Flash Mob Example

Dare To Fight!?

Dare to fight?! Ninja; is a flash mob created by an improv group in Toronto. Unlike the typical flash mob, this one does not involve music or dancing. The set-up, think one lone ninja standing in the midst of a public space with a sign with the simple dare fight me  and a foam sword placed on the ground. Once a challenger accepts a mob of ninjas attack!!

A take on the flash mob that is light hearted, fun and full of humour!

Barcode Case Study – Interactive Documentary

Barcode is an international interactive documentary which features 100 short films by 30 different directors in 3 different languages. Born out of an encounter between two cultural institutions Arte and The NFB, Barcode is an ambitious exercise in transmedia; it is both an interactive website, an I-phone app and a gallery installation.

Objects serve many functions which the documentary aims to explore; they allow one to communicate, move around, get entertainment and ensure survival. They are also symbols that have not only sentimental value but also cultural weight and emotional powers. The idea behind the documentary is that it is essentially a “cinematic story machine that tells you who you are, based on the material possessions you hold dear.” Deciphering everyday objects  and revealing what they say about us.

Sandra Gaudenzi’s reading “The Living Documentary” suggests that a linear documentary shot with digital technology and placed on the web whilst is a digit documentary, its not an interactive one, in order to be classified as an interactive the user needs to have an agency and as a consequence the interpretation will be based on the digital system itself, everyones different. Barcode fits this definition, a multi-platformed documentary that is by no means linear in any sense, each user bound to get different results in different orders every time.  This predominantly being that there are many ways in which one can go about using the program too, aside from being able to utilise it on the web and on a mobile device. What Gaudenzi would term as the ‘explorative function’ the user within Barcode decides which path to take with their interactions. The participant has the option to search for an object by typing it into a search bar or to scan its barcode via the barcode scanner which utilises either your webcam or phone camera. Upon scanning you are directed to a page which tells you what category the object falls under, presenting you with the option to select that category or another one. From there the viewer is directed to a one-minute video which falls into selected category. For instance type in “google” and you end up on market for second-hand wares where a salesman tries to pawn off his erotic videos and Jackie Chan. Scan the barcode of a book and you end up on a train witnessing everyone reading, hearing the lines from the book and the sound-effects; almost as if you’re being transported into the imaginative world the reader is experiencing.

Once the video has completed it automatically directs to an end page which has a variety of options! It gives you another film which you can go straight too, the option to see all the films, or for a random film to be shown. It also allows you to pic another object if you wish and either search or scan it re-starting the whole process.  Another option is “Facts and Figures” which takes you to a page which tells you about items in the particular category you have just viewed including how man items have been scanned within the category.

Social media plays a vital part in involving the audience within the documentary, terming it what Nichols’ and Gaudenzi would refer to as “Participatory Documentary”. The  page entitled “If Things Could Talk” where people have posted their own photos and captions of random objects they’ve seen in their surroundings a prime example of this. With each of these images there is the option to share them across various platforms of social media. Clicking the share button on this page navigates the participant to a page entitled “Your Story” which presents the question “Got a good story about an object?” and allows the audience to add it to the documentary through selecting an object and uploading its photo, adding a caption to tell its story. Effectively, inviting  the users to collaborate with the filmmakers and build upon what already exists through addition of their own personal content. The use of social media functions within the site also allows the viewer to not only share the video they have watched, the opportunity to recommend it getting word out about the site; but also the opportunity to comment on it and have their own input. In addition to this the documentary has its own platforms of social media including its own facebook page, twitter and blog. The use of these platforms really creating a community environment surrounding the documentary.

Overall Barcode is an incredibly interesting interactive documentary which encapsulates the essence of transmedia and webdocs, in a manner that is both collaborative and categorical.

INTERVIEW :: LAURA FITZPATRICK FROM THE MAMAS AND PAPAS STORY

[FIRST PUBLISHED ON THE MODERN WOMANS SURVIVAL GUIDE]

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Lauren Burgueno from MWSG Magazine speaks with Laura Fitzpatrick who plays Mama Michelle in the musical, ‘Flowerchildren: The Mamas and the Papas Story’.
 

:: Before being cast in the musical, were you a fan of The Mamas and The Papas?

I have to be honest and say no, but not because I didn’t like them, just because I didn’t really know their music. I think most people of my age and generation, if you say The Mamas and The Papas they know California Dreaming and Monday, Monday and go oh yeah they are cool, but I don’t think there are any die hard fans under a certain age.

