I know this will probably never happen to me, anyone I know, or anybody else. This is probably just one of the few side effects to millions of shots and medicines out there. However, I feel as if I can be strong enough and healthy enough to make it through the flu than to risk something like this or another horrible vaccine side effecting resulting in a total difficult life change. I couldn't imagine my life being turned upside down like hers was, especially when she didn't NEED the flu shot. My mother and I both agree that these sorts of vaccines and new medications are exposed and enforced on society to seem necessary and vital to stay healthy. My mother has always had doubts of the side effects and if not taking the vaccine was detrimental, then she felt we could go without. I always thought she was a bit paranoid, but after watching this, I don't doubt her. Sure, some cases of the flu are tragic. Sure, I could very likely get the flu. I know, the chance of something happening like this to me is really rare and minimal. However, I can't take that sort of chance. Her story is a rare one, but effected my thoughts on the side effects of all medication forever.

Fashion Déjà vu in the Media

I look to television so often throughout my week that it is a wonder I ever get any work for school done. But within my daily hours of TV consumption I began to notice strange happenings that made me believe that either the industry is becoming lazy or they are just getting to be too similar.

This week, Gossip Girl featured a dress, which Lily Humphrey recognized from the Hervé Léger runway show, worn by Hilary Duff, which the character (Olivia) said was wasn’t on the runway and that one of her best friends, designer Max Azria made as a favor for her.

Then on Thursday, Ugly Betty’s resident assistant Amanda comes traipsing down the hall in none other than an mighty similar dress. I had to do a double take, the difference in color was there as well as the style of the top but there was no denying that the Hervé Léger bandage dress was making a mark in the media.

I thought about other instances when a specific fashion piece was used in a movie or television show and I thought to a favorite of mine, The Devil Wears Prada and the almost too gaudy orange cape that Nigel, right hand to Miranda Priestly, hands off to character Andy Sachs, when she wants a makeover to fit in. Then, fast forward to ABC’s Cashmere Mafia (failed to attract viewers like counterpart Lipstick Jungle, both less than exceptional in my opinion) and Lucy Liu’s character is sitting on a park bench wearing the same bold orange cape and I could only think that no matter the person wearing it, some of fashion’s best ideas just can’t translate on to a woman.

Understandably, there are only so many ideas out there for creative directors and fashion coordinators for shows to work with so the occasional glimpse of a similar outfit is to be expected but I believe that there are a few problems with the fashion scenarios on television. On Gossip Girl, actress Olivia (played by Duff) would easily be able to afford a dress upwards of 1k, whereas assistant Amanda on Ugly Betty, despite her work in the fashion field, scrapes by to afford an apartment so the possibility of owning a signature bandage dress is less than likely (mayhap she borrowed from the magazine’s plentiful closet).

The next would be any signature piece, such as the hideous orange cape from The Devil Wears Prada, showing up anywhere else and not being associated with the movie. The film makes such an impact on design that despite the intentions of Cashmere Mafia, the cape still looked terrible yet still screamed “PRADA”. There is my weekly rant of too similar fashion on the big and small screen, which I will cut short since I could go on and on about the bandage dress and how it is featured on so many shows and how it is causing major copycat knock-off versions…

Friday, October 23, 2009

Poca Face

The episode, “Poca Face” in the season of Real Chance of Love 2 uses many forms of editing and cinematographic techniques to assist in telling the story. The majority of the episode is held in high-key lighting. The depth staging often moves from shallow space to deep space depending on the intensity of emotions in being captured in the scene. The shot scale typically varied between long shot and medium shot with a very minimal amount of medium close-ups and close-ups. The close-ups in the episode were used to show a reaction from one character to another. Spatio-temporal discontinuity is used as an editing technique in this episode in order to prove a point (i.e. catching one of the contestants in a lie.) This is done to drive the emotions of the audience or reader.  Along with this, most of the shots are done straight on or slightly higher than the characters on the show. This allows for quick and easy understanding of the level of intensity during the shot. Also, from time to time, one-on-one interviews are conducted for commentary. This may be seen as staging so the viewer is persuaded to feel differently about a character being spoken about. Finally, the sounds used in this episode, like most of the Real Chance of Love episodes, are very animated. This is done so the audience takes notice of the humor behind the actions in the scene. Abrupt door slamming or heels clicking on the ground are just a couple of sounds that are over exaggerated.

