As the new US administration ricochets from ignorant via cruel to appalling, one group of entertainers are suddenly charged as never before to hold power to account and through the use of satire, standup and surgically delivered soliloquy, sound the alarm bells and also add perspective to what’s going on.
Finding ourselves in the hinder years of Johnny Carson, David Letterman and John Stewart, their successors have been propelled into tumultuous times, and have developed some brilliant routines and formats to help us stay informed, but also, just as we need it as never before… to laugh.
Here are our top five sources of political and social satire for this moment… To help keep us resisting and laughing together.
This stalwart of the Late Night world somehow never quite rivalled Jon Stewart’s pole position on his daily Show, but breaking out in 2005, he honed his own act in the pseudo-rightwing satirical Colbert Report. Incarnated now as his dry, lightning-quick and razor-sharp self on The Late Show, we’re watching a comedian and writer at the height of his wit.
The previous NYC-sided half of the Trans-Atlantic genius comedy Podcast ‘The Bugle’ with Andy Zaltsman, Brummie Oliver has recently hit career gold with his own HBO series ‘Last Week Tonight’. Setting his own tone by NOT being afraid of attempting 17 minute monologues on such hilarious subjects as Net Neutrality or Child Welfare are what make John authentic, concerned AND enjoyable watchable, all at once
Like the other ex-members of Spinal Tap (as Derek Smalls, just in case…), Shearer has gone on to created his own special flavours of comedy excellence, voicing many of the funniest Simpsons characters (Burns, Flanders, Smithers, Skinner and Reverend Lovejoy!) and hosting his seminal Radioshow now Podcast ‘Le Show’ every week for over 33 years. Apologies of the Week, News of the Warm and Karzai Talk are a few of the many highlights Harry has been delighting andscaring the crap out of listeners with the Truth for decades..
Following in the footsteps of the great man himself, any successor was going to be up against it on The Daily Show. Noah has in many ways lucked out with Trump, in his native South Africa has had to deal with the autocratic tendencies on an arseholic scale with Jacob Zuma for years. So, he comes prequalified to know what the US is in for, but also as a black South African, with a deep cultural heritage of such things… how to resist.
Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor (Pod Save America hosts)
These four ex-Obama administration friends have trailblazed the podcasting comedy landscape since January of this year with their cutting critiques of the new Idiot-in-Chief and his ramshackle crew of chaos seekers. ‘Pod Save America’ seems very fluid at 2 months old, but is only going good places with its experts’ views of what’s going on. Yes, we still like experts’ views.
Unless you habitually watch a film through the end of the credits, it can seem baffling just how many people work on a film at any given stage of production. Over the past two decades, 77% of films released in the United States only had one film editor. Despite offering an overall look at how many editors work on the film on average, this statistic fails to reveal editorship trends in recent years.
In the decade and a half between 1997 and 2011, between 81% and 75% of films credited one editor only. However, by 2016, the number of single editor films had dropped to 68%! So why is it exactly is causing films to increasingly bring on board multiple editors to get a film cinema-ready? In 2016, roughly 9% of films employed five or more editors, an extraordinarily high number of editors in relation to standard practice. Most films with a large number (5+) of editors, tend to be compilation or anthology productions that feature various directors, often also shifting narrative. The 2012 film The ABCs of Death 2 featured more than two dozen directors and a whopping 22 editors. Movie 43, a comedy anthology film, featured 13 editors and both New York, I Love You and Paris, je t’aime credit 8 individual editors.
Although compilation films tend to employ more editors, it is hardly a genre in and of itself. Is there however a genre that tends to favour more editors, perhaps due to budget or other constraints, to produce the film? By looking at the credits of various films across different genres, it becomes apparent that certain genres do indeed favour multiple editors. Almost 35% of science fiction films over the past two decades have used more than one editor while the number of Musicals that tote more than one editor is less than half that! These days, more than 50% of Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure and Sports films credit multiple editors.
With more editors being hired for films it’s forgivable to assume that they must work consistently, but that’s not the case. Between the 7,617 films which grossed at least $1 in US box office in the past two decades, the most frequently hired editors were Academy-Award winner Pietro Scalia (Black Hawk Down) and Chris Lebenzon (Top Gun). Although both Scalia and Lebenzon have 24 credits to their names between 1997 and 2016, 56% of editors credited in those years only have one credit to their name. This is not inexplicable, as most editors don’t limit themselves to cinema and instead cut for television, music videos and online content alongside feature work.
