1. Your influences, favourite directors, TV Shows, production companies whose output you admire.
My favourite directors are Shane Meadows and Alfred Hitchcock. Shane Meadows is a writer and Director. He is known for one of my favourite shows a couple of years back, This Is England. He is also well known for Twenty Four Seven and Dead Mans Shows in 2004. Meadows was born in 1972 in Stafforshire, England. His fith feature fillm was made at the age of 34. His first recognised film was This is England. It is based on Shane’s own experiences, it is set in 1983, the time of the Falklands War and Mass unemployment. The film is about a young boy who gets expected into a gang of Skin Heads. The film largely follows a part of Shanes Life. Just like in Shane Meadows personal experience the gang the young boy is welcomed into soon gets infiltrated with a more resist element. Shane Meadows films always have had a naturalistic element to it and mostly to do with the working class in his backgrounds.
I will be talking much more at length about Alfred Hitchcock as I could find much more information on him and out of the two directors I have mentioned, Hitchcock is my absolute favourite.
Alfred Hitchcock was a very successful director He was the son of Emma Jane and William Hitchcock. He was raised as a strict catholic and attended Saint Ignatius College. His first proper job was for the Cable Company and Henley Telegraph in 1915, as an estimator. It was around this time that his interest in film began. He directed one of my favourite films Psycho, one of the reasons that is my favourite films is because I really love semiotics and reading into what is happening in the film. Psycho is full of them. Alfred Hitchcock was a perfectionist, he loved to manipulate his audience’s emotions, mainly fear. He did this by using many aspects of making a film, he was a perfectionist, making sure everything was there for a reason, maybe for a semiotic reason. In Hitchcock’s work you rarely found anything that wasn’t there for a purpose, for example in Psycho all the paintings had some sort of meaning; if the viewer looked hard enough, they could see most of the paintings were more sinister that they appeared to look, with paintings such as a woman running from many hands, assuming male seemed to be trying to grab her, her clothing ripped. Others show a disturbing painting of a woman who looks like she is being attacked by a man in a sexual way, this is hugely foreshadowing what will happen in the plot of Psycho, maybe referencing to the disturbing relationship Norman had with his mother, that Hitchcock hints at through the film, including small things like “the references to birds and stuffing them also alludes to Norman’s mother, who sits dead and preserved, stuffed and maintained by Norman himself.
Hitchcock makes the audience feel a variety of emotions for different scenes through the camera angles. For example with Marion’s famous shower scene, one of many disturbing things that creates more of an affect on the audience is the change of perceptive, as the perspective changes in Marion’s death scene, as the scene is shot through the eyes of the killer which adds a more disturbing affect on the audience.
Hitchcock created around 39 films. Psycho was made in 1960s. Though colour had been invented, Psycho is a black and white film so why would Hitchcock use black and white? Hitchcock used black and white to add more atmosphere and the colour adds more affect to the shower scene and a purity to Marion as she’s showing that the film with colour couldn’t betray. Hitchcock’s first film he directed to completion was The Pleasure Garden in 1925, a silent film. Hitchcock directed a couple of other silent films as well as some were before sound had even been introduced to film, this also included colour
This was an experiment of Hitchcock’s that some did not disagree with however Rope obviously points towards the way Hitchcock used to love to experiment with his films, even though his suspense films are more known, Hitchcock did do quite a few different of genres of film, including Romance and comedies like To Catch A Thief or Rear Window. It can not be argued that Hitchcock was a very successful Director, mostly well known for his films such as The Birds and Psycho. With his excellent attention to detail and though he has done other genres with this quote “I have a perfect cure for a sore throat, cut it” recognises his special love for thrillers and creating suspense that will live through his most well known films and will continue to be known as some of the best film making in arguably history.
My favourite Television Shows Are Top Gear and Sherlock.
Sherlock is a BBC Production and was created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. Sherlock is a crime drama, on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, Sherlock Homes. Sherlock is written by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Steve Thompson.
The production companies involved in making Sherlock are The Hartswoods Film, BBC Wales and Masterpiece Theatre.
Sherlock is set in the 21st century and is located in London were some episodes were filmed. However some episodes were also filmed in Cardiff (Which was made to look like London)
Sherlock was first broadcast onto our screens on 25th July, 2010 and had very high viewing figures. It was a huge success. By 2014 Sherlock had many nominations and awards, this includes 50 nominations with a Golden Globe and has won 34 awards.
“The third series has become the UK’s most watched drama series since 2001. Sherlock has been sold to over 200 territories” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_(TV_series)
BBC’s Sherlock answers the questions many people have wondered over the past ;if Sherlock Homes did exist and existed in the 21st century what would he be like and what adventures would he have? Sherlock Homes BBC series adaptation tells the viewers his adventures in great detail, with its clever script, narrative style, camera shots and editing also using great actors. This teliversion show is perfect to make The BBC look good and an example of what the BBC usually put on their channels, most shows are at a very high standard and good high quality. For example you wouldn’t find a show like Take Me Out on the BBC.
