Shameless Murder

A recent YouTube lurking of mine brought me to a string of true crime documentary viewing late at night. Among those documentaries, I was introduced to a heinous crime – honour killing. For those who don’t know, an honour killing is when a family member – usually a female – is murdered or assaulted by her own relatives as a result of bringing dishonour to her household.

As with all murders, you wonder about the motives behind the killer and what they were thinking in the days leading to the crime. In the case of honour killings, whole generations of families come to the defence of the perpetrator and in fact, will aid them in escaping from retribution.

Now you start to wonder about how the families surrounding the killer thinks, how they bond over the deaths of their own family members who were slaughtered in the name of honour. What’s more, those who intend to unravel the truth essentially put their own lives at risk as the killer’s networks run deep and no one is willing to give information, only threats.

If the victims, who were fully aware of the dangers around them and their own impending death, could not save their own lives, who can?

Media 6 – Last Week!

The last week’s reading is by Howard Garder, a trained psychologist with a background in cognitive and neuro science, and for the purpose of this article he also draws on history, anthropology, and other ‘humanistic’ studies.

Through his writing, he aims to speculate 5 different minds that will be crucial and necessary to develop for the future and these are the following:

  • the disciplined mind: one who has ‘mastered’ a way of thinking, specific to scholarly disciplines, crafts, or professions
  • the synthesizing mind: consumes information from various, disparate sources, and makes meaning of their findings
  • the creating mind: poses new ideas, questions, fresh ways of thinking
  • the respectful mind: welcomes diversity on the level of individuals as well as human groups, seeks to work effectively with them
  • the ethical mind: thinks about how one’s work can benefit society and “the lot of all”

One of the main reasons why Garder has chosen these particular types of minds to present is because they possess not only ‘computational’ capabilities but also interpersonal, humanistic intelligence such as respect. Additionally, he reveals that these minds are the ones that are important for policy-makers.


Media 6 Week 5

This week’s reading by Judy Wacman discusses the issue of our time-poor society due to the proliferation of technology and machines. Instead of freeing up time for leisure and relaxation, technology has increased our pace of life and everyday life seems more rushed. She is interested in how we can make more time by developing our time management skills. And to do this Wacman suggests an examination of the aspects in our lives which are slowing down and speeding up.

Apart from technological change, she attributes time impoverishment to major shifts in the nature of work, composition of families, parenting, and trends of consumption. Consequently, a ‘digital detox’ does not necessarily suffice to create more time.

Wacman contends that a reformulation of working time, a reducing of work hours, is probably one of the most straightforward ways to lighten time pressure. However that is not always within the control of the worker as a capitalist economy gives employers the power to delegate hours, and also inflates desire for consumption. Gender issues also come into the question as unpaid and paid work within the household must also be added to the equation in the reformulation of work hours. Finally, the question of the work-life balance comes into the picture with the distinction between these two parts of life becoming increasingly blurred.

Other important points she notes are the social connotations of ‘being busy’. A person who is constantly busy with work appears more successful while a person with too much free time implies failure. As a result, a reduction of work hours is less and less desirable.

Media 6 Week 4

This week’s reading talks about some ways of approaching work. There are two mindsets introduced: the craftsman mindset and the passion mindset. The craftsman mindset is about honing your skills to the point of obsession every day, and really practicing whatever it is that you do until you’re so good at it that people can’t ignore you. The craftsman mindset is then a focus on what value you’re producing for your career, and the world in which you aspire. On the other hand, the passion mindset focuses on what the world you’re aspiring to has to offer to you. That is, what kind of fulfilment and joy does the line of work you’re doing/want to do have to offer to you. Is that job the ultimate profession that can satisfy your needs and desires?

The author dismisses this second mindset because he believes the world doesn’t “owe you a great career… you need to earn it – and the process won’t be easy”. I agree and and disagree with him. I think it’s important to work on skills and whatnot, but at the same time you want to be working for a career that is fulfilling to you. He counters arguments claiming the artists were already passionate about their careers and then adopted his craftsman mindset by saying Tice and Martin had anxiety and felt insecure about their lives, and that the passion mindset were not on their radar and that they started honing their skills before they were sure they wanted to. This is something I don’t buy. I don’t see how anyone obsess over something if they’re not smitten by it. They’ve kept at it for the umpteen years so they are obviously passionate enough to continue with their job despite their concerns.

Media 6 Week 3

The ‘formal-informal’ work model of many media workplaces tend to be glamorised as many media workers suffer from low pay, unpaid overtime, insecurity, and even exploitation. Such working conditions are especially severe for freelancers as the line between flexible and exploitation diminishes.

One may think that this only happens in small, informal businesses however even larger companies employ informal ways of sourcing and treating labour. For instance, a large enterprise who owns a subsidiary site that essentially works, content-wise, off of unpaid or low-paid associates or contributors is one such example. They house the content and make their revenue of the ads or whatnot, while the content is paid with one-off payment, or not at all.

