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A few things to know: The Bechdel Test

18 Jul

What is it?

The Bechdel test was first introduced in Allison Bechdel’s comic Dykes to watch out for, in a 1985 strip called “The Rule”. In order for a film to pass the Bechdel test it has to meet the following requirements:

  1. It has to have at least two women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man

There have been variations to the criteria of the test, for example the female characters have to be named.

So …..

pan's labyrinthThink about a movie that you watched recently, or any movie at all. Does it have two female characters, who have a conversation about something besides a man? Can you try and name more than 3 films that pass the Bechdel test?  I actually found it kind of difficult…

And that’s where the problem lies…

The problem isn’t about the lack of female characters in films (the movie Avatar, which features the character of Neytiri, fails the test) but the lack of depth to female characters.

  • If passing the test were mandatory it would have jeopardised half of 2009’s Best Picture Nominees
  • It would also have cut the length of the annual Comic-Con to 45 minutes,

It can also be noted that the only reason a lot of these films do pass the test is because the women only talk about marriage or babies.

Why do so few films pass the Bechdel test?

One reason so few films pass the Bechdel test is that the majority of scriptwriters are male; therefore they are less likely to write about female characters.  As a female writer, I’m more likely to write a story where female characters are central to the storyline.

Another reason is the assumption about what an audience would prefer to see in a film. You are unlikely to here a female talking about her problems to her colleague in an action packed Vin diesel film. Even if it was a cliché romcom, nine out of ten times the conversation will be about a male love interest.

To restore your faith in humanity here are some films that do pass the Bechdel test:

1. Legally Blonde

There are several instances where Elle talks to females on other topics beside men.  Elle gets Brooke to tell her her alibi; Vivian lies to Elle about the party being a costume party, and Elle interviews chutney on the witness stand. Legally_blonde

2.Black Swan

The main character regularly talks to her mother; there is also a lot of discussion between the other ballet dancers about the challenges of the profession.

3.Coraline

Women in the film include: Coraline and her mother, her other mother, Mrs Spink, and Mrs Forcible to name a few.  All of them at some point have a conversation with another female character that is not about a man.

4.Juno

Juno has plenty of arguments with her mother, and a discussion about prenatal stuff. Fails the anti-Bechdel test – no two men talk to anything other than a woman.

 5. Pan’s Labyrinth

Mercedes and Ofelia talk about believing in fairies and Ofelia’s dress; the both manage not to talk about a man while Mercedes is getting Ofelia milk. If it is easy for a dark fairytale like this one to pass the test, why does it seem so difficult for a simple romcom to do the same thing?

By Louisa Danquah

Why we love: The Fault in Our Stars

12 Jul

The fault in our stars” is a novel about love between two teenagers named Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace- but with a twist, the twist being they both suffer from cancer. It is not a typical story; even though the cancer is a big part of the story-line, the novel still manages to be humorous and uplifting despite the serious themes. “The fault in our stars” explores what it means to be alive and challenges the typical idea of a teenage romance.

TFIOS

So why is “The fault in our stars” a New York Times bestseller?

When searching through different reviews on the novel, we found that most people had a strong attachment to the characters of Hazel and Augustus. One person wrote:

 

‘I felt that when I was reading it I was friends with Hazel and Gus, and that I was with them, sorting out their problems, helping them’.

Another reader, similarly wrote:

‘this book was the total opposite of some sappy love story because of how realistic it is.’

 

Their strong and witty personalities make it easy for readers to relate and connect to them. Hazel and Augustus bring a realistic element to the novel, unlike most other teenage love stories. John Green is able to write in the voice of a teenage girl to create a story that isn’t just a

.bout ‘ordinary teenagers with teenage problems’ but about an extraordinary teenager who faces something much more than the ‘average teenage problems’.

If we could describe the novel in one word, it would be ‘powerful’; another reader shared our feelings:

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‘I loved it because of how powerful it was. How everything in Hazel Grace’s life, she questioned, even if it was something as simple as ‘Why should a person only have breakfast food for breakfast?’

 

The book is able to raise questions that normally wouldn’t even cross our minds. In this sense Hazel is able to present ideas that go beyond the surface and make the reader think outside of the box.  Hazel tells her mum the her t-shirt does not have a pipe on it:

‘It’s a drawing of a pipe. Get it? All representations of a thing are inherently abstract. It’s very clever’

 

Even though The Fault in Our Stars is fiction, the struggles of Augustus and Hazel, are in fact a reality in some people’s lives. The novel has inspired many people around the world, here is an example of just one:

By Louisa Danquah & Steffi Maranan

Aside

Reach a million people from your bedroom!

