Thursday, 27 January 2011

Links with TV/Film - cultural influences

A main cultural form that has influenced us and that we would like to incorporate in our film is the idea of aboriginal art, the colours and patterns. We would like to involve the colours in clothing and settings, backdrops maybe or adding in colours and design later or overlapping the footage.
Whilst not strictly within the genre of New Wave, we liked the influence of The Sex Pistols on many New Wave bands, this documentary gave us a good insight into how the band was formed, costumes, props, gig's, etc.

The Sex Pistols - Full Documentary

In our music video we decided to use symbolic Australian icons, like the didgeridoo and the boomerang, both with aboriginal patterns on them, this works also well as a form of anchorage. Also we thought of using Australian road signs saying "Kangaroo's next 25km" or "Danger Crocodiles, No Swimming!" as it will almost create a juxtaposition for the characters in our music video.

Existing Videos for Ideas/Influence

Whilst our music video is a 1980's quirky pop song, I wanted to put a lot of the influence into the New Wave genre and the bohemian feel of the music. The band "Rogue Traders" gave me a lot of influence into the type of music video I wanted to create and the styles and colours I wanted to use, especially their song Voodoo Child. I like the use of colours and animation, it almost has a punk influence to it as well, which I think gives it a unique image.
I want to really emphasise the New Wave genre in the music video, so as well as looking at the video's of Men at Work, I am looking at Joy Division and some more contemporary music videos like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. I am also looking at inspiration from Glam Rock which helped inspire New Wave, like David Bowie.

Voodoo Child - Rogue Traders (2005)
The Video starts with the name of the song and band on a book, like a "Once upon a time..." style, it opens and zooms into a blank page with an animated pair of red lips on it, it starts to sing then the outline and shadow of the eyes and nose appear. There is a fast pace to the video, and good animation used. We actually see an animated version of the lead singer, though it is not two dimensional. The colours used are quite faint and dark, like the background and figures of the singer, but this contrasts with the bright colours used for the trees and objects in the video. There is good use of shadow used in the video, connoting that it is a darker theme and not a jolly childhood type of animation, with contrasting bright colours to go with the fun fast pace of the song and it gives it a punk style. As the song and video was said to be influenced by the Punk Revolution, especially The Sex Pistols and so there are links, like drawings of the skull with the top hat on, snakes, gravestones and bats. Also good use with the colours filtering through the sketches.

A Dustland Fairytale - The Killers (2009)

The Killers - A Dustland Fairytale

Found this low budget independent re-make/alternative music video of the song "Down Under", thought it was good inspiration and we can compare our music video to it nicely too.

The Band as a Brand/Rebranding

Men At Work, but more so the song "Down Under" is still recognised today and by people of all ages. 
A softer instrumental version of the song appeared in the 2008 advert for Qantas Airlines, it also appeared in the 2003  family comedy "Kangaroo Jack" directed by David McNally, as well as the 2001 Comedy "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" directed by Simon Wincer. Also for the movie trailer for 2003 Pixar animation film "Finding Nemo" directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, the song was played and yet it did not appear in the cinema or DVD release of the film, so perhaps it was used purposefully to attract the audience to the film.

have recently being featured in various adverts qantas airlines for example, TV programs and copyright lawsuit.
Down Under had allegedly showed a strong influence from ' Kookaburra' a well known children's rhyme. It has had various appearances in films, such as Kangaroo jack soundtrack. Down under was used on Finding Nemo's advertisements as well showing the song does have potential to appeal to a younger audience. TV appearances such as 'Scrubs 'My Hard Labor' and ' My Porcelain God'.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Podcast - 2 - Ideas for A2 Coursework

Podcast - 1 - Initial Pitches for A2 Coursework


Green screen or try to create the effect, for the opening.

Introduction sequence maybe starting a toy car engine similar to a jeep and ending in a empty car park, walking away to signify the end of the journey.

