March 24, 2008

Ollie///Beauty is my media studies essay

Well here it is- my Media Studies Crime Essay, I could have carried on going but you know... the way life is. Have not got the mark back yet, but will keep you posted :D

Media: What makes a crime drama?

There is no specific path on the road to writing a crime drama, when looking at the genre you see that there are many types of ways that it can be interpreted. From the forensic crime drama (CSI), the Hollywood blockbuster and the traditional format of the whodunit there are many different options, which can involve the nature of the characters and the entire premise of the show or movie.

Each of the different interpretations is open to varying codes and conventions. Crime fiction deals with crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. The beautiful thing about this genre is that the line between genres can be blurred and so therefore you are see a collision between different types of fiction such as the crime genre and the sci-fi kind (Life on Mars). Within the genre there are many sub-boundaries, some are mentioned above, amongst others including courtroom drama (Law & Order), legal thriller (Damages) and the police procedural (Prime Suspect).

The earliest crime novel is The Murder of Machine Operator Rolfsen by Mauritz Hansen, published in 1839. Other examples of earlier crime fiction are the darker works of Edgar Allen Poe (The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) & The Mystery of Marie Roget (1842)). The evolution then came when the creation of the locked room mystery came along, these involve a murder or other crime which happen under impossible circumstances, no one could enter or leave the scene and the death could not have been a suicide. The biggest stories of these mysteries are of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

When trying to pin point the fiction, it is difficult because the central motifs of love, danger and death are big in most sections of fiction. A recent example of this is the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, about a Wall Street tycoon and a serial killer called Patrick Bateman living in NYC, although the crimes are described in vivid detail, the book has never been classed as a crime novel, perhaps due to the absence of the police and that Bateman was never bought to justice.

Crime films are usually those, which deal with the darker side of the human nature. These blockbuster films can be split into different sub-genres most commonly drama (Crash), thriller (Se7en), mystery (Agatha Christie novels), gangster (The Godfather) and film noir (Basic Instinct).

One of the most widely used codes in crime films is the use of a femme fatale. She is a seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in the bonds of desire that often leads to deadly situations. The phase is French for a deadly woman and she tries to achieve her hidden purpose by using things like charm, beauty and sexual allure. One of the biggest modern femme fatale was the character Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct. A European critic defined the character as “a mix between the classic femme fatale and the new psycho killers, one of the most evil characters ever created, on Hannibal Lecter’s level.” She was a murder suspect in both Basic Instinct and Basic Instinct 2 but charmed her way to the top, ultimately sleeping with Michael Douglas’ character in the first and David Morrissey’s in the second.

To concentrate on one particular example of the genre is forensic crime. The biggest player in this genre is that of CSI and the spin off-s CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. The original CSI is set in Las Vegas and was first aired in 2000, created by Anthony Zuiker, the show set out to show the behind the scenes of the crime drama. Instead of being out on the field (although the show does contain the detection and solving of the crime) we are shown behind the scenes how the crime is solved. The series has once lapsed into the fantasy genre (as seen in the season seven episode, “Toe Tag” where the story is told from the point of view from several corpses in the CSI lab). What set this show apart from other crimes genres are the unusual convention of camera angles, percussive editing, hi-tech gadgets, detailed technical discussion and the graphic portrayal of things like bullet trajectories and blood spray patterns. The technique of shooting extreme close up’s, normally with an explanation from one of the characters we are shown things like evidence recovery or how something within the body works. Many scenes in the show are quite lengthy in which we are seeing experiments/tests and the work is very detailed usually with minimal sounds, a technique similar to that used in Mission Impossible. The mis-en-scene elements of the show are influenced by avant-garde film.

Another technique that is used in the genre is that of music. Music in the crime genre is a heavy influence in the movies more than the television. Prime examples of the use of music are that in Psycho (Hitchcock), the famous shower scene contains very famous music of a plain hitting beat. This represents the knife as it goes through the woman each time, creating tension and suspense while adding another level of entertainment. Music is used a lot of the time as means to creating tension. An additional example of this is in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. The film centres around two young women, trying to make it big in the movie industry. At the beginning of the film, there are several dead people and throughout the film different mentions of crime and the darker side of humanity. Not always considered as a crime film but as a Lynchian film, this is due to the fact that Lynch films are very abstract and the meaning is not always straightforward. But the use of the music is very important in this, without the tension, the film would make even less sense. Tension keeps the viewer involved and wanting to get to the conclusion, expecting a massive ending.

