What is Journalism?

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago what Journalism was I would simply have told you it is writing for a newspaper. It wasn’t until I attended a recent talk at BBC Salford that I began to think about Journalism in more detail. I think that writing on this subject, as well as my Doctor Who blog are forms of Journalism.   In addition my Radio Documentary about the London Underground can be seen as Journalism. This job title actually spreads across a lot of platforms and areas, which leads to a bit of confusion. In my BA Course at University of Lincoln we were taught about roles for radio which included Producer, BA, Reporter and Presenter. As well as these, for a radio drama it was Director, Producer, Recorder and Editor. When I went to visit a Producer at BBC Radio 2 last summer, he actually worked under a show runner and his role did not match what I was taught. I have gone to various talks given by people in the industry and they don’t seem to even know their own titles. I suppose my point is, how can people like me who are trying to make big choices about their careers really have a clue when the role that interests us does not match what we have been taught. I suppose there isn’t an actual answer and you just have to find out when you get there.

journalism-Steve-Garfield

Top TV moments and shows in 2014

So, 2014 saw a change in the type of show I would watch, branching out a bit more and seeing my taste develop and change, although I still love my soaps and reality TV. So here are my favourite shows plus one favourite storyline from 2014.

6) Downton Abbey

Christmas 2013 – I sat with my Mum and watched 4 complete series of Downton Abbey and pretty much became obsessed and spent a lot of 2014 rewatching while impatiently waiting for the new series. I think it is a visually beautiful series and has so much elegance. It is simply beautiful and Dame Maggie Smith is amazing. It really got me into Period Dramas.

5) Prey

This is the sort of thing I would have never watched before, but it had John Simms in it and I heard some good things so thought I would give it a go. An absolutely brilliant crime drama. What I liked most was the non-traditional camera style; it was not neat and tidy with precise shots and was very raw. As well as that it had me on the edge of my seat and I could never have guessed the outcome.

4) Broadchurch

I know this began in 2013, but like Downton Abbey I watched it over Christmas with my family. I am obviously a massive David Tennant fan, so I am not sure why I didn’t watch it sooner. Again, something until now I wouldn’t have wanted to watch. It made for some challenging watching at times, especially with the character Jack Marshall. It’s a brilliant, well thought out programme and again, I could never have guessed the outcome. I am seriously enjoying the new series.

3) Coronation Street – Haley

Now soaps are not the most sophisticated thing on television but they do tackle a lot of issues, and they are nice to watch. The much loved character Haley was diagnosed with cancer, with only months to live, and this made for some hard watching. Her decision to end her own life was dealt with sensitively. It was a difficult subject to approach but was done so well with honesty and accuracy. I did however have issues with the audience being shown her swallowing the tablets in liquid form. I think it’s a tricky subject and that could unfortunately give a vulnerable and depressed person an idea, so apart from that I thought it was a brilliant storyline.

2) Doctor Who

Even though this is my favourite show, over the last few years I have been disappointed, but I think this year was the best series since Matt Smith’s first series. I think Steven Moffat has calmed down a lot and his stories and vision are now a lot clearer, but seriously, a great series. There is of course more about this on my Doctor Who blog.

1) Missing

As I have mentioned this is not something that I would normally go for. I saw an advert for it with my flatmate. We both thought it looked good and both thought it was just a one off episode. Now, I live with a fellow Media student and the way I can pretty much tell something is good is (a) we don’t speak a word to each other while watching, and (b) neither of us utter the words “well that’s not a good shot”, “oh come on that sounds terrible.” Never happened. It was some seriously challenging watching and some very difficult issues tackled. I could not have predicted the outcome, and I am so excited they are doing another series. From the trailer I think it’s from the child’s point of view, which I think is a brilliant idea.

Well it’s been an amazing year for TV and I am looking forward to what 2015 brings.

BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

I have made it pretty obvious that I have an addiction to the television show that was born during the 60’s, Doctor Who. A ground-breaking show and something most people hadn’t experienced before. Now a great deal of this was due to its completely original sound design, and the creators of this sound were the people at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Now it would be unfair to write about them and just talk about their work on Doctor Who so here I give you a post about BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

The BBC Radiophonic Workshop was born in 1958 and was a sound effects department for the BBC.   They originally worked on radio, later on taking their skill into television sound. They have had some of the most talented people in the industry work for them. People such as Delia Derbyshire who worked on Doctor Who, Paddy Kingsland who worked on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dick Mills who worked on Doctor Who and stayed working there until 1993. Some of the other work they have done:

 The Goon Show, a radio comedy show from 1951 to 1960. For this they worked on the music and the sound effects.