Main singer driving down a rural, overgrown road. But staying still just a moving background to signify or make the allusion of the band on a journey picking up people on his journey from a rural environment to a large city center, obviously in a well built area, maybe leeds or somewhere similar. Also reference to the zombie, drug reference, maybe try to create hallucinations. Or we could have a zombie walking down the street eating a veggie bite sandwich, with over the top gore adding humor.

To include the other band members maybe 4 members including the main singer. Have a drummer buskin on the street in a unusual location, the singer can than throw a coin or something in his hat, than joins in on journey, picking up each band member like this. Most likely to be George being the main singer and 3 other band members.

We haven't yet considered outfit codes but i think it will be quite bohemian.


Opening up in the town center, with someone not in the band as whilst he is playing the drums the band will be driving behind the drummer, in hippy van or ' a beat up combie' as it is referred to in the songs lyrics. Perhaps on the island in between the the two zebra crossings, sat alone. We are thinking this would be a long shot, gradually zooming in.

Cutting to them in the back of the van, drinking beer something, having a good time on their journey.

To be inter cut with them walking in a line along the moors, around sundown, with backpacks and instruments, to signify the different aspects of their journey.

Zombie ?

Falling ?

Unsure about chorus still.

Bar layout

Monday, 24 January 2011

Biography of the Band/History of the Track

Men at Work are the only Australian band to achieve a simultaneous number one album and single in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
In 1978 a duo between Scottish-born Colin Hay and Roy Strykert then later the addition of the drummer Jerry Speiser and the keyboard player, notable for the style of progressive rock, Greg Sneddon. In 1979 Sneddon was replaced with Greg Ham who was also a saxophonist and flautist, and John Rees on bass.
The name of the band comes from Colin Hay's attraction to the yellow road signs saying "Men at Work" on construction sites in Sydney.
The band was signed by Columbia records in 1981. Their first album Business as Usual, released 9th November 1981, went to number one in Australia, New Zealand, USA and UK. The band toured the USA supporting Fleetwood Mac as they tried gaining recognition and promoting their album.
Business as Usual was at number one in the USA for 15 weeks, and in October 1982 their new single Who Can It Be Now? also went to number one.

In January 1983 both single Down Under and album Business as Usual were at number one in USA and UK, their single Be Good Johnny received good airplay and attention in USA.
They won a Grammy award in 1983 for Best New Artist, as well as a Canadian Juno Award.
Jerry Speiser and John Ree's left the band, the remaining members then released their 3rd album Two Hearts which had very much a different feel to the other records they had released, emphasised mostly drums and synthesisers. Strykert then left the band during the album production, so new band members were hired - Jeremy Alsop on bass, Mark Kennedy on drums and James Black on guitar. Colin Bayley was then added as a third guitarist and Chad Wackerman replaced Mark Kennedy on the drums.
The addition of these new members gave the band a more jazzy, progressive rock style and perhaps pushed them more towards the New Wave music genre, not as pop as their earlier more bohemian, reggae inspired style.

Colin Hay has since gone onto release single albums though occasionally still reunites with Greg Ham to play at certain events like the Sydney Olympics in 2000 or in 2009 for the Australia Unites - Victorian Bushfire Appeal Telethon.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Genre Overview

The Music of men at work is not really a solid genre, but more a hybrid, New Wave is perhaps the closest single to describe it as, as well as Rock/Pop and to an extent reggae too.
New Wave is a subgenre of rock music, which was born in the 1970's in Britain and the United States, it coincided with the Punk Revolution, it was experimental and with classic rock aspects and more contemporary electronic and disco music.
New Wave musicians did not want to be associated with the Punk style anarchism of bands like The Sex Pistols but recognized in their own right. Many bands and artists arose as "New Wave" including Ian Dury, Dr. Feelgood and Elvis Costello. Bands like Madness were put into this category, adding dance beat to the style of music. The music later became softer and the add of synthesizer's making it more ambitious and less "pop" inspired. Similar to Joy Division and The Cure. During the 1980's many adopted the style of music like The Human League, Depeche Mode and The Pet Shop Boys. 
Current bands have been influenced strongly by this genre like The Killers, Bloc Party and The Kaiser Chiefs.