Lemon Jelly

The song in the video is Lemon Jelly-Nice Weather for Ducks. This video is put together in a way so that when something changes in the music, something also changes in the animation. The different perspectives you are given (camera angles) allow you to understand a lot more of what is happening in the video. This video could mean many things but I have yet to set my mind on one. It could symbolize the eruption of new plant life when seasons change or how everything looks a lot more alive after a nice long rain storm. It could just be an old guy on a trip or having a dream where he connects with the animals or it could just be the artist way of targeting more of your emotions while listening to his song. When listening to music you are always waiting for that one part that just hits your ear the right way. That one part is usually what makes the song a good one, it builds you up and builds you up until finally they give in and let you hear it. This song uses that similar strategy (almost like a show continues to build on a series) of building up to moments where there is a change in an instrument, the rhythm or style the song uses. The different images that at thrown at us during these changes could be an attempt at effecting our emotions. Different flashes of color, different designs and patterns the animals make and then in the end all of them dancing together, all of these things affect people differently. This video could be both narrative and non-narrative, it really depends on how you view the video and listen to the music.

Porsche Commercial

The Porsche commercial I chose is a narrative. It tells the story of a little boy who sees a Porsche outside his class window and decides he’s going to get one, when he’s older. He stops by the dealer to find out more about his dream car and tells the dealer he will be back to get his own in 20 years. The whole narrative element depicts the Porsche as this luxury dream vehicle that people wish to acquire their entire lives. There was a lot of use of shallow space, with the cameras focusing only on the boy’s face to really convey the emotions he felt at that time. The shot scale went from medium close-ups of the boy to extreme long shots of the car as it passed the school window. There was also an element of continuity, as each scene was presented in a single point in time: from the first sighting of the car while the boy was at school to his arrival at the dealership to check out his dream vehicle. This technique showed how the story was told, in order, from beginning to end, leaving the focus on the boy and the car to give a more dramatic effect. Had the commercial flipped between the boy and something else, it would have been less dramatic.

Not in this weather

This is obviously a Mercedes Benz commercial from a few years back.

The “plot” is simple, making the commercial a narrative. The wife is cheating on the husband with another man. The other man is worried that the husband might show up and catch them, but since it is a blizzard outside, she is not worried, saying, “Not in this weather.” Meanwhile, the husband is also cheating on his wife with another woman. Worried whether his wife will be expecting him at home, he says, “Not in this weather,” leading us to believe this particular Benz can handle driving in even the worst conditions.

The music is representative of the weather outside – we hear the wind howling as if it were a blizzard. There is distinctive music while the husband is driving. It is almost similar to James Bond music as he is hunting down a villain. The commercial leads us to believe the husband is about to catch his wife cheating on him with another man (the villain.) Plus, he even has an English accent, also similar to Bond.

The camera’s shot scale is almost completely close up. I think using this type of shot makes us buy in to the fact that the husband will catch his wife. It also captures the passion of each affair and has us believe the husband is really on a mission, a la Bond.

The lighting is obviously very low, giving us a sense of intimacy with the characters in the commercial. Most of the shots in the commercial are very short, many less than a second, giving us the feeling that something big is going to happen, presumably the husband catching the wife in the act.

Thinking of You

Katy Perry’s Thinking of you video is an example of a narrative form of media. There are examples of close-ups, canted imagery and flash backs.

The narrative is quite clear by the lyrics and images. Perry describes the relationship she had with her husband. We see an intimate scene between Perry and a new lover and understand through her body language and what she says, that she regrets the situation. Her new lover is married. The audience learns this when the new lover takes off his wedding ring.

The video goes on to explain why Perry is with her new lover. There are flashbacks of Perry’s husband that include good times and bad. Several flashbacks are of her husband fighting in war. These are in black and white to give the audience a sense of time. Perry’s husband dies in war. The video continues and leads up to the funeral.

