Entertainment, Music, Television

Is The X Factor really THAT bad?

“I can say I haven’t watched a single episode of that crap this year!”

“If we all buy Star Wars music we can stop their awful single making Christmas number one again!”

“The X Factor is ruining music!”

Alright, I’ve never been a die-hard fan of The X Factor, but I’m getting quite tired of hearing about how ‘crap’ it is in and around social media.

I’ve been watching it on and off this year, more than I have any other year and I became quite invested in some of the singers from start to finish. Louisa Johnson, 17 years of age and the current nation’s sweetheart won over Wembley last night with her rendition of Forever Young (Winner’s Song) and became the latest star born from The X Factor.

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A winner’s tears

How far she goes within the music industry is irrelevant and a lot of people seem to have taken the show as a personal insult to their music taste. With attacks on The X Factor flying left, right and centre, it’s enough for a fan of the show to sink to their knees in despair.

In defence of the show (which I have quite enjoyed over these last few months) there are some things that seem to go straight over people’s heads when they impose their rants upon the world.

It’s just crap, trashy TV

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The Tapper Family, from Channel 4’s Gogglebox

It might not be as classy as your Strictly Come Dancings or your Great British Bake Offs and it might not hold as much weight as the likes of University Challenge or Newsnight, but it’s good, easy entertainment. Watching it allows you to relax, sit around with friends or family and discuss what’s happening. After a week of working solidly, some people want to switch off and watch something fun, rather than continue to actively engage with media.

It ruins the true Christmas Number One Chart

We live in a day and age where Christmas songs are already deeply engrained into our minds; they’ve got a deep-rooted sense of nostalgia that resonates with us and for some reason, we can’t let go. We find it difficult to welcome new Christmas songs into our etched-in-stone digital playlists because they just don’t feel…well, Christmassy. The X Factor winners have had 7 Christmas number ones in the last 10 years, the other three including one defiant selection in 2009 called Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine, which I’m sure we all remember. It’s interesting to think that maybe The X Factor have successfully pushed their winners to the top because they are popular with a lot of the British public, unless it is all fixed as some rebels claim.

It’s just about Simon Cowell making money

The music industry itself is worth £4.1 billion in the UK as of 2014 and
Simon Cowell holds a net worth total of £325 million, which is a 7.2% contribution to the industry (if that’s where all his money went or came from). These big numbers account for the fact that Simon Cowell is a big, big name in music and has simon_cowell-426617been responsible for the greats that have come out of The X Factor. So, if he is making a lot of money but at the same time creating popular and legendary artists, then let him do his job.

It’s destroying the integrity of music

There is a reason that Beethoven isn’t in the charts today. Popular music changes with time, society and technology. It reflects who we are as people and goes with the flow of what has been popular before, transforming and changing in a way that nobody could explain. I accept that as the show reaches its 11th year running, it feels as though they are just looking for the best cover artist or karaoke singer. However, as they use and revamp current music, it’s unlikely that The X Factor will ever die.

Ultimately, The X Factor is harmless and does more positive than negative. Think of all the budding filmmakers / media workers who want to get a foot in the door and work on the show. Then there are the people that the show is made for: the singers. It gives them the opportunity to become the star they always wanted to be; whether they are successful or not is up to them in the end. It makes people happy who watch it and are involved in it and it brings music artists together. Last night we saw One Direction, Adele and Leona Lewis singing to the Wembley masses and it was stunning.

Just think of the artists that have been squeezed out of the millions who applied for the auditions – Olly Murs, One Direction, Little Mix, JLS, Ben Haenow etc etc… Some of them vanish into the depths of nowhere, but enough have made their way in the industry for it to be credible.

We are not ‘dumbing down’ as a nation, and we are not losing our integrity in regards to the music industry. The X Factor as I see it is a viable solution to escaping some of the hardships of life and allows us to enjoy music together, while at the same time creating new artists. Whether they are any good or not and whether they succeed is again down to the public – we are encouraged to believe.

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Entertainment, Television

Got a secret, can you keep it?

pretty-little-liars-season-1-pilot-episodeOkay, so I’m on episode 15 of the first season of Pretty Little Liars and I can’t help but actually love it. I struggled through the first couple of episodes, feeling that the acting was too stodgy and the story too weak to be legitimate but after persevering, I’m literally struggling to write this post without being distracted.

A lot of people have watched it and raved about it after its last season, and I figured that it should be something excellent and addictive to watch. It is. I’m hooked and it’s convenient that it’s on Netflix so I can scroll through the episodes at my leisure.

The character development is getting stronger as each episode goes along and each character becomes more and more believable with every line. Sure, it’s still cheesy and the suspense isn’t that suspenseful but it’s incredibly intriguing. I’ll intend to write a review on my verdict of the first season (but I’ll probably forget).

Entertainment, Review, Television

Pretty Little Liars

I’ve only just started watching this and I’ve just finished episode 3, so this is like a vague review depicting what I think so far.

