Thursday, October 30, 2014

Addiction

Isn't it crazy to think that our addiction to television is another persons income?

Think about it... on average people watch 3 hours of TV a day and the people on the screen are all just actors & actresses playing a role that entertains us.

Create the right show, one that audiences can't get enough of, and it can easily create millions of dollars. That should be news to anyone though. Obviously, if a TV series doesn't do well, it gets taken off the air. But think about how us as a society have the ability to make or break someones career. I haven't watched Orange is the New Black but according to a lot of people I have talked to, and the things I've seen in magazines, its a hit. We did that. We made it a hit. It was added on Netflix and someone took a chance on this new series, raved to all of their friends about it, those people loved it and told all of their friends, and then BAM everyone is watching it. Word of mouth is by far the best advertisement.

Now lets think about the TV shows that continue to do well... Grey's Anatomy, they are now on their 11th season and they have done so well because we can't get enough. Its been announced that Patrick Dempsey, one of the main characters, makes $350,000 per episode. NCIS is on their 12th season and the main character, Mark Harmon (Gibbs) brings in $525,000 per episode. Law & Order Special Victims Unit is on their 16th season and Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay makes $500,000 per episode.




PER EPISODE!!

Mind blown yet? Us as a society can't get enough of this stuff. We form an addiction to a show, or television in general which makes it so that actors are able to make the kind of money they do. They know fans will cause some sort of riot over a well liked TV show ending suddenly and as a production company they know if they don't continue to make this show, someone else will, so they pay up. Its pure brilliance but its also in a way kind of sad. We get so attached to certain shows and because of it, we put money in someone else's pocket.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Television can be a good thing

Many find that television today with the ambiguous endings instead of happy ones, the increase of anti-heroes instead of just heroes, and that many ways that people of power (politicians, police, etc.) be the antagonist or morally ambiguous instead of just good as a bad thing. I happen to think the opposite. What television today helps show to us is that nothing is ever really black and white, including people.   It helps show that maybe something isn't as good as they seem instead of bringing a simple narrative that might lead some to believe in a simpler worldview.


Back in the 1950's television was simple and many people did not know many problems going on in America, such as racial prejudice, sexism, and many other problems that was not in the public eye. Today there are so many t.v. shows and channels that are fine with shows that show things that show another side of life, whether it looks good or not. People today are then faced with looking at issues that they may not have known otherwise.


Of course there should be some responsibility in watching television, in the sense that they overblown their stories because it is entertainment. It should always be up to the individual in watching television and not everything in television should be taken as fact but it does bring up different thought.

Break for grading #3 blog

Another grading break.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

American Horror Story

 
           The most surprising popular TV show to me is American Horror Story. I have avidly watched the last three seasons, and do my best to make time for the fourth, even though it genuinely horrifies me. I continue to want to know what's going to happen next. Is it like Stephen King said in the slide show? That we are fascinated by horror because is satisfies our basest instinct? Or are we just entertained by being scared?
           Because I'm a fan of the show I'd like to say I'm just a fan of being scared. If I ever saw a crazy clown stabbing someone I would guess that I would be extremely horrified and not entertained in the least.
           I feel like this fascination for the horrifying is sweeping the nation. I've seen more scary movies in theaters in the last year then I ever have before.
            The first season of American Horror Story had a crazy murdering teenager as the love interest for one of the main characters and he was extrememly popular among the fans. Though the messages that the episodes send are negaitve people keep coming back for more.
           While I am biased and would say that I enjoy getting scared there are times where that show just genuinely disturbs you. It shows you some of what people have done in that past because of prejudice or just greed. In the second season, which took place in an asylum, one of the main characters was in the asylum and considered crazy
 because the person in charge of the asylum didn't like the questions she was asking.
           The third season showed what people had done because of racism and fear of witches. The show forces people to see what people in the past had done to other human beings, I think it really makes you question how good people are if they're willing to do that to another person.
        

The Effects of Television

    I think TV has changed a lot since I was younger, it's certainly more violent and contains more sex, nudity, and all that.  Having said that I think that there is a lot of good television out there, even quite a bit that could be considered "educational."  I don't know if TV can be blamed entirely for our desensitization to violence, sex, and drugs.  In a capitalist society, the consumer has the choice of what he/she wants to consume, nobody is forcing anything upon anyone.  Having said that, it is getting harder and harder to avoid these things in the media.   The main concern with this is of course, children.  Kids don't have the maturity and wherewithal to make those choices. 

  I think I spend too much time watching TV, I use it as a way to kill time.  Growing up, my mom always limited the amount of time we watched TV.  After a couple of hours she would come shut it off and tell us to go read or exercise.  It always angered me, especially if I was in the middle of a show.  But it retrospect I can see that she was looking out for our well-being.  I don't have kids, but if I did I know that I would put parental controls on our TV and internet.  This is a tricky area because when something becomes "taboo" or "off-limits," it becomes all the more appealing to adolescents.  Their curiosity gets the better of them.  So I don't know if there is a clear-cut solution to the problem of kids being exposed to sex and violence in the media.

T.V. and Such Things

As the years have passed by, and as I have gotten older I have to say that television has made a huge jump from where it was when I younger. Though T.V. has become more diverse, intelligent, and advanced it has changed for the worse. And it is evident in new generation, and in more to come.

I say this because growing up, it was all about being outside and being active, and focusing on school work (reading)  and having limited T.V. time or at-least a schedule. But now kids are watching T.V at an enormous rate. Kids and older people are influenced by T.V. because everything is entertaining even info that should be taken to heart and looked at as serious, and everything on T.V is influential to children. They see things happen and they thing it is ok to act this way because they're favorite character acted that way or said that certain thing. I think it is also taking away a bit of intelligence because kids would much rather watch a television program that isn't as educational as stated than to sit down read a book and problem solve, and I think this has definitely attributed to kids and adults being lazier and less determined now a days; however this is just my observation





 
 
 Another bad thing about television for children is the hidden subliminal messages in children's shows that they cant pick up on, nor do they understand, and its not good because they go around quoting things that they don't realize are detrimental, but I don't thing we will ever be able to monitor what they watch because now you have smart phones, iPod's, ipad's, and all sorts of mini T.V'S 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Is Technology to Blame for Everything?

