Ahead of our pitches next week, Ian and Owen reminded us of some important things we should remember. It is obviously essential to remember who we are pitching to, and in this case the client is S4C and their representatives. It is also essential to know exactly who your audience is, which is different to the client. S4C’s regular audience is 40-60 year olds, however for this St David’s Day special they want to appeal to all ages. We should use narrative, personal stories and anecdotes in order to try to connect with the audience. On our team we have James and Nia who are both Welsh and have their own personal stories from their childhood that they will be able to share. We have been reading the brief throughout every step of our brainstorming and designing process in order to get our heads around exactly what we have to do and to make sure we don’t miss anything out. We will do this again before the presentation. We should aim to have clarity in both the visual and verbal presentation so that it is clear what we are presenting. It is important to pre-empt potential client questions and build the answers into the presentation, the aim being that the clients can think of nothing left to ask because they presentation has been so informative. Rehearsing the pitch will be essential so that we know exactly what each person is going to say and so that we don’t leave anything out. Ian and Owen’s final piece of advice was to be honest, open and positive.
We should address why our solution works, how it relates to the brief and how it will connect with the audience. We should also leave the clients something to remember our idea so that they can look over it alongside the other nine groups when selecting the shortlist of ideas.
This morning was our second review with Ian, following the review last week with both Ian and Owen. I think it would be fair to say we are feeling slightly deflated in comparison to last week. After last week’s successful meeting in which both seemed to like our idea, calling it current with relevant and appropriate themes of family and tradition, our work seemed to far less than impress this week. Since our last meeting, we had recorded music for the background of longer pieces of film which required music, drawn a more detailed storyboard and Nia had taken some photographs and film footage of herself making Welsh cakes, which she edited into a animatic so show how the shots and angles will work for the real thing. The point was made in the meeting last week that we should remember that this is not an advert for Welsh cakes, and so we decided to make the idents less about the actual process of making Welsh cakes and more about the idea of traditions being passed down, and family coming together. Our concept is based on themes of family and together, focussing around a grandparent teaching their grandchild traditions of St David’s Day. Through including these two generations and showing them learning things from each other, we felt we achieved the ’21 Century Wales’ aim. While we are happy with our idea and are enjoying working on it, it has been brought to our attention by classmates that there are multiple groups including Welsh cakes in their concept, meaning the tutors are increasingly seeing the idea as unoriginal and boring.
There are many things that are difficult about working in a group, even a cooperative group. The work produced in a group is almost never what you would have chosen to do individually, and there is far less room for wild creativity as you have to consider in the various opinions of the people you are working with. In a group, the abstract, crazy, wild ideas are much more often disregarded by one person or another, in the search for an idea that everyone can agree on. When an idea is found that everyone even remotely likes, this is the idea you have to run with in order for every team member to cooperate fairly. It is very difficult to coax people to work on a project they have no belief or interest in. Therefore, I find most often, ideas generated in a group environment rarely demonstrate a personal style or flair as is it difficult to capture the personal style of five individuals. This is probably why I felt quite hurt to hear that our idea had been described as unoriginal and boring when our group has been working so well together, surely one of the main aims of the project. As a naturally bossy and headstrong person, I am all too often the person who picks up the jobs that others are slacking on or not bothering with within a group setting, overloading myself with work so as to avoid my sort of fear of failing. This leads me away from the dreaded ‘failure’, but also into a pit of stress and overwork. It has been clear to see this year how much more cooperative the groups I have been placed in for various projects have been, and how motivated people are. It has been enjoyable to work with people who are as headstrong as myself, motivated and driven to succeed and full of talent and good ideas.
I hope that we can restore the originality to our project with our pitch to Ian and Owen on Monday and to the S4C representatives on Wednesday.
After our meeting we gathered and decided it would be best to collate what needs to be done and distribute it amongst the group accordingly. We decided that we needed to decided exactly what was going to make up every single element of the project and take experimental photographs. We also needed to photoshop these photographs with the appropriate logo over the top to see how they would work within the S4C guidelines of branding. We needed a more detailed and better drawn storyboard which we could leave with the S4C representatives so that they can understand our idea even when we are no longer there to explain. We then need to collate all of this into a project for presenting on Wednesday.
As perhaps the most confident drawer in the group, I took on drawing the storyboard. Nia said she would visit her grandmother and take some photographs of the shots we discussed in the coming days and photoshop them appropriately. Anne will make a animatic using the new photographs and storyboard images. On Friday, we will all meet in uni to put together all of the work we have done and to create the final presentation and rehearse.
I have just finished watching American Psycho and I must admit I feel blown away. In the aftermath of Cath Davies’ Goddesses and Monsters study group, there couldn’t have been a better time to watch this masterpiece of a film that is so fuelled by almost every single thing we discussed over the course of the five weeks. While it is still fresh in my head, I really wanted to write about some of the moments that stood out to me most.
I watched the film with two friends who love and appreciate the film. They explained to me their take on the film, one being the one that I have adopted and feel to be the most accurate. Jumping straight to the end of the film, where Paul’s apartment is clean and spotless and the landlady wants nothing to do with Paul or Patrick, there is the idea that consumerism and capitalism can engulfed New York and the world so much so, that the characters cover up all of Patrick’s murders, as this saves energy, explaining and most importantly, money. A friend explained to me that they believed the reason the landlady denied knowing about Paul and the reason she so promptly asked Patrick to leave and not to cause any trouble was because the idea of a murder taking place in the flat would have decreased its worth and potential buyers likelihood of moving in. Patrick also confessed to up to 40 murders in a voicemail to his lawyer, who completely brushed it off the next day when they met in person. If we remain with the consumerism theory, it would be much easier for Patrick’s lawyer to not have to defend him against a confession for 40 murders, and since he was the only one Patrick confided in, it would be easy to act as if nothing had happened. Patrick’s lawyer is insistent that Patrick cannot be right about killing Paul, as he says he had dinner with Paul in London after the time Patrick says he was murdered. This is confusing and ignites many different theories. It would be easy to apply the ‘it was all a dream theory’ here, however after the complexity and issues tackled in the rest of the film, I do not believe this theory is what was intended for the finale of the film.
