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Neely Blog Number One

September 15, 2011 1 comment

When I was a junior in high school my language arts teacher asked us to make a life list for part of our final. It was interesting because it made me think about what was actually important in my life. I prioritized all of my goals and realized that I want to be a screenwriter and a musician more than anything else. Most of my goals involved movies or music. If I wasn’t writing or creating movies or music I was participating in some way. I wanted to go to every major music festival in the world as well as every major film festival. The assignment was interesting because it didn’t force any ideas of what our lives should be. It merely gave me the guidelines to choose what I wanted for my own life.

Many students blew this assignment off and made a joke out of it but I recognized it as a powerful opportunity to prioritize my life. I am very thankful for this assignment. In general, my goals were very specialized to certain areas but there were a few outliers as well. I wanted to climb three fourteeners, I wanted to learn to speak three languages fluently, own a cat and a dog, learn to snowboard and live in a foreign country for at least six months. I noticed that there are some things that everyone wants. Nearly everyone I talked to wanted to find a love in their own lives.

This assignment was graded for completion because it difficult to put a grade on someones personal goals. Even if one person’s goals seemed or strange or unambitious, it was unimportant because one’s own goals were the only ones that mattered. While I still have many goals uncompleted, I have accomplished many of the goals and I am making progress on others. This assignment seemed trivial to some but I think it will stay with me for my entire life. I still have the sheet and I consult it from time to time to see how I have progressed in the recent weeks and months

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A Charlie Brown Christmas

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Winter vacation, the snow was falling and the air was frigid on this winter day in Virginia, I sat with my grandma watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. I remember growing up watching this film with my Grandma. We always sat in the same couch with a big bowl of popcorn.  It was one of my most favorite memories from my childhood with my Grandma.  I was now reliving my memory fifteen years later, yet it had the same special feeling. It was Christmas season and I was ready for A Charlie Brown Christmas. Throughout the short film, Charlie Brown tries to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

 

An example of economic convergence has been used to create this film. The Coca-Cola Company, Dolly Madison, and Nabisco all sponsored the movie that was created by Warner Bros. Warner Bros decided to air the annual short film on CBS (1965-2000) and then move it to ABC and play twice a year (2001-present). A Charlie Brown’s Christmas is one of CBS’s most successful films. The short film would not have been possible without Coca-Cola’s support.

 

This film is also an example of technological convergence when it was made into a DVD in September 12, 2000 while it had previously been sold as VHS’s. The writer Charles M Schulz wrote comic strips titled Peanuts, which was used to create the film. Because this is an older film, the technology wasn’t the greatest and therefore many of the animations are choppy and there is poorly mixed sound. Despite the lack of technologically savvy equipment, or the convergence of many medias, the short film is still a Christmas classic.

 

The final type of convergence is cultural convergence. Charles Schulz was consulted by many people, including his director Bill Melendez to cut the Bible verse Linus uses to quote the real meaning of Christmas (Luke 2: 8-14) However Schulz was quick to reply, “If we don’t, who will”. Many of the movies made today do not explain or demonstrate the real meaning of Christmas unlike this one. Our culture has changed and formed away from this type of education. Many movies shy away from religious messages because the controversial comments they will receive in this culture.

 

Blog 1 The Next Three Days

One film that really stood out to me over break was The Next Three Days this action packed thriller had you on the edge of your seat in waiting in suspense. The Next Three Days was a very compelling film that had a star-studded cast. The film was directed by, Paul Haggis and it stared Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks who did a fabulous job in this remake. The original film was a French film that was produced in 2007 called“ Anything for Her”. The basic plot for the film is the character Lara Brennan “Banks” is accused of murdering her boss after an altercation at work. She is later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. After multiple visits to prison character John Brennan “Crowe” her husband has had with her imprisonment becomes obsessed with the idea of breaking her out of jail.

The Next Three Days is an example of economic convergence because of the cost of its production and also the economic growth it has made after the opening weekend. The films production budget was $30 million, and the movie has since grossed over $20 million dollars domestically and over $35 million dollars worldwide. Its opening weekend earnings domestically was over $6 million dollars and ranked #5 in 2,564 theaters, and made around an estimated $2,552 per theater total gross was about 31%. This film has not yet been eligible for any awards but let me assure you when it is it will surely win some big time awards.

The Next Three Days is also an example of technological convergence because it will soon be available on multiple viewing options besides the big screen.  Since it is such a new movie when it is eligible it will be available on DVD, on direct TV, Comcast, video game consoles, blue ray, IPods, ITunes, and much more. Also its sound track will be most likely available to purchase in ITunes or as a CD in any music store. I also think it is an example of technological convergence because of the way it was filmed for example special effect’s that the film used and how it was produced for example camera’s used and more.

Lastly I feel that The Next Three Days is an example of cultural convergence because as I said before it was released not only domestically but also all over the world. It was also filmed here in the United States and in its closing scene was shot in South America so they had to use and adapt to the different culture. To be honest I don’t think this film did a great job of having cultural convergence.

 

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Blog No. 1: Love and Other Drugs

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Listen, I’m not one for chick flicks. Honest. I don’t get googly-eyed over actors that People Magazine declares as being “most beautiful,” nor do I fall prey to sappy storylines. I swear. And so, it pains me to admit that I saw the film Love and Other Drugs over the break. It’s a dramedy about a pharmaceutical salesman who falls for a girl with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Despite being comedic at times, it definitely pulled at the heart strings. (Kleenex recommended.) So, although I still maintain that I am anti-chick flicks, I will admit that this particular film is an exception.