I've recently been thinking about how we seem to be blaming a lot of our social disconnection on television and other technology. It’s true that these things are partly responsible. People can get hooked on their screens and forget about the real world around them. However, I began to wonder why technology gets all the condemnation when something such as borderline-obsessive reading is praised.
Growing up, TV wasn't my problem. I was the child who was punished by getting my books taken away. My parents would get so frustrated with me for ignoring the rest of the world in favor of a book. In fact, my mum still hates it when I start a new book because, to her, it basically signifies the end of all social interaction with me. So, why is it that something like TV receives disapproval, while books are seen positively, even though both have the same social effects?

 I think, in general, society views people who watch a lot of television as lazy, bad people with a serious problem. Meanwhile, readers are considered intelligent and sophisticated. I love this video because it kind of casts reading in a darker light, and exposes it for the problem reading addictions can sometimes become. I showed this to my mum and she absolutely loved it and claimed it was a much more accurate portrayal of readers like me. 
As you can see, I lead a pretty thug lifestyle, so watch out.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Is our Future rising to a temperature of a Fahrenheit 451 Degree?

I am for one not a huge TV viewer. I really like watching the news and would say that is my addiction if I had to. I would even go back and watch episodes of the news that were even a few days old, weeks old at time depending what was available, because that is what I choose to watch. I love watching the news because I like knowing what is going on in the world  and all the few happy things people our doing in their communities. The news is what actually  had influenced me to become a communications major. I realized I wanted to be a news anchor. However now that I am in my major I am indecisive which direction I want to take.

Besides the point, we have discussed about books and tv and it made me think a lot of the impact the two and even made me think about the future. My mom once said she thinks there will be a time where books will be a historical treasure and be a thing of the past. Do you think everything will become digital and books will be only an analogical form such as records or vhses, an old way of reading. Where will we be in 20 years? It made me recall a book I read a very long time ago in either my junior high school English  or senior year. It was titled Fahrenheit 451. The book is about Firemen who starts fire instead of distinguishing them and they thing they are burning are books. Books are the enemy in this world, because it leads to dispositions and the government (hegemony) wants nothing other than to brainwash the public with television. I read this book four or three years ago thinking such a world would never exist, but maybe it is approaching? We always convince ourselves  that such things will never but World War II happened and lots of other horrific things in our history.
If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it, promise you won't be disappointed, I actually want to read it again myself.

I gotta keep my blog fun so here is a short clip of the Simpsons as Homer is struggling to give up tv and beer cold turkey I believe. It is interesting though that the tv "addiction" is associated with the actual alcohol addiction. So is tv an addiction? It is also interestingly enough that another scene is a clip is Homer scarfing down food to coop with the withdrawals he is facing, which could possibly be another addiction or just a thing people turn toward to coop with the trials in life. 


Global warming is here, are we at 451 degrees yet? 

kubey

the article written by kubey in which he presented the fact that people spend 3 hours of time with some sort of television activity or entertainment outlet didn't surprise me whatsoever. In this day and age where a phone has turned into a tablet/computer/television makes tv and entertainment that much more accessible. The fact that the number is that low is what surprises me. i can vouch for being part of that number if not skewing it any higher for that matter. the question in my mind that arises is,"will this in turn affect social skills and situations of face to face contact?". I can never really come up with a common denominator in this social facet of life. I feel like over time there has always been something to distract us socially whether it be the newspaper, a movie, television show, and even the radio. The fact that all these things are much more accessible and are in your pocket 24 hours a day is what makes me think the latter. maybe it is more distracting, maybe i need to step outside to smell the roses. until then, i will be watching netflix.

The Zoned Out Zombie

I was thinking about Kubey and the article we read for class. I couldn't believe that on average people spend at least 3 hours watching some type of T.V. or entertainment. I thought about my family and my cousins came to mind. They spend so much of their time watching T.V., playing video games, and on social media. When we discussed addiction and how people who are addicted spend most of their time thinking about their addiction well my cousins all they talk about is the T.V, show they love. You would think the characters were their friends. Its crazy how many people are like them and are constantly on their phones instead of engaging in human interactions. 
I wonder how all this television watching and lack of communication will affect the rising generation. I know my cousins have trouble communicating and I know there are other kids just like them. It will be interesting to see how jobs change and how many different jobs will arise due to television and technology.

Television makes you smarter ? maybe ? maybe not?

T.V. makes you smarter? compared to TV shows they had back in the 60's and 70's, it does make you smarter. because people are more connected today than they were back then, we have access to a lot more information. TV now days is packed with a lot more facts and info than it was back in the 50's-70's. In the "reading" the book made a comparison to two tv shows "24" and "bonanza", and stated that "24" though it is fictional, is based in the real life and deals with current events like politics and terrorism. Ive watch a lot of television and to be perfectly honest i pick up a lot of useful information. compared to old tv we have shows dedicated to things like surviving in the desert, jungle, mountains,etc. shows that talk about health conditions, marriage advice, how to run a successful business, etc. all in all what im trying to say even though you cant believe everything you see on tv, some if it is very true and some of it is even scientifically proven.


Laugh Tracks

The readings said that laugh tracks are there to make insecure know when it is alright to laugh. I think everyone has been watching a movie with someone who laughs at the parts that aren't meant to be funny. If you take the laugh tracks out I think the majority of people would sill know when the movie or TV show is trying to be funny. If the laugh tracks were replaced with something like dramatic music though it would kind of make something maybe a little more depressing like this clip from Two and a Half Men.




I personally don’t have a problem with laugh tracks. When I watched this clip I was laughing because it felt like it was trying to be sad.

Evolved for Addiction

I don't believe that any one thing is to blame. By that, I don't mean that drugs or alcohol are not addictive, because they are, but I do think that part of the reason we are able to get addicted is because of how humans are built.


Early humans evolved to use their senses to survive. Our eyes have a wide view of everything that happens in front of us. Our ears are sensitive, we can perceive the direction of sounds if we listen carefully. Our sense of smell and taste are linked, and when one isn't working well, like when you have a cold, the other one is affected.

I believe that these senses, because of their many uses and powerful aspects, help increase our ability to become addicted.


