Films to Watch on a Sunday

Sunday. The day before a full and busy week ahead and a chance to get those last remaining errands done. I recently did the grown-up thing with my flat mate and made our first roast dinner, and it was a brilliant success, and we both wanted to watch a nice little film, which inspired this blog. Sunday evenings are the perfect time to watch some films and chill and relax and these are my top choices.

1) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A classic children’s film. Who doesn’t want to chill and relax with their favourite flying car. It is uplifting, funny and also mellow. It relaxes you and makes you feel all warm inside and ready for what the next week has in store.

Chitty_1385382a2) Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Now what could be more relaxing that watching Audrey Hepburn!? If her elegance and beauty won’t chill you out and make you feel calm then what on earth will? It is a classic film and easy to watch, and you will need tissues and a cat to hold at the end.

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3) Harry Potter. Now we all need to chill a little and this one will give you an excuse for 8 weeks of kicking back. That and you will find yourself saying the following “Oh my god they look so young”, “I feel so old”, “They grew up so quickly.” Yes, Harry Potter is a very good Sunday night choice.

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4) And lastly The Railway Children. Again, a childhood classic and there is something so magical about watching it through adult eyes. That and the film itself it so British and it is just so well suited to a roast dinner and a glass of red wine and a fire. One day I will go to that station and yell “Daddy. Is that my Daddy?”

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Use your Sunday evenings to relax my friends.

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Should I go to University?

It’s hard to believe four years ago I was sat in a cramped office with my friend in Africa, refreshing the email page and my Facebook page, waiting to hear from my mum whether I had got my place at University of Lincoln. So, it can be safely assumed that from that opening of this post and the time of year we are talking about University today. I have now studied Media for 6 years, so this is all I know and all I can give advice on.

So let’s start with what my undergrad degree even was. I studied Media Production and it was a 3 year course; it was 75% Practical and 25% Theory. The idea was you focused your study over the 3 years to eventually specialise in a specific area. You started your first year with 6 practical and 2 theory subjects. Then in your second year you chose 2 theories and 2 practical as well as a compulsory theory, the purpose of which was to prepare you for your dissertation. For my theory I took Public Service Broadcasting – a Television Theory Module and Practice of Listening – an Audio Module. For my practical subjects I took Multi-Camera and Radio. In my third year we all did a dissertation and a theory module and then everyone did a practical; for this I chose radio.

So that is a brief overview of my course. But what has that told you? Well, a great deal. Media degrees can be on one area, for example, television, graphics and radio and the course just focuses on that area. Or degrees like mine where you learn a bit of everything and then narrow down and focus on an area. Now I remember I was very keen on looking at Audio Courses and my parents were against the idea, suggesting that I may change my mind and discover something else that would interest me. You see even going with their advice I ended up in audio, but I do see where they were coming from. You may learn something new and there really is no harm in developing other skills, and it is also a way of collaborating with different people. My honest advice is for undergrads to go for a course like mine where you get a feel for everything. Next, the percentage of the course. I remember looking at a few courses where it was 80% Theory and 20% Practical. Now in all honesty if you want to go into media even as a director you need to know about the practical element, and also where they state that percentage it is for each module rather than the whole course. So don’t worry, you do learn more than enough theory. Also think about what happens after Uni as you want to go to a job interview showcasing all the films or practical work you have done, not just the essays you have written. The next bit of advice is about the equipment you may use. I wish I had more access to better equipment as I now realise that the facilities where I spent my 3 years weren’t amazing, however, they got me by but could have been better. Don’t underestimate how important it is to choose the right course for you. It is a big decision as you are going to be studying on that course for 3 years and you need to choose it because it’s what you want to do, rather than what your friends or parents want you to choose.

So the course bit out the way, lets talk about the other bit of the Uni experience. I lived away from home which was the best choice for me. But I didn’t live so far that the parents couldn’t visit for a weekend, which essentially equals, food shop, meals out, snacks out, coffee out basically just so much food and drink. Personally I believe your going to get the best experience if you live away from home. But its not right for everyone. Of course a massive plus for going is all the nights out! University isn’t just about the course and the partying. It is also about the people, now I am from London and my Dad is from Manchester so I liked to think of myself as someone that knows a lot about culture and see’s different walks of life all the time. I realised when I went to Uni I had kind of lived in a bubble, simple things like making friends from the countryside, opens your eyes and your learn about different people and you get to hear the bread roll debate, as well as the is it dinner or tea? Well of course its dinner!

Anyway University is certainly worth it! What with the Government discussing the change of finance, go now while it is the way it is. Also don’t let money be the reason to stop you! University is seriously the best experience you’ll ever have and its not just the course you’ll learn from!

Netflix

I am new to the whole Netflix phenomenon. To be precise I have only been using it for 2 months now. We are constantly hearing the phrases like “ things are changing”, “everything is online” or “I am having a Netflix marathon.” It has even been recently announced that Amazon Prime will be doing the new series of Top Gear. So, you get it? Online is the thing now, but let’s talk about Netflix.

Much to my surprise Netflix was actually founded in 1997 and the service began back in 1999. Yes, that is a scary thought that it is a 90’s creation. Now in 2015 Netflix has over 60 million subscribers. As far as the service goes it’s pretty cheap and pretty much offers everything you could possibly want.

Facts aside let’s look at some hit series. Netflix doesn’t just show films and shows made by other companies, they make their own. The first time I actually remember hearing about Netflix is when the “Breaking Bad effect” happened. I wasn’t part of this, but it is on my list to watch. Breaking Bad failed on television with very poor ratings, and with no desire to make new series, then enter Netflix. They bought the rights for Breaking Bad and then it became one of their most popular shows to be aired on their site. Netflix are now making their own shows which are boasting greater ratings and awards. Shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, as well as many more that they have created are responsible for this success.

So what is next for them? Well my prediction is that Netflix will move on to making more films and more series. Netflix making their own shows and then showcasing theme is a far cheaper way of doing things. So the future will be online and who next will go up against them?

Star Wars

In one of my first Blog posts I discussed the Sound Designer Ben Burrt and his work for the Star Wars films. Now on the 16th of April a teaser trailer for the new Star Wars film was released. Now you know I love all things sound so that is what I am going to talk to you about. So firstly, I am sure you have seen it but here is the trailer so it is fresh in your minds.

So let’s get down to business. Just before we come out of a blank screen we get the opening melody of the Ben Kenobi Death/Tie Fighter attack. It is a very soft melody, and along with its intensity our memories are awakening, we are taken to a crashed ship and the deep breathing of Darth Vader is heard. Yes, this is all within a minute of the trailer. We have a voice- from Luke Skywalker talking about the Force and his family and at this point we have a low level of music and the voice is guiding us. The voice is setting the mood, taking us back. Once he says “You have it too” we are back into the Ben Kenobi Death/Tie Fighter attack music and get to see and hear everything you could possibly expect from a Star Wars trailer – flying ships, Lightsabers, explosions and battles. Now you must have been living under a rock if you didn’t know Harrison Ford was returning as Han Solo, but what makes this trailer so good for me is its sound. Again we are ending on a blank screen, and hear a voice we all know, and we love, “Chewie” and then we see the much loved and missed Han Solo and Chewbacca.

Well my thoughts on the trailer – well I love it. It is actually rather simple, doesn’t give that much away. You get to see much loved characters and there is just a familiarity and nostalgic mood that it creates. I think, regarding the sound, I really appreciate and respect the fact that it isn’t the Star Wars theme tune that we hear soft music which creates a juxtaposition to the elements on screen. I personally can’t wait until Christmas.