BBC Horizons Vignette

During a placement at TwoFour Production in Plymouth, I was tasked with producing a vignette in preparation for the promotion and launch of the latest BBC Horizon’s series.

This involved cutting and sourcing the script from the transcription, sourcing the appropriate images, editing and compiling the finished product.

Software used: Adobe Premier Pro, Adobe Encore, Adobe Audition.


Empire International Vignette

During a two week placement for empire Magazine, this was one of my assignments. This vignette was produced for Empire Magazine for promotional use in appealing to prospective shareholders as the publication is looking to expand overseas.

The soundtrack was pre-assigned and the brief was detailed to a point where we knew where to include crossovers and transitions.

Software used: Adobe Premier Pro, Adobe Audition, Adobe Encore, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop.

Iron Man 3 Review

So, during my time at Empire Magazine, I meant to practice my writing a little more but never really got around to it. I’ve been told that in actual fact, people do not generally get a job in writing film reviews by writing film reviews. Apparently the best way in is to be creative about engaging with films. Coming up with spoofs, puns or parodies is more likely to attract the attention of a recruiting editor than a heavy portfolio of just film reviews. In any case, its probably a good idea to at least have something to start with…

“Drew Pearce and Shane Black have been working tirelessly on what should be called Iron Man 4 (The Avengers merely a title added for the sake of variety). In reality, after shrinking down what would have originally been over six hours of script and screenplay, a new fangled Tony Stark movie has emerged from a cutting room floor, flooded with car chases and scenes that would help make sense of some apparently inconsequential characters.

Following on directly from the events of The Avengers, we find Tony Stark (Downey Jnr) suffering from constant flash backs of more than just parties from bygone new years sporting Ali Gee’s originals. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from an unfortunate turn through space-time along with countless run-ins with aliens has left the inner Iron Man folded and unstable. We see the once immutable hero quite literally stripped of his armour, loosing his gorgeous Malibu playboy house, his cars and incidentally for a substantial part of the story, his less metaphorical suits.

Pearce and Shane have brought Iron Man to his knees, buckling under the pressure of his own demons and derisively knocking him off his red and gold feet via shadowy forces of The Mandarin. Whilst Downey Jnr’s performance is encapsulating as per, the same cannot be said for the relationship between Stark and the new characters. Granted, a delightful repartee between a young boy and the eponymous hero in the second act is one of the best highlights. The same goes for many of the exchanges with bodyguard ‘Happy Hoggan’ (Favreau) and Rhodes (Cheadle) but the motivations for others have been found wanting. Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall would have to wade neck deep through figurative silver nitrate before they might find the work they were paid to do, and as such, it leaves viewers with some irritable gaps in the story.

The exploding, drug addicted, terminator hulk henchmen provide a satisfying, if unconvincing fodder for the Iron Men. Yes, that’s right. There are now 42 of these suits that seem to be an expense where global hunger over a personal hobby never quite got the balance. We also have to wonder if these scalding, Abercrombie & Hulk models really would fail to warrant the attention of the other invincible SHIELD housemates. No sign of any of the Avengers here, because, as Stark vehemently states, ‘this is an American problem.’ Well, that seems to be that. No point in arguing, but no one seems to care.

The film ploughs on carrying the Iron Man mantle, listing ever so slightly under the weight of immense expectations. Floating on a tirade of heavy themes, Shane brandies an assortment of heart lifting gags and wisecracks, nodding at the likes of Downton Abbey and cringing 90’s music. This is not to mention Ben Kingsley’s performance, which has earned his lordship’s title for himself at least twice over as he carefully delivers the most interesting surprise of the franchise to date.

Filled as Marvel does, with gorgeous visuals, original designs and laced with elements of sharp witty dialog, Iron Man 3 captures the same sentiment that encouraged the first film to cause such a stir. You emerge from the cinema, having witnessed a handsome billionaire-playboy-philanthropist fight in nightmarish scenarios but you feel like you understand. Just like after Iron Man 1, you dare to suppose that you’re not too different from the hero, and you dream for a super moment… It’s not too difficult to imagine yourself in those shoes, getting bitten by that spider, or begin building a mechanical suit. You start racking your brains, picking out basic facts in the science fiction that you feel you know about and then, you apply it to your 12-year-old thoughts. That’s exactly how films of this genre should work, and Iron Man 3 works it masterfully.”

Empire Magazine Internship 1/2

I sat opposite the original Ted. His face conveys surprise as if he’s just seen up the skirt of someone bending over one of the spartan shields from 300 behind me. Atop of every computer there are miniature lego figurines from various different films, arranged in order of prowess or appearance through Star Wars.

There are never any vacancies. No-one ever leaves. It’s understandable. Everyone loves their job. Everyone is calm and collected – to the point where someone slates the latest Star Trek film, giving room for knit-picking and fierce debate over the representation of Khan.

Star Trek was incredible by the way. Expect a review shortly.

So far, tasks have including lots of transcribing, but in all honesty, this has been a labour of weird fetish love. It really is fascinating to listen to the interviews that these guys have with some of my all time film heros.

I soon came to regret my flippant comment to Helen O’Hara. When she asked ‘have you heard Pacific Rim?’ I responded with a rather cutting, ‘oh that film that is essentially just Michael Bay’s interpretation of Power Rangers…’ clearly a poor quip since she said that I was going to regret ever saying that. How does she know these things?

After transcribing an interview between Helen and Guillermo del Toro about Pacific Rim, I was embarrassingly rectified in my lack of vision. Hearing Guillermo talk about his influences from Japense Kaiju movies whilst living in Mexico, and his love of Gerry Anderson material, I began to see why this film could prove to be something different. Granted, there is narrative and a story arc even in the wrestling that I used to watch when I was eight years old, but that didn’t make it groundbreaking. In Guillermo’s own words it’s “soap opera for men.”

All in all, I’m rather looking forward to Guillermo’s take on including more verisimilitude in his CGI shots – making them less-than-perfect. A technique that  induces a sense of realism through imitating naturalistic filming parameters. Things like lights flashing on the lens, cameras breaking the water line, spray on the glass, and even amateurish zooms on a pull focus. (I should add that J.J. Abrams is also a big fan of this kind of cinematography in sci-fi films)

The interview with Shane Black and Drew Pearce was equally eye opening. It was amazing to see that Iron Man 3 managed to retain any context at all after all that editing. According to Drew, there would have been over six hours of footage had the script not been cut down. In the end the shot just over four hours worth, which eventually had to be edited down to one hour, 59 mins.

Check out the interview (wonderfully transcribed  I might add) right here.

I went straight to Twitter and got in touch with Drew Pearce, mentioning a little quip Shane had said about Asians – nothing racist, but it could have been misconstrued so it was omitted from the final copy. To my rather pleasant surprise, I actually got a response! In fact there ensued a little repartee for a brief while, as I was actually engaging with one of my favourite writers and more than likely a multi millionaire at the moment.

I managed to do some sub editing too for Liz Beardsworth, the production editor. She allowed me to hack away at the text, rearranging layouts, captioning images and re-writing some of the content to better suit the features. She also taught me some handy little tricks, like printing out each page – as for some weird reason, its like having another set of eyes looking over your work, looking at it from another perspective. Helpful nuggets of ‘journo-know.’ Just made that up. She was also kind enough to provide me with an open reference for prospective internships or future jobs. Cheers again Liz!