Some people are addicted to food, because they love the taste, or they smell something that they want. They just eat it because of those senses. In someone that is drawn to food, perhaps those senses are stronger that someone who doesn't care about food.


Another person might be addicted to watching television because they are visually stimulated. Perhaps a person who learns visually, because they use that skill to learn in school, is more susceptible to desiring television all of the time.


Someone else might like to work out, toning their body into a model of physical perfection. Their build and body shape may lend itself to those tenancies.


And some people can't go anywhere without music playing in their headphones or in the car while they drive. Is that an addiction? It would seem so. They enjoy the melodies as they move throughout their day, going from place to place, with music always playing.


I know that studies show that the brain releases chemicals when it is pleased, and that drugs and alcohol simulate that in their own way. But I believe that there is something to be said about how humans began and evolved and how we use technology to exploit and enjoy the power of our senses.

Too Much TV?

  As we have been talking about film and television these past few classes. I have pretty much been lost, I hardly ever watch any TV and I basically only watch movies when I'm forced to. There are a few movies that I just watch, if I just find a random movie off Netflix's I pretty much know with in 30 minutes I will be asleep. Last class someone had brought up that when kids watch a lot of TV when they are younger causes problems and if you look it up there are a bunch of researches that showed the same thing. Kids that have disciplinary problems, lessen attention spans, etc. However there is one article I sound that was on SpongeBob. They took a bunch of 4 year olds and split them up between, watching SpongeBob, watching Cailou, and drawing. They let them do their activity for 9 minutes and then based them on if they could stay on task. The kids watching Cailou and the ones that had been drawing scored the same but the ones that were watching SpongeBob did substantially worse. Which makes a lot of since considering SpongeBob target audience is 6-11 year olds. So now lies the question is TV causeing the problems or is what kids are watching cause the problems? I think it is a little of both, yes little kids watching mass amounts of TV cant be good for them it's not good for anyone. However I think that there is a big difference in kids that watch educational programs that are teaching them verses kids that are just watching regular cartoons.


Just one more episode?


After talking about people and their addiction to TV it got me thinking about how the different ways we get our TV fix. You can watch your favorite shows on Cable, DVR, Satellite, computer, Netflix, Hulu, etc. It is easier than ever for people to feed their addiction to TV. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes crave the escape of entering an alternate reality by watching TV, but I don't need it everyday to survive. There are people, however, who can have legitimate addictions to viewing  TV. Going back to our discussions in class and in the power points, just like everything else, use moderation. There is little evidence that says to stop watching TV. The problem lies with watching too long. This can make people less creative in problem solving, or able to complete tasks. TV isn't a bad thing, but when viewed for prolonged amounts of time, it can effect moods, make you feel guilty for watching for so long, etc. You know what I also find a little funny, is that we have TV shows that feature peoples strange addictions. Seriously, there are people with an addiction to eating toilet paper, or corn starch, or even consuming Comet! The cleaner! It's astounding. I wonder if they will ever feature someone who is addicted to watching TV? I suppose that was a bit of a squirrel moment. I want to end with a question here. Do you think that we have a growing problem with TV addiction and does it effect our behavior as much as people think? (and this may or may not be me fishing for comments on my post but seriously, if you feel strongly about this subject comment away!)
 Also, I relate a little too much to this video. Remember, this is a judgment-free zone kay ya'll.

Are we living in a bubble?

Our generations are slowly becoming more and more attached to our smart phones and technology. They are slowly creating their own type of world. The way we communicate, find out what is going on in the real world, and entertain ourselves all come from the internet. So, is the internet our new bubble? What would we do if the internet was taken away? Here is what a British guy says about it: 

He goes into depth and explain how it would almost be impossible to shut down the internet. But if it were to happen it would be equivalent to a natural disaster. Millions of jobs would be shut down. Socially, people would not be able to communicate. And lastly, people would be much more literate.

The entire world would go into shock. 
What do you think would happen?

Television Disadvantages

After reading ReadingPopularCulture, it came to mind of how television is a huge problem in the world. After finding out about this and researching about it, I am glad I don't spend too much of my time watching television. 

People shouldn't watch too much television because it makes people waste time that could be used in more beneficial activities. The time we spend watching TV could be applied to useful activities like exercise, reading, interacting with friends and family, activities that are a crucial for a healthy lifestyle. 

People also shouldn't watch too much television because it negatively affects people’s mental development. According to several scientific studies, watching TV for prolonged periods of time has a negative effect over the intellectual development of children and leads to deterioration of the mental capacity in older people by causing both attention and memory problems in the long term.

The link below is a study that was put on the news about the disadvantages of watching too much television. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-RkFDrFhF8

People should limit the time they use watching television, and get out to do activities to function the body properly, also to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. 


On Wednesday we talked about how TV and how it relates to children.  One thing we looked at was how more violent children usually watch a lot more TV than less violent children.  We also talked about how children that watch a lot of TV during the week usually have worse grades and struggle with reading when compared to children who don't watch as much television.  I found this really interesting video on YouTube about TV here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zh4XThSaFk

In this video it talked about how the average person watches 4 hours of TV every day!! It talks about how when we watch TV our brain gives out Alpha brain waves, that are associated with relaxation, and when watching TV our Beta waves go down, these waves are associated with mental alertness.  The video says that one reason this might be is because throughout the whole day our brains are in a Beta state and so when we go home we want to watch TV  because we want to turn off those Beta waves and turn on our more relaxing Alpha waves.

The video also states that in order for something to be an addiction one has to be physically or psychologically dependent on something for it to be considered to be an addiction.  So most experts agree that even the most "addicted" TV watchers aren't necessary addicted.  They say however that there is a direct correlation with obesity with obesity and TV.  The more TV one watches the higher the probability this person has of being obese.

I really disagree with many of the points this video makes because TV or anything else electronic can be very addicting.  In class on Wednesday we talked about the Navy General who was so addicted to his Google glasses that he had to go through a 12 step program in order to solve the addiction.  So I really disagree, electronic things are definitely addictive things.  I also don't think that lots of TV consumption is always associated with obesity, I think that is a good general statement but it is not always true.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Walking Legend of World War Zombieland



The Walking Legend of World War Zombieland 


It's no secret that zombies have become a huge thing over the last decade. The idea of the post-apocalyptic world is fascinating to us. Zombie movies and television shows have been created at a rapid pace to satisfy the need to be entertained by these human-flesh eating zombies. From Zombieland to The Walking Dead, it's all based on the same concepts and story lines, according to Bishop. 