:: What has it been like playing your character Mama Michelle?

Awesome! I love Michelle, she’s such an interesting woman. I think throughout the show many of the characters, and the audience as well, are wondering what is going on inside her head, as she behaves in some very strange ways. But I think of all of them she was really a kid when she was doing this stuff.

She was so young and trying to pretend to be grown up, but throughout the show you actually do watch her grow up. So you see her go from being silly and flighty and not really thinking through the consequences of anything, to becoming quite a grown up, thoughtful woman at the end. It’s good to play that journey.

You do get quite an insight into the different sides of Mama Michelle, because the way the show is set up each of the four mamas and papas gets a chance to tell some of the story from their perspective. So you get to see Michelle when she is being stupid and 21 years old, and just having fun and not really thinking about anything. But then you also get to see her in the present as a 68 year old reminiscing about that time many, many decades ago. So it’s a big shift and it’s really cool to play that.

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:: Has it been interesting telling the somewhat untold, ‘behind the music’ story of the band?

Again, people who were around in that era might have an idea of some of the things that went on, because there’s quite a famous love triangle within the group. It’s a pretty full on story. And John, who wrote all the music, was basically writing about exactly what was happening between the members of the group. So all of the songs that the mamas and papas are famous for are actually kind of autobiographical.

A lot of musicals which have become really popular now use existing music and put it into a storyline or narrative. Sometimes they struggle a little  bit because they are trying to kind of fit the songs in and build the story around them. But the way that this is done, the songs themselves tell the story.

:: How has it been working with the rest of the cast?

It’s pretty intense. There are definitely some very dramatic scenes, which can be hard to do, but I’ve known both Dan who plays Denny and Matt who plays John for many years and I’ve worked with them a lot, so I really feel very comfortable with them and I totally trust them.

The four mamas and papas, we all did the show a couple of years ago – a smaller version of it. And a lot of the production team, including the director and the musical director worked on that version as well, as well as a number of the members of the band.  So that’s really cool. And we’ve got some new people in the show as well, who have just totally slotted into the family. They’re really great to work with, it’s a good bunch.

:: You have been in  many shows including FAME- the musical , My Fair Lady and The Full Monty. Have your experiences in this musical been different?

In some ways it’s definitely been a little bit different. For a start it’s a group of people I’ve worked with before which is amazing because I know them all and like them all, and some of them are really good friends of mine so it’s pretty exciting that we are all getting to do this together. Plus I think the show is one of the best shows I’ve done, so in that way it’s different as well as being good quality. It’s a really good script, so that’s just an exciting thing to be able to tackle. The focus is always on the music but in this one the focus is on the music and the story behind it, which is awesome.

Film Review : The Great Gatsby

[FIRST PUBLISHED ON THE MODERN WOMANS SURVIVAL GUIDE]

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There’s no denying that anyone who has the guts to take one of the most classic novels in American literature, F.Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 ‘The Great Gatsby’ and imagine it according to their own unique vision, has a tremendous amount of courage! Baz Luhrmann armed with his multi-million dollar budget, cast of Hollywood’s finest and CGI technology successfully creates his own original Luhrmann-esque masterpiece which ultimately emphasises ludicrous bedazzlement over dramatic, emotional integrity.

Narrated retrospectively by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) from a sanitarium, the script focuses on the boy’s arrival to New York in the early 1920’s when he moves into a small cottage right next to a massive mansion. When he meets the mysterious incredibly wealthy owner of this mansion Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), the two naturally become friends and Nick is whisked away into a new world of extravagance and expensive parties, but of course there is more at play here; think hidden romantic agendas and painful passions.

The production and costume design are incredibly astonishing and detailed, which can only be expected given it’s a Luhrmann film (think Romeo + Juliet or Moulin Rouge). Not only are they visually stunning, but they reproduce the detail of the roaring 20’s whilst evoking the film’s themes and elements of particular character’s traits.

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The Valley of Ashes, the industrial wasteland situated between West Egg and New York, is ever so bleak creating a distinct contrast between the world of the rich party-goers and the working class. In juxtaposition Gatsby’s mansion is both so full of extravagant energy, yet so hollow and empty.

The crazy elaborate party scenes taking place here are a true visual standout. Through the use of rapid editing, frenzied montages and incredible camera-work, Luhrmann zips through the swirling high-society of the roaring 20’s in a way which will leave an audience astounded and unsure of where to look.