Despite more films hiring multiple editors, there’s been a noticeable decline in editing apprenticeships in film. In 1998, 23% of films had an apprentice while, in 2016, that figure dropped to just 4%. Whether the lack of editing apprentices is caused by seniority in the industry, or the accessibility of at-home editing suits and the overall abandonment of apprentice-style education, is still unclear. Besides certain genres favouring multiple editors, particularly those that tend to contain more visual effects, it’s interesting to also see the correlation between films with multiple editors and the growing trend of digital filmmaking.
On television and in films, American and British education appear to be very different. With contrasting images of Mean Girls’ social hierarchy and Hogwarts students feasting in great halls, you may wonder what the differences between American and British education actually are. Here are a few of the most common ways UK schools are at odds with our friends’ across the pond.
1 – Term Time
American students receive an average of about ten to twelve weeks of Summer holidays! Schools can let out any time between May and June and generally recommence at the beginning of September. While British students typically get only six weeks of Summer holidays, they do receive more in term breaks. Most schools in the UK offer half-term in October, February and May and are more likely to offer students longer, two-week holidays at Easter and Christmas compared with American schools.
2 – Dress to Impress
While many private schools in the US require students to don uniforms, state (or public as they’re known across the pond) schools normally have dress-codes but no formal uniform. This is one of the biggest physical differences between British and American schools seeing as most UK institutions, whether state or private, require uniforms. Brits also appear to have a general consensus of school uniforms with many schools asking students to wear a tie; shirt; jumper and blazer, differing only in colour from one another.
3 – The Magic School Bus
While students across the UK may have school-arranged transportation, London lacks school buses. Whether hopping on the tube, grabbing a bus or braving rush-hour traffic with parents, most students in the capital find their own way to get to school. At the end of the day, it’s only too common to see migrating groups of students chat in their uniforms while navigating the London Underground.
In the USA, whether you live rurally or in a big city, every public school student is entitled to a ride to and from school every single day.
4 – What’s the Plan?
The National Curriculum is enforced at every UK school meaning that students at different schools more or less all follow the same lesson plans. Although needing to adhere to national and state education requirements, American teachers are granted more freedom when it comes to creating their curriculums. This however has a tendency to create a national education bias that is uneven and favours students who’ve gained private and more liberal educations.
While UK students face both O-Level and A-Level exams, American students only take national exams in their final years of schooling. This results in British students tending to be far more familiar and experienced when it comes to standardised testing.
5 – Brain Food
While both American and British school lunches are dependant on the school itself, the attitude towards food differs enormously. Most UK schools do not allow students to consume food or sugary beverages in class while it is perfectly common to see students across the US chow down on a bag of Cheetos and a red bull in homeroom.
British school canteens usually also offer a wider variety of food options on a day to day basis while American cafeterias only offer students one or two choices a day, although milk is almost always on the menu.
6 – Outside the Classroom
Although both US and UK students can take advantage of extra-curricular activities, Americans have the British beat when it comes to the options available. With huge sports teams, pep-rallies and on-campus driver’s ed, American schools have everything that would keep a student to stay past the last bell.
Whilst it’s debatable which country offers better education, clearly both the American and British systems have a lot to offer students.
It’s not uncommon to hear award winners thank their old teachers in their acceptance speeches. Teachers have the ability to inspire entire generations and fictional educators are no exception.
Here are the top 9 fictional teachers from film that continue to inspire with every quotable line.
9 – Entre les murs’ François Marin
Entre les murs tells the story of a Parisian teacher who initially finds difficulty relating to his diverse class. Marin ends up adapting his teaching style to fit each of his students, understanding their background and tailoring his curriculum so that it relates to them.
8 – X-Men’s Charles Xavier
Activist, educator, and father figure to many, X-Men’s Charles Xavier personifies everything one would wish to get out of a teacher. Played by both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy, Xavier’s teaching doesn’t limit itself to the classroom as he constantly inspires his students by standing up for mutant rights as well as offering them a home where they can be themselves.
7 – The History Boys’ Douglas “Hector”
The History Boys follows eight working class students as they work alongside their history teacher to fight for a chance to attend Oxford or Cambridge. The late Richard Griffiths portrays the patient and inspiring teacher hoping to land the boys into the country’s top universities, not only teaching what they need for their entrance exam, but also what they’ll need in life.
6 – School of Rock’s Dewey Finn
Jack Black’s Dewey Finn is one of the most inspirational and relatable teachers to grace cinema screens. Creative and off-beat, Dewey’s greatest strength as a teacher is treating his students like equals, allowing them to feel welcome. Besides inspiring his students to follow their own path, Dewey finds inspiration from his class as well.