One interesting concept the video used was lighting. The first flashback is introduced with Perry looking out of a window. The sun beams in and we see our first glimpse into Perry’s past. She is actually watching or reliving memories of her husband. The emotions are felt much more because the audience sees Perry watching her own life.

There are a variety of camera angles in this video as well. There are several close ups of Perry. One striking image in particular, is the one of Perry putting on red lipstick right before the funeral. There is a canted scene when the audience sees Perry’s husband die. His body falls to the ground and the camera goes back to Perry’s bedroom, where we see her fall into bed with her new lover. The same canted angle is used in the two scenes as if to say, part of Perry has died as well.

Overall, there is a lot of discontinuity in the video, but it all flows quite nicely.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I feel that this music video is a non-narrative video but at the same time the song its self is in a way narrative. This video does tell a story but the story portrayed by the actors is broken up by Daughtry and his band every few seconds. This is a single camera video and it also has many different camera angles such as panning while the band is playing. When ever Daughtry is the main focus in the scene the camera seems to be doing a medium shot alternated by a medium close-up and in a few shots a close-up. The editing is this video I feel is well done. There is a difference when the images change but it’s not distracting. It almost seems normal because the light levels are very similar. The makeup is minimal which in my opinion helps to understand the story more and brings it down more to a personal level. These actors could be real people in a real situation. The costumes and lighting are all dark to maybe suggest some sort of negative situation that has caused this woman to be so sad. And in the end the viewer learns she has left the boyfriend and that she is going to be ok but the viewer doesn’t know for sure.

Pepsi Commercial

The Pepsi commercial is a narrative because it tells a story about this young boy who lives amongst Chinese Monks. He begins training at a young age and at the end of the minute long commercial he is at least 10 years older. To be a narrative, the story must have the events linked by causality (a causes b and b causes c). The events in the commercial tell a story about a young boy who trains with monks and when he is older he “performs” in front of all the elders.

The commercial uses discontinuity editing to flashback to the future. They use a quick flash of a black screen to jump to the boy as a young adult. The music in the beginning is very ethnic and a bit positive and then when it transitions to the future there is a “monster” like sound that is scary and the music stops for a while when the man is performing for the monks. Then the original music from the beginning of the commercial starts up again when all the characters in the commercial celebrate.

The cinematography in the Pepsi commercial is distinctive. The extreme long shot scale is used often to emphasize the vast land of China and how small the young boy is compared to the monks that are training him. The camera focuses often on the facial expressions of the characters.

Lincoln Commercial

The conventions in this commercial help to tell a small, vague story. The camera does a constant zooming in and out on the car and it goes along with the music and lighting. It it set in a dark lighting but with streams of light throughout the commercial that emphasizes parts of the vehicle and makes the vehicle stand out. That feature gives the feeling of luxury and high class, and also makes it seem like this vehicle can take on anything and is like a big space ship finding new parts of life. The fast paced camera views, zooming in and out and song tells a little story of this high technology coming from space and being fully loaded ready to take on the rest of the world.

"You Can't Touch This"

I decided to analyze one of the most popular rap songs of all time, “You Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer.  The video basically just focuses on dancing.  There’s not really a story being told and for most of the video the camera is still and focused on five or six people that are dancing in a very bright white room.  They used long shot for the shot scale in these parts because you can see the dancers from head to toe.  Occasionally the video cuts to a night scene of the dancers and changes the feel of the scene.  During these parts of the video they use a medium shot and you see the dancers from about the waist up.  The video looks like it cost very little money to make but for the time it was very appealing to viewers.  The video basically only takes place in two places, the stage with the bright lights, and an outside scene. In the early 90s when this video was popular, people were just attracted to the catchy beat and the fancy dance moves in the song.  Today music videos tend to be a lot more elaborate and a lot more money is put into them.  They spend hours on filming and take only the best footage for their videos, whereas MC Hammer’s video looks like it could have been filmed in a couple hours.

Candy bar commercial

This commercial is very simple in it’s presentation. It uses a narrative to tell the story of a young boy who wants someone to be able to play with, so he goes on a mission to get a baby brother. A variety of camera angles are used to elaborate this emotion of loneliness.