Not only are zombies viewed as an imminent death threat to all of mankind, the stories all have post-apocalyptic backdrops, the end of society as we knew it, survivalist fantasies, and the fear of other human survivors. There is also typically a happy or satisfying ending to all of these films and shows. World War Z finds a camouflage, I Am Legend finds a cure, Zombieland continues the life of all main characters in the zombie world, and The Walking Dead's Rick continues to lead his survival group to a safe lifestyle season after season. These all satisfy our needs, and show what we want to happen as viewers. We want to believe that that's what would actually happen if a zombie catastrophe occurred in real life. The world will hopefully never have to experience this outbreak, but I believe many post-apocalyptic, oddly-prepared Americans would be up for and more so excited for the challenge of survival against zombies. 





Most of us have at least heard the story of the blockbuster hit, I Am Legend. It happens to be one of my favorite movies ever, mostly because Will Smith is the man. In the opening scene we are introduced already to some of the main ideas of Bishops basic zombie story line. New York City is deserted and rural-altered, obviously making a point that society has collapsed and some sort of apocalypse has occurred. Will Smith is hunting for deer in his Ford GT with his gun in hand, which screams survivalist fantasy. Later on in the movie, Will meets a woman and her son, whom have an interesting altercation at first, both standing their own guard of each other. Identical to Bishop's theory? 
Perhaps the epitome of it. 
















Television

     In class/ in the readings a few weeks ago, we walked about how there are a lot of different shows that have good comedy, or theatrical elements but didn't make it because they have controversial parts that make them not very popular to the public. I was really bummed because I looked up a lot the shows and they seemed really funny! A few days later my sister told me about a show called Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It's by the same producers as Parks and Rec so I was really excited to watch it. Honestly, I've been obsessed with it ever since I watched the first episode. So I wondered why it really wasn't that popular of a show.
    I thought about the last few controversial things we talked about and they're almost all present. One of the more important characters is a powerful girl who wants to be captain--kind of an oppositional view towards common woman roles. Another aspect that's present is the acting captain is gay. Another oppositional view towards common roles except towards the man this time. According to Fox Multi-platform stats, the shows ratings are actually up 101%. So the public is maybe becoming more susceptible to these sort of things.

It's Whats On The Inside That Counts?

I was thinking about what we talked about in class on Tuesday - T.V and its effects on presidential elections. A couple of years ago my PSYC 1010 teacher talked about a crazy fact regarding the height of the presidential candidates. That is, since the involvement of T.V in presidential elections, the taller candidate has won most the time. The trend is something near 75% of the time the winner is the taller of the candidates.  (In case you’re wondering Mitt Romney is taller than Obama.) This fun fact scares me a little. Are we really that bias toward physical appearances when it comes to T.V viewing? The answer, sadly, is yes. I recently watched a show (I think it was “Brain Games”) where they asked people to pick the candidates who won based solely on “looks.” The study used real election photos from small regional elections. The people on the show had no idea of the original outcome. Sadly, the people were able to guess who had won based on physical appearance the majority of the time (I have tried to find the video and when I do I will link it to my blog). This fact can be seen with a simple google search, “Do looks matter in elections?” Here is a quote from an article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-look-of-a-winner/

 “A recent study in the journal Science has found the study conducted by psychologists John Antonakis and Olaf Dalgas, at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, showing Swiss children as young as five years old can predict which candidates are more likely to win the French Parliamentary elections.


If how a person looks factors into who will wins elections - to the point that a five year old can figure it out -  I must say I am scared for my generation’s future leaders (HD T.V will not help this trend at all). The first step to fixing any problem is knowledge. Knowing voters seem to be easily swayed by physical appearances should hopefully make us want to research the issues and the candidates a little more closely as we enter election seasons. I guess the old saying, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” does not apply to elections as well as what we might have hoped. 

Video Game Affects

Effect on children who play extreme amounts of video games.
In the text book Reading Popular Culture they mention the affects of video games on children. It says that after a child plays video games they feel tired, dizzy, and nauseated. "In 1977, 700 Japanese children were rushed to the hospital, many suffering from "optically stimulated epileptic seizure" caused by viewing bright flashing lights in a Pokémon video game broadcast on Japanese TV." In some cases video games cause motion sickness within the first 15 minutes of playing but continued to play regardless.
That being said, why are children so drawn to them? Why do they lose hours of sleep playing a game that eventually causes them a headache? and Why do parents allow it? Some studies show that children who are involved with aggressive video games as well as television shows grow up to become more aggressive themselves because after a while it becomes their reality. I think that parents play the greatest role in children play because in many cases they don't know how to deal with their kids other than sticking a screen in front of them to make them calm down.
I think that parents should be more careful with what they're children are playing and watching. I know that there are specific television shows that are stimulating for children but it also doesn't mean they should let them sit there for more than two hours. There are many different activities for children such as outside games or reading. Children have all the energy in the world so give them a chance to be active and try to be active with them.

All Television is Entertainment

After reading Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, there were some points of view of his that I related to. I agreed with his observation that not some, but all television is entertainment.  "The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining"  Even serious or controversial topics you may see in the news are kind of filled full of fluff in order to hold the viewers short attention span. 

As an example I chose the Colbert Report.  While it is obviously not a "real" news show, it does tackle current events and issues that are all over other networks.  I went to the Colbert Report website real quick to find some video clips and I came across this,
 
http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/video-playlists/e883yc/the-colbert-in-60 . 

Like Postman stated, this is pure entertainment, with nearly every other line of Colbert's being a punchline.  What I found even more interesting about this link though, is that they cut every episode down to the best jokes and punchlines that can fit in 60 seconds, which also reinforces Postman's statement on the average viewers attention span, which is very short.  "The average length of a shot on network television is only 3.5 seconds... the viewer always has something new to see."  While these highlight reels of Colbert's TV show consist of shots longer than 3.5 seconds, you are still receiving a barrage of jokes.  While the Colbert Report is still presented as a satirical version of TV news, he still gets on stage with Neil Young and sings about getting attacked by dolphins.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sound Mixing and Emotional Gratification


As a film student, We often refer back to the four second rule. Or making sure no cut is longer than 4 seconds, this rule is crucial in editing, but its also crucial in production. We have to follow guidelines to ensure the pacing of our films, and that the story in its entirety can be sold to viewers.

