How I created the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum Media Kit (Journal Entry 1)

To create the North Stadbroke Island Historical Museum Media Kit (http://www.stradbrokemuseum.com.au/),
I first approached the museum board for a confirmation to do so. After the affirmation, I went to the museum to got a ‘feel’ of their displays and ‘atmosphere’. I was granted private access to all of their exhibitions, publications and records.

Photography by Josephine Ellis

During my visit to the museum, I attained the themes of the fact sheets that would aid the museum in their dealings with the public. I explored the museum by myself, I perused records, and I inhaled the general aroma of the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum. I discovered a whole treasure trove of interesting stories and facts and figures (it was very difficult to stay on track) to go along.

Courtesy of the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum

I decided to write my profile on Australia’s first published indigenous writer, Oodgeroo Noonuccal. I felt particularly drawn to this strong woman as she challenged fairness and equality for all while maintaining dignity, calmness and valour. This is the introduction I wrote,
“Kath Walker was a poet, artist, storyteller, activist and educator. She was born on the third of November, 1920, at North Stradbroke Island and was christened Kathleen Jean Mary Ruska. Oodgeroo returned home to Minjerraba (land of the mosquito or North Stradbroke Island), after extensive campaigning. She died at her home on Stradbroke Island on 16th September, 1993.”

I created a school fact sheet about North Stradbroke Island, and a fact sheet on the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum. The Dunwich Benevolent Asylum provided many initial foundations for the Island, such as, Post Office, telegraph, causeway (still in use today), recreation hall and Dunwich Provisional School (1904).

.

I then compiled a general backgrounder about the museum itself. The meaning of the logo interested me as they have drawn from the indigenous and white cultures.
“The logo of the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum consists of two elements.
The carpet snake (rainbow serpent), Kabool, is a powerful traditional symbol of the Noonucal Goenpul and Ngugi tribes of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island).
The motto for the Stradbroke Coat of Arms is “le vive in espoir” which means “I live in hope.” The island was named in honour of the son of the first Earl of Stradbroke.

Courtesy of North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum

Also, I wrote a media release for an upcoming event at the museum and accompanying media pitches. I then edited and assembled my print media kit, using photo’s from the museum archives.
Even though this assessment was demanding in content, I did enjoy the process and am definitely prepared to repeat the experience again.

Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis

My research of ‘Film Noir’

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/film%20noir) defines film noir as a “type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music.”

Film Noir is ‘dark film’. The term was penned by film critic Nino Franklin in 1946.
Westcombe (http://www.crimeculture.com/Contents/RW-ThingCalledNoir.html)
provides a basic history about the inception of film noir;
“In the early part of the 1940s France was occupied by the Nazis, making it enemy territory forbidden to receive Hollywood product. By war’s end there was a half a decade backlog of American movies which hit French viewers suddenly in one rush. America’s movies were growing darker in the 1940s – not just visually, but in terms of theme and content. There were numerous reasons for this, springing from changes both in consciousness and practicalities. The world had become a darker place.”

<

The act of war ensued that people had a broodiness about them. Hardship, death and sadness was ever-present and people were coming to terms with loss and sorrow. Obviously, these emotions (and situations) were mirrored by Hollywood film makers, such as (http://www.eskimo.com/~noir/directors/index.shtml)
– Otto Preminger, Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Jules Dassin, Edward Dmytryk, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Fritz Lang, Anthony Mann and Orson Welles (It is interesting to note that the infamous movie, Citizen Kane, was Orson Welles; first feature film, which he directed, produced, co-wrote and played the lead role. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/citizen_kane/).

<

The despair and grief of post world war two inadvertently created one of the best (arguably) genres of film making.

<

Every film noir movie includes a hero or anti-hero (corrupt characters and villians, conflicted hard-boiled detectives or private eyes, cops, gangsters, government agents, a lone wolf, socio-paths or killers, crooks, war veterans, politicians, petty criminals, murderers, or just plain Joe’s http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html), and “thematically showed the dark and inhumane side of human nature with cynicism and doomed love. They emphasized the brutal, unhealthy, seamy, shadowy, dark and sadistic sides” of life (http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html).
The storylines were often elliptical, non-linear and twisting (Narratives were frequently complex, maze-like and convoluted, and typically told with a foreboding background music, flashbacks, witty, razor-sharp and acerbic dialogue, and/or reflective and confessional, first-person voice-over narration http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html)
and were shot with expressionistic lighting (deep-focus or depth of field camera work, disorienting visual schemes, jarring editing or juxtaposition of elements, ominous shadows, skewed camera angles, circling cigarette smoke, existential sensibilities, and unbalanced or moody compositions http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html).

In 2012, the use (and discussion) of recognised film noir elements has constructed specialised film noir studies (http://www.filmnoirstudies.com/), festivals and modern day film noir movies.
Blaser (2008) notes that the topic of modern day film noir “is as vibrant and intriguing now as it was seventy years ago.” Contemporary film noir movies aim to expand on the film noir movie’s of the post war era.

<

My contemporary film noir list is as follows, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Black Swan, LA Confidential, Blade Runner, Edward Scissor Hands, Seven, Basic Instinct, Minority Report and Madonna’s Vogue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuJQSAiODqI#

Although, it is the great and idolatry people that have helped create film noir as we now know it. I give homage to the fantastic;
Humphrey Bogart,
Rita Hayworth,
Marlene Dietrich,
Greta Garbo,
Katharine Hepburn,
Jean Arthur,
Lana Turner,
John Garfield,
Orson Welles,
Lauren Bacall,
Gloria Grahame,
Lee Marvin,
Charleton Heston,
and Janet Leigh.

