#creativact – “Fish out of the Net”

This is my completed documentary.

For this, I chose not to use the Internet for 48 hours, starting from 00:01 Wednesday, to 00:00 on Friday.

Looking back at the task itself, I feel it was a well rounded project to take on. Not many people don’t have some kind of access to the internet, so to join the minority was a strange experience.

Personally, it was a massive struggle to go without the Internet for so long. As I highlighted in the documentary itself, I don’t go very long without using the Internet on daily basis so for me it was a challenge. The bog problems arose later in the first day. I found myself needing information from moodle which I couldn’t get access too, so i had to text a friend to log in on my details and get me what I needed. For things like this, it shows how powerful the Internet is.

I could and perhaps should of used other cuts in the piece and backed it up with various facts and figures. It got very repetitive and it was boring just looking at face for 95% of the video. Other cuts of what I was talking about, such as playing football or going to the bank would of split the video up nicely and would of kept the viewers attention. From what I have been told from viewers of the documentary, they got bored easily which I can totally agree with.

If I was to do this again, I would look at many more documentaries to get an idea of what to add in my piece. I only looked at “Super Size Me” and that definitely wasn’t enough to make an accomplished documentary of my own.

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#creativact – My Documentary Idea

For this week’s additional task, we were asked to come up with a documentary idea. I have chosen to do a full length documentary for my idea and it is a follow up to my own individual empathy task. Here is mine;

Title: Without a net

Short Overview: A documentary looking at how 3 different people deal with life without access to the Internet.

The big idea: The programme looks at how 3 different peoples lives are affected when they lose complete access to the Internet for 60 days. We will see how they go about their daily routines to see how they cope. They will lose access at home, at work and on the go via their mobile phones/tablet devices. What’s different is how the show focusses on just 3 people. The show will also contain expert analysis on the Internet and it’s future and psychologist studies on the 3 subjects. The main goal is to see whether our lives are now ruled by the web and it’s content.

A synopsis: This documentary will focus on 3 different people when they lose all access to the Internet. Over 60 days, we will follow them through their daily routines to see if they can cope without access to the worlds biggest resource. The documentary will also give facts, figures and analysis from Internet experts and psychiatrists.  It’s key question is to ask, if we coped without the Internet in its current form before 1998, then can we cope without it in the future?

The audience: Technology lovers, users of the web, the older generation to see what the Internet is about.

The conflict: The documentary will also show what the web gives us access to, how quick it is to find general information and views from people who cant live without the Internet.

Structure: 

  • Start – What is the web? What does it do? Ask the question, can we live without it?
  • Middle – How will these 3 people cope (Mixture of facts and figures during this period) – Analysis of the people from experts.
  • End – Answering the main questions, round up, the future.

Resolution: The programme will ask the question specifically to the 3 subjects. What’s the future for the web.

Elements and Characters:

  • 3 Subjects – Male 18, Female 40, Male 65
  • Professionals – Owners of Wikipedia,  Facebook. Stats from websites such as BBC, Sky etc. Psychiatrists.

Length: 60 Minutes

Short Film Crit #1

Today we had our first ‘crit’ to allow the lecturers and other groups to see what our idea for a short film was and to see if they had any ideas on how it could be improved or even change the idea at all! We created a presentation to show everyone what we have come up with so far.

This was the feedback we got:

  • A well-rounded and thought out presentation.
  • Very brave idea and this film could be really good.
  • Character profiles and locations well covered.
  • Good research and preparation
  • Film wasn’t really clear.
  • Ending is very suspect.

We also had a production group feedback session so that the lecturers could get a sense of our film, and so that we could get some tips on what lies ahead for us in the next couple of weeks. They felt the idea is great, although they did gives us some ideas in regards to the story. They felt it was perhaps lacking something, the question they has was “why would a mother do this to the child”. So we have had to come up with a new plan for the story. The ideas that we had was to completely remove the child from the story and concentrate on the main women character. Perhaps the story would be that she loses her husband in Iraq etc and she wants to get her revenge.

The next step we have to do is create a new script to home these changes. We need to get a definite on an actress and locations and to also get our shooting schedule set.

#creativeact – The Empathy Task

Try and live with without something that other people don’t have (such as the internet, money, clean water, Facebook, supermarkets) for an extended period of time. Document your thoughts and feelings throughout this time.

For this weeks empathy task, I have chosen to live without the Internet for 48 hours. It’s going to be really really tough, I don’t think there is not an hour goes by without me surfing the web by some sorts. Either on Facebook/Twitter, shopping, looking at the news or doing my banking. I’ll be going back to the old means of using the TV or Newspapers for my information. The problem is that my Virgin TV service in my room is ran from the Internet, so I think that also counts, so i’ll be sticking to freeview! The more I think about it, the more I begin to hate the idea because I am probably the worst person to attempt this. I’ve been using the Internet since I had a old 56k dial-up connection in 2000 playing Return To Castle Wolfenstein, using retro messaging boards and slowly making my way around v.05 BETA of Habbo Hotel!