Considering the above, freelancing and working in the media industry appears to be a difficult and taxing field to get into and find sustainable work due to the informal nature of employment, so why do people still go for such jobs? The reading argues that this is because people enjoy working in less structured and formalized ways than before, even the most in-demand employees of today. Another reason is because freelancers have nothing to lose by contributing, it can help build their resume, make connections, lead to something greater etc.

The reading suggests that in order for media industries to minimize exploitation and maximise decent work, there needs to be a formalisation of the recruitment practices, guaranteed basic income, unionisation, policy intervention and so forth. There is much we ask for it seems. “we want the stability of the industrial model as well as the seductive informality of the art, fashion and dotcom worlds; we want state support for workers without paternalistic bureaucracy; 9-5 wages without 9-5 drudgery…”.

2 Annotated Bibliographies

Gandini, A 2016, “Digital work: Self-branding and social capital in the freelance knowledge economy”, Marketing Theory 2016, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 123–141

Alessandro Gandini writes from the Department of Media at Middlesex University, London. In this extract Gandini, with reference to many other theorists, speaks about the process of freelancing and particularly it’s relationship to socialization as a means of acquiring employment or leads to employment – what is called “social capital”.

In self-branding practices, the act of socialising and forming relationships with others functions as an investment with an anticipated return. Building these connections and links becomes one’s social capital, an extremely important asset to possess in an era where job search relies heavily on networking.

Gandini also uses statistics which reinforce the growing number of freelance workers worldwide, particularly in the US and UK. He attributes this to a “neo-liberal push for project-based employment” and social media activity.

He then presents an empirical study which took place in London and Milan involving multi-skilled professionals such as illustrators, audiovisual producers, media workers, and communication designers – the main aim of this study being to make sense of the “cultural meanings of professional networks and contacts”.

Most interviewees had degrees related to their field and all had social media accounts such as LinkedIn and Twitter. The interviews and findings from them are explored, with the main findings being that one must be skilled in their field but also in the art of networking and exposing yourself in such a way that you are constantly visible; perhaps even using social media accounts to document your location in the case of one participant.

Many agree that there is much work done unpaid, self-branding included, but also the offering of free labour and some saw this as a strategic move while others found more success when they worked for themselves ‘for free’. Nevertheless, the survey indicated a strong relationship between free labour and eventual paid work indirectly from such gigs.

Holgate, J & McKay, S 2009, “Equal opportunities policies: how effective are they in increasing diversity in the audio-visual industries’ freelance labour market?”, Media Culture Society January 2009, vol. 31 no. 1, pp. 151-163

Jane Holgate and Sonia McKay write from the London Metropolitan University.

In their article, they discuss the implications of governmental policies within the changing media workforce landscape and talk about the direction of employment models in the media industry. They state that during the last few decades employment has been fragmented and insecure.

Holgate and McKay report that many people found it hard to find full time employment, more than 65% of youth 21-30 finding it hard to acquire full time work and 50% of all audio-visual producers working freelance in the UK.

Additionally, the article highlights the the lack of ethnical diversity in the media landscape, particularly from those of racial minorities. Studies they discuss also show a lack of women in the industry as certain occupations “remain the preserve of the men”. Such an outcome is attributed to the fact that employers failed to recruit labour from a wide range of sources.

Furthermore, they observed that policies intended to create diversity were in fact generating the opposite effect. They found that though companies had adopted equal opportunity policies, they had not followed through with equal opportunity practices. Moreover, their study found that workers were just as likely to experience discrimination in workplaces with equal opportunity policies as those without.

They conclude by arguing that non-white workers were given the additional burden of having to locate and construct relevant works, and were more reliant on non-formal ways of finding employment than their white counterparts, asserting that if this were to continue, a re-establishment of contractual relationships would be required.


Media 6 Week 2 Reading

Media 6 Week 2

Despite 5.5% growth of E&M companies, it appears the industry will continue to struggle and grow due to factors such as the trend toward free media and disinflation. However an closer examination of E&M spending against GDP of 36 different countries highlighted the rapid growth of E&M spending. E&M spending is even expected to outpace the growth of the GDP in more populated countries such as Brazil and Pakistan.

A mapping of 54 countries’ under 35 demographic and their projected E&M growth indicated an almost direct correlation. In countries such as India or Pakistan where much of the 35 and under bracket makes up their demographic, spending is projected to rise more rapidly. Conversely, in wealthier countries such as Germany and Japan whose demographic of 35s and under is among the lowest proportions in the world, a meagre expansion is expected. Therefore it can be said E&M spending is more impacted by the age of a country’s population rather than by their wealth.

It is reasoned that this is because younger consumers are more open to change and trying new technologies as their consumption habits are not as ingrained compared to the older generation.

Findings also suggest that audience’s preference in content remains local and this can be observed in countries such as the UK and China. In 2017, it is expected that China will overtake the US in box office revenue reinforcing this point. Some countries have also put into place legislation and restrictions on the amount of foreign content circulation.

Media 6 Week 1 Reading

4th industrial revolution clusters: physical, biological, digital.

Physical manifestations of technological megatrends include autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, advanced robots, and new materials.

