Year 1 Module BCOP100-CMFT

Production, Value and Taste 300 Response

Conformity:

During one of our seminars with Andy, we had an interesting conversation on conformity.

Why do we conform? Because we want to “fit in” with the people around us and be perceived as “normal” by a group of people or by a person. We buy branded clothes because it is in fashion, and then when it is out of fashion it goes to the back of the wardrobe never to be touched again. We do this even though budget clothes can look just as nice and be more comfortable because we are told by society that buying brands means we’re “part” of society.

A lot of young girls act like Kim Kardashian because they think that that’s how girls should act, and they conform to the group and social pressures around them and concede to posting indecent pictures and wearing indecent clothes.

Those are just examples, but in general most people pretend they are something they aren’t by dressing and acting certain ways. This comes down to the pressure society puts on everyone to conform, and media is what influences this the most.

Just like fashion, media has evolved to cater to different tastes as well. For example, in fashion UGG boots were what everyone needed to wear. Now it is Adidas shoes, next year it will be something else. With media, Westerns were the most popular genre of movie, then it was Crime movies. But even in media, why should we conform to making what will get the views? Why can’t we just make what we love and enjoy? Who says other people won’t enjoy it too?

It might be a tenuous connection to conformity, but I do feel as if most media makers just jump on the bandwagon on whatever is trending at the time (whether that’s on YouTube or in the film industry) and they don’t actually make what is true to them and themselves. I find this very sad, but as long as money, views and conformity have their way this will never change; nor will society conforming to how they should look and act.

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References:

Cherry, K. (2018). Conformity: Why Do We Try So Hard to Be Like Other People?. [online] Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-conformity-2795889 [Accessed 14 Dec. 2018].

Harris, A. (2012). Slate’s Use of Your Data. [online] Slate Magazine. Available at: https://slate.com/culture/2012/10/film-genre-graph-chart-of-percentages-over-time-goes-viral-on-reddit.html [Accessed 14 Dec. 2018].

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Year 1 Module BCOP100-CMFT

Stuff and Things 300 word response

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In the first ‘Stuff and Things’ seminar, we got talking about the role of advertising in the modern world. This was very interesting to me because we talked about how there is a psychology behind advertising; it manipulates us all into buying certain things, or wanting to look a certain way. It is quite a serious subject, and the fact that we are all told how we should look, especially woman in my opinion, is something I’ve thought about, and got angry about, a lot.

The Dove self-esteem project came up whilst discussing this subject. It is, supposedly, an advertising campaign that is trying to eradicate the whole concept of body image. But there is a question about whether it is actually sincere or not. In my opinion, it is just trying to reach out to a target audience by putting on this fake cover of being the ‘good’ company that cares about everyone. Maybe Dove do actually mean well, but it is definitely hard to believe as a consumer.

All this relates back to digital media production because most of us will work with companies at some point, and our jobs would most likely have something to do with their advertising and brand. As media makers, this is the kind of thing we’re involved in, whether we like it or not. The question is, how culpable are we? Are we responsible for their message? What is that message? Do we agree with it? Can we make a difference and also serve the client? Are we comfortable with, for example, selling sugar puffs that we know contains tons of sugar in to kids? Are we comfortable with making adverts that lie to the public about what a particular product can do? How can we change things?

Before this discussion in the seminar, I didn’t think too deeply into this. But I’m starting to realise more and more the power we have as media makers, and that it’s really up to us if we want to try make a difference or not, and it is up to us if we want to aid an advertisement company that, for example, sells a body image to young girls. This is something I feel strongly about, and something I’m strongly against being involved in. But also, how much choice do we have? If I refused a job, someone else would just come a long and replace me. That’s just the fact.

Stuff and Things – Full Circle

Isn’t it funny how we all still go to the cinema to watch a movie? It has managed to hold out against VHS, DVD and now things like Netflix. We can literally sit at home in our pyjamas with a cup of tea and watch any film we want from the click of a mouse, yet most of us still prefer the experience of going to the cinema. The smell, the massive screen, the atmosphere. And really, right there I’ve answered the question on how cinema has managed to hold out against all these new technologies that have come out through the years.

Here’s another one: isn’t it funny how vinyl and cassettes are slowly coming back into fashion? You can walk into a music shop and find vinyls sitting there on a shelf, and you want to get it because it’s retro and cool. In that same music shop, you see cassettes. You want to get it because it has that unique retro crackling sound, and it’s cool. Again, I’ve answered the question on why these things have come back into fashion.

Here’s one more: You see an increasing number of media makers are using retro effects, such as a VHS effect. People are taking ultra-HD footage, and wanting to make it worse by adding VHS effects – sound and all – to that footage, because it’s retro and cool. You see the theme here.

It’s amazing how things come full circle, and being in media means you have to keep up with this ‘change’, even if that change is actually not change at all and instead a return to old technologies. Retro now means cool, whereas at one point it would have meant old.