5 – Star Wars’ Yoda
Although maybe not the clearest in his methods, Yoda’s wisdom speaks for itself throughout George Lucas’ Star Wars films. Part mentor, part teacher, Yoda is brilliant at encouraging his students, a trait most teachers strive to master.
4 – Matilda’s Miss Honey
Most of us fear calling a teacher ‘mum’ in class but with teachers like Matilda’s Miss Honey it’s almost impossible not to. Miss Honey finds a way to connect with each of her students, acting as a mother figure for her entire class, her kindness and generosity a warm welcome for everyone.
3 – The Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi
If there is one movieland teacher that has continued to inspire screenwriters while also allowing for hilarious caricatures throughout film and television it is Mr. Miyagi. Miyagi’s teaching methods focus on the basics to allow his students to find their own way to grow, inspiring their journey.
2 – Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore
The entire Harry Potter franchise is filled to the brim with inspiring and talented teachers but headmaster Albus Dumbledore is definitely the cream of the crop. Dumbledore never fails to make time for his students, despite his responsibilities outside of Hogwarts, which only emphasise his talents. Although you may disagree with his methods, it’s impossible to deny that Dumbledore’s lessons make a huge lasting impression.
1 – John Keating
When Robin Williams passed away in 2014, many educators voiced how his beautiful portrayal of John Keating in Dead Poets Society inspired them to teach. John Keating is the epitome of a wonderful teacher, inspiring his students to push their boundaries and find their own voice amongst the crowd. John Keating makes a lasting impression in his students’ life and Williams’ performance only accentuates this.
Incorporating filmmaking into the curriculum not only helps foster an environment of creativity for students and staff alike but also allows students to develop an appreciation for digital media that will undoubtedly play a role in their futures. Simon Pile, assistant head teacher at London’s Anson Primary and Into Film Teacher of the Year, believes that filmmaking benefits every aspect of education when introduced in the classroom.
Pile believes that one of the most important steps in getting filmmaking in the classroom is ensuring that teachers are on board. Teaching filmmaking to groups of energetic students could seem daunting to anyone, let alone those who may not have experience with digital media. Pile suggests hosting seminars to introduce teachers and educators to basic filmmaking techniques. These lessons not only allow teachers to understand the technology available, but also provide a framework they can apply to their teaching methods. By removing their fear of the unknown, Pile allowed teachers to become excited about new filmmaking curriculums, allowing their exuberance to transfer to their students. By encouraging teachers to film one-minute films on their phones, Pile showed teachers just how accessible filmmaking is.
Pile also illustrates that filmmaking should be treated like literacy, incorporating both film watching alongside the more practical media skills. Young people are very comfortable around technology and may find themselves using their mobile phones to film themselves and their friends in social settings. By illustrating how certain filmmakers frame shots during film watching lessons, students will be able to incorporate that in their personal future projects.
Filmmaking and film literacy activities, like watching, are also effective tools to be incorporated in classrooms alongside more traditional curriculums. Pile likes to use film techniques when discussing adaptation. Many popular books and literary series taught in schools at different levels have been adapted for television or cinema. By pairing filmic adaptations with their source material in classes, students are able to visualise what they’ve been reading as well as understanding that filmmaking is a process that begins with the conception of a story. Encouraging students to also seek out and read the books that inspired their favourite films is a wonderful way of ensuring they view media, both traditional and new, from an refined standpoint.
Incorporating filmmaking and film watching into school curriculums also helps students understand digital literacy. With the constant evolution of technology, young professionals are required to have a deeper understanding of technology and digital platforms than ever before. Introducing students to digital learning and appreciation at younger ages will only benefit them in the long run, encouraging then to understand the technology that surrounds us all.
Filmmaking is an inclusive and creative endeavour that promotes teamwork and collaboration. Taking advantage of VLEs and other online platforms helps benefit students and teachers by allowing access to research materials and filmmaking tips as well as providing an environment for students to share their films outside of the classroom, particularly outside of term-time. Filmmaking only helps add richness to traditional curriculums and by establishing balance between traditional and contemporary methods of learning, teachers will help prepare students for the expansive world of technology available to us all.
The efforts and sacrifice that go into filmmaking are what make it great, and can also inadvertently make it hilarious. These memes below share the lighter-side of what makes filmmaking so simultaneously challenging and satisfying.
