Categories
Editorials & Blogs Marketing

Editorial: Hush Puppies New Line Release

Using a creative campaign brief I found online, I challenged myself to write up to 300 words on Hush Puppies. I employed their campaign background and goals to write an article advertising a ‘new line of clothing’ – this content could then be used for newsletters, blog posts or to send to potential stockists. I used a Keyword Planner to assist with using the best SEO possible, and made certain to use all mandatory elements on the brief.

To clarify, this editorial is entirely falsified and not representative of Hush Puppies whatsoever. I have simply used their brief as an example to help outline and display my content writing skills.

Hush Puppies is renowned for being innovative. Having brought you the first truly casual shoes, to developing technology that makes shoes more comfortable, our products are made as per your lifestyle and choices. At Hush Puppies, we pride ourselves in creating the most comfortable shoes for both walking, working, and enjoying life in, which makes us even more excited to announce that we are now introducing our best shoes yet. All our shoes feature the water, stain and scuff resistant WorryFreeSuede, so that our customers can lead simple and healthy lives without worry. Yet this summer, we have gone one step further to provide a style of shoe that touches the lives and imaginations of the customers who we care about most. By incorporating the newest technology, WaveReflex – which features technologies such as Zero G and Bounce – we have created a type of shoe that is not only near invincible, but flexible too. We are constantly striving to find new features that enable even more reason for our customers to relax when it comes to finding comfortable, durable footwear that is suitable for at home, at work, and most importantly, while walking. Therefore, it makes sense that our latest line also includes an all-improved dual-density foam footbed with contoured arch for better grip and more elegant shoe designs. Whether your ideal weekend is spent hitting up town or walking in the wilderness, Hush Puppies can proudly say its latest range has both style and functionality that cannot be beaten anywhere else, and our shoes are becoming more innovative each day. To celebrate our hard work, we are offering 25% off both women and men’s casual shoes: find out more about the latest WaveReflex range below now.

Categories
Editorials & Blogs Marketing

Editorial: Subscription Box Review

The brief for this paid task was to compose a review of 250-300 words for a subscription box service. I was given information regarding the subscription box, some specific words to feature (added more of my own with the aid of a Keyword Planner), and requested to use an informal but natural tone. I have redacted any information relating to the business specifically.

I have been looking for the right wellness box for myself and my partner to share for a while now, and when I discovered [brand name], I knew that I had found everything I wanted in a wellness subscription box!  Rather than just being a box of wellness products, the box itself provided a self-care experience – one that was very much needed! For my first box, I received [box name] which had everything I needed to engage in some self-care rituals and really treat myself right. The sizes of products were larger than I expected, and the smell of each item impressed me massively – no artificial smells, the smudge stick is of great quality, and the body butter I had also received was NOT greasy – something I am always looking for in my lotions! I am glad to have opted for the subscription service, for it has given me (and my partner) something extra to look forward to each month. As our [brand name] box arrives, we know that it is time to wind down and meditate as we use our new products. This is the beginning of my partner’s wellness journey too, and this box has easily provided him with everything he needed to get used to the act of self-care and the mental clarity that often comes alongside practising it! Whether you are used to managing your own wellness or not, I recommend [brand name] and its products to everyone for the same reasons – they make me feel great. It was only after ordering that I learnt all my subscription boxes’ contents are all natural and organic, which likely explains why they are so amazing! I could not recommend this box enough, looking forward to our next one!

Categories
Email Design Marketing

Email Design: Basic Email Examples

Below, I have provided two draft examples of basic email newsletters for two different types of business. These are designed using Mailchimp, and are optimised for desktop, tablet and mobile viewing. I am able to create more visually stunning emails using the pro-service of Mailchimp, but I do not fund this for personal use – more examples coming soon.

Categories
Events Marketing

Events: Posters & Flyers Examples

Below, I have used Canva to put together some example posters for various business adventures.

Categories
Marketing Social Media

Social Media: JLife and Hospitality & Events North

During the start of 2021, I was asked to form a social media schedule proposal with a small handful of examples in the form of a powerpoint for two Leeds-based magazines that wanted to grow.

My proposed ideas and examples for the magazines can be found here.

Categories
Events Photography Digital

Photography: Music ’18-’20

The below are various examples of musicians at live venues that I had the opportunity to photograph between 2018 and 2020.

The musicians I worked with are as follows: Loyle Carner, Miles Kane, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, DJ Teklife, Homeshake, ROAM, Atlanta House, Alfa Mist, The Crooks, Inhaler (Dublin), Black Midi. JAWS, and Barney Artist.