The first is similar to that from Veronica Mars where Veronica is sitting alone and looking at the people used to call friends. In the same manner, the boy scores a goal but has no one to share the joy with as he just scored on an empty net. Then the camera pans up and very wide, so much so that you barely notice the boy standing all alone on the soccer field. Finally, a series of brief shots from numerous different angles show the way the boy is setting the mood for his parents, with most of the shots making you see the world from his perspective (reaching up for the flowers, sitting down to open the bottle of wine, etc.).

It is apparent that the boy gets his wish when he and his father are seen walking down a hallway that we quickly associate with a hospital. Our suspicions are confirmed when we see the mom in a hospital bed and a newborn nearby, completing this boy’s story on his quest for a playmate.

Ring The Alarm - Beyonce

Apparently there was some confusion as to why I wrote there were 5 different women. Let me explain. I came to the clonclusion of 5 different women on my own. I guess because of their outfits and different hair Beyonce looked like she was playing several different women. The one in the cream dress with her hair loosely back, the one in the trench coat with the slicked back ponytail, the one in the white button down on the bed, the one in the house with the wavy hair, and the one who was in the army-esque print (she was mostly dancing, but there's a shot where it looks like shes getting ready to take a mug shot - except the background is blacked out instead of white backdrop with marks for how tall you are.) To me, it seemed like these women were all really different, so I guess I assumed they were different characters. Looking back, that could be kind of confusing/ambiguous.

Ring The Alarm

This video depicts the stories of 5 women that are upset at their ex-boyfriends. Each character in the video has, or will have, committed a crime against their es-boyfriend. The video is shot mostly in long and medium shots. This helps us see the settings of the women which are mostly in what seem to be police stations, except two which are in a home. The lighting used in the scenes of the three women who are in police stations is low key. It is dark inside the space; the characters are all wearing lighter clothes, contrasting the colors. The lighting for one of the women at home is high key. The colors are all evenly illuminated and we can see the setting very clearly. For the last woman, the lighting is all red. This represents her anger toward her ex-boyfriend, but the fact that she is still wearing his white button down shows that she still cares for him. The camera angles look to all be proportionate, but Beyonce looks directly into the camera when she is singing which engages the audience more. Throughout the video the transitions are very discontinuous. It cuts from character to character, maybe showing that these all could be happening at the same time.

Lebron and Kobe Nike Commercial

One of my favorite television commercials are the one's with Lebron and Kobe as puppets. The one that I chose is for a Nike advertisement. Kobe has on his new Nike shoes and wants to show Lebron how he can jump into a car with his new Nike shoes on. I just find these to be really great, because they use puppets and they are catchy. Here is the link to the commercial

In analyzing the textual analysis of this commercial, we can see how the focus is drawn to us immediately because Kobe and Lebron are well known NBA basketball players. Bascially I think in analyzing the text it is a great commercial to help Nike become even more popular and as well it shows this concept of friendship between two players who are supposed to be rivals. I think that combining these elements of Kobe and Lebron as puppets for a television commercial especially when it was played constantly through the playoffs definitely gets the attention of an audience. I know I kept talking about these commercials every time I would see one.

There is clearly narration taking place but it is Kobe and Lebron who are the ones narrating the commercial which in commercials I feel like the narrative is usually a voice over.

It seems also that within this commercial there is conflict because Kobe's whole idea is that with his new Nike shoes on he can do anything such as jump into a car, but we don't know what is going to happen although we can pretty much predict he will make it into the car because he has his Nike's on and of course because he is Kobe Bryant.

This commercial doesn't really tell us a story like the one we saw in class with the beer I feel it is simply just a commercial to advertise Nike and to have these two NBA "puppets" presenting the Nike brand.

The Most Innocent Criminal

An Associated Press report in today's Journal Sentinel describes what is possibly the most sympathetic armed robbery ever to occur in Indianapolis. A 23-three-year old man held up a check-cashing business, proceeded to cry, talk, and then pray with the female clerk before taking the bullet from his gun, handing it to her, and fleeing with her cell phone and $20 in cash.