There is a connection with the style of music Men at Work perform and that of The Police as they both use a style of reggae in their music, being one of the first white and British bands to perform reggae inspired music, as well as the Clash. The Police are often classed as one of the first New Wave bands to gain mainstream success.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Treatment on "Down Under"

Men at Work - Down Under
George Scaife and Elizabeth McPhail

Down Under was recorded by the Australian band 'Men at Work' for the their debut album, Business as Usual, in 1981. It went to number one in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
The song has a sense of irony in it as it is now regarded as a patriotic Australian song, though this is in some ways a correct interpretation it is not the usual form, the song is more about people appreciating what the country has to offer and distance itself from the "plundering" of the country, and less about flag-waving and nationalism.
The genre of the song is known as New Wave-Pop, with a bohemian feel to it, the song uses a lot of percussion instruments as well as the "motif" of the flute instrumental between each chorus and verse, which caused controversy as many thought that was based on the children's song "Kookaburra Song" and led to a court case over copyright in 2009.

There are only the two of us in our group, Elizabeth and myself, It was initially my pitch and Elizabeth liked the idea so we joined forces. We decided that I would be the singer in our music video as I enjoy acting and singing and thought there would be scope here to do so and also find other people to play the band members. We thought we'd try to share the director role between us as well as filming, I will try take care of casting and costume, etc. and Elizabeth was going to focus on settings and location and as well props like the car.
The basic outline of our coursework is to create a promotion package of an album including a music video for our chosen track, being Down Under - Men at Work,  as well as a release cover - digipak and a magazine advertisement for the digipak.
Our Music Video is Joy Division meets the Rolling Stones, it will be a mixture of both Concept and Performance as we wanted to make the lyrics to the song metaphorical and interpret them ourselves rather than having a narrative video and taking the obscure lyrics literally.
The Music Video will have a core and secondary target audience, to an extent both equally important. Our core audience will be a youth audience, mainly eighteen year olds as it will be showed around school and therefore we want it to appeal to fellow students, as it is quite a punk/bohemian style this is likely to appeal to students and a younger audience (revolutionary?).
However as the original song is from the early 1980's we would like to re-vamp the song and get it to appeal to the people that already know the same well and were young when it was released, so a more mature audience may well be attracted to it as they were alive during the new-wave, punk revolution.

We want to create the feel of traveling in our video, and make a lot of the setting outdoors, the early shots of the film An American Werewolf in London spring to my mind, the whole back packer image climbing around of the moors, Australian tourist, whilst the song is in many ways about Australia it doesn't have to be set there. I'd like a lot of the clothing to be quite bohemian, individual andunconventional. There is a chance in the opening verse we may dress the lead singer or another band member up as a zombie, taking a metaphorical take on the use of drugs and symbolizing it without having to the show the smoking of marijuana as this would be illegal to show on a music video.
We would desperately like to be able to get a Volkswagen hippy van to use in the film as this would be perfect, though if this proves to be impossible then we have a quirky back up idea of using almost a toy car to add humour to our video. Again we would like to use a lot Australian cultural icons and symbols like Didgeridoo, Victoria Bitter/Foster's, Vegemite, Rugby, Cricket, Australian Rules, Aboriginal Art, Koala Bears, Kangaroo's, etc. Also the use of the Australian flag being prominent in many scenes to show the link to Australia and the travels of the backpacker.