And so far, so good. I knew full well what to expect when I started watching and yes it’s about a group of beautiful American girls and all the gossip and secrets that surround their lives. They’re all very self-entitled and omg my life is so much worse than yours! hashtag love ya. The writing is… eryhh… but I think the character development so far is decent even within only 3 episodes. I’m sticking with it, let’s put it that way.

My only worry is that there are now 6 seasons and I know what happens at the end (friends have been watching it for a while and I didn’t mind knowing the spoilers) which makes me wonder how on earth they have managed to fit 5 whole seasons between now and the cheeky reveal. I’m just hoping that other dramatic things are going to happen!

I have high hopes for it because a lot of my friends have watched it and there’s been a lot of hype about it around social media lately, so that must mean it’s good…right? An update will follow once I’m more into it.

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Entertainment, Television

Game of Nudes

We’ve just had episode 5 of Game of Thrones fifth season and, as expected, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. However, there are a lot of people who are really, really, really against it because of all the nudity and the not always girl-boy sex and violence. And I kind of get it, sure, but at the same time, I don’t. I’ve got a real issue with people trying to represent alternative worlds or even old worlds as being prim and proper because there is virtually no way that this was 100% the case all the time. It’s absolutely for certain that people – especially the royals – messed around with each other and had lots of bedroom fun (except Lord of the Rings but let’s not go there).

Now, please don’t think I’m one to condone sexism, especially degradation of women because I’m not; however, I have zero problems with GoT. I don’t feel that the nudity is unnecessary , I don’t feel like it’s shoved in there for no reason and I don’t see it as obscene and insulting. Just last night, one of the rising characters was talking to a girl that he frequently interacted with in the bedroom and both were naked. It’s relevant to the story: it tells you that they’ve just had sex and she is clearly not happy his engagement news. It sets the scene and gives the audience context before the camera intrudes on their intimate moment and gives you the impression that this is all the poor girl has been thinking about while making love to the man she desires. It evokes sympathy for both characters and shows them at their most vulnerable as they bare all.

What is key for me with all the nudity is that it’s always done in a beautiful way, with a different array of bodies. The camera cherishes each person’s form with tinted light accompanied by music that is always soft and aesthetically delicious to the eye. If nudity and sex were not such prominent features, I can’t imagine that I would take the show as seriously. It adds a mature dynamic to the show, reminding you that it’s for adults and to some extent, separates it from the clutching hands of teenagers who jumped on the Breaking Bad bandwagon. It makes me feel as though I’m watching a piece of adult art, not some cheap smut as some people have deemed it. And, really people, aren’t we in a modern world where we can appreciate the human body without blushing scarlet each time at a woman’s breasts? We’re all about respecting each person’s body in 2015 and being keen to represent people fairly without judgement. I will give it that most GoT ladies are skinny beauties with few flaws; but let’s think about the time period and the setting. People aren’t exactly popping for a McDonald’s after work or grabbing some chocolate from the fridge when they please. The nature of the period is starvation, a civilisation in the grasp of war and conservatism, or whatever you might call it.

Doing a degree in film made me realise that pretty people do appear more on camera. Those who are considered attractive will probably land a job over somebody who isn’t the filmmaker’s idea of beauty and I agree, it’s not fair. That’s just how film and television is made. They’re consumed by the masses through the eyes which is why pretty naked people appear so much on our screens. And I have no issue with it. As long as it’s relevant to the story, otherwise it becomes a poorly scripted porno.

I’m looking forward to the next episode and the next and the next. It’s a great set up and something that’s storming through television history with full force. But, as usual, critics offended by a woman’s breasts are flying about casting their curses on anything controversial.

Entertainment, Film, Television, University

That’s a Wrap!

I know, I know, it’s been a while but I’ve been super busy being the director of the shiny new steampunk web series known as A Murder of Crows which I’m sure you’ve all heard of by now. It’s feisty, it’s fun, but most of all it’s really close to my heart. It’s been a year now since this idea has been circling around my brain, trying to get out and eventually, it did. Thank god. I wrote the script, submitted it for reviews, changed it (drastically at times) and voilà! I’m sitting here, trying to stay awake on like 5 hours’ sleep thinking well, that’s it. All we have to do now is edit the damn thing and then there it is, ready for the world to watch, enjoy and love. Or watch, loathe and tear to shreds, but we’ll see. Audiences are very tricky to determine, but I figured if I like it, our audience will also like it.

It’s been a tough three weeks. We’ve done a lot of filming which includes an awful lot of late nights and early mornings. We’ve had stresses and fallings out, people being sad or angry or frustrated, but we’re all friends again now and we’re all excited to see what the edit will bring. It’s been lovely to see something that I’ve written and formed become something physical and real that other people believe in and I am so excited to present it to the steampunk community to see what everyone thinks of it. The dream then is for it to become a beloved web-series and for it to turn into something magnificent. I have plenty more ideas for other episodes and I desperately want to carry it on. It all depends of course on the reception and any funding, but that’s just how the industry works.