The pre-prayer conversation topics ranged of from the robber's financial troubles and his struggle to support his 2-year-old son to the topic of God. The man requested prayers that he might overcome his hardships before he himself got to his knees and prayed for nearly ten minutes. All of this, mind you, was occurring in the middle if a robbery. His face was clearly visible all the while. The robbery occurred on Monday and he surrendered himself on Tuesday.

Wow. I have never heard of such instantaneous remorse, never mind the symbolic gesture of handing your victim the bullet from your gun! I'm curious as to how the clerk reacted while all of this was happening, or after, when the initial shock subsided. I am also left wondering what will become of this young man and of his prayers will in fact be answered. But my initial reaction remains: there's got to be an easier way to acquire twenty bucks.

Whre the Wild Things Are

I always loved the book Where the Wild Things Are but as soon as I heard it was going to be made into a feature film, I felt as if something classic and precious and been exploited by a higher media to rank in more profit and ruin a simplistic book I grew up with and cherished. However, as I saw the trailer for the movie, I second guessed it. The production and characters not only looked of quality but were beyond creative for what I expected. After seeing the trailer, I thought about the book again, and reminded myself that I would not be tempted by this film and completely spoil something I loved. However, I am an Urban Outfitters junky, and they began a theme around the movie with everything from ornaments to actual clothing based on the book and movie. I put much trust in Urban Outfitters opinions on things, such as style, creativity and interest. Therefore, I again considered seeing the movie, but reminded myself that I would not let things such as ornaments and tee shirts, that only create more profit and exposure for this classic book, tempt me into ruining something I loved. Today I picked up the new Shepard Express and paged through it to find a Where the Wild Things Are review. Again, interest sparks, and I read it. After this article and description of the plot and production (direction) I decided that perhaps this wasn't an all out profit seeking scam. Perhaps, this is something I want to see. Please, if you have hesitance on this movie, like I did, read the article and re-think your skeptical thoughts. Perhaps this could be the best movie of the year. Perhaps this is creating exposure to young children who may have not grown up with the book to enjoy a classic in now picture form. Either way, I'm going to give in. I am going to see Where The Wild Things Are and I sure as hell hope I like it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Buying Michael Jordan

The Hanes t-shirt commercial featuring retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan and actor Charlie Sheen is a narrative commercial. It begins with Sheen walking out a hotel. His eyes light up with excitement upon seeing Michael Jordan. We get a long shot to Jordan’s car as he talks on his cell phone to his mother, “Hi mom, did you get the flowers I sent you?” and then a quick cut to Jordan in his car ready to drive off, but Sheen is right there as he is about to drive off. The quick cut is used to show the excitement that seeing Michael Jordan elicits. We don’t see Sheen walking toward the car, we see him immediately in front of Jordan.

Sheen vainly tries to establish a connection with the NBA great the camera focusing a tight shot on Jordan’s face as Sheen asks if he like Korean barbecue we see an incredulous look on his face. Jordan pulls off and the camera cuts to Sheen and a hotel employee viewing Jordan driving away.

While Hanes t-shirts are the focus of this commercial the brand is essentially the selling of Michael Jordan, from what we hear of his telephone conversation with his mother, and how he and Sheen connect or don’t connect. The true connection comes in purchasing the same undershirt as Jordan. You may not connect with the basketball great on a social level, as Sheen vainly attempts to do, but you can wear the same Hanes undershirt.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Commercial that acts like a Short Film

I really enjoyed this commercial the first time I saw it since it seemed like a short and amusing story about the great lengths one man goes for his whisky. Within thirty one seconds the story focuses on the love of Jameson’s Irish Whisky while providing conflict between the man and the sea (storm and octopus). That Jameson was victorious against either makes the beverage contained in the barrel seem more incredible than gold, which was exactly what the director was hoping for.

The story begins with John Jameson in the storm of 1781, narrated by man with a slight Irish accent (perfect for an Irish whisky ad) while a single violin provides a soundtrack outside the diegesis. The commercial for Jameson’s Irish Whisky tells the imaginary tale of how one man loses a “beloved barrel” overboard (the exposition), jumps in after it on a rescue mission, faces off with a giant octopus (middle and conflict) and his funeral which he attends, victoriously hoisting the wayward barrel on his shoulder (conclusion). The events are all linked by causality.