Blurring between the different types of genre is what makes some television. The most modern example of this is Life on Mars 2006-2007; this show mixes the crime genre with the sci-fi genre. The main premise of the show is that in 2006, DCI Sam Tyler is knocked over in a car accident, when he wakes up, he is in 1973. The show is called a crime genre, as the main characters are all police, each episode shows the team solving a crime. Parallel to this is the fact that Sam is trying to find out how to get back home. We hear flickers from 2006/7 in his head while constantly getting reminders of alternate realities such as the BBC girl and doll in real life as well as the television and radio talking to Sam. Techniques, which highlight this series in the genre, are the constant voiceovers. These are clues to finishing the puzzle of the series, without these; there would be no story. They give background to the characters while allowing the audience to try and work out the puzzle for themselves. Other characteristics in this show are the use of flashback; these are both from before 1973 and during the present day. Giving more backstory and adding to the suspense of the story these show the audience a greater percentage of the satisfaction and expectation.

The traditional whodunit is sometimes referred to as a Golden Age Mystery. They are complex, plot driven detective stories in which the completion of a puzzle is the key to solving the murder. One of the biggest British writers of these is Agatha Christie. A lot of her novels have been adapted into either films or television adaptations. The set out of this sort of the crime is quite basic. The easiest way to show the plan to this sort of the genre is by looking at a television serial. For example, Cracker, the series has run over many years and the main character, Dr. Eddie ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald is a criminal psychologist and with the help of the police team, he creates a profile in his head of the murderer and in the end captures the murderer while explaining the motives behind the crime. The way these start are with a murder /s, once the crime has been committed the police come in and collect as much evidence as they can. Throughout the story, we are shown the ways that the team speak to suspects and piece together the puzzle.
The principle usually heads the team in solving the murder and capturing the offender. Another aspect to the whodunit crime is that the audience are treated to learning about the main characters (hero/heroine). One of the greatest writers creating characters that the audience become emotionally attached to is Lynda La Plante. Her creation, Prime Suspect’s main character, DCI Jane Tennison played by Helen Mirren goes through many different changes over the years of the show and so therefore a loyal audience member starts to understand the character and goes through the same emotion as those on screen.

Dick Wolf created the Law & Order franchise; these include some of the biggest shows in the courtroom drama genre. Adapted from the whodunit syndrome, the courtroom drama sees the criminal being bought to justice. The courtroom drama also comes under the genre of police procedural. Codes, which are typical in these sorts of dramas, are the primary focus on the crime in comparison to the character-based dramas. They present a much more complex picture of the juditional system and a closer look at police business. Legal dramas depend on situations where there is an obvious injustice or ones where the characters are very interesting or unusual. Another convention for legal dramas/courtroom dramas is the fact that the writer/director will concentrate much more on parts of the process that can be portrayed dramatically such as an oral argument instead of the areas such as researching for a written brief, as they could bore the audience.

The lighting in crime drama’s is another technique, which sets the mood and can sometimes affect the pace in which the action takes place. An example that comes to mind is the 2007 film, Disturbia. The film, which is loosely based on the story of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, takes similar effects from the latter. The story of Disturbia is about Kale Brecht, after being on house arrest, he starts to spy on the neighbours. When he suspects that the man across the road is actually a murderer with the help of two friends they want to find the truth. The film, set over a number of days and nights is dimly lit. When the action during the day is happening, either the curtains are drawn or the lights are off and this creates a sense of mystery. At night, the biggest action happens and this leads to creating almost a horror like atmosphere where anything could happen. The director has changed the saturation of the colours to highlight all the darker shades and this therefore adds to the tension.

Another convention that is seen in some crime drama’s is the use of dysfunctional characters. Although a lot of the time, the criminal is not of sound mind and that their killing is sometimes a revenge effort, a killer or suspicious character that identifies with all the classic horror of the 60’s and 70’s accompanies films such as Disturbia and Identity. When they are in shot, they give away apprehensive looks and gestures, which sometimes gives the audience clues as to their point in the film. They tend to creep around when no is looking and usually creep up on someone from behind.

Another type of crime blockbuster is the action thriller. Modern examples of these are The Sentinel, Die Hard and Shooter. The difference in these is that the majority of the time they are set around institutions such as the FBI and CIA. Also, they are full of action involving guns and explosives. The reason these fall into the crime genre is because most of the time they start with a killing or conspiracy to kill. Shooter’s main point is when the president is almost assassinated and the movie then revolves around the point of finding who committed the crime.

Television shows/serials such as Spooks and Britz base their foundation on agencies such as MI5 & MI6. They deal with public affairs and therefore they base their stories around items such as terrorism and collision of cultures. When crimes are committed, agents must solve the crime and bring whomever to justice. Spooks, for example, is made up of a team. It is a drama and as well the crime, the drama aspect of starting feel emotionally attached to characters and wanting to fight for their cause is just as important. They usually deal with current affairs and involve a great number of the population the culture that the show is aimed at. Sometimes the writer is trying to put a point across and change the view of the audience.