A lesser thought of aspect of film is audio mixing.  This is the process of finely adjusting the levels, stereo panning, equalization, and dynamics of all the tracks in a program to keep the audience’s attention on important audio cues and dialogue and to make the other sound effects, ambience, and music tracks blend together in a seamless and harmonious whole. Unfortunately, we only notice sound when its bad. Flawless sound allows the viewers to buy in to the convention of the story, and there for becomes disregarded.

In the 2012 film Les Miserables, they decided to make sound their main focus of the film. Its the first film of its kind to ever have live performances. The wanted to shift the focus from the cinematic qualities to that of the sound. They decided to do live performances to really capture the breaths and emotions of the characters that would not have been able to be mimicked in a studio setting.

In our readings Posterman discusses television, and its emotional gratification by never letting the viewer get bored, there are quick cuts and some of the best photography. All television is aimed at entertainment. This film, like television also taps into that emotional stimulation we crave. However with this film its the sound that sells the story and keeps our attention so we're never bored. Its not quick takes and catchy tunes. Its plucking at our heart strings in a way live music has never done before. The close ups are shot at wider angles to show every flaw and drop of sweat. It brings a realness that a film of this magnitude hasn't done before.  

Can we only really pay attention for 3.5 seconds?

After reading Postman's article on television, I didn't realize how short most shots were in film and TV and I think it's something we never really notice because we have become to accustomed to it. We talked about this in class and I started to think about my favorite movies or movies that I had just recently watched to see if they followed this trend, and it made me think of one of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson.

Wes Anderson is known for having a very distinct directing style and "aesthetic" in all of his films. One of his most prominent styles is long takes/tracking shots. When it was mentioned that each shot only lasts for about 3.5 seconds until moving on to another shot, Anderson's long tracking shots came to mind. I asked myself, "Does Wes Anderson's purposely long takes mean something? Is he trying to go against the status quo? Does this make his films more boring to a general audience?" Then I realized that he "cheats" his way through this long shots by having constant action happen throughout the take to always keep the viewer's eye on the screen.

One of my favorite examples of this is a "parody" commercial of his directing style featuring Mr. Anderson himself. This is essentially one long tracking shot.

I think these long takes has become known as just a directing style that Anderson has chosen, but in the end I still think that certain techniques were used to maintain the audience's attention. Even those who appear different and more unique are still falling back on certain choices that have to be used to make sure that viewers aren't lost or lose interest. 

I'm not a film student and I wouldn't consider myself an expert in film at all, but these are just some things I noticed from watching a lot of the same movies from the same director. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nacho Libre

When we talked about how certain movies all have the same formula, specifically how "Slacker" type movies all follow the exact same plot, I thought of one of my favorite movies. Nacho Libre.

Nacho Libre is about a Mexican friar who wants more out of life but doesn't really want to do it the normal way. He just wants to be tough without working for it. He also wants to be able to feed the orphans at his church because the food they eat is not very good. So of course, he starts wrestling.


It's funny because the formula for slacker movies is that the slacker seems to have certain charms, no ambition to compete in business, and isn't a "macho man". I think Nacho Libre fits this description perfectly.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I decided to do my blog on zombies and “The Walking Dead” since I am a big admirer of that show. This wasn't always like that. Usually I hate zombie movies and I found The Walking Dead especially violent at first. It was not even funny like for example the movie Zombieland and after the first really violent and gross scenes I was wondering “What is the point of this?”. I discovered this when watching further, that there was actually a really deep message behind all this. Unlike other zombie movies, you find out soon that there is not going to be any hope for the zombies. Once they get infected and turn into a zombie their humanity is lost and there is no way to bring the person back, despite the hopes of the people who love them.

The major message in The Walking Dead is: how do those people who survive maintain their humanity in the face of the near destruction of the human species. Because there is no system anymore, no rules, no civilization. Everybody is basically on their own, but to survive they have to form groups. The logical consequence is, that some people will try to claim leaderships over the others, which will eventually result in conflicts. So the big question is: Are humans overall capable of behaving civilized and living peacefully with each other in a situation like that ? The answer to that is a NO.

Even the protagonist Rick struggles at some times and lives through a phase were he is killing innocent people to protect his loved ones. There are definitely exceptions from this but the show has a habit of killing those rather naïve people off.

So how do you maintain your humanity ? Of course, killing zombies is not considered inhumane since they are no human beings, but it's rather how you meet other survivors. The show presents us with different situations where the characters are faced with difficult decisions that challenge their principles. Situation in which they have to decide what is right and what is wrong. Even the best characters in the show struggle with that.

  
(Rick about to kill his former best friend because he became ruthless and is endangering the group)


So I think what the show actually wants to tell us is, that it's impossible to remain entirely “pure” if you want to survive, just because of the other survivors that want to do you harm. But it is essential how you decide in those situations that matter, that you chose the right, the moral thing over the thing that might be best for you and your loved ones.


And I think that's what explains the popularity of this show, because such a scenario might not only happen with zombies. There are many scenarios how the world could come to an end, that would leave the survivors in a similar situation.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Race and Religion Stereotypes


Do you ever wonder why we human beings segregate people by race or religion? I think that human race is intelligent enough to know that the actions of a single person from a certain race or religion doesn't affect the actions of every person of that same race or religion.


The fact that people judge Muslims because of the actions of certain people is pretty ridiculous to me. Why is it that people get scared when they see a guy that looks Muslim on a plane?  Why do we automatically get scared that we're going to get bombed? There was a shooting by a white male named James Holmes, outside of a movie theatre in Colorado. Why aren't we scared of white males outside movie theatres?


My point is we need to stop these stereotypes. We need to see human beings as single individuals. It's not fair for those born into that race or religion to be judged by it. Every person has different morals and we need to open up to them. We have created such a close minded world that we are reluctant of seeing outside of the box.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Break for grading #2 blog.  (I know there are a couple of either late ones or third ones.)