The scenes were set with period costumes and dull lighting during the storm, rescue and funeral, which added a period affect to the shots. Shot scale varied from shots of Jameson’s barrel of whisky and him bidding farewell to his wife (medium close-up) to the great storm and the fight with the giant octopus (extreme long shot). The positioning of the camera allowed us to see the conflict in the setting while showing the drama and action between characters and establishing the range of emotion (close-up of funeral guests as compared to the extreme long shot of all of Ireland in attendance). Depth of field was important in revealing Jameson’s successful retrieval of the lost barrel; the subject was blurred in the distance with the attendants of the funeral in focus and made clear when the crowd realized he had not perished.

Bright Eyes: At the bottom of everything

This video tells a story. It starts out as a narrative when the lead singer is actually telling a story of a lady on an airplane that is going to crash. The narrating describes what is happening in the video and then it blends into the song. There is causality in the video, for example the two main characters were seated next to each other on the plane, the pilot announces the crash, the lady then talks to the old man next to her, the old man comforts her, and then all of the people start to adapt to the fact that they are going to die on the plane with the people around them. The video uses close ups to emphasis different story lines within the plot. The camera cuts from inside the plane to outside, which is very cartoonlike, and emphasis’s the story like feel of the video. The images in the video emphasis the lyrics of the song, they further promote the story. In this video, we follow the lady and the rest of the plane’s passengers from the beginning of the flight, the announcement of the crashing, the realization of death, their reactions and finally the end crash. I think this video is a bit unconventional, but it tells a story whose meaning can be interpreted in many ways, but overall it gives an optimistic outlook on death and having faith in people.

Video analysis

I chose to analyze the When You Were Young music video by the Killers. The director chose to start the story with the conclusion. We first see this woman on top of a cliff somewhere in South America devastated and hopeless, and then they cut to a man in a car looking for something (which as a viewer I automatically assume he’s looking for her). The visual style the director uses is mise en scene because it is obvious that these people are put in costumes and put in their places in order to make us understand the story more and give us an idea of who they are and where they come from. The director’s use of editing is mostly discontinuity because the video keeps showing us flashbacks to how they first met, the band, the wedding...etc. The main style I noticed from this video was the choice of lighting; it is always dark or darker than usual, even during the day scenes, for example when she steps out of church; they are all darker than usual. Maybe it’s the director’s way of showing how these people maybe view their life or their condition? Over all, this video, I felt she light on the many terms and concepts that were discussed in order to tell a story in a unique way that expresses their struggle.

Become Legendary

The audiovisual text I chose to analyze is a classic Michael Jordan commercial titled “Maybe”. It is an advertisement that promotes his iconic brand Jumpman. This commercial in particular is a narrative. The plot is the story as presented in the narrative. In fact, Michael Jordan narrates the ad himself. The ad has a beginning, middle, and end and these function as exposition, development, and resolution. Credit Mznewman for that observation. It provides an interesting conflict through the narration because MJ discusses how his success came at a price. That price was extreme dedication to the game of basketball. I see his narration as exposition because he explains his beginnings and how hard he had to work to get to where he is at. The first shot shows his statue in front of the Chicago Bulls arena with all of his accolades engraved in the monument. Then it shows a series of shots that correspond with his narrative accompanied by music. The way the conflict is framed and resolved in this minute long ad is critical to understanding the story’s meaning. In the narration he starts most of his states with the word maybe. He says, “Maybe it’s my fault, maybe I led you to believe it was easy when it wasn’t.” The ad continues to capture shots of weight rooms, locker rooms, practice uniforms, and trophies. The ad is showing his progression. It shows his old high school gym, his dorm room at UNC, and some of the Chicago Bulls facility. At the end, it cuts to him standing in front of a group of ball players and he says, “Maybe I destroyed the game or maybe you just makin’ excuses.” Then in bold print against a black backdrop it reads, “BECOME LEGENDARY”. It is a very inspirational advertisement. I could write over 500 words for this audio-visual text but that would be over doing it. Apparently, I should of because the 1.5 I received didn’t getter done. Ha-ha, Enjoy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Get A Mac

Like all of Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials, the pizza box ad follows the same simple layout. The actor representing a PC and the actor representing a Mac use onscreen dialogue to briefly compare the capabilities and characteristics of each computer. In the end, the Mac always comes out delivering a better argument. In this specific advertisement, the PC actor is hiding inside a pizza box trying to attract college students to buy more PC’s by giving away free pizza.