Nevertheless, Love and Other Drugs exhibits the three main types of convergence: technological, economic, and cultural convergence. Technical convergence is demonstrated through the merging of various forms of media. For instance, the film is based on a book entitled Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy. Additionally, the film’s soundtrack played a large role in not only the telling of the story, but also in eliciting powerful emotional reactions from the audience. (I heard a lot of sniffling.) The fusion of print, audio, and video mediums, make this film a prime example of technical convergence.

Second, economic convergence is demonstrated in Love and Other Drugs through the production aspect of it. For example, the film was produced by a number of studios such as, Regency Enterprises, New Regency, Stuber Pictures, and Bedford Falls. However, Regency Enterprises is the chief studio. In addition, the film was distributed by 20th Century Fox which has a television subdivision, Fox Television Studios. Love and Other Drugs is a joint venture between Regency Enterprises and Fox Television Studios.

Finally, this film demonstrates cultural convergence in that the story’s main theme is one that many people across all races, sexes, and cultures can relate to: love. Being that the film is about relationships, struggles, and hardships—things everyone encounters at some point in their lives—Love and Other Drugs gives people from various cultures and backgrounds something to identify with…at least it did for me.

Get Him to the Greek

January 6, 2011 1 comment

The film Get Him to the Greek was a successful comedy in both the American and International markets, grossing over $90 million.  It details the haphazard journey of an washed up rock star (Russell Brand) and a record company intern (Jonah Hill) as they go to LA from London for a big concert at the Greek Theatre.  The plot and the film itself are both prime examples of technological and cultural convergence.

The film contained a multitude of cameos, including musicians, actors, and other celebrities.  This convergence of music, film, and television personalities is coupled with advertisements for the film in every medium, from web banners to billboards to television commercials.  Additionally, the film shows the speed of modern international business, and thus the high level of technological convergence in today’s society.

Get Him to the Greek is a great example of cultural convergence.  The cast features actors from America, England, Ireland, and Australia.  Additionally, the plot centers on rock music, which is one of the most converged upon forms of music in the world.  Part of the film’s international appeal stems from the convergence of music globally, as popular music becomes more of a global chart and isn’t limited to just single countries.  The film grossed $60 million in America, and $30 million internationally.  While not huge numbers, it still had considerable success worldwide, and not just in one market.  This is partially owing to the economic convergence and consolidation of film corporations, as they look to foreign markets for additional revenue with minimal additional costs.

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Tron: Legacy

January 6, 2011 1 comment

Over the winter break, I had the chance to see the movie TRON: Legacy. It was a great movie following from the storyline that was left off in the original film. It was visually astonishing and the music that was incorporated into the film was done in a fantastic manner. What’s also very interesting about this film is that the score for the movie was not created by any contemporary composers, but a duo of famous artists known for their special electronic sounds: Daft Punk. They fuse their own special style of music with an orchestra to create a special feeling not only for the film, but for the audience as well.

This film is an interesting example of economic convergence because it didn’t just deal with the mixing of companies to form the production of the movie, but the music for the movie itself. Disney asked Daft Punk to join in as the film was being produced because of how they wanted to make this experience unique for movie viewers. After they joined and marketing for the movie was deployed, sales boosted for Daft Punk and the movie generated lots of attention due to the music stars coming on the scene.

The film was an example of technological convergence because of how well it was being advertised. To begin, secret websites began to pop up, and they unlocked to get the users to “follow the clues” which led them to more information about the upcoming feature film. Then it started to spread like wildfire over the internet, and as time passed many people became aware of a sequel that has been awaited for for many years. I saw advertisements that showed up on television, website ads, and even other countries.

This film also represents an example of cultural convergence as well.  The movie was being advertised in almost every country around the world and the first week internationally it grossed around $23 million. Despite the fact that the movie was produced in the United States, many people around the world recognize the famous movie title and previous characters, which formed interest in the upcoming film. There is also planning from Disney of an upcoming theme park attraction that is planned on being built surrounding the film and events that occur in the movie.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

January 6, 2011 1 comment

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the first part of the last movie which will conclude the world famous Harry Potter series. The series began thanks to british author, J.K. Rowling, who began the first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone on a set of restaurant napkins. The series of books fallow the adventurous lives of Harry Potter and his friends while they attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy.

Rowling’s first book to start the series was first published in June of 1997 leaving the seventh, and final book, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows to be released ten years later in July of 2007. After the release of the Sorceror’s Stone, Harry Potter was an instant hit. Not only did the book capture the young minds of nine to eleven year olds, which was the initial target age according to publishers, Harry Potter appealed to the young minds of adults ranging from 20 to 100. Readers were able to lose themselves in an adventurous fantasy world and be a part of something far much greater than anything on Earth. These books not only served as a means to escape from everyday life but they brought families and friends closer together as parents read their children these books and friends began to “play” Harry Potter at school.

It is no wonder that by the release of only the second novel, J.K Rowling sold the film rights to the first 4 books. This is a perfect example of technological convergence, where print was used to create a film. After the release of the first movie, Harry Potter was changed forever. Due to the length of the books the movies had to leave out or shorten certain parts of the novels. This is especially apparent for the last book the Deathly Hallows, some may say the most important book, because of the novel’s length the epilogue could only be captured by filming two movies. The series of movies also gave a concrete image to the characters of whom readers would conjure up in their heads. Harry Potter was now even more of a phenomenon due to the appeal and accessibility of movies. Now you can hear the story of Harry Potter by renting it in a store, computer, phone, ipod, ipad, and other electronic sources. This convergence has fueled the continuing dispute between books and films, which is better?

 

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