Jun 142012

Was tip-tapping away at 3:00am (like you do) and I came across this brand new site from Christchurch NZ, which is almost breathtaking in its simplicity and sense of purpose.

The Ministry of Awesome (or MoA) is a site all about Christchurch and what it’s doing to make itself better again. It’s been set up by Kaila Colbin and her team of 4 trustees.  Kaila plans for it to go global, so expect Awesomeness coming to a city near you shortly!

When you check out MoA out you’ll discover the rather amazing Flatman. Flatman is a resourceful student who’s spreading the love, bruv, (sic) by leaving parcels of food for students less fortunate, outside their flats and under cover of night. Obviously, his identity is kept a well-hidden secret.

Here he is in action.

And he’s so successful that he’s recruited a sidekick, Quake Kid!

Now that is awesome.

Tip-tapping away in the early hours has never been quite so inspiring.

 Posted by at 3:37 am
Jun 112012

Time was when ITV was a fairly heady mix of light entertainment, heavy drama and dense documentary. That was the time that was. For now, mostly because of the amalgamation of all things into ITV plc, it’s all pretty homogenous stuff, even if it is split into its 4 or so channels.

Recently I saw a throwback. An example of a TV form that just won’t go away, thank goodness. An example from that time that was. An example from ITV, but now, in 2012.

Originally commissioned by Granada TV for what was then the ITV network, “7up” was intended to be a snapshot of a social and economic cross-section of children at 7, as they began their conscious path through life. It was assumed that they would each follow a pre-determined socio-economic path.

Since then, there have been 8 sets of updates, each 7 years apart – from “7 plus 7″ to “56up”, the documentaries broadcast in May 2012.

I can remember this programme from when I was really quite young – perhaps my early teens. That makes it about 30 years, perhaps more, since I first saw this.

What struck me initially about watching this is how simple ideas can often have the most profound effect. This is, after all, small crew stuff. A couple of cameras and one director, who also doubles up as interviewer (and who, by the way, has been involved from the start, first as a researcher, then taking the helm for 7 out of the 8 sequences). The budgets have undoubtedly been low, the impact has been high. In 2005 Channel 4 voted the series the best documentary ever made.

And some might say that there are significant faults in the series, both with editing style and the original participation selection process, for example. Not to mention the moral issues often highlighted by the participants themselves. Such as having been scrutinised every seven years throughout the course of their lives. This is, after all, a rather unique example of reality TV. Not just merely the first.

But, for me, this type of TV can’t lose. It’s a mirror, a multi-dimensional and continuous statement by participants of how you should and shouldn’t live your life.

Have a look at each person as they are now, then, if you have time, have a look at the shows as they were transmitted in their original form, from 7- to 49up.

There’s a lot to say about this extraordinary document of life over the past 50 years.

Maybe there are two things that really stand out for me. The first is that there is nothing more satisfying that watching engaging interviews with people without a “performance agenda” i.e. celebrities or wannabes.

The second thing is this. You cannot predetermine anything. Not social standing, not circumstance, not life. And that’s what, for me, makes this almost the perfect piece of television.

 Posted by at 3:37 pm
Aug 222011

It’s really all about understanding how and light and shade create shape and contrast.

Otherwise it all looks a little flat and uninteresting.

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Aug 092011

The wrong backdrop can ruin an otherwise well-presented piece.

It’s really quite straightforward. Keep your backdrop pure and simple.

 Posted by at 12:48 pm