Year 1 Module BCOP100-CMFT

Maps & Journeys & Signs 300 word response

Symbols:

Out of both lectures, symbols was definitely something that caught my interest, especially when we delved in deeper during the Thursday seminar with Andy after the second lecture with Jason on ‘Maps, Journeys and Signs’.

‘Semiotics’: “the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.” After that Thursday seminar, this definition has suddenly become vastly more interesting to me. Interpretation. How can signs and symbols be up for interpretation? A fire exit sign is a fire exit sign, isn’t it?

This got me thinking about the twenty one pilots symbol:

2018 twenty one pilots logo
It’s just a few vertical and diagonal lines joined by a hyphen, isn’t it? Well, the meaning of this symbol is up to loads of interpretation. Moreover, it means something to one person and not to the other. The lead singer of twenty one pilots, Tyler Joseph, won’t disclose what the meaning of the symbol is to him because that will ruin what it means to other people.

This kind of idea applies to hand signals as well. After spending a lot of my childhood in the Middle East, I noticed that the Arabs used a lot of hand signals which I learnt myself. But in England, they wouldn’t make any sense at all.

At 1:00 in this video is an example of one of those hand the signals, the ‘wait’ hand signal which I discussed in the seminar. Doing that kind of hand signal in England would most likely be considered quite rude, but in the Middle East it isn’t rude at all. It means something to one culture, but not to another.

Another example of this idea is maths symbols. To me personally, they don’t make a lot of sense simply because I don’t like maths. I look into it too much, and I always ask why I’m doing certain equations, and how they work, instead of just doing them. To someone else, maths symbols could be the kind of thing to get them excited, just like seeing the splice symbol in Premiere Pro gets me excited to edit.

How can these ideas relate to digital media? Because a lot of films are up for interpretation too. A lot of films mean different things to different people. A lot of films are excellent to one person and not to another. A lot of films excite one person, but not another. Just like some people don’t like or understand twenty one pilots, some people don’t like or understand Mr. Nobody. Opinion, perspective and life experiences play a big part in how different people see different things.

Semiotics can be related directly to film, or digital media of any kind. I find that incredibly interesting, and it’s not a link I would ever have made.

Year 1 Module BCOP100-CMFT

Create a quick response to “Approaches to What”

My interpretation of this piece is that we are all lost in the big world; we do not pay attention to the litte things in life. We do not pay attention to the everyday. We get stuck in a routine and become robots. The little things only start to exist when they can make a good newspaper headline: ” railway trains only begin to exist when they are derailed, and the more passengers that are killed, the more the trains exist.” We’ve lost sight of the little things in life. We wake up, follow our routine, and don’t appreciate the everyday: “where is it?” “to question the habitual. But that’s just it, we’re habituated to it. We don’t question it, it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem, we live it without thinking…” “it’s anaesthesia. We sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep. But where is our life?”.

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Although written in 1973, this piece obviously still applies to now. For me, when I put my phone away on the train suddenly I’m there. I’m actually on the train, noticing things. I’m hearing everything, I’m seeing everything. It seems the most cliché thing to say, but it’s true to say that your phone drags you away from the everyday. It’s one of the items ingrained into your routine. You see a warped view of the world with it.

Year 1 Module BCOP100-CMFT

Me & You & Context 2 (Know Thyself) 300 word response

I found the main themes of both lectures (context and identity) interested me equally.

However, my ‘Ah-Ha’ moment happened during the identity lecture. During the lecture on knowing thyself, Jason mentioned a quote from Socrates: “an unexamined life is not worth living”.  Jason said that we have come to Plymouth College of Art to examine our lives.

When I was looking into this idea further, I found out that this could be different from individual to individual. To Socrates it meant “the attainment of wisdom and intellectual humility”, to Seneca it meant “to have a meaningful goal and strive to perfect one’s character”, but to me I didn’t know what it meant.

For a long time, I felt like lost myself, I didn’t know what I wanted to create. I had ideas for videos, but nothing I was excited about, or was even passionate about. Nothing I followed through because I was my own worst critic, and I stopped halfway through because I thought it was rubbish. But when talking about how films, such as ‘Avatar’ and John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’,  can be understood in relation to their context during the seminar, and that context could even be the experience of the director, it got me thinking into how filmmakers can find themselves in their work.

An examined life for a filmmaker is creating great films that they want to create. I feel, much like Truman Burbank from the Truman Show, that I’m on a ‘spiritual journey’ in Plymouth College of Art to find myself and what I want to create and do, and that the videos/films I create or edit will be the be the signs on that journey.  At the end of that road I would of found out more about my identity; who I am. To get to that point, I know now that I need to follow through with ideas and videos, and to practice in the area of practise I want to get in to, even if I start to overthink whether it’s good or not, because that’s how I will find my identity.

This was my “Ah-Ha” moment.