Fast pacing, frequent action, and resourceful heroes who are usually against better-equipped villains characterize thrillers. Devices used in the film, television and novel are suspense, red herrings and cliffhangers. Thrillers usually overlap with mystery but are discriminated by the structure of their plots. The thriller can end in two different ways, when the mystery climaxes and is solved and the hero defeats the villain. The second way, usually seen in film noir and tragedy, is the compromised hero killed in the process. Crime thrillers focus on the criminal rather than the policeman and central topics include murders, robbers, chases, shootouts and double crosses. An example of the crime thriller is The Inside Man, which follows the group of bank robbers. The majority of the film is seen through the eyes of either the criminal or the victim.

The different types of detective that can seen in crime drama range from the amateur (Marple, Murder, she Wrote), private (Holmes, Poirot), police (Morse) and forensic (CSI, Kay Scarpetta). The serial killer genre has films like Zodiac, The Silence of the Lambs and Sweeney Todd, which sees some of the killers, become big in popular culture.

Ollie///Beauty is all my school books (If that's what you like)

What do you think of these- all my school books (all for revision)!!!

March 17, 2008

Ollie///Beauty is a P.S

P.S. I am writing a play...more next time!

Ollie///Beauty is spending time in between

Here is another poem, my newest-

Secrets (Spoken from the nine years wisdom)

I have a secret,
Do you want to know?
It’s bursting inside of me,
And I’m not meant to tell,
But if I don’t tell someone,
I’m going to burst!

My secret is that baby brother,
But mummy does not know because I cleaned it,
Except mummy knows when something has happened,
You can see it on her face,
But she does not know yet.

I’ve another secret,
Something to tell,
It’s special and sacred and surprising as well,
This secret is bigger and bolder,
It may upset some people,
Promise not to cry?

My secret is that I forgot to do my homework,
My teacher knows…
But my parents don’t,
I took the letter and feed it to the bin,
How will they find out except mum always knows when something is wrong?
She is staring over now,
What must she be thinking?

Ok, here’s the deal,
Another secret to tell,
As long as no one else finds out?
I missed school today,
And yesterday,
I went out with my new friends,
They think I’m cool,
And we are not going to school tomorrow.

My exams are coming up,
And I’m starting to worry,
I should have gone to school,
Mum can see something is wrong,
But she does not comment,

A secret that’s inside,
Makes me wonder if I should tell,
It’s substantially bigger than before,
I’m guessing it’s good to talk,
I get this feeling that is great,
Whenever I see Simon,
But I can no longer tell if it’s Simon or the needle that makes me happy,
Because Simon is my friend,
At least that’s what he says.

My mum does not know,
Nor does Katie,
I went to Simon and we kissed,
(I kissed a boy),
We did more than kiss.

I am going to the doctors,
Because there may be a problem,
I am having bad nights,
I’m finding it hard to breath,
My head hurts,
My eyes are bad,
The doctor takes a look,
Am I sexually active?

Here’s another secret,
It’s important that you know,
Except other MUST not know,
They will stare,
They will point,
I am ill,
I have an illness,
They don’t look hopeful,
It’s called AIDS.

One last secret for me to tell,
Then you will know me better than anyone else,
I have gone away,
And I am not coming back,
This is my requiem,
My song,
My warning,
Don’t dabble in depraved, immoral, shameless,
Imperfect, unscrupulous desire,
Stay clean because my mum’s face now tells a different tale,
She can tell something is wrong,
And she still won’t talk.