The soundtrack produced by Jay-Z is another highly unique element of this film. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined a hip-hop meets jazz combination working, yet it strangely works. The soundtrack featuring the voices of Jay-Z himself, Beyonce, Fergie, Lana Del Ray, Will.I.Am, Florence and The Machine (just to name a few); adds a modern spin to the jazz age, that is definitely worth a listen outside the cinema as well!

Gatsby1Given the star-studded cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Debicki; strong performances are most definitely expected from this film! And the performances are mostly strong.

Tobey Maguire in his narration delivers Fitzgerald’s prose wonderfully, Aussie Joel Edgerton encapsulates the entitled brutish nature of Tom Buchanan and Isla Fisher is superb as Buchanan’s mistress Myrtle.

Leonardo DiCaprio is fitting as Gatsby, both magnificent and insecure; however, he may have overused the term “Old Sport” one, or two, times too many. Carey Mulligan as Daisy whilst perfect in appearance was quite underwhelming.

All the performances, lack in one major thing: emotion. Whether, they were robbed of displaying such emotion from the constant cuts and camera soars clearing the action for sweeping cityscapes never allowing the close-ups to hold long enough to evoke emotions, I’m not sure. What I am sure of, is that there wasn’t enough emotive appeal from the characters, the emotional depth and tragic romance at the core of Fitzgerald’s prose lost amongst the amazing aesthetics.

Luhrmann has definitely left his own mark on this adaption of The Great Gatsby, and did anyone really expect less from him? Subtlety never has been his specialty. The film almost looks as though it is made by Gatsby himself, its expensive, extravagant yet hollow and lacking in emotion.

I’d give it a solid 5.5 out of 10 stars. Don’t get me wrong Luhrmann’s version is definitely far from boring. And if you are up to see a spectacle, fabulous costumes, and some amazing visuals it is definitely worth seeing. However, if it’s a lyrical emotive tale of tragic romance obsession and secrecy you are after then F.Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel is probably more for you.

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REVIEW :: FLOWER CHILDREN THE MAMAS AND PAPAS STORY

[FIRST PUBLISHED ON  THE MODERN WOMAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE]

flowerchildrenWith a fabulous cast, clever use of staging, wonderful script and unforgettable hit songs, Flowerchildren The Mamas and The Papas Story is a musical which will have you experiencing a wide spectrum of emotions!

Directed by Aaron Joyner and starring Matt Hetherington, Dan Humphris, Laura Fitzpatrick and Casey Donovan, Flowerchildren revives the flower power era, telling the turbulent story behind the songs of the iconic ’60s folk rock quartet The Mamas and The Papas.

Opening with The Mamas and The Papa’s most famous hit ‘California Dreaming’ being performed on a TV variety show, the musical focuses on the underlying tensions, and the highs and lows that existed behind the scenes for The Mamas and The Papas.

In essence it tells the stories behind the songs. Think distrust, dangerous passions, complex entanglements and a variety of different drug and alcohol addictions, all coinciding with the group’s spectacular rise to fame.  It’s a very well written script with some killer one-liners and just the right amount of humour, drama and pathos. At the core of the show are the emotions and motivations of each of the four main characters, and the impact their decisions have on each other that threaten to tear the group apart.

The cast did an amazing job. The four members of the quartet were a real stand out; each voice aurally delightful, the complex harmonies both stunning and seemingly easy.

Casey Donovan perfectly captures the sass of her character. Her powerful vocals are evocative of the unique voice of Mama Cass, bringing joy and pain to her signature solo hit, Dream A Little Dream Of Me. It is bound to send chills down the spine of anyone listening. Laura Fitzpatrick as Michelle, the unfaithful wife of John Phillips, is able to show all aspects of Michelle’s personality from youthful, playful and flighty, to more mature, sensitive and sincere. Her rendition of Dedicated To The One I Love is particularly sweet and emotive.

111753442_328161cThe male leads, just like their female counterparts, are equally as talented both in vocals and acting. Dan Humphris as Denny displays a spectacularly bright tenor, and is able to capture the sensitive, love struck, booze addicted nature of his character.  Finally, as John Phillips, the talented yet high on drugs song writer, Matt Hetherington is brilliant and compelling. He truly captures his character’s arrogance and confusion with his affecting vocals.

Overall, Flowerchildren is a story which will have members of all generations enjoying the thrilling harmonies and the compelling story behind them.  I thoroughly enjoyed the show, humming California Dreaming for days afterwards! The juxtaposition of the classic ’60s hits with the humorous narrating asides and the stunning performances make for an incredible, compelling musical.  A solid 8.5 out of 10 stars!