This is from khent712 on Youtube.

 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a radio series first broadcast in 1978. For this effects were created by Paddy Kingsland with Dick Mills. They worked on the music excluding the show’s theme tune.

http://www.radionouspace.net/archives-hitchhiker.html

On this site original content can be found.

 Quatermass and the Pit, a sci-fi television show in December 1958 and January 1959. This would be the first television they worked on. For this Desmond Briscoe and Dicks Mills worked on the effects.

This is from zardoz80 on Youtube.

This is a very short list of some of the content that they created from 1958 until 1998. In recent years they have reunited for concerts. I have learnt a lot from researching about them. I do see creating sound effects in a different way. For example for a current project, I am working on, we found a metal door, shutting and moving the door in different ways and editing in different frequencies, has created a selection of sound effects. Radiophonic has taught me sound doesn’t need to be logical, it can be anything. But I will leave you with my favourite sound of theirs.

This is from BBCClassicDoctorWho on Youtube

Reference

BBC – Music (2014) The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. BBC. Retrieved 19th November, 2014, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/39f0d457-37ba-43b9-b0a9-05214bae5d97

Wikipedia (2014) BBC Radiophonic WorkshopWikipedia. Retrieved 19th November 2014  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Radiophonic_Workshop

 

 

 

Does sound need more respect?

I have just read an article on Filmsound.org about designing for sound by Randy Thom, and something he covered in this article is how some people within the industry aren’t giving the amount of focus they should be on sound, and that the expectation is that sound can simply be saved in the post production process with little thought to what went on before. “Many directors who like to think they appreciate sounds still have a pretty narrow idea of the potential for sound in storytelling” (Film sound.org, Thom, 1999) The main question appears to be, are people within the same industry regarding one of the most important aspects as a last minute resort.

During my time studying sound at University I have had moments where people questioned my wanting to specialise in Radio. The amount of times I heard “But what are you going to do with a degree in Radio?” or the “Oh so you want to do sound so you’ll just get a job at a radio station” NO!!!!! I don’t think people quite understand the amount of opportunities and the many ways you can experiment with sound. Just look at BBC Radiophonic Workshop, a whole department dedicated to experimental sound. So instead of a long angry post moaning about the lack of respect regarding my choice of working in sound, I am going to show you two scenes that will prove to you how important and essential sound is when telling a story.

Blackadder

Taken from BBCWorldwide on Youtube

So our first scene which would seem like an odd choice is from Blackadder, where they are going over the top. Yes this is a comedy programme, but let’s focus on the exact moment where they do go over the top. As far as visuals go it’s simple and to the point, and what makes this scene emotional is the sound behind it. The theme music for this show is iconic. The music is dramatically slowed down and it uses a higher pitch, in contrast to the bellowing lower pitched bomb sound. The brief use of the men screaming is enough, making the sound of the scene very simple and to the point. This scene gradually becomes a field of poppies, with a gentle calming countryside ambience. The sound very much makes the point that this is now a place of peace. Not half bad for a comedy programme.

Doctor Who

This taken from Doctor Who on Youtube.

So yes, I couldn’t write something like this and not use Doctor Who. It’s my favourite scene in all of Doctor Who, the scene where Rose and the Doctor say goodbye. Even at 14 and not being into sound at the time, even I could say back then it was the sound of the scene that makes and tells the story. Well, with a greater ability to analyse sound I can tell you exactly why. First of all we have the very simple atmosphere of a cold beach. It rises in volume to match when music lowers in volume. Now the music has been created and edited in such a way that changes of melody match the change of conversation between the characters. Part of the importance of this scene is the way in which the lines are delivered. Another thing worthy of mention is the attention to detail. This is a sci fi programme and everything must have a standout sound effect to it, even including the vanishing of the Doctor. As far as scenes and sound details go this will always be my favourite.

So I think I have proved my point. Two different scenes, with varied ways of using sound to convey a message and to tell a story. Now come on film makers, let’s make sound just as important as the visual.

Reference

Filmsound.org (1999). Designing A Movie For Sound. Retrieved 27th October, 2014, from http://filmsound.org/articles/designing_for_sound.htm

 

Doctor Who Blog

As you know I am incredibly interested in Doctor Who. The main reason for this blog, because I have run out of people who are willing to listen to me discuss this. Here is a little more about why I am doing this.