Anyway, an explanation about why the new poems... now... Last year, I entered a poetry competition called The Foyle Young Poets of the Year where I sent loads of poems in after it being advertised at school and recently I was sent a letter with the book of winners from last year and a letter to say that entries for this years competition are now being accepted and so here starts the new writings due in for July 31st.
The McGillian came out last week and it was great! People actually read it and I have heard from different people that they liked it and are looking forward to the next issue- the beginning of my initiative to get people reading and writing and finally using their imaginations! In just a few weeks, is the beginning of the road to the next issue.
Oh! The wonders of online shopping, is it an addiction, seriously! I opened up an HMV account the other week and since... well, let's say that the HMV server could be in overload. It's not that I keep buying... well, I am but it's that I keep looking around at different things, looking at the prices and sales :D Well there you are... Amazon, HMV... could I get the clothes.... uh.... no.... I have to try the shows on before!
Been watching quite a lot of Friends recently... I finished season 9 & 10... and again pushed myself to the last episode :( So good, funny and yet really upsetting because it's the last one!!!! Oh! What to do! Well, I have started again, back to season 1 and every time I watch it, the funnier it gets and the more I understand, certainly the earlier seasons were gr8! What other TV has been entertaining? CSI, Torchwood, Ashes to Ashes, Damages, Skins, Dexter, The Big Bang Theory, Echo Beach, Moving Wallpaper & Hotel Babylon are all really entertaining me... Sure there will be some reviews soon/// this week the new series of HolbyBlue, House, Dirty Sexy Money & The Friday Night Project starts!
Shows which I have already seen that are coming, Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives, Kyle XY & Grey's Anatomy... this is amongst other shows that I have been recording which are yet to watch, Mad Men, The Last Enemy, Lark Rise to Candle Ford and Reaper... of course back to the life of Ollie!
What can I rant about? iTunes overcharged me!!!! I have decided that illegal downloading is not the way to go and iTunes Store got my details over night... I have been getting their free single of week... which in the last months have actually been pretty good... and then came to the fact that I am going to buy songs... pay money to the artists who have put SO much work into their artfrom and perhapes get their song into the download chart! So far, I am looking at artists that are not major in the UK and are able to buy from iTunes.... which so far has been good but they overcharged me! £0.79 and instead they charged £1.58... why do that.... they could not do anything... then the money was put back and taken again... this happened again this evening... let's just see what happens in the account over the next week!
Hmmm... finished Media CW which is looking great.... we had to do a crime tease... the bit before the credits at the beginning. We planned (for ages!), recorded and then edited (for even longer!).... music done, it's in black and white, there is no rubbish in there and there is loads of other stuff... it is looking good and now done!
I got a clipboard on my wall... it's made of cork and looks great! There is pictures and messages and letters on there... awww... how cute!
And on a final note, my new heroes... Mark Ronson (musician) & Josh Schwartz (creator of The O.C & Gossip Girl)... What do you want me to say about them... they both do the greatest things which entertain me the most and I must say, Version, the Ronson album is great!!!! Here is the new Ronson song, Radiohead cover, Just, with the lead singer of Phantom Planet (the band who created The O.C theme)!

March 16, 2008

Ollie///Beauty is remembering to blog :D

Well, here it is... another blog. Anyway, what has been happening? Plenty of shows have been on television recently... new series of House, HolbyBlue, Dirty Sexy Money & The Big Bang Theory.
I have officially decided that CSI:NY is better than CSI because the stories are grittier, the setting is must more atmospheric and I prefer the characters...
I am quite tired and am going to leave you with a poem... OH! BTW, I have started writing some new material because the poetry competition (explain more next time) has come around again but currently they are on my memory stick, which is downstairs and I cba to go and get it... but here is one from last year.

Clouds of Dreams

As I watched her sleep,
Peacefully in her bed,
She slept and dreamt alone.

In her dreams the bosoms of love surrounded her,
And the sweeping sensation of the silence,
Which took her to the arrival of the lamb.

In the dream that night,
She was alone on a cloud,
A cloud on which she was allowed to scream,
Deep depression of unknown sympathy
And monotone.

The dream of which she dreamt that night,
She received the unperceived gift of laughter,
And she saw in the far away distance she saw the red,
The sun on which the food is raised,
An oven ready for fought battles.

A thief of succession and fortune,
And calligraphy of the cover of placebo,
The name of the cloud on which she took the name in vain,
Returning to the dream in which she dreamt that night.

She woke in the morning,
She felt no different,
She could not remember,
Me watching her,
The sad unfortunate warrior.

And on a finishing note: Mark Ronson is my hero and I break up for Easter in one four days... all the more time for revision, the exams are just a couple of weeks away now!

March 02, 2008

Ollie///Beauty is music for the month :D

My top five for the month of March:
1. Duncan Sheik- For You
What a beautiful sound, short and sweet but really touching. Reminder of the summer evenings spend with friends and really one that I could listen to over and over... I heard of him through a YouTube video, see below, a mini film called The Delay which was produced as advertising for American Express and The Ritz-Carlton Hotels.
2. Jeremy Camp- Understand
Forget all your connotations to religious music, this guy has taken CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) to a new level. Even for those who just want to listen to the music and not take in the religious part, I would defo recommend. Makes me want to jump to the beat with the brilliant rock beats.
3. Andrew Morris- Already Gone
What a find through MySpace & iTunes, this guy is little known but for how long, on the strength of his EP, Upside Down, I can see a bright future... it's wonderful to find pure, real, local talent and this is certainly what Andrew stands for.
MySpace Page
4. Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly- Find The Time
The power behind the music, Sam Duckworth, certainly shows he is one to look out for in 2008! His second album, Search for the Hows and Whys, released on the 10th March is already available on iTunes and this song, the first single, is a real stand out... Listen to it, enjoy it and be one of the first to tell others about this brilliant song.
5. Yael Naim- New Soul
For those of us who watch T.V, it's hard to miss the new MacBook Air ad's and this song is the tune that has you humming throughout... lovely, simple music that you want to repeat over and over will beautiful lyrics and a video that I can't get enough off...

A stunning look into the hotel industry, makes you really think and wants to remind you, that it's the little things in life that make you happy. Includes the music of Duncan Sheik (Look above!)

That's it for now, will be back soon with more commentary about life in terms of ME! :D