The movie-going experience

Dileep Rao's TED Talk was probably one of the best I've ever seen. Not because it was it was about anything life-altering (it wasn't), nor because the message was politically motivated (it wasn't).

Nope. I loved it because it gives us an explanation behind why we choose to pay extra money, eat life-shortening snacks, and sit amongst sweaty and probably diseased strangers in a dark room to be entertained.

This got me thinking about an experience I've long enjoyed, but has somewhat diminished in Southern Utah: the midnight movie premier.

A while back, our local movie theaters were owned by Westgate Theatres. Their projectors were crappy, their staff was rude, and their management had a personal vendetta against me (the regional manager once called me on my personal number and chewed me out because I gave the theater a bad review in a publication). But despite all its shortcomings, they still premiered all the biggest movies on Thursday night / Friday morning at midnight.

I looked forward to heading over to the Pineview Stadium 10 every Thursday night to stand in line for installments of "Harry Potter," "The Avengers" and "Hunger Games." I was such a midnight premier addict that I even agreed to accompany my friends to a midnight showing of "Breaking Dawn: Part 1." (I was informed later that I wouldn't be allowed to go with those friends to the second one, because my incredibly audible sounds of disgust were too distracting ... and rude.)

Did I want to see the movies? Well, with the exception of "Twilight," yes. I was looking forward to all the movies. But waiting in line with other superfans, talking about book adaptations and casting choices, quoting lines from previous film installments, making predictions for post-credit scenes, laughing and gasping with the crowd, and cheering when the movie is finished are just as much as, if not more, of a reason to go to the movie than the movie itself.

Just like Rao said in his talk, we can get the movie at home. But we can't get the movie-watching experience.

After all, we have the ability to listen to our favorite artists on our iPods. But most of us have or would be willing to see that artist in concert. And why would we do that? Especially since we can't rewind the live show and listen to a song again. We can't drive or clean or do homework with a live show playing in the background. No, it's the experience of seeing the performance.

For those of you who are a little more high-brow culturally inclined (like I pretend to be), you can look at an image of the Mona Lisa any time you want on your phone or computer or table. So why would you ever want to see it in person at the Louvre in Paris? It'd cost a fortune to get there and back, and besides, I've heard the size of the Mona Lisa isn't that impressive anyway. But I'd jump at the opportunity to see it up close. Why? The experience, of course!

Sadly, the new owners of our local theaters have all but done away with the midnight premier. They've stopped decorating the theater to reflect the movie being premiered. They've stopped dressing up like characters from the film.

Yes, they still show movies on Thursdays, but they're usually at 9 or 10 p.m., and the films are all finished by midnight. The theater darkens, the staff go home, and the patrons are all in bed so they can be up for work on Friday morning.

The super film fans like me see the Thursday movies, without waiting in lines anymore (because our seats are assigned). We leave our silly movie-related costumes and props at home.

Midnight premiers are going the way of celluloid. And if you don't know what celluloid is, then that illustrates my point exactly.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Brainssss.....

What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say that? Zombies of course! They've taken over the media by storm. Similar to how vampires were all the rage after Twilight came out. Ugh, Twilight...

What's our fascination with these walking corpses? Well, there are several reasons. My opinion is since they're already dead, you can't technically kill them. So you don't have any remorse over doing so. No guilty conscience. They're a faceless, soulless entity that society has no problem mowing down with shotguns.
Also, I think it's just simply the fear factor. Zombies have the potential (if done right) to be more scary than other monsters. Think of watching your family members being eaten by a werewolf. Not fun. Now think of your family members being torn apart and infected, then chasing after you themselves in their zombie form. Even worse.

I myself am not actually as much into the whole rotting flesh type of zombie, but I like the idea of "surviving the infected." The trailer for "Skyfall" that was shown in class today really also appeals to me. I think I might try watching some tonight. Video games also have some cool zombie genres. Halo, Half Life, Amnesia, and my personal favorite, The Last of Us.

I found an article a while ago that had the title "ZOMBIES ARE REAL!" So I clicked on it, and it turned out to be really fascinating. To sum it up, there's a fungus called the cordyceps that infects a certain species of ants. It takes over their brain and forces them to find a place that the fungus would like to grow. It then releases a toxin into the ant's brain and kills it. The mushroom stalk grows out of the ant's head and releases its spores to infect other ants in the colony. It's not actually animating a dead ant, but it is taking over its body.

The Last of Us picks up this idea and advances it, so that the cordyceps has evolved to infect humans. In class we mentionedThe Last of Us trailer how a zombie apocalypse means the end of the world, but the game takes place 20 years after the out break of the fungus. 60% of the world population has been infected, but the remaining people have built quarantine zones and remain mostly safe. Humanity is slowly regaining and rebuilding civilization.
I highly recommend looking into this game. It's played very much like a movie and it has better scripting and cast than 70% of the movies out there, in my opinion.

Wiki on cordyceps - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordyceps
The Last of Us - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQpdSVF_k_w

I also really wanted to share this. It talks about whether humans really could be infected by the fungus and how fast it would spread. It's really entertaining and really makes you think.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baOlT-1yY4A

Cordyceps growing on an infected ant.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Emotion Behind Music

So in class last week, we were talking about the emotions associated with music. It's obvious that music evokes emotion in listeners whether it is for good or for bad and we talked about this all in class. What came to my mind, and I mentioned this, was the band Bright Eyes. I remember hearing an interview where the lead singer talks about this horribly sad song he wrote about his brother drowning in a bath tub--and him talking about that he writes sad music for attention. Now when I was looking to find this interview I couldn't find it anywhere. Then I realized it's because it was actually a song on one of his records. After reading up a little bit more on it, I guess Conor Oberst, the lead singer, mocked this interview and put it on his record. I've been listening to Bright Eyes for a long time and my family is sort of "obsessed" with his music if that's what you'd even call it. But I found the whole interview hilarious just because I understand the type of person that he is.
I think that Conor understand the sort of emotion that he can bring out of people with his music. In the reading, Church references Adorno saying "pain is needed in popular music to liberate the listener from it's otherwise crippling malaise". Not only does Conor realize that, but he also knows that people like to feel sorry for others and themselves--this is what makes him such an amazing and successful artist.