Of course, an interesting topic of the film to me was the treatment and role of women. I could probably write for hours about this! The first time I felt this was going to be a theme was when Patrick confidently tells his receptionist to never wear her outfit again, an outfit which consisted of a trouser suit. He insists instead she wear a dress or a skirt and high heels, definitely high heels, because he likes high heels. This shows elements of Freud’s theory of castration fear, as Patrick draws attention to and fetishes over the woman’s feet and shoes instead of her genitals. Castration fear is evident throughout the film, at other times when Patrick’s girlfriend asks what he wants for his birthday but requests that he does not ask for her to get a boob job like last year, he fantasises over the heads and hair of women, and he has two women perform oral sex on each other, whilst never actually performing it himself yet expecting it to be done to him. Patrick requests a blonde prostitute, and puts particular emphasis on the fact that she must be blonde. When she arrives and joins another blonde prostitute he has picked up in his chauffeur driven car, he rudely comments on how she is not blonde enough, and gives both women a name which he tells them they will answer to. Patrick Bateman dehumanises the women and degrades them to a name and a hair colour. He requests that they ask about him and his life and he boasts of his job and apartment. Whilst having sex with them, he pays no attention to the women and spends the whole time looking at himself in the mirror and flexing his muscles, or recording them having sex and then watching himself. He pays so little attention to the women, that when he tries to pick one up on a different night she comments on how she had to go to hospital last time, though we the audience, experiencing the scene through Bateman, were not aware of any discomfort or pain in any of the participants. Patrick Bateman only kills blonde women, suggesting an fixation on blonde hair and a fetish for blonde women. In one scene, after killing a blonde model he took home from a bar, Bateman is seen in his office stroking a lock of blonde hair across his face, before stuffing into his shirt pocket when someone appears at the door. This is resonant with the theory of the grotesque and Freud’s theory of the uncanny – hair as a relic can be endearing and nostalgic however, in certain circumstances it is made creepy and grotesque by the manner in which the relic is treated and the way in which it is collected. This is similar to the way in which the villain in Charlie’s Angels treats the lock of hair he rips from Natalie’s head during a fight scene. Patrick choose uninterested, distracted, unintelligent women as he knows they will fail to notice and understand his lack of emotion and empathy with the human race. Patrick notes near the start of the film that he keeps his boring job because he wants to fit in and seem normal. Patrick knows he is different, and is doing what he can to avoid other people noticing. On multiple accounts during the film, Patrick opening tells countless characters that he has killed people, is having murderous thoughts, and more of the sort. He is brutally honest with everything that is asked of him, though it is rare that someone listens and responds directly to what it is that he has said.
It is a conversation between Patrick and his colleagues that was one of the things I was most excited to write about. They have a conversation about women, in which they all agree that women that have good personalities are ugly, and women that are good looking have next to no personality or sense of humour. When someone jokingly suggests that if a woman has a good personality, that is all you need, they all retort that a ‘good personality’ for a woman is having a good body, satisfying all of your sexual needs whenever you wish without complaint and knowing when to keep her mouth shut. It is a regular occurrence during the film to note the appearance of a woman or the state of her physique, something clearly important to Patrick as he goes through he daily routine at the start of the film (part of this routine being exercising to pornography each morning). None of the women in the film have strong personalities, roles or purposes in the film, other than being provided for sex or observation.
There is so much more that I could write about this film, and hopefully will after watching it again and thinking more thoroughly about the theories discussed in Goddesses and Monsters. I can’t get this film out of my head and my brain is already buzzing with dissertation ideas.
At this point, we have still received no contact from Egypt. John is in Egypt, supposedly making contact with the university in Egypt to finalise the project. In the meantime, we have been working with Owen Stickler on identifying classifications of culture, what are the elements which contribute to culture and form the characteristics of a place. Having finished the Cardiff end of the project, we are looking more at the Egypt side of the project anticipating John’s return and the arrival of the Egyptian sites for us to work on. We discussed sensitivities surrounding culture – particularly when it is a culture unlike your own. Having researched Egyptian culture and religions, we mapped out potential dos and don’ts for our designs.
Now all there is to do is to wait for the sites!
At this point, we have now chosen both of our sites ready to analyse and send over to the Egyptian students. For our walking speed site, we have chosen an open area in the centre of town, and for the fast speed site we have chosen a bridge over a railway near the Taff trail. For our site analysis and to give the Egyptian students a feel for the place without visiting themselves, we took videos, photographs and wrote descriptions. Mahira is an Egyptian exchange student studying Architecture on our team, and she has been a fantastic help in teaching myself and Connor how to create the things we otherwise would not be able to without the knowledge of an architecture student. Without tutorials about the software we have been told to use, Mahira has stepped up to help us and has helped us create sophisticated maps of the area and sun paths – something I didn’t even know about until this project!
We have pretty much finished with this part of the project – we have completed the analysis that has been asked of us and are now awaiting to hear from the university in Egypt. In the mean time, we have been adding to our bank of analysis by finding new ways to analyse the sites in order to gain more detailed information, and I have begun compiling our work so far into a presentation ready for both the Egyptian student and the final deadline before Christmas.