Inventing Modern Movies

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Actor. Director. Writer. Producer. Radio personality. Media Celebrity….Inventor of movies?

These are all words to describe the famous Orson Welles. Yes, even the last one. Best for his radio broadcast, War of the Worlds, which is one of the most well known broadcasts in history. Along with the film Citizen Kane, Orson Welles is among the most celebrated media stars of the twenties.

Citizen Kane, a movie about trying to find the meaning behind the last words spoken by Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon. A reporter for the newspaper tracks down many people whose lives intertwined with that of Charles Foster Kane’s in efforts to decipher the riddle of the famous last word “Rosebud.” The movie itself, is entertaining and definitely one of the best, but it is all the theatric elements that differentiate if from other films of the time.

Welles contributed a lot to the film industry. Citizen Kane was his first and most famous movie, which he directed and starred in. In addition, he directed 12 other movies during his career. However, his creative process differed from that of other directors and producers at the time. Welles’ films are unique because they contained, at the time, distinctive features that set them apart from other films, such as straying from usual lighting, such as taking advantage of shadows, or utilizing different camera angles by increasing the close-up shots.These changes really revolutionized the film industry and later on become the new normal when making movies.

Orson Welles was also unique because he had so much more input in his film than other directors/producers/writers had in their’s. Because of how greatly he believed in the movie, a great deal of production cost was covered by Welles himself, and he took control of the whole film, redefining the idea of artistic freedom. Today, we now have a “Steven Spielberg motion picture” or a “James Cameron movie” all because of the original “Orson Welles film.” To read more about just how Orson Welles “invented film,” check out this related article.

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Got Milk? vs. Milk Life

We are all familiar with the tagline “Got Milk?” It’s become a phrase that everyone recognizes from the many printed ad campaigns and TV commercials featuring celebrities wearing the famous milk mustache. The idea was to convey that everybody drinks milk, even Misha Barton who played the beloved character Marissa Cooper on TV show The OC. . . For the past 20 years, this campaign has been constant, however, it is time for a change.

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The company Lowe Campbell Ewald is in charge of the milk ads, and has decided that “got milk” is no longer cutting it. Though the catchy campaign promotes cool famous people drinking milk, consumers weren’t ever really motivated enough to buy it.

“Milk Life” is the new tagline which is replacing “Got Milk?” The hope for this phrase is that it promotes the health benefits and daily achievements of normal, everyday people that milk can provide, rather than using celebrities to lure consumers in. The printed ad depicts a little girl with wings made of milk, making her appear to be strong and brave. Even the wording is promoting the importance of protein that is found in milk.

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Mass communication through ad campaigns really gives us an insight to what society wants and values at the time. It is interesting that the “Got Milk?” campaign was such a success for so long but all of a sudden needs to be replaced. What changed? Having to create new ways to connect to people through ads shows us that perhaps society is valuing celebrity opinion less than before. Maybe there is a shift toward a more positive and healthy lifestyle. Lately, juicing, cleansing, and “eating clean” have all been trends, and this new “Milk Life” ad fits right in. I think it was a huge risk to replace “Got Milk” since it has almost become its own brand. But because people and society are changing everyday, I can understand the need to update forms of communication that no longer appeal to consumers.

Let’s just hope “Milk Life” sticks the way “Got Milk” did for all those years.

Click here to read an article about the 5 lessons executives in the “Got Milk” campaign learned!

Is the radio worth listening to anymore?

As the world progresses toward a more technologically dependent society, it’s difficult to create boundaries for ourselves. With more and more technology advancing each and every day, we have become accustomed to a more fast-paced and efficient lifestyle that revolves around making life more hassle free, whether its with our phones, computers or other machines.

We all know that many machines have replaced factory workers who create the products we use all the time. At the grocery store, it is common to see a self-check out machine, rather than only check-out aisles monitored by a clerk. Examples like this bring out some questions we should ask ourselves. Is all this technology all the time a good thing? When does technology become too much? Where do we draw the line?

We are seeing a new type of technology rising in the radio industry- voice tracking. Essentially, voice tracking is substituting live on-air talk with a pre-recorded sound that can be efficiently sent out across the country and broadcasted miles away from where it was created.

It sounds harmless (and maybe it is) but there is a debate about its ethicality. But first, let’s weigh the pros and cons:

Pros:

-It is cheaper for the radio station to employ only a few DJs who can voice track, rather than keep multiple DJs around the clock for live work.

-It can be used to fill in the radio gaps on holidays, when people should be spending time with family or late hours of the night.

-Emergency situations would allow for quick and easy mass communication of an important radio messages that were ready to be sent.

-It promotes a more modern, technologically advanced society that allows us to do less because machines can do more.

Cons:

-The demand to hire DJs for all hours of the day and night has decreased. Not as many jobs are available due to the efficiency of voice tracking.

-You cannot voice track any radio show that involves people calling in, therefore that limits the use of voice track. It could also encourage the radio industry to decrease the amount of shows that require interaction between the DJ and listeners.

-Essentially, voice-tracking is lying to listeners because they believe that the radio stream is live, happening in a nearby area.

-The station loses that fun, authentic feel of listening to someone who is live.

-If a piece of radio sound is voice tracked in one region and then broadcasted in another, there might be differences between the cultures, accents and other aspects that are dead giveaways of  its real origin.

To see more pros and cons about radio voice tracking, click here)

Personally, I do not prefer voice tracking to the real live radio. I think what has always made the radio unique is that it is a live broadcast in which people can communicate with each other. I also think that DJs require a certain amount of skill to be able to keep a listener’s attention, as well as drawing in telephone callers.

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I believe that voice-tracking can definitely be a useful tool in case of emergency situations when getting the word spread out to large audiences is essential. I also believe that when a very well known DJ, such as Ryan Seacrest, who is loved by many, records something for the whole country, it can be a benefit for people who don’t live in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. But I don’t think that it is necessary in normal day-to-day life with all radio stations. Almost anyone with a computer and an idea can make their own podcast these days. So, what makes voice tracking different from that? I don’t see where there would be a difference in being on the radio, versus just making soundbites in your garage.

I think that there are some things that society should keep, even when technology offers something better. For example, we are losing bookstores left and right to the creation of e-readers. My hope for the radio is it to preserve the live DJs who made the radio what it is today.

Website referenced to write this blog post:

http://radio.about.com/library/weekly/aa081103a.htm