Here is the song that is on his record. For the first about two minutes it's just one of his songs and then it turns into an interview. It isn't until about 6:45 that he starts talking about people feeling "sorry for him" so skip ahead if you'd like--but I recommend listening to the whole thing because it is definitely worth it.

I think it's really interesting that he put this on his record, I mean if we're being honest Conor Oberst is kind of a messed up guy. And you'll get that if you listen to the interview. But I also look at it as a reference to pop culture in itself. Almost mocking interviews--I guess it depends on how you look at it but I love his music and even if his songs are fictional they're still great to listen to.

Also, here is the song about his "brother" that he talks about. It's also great.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gangsta Rap made me do it.

Gangsta rap! what it? is it Contradictory, negative, positive, or is it neutral, and is it only meant for black folk. Gangsta rap is a form of rap that is meant to get across a particular message that is not being addressed in the world. Gangsta rap artists feel that since nobody pays attention to the detrimental issues going on the world the only way to get people to notice is by mass media through their music because so many people listen to music. The idea behind Gangsta rap is to address political issues and racial issues that people throw under the rug. I feel that yes gangsta rap is trying to get across a positive message but at time can be contradictory to " the African American struggle". Simply because they justice, but the way they talk and some of the words they use make people feel other wise. And with this, all black people are labeled or associated with this because its mostly African American artists doing it. Now, I don't agree with all of the gangsta rap songs, but there are some that are good that I will listen to. I don't support the language and choice of verbiage, but I do condone gangsta rappers getting it off of their chest.

Here is an example of a Gangsta rap song I would listen to. Though there is cussing it has a deeper meaning. Its a song by Ace hood called F the world. The points that he is getting across are very deep and issues you wouldn't expect to here from a gangsta rapper.
  
 
 
Here is another song by 2pac called the heartz of men. Listen to the lyrics I don't necessarily like the language, but I think there is a deeper message behind what 2pac is rapping about.
 
 
 

 
 
I Think if the gangsta rappers would stop toting guns, and talking about who they are going to pop a cap in, they could actually educate the youth instead of helping put them in an early grave. They could learn from the above two songs. I also think that these rappers need to start approaching the kids through their craft enticing them not to follow in their footsteps, and get better for themselves. It makes the white kids think they have to act that way to fit I, and it also makes black kids feel they have to act that way because they are black. So in conclusion there are positive aspects in gangsta rap, there are positive aspects of gangsta rap, and there are contradictory aspects, but at the end of the day we decide for ourselves and make the decision ourselves; music may have an influence but it doesn't have to control the outcome of your life.
 
 
 

Friday, October 3, 2014

In a Woman's World....

Why do the boys get to have all the fun?



I just happen to run across this music video on Facebook, but I thought it was perfect in the fact that it makes fun of how women are just assumed to play a certain role in music videos (mostly rap, r&b, and hip-hop genres), but it is never thought that a man should play that role. Although in this video Jennifer Lopez contradicts the men playing the woman's role a tad because her friends and herself still fit the description of women in today's music videos, but I haven't scene a ton of music videos lately, but I'm sure if the male artist has a nice body or "social" acceptable body I'm sure he shows his off as well.
I like the fact that this video confronts the masculine view  or the hegemony of women  described in the definition of feminism perspective first with the comment "if she was a guy we wouldn't be having this conversation at all" and even makes fun of it, as one of her friends goes on to suggest " why don't we have half naked men on the bed for no reason" or the previous comment "why can't the women for once objectify the men?" And then obviously the entire video goes on to mock how "all" modern music videos are and how women are perceived, with the men trying to dance, pour champagne down them, washing the cars with the body, etc. And it is humorous to watch the men do this, and I think it is meant to be that way. But why is it that it is so satisfying to the world when women do it and humorous when men do it?  The last thing element I think that added to the video was that it came back to the original scene making it seem like it was only a day dream, like it never really happened.

I want to switch over right quick to the Orientalism of the Disney Princesses. I think that in this article they don't only focus on the orientalism of the princesses, but that fact that they only focus on the princesses image. Take a look at the men in these films. Most of them are tall, strapping men. Very broad shoulder and muscular,  some even have lower cut shirts and their bodies types are those of what I think the world classify as the ideal men bodies. One picture created is even quite revealing as I was looking for these princes and I came across images like these for all of them.
even in men's advertisement you find these images....
 So we do see the same images on the men and women side. So are men just as insecure as women ? Do men feel the same pressure to reach for the unrealistic image society has put as a standard? Maybe we don't notice it because men are just more passive with their feelings. It makes you wonder.

In a woman's world maybe we want a our husbands to play the role of cooking and cleaning, or to know what its like to have periods, to bear a child, and maybe we want to have a Mr. Americas pageant to enjoy. But if women begin to consume these images of ideal men as much as the world seems to consume the images of ideal women, are we putting the men, young men, boys in the same places our that women, young women and girls seem to face. Is that karma? Justice? Or just history repeating itself over again  and digging ourselves even deeper.


Does Hip-Hop Degrade or Uplift African Americans?

"Now in the 2000’s, you have the opposite of what rappers have been trying to prevent for years. You have rappers such as 50 Cent talking about how he loves money, Gucci Mane beating girls up -beat is a slang for sex- and everyone’s favorite rapper Lil Wayne saying to “f**k these bit**es” and even dudes. Hip-hop has taken a turn for the worst. African Americans make up the majority of the demographics of hip-hop listeners. Does hip-hop culture degrade or uplift African Americans? How would activist of our past answer this question if they were alive today?. Right now, I would say that this hip-hop culture is definitely degrading to the race. However, there are cases where you might not find this in a lot of rappers. People like Soulja Boy Tell’em, Drake and Hurricane Chris have ruined the purpose of this culture, whereas rappers such as Ludacris, Nas and even Eminem have been continuing the real meaning of hip-hop.
Now, what if activist like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and more were still alive? Which side would they take to where hip-hop leads? I think they would choose that it has degraded African Americans. For what these people have struggled, hip-hop has gone the opposite way of what they fought in support of."
This is what Dushawn Roberts from Pennsylvania State University says about this topic. Do you agree with this viewpoint? Honestly, I believe that hip-hop doesn't degrade nor uplift african americans or any race of that matter, its just a genre of music that has many races involved. Sadly everyone seems to rap about "b**ches & hoes" no matter the race or gender, but as we're listening to the music and enjoying it we don't really pay attention to the lyrics as much as we do to the beat. Hip-Hop is a very fun genre of music and I really respect african americans for creating such a enjoyable genre of music. 