For our digipak we had the idea of perhaps having a hybrid peace symbol/heart drawn on the floor and showing the feet of the and members around it, a variety of shoes - boots, sandals, etc., on the front cover. As well as the use of aboriginal art on the design of the digipak, and on the inside a nice band shot of them perhaps sitting on a sofa in the middle of a field, or a fence and wearing unusual clothing and yet creating a link between all the members.
Lead singer (Vocals/Guitar) - George Scaife
Guitar/Backing Vocals - Joseph Iliff
Drum/Backing Vocals -
Percussion (Flute, Keyboard, Harmonica, Saxophone) - Tom Bearpark
Bass/Backing Vocals -

Our opening shot will be of a bohemian/hippy character, member of the band playing the drums, like bongo's to the beat of the music. Banging down on them, done in a mid-close up shot, this will then either pull away or move to a tracking shot showing he is a busker on the side of the street/road and a (hopefully) Volkswagen hippy van drives past containing the rest of the band members.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Down Under - timings

Instrumental - 12 seconds

Traveling in a fried-out combie - 00:12
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie - 00:17
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous - 00:22
She took me in and gave me breakfast - 00:25
And she said, - 00:29

"Do you come from a land down under? - 00:30
Where women glow and men plunder? - 00:35
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? - 00:39
You better run, you better take cover." - 00:43

Instrumental - 00:47 - 00:56

Buying bread from a man in Brussels - 00:57
He was six-foot-four and full of muscles - 01:01
I said, "Do you speak-a my language?" - 01:06
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich - 01:10
And he said, - 01:14

"I come from a land down under - 01:15
Where beer does flow and men chunder - 01:20
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? - 01:24
You better run, you better take cover." - 01:28

Instrumental - 01:32 - 01:59

Lyin' in a den in Bombay - 02:00
With a slack jaw, and not much to say - 02:04
I said to the man, "Are you trying to tempt me - 02:09
Because I come from the land of plenty?" - 02:13
And he said, - 02:17

"Do you come from a land down under? - 02:18
Where women glow and men plunder? - 02:22
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? - 02:26
You better run, you better take cover." - 02:31

Living in a land down under - 02:35
Where women glow and men plunder - 02:40
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? - 02:44
You better run, you better take cover! - 02:49

Living in a land down under - 02:53
Where women glow and men plunder - 02:58
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? - 03:02
You better run, you better take cover! - 03:07

03:07 - 03:28

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Digipak's (EM/GS)

A digipak is usually made up in a "gatefold" style and of a card or paper fabric, and the term Digipak is the only common term refering to the type of packaging.
The style is generally used for CD single's or special edition CD's, they have been popular among artists and record labels since 2000. They are generally made to be more environmentally friendly and having recycable components in the trays of the Digipaks.
Digipak is a registered trademark of AGI Media, MeadWestvaco, Inc.

 This Digipak "A Strange Arrangement" by Mayer Hawthorne is a deluxe edition, it includes a full CD as well as a 4.5 Vinyl single, so here they are trying to make the special edition more attractive in a different type of case to the usual jewel case.
Sunday, 9 January 2011Digipaks

Digipaks are often present in the form of a book, either paperback or card with a binding. Digipaks are used an alternative to plastic cases or jewel cases by large record companies.
It is most likely a Digipak will be used for CD singles or special editions of CD albums.
However they do have limitations, the Digipak is not as durable as jewel cases. Showing signs of wear and tear relatively fast.
Digipaks grew in popularity within record labels and recording artists in the early 2000's, they have also recently become eco-friendly with trays being made of recycled bottles.
Digipaks were only available to buy in large quantities however a new product has recently being introduced called ' digipak i-create' it is a web-supported concept that allows you to access the same information about the band but also online music downloads, photo's. This does however allow for a wider target audience.
Usually made from: 300gsm card with matt or gloss varnish. Printed 4 colours (CMYK) or Pantone colours. Spot varnish, lamination and embossing available. - (animation of a Digipak)

Digipak Ideas

  • Maybe incorporate aboriginal art and obvious Australian themes and images.
  • Have the band featured on the cover.