1. Client Brief Vs Client Budget
2. How not to treat your Camera
3. … or your tripod
4. Get used to an Irregular Diet
5. … and working for ‘Exposure’
6. GoPro 1960
7. Using what you got (when you don’t have a child at hand)
8. Be decisive about that Final Cut
9. … as long as you didn’t build your editing suite like this
10. In the end, be prepared to learn from your mistakes!
When the Academy Awards roll around every year, the question of what differentiates the Oscar for Best Sound Mixing and Editing can arise. Two technical categories awarded on Hollywood’s Biggest Night, and yet sounding so similar – they’re bound to breed confusion! Besides sounding similar, the nominees for sound mixing and editing often overlap. So what actually is the difference between the two categories?
Before being called sound editing, the Academy referred to this category as ‘sound effects editing.’ The award’s original title is much more telling of what the job actually entails and what the Academy recognises.
The 89th Academy Awards outlined the responsibilities of a sound editing supervisor as ‘the principal interpreter of the director’s vision to the sound editing team.’ Sound editing supervisors are responsible not only for approving sounds and deciding their placement within a film, but also with editing dialogue and coordinating any additional dialogue recordings, or ADR, the cast needs to perform. Everything you hear on screen is composed and constructed by a sound editor.
Besides compiling the sounds that have been collected throughout production, sound editors are also responsible for creating new sounds, whether they record them themselves or use a sonorous library of effects.
In essence, sound editing is the responsibility for all of a film’s sound elements, including dialogue; sound effects; dialogue replacement; atmospheric sound and more.
Once the sound editor has completed his job, the sound mixer can get to work, working on top of the sonorous landscape the sound editor creates.
A sound mixer enters the scene once a film’s sound has been edited. Variety magazine defines a sound mixer as the person on a film’s production which decides how the audience will hear the film. Academy Award nominated sound editor Erik Aadahl, who was nominated alongside Ethan Van der Ryn for Argo, described the post-production sound design as an orchestra. He went on to describe that “the sound editor is the composer choosing a symphony while the sound mixer works as a conductor, deciding when the symphony should rise and fall.”
Sound mixer’s manipulate a sound editor’s work in order to inject certain emotions in a scene. A sound mixer may decide to emphasise a film’s score during a particularly melancholy moment just like they may decide to highlight a character’s heaving breathing, overshadowing a scene’s other sounds to help build tension.
The Academy’s Sound Mixing category is often populated by large action and war films. With big action films like 2017 nominees Hacksaw Ridge and Rogue One, sound mixers can have up to 2,000 channels of sound they need to work with. It’s important here to balance the individual elements in the scene as much as it is to create an overall atmosphere.
You may ask if having two sound categories is really necessary and in reality the Academy ignores various technical categories that often go without recognition. For now, we’ll have to be satisfied with just these two sound honours.
The last decade of filmmaking has seen a digital revolution greater than what many had forseen. Advances in digital filmmaking technology have managed to override the past century of film history by turning entire processes of filmmaking digital. One of the biggest areas that digital filmmaking has influenced are visual effects (VFX). The past decade of digital technology has illustrated what we might expect for the future of VFX.
1 – Pre-visualisation
Over the last ten years, the VFX industry and its technicians have developed and launched a whole range of digital tools which increasingly play a central role in all stages of filmmaking. It’s become commonplace for directors and their crews to ‘pre-visualise’ scenes before they’re actually shot. To do this, crews use post-production before a shoot’s been completed to see how the film will look once it’s gone through its final process. The growing use of digital cameras on sets, almost 90% in 2015, allow ‘pre-visualisation’ to take place on a set itself. During production of Avatar, director James Cameron mixed live-action footage with computer-generated effects directly on set in order to give the crew a sense of how the final scene would appear.
2 – Motion capture
Actor and motion-capture savant Andy Serkis, who has graced screens in several motion capture roles, describes motion capture simply as digital makeup and a way to elevate an actor’s performance. Motion capture technicians track the facial and body expressions and movements of skilled actors in order to then generate characters in post-production. The result is more organic movement which helps breathe authenticity into a film’s character. Films like 2016’s The Junglebook and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes show how motion capture not only lends itself beautifully to human characters but also to animals.
3 – Photorealism
When The Curious Case of Benjamin Button won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 2009, it proved that VFX were not only for sci-fi, fantasy and action films but could create realistic depictions of people. The VFX technology used to subtly age Brad Pitt throughout the film has been further developed as VFX artists can now help entirely recreate actors’ faces with technology. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s audiences saw a realistic and almost uncanny recreation of late actor Peter Cushing in such a subtle way, many had no clue the actor was digitally recreated.