Music


Music and Influence


What is the one thing we all do while driving ourselves to class? We turn on music whether it’s a cd, radio, or our iPhones/ipods. We do this almost automatically no one really gets in the car too often, and doesn’t turn some type of music on to listen to the beat and lyrics. One of the reasons I do this is because music is always something that can change my mood, just by listening to one song it can take me back to a certain time in my life. Or feelings I had at that time when that song was on one of my playlists and I listened to that certain song a lot. So music to me is probably one of the biggest influences on my mood that day or a reminder of a certain time period in my life.

 That is weird to think about that music could influence us as humans? I don’t think it is really influencing what I am doing as a person or making me grow up a certain way. I listen to a lot of rap music and hip-hop, but the music doesn’t influence me to go out and take drugs, sell drugs, and have sex. Even if some of these things I stated before are something that people that listen to “gansta rap” do on a regular basis. I would not say that these people act like this, because the music had an effect on them or made an impression to do so. No, people act this way because they were raised that way or decided to try stuff out and they liked that certain lifestyle.

Music is such a way of life now days that it is everywhere so if you go to a party music will be playing. You can probably bet on it, that it is going to be rap, hip-hop, and R&B. Wouldn’t really be a party in my mind if one of these types of music wasn’t playing continuously all night. Maybe a certain song comes on let’s say one of those one songs that has a certain dance to it, like “The Dougie”. You will see everyone break into that certain dance if they know it well enough.




 Music definitely influences our moods. It definitely influenced how we feel about certain things going on in our life at that time we are or did listen to that song. This is why people listen to music when trying to get pumped up to play in a sporting activity. People also listen to music when they are going do something where they want all of their senses to be woken up. Because music is one of those things that can bring up a certain feeling or mood for us, we continue to consume music and will probably never stop paying as long as the music keeps having this affect on our minds.

HIPHOP RAP & GANGSTA RAP.......Do you really know the ''DIFFERENCE''

For the past week we've been talking about was gangsta rap and was not gangsta rap. There is hip-hop where you can have a rapper raping and maybe a singer singer with a cool smooth type of beat, then you have rap where there can be a fast temple best with a rapper on there rapping, then we have gangsta rap where the beat can be fast high temple and the rapper can be rapping about killing, drugs etc etc..... Where I'm trying to get his that their is a big difference between this three types of music. But it really doesn't matter what I say I'm just a young black male from the street of Los Angeles, where the whites just think I Rap music has destroyed my life and I how i think of things, but I think it has opened my eyes to things I've seen in my life but really didn't understand at first. 

So about that I got alittle off the subject, but anyways, I really don't think it matters if it's gangsta rap, rap, or just hiphop as long as it's in that area of music some people always are going to think negative towards.

The Dance and the song is funny and catchy, but it's considered GANGSTA RAP!!!!!


Now this is a hot new song call "HOT NIGGA" to me this is fear from gangsta rap. Yes his thinking about alittle drugs, Yes his pants are low, Yes he may have said a few things about jail and guns, but its fear from gangsta rap, like light years away from it haha!!!!! Their is a dance to this song, you can see white, black, mecian, etc etc.... people dancing to this song

Now what I know about gangsta rap is more hardcore, real tough, and real disrespectful, that's what i grow up knowing gangsta rap know for, not this new generation of so call "gangsta rap" So i want you guys to watch this video here and pay attention to what their saying listen real close and let me know if you can see the difference and tell me that I'm WRONG                                                                            


            THIS IS GANGSTA RAP




Mellow vs. Depressing Music: Depends on the Listener.

While with a dear friend a few years back I decided to come forward and ask her if she was feeling depressed. This conversation came on the heels of listening to the Iron and Wine station on Pandora for eight days straight. What can I say? I was worried about her. I noticed she was really quiet, and not her usual self. She explained that everyone questions her constant music choice, but after a long day all she really wants is to unwind and relax and not be bombarded with the repetitive messages or peppy music.

In the years that have passed since that conversation, I have caught myself engaging in the same behaviors. I love happy, peppy, music, don't get me wrong. But after going all day for days and days sometimes I just love to put on quiet, seemingly sad music and let my mind calm down. I've noticed over the past year or so that songs don't have a singular meaning to me anymore. Especially with my "mellow" playlist. Songs are multidimensional, sometimes they are there to help unwind, sometimes to make me smile, and other times to put on repeat while I cry. My reaction to a song solely relies on my purpose for listening to it that day.

One example of a multidimensional song for me, is "Give A Little Love" by Noah and the Whale. This is one of my go-to songs for relaxing after a long day of work and school. However when I am in need of a good cry, its also my go to song. I see it as something I can put on and release any harboring emotions before they get the chance to conflict with my daily life. Church had an excellent example from the study "Hurts So Good" that states, “a grief response to music…allows [the
listener] to bleed off in a controlled manner a certain amount of harmful emotion with which one
is afflicted" This is one of my main purposes in my choice to have a soundtrack when I feel upset. I am the type of person who has to deal with problems as soon as I can to prevent delayed emotions triggered by things at work and school. I have experienced time and time again, "Sucking it up" so I don't feel like an emotional girl, this idea backfires and all I do is end up crying later, and in a much more public manner. When I decide its time to "bleed off in a controlled manner" I put on my mellow playlist, and cry out any negative emotions. Songs such as "Give a Little Love" are able to become sad to me and therefore I can be sad to them. When my little cry session is over, I don't hate the song, nor see it as a song about grief, in fact it goes right back on to my playlist to where I will love it even more.


I think that the reactions, and attachments we have to music are individually based on the listeners mood and experience, as well as expectations for the song. I don't think certain songs have single universal meanings.