The mise en scene for this commercial is very simple, as a plain white background is used against the two actors. The lighting and the white background make the overall look very bright and allow the actors to stand out. Instead of the eye being distracted by a more colorful or active background, the set design is kept minimal so the audience focuses on the dialogue.

The cinematography is simplistic as well. A single frame is used throughout the ad, and the camera angle remains parallel with the ground. Because of the white background, the depth of the frame is unknown. There is no camera movement, but the focus is clearly the two actors, who are centered in the middle of the frame. A long shot scale is used throughout, as it includes the full length of the Mac actor’s body from head to toe. Furthermore, the editing is continuous, as it presents a scene in a single space and a single time without cutting until the final seconds.

Because Apple uses the same tune for its Mac commercials ("Having Trouble Sneezing," composed by Mark Mothersbaugh), the song has become a theme song to the brand and it is recognizable without even having to look up at the TV screen. The song starts playing as the commercial begins and ends on a cheerful chord thirty seconds later. There is no other noise in the ad besides the actors' dialogue and the music.

Overall, the commercial is simple, yet intriguing to the audience. The witty conversation between the two actors entertains and informs the audience about Macs. However, the actual Mac computer is only displayed at the end of the commercial for a few seconds as the shot cuts to the second and last frame. Here, a Mac computer monitor stands in the center of the frame against a white background. Mise en scene, cinematography, editing, and sound come together to showcase the product that Apple is trying to sell.

De Beer's Diamond Commercial

A 2006 Christmas advertisement for De Beers diamonds, tells a story of a couples love for one another. It begins with them both sleeping and has the husband wake up, carefully not waking his wife. He then sneakily goes down stairs, trying his best to be quiet while he takes his present out of its hiding spot. He then makes his way back to bed and sets the necklace on her neck, to surprise her.

The main element that makes this commercial so complete is the music playing throughout. Despite the fact the two actors do not even say a word, the story is still told through the song. The lines in the song “how can I tell you, that I love you” and “but I can’t find the right words to say” accentuates the fact that the husband is trying to do something to show his wife he loves her, not with words, but with an action; this strengthens the reasoning that they do not speak, but rather just act.

The production of the commercial sets the mood. The lighting is soft with a semi-grey overall tone, helping the audience to know it must be an early winter morning. The camera is mostly close to the people except when the husband is down stairs; they show more of the room, probably to show the Christmas tree to help set the scene and time. It produces a lot of meaning with love, Christmas, and what you can do for a loved one.

Friday, October 16, 2009

2 Blows to the Right

Two blows for conservatism in one newspaper. The Journal Sentinel reported on Friday the dismissal of conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh from a group of potential owners of the National Football League team the St. Louis Rams, and the dropping of a federal lawsuit brought by a member of a birthers group in Georgia that seeks to have President Barack Obama removed as president on the grounds that he is not American born.

The judge called the birther lawsuit frivolous and an attempt to convey political diatribes into a federal courtroom. Limbaugh was taken away from the Rams owning parting because of his history of making divisive comments. He, of course went on to lambast his detractors on his radio show which ran the gamut from Al Sharpton to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Somewhere in the middle ground of the people who oppose Rush Limbaugh’s divisive rhetoric and the madness of groups like the birther movement lies the people who are sick and tired of the path conservatives have been taking.

The Golden Age of Video

After class on Wednesday, I went looking for that famous "rosebud" shot that professor was talking about. I've never seen Citizen Kane, but I know it's pretty famous and I was just trying to see a clip of it and maybe get a tiny grasp on what it was all about.