 It’s the 24th of August 2014, 11:00 am. I have only just finished discussing the latest episode of Doctor Who featuring the new Doctor, but this isn’t where the Doctor Who obsession began. For you to understand why I want to do this blog, then you need to know how my love of it began, back in 2005.

 13, an interesting time, just becoming a teenager and the want and need to become more grown up. When I was 13 in 2005 it was the return of Doctor Who. I recall being younger and seeing the blue box and an odd robot. Years later I would find out that it was the TARDIS and a Dalek. My parents were both fans when they were younger and they told me it’s back and I must watch it. Well, at 13 if something your parents think is “cool” you are hardly going to want to watch it. Which I didn’t. It wasn’t until the next week at a friend’s house, with it on in the background, I heard Britney Spears’ Toxic, it got my attention. Before I realised I was watching it. Seeing Billie Piper, my favourite pop star back in the day, helped to encourage me in continuing to watch the episode. When I went back home the next day I told my parents it wasn’t half bad. I had been converted. I liked Doctor Who.

 Well I watched the whole series and loved it, every single moment. Looking back on it the powerful element was that I was in Rose’s shoes. Everything she was seeing for the first time and experiencing, well it was my first time too. I distinctly remember my mum saying how scared she was to see a Dalek and not really understanding how she felt. Rose, being the kind-hearted character she was, can’t accept this is a horrible character. I guess for people like me it wasn’t until the last episode of the first series that we realised just how evil Daleks were. Rose will forever be my favourite assistant. Her exit is something I will never forget and for me will always be one of the most moving moments in Doctor Who history.

 As much as I loved Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, I only had a series with him. He was loveable but with a dark side and would do just about anything to keep Rose happy and safe. Even doing the impossible and taking her to her dead father. Maybe the reason why my teenage self loved the show so much was that the Doctor was always going to help and make me feel better. Whatever was happening in real life it all stopped for a while and the Doctor and his magical box would take me on an exciting adventure.

 Well, David Tennant will forever and ever be my Doctor. He was funny, vulnerable, had the best catch phrase and well it didn’t half help that he is bloody gorgeous. Putting his looks aside, he showed a hurt and heartbroken Doctor who could never replace Rose, but he would keep on traveling in her name. His last moments on the show, those 10 minutes…….. well let’s just say a box of tissues is always needed. Ending his time as the Doctor with the beautiful words “I don’t want to go” – I think it is safe to say that’s exactly what the audience was thinking too.

 Now for the GENIUS, THE MASTER, THE GOD, THE AMAZING………………………. Russell T Davies. Well, if it wasn’t for him the show wouldn’t have its Class A rating. I think that what he has produced and written, along with the support of his fantastic team, have been some of the most powerful episodes. They somehow came up with these massive storylines, such as Bad Wolf, yet delivered them in such simple ways. I am sure that when everyone realised the meaning behind Bad Wolf, they thought how the heck didn’t I get that. The same goes for Doctor Donna as well as Rose returning. His episodes will always have a place in my heart and will be ones I watch forever without getting bored, making me feel just as emotional or scared as the first time I viewed them.

 Well as you can tell, the Russell T Davies and David Tennant years are my favourite. Not to say I don’t like Steven Moffat and Matt Smith. They’re just not the same. I agree that Steven Moffat is an absolute genius and has a clear and intelligent vision. But, after some episodes I am left thinking what the heck just happened, I don’t get it, why do that? I think something simple and well made is sometimes just more enjoyable to watch. I understand that as a creator you want to show off your talent, but you have to make something the audience will enjoy and love. I think Moffat was fortunate that Matt’s Doctor, along with Amy and Rory had such brilliant chemistry on screen. While some episodes left me completely confused, I always knew that they were going to make me laugh. I will say Moffat did create some simple and beautiful moments. At the end of Matt’s first series, during Amy’s wedding, well just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. It’s just the power of words bringing the sound of the TARDIS and her saying ‘Raggedy man’. Blimey spectacular. And not to forget the Doctor’s ‘Dad dancing’. Is it odd that I had a tiny crush on him after watching that? My point being simple is always far more powerful. Well that’s my belief.

 This has now turned into a rather long post but I think you get my point. I love Doctor Who. It’s magic.   I would just like it to take a more simple and well balanced approach.

Doctor Who blog