Friday, 29 May 2015

Animator Biography

Pete Docter: Animator Biography

Pete Docter is an animator who is best known for his work at Pixar Studios. Docter was born on October 9, 1968 and grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota in a family very involved in music; however he never found himself interested in that field. Being very introverted and socially isolated growing up, he found himself keeping to himself quite a bit. At the age of eight he started to create his own flipbooks which gave him a passion to explore other types of media; this includes teaching himself cartooning and making homemade animated shorts with the family camera. He became very interested with animation, thinking it was a sort of way to play God by making up nearly living characters. He spent a year at the University of Minnesota studying philosophy and art but then transferred to the California Institute of the Arts. There he won a Student Academy Award for one of his films and graduated in 1990. Although he thought he would work for the Disney Corporation, Docter joined Pixar Studios as an animator the day after he graduated. He loved the tight-knit atmosphere there which made him sure that this was a good place to work. He quickly assumed many large responsibilities from John Lasseter including in writing, animation, sound recording and orchestra scoring. He has worked on many movies including Toy Story, Up, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., etc. He has been nominated for six Oscars. Docter’s inspirations include Walt Disney, Chuck Jones and Jack Davis. He also is a fan of anime, especially the work of Hayao Miyazaki and was even asked to direct the English translation to Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle. He continues to work at Pixar, to create more animated pictures and has a new movie Inside Out being released soon in which he directed. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Corporation: Movie Critique

What is the principal purpose of this documentary?

The principal purpose of this documentary is to show the impacts, nature, evolution and possible future of the business corporation.

What does the film critique? How do you know that?

The film critiques the different aspects of the business corporation; it does this through breaking down these different aspects. It separates the aspects of corporations into different sections, some including Democracy Ltd, Hostile Take Over, and Unsettling Accounts. In Unsettling Accounts, the film talks about the company Monsanto and the effect of its bovine growth hormone. This is just one of the many examples of what they show within the divided sections. The film also critiques the many things that are wrong in the corporation world and how harmful corporations actually are in a number of ways. There is a section where they actually go through the many different ways corporations can harm people, animal, the environment, etc. They flip through these ways and then stop on one and explain it a bit more, for example child labour as a form of harm against humans or drug testing as a form of harm against animals.

What methods did the filmmaker use to increase public awareness about corporate responsibility and affect people’s beliefs and behaviour?

One of the main things the filmmaker does to increase public awareness about corporate responsibility is give what the speakers were saying a sort of familiarity. They matched some of the stuff the speakers were saying with video clips, some more popular than others. What this did was gave viewers a better understanding of what message the filmmakers were trying get across. They did this when talking about the Monsanto controversy with their bovine growth hormone. They were talking about how two reporters were being paid to keep their mouths shut about what was going on as well as having their report about Monsanto rewritten. The reporters were instead being told by the company what to write in their report and as the reporters are talking about this the filmmakers show hands typing on a keyboard and then showing a finger pressing the “control” button. Here the filmmaker subtly shows how corporations were trying to control others in order protect themselves. That instead of taking responsibility for the negative effects of their product, Monsanto did all it could to “control” the situation and to have a certain power over others in order to have a clean record.

Which methods of theirs did you think were most effective in supporting their position on corporate responsibility? Why?

One of the most effective ways the filmmaker shows his position on corporate responsibility is when comparisons are being made, the actions of those who are against corporations and those who run corporations. The film went back and forth between showing different clips of the two. It showed activists standing up for what they believe in and being beaten and trying to be contained by police because things were getting out of hand; the streets are both a mess and chaotic. It then flips to scenes of the people who run these corporations. These scenes are completely opposite to what is going on outside, it’s as if they don’t even care about the effect their corporation is having on society. This was an effective method because these scenes truly show how corporations aren't taking responsibility for their actions. It shows that they are oblivious to anything that doesn't benefit them and simply don’t care if they harm anyone else.  Corporation owners are inside living the good life while others are dealing with the repercussions of these same companies.

Did you have any issues with this documentary? What were some parts that you did not agree with, or question? Why?

I didn't really have any issues with this documentary. I thought it was a good representation of what corporations are and what they stand for. It explained its point of view well and went into great detail in order to explain where they stand on corporate responsibility. It gave lots of example, which I enjoy when learning about something new and it's visuals (the certain pictures and different video clips) were very helpful when trying to when trying to explain an intricate point or idea about corporations. 

Describe another film you have watched that has an impact on your values. How and why did that happen?

A film that had an impact on me was Bill Maher’s Religulous. It was basically a film exploring religion from a satirical point of view. I think it had an impact because it was produced in a way that related to me. It was able to convey its point of view through its sarcasm and wit as well as the certain interviews Bill Maher conducted. It is through these things that Religulous made an impact on my belief system. When something is familiar or has some sort of connection to you to makes it easier learn something. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Art Video Game Brainstorming

Art video game brainstorming

Trophy hunting/ poaching
I have chosen to make my game about poaching and trophy hunting. A favourite comedian of mine is a huge advocate for animal rights and has made me very aware of the situation going on. I’m quite bothered by what’s going on because I don’t understand how people can kill anything just for sport. I think it is grotesque to kill an animal just for one feature they have that could be valuable. I hope one day that poaching will no longer exist and that those species that are currently endangered will prosper once again.
1)      The instruction screen
·         Picture of the desert
·         Picture of a hunter with it
2)      The game background
·         Picture of the desert still
3)      The question side of cards
·         Bullets which signify the killing of innocent animals
4)      The picture side of the cards
·         Pictures of animals with facts about their population, for example one population being high 25 years ago, and one card from today showing how much it has dropped.
5)      Fonts/game description/messages
·         A description of the purpose of the game
·         The same font (Goudy Stout) for each time there is writing
6)      The lose screen
·         Picture of a happy hunter
·         Desert background
·         Options to play again or not