I will be recording video footage of the 48 hours to update on how the task is going. I think what’s important to show is what i’m actually doing and that needs to be done quickly because this is only a small 3 minute piece. The film we watched called “No Impact Man” got it’s point across really quickly which is key to immediately get the viewers attention. I feel a small montage of about 30 seconds explaining the internet and my plan would be great. As far as I can see, there hasn’t been a documentary focussing on people talking the Internet off, although I did find a strange website called ‘Turn Off The Internet‘. Apparently you can turn off all access to the Internet with just the push of one button, if only it was that simple!

#creativact – Apple Hits Back!

If you have been following my blog, you will know that as part of my case-study I’ve been looking at Apple’s “mistreatment” of workers.

This week, the NYTimes issued a report with some of the findings from the investigation they have been participating in. These are the main points from the report.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records. Shifts ran 24 hours a day, and the factory was always bright. At any moment, there were thousands of workers standing on assembly lines or sitting in backless chairs, crouching next to large machinery, or jogging between loading bays.

The NYTimes also spoke to former employees to get their opinion on the situation. Li Mingqi, a former manager at the plant said the following;

Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost. Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests.

Former Apple executives also chipped in, anonymously of course, giving a very strong statement in regards to the “accidents” and explosions that have happened in the factories over the past year or so.

We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on. Why? Because the system works for us. Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice. If half of iPhones were malfunctioning, do you think Apple would let it go on for four years? If you squeeze margins, you’re forcing them to cut safety.

Well, you know what they say about good timing. Today, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) has released a statement via email to all employee’s arguing against those NYTimes findings earlier in the week.

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#creativact – My Remix

Continuing with my theme of Apple, I have chosen to slightly alter the Apple website and it’s promotional page of the iPad 2.

The changes I have made are to the text and to the picture used. I’ve chosen to do it on the ‘Facetime’ page as it’s one of the biggest applications that Apple promotes and it also works well with the case study I am currently involved in. The thing that I like most is that Apple is very secretive in how they treat their workers, by utilising the ‘Facetime’ aspect, it’s breaking the mold. I think it works really well.

My original idea was to take the promotional videos that Apple makes for it’s products and cut to the different protests, but it just didn’t work with what the ‘head honchos’ of Apple were saying during the video. I still wanted to use the audio parts becuase it’s very distinctive to Apple and the voices and music used is well known.

However, saying this I am really happy with my final piece!

Outline and Scripting My Ideas

After last week’s session, I was quietly surprised to hear that Clifton like my 2 main ideas for a short film. It’s given me a lot of confidence going forward and it has also boosted my teams moral. So, with this in mind, it’s now up to me to produce an outline for both films;

——-

Lunchtime

Scene 1. House Back Garden. Morning

A young boy, about 10 years old is running down a garden patio heading towards a small shed wearing his school uniform. He is carrying a distinctive red lunchbox. We hear a radio in the background, and a door slam.

Scene 2. Garage. Morning

The young boy turns on the light and places the lunchbox on a work desk. He then rushes to the corner of the room and pulls out a dusty bag, he places it on the table next to the lunchbox. The boy begins to take stuff from the dusty bag and place it into the lunchbox. The boy then begins to look puzzled and takes out a folded piece of paper from his back pocket, stares at it and puts it down on the table.

In the background we hear a women-­‐shouting Aaron. This is where we learn the boy’s name. Aaron then starts to rush, and the piece of paper drops on the floor. A woman comes to the door and asks Aaron what he’s doing, he replies with nothing. She tells him it’s time for school and Aaron locks up the lunchbox and walks towards the door, he turns round and looks at the room and says, today is the day. He walks out and we can see the piece of paper on the floor, which reads, ‘How to make a bomb’.

——-

The Exchange

Scene 1. Night – Car Park

A middle-­‐aged male drives into a derelict car park in his banged up car. He is in some kind of distress; he is shaking uncontrollably and sweating profusely. His eyes are bloodshot and has a 5 o’clock shadow. We can see the car park; there is lots of graffiti and a tramp in the corner taking a nap. Back in the car, the male is trying to hum along to the radio, and he taps away on the steering wheel. The male then looks at the passenger seat and there is a large sum of cash wrapped in an elastic bag, along with a magnifying glass and a number of clear wallets.

In the background we hear a large skidding noise, we then see a black 4×4 vehicle coming towards the male car. The male then mumbles a few words and picks up the cash and starts to get out the car.

In the 4×4, we can see 3 males. They all have a ‘bouncer-­‐esque’ look to them. The male in the back tells the others that they know the plan; if he tries anything, keep it clean. They pull the car up next to the other, step out the car and stand next to it.