4 – Small-screen VFX
As critics continue to claim that the past decade has seen a television renaissance, budgets for both network and cable shows have continued to increase. Shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones have a reported $10 million budget per episode, totalling $100 million for a full season. With budgets that rival many commercial film productions, television shows can truly invest in incredible VFX that rival their big-screen counterparts.
The film industry is a global one and digital technology has helped fuel its globalisation. VFX continue to push boundaries and the companies behind the technologies are sure to create impressive ways which will empower filmmakers to thrill audiences with breath-taking visuals over the next decade.
It’s safe to say that most filmmaking students aspire to work on a film set. Whether they’ve found work while studying, or landed a job after graduation, it can sometimes be hard for new filmmakers to know what is expected of them on set. Here are four simple etiquette tips for working on a production whether you’re a grip, production runner or camera operator.
1 – Attitude
It’s fair to say that anyone who has worked on a set will have found it taxing. Your attitude at work is possibly an even more important asset than your skill set. Your composure is the first thing people will notice about you and a positive outlook is a filmmaker’s greatest strength. Filmmaking can consume heaps of both time and energy, and if you’re going to work for over twelve hours with the same group of people, it’s pretty damned important to ensure you get along with them. By having an easy-going and positive attitude not only will you find your time on set more enjoyable, but you’ll find more people will want to work with you in future.
2 – Opinion
Although your opinion is valuable, it isn’t always necessary. Voicing what you think about a shoot can distract your fellow filmmakers. When you’re on set, be careful what you say as you never know who could be listening and you could potentially throw off those who are trying to develop the film’s story. As a beginner, focus on how you can make your performance better and improve your work habits.
3 – Listen
Being able to listen to instruction and advice and apply it to your work is a great asset to any filmmaker. When you first get hired on a set, make sure to develop your listening skills as soon as possible to ensure you’re performing your job to the best of your abilities. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure about instructions, since repeating a job twice will eat up production time and costs. Stay alert while you work and try to take in the information both your department and others are providing you. By listening to your co-workers, especially those with more experience, you can gain knowledge that will not only help your immediate position, but also any future jobs.
4 – Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone was a beginner at some point and most filmmakers are willing to lend their advice to you. Not only will you be showing your co-workers how interested you are in learning everything there is to know, but they will appreciate your thirst for knowledge. Try to limit your conversations and questions to times that will not interfere with production, but make the most out of your fellow filmmakers’ experience.
By following these tips on film sets you will only help elevate your knowledge and status. Popularity can go a long way in the film industry and you never know who will offer you a job one day!
When you look into a classroom today, it can often seem like traditional learning methods are nowhere to be found. New technologies and educational services allow students to turn away from encyclopedias and experience an immersive, interactive and accessible education. From tablets to 3D-printers, here are some of the ways the digital age is reshaping education.
1 – Paper is a thing of the past
According to Professor Neil Selwyn of Montash University, textbooks will disappear from the classroom within a decade. A growing number of teachers are opting to expand learning into a digital atmosphere by providing students with tablets and computers in the place of traditional reading materials. Students today use tablets, computers, digital blackboards and even their phones to educate themselves. Not only does the transfer to digital education benefit the environment, but it expands educational boundaries so students can continue to learn outside the classroom.
2 – ‘Flipped education’ is the learning of the future
Besides allowing students to access educational sources at home, incorporating digital technology in the classroom also helps revolutionise ways of learning. By allowing students to interact with their learning materials, you teach them to actively seek knowledge instead of just passively consume information from a teacher. This turns students into independent learners who can use their internet at home to continue learning.
3 – Digital education benefits parents too
It’s almost certain that with evolving education policies, parents sometimes struggle with helping their children at home, whether it’s with homework or class projects. Introducing digital learning in your classroom will help parents and guardians of your students have access to their children’s courses as well, which will allow them to provide full support at home.
4 – Digital learning does not limit itself to Wikipedia
Turning to digital education doesn’t mean surrendering strong academia for sources like Wikipedia. There is a world of digital platforms available via the internet that allow your students to have a well-rounded and expansive education. Students can use the web and a growing number of social networks not only to converse with other students across the globe but also to access information that might not be readily available to them through and other academic platforms, which will only add to the education they are receiving in a classroom.
As far as digital learning has come, it is sure to expand in the next few years. With advances in 3D and virtual reality technology, it’s possible to see a future where students can experience and see what they’re learning within the comfort of their school or home. By adopting digital learning and embracing the wonders the internet brings to education, the sense of ‘classroom’ is at the students’ fingertips.