4 Apr

YouTube is the largest growing vlogging site in social media right now. People vlogging their lifestlyes, interests and hobbies can grow on YouTube to build an audience of millions; this can be very effective and get individuals voices heard… for free.

A topic that most people do not like to be involved with, unless they are seated behind a screen; film making and video journalism is one of the most growing features in online social media right now. We believe the main reason that people do not want to create content is because they believe that it cost unbelievable amounts of money that will never be available; little do they know that there is an online community that includes thousands of people whom have made a living out of creating videos in their bedrooms… talking to their webcam. This is not the only route in filmmaking; most youth centres around London are interested in creating and supporting young people to produce short films and journalism videos.

Another issue that young people fear within this subject is that criticism that will feedback from the content they produce. This is a big problem for every film maker, institute and actor; although receiving criticism that you don’t really want, actually builds your confidence to help yourself create better content. On the other hand, positive feedback has to be found and when you find it, it’s great. So have a go, as this is a definite recommendation if you have any free time on your hands and you can get hold a camera… everything deserves a first try.

If you want examples of people who have started a career from the social site YouTube, there are videos linked within this blog showing you their first videos which started their inspiring careers.

Film making is not hard, it does not take a lot of money; just a bit of effort and you’re on your way.

Things I wish I’d Known // Video

11 Mar

#thingsiwishidknown

Royalty free music: Incompetech / Band Camp

I

Good trailers // create tension

Impeccably styled

Genius simple

Say something nice

Do something different with your camera shots

Fourtet / Grimes referenced here also awesome. Oh and anything by Spike Jonze!!!

Wrath of the Titans – 3D IMAX

9 May

What to do in rainy May? I had the urge to  watch an epic movie and what could be more epic than a massive war between the gods, flying horses and the father of time? Throw a couple of Cyclops and some good looking warriors ( both sexes ) and you’ve got Wrath of the Titans. So i knew what movie i wanted to watch now i just needed to decide where to watch it.

I’d never been to the IMAX although I’d walked past it enough times and in fact i don’t remember ever seeing a movie in 3d ( although i do have some 3D glasses on my desk – they don’t work! ). With an epic movie you need an epic cinema and you can’t get more epic than IMAX.

You get handed your glasses and sit down to to watch the trailers it already feels like your in outer space! The rest of the movie was full of clever tricks to make it feel like boulders were flying towards you or soldiers attacking and if I’m honest the film was so / so but the experience was awesome.

If you’ve never been to see a 3D movie at IMAX go, Tim Burton is up next. It’s about £16 for standard adult but there are concessions see here whilst Leicester sq cinemas are £12 – 16 depending on where you sit but the whole layout of the building is designed to get you into the 3D aspects of the film.

What are you waiting for?

Land of Kings – review

9 May

Great way to see some Hidden Gems, venues you maybe didn’t even know existed and artists you’ve never heard of. Land of kings makes it easy to explore one of London’s hippest areas. I headed down on the Friday to check it out.

What did we see : Galiano cocktails on the roof garden, Beat boxing in the vortex, awesome band space in Magnolia Banqueting Suite ( I always thought this was a weird wedding venue ). There was so much more going on in tents, basements and attics from literary, film, spoken word and DJ’ing.

Great value for money Would I recommend it? Hell yeah, this should be on ever music lovers calendar but also great if you just want to discover new venues and artists and have a vibey time. Look out for May bank holiday next year!

Broadcast from your mobile

12 Apr

Glenn McMahon came in to explain why you’ve got the power to report to a high standard in your hand.

The speed that you get your content online is vital. Eg Genoa 2001 an activist filmed the police beating the activists and in the lack of anyone form the main stream media a citizen created footage now being used as the basis of a film and a successful lawsuit.
During the riots Sky News reporter captured the action with nothing more than the power in the pocket

Why ? We all have phones on us every day. Shoot in one take with no edit and all you need to make it semi pro is an external mic is important, and a reporter and cameraman

TOP TIPS – put it on airport mode to stop your calls coming through
Whats’ happening, who’s doing it and why. Don’t forget your viewer doesn’t know what’s going on your asking questions on their behalf.
Keep it short, multiple camera angles to keep it fresh and good sound quality

If you don’t have these items then use your journo skills : Who, what when where why : I’m here at 10 am in Croydon

Read Glenn’s blog for Vison On HERE

& Our ed teams 1st attempt in the office