References

Blaser, John and Stephanie Blaser. (2008). Film Noir Studies. USA: John J. Blaser and Stephanie Blaser. Retrieved from http://www.filmnoirstudies.com/.
Dirks, Tim. (2012). Film Noir: Part 1. New York, USA: American Movie Classics (AMC). Retrieved from (http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html).
Hill, Karl and Christina Lui. (2008). Noir Directors. Seattle, USA: Noir. Retrieved from (http://www.eskimo.com/~noir/directors/index.shtml).
Merriam-Webster. (2012). Dictionary. Massachusetts, USA: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/film%20noir.
Rotten Tomatoes. (2012). Citizen Kane (1941). USA: Flixster, Incorporated. Retrieved from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/citizen_kane/.
Westcombe, Roger. (2003). What is this thing called Film Noir, anyway? Retrieved from http://www.crimeculture.com/Contents/RW-ThingCalledNoir.html.

How to create Murder Mystery atmosphere (journal entry 3)

The Creating Atmosphere Project (assessment 3) for COMU1152 Public Relations Writing (UQ, Semester 2, 2012), called for a group of people to create atmosphere via various visual forms. The other four girls and I successfully managed to create a ten minute presentation within a murder mystery theme.

The project included the tasks;
a 30 second visual piece (a short movie about the murder, alibi’s and characters),
a poster promoting an event (a wanted poster),
a six hundred word written piece (diary entries of the deceased),
a build up of atmosphere in ten minutes (we created atmosphere by use of costumes, characters and filling the gaps with relevant dialogue).

This is the step-by-step process that my group undertook to create a successful murder mystery atmospheric theme.

Step One – Create a theme, characters, setting and loose plot.
A Murder Mystery set in Australia during the 1920’s.
The characters are;
Scarlett Lawnton – a famous movie actress who was found face down on her dining room floor, with a pistol beside her,
Lucile James – an unsuccessful actress who is jealous of Scarlet and said she was having a bath at the time of the murder,
Bethany Walker – Scarlett’s oldest friend is in love with Scarlett’s husband and maintains she was in her car at the time of the murder,
Olivia Taylor – Scarlett’s sister who is looking after their ill father and wants the inheritance money, she claims she was at home when the murder took place,
Private Detective Whimsy – a friendly fellow who is following the trail of murder.

Step Two – Create a 30 second script and arrange filming; organise costumes, props and location.
Research


The online merriam-webster dictionary defines film noir as “a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music.”
Props
the gun

Step Three – Research and write the 600 word diary.

June 10th, 1921

I have never felt so stressed and bothered. My dear husband has finally left for his business trip and it’s a small relief to have him away for the next two weeks. But at the same time I really don’t like it when he is away, I get so lonely, all by myself in this big house.
Bethany Walker also asks me so many pesky questions about when he is leaving and his return, and where he is staying. I asked her the other day if called for me, or to talk to my husband. That stopped her short.

Not to mention, I have the final audition today for a marvellous Busby Berkeley film. I’m quite positive I’m going to get the role: it’s down to Lucile James and me. Quite frankly, her acting is like a dead fish floating on water. Busby Berkeley’s assistant even told me that Busby has quite the disdain for her.

And yet aside from having a wonderfully established film career, I still sift through moments of loneliness and for all my fame I haven’t a real, true friend in the world.

I think I’ll invite Bethany and Lucile for dinner, and try to build some sort of bridge between us. All this quiet animosity is too much sometimes. I’ll invite Olivia too. Lord knows she’s been the most wonderful sister, caring after Daddy. I try to help, but I have so little time.

June 15th, 1921.

It’s too late to cancel the dinner now, I have already invited the girls but it’s going to be a dreadfully tense night. I wish my dear Richard was home to lighten the mood. But then again, the looks Bethany gives him it’s probably best to keep them separate.

Oh, I saw Daddy today, his health is rapidly declining, I can’t bear to see him in so much pain. However, he was awfully glad to see me. And I know why, because as lovely as my sister is, she’s a dull, straight girl and father needs a little life.

Unfortunately for Olivia, she did not inherit my good looks or my flair for acting. I don’t know how she can handle such a dreary life. Even though I haven’t seen her in six months, I almost had to twist her arm to get her to take a break from Daddy. It will also get her out of her frightful little cottage down by the gully. Only if her husband did not spend so much time gambling…

June 16th, 1921.

The dinner is tonight.

I can’t stop thinking about Olivia’s snotty letters to me. I know the real problem with Olivia is Daddy’s will, and I’ve told Daddy he doesn’t have to leave me anything. Richard and I are more than fine in the finances department. I’m a movie star for God’s Sake! But he will not listen to reason.

The rest of my day was quite successful. I’ve had housekeeping finalise the details for the decor for dinner and I have purchased the most splendid gown. Not to mention I had a divine lunch with my new director, Busby Berkeley (he broke the delightful news to me at lunch!). Although, I did not think he would announce it to me before the dinner tonight.

Everyone knows I’m a far superior actress than Lucile but I feel dreadful for her. She can hardly hold her tongue when she’s mad. She has the most fiercest and irrational temper. How I loath her when she has become angry. If she chooses to be like that tonight, I’ll be sure to give her a piece of my mind. Unless, of course, I give Bethany a piece of my mind first. I’ve found out the most terrible things about her and Richard. I can’t even bear to write it yet…

Step Four – Shoot, edit movie and lay a script for the presentation.

Script to include monologues from Private Detective Whimsey.

Step Five – Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.
Learn lines
Ensure there are no problems with the movie
Practice with the tutorial technical equipment.

Step Six – The day of the presentation
Bring costumes
Bring props – gun, diary, diary entries, posters and a detailed description of the suspects.
Ensure all technical equipment is working.
Pat each other on the back and give the Lecturer a cookie.