Many of these were photographed for university publication, The Gryphon. However, my opportunities with Atlanta House and The Crooks are ones in which I was specifically hired for.

Camera: Canon 40D – mixture of lenses. Edited in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Categories
Film

Film: Nomadland (2020)

On the surface, Nomadland is a deeply empathetic and visually beautiful picture of nomadic life in America. Having originally been Frances’ McDormands’ idea that she went to Chloé Zhao with, the narrative follows ‘houseless’ Fern (Frances McDormand) on her journey following the loss of her livelihood and her husband, and then intertwines this with the stories of real non-acting nomads along the way. Although, I have to say it, and ‘it’ is that something about Nomadland does not sit right with me as a viewer. The more I think about Nomadland, the more I think of reasons why this would have been so much better as an artistically driven documentary than a star-studded weaving of real nomadic life with the picturesque images of Fern’s fictitious nomadic experience.

To start on the lighter note, Nomadland is undeniably beautiful, and Zhao has drove home a film-making style that employs realism; there is a clear narrative here, intertwined with real-life experiences of Linda May and Charlene Swankie, that is somewhat indistinguishable from the truth. Zhao’s interest in the rural American life of nomads cast adrift by late capitalism pours through as Fern’s journey takes her across the United States, with beautiful visual language accompanied by an almost absent, yet incredibly powerful score provided by Ludovico Einaudi. Zhao has definitely taken an adventurous and daring approach which I can respect her for; an approach that is probably going to win her and her peers a lot of awards too. I can greatly appreciate the nomadic way of life becoming more popular and more desirable in the order of chaos that is normal, tethered life. However, I cannot help but feel as though the non-actors here – our real nomads – have been done a disservice.

While I can appreciate the film at a surface level, it does not go much deeper than that because Nomadland takes a few liberties; a few too many for me to be able to overlook them and appreciate the film on a deeper level. Being based on Bruder’s 2017 novel, Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, I expected more of a statement from Zhao’s film adaptation; more specifically, Amazon get off way too easily here. Fern has no complaints about her work with Amazon and because the film acts as a character study, we see Bruder’s excruciating indignation regarding capitalist exploitation switched out for a rather mixed message about freedom and loss that downplays the issues with gig labour, Amazon’s scheme for retirees, and ultimately, the reality of the journeys that nomads are on. In Bruder’s book, Linda May sharply declares that she hates working with Amazon, and deems the company to be “the biggest slave owner in the world”. Yet, in all of her clarity on camera, these opinions are omitted during Nomadland, in favour of showing us more of Fern’s compassion and sorrow. Additionally, think back to Charlene Swankie and her terminal cancer; this was an invented plot device. Swankie herself has never had cancer, yet she does share (off-screen) that “my ex-husband died of brain cancer, so that made me emotional during filming. My character is 99% me. I am fiercely independent and seldom ever ask others to help me, so it was exceedingly difficult to act like I needed Fern’s help. That 1% was acting.” Again, Nomadland’s message of human experience becomes muddled here; if this is a picture centred on universal human experiences and emotions, then why are we not showing more of the true stories of these nomadic non-actors on screen? Why are we showing more images of Fern refusing help and housing?

Frances McDormand’s role here is one of the more subtle roles of her career and I will not downplay her compassion and empathy here, as it undoubtedly shows. However, by simply omitting the mistreatment and exploitation that is a part of so many nomads’ lives, the filmmakers here end up diminishing their issues and our final outcome disappoints overall. That being said, Zhao did not intend to make a political piece, and this is a picture that will bring comfort to many. Zhao told Indiewire that she wished to avoid politics: “I tried to focus on human experience and things that I feel go beyond political statements to be more universal – the loss of a loved one, searching for home.” With this in mind, and the politics of Amazon and gig work at the back of our minds, Nomadland can easily be interpreted in two ways: it is the story of a woman running from her losses after everything she knew had vanished; but it is also a story of so many Americans who feel disconnected from society and lost within their own lives. It is easy to find comfort in Nomadland to an extent, as its images of anxiety and unrest are something we are all familiar with right now, and its gestures of kindness and being at one with nature are beautiful gestures which we all need reminding of.