The main characters then exchanged pleasantries and begin to question each other. Have you got the package? Have you got the cash? There is silence between parties until the male character, that we have now known to be called Adam hands over the cash, telling the gang that he want’s no trouble. Adam keeps scratching himself of which the head honcho asks why. Adam need’s his fix. After receiving the cash, the head honcho tells one if his men to collect the package.

He then hands the package in a briefcase over to Adam and tells him to remember that this transaction never took place. They then get in the car and leave at speed. Adam hurries into the car and doesn’t even bother to look at the contents. He struggles to put the key in the ignition. Come on come on he shouts, and then begins to speed away.

Scene 2. Night. Adam’s House

Inside the house, Adam puts on the gas stove and places a spoon next to it. In the dining room, Adam turns on a small table lamp and places the briefcase on the table. He sits down and quickly opens the briefcase. Adam smiles and pulls out a Spiderman comic book. We can hear in the background the sound of a boiling teapot, we then end with Adam saying time for a cup of tea.

My Short Film Ideas

Over the last few weeks, I have been coming up for ideas for short films that I would like to make. This is the part that I love doing. In everyday life I find myself in situations where I think, “I could make a story out of that”. I look at feature films and I also try and take parts from those films and tweak, change and manipulate them to my liking. Here are my 11 that I have come up with:

  1. A man transfer cash to a group of gangsters in a disused car park. The audience thinks it’s a drug deal taking place, turns out to be a comic book exchanged for cash.
  2. A white male boy puts a bomb in his lunchbox and goes to school. Mum may give the bomb to her child and he is un-suspecting.
  3. Taxi driver takes an inspiring passenger to meet his dad for the first time, he doesn’t know that his dad is actually the one driving the taxi until they reach the destination.
  4. A shop worker feels like a good samaritan by not charging customers until the shop owner feels he needs to pay for his niceness.
  5. A man is distraught at the end of a bar drowning his sorrows. He is offered a drink by a female. The pair start to talk and the male opens up about why he is in the bar.
  6. An office worker is late for work. When he arrives, he finds his desk has gone. He speaks to his boss who has no recognition of who the worker is and questions why he is in their offices.
  7. 2 flatmates are watching the football when they both run out of beer. They argue on who’s turn it is to go to the fridge and they play silly games to decide who goes. The fridge is empty at the end.
  8. A call-center calls a unsuspecting member of the public selling an amazing problem. The public member is not interested, puts the phone on the counter and continues to cook his tea.
  9. A male DJ is working on his latest mix in his bedroom, with his headphones on and the music turned up loud, he is unsuspecting the the pair of thief’s stealing stuff from his room.
  10. 4 girls are in a car on a journey. They are laughing, singing and gossiping until they get to their destination where the audience are shocked at what the girls do.
  11. Two surgeons are in an operating theatre completing a procedure. They equipment starts beeping and the surgeons start to rush, turns out they were just playing a game of operation.
  12. A couple are in bed talking about their upcoming honeymoon. The female says she can’t wait to travel down Queensland’s coast in Australia, turns out the Male booked a holiday in Greenland. Que an argument.
  13. A lecturer runs into a hall to give a seminar on reproduction, we see various stages of him talking about sex until 1 student stands up and says he’s in completely the wrong class.

#Creativact – Our Case Study: Apple

It is kind of strange to be doing a case study on Apple. It’s a company of which I am a massive fan of. I own an iPhone, iPad, iMac, Macbook Pro and an Apple TV. It’s safe to say, I am a fanboy.

With our case study, we decided to take the angle of which Apple is treating it’s workers who create’s it’s products in the Foxconn factories in China. I already knew a lot about how the whole procedure worked, but I have taken a blind eye mainly due to my ‘fanboyism’. The following is what we have found.

The company/organisation is Apple, it is now the biggest and the most successful company in the world. What we want to make people aware of is how much they mistreat its workers in the Foxconn factories which in a lot of cases , is also where they live, socialise and sleep.

The problem and the issue is that being the worlds most profitable company over the past 5 years, the state of the workers living and working arrangement’s is disgraceful. Long hours, minimum pay and poor living quarters is having a major effect on it’s workers with some taking their own lives. With this happening, it’s giving bad publicity for Apple and has made for massive media attentions and it’s not for good reasons.