Refusal of Service in Indiana
·         Match up people with businesses
o   Matching people with places they aren’t allowed to go to
1)      The instruction screen
o   Downtown scene
2)      The game background
3)      The question side of the cards
4)      The picture side of cards
o   Person saying what they need
o   Match it with the right store
5)      Fonts/game description/messages
6)      The Lose Screen, messages

Oil Spill
·         Match up a card with oil on it with an animal

1)      The instruction screen background
o   Oil drum on its side, oil spilling out
2)      The game background
o   Water or a dock in water
o   Or the rainbow stain oil gives off
3)      The question side of the cards
o   Oil drum with question mark on it
o   Or a question mark made of oil
4)      The picture side of the cards
o   Some with pictures of oil
o   Some with pictures of animals being affected by the spills
5)      Fonts/game description/messages
6)      The Lose Screen, messages

Flappy Bird
Religious Freedom vs. Gay Rights
·         Have stores be the pillars
·         Have a person be the bird (or something else representing same sex community)
·         Keep the person away from the stores
o   Shows discrimination towards same sex population by not allowing them to get service from a business

1)      The instruction screen background
o   Downtown scene
2)      The game background
3)      The flappy bird graphic
4)      The pipes
5)      Fonts/game description/messages
6)      The Lose Screen, messages

World Hunger
·         Have the pillars be people
·         Have the bird be a piece of food

·         Keep the food away from the people 

Art Video Game Reflection

Media Arts Video Game
Stephanie Brighton
Medium: Flash
Friday, May 8, 2015

All elements of using Flash were new for me. I have only ever used the old version but now that it had been updated I had to re-learn the entire thing. This includes simple things like changing backgrounds and symbols and also making sure that the game didn’t end up turning into a video which had happened during the first steps of creating my game.

Idea or Concept
The issue I tried to reflect in my video game is the poaching that is going on around the world. Innocent animals are being targeted for one specific trait they have and are then being discarded. This has caused many species to become gravely endangered and even extinct. I tried to show the degradation of the populations of some species by writing different population amounts, one from awhile back and one from today; it shows the real gap between the two and how much of an issue poaching really is. There were other ideas I had during the brainstorming stage, like world hunger or the refusal of service to same sex couples in Indiana. However animal rights and poaching are issues that are quite important to me as well and I found I would be able to communicate this better than the others.

Actor Ricky Gervais actually influenced me in this project. He is a big advocate for animal rights and regularly posts things on Facebook to make others aware of species endangerment and how cruel the sport of hunting animals can be. He is the one who really made me aware of this issue. I was moved by his passion for this issue and thought it would be interesting if I based my game around it.

My motivation for this project was probably to try and be creative. Though that sounds simple, it’s true. I have never tried to communicate an issue through something like a video game and to do this is quite a unique idea; I therefore had a motivation to use a different type of creativity.

Critical Assessment

The part of this project that surprised me the most was the actual process. It took me awhile to actually get going because I had to learn Flash all over again. The brainstorming also took a while. In general I just do not enjoy brainstorming; I know it’s necessary but it feels tedious to me. The part of my project that I like the most is probably that I thought of the concept to show the degradation in the populations of certain species. Because the higher and lower populations are on separate cards I feel like it makes a bigger impact so that you can see the significant difference. With more time I’m not sure what I would change. Perhaps I would just make things a bit neater, making sure all of my pictures have smooth edges.  

Monday, 4 May 2015

Spirited Away Critique

1. Spirited Away incorporates many elements from classical Western literature and folklore: people who magically turn into pigs (the Odyssey); the hero’s quest; the prohibition against eating the food of the Faerie (Irish folkore); a girl who goes to Grandma’s house (“Red Riding Hood”); the need to solve riddles. Do these familiar elements make the story easier to understand, or does their appearance in a Japanese film make them too alien to be helpful?

I do think these elements make the story easier to understand because there is in fact a sort of familiarity to it. Because we see these elements in so many different forms, books, movies, our everyday lives, we become accustomed to the fact that they are trying to get a point across and that they represent something specific. Through this familiarity we are able to make that text to self or text to text connection that we are taught to do early on in our lives, something that says “oh yeah, this is like when this happened in this other book”. Then when something is familiar then we can also start to expand our knowledge on it; for example trying to solve a math question when looking at it for the first time. If I knew nothing about math I would be very confused, but if I have a prior knowledge of math I can look at the question, say “okay, here’s what I know” and then work from there. Because I have a prior knowledge of these elements I am able to have a better understanding of the message the creator is trying to communicate. I don’t think it’s alien to see these elements in a Japanese film because they have already been integrated into many other different types of stories and media. These days it seems very common to find these elements when telling a story.
5. Does it make sense to think of bodies of water as possessing spirit? Have you ever had a relationship with a river, a pond, an ocean, or the rain that prompted you to speak to water? Have you ever been rescued by a body of water? Have you ever cleaned a body of water?
I believe it does make sense to think of bodies of water as possessing spirit. “Spirit” is defined as the principal of conscious life and water does in fact have a great association with life. It creates life, saves life, endangers life, ends life, houses life; if we didn’t have water then we wouldn’t be here. I’ve never had a relationship with water where I’ve talked to it but I do love the rain; to me, it has a calming element to it. I grew up sitting on the porch with my mom, listening to and watching the rain fall. She never wanted me to be afraid of the rain and I think it’s because of being close to the rain that I find it so soothing, as if perhaps it is a spirit saying there is nothing to be afraid of. I have tried cleaning a body of water before. During the summers my mom and I would go along the trail that goes by the river and we’d pick up any garbage we could find. We did this in honor of my friend who was a big environmentalist who passed away at the age of 12.