In my search for that I stumbled across this video...which is awesome. It takes bits and pieces of some of the more recognizable quotes from movies + television from the past I don't even know how many years and puts it onto of a techno-ish song by a Swedish guy.

Just watching it is such an overload of flashbacks to the clips that I actually was able to place. Although I don't know where all of these scene's are from (the very first one is big mystery to me...Munsters?), it's just amazing that someone was able to find enough clips that rhyme with each other and edit their sound to flow with the music and make it sound like a legit song is pretty impressive to me. Plus I just really like the two 30 Rock quotes.

NFL mocks Jessica Simpson in commercial

Fox aired a commerical during NFL sunday's games on October 11th making fun of Jessica Simpson's weight. In the commercial you see Dallas Cowboys sitting in the locker room cracking jokes about Simpson's weight and Tony Romo. Since then FOX and Burger King corp (a sponsor) has apologized to Simpson. They said it was "poor attempt at humor was insensitive and we deeply apologize to anyone who might have been offended."

Apparently the Burger King Corp who is a sponsor of the NFL never gave it permission to be aired. Now, they are apologizing for their aloof actions.

After reading the article, without seeing the commercial, I was excited to see it and I thought it would be kind of funny to watch. I don't always agree with mocking certain celebrities, expecially on such a touchy subject for women- weight, but I thought at least it would be a good laugh. When I saw the commericial, it was just the opposite, I would define it as stupid and unnecessary. It had no main plot other than making fun of Jessica and the jokes weren't even very humorous.

Balloon Boy

As I was surfing Twitter yesterday everyone's status were related to the balloon boy. I had no idea what this was and as I began to read about it, this is what I found. A family in Colorado enjoys chasing storms and doing crazy science experiments. This time the experiment was a flying balloon, kind of resembled a hot air balloon.
Falcon Heene, 6, said he hid in the family attic after his father yelled at him.
The crazy part about this whole thing is they couldn't find their son when deciding to launch the balloon, so this whole thing turned into a huge news production looking for this couple's son. Their only thought was that he had to be in the balloon, which seemed a bit crazy, but I guess they couldn't find him anywhere else. Eventually everything was ok when the couple realized that their son had been in a box in the attic and didn't come down when they called his name because he didn't respond because according to CNN he said, "you guys said we did this for the show." So meanwhile he had everyone worried sick about him and he was upstairs playing with toys. I just thought this whole story was so interesting and really caught my eye because it's not something we hear about everyday. I mean everyone's Twitter was like "hopefully he's alive" or "where is balloon boy" and the whole time he was at home. Here is a link to a video about balloon boy

Where Aren't the Wild Things?

Where the Wild Things Are - Trailer

Spike Jonze's film version of Maurice Sendak's best loved children's book Where the Wild Things Are hits theaters today. Target market: me! My heart aches with anticipation and reverence every time I see a WTWTA commercial featuring the familiar monsters accompanied by an Arcade Fire soundtrack. Hollywood has successfully marketed the marriage of my favorite childhood book, one of the best "indie" directors ever, and my favorite indie music (the film's soundtrack also features original music by Miss Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). The fact that I have not yet seen the film but have been touting it's creation and release as the most exciting event to ever happen only lays claim to it's ingenious marketing prowess. You can imagine what my plans will be this evening...

The popularity of Where the Wild Things Are cannot be denied even by those who don't love it as well as I. The WTWTA franchise has emerged with renewed success. The book was originally written by Sendak in the 1960's, but t-shirts bearing the illustrations, WTWTA-themed Easter baskets, and many other homages have been popping up in mass production over the past ten years. With the impending release of the film, such product placement has increased tenfold. I was able to reread the children's classic when I plucked it from the other WTWTA paraphanelia on prominent special display at my nearby Hollywood Video.

Although the original book (and Easter baskets) are made for an audience of children, almost all the reviews I've read of the movie -- including in today's Journal Sentinel-- make it clear the film was not made with a child audience foremost in mind. It appears to be made more for adults with either a love of fantastical film or a strong sense of nostalgia and indie principles. How Jonze has taken a ten sentence children's book and turned it into a full length "emotional masterpiece" for a more adult crowd, I have yet to find out. But I, for one, am sold.