It is not a shock that Sherlock has become a very successful programme, the viewing figures speaking for themselves, in the last Vow, the final episode, the viewing figures stayed strong with 8.8 million watched it, a 32 percent sharing of the viewing. The first episode of the series 3, even got 9.2 million viewers watching, adding on another 3.15 million from who watched it on iplayer after it had been broadcasted. This makes us believe that Sherlock is widely viewed. Sherlocks target audience seems to be more aimed at the british public with its London location, british actors and language but that hasn’t stopped it becoming hugely successful in different countries such as China, where Sherlock has gotten 69 million viewers.
herlock uses a lot of semiotics within the show. Many minor details giving references to the books or foreshadowing, either subtle or very in the viewers face. There are many different semiotics in Sherlock I’d like to go into a few in different scenes for example in the sign of three, a scene stands out where Mary tricks Sherlock and John in going on a case together. As Sherlock and John both leave theres a middle shot of Mary looking smug, while an ornament behind her gives the viewers the impression that she has devil horns, this even could be foreshadowing the trouble that her history will course in the next episode.
There are other scenes I’d like to go into more detail on, this includes the last episode in series 3. Where Sherlock Confronts Mary, then its later revealed that Sherlock had tricked Mary and John had been listening all along. This scene uses many different semiotics to tell the story and adding atmosphere to the scene, including using colours, lights, scrip, clothes and set up. They use the lighting to create the right atmosphere. The lightning they have used is Low key lighting to create more of an affect, a more serious, tense atmosphere. The Characters are also wearing very dark clothing, this could again symbolise the mood, the serious and dark mood of the scene. There is also a long close up of Sherlock has he listens to what Mary has to say for herself. Sherlocks expression looked rather irritated and disappointed, this may be showing how much Sherlock cares for John, knowing this will hurt John as he knows he is listening to their conversation.
And the end of the scene the camera angle changes to a birds eye view, this is more for dramatic affect but there is also some symbolism within this scene. For example there are two lights hanging down from the ceiling. Each is hanging almost directly above Johns and Mary’s heads, far apart from each other, this could symbolise how far apart John and Mary are and the new rift in their relationship.
The other scene I would like to look at is a scene between John and the new character Billy. John confronts Billy about where someones child is in a drugs den. This scene I believe was made to introduce Billy and to add more humour to the episode. The lighting again was low key. Yet there was much more light shed on this scene, using the two open doors, giving more light to this scene, highlighting the fact that this scene is defiantly not meant to be that dark but quite light hearted and amusing, unlike the scene where Sherlock confronts Mary where the only lights are two, flickering ones up above them, with no natural lights including no windows, but the other scene has two open doors with natural light, again showing the difference to a more serious scene and a more light hearted one.
The scene between John and Billy also seem to give Billy more of a personality, especially when he says “I think you broke my arm” or “It feels squishy!” Bill, already seems to have more of an interesting personality that the viewers could get on board with, maybe foreshadowing that he will come up again in the future episode. It also gives the viewers a reminder of Johns doctor, military background when he is calm while facing Bill holding a knife and disarms him so easily.
“Bill Wiggins is based on the canon character Wiggins, one of the Baker Street Irregulars who helped Holmes during multiple cases in the Sherlock Holmes Novels”
My next favourite TV show is Top Gear
Top Gear is a car show and it has changed much through the years. The show started in 1977, though it has changed quite a bit through the years, especially in 2002, when they started to add in challenges and much more direct humour. People started to watch it just because they found it funny, instead of watching it because of the cars, so Top Gear had reached a whole new audience. Essentially it was still about cars and car reviews.
Top Gear use different techniques to get their point across but it mainly uses humour. Top Gear used to be a much more tame and lifeless show but as it changed, the audience altered and the show changed even more to suit what the audience wanted. Top Gear is hosted by three presenters, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
The presenters, especially Clarkson, are known for their seemingly regular insults. This increased their new audience as many would tune in just to see if Clarkson or any of the other presenters would poke fun at any other motoring companies, countries and themselves.
It is a ‘magazine’ show it closely follows the conventions of it print equivalent. The start of the show gives us the ‘contents’ page a montage of images and comments to encourage us to keep watching e.g. “James May works out how to flush a toilet”. Then we have features, which expand on the different topics and provide more detailed information i.e. the design price, power and speed of the car. This is the factual part of the programme the rest is constructed to provide entertainment.
Top Gear is a Multiple Camera production and has a racing track outside the studio that was made just for the show. The track and studio of this show is filmed at Dunsford Areadrone in Surrey.
The studio and track used to be where a former Air Force base was, it was used by the Royal Canadian Air Force and built in World War II.
I Admire production companies such as Warner Bros. Pictures and Working Title Films.
Warner Bros. Pictures simply because they distributed Harry Potter and I’m biased like that being a huge Harry Potter fan. Working Title Films because most films I enjoy they have distributed, this includes Wild Child, Love Actually, Shawn of the dead. Johnny English and Fargo.
“Working Title Films, co-chaired by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner since 1992, is one of the world’s leading film production companies. WTTV is based in London and LA and is a joint venture between NBC Universal International, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The UK office is headed up by Juliette Howell, the LA office by Liza Chasin. The UK office is currently developing projects across all UK broadcasters. Productions include the critically acclaimed and BAFTA-winning Birdsong, adapted by Abi Morgan, The Borrowers, BBC ONE’s highest rating single film of Christmas 2011, and Dominic Savage’s series True Love”
My influences would be the way Alfred Hitchcock uses semiotics to convey different meanings towards the audiences.
I love looking into the scenes in his films and spotting certain objects or the way a character holds her/his self that may be hiding some sort of message or foreshadowing for the future.