Biological innovations have advanced to produce more efficient ways of genetic sequencing and activating or editing genes. The many health problems influenced by genetic components will benefit greatly from innovations such as genetic testing and manipulation as well as precision medicine and treatment therapies.

“The internet of things (IoT can be described as a relationship between things and people that is made possible by connected technologies and various platforms.” Increasingly, sensors and other means of physical-to-virtual connectivity will radically change the way industries are managed; think GPS tracking of a package; Bitcoin, a blockchain application; or the enabling of on-demand model of supplying goods and services (Uber, AirBnb).

In regard to how this effects our everyday life, the most obvious influence digitization has in the community is the emergence of the “me-centred” society. “Belonging” is now more defined by individuals’ values and interests rather than by a physical space, work, or family.

Not only is online media helpful in providing information, it also enables users a voice and therefore participation, however this can also be dangerous. Seeing as access is so readily available to anyone with an internet, there are understandable concerns over what content is being distributed and what audiences are receiving it. For example, the instance of propaganda being consumed by a vulnerable audience poses obvious threats to the community. Another potential danger is that technologies can be used by bodies such as governments to suppress activities by groups or individuals that seek transparency, want to promote change, or want independence.

Website Post

When I began scribbling ideas for my investigation in week 7, I had an idea of what I wanted my final product to look like even though we were told many times that a final product was not necessarily encouraged or required.

Some things I told myself I wanted to improve on was my directing skills, audio+visual editing skills, cinematography, and also communication skills since I would be contacting strangers. I think I have somewhat improved in all these aspects, apart from sound editing which I will go into later.

From an ‘administrative’ point of view, it was difficult to schedule times with each participant, let alone reach out to them. I contacted three actors from starnow, and two of them responded to my project and were happy to help, although we were not able to meet up a second time to film more refined footage. The shootings went well, but one thing I should take note of is the clarity and assertiveness of my instructions. Sometimes I found myself unable to tell the participants to re-redo an action because I felt I didn’t have the right to since they were helping me out. Looking back I do regret that I was not directive enough.

With my cinematography, rather than saying I’ve improved, it would be more accurate to say that I’ve tried a lot of new things that I probably would not have done in the past. I tried heaps of different camera movement, exposure changes, focus pulling, zooming, to the point I would probably say I overcompensated for the lack of movement in everything else I’ve done at RMIT.

In terms of editing, the main thing I focussed on were visuals. To be honest, I completely ignored sound editing because I was too concerned with the images. I noticed that I hadn’t done any substantial sound editing in week 11 or so, and tried to make a soundscape for my frictional experiment but I was unhappy with it so I just deleted it. That’s how I came use my friend’s piano piece for ‘Vertovesque’ – it was much better than what I tried to do on garageband.

From my first and failed attempt at editing montage up until now, I tried my hand at applying video effects several times. I dabbled in things like blurring, transitions, colour grading, and stabilising. Once, I tried applying a blur to the background of a video and it was the most frustrating, complicated, and time-consuming process ever. It legitimately took me 2 weeks to apply the video effect to a 7.5 second shot and the result was relatively subtle for something that, for me, took so much effort. It is highly likely that I didn’t do it in the smartest way though as I rendered the footage almost frame by frame. I learned out how to stabilise videos with the warp effect because my footage was too shaky so I guess that something good came out of that shaky camerawork.

The works that are representative of my research are all unrefined, test shootings that I would have liked to developed on. Given the chance, I probably would in the future. The videos do feel unsubstantial to me especially since they are meant to represent my investigation, and honestly it’s quite weird to not have something ‘final’.

Research works:

Collaboration Post

During the course of Film 3, there were multiple times where we worked in groups, collaborating on either group work or an individual work. For me, collaboration occurred mostly during the exercises we were given in our tutorials. In the first couple of weeks, since everyone was still learning how to use the equipment, the exercises were based more on practicing how to operate the camera and sound devices and I found my experience from The Scene helpful in these situations. For once I was useful.

After the technical things were dealt with, the focus moved onto framing, composition, focus, and ‘directing’. It was probably week 5 where we went off in groups to film something individually but in groups. This was when the communication skills were really put to use because we had to convey our ideas to one another and work out the best way to film it. At times we would review the footage and give each other feedback which is always helpful, and probably one of the best things about working with others.

When it came time to do our investigations/research I had to collaborate with strangers at the time – Nenad and Vivian. Both of them were willing to do what I asked of them, and understanding when technical difficulties occurred. Renee was also generous enough to help me with my audio. We would also communicate in the edit suites and help each other out with small, but potentially time-consuming, technical issues.

Actually, this semester I found myself collaborating with less people. It may be due to the nature of documentary or, at least the type I was going for, but I only worked with two other people at one time. Still, the shoots worked out quite well and I guess this is because it’s easier to co-ordinate and schedule a smaller group of people.

I think the bonuses of working with others are obvious – there are more heads thinking, we can exchange ideas, give feedback to each other, help each other with technical issues, work faster, give each other moral support – the list goes on. Pitfalls would just be scheduling and co-ordinating times, meeting places, equipment – the boring stuff.