I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures to goggle over and I’ll try to keep you updated with what’s going on! I promise x

Day 3 (10)Day 6 (3)Day 7 (3)Crew Picture

 

Entertainment, Film, Life Experience, Television, University

A Murder of Crows Kickstarter Campaign

So here it is, ladies and gentlemen, my web series pilot’s Kickstarter Campaign! We’re asking for one thousand pounds which seems a lot, I know, but compared to the billions of dollars that people spend on Hollywood films, it’s barely anything. The money is intended to go towards costumes, location hire (we’ve found an indoor victorian street in a museum in York!), caring for actors’ needs and anything else that a film production requires. I’m not going to beg you to pledge, I’m just going to say that I would really, really appreciate anything that you could kindly give; it’s my last ever uni project and I just want it to be the best that it can!

So please, explore the page, visit the website, get involved and enjoy! That’s all I ask, really.

Here’s the kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1233333540/a-murder-of-crows-steampunk-crime-drama-web-series and here’s the website link www.pickupfilms.co.uk if you just fancy a browse.

Thank you! Love you!

Entertainment, Film, Television, University

LISTEN HERE

Guys, guys, guys! I have exciting news!

I’m directing a pilot for a web series this semester (which also happens to be my last, sob sob) and the theme ladies and gentlemen, is STEAMPUNK. Yes! For those of you who are unsure as to what it is, allow me to enlighten you to my take on it, as there are quite a few different opinions floating around out there. Imagine a world where steam has been used to develop technology, only steam. There’s no industrial revolution, no mobile phones, no cars. But there are airships and rayguns (big maybe) and women are equal to men in every way. It’s like the world is stuck in the Victorian age but are more advanced in some things simultaneously. And it’s so cool! It’s seen more of as an alternate reality and doesn’t really rely on legitimacy. Better not do anyway because I’m planning on doing this my way ha.

Essentially, this story is something like Sherlock Holmes, of course, but with a female lead called Gwendolyn Carrioncrow. She’s smart, she’s feisty and she’s fearless; she’ll stop at nothing to solve a case and she’ll do virtually anything to get what she wants. No, not like that! You disgust me. She’s very self assured but refuses to get close to people, after her parents died when she was just twelve and was forced to live with her elderly (and senile) aunt.

But enough of her! Let’s get down to business! Of course, similar to the last project, we are setting up a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds. We are also hopefully holding a fund raiser which will include a bun sale and a quiz in York because steampunk, my friends, is NOT cheap. It’s all in the detail you see and it’s going to be a lot of hard work and money to make it look right. All I ask is that when the Kickstarter is live, please at least take a look at it (I will link it of course) and if you can, donate something, anything. We would be so grateful. I just want this film made so badly, it’s my last ever semester at university and I really want it to go well.

Now, I’m sure you’re tired of me banging on so I will bid you adieu for now and munch on a biscuit or something. Farewell, and I’ll update you later on in the project 🙂

Brittany

Entertainment, Television

Entering the World of Winter

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I know I’m ridiculously late to the scene, but today I have started my quest to watch Game of Thrones. Which I’m finding amazing by the way. Of course, I knew it was going to be astounding from all the hype on the internet about it (sites like Imgur have been ridic crazy about it, and unfortunately I’ve encountered spoilers along the way, but what else could I expect leaving it this long to watch it?) I’ve just put episode 5 of season 1 into my DVD player – Sean Bean whatta man – and I can tell its going to be a long but interesting night. I need to be up early too; I’ve started a Wii Fit regime (almost nostalgic right??) because it’s summer and I’m at home for the next three weeks which means I shall be eating lots and doing nothing ie. watching Game of Thrones.

I’m really looking forward to watching the rest of it and afterwards may have to steal the books off my Mum (whose birthday it was today, just sayin’). Tell you what though, it doesn’t half make me want to watch Lord of the Rings, not just because of Beanie… ha.

Anyway! Also thought I’d say thank you guys because today I hit 50 WordPress followers! I know it’s nothing much, especially compared to some of you, but I’m pretty stoked about it. Cheers anyway! Hope you’re still with me after this post 😉

Laterz

Entertainment, Television

Jezza

Being at home gives me the opportunity to watch one of my beloved trashy tv shows: The Jeremy Kyle Show. I’m not even kidding, I love it so much, I could watch it all day. It’s not to make myself feel better, or to laugh at those on it…it’s more if a fascination that I get to know that people actually live with these problems. And yes, I’m going to live by the fact that it’s not actors, unlike what I think about Jerry Springer or something. And loads of people go on about Jeremy being hypocritical, but I couldn’t care less, I love it and always will.

Thank you for putting up with my meaningless, yet clearly highly interesting posts and rants 😉 ha.

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Entertainment, Film, Life Experience, Television

A Quiet Night in with a DVD…

 

Choosing a film to watch, whether it’s a DVD or at the cinemas or on the TV is one of the hardest decisions I have to make when it comes around to it. It’s the choice about which land you want to be taken to, who you want to hang around with, what things you want to see that will amaze you. Film’s all about making the sense tingle and exciting the audience. It’s about causing a reaction or an emotion just by sticking some people on a screen and making them do things.

Now that’s true magic, wouldn’t you agree?