Here are some articles which shows this;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1357833/Apple-responds-suicides-Chinese-Foxconn-factory-hanging-nets.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382396/Workers-Chinese-Apple-factories-forced-sign-pledges-commit-suicide.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/06/foxconn-factory-conditions_n_858619.html

The problem with these issues is that it’s not just Apple, 95% of company’s are exactly the same and work in the same way as Apple. BBC investigations have found that other high street brands such as Topshop and Primark are employing Children and having equally poor working standards. If a company like Apple were to make a stand, it may change other companies stances on their working ways. With Apple also obtaining massive media interest, it would bring the problems to the forefront and what changes they are looking to make.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7824291.stm

In my opinion, unless government legislations are put in place, companies will always resort to these techniques as it’s enables them to make more money on their products. Also, with most of these workers being in China and the neighbouring countries, it’s the norm for workers to be paid next to nothing. The problem stems a lot further afield then just the companies employing and using these workforces.

Apple however has always defended it’s position. Tim Cook, Apples CEO has installed net’s at the factories to stop more suicide. Over the past year, they have allowed a bit more of a media presence into their factories to show they have nothing to hide. This week, Tim Cook has written a letter to Apple employees showing an increase in working conditions for all departments (including the assembly lines) have improved.

Obviously, when you talk about a successful and world renowned company such as Apple, you have to be careful as they have a lot of legal backing. After all, we are talking about the company which took a 12 year old child to court for him making a white coloured version of the iPhone 4 available before Apple could figure out the so called “light-leak” issue (9to5Mac).  There would be no copyright issues as we are not talking about their products. There are a lot of activist’s in both the US and China which are trying to force Apple into change. Green activists at the 5th avenue store in Manhattan have been shining green lights through the glass saying that the products they are making are not eco-friendly. This has gained massive attention on the internet mainly due to the strange protest with using the lights. Apple’s product specifications pages on their website also show how “eco-friendly” the company thinks there products are, but activists object this.

Other creative activist’s have produced video’s and pictures etc but there is nothing of substantial quality. Apple have a lot of say in the way they are marketed, perhaps they have nipped all bad press before it comes to light.

Using our creative skills, we could look at re-creating the “green” effect by having people use iPads and iPhones but have green smoke coming out from the objects as they are being used. This will show how ineffective their “eco-friendly” products are. Using children would also world well as advertising irresponsibly products has more effect and a stronger reaction. We thought a little child playing with a iPad, iPod any sort of apple product. Holding and using one of the products and all you see is green smoke coming from the product, like a smoke bomb. We could use a lot of different skills to promote the issue like video’s, picture’s and podcast’s.

 

#creativact – Researching Apple (For Assessment)

For my case study, I have chosen to look at Apple and the numerous problems that people are trying to address with the company.

I’m going to address each issue 1 by 1.

Mistreatment of workers

Over the past 2 years a big shadow has hung over Apple. A lot has been said about their working environments and more importantly the people they employ to make their products. Here is some of the information that I have found.

  • Foxconn is the manufacturing partner of Apple. Based in Taiwan, they make products such as iPad, iPhones and Macs.
  • A suicide cluster in 2010 saw 18 workers throw themselves from the tops of the company’s buildings, with 14 deaths
  • Foxconn workers get paid $1.78 an hour.
  • Employees handle raw aluminium to form various designs and they create 10,000 pieces per hour.
  • Even with low wages and grueling conditions, 3000 people a day line up outside the factory for an opportunity to work.
  • Nightline was the first journalist group allowed in the plant, they commentated that Foxconn would employ 80% of those people.
  • At least eleven 15-year old children have been employed by Apple. They immediately responded with a review of their employees.
  • Apple admitted to their factories making employees work more then 60 hours a week.

(Information taken from The Guardian, Mashable and The Telegraph – Edited on 13/3/12 after watching the Nightline news report)

  • Suicide nets have been implemented onto parts of the Foxconn factories.
  • Aluminium dust can be found all around the factory with some employees not being given masks.
  • Workers failing to pull their weight or their duties are made to be humiliated in front of the other workers.
  • During breaks, there are no places to sit, just the floor.
  • Costs $17 a month to live in the factory, sleeping up to 7 in one apartment type room.

(Information taken from The Daily Mail and The Huffington Post)

Eco-Friendly?

Another apparent problem that Apple has is it non eco-friendliness in it’s production line, products and packaging. Here are some of the main points that I have found.

  • Greenpeace activists have shown green lights at the flagship Manhattan Apple to store to promote awareness of eco-waste. Apple is the fastest growing technology company and E-waste is the fastest growing form of toxic waste.
  • Kaedar Electronics in China allow toxin discahrges run from the factory. It has affected the river that locals use to fish.
  • Catcher-Topo, another Apple supplier is also leaking toxic waste. Locals are looking to move away from their homes because of the “toxic air”
  • Greenpeace unhappy with Apple not removing “all toxic PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from its entire new product range”.

(Information taken from Greenpeace.org, Techradar and CNN)

As you can see, there is plenty of information to work with to make a good case study. I knew a lot of this information anyway due to me being a bit of an Apple freak, but to get some hard journalistic evidence is good.