While I agree that not every new picture made needs to be explicitly political to drive home a message, I simply cannot understand why Nomadland casted real nomads in a drama about their experiences – high and low – to then intertwine a less-vulnerable and much more supported character that essentially diminishes the real human experiences of Linda, Swankie, Wells and many other nomads. Nomadland can have the fact that is it beautiful, and in areas it is incredibly touching, but the film feels like a missed opportunity more than anything – maybe that is the point – but it simply feels as if the filmmakers here have intertwined the likes of a fictitious narrative purely in an attempt to resonate with a wider audience, and of course, the Academy. Regardless of this, I stand by the fact that nomadic life and experience has been somewhat done a disservice in Nomadland; the portraits painted of our characters here (both real and fictional) are ones that are painted with empathy and respect, so I have no doubts that Zhao really intended to create a touching, but non-political, picture here. Yet, I think a more powerful picture could have been made out of the fact that with nomadic life, there is no driving into the sunset, and we owe more screen-time to the stories of nomads themselves and Bruder’s condemnation of late capitalism, than that of a picturesque horizon.

Categories
Film

Film: American Mary (2012)

‘Everything is forgivable, if you do a good job.’ but this doesn’t apply to Mary Mason.

American Mary is my first watch by the Soska twins, and while it did leave me with mixed feelings, those feelings did not feature a moment of boredom. 

I do not like to start my reviews on a negative, but I would be lying if I didn’t note that the refreshing lack of boredom was also unfortunately accompanied by a few too many moments of disappointment. The daftest moment being that when Mary’s beloved Nana passes away, the first thing she does is delete her contact from her phone. Mary’s Nana passing away provided absolutely nothing additional to the plot, and the writing of this moment (I’m sorry Soska twins) was nothing less than stupid, unnecessary and unrealistic. This is unfortunately how I felt about a lot of the script, and American Mary’s rather rushed ending. 

Similarly, and as many other reviews have already noted before me, I am incredibly troubled by the rape-revenge narrative prevalent in female-led horror films. I am additionally troubled by the unnecessary sexualisation of females in horror – however, this did not stop my queer gore whore self from relishing in Katharine Isabelle pouring blood all over herself as she dances, and it also did not stop me from taking some form of pleasure in seeing her get her revenge. Yet, seeing Mary clad in tight PVC as she tortures her r*pist still troubles me – I feel as though the Soska twins almost definitely intended for Mary’s sexualisation to be in fact a form of her power; she is very much in control of her own body after her attack. This still doesn’t stop the horrific and unnecessarily long r*pe scene from troubling myself and other viewers. The video footage taken of Mary during her attack could’ve sufficed. While it is important for films to be graphic and feature violence to really burn messages into audiences’ minds, the r*pe scene of American Mary (and many other female-fronted horror, both classic and contemporary) seemed like yet another scene almost made for perverted male-viewing pleasure. For those of you have seen the likes of The Last House of the Left, or I Spit on Your Grave… you will know what I mean – and this greatly disappoints me from the female director-writer duo.

What I also found troubling – but fun – about American Mary, is how we are also led to genuinely be a fan of all the characters here (bar Mary’s r*pists). Lance, Beatrice, Ruby, and even Billy, all seemed to have some sort of weird sympathetic space in my heart by the end of the film – even though the likes of Lance and Billy maybe shouldn’t have done. However, when a man offers you ‘titties and shrimp’ following your brutal murder of your r*pist and a cop… it’s hard to not love him. With that being said, this film had a lot to offer besides its main plot. That being said though, I cannot fail to mention the scene in which Mary walks in on Billy receiving head from a ‘new girl’. Mary had shown no interest in Billy up until this point – and maybe she suddenly desired him after learning he had killed Dr. Walsh for her (however, it is not explicitly stated that Mary knows this and only an assumption) – but it still does not make sense to be in a film that begins with discussions of female empowerment. Mary’s anger should’ve been directed at Billy, for being just another sleazebag if anything, rather than Billy being turned into a ‘victim of unrequited love’ that we are almost asked to sympathise with.


While my list of issues with American Mary seems rather daunting, I did enjoy the film. Without the unnecessary rape scene, failed messages of female empowerment, and poor dialogue, this film could have easily exceeded my current opinion of it, but I will never be able to award a film that features such graphic r*pe scenes but yearns to scream ‘female empowerment’ more than 3 stars (out of 5). The premise of the film is incredibly strong, but I feel the Soska twins could’ve gone in a different direction that did not essentially glorify Mary’s brutal attack. The film in itself was still crafted wonderfully – the Soska twins employed a creative mixture of shots, some beautiful uses of light and music, and did a very good job of showing rather than telling. Through the character of Ruby Realgirl, and Mary’s eventual career in body-modification, we are provided with a lot of ideas regarding female empowerment, beauty-standards, objectification and sexualisation of women that I found to be quite powerful and quite important, but unfortunately, we simply did not see enough of Ruby (or even Beatrice, really) for this to overpower the issues I have with the film.

The ending was incredibly unexpected, but without any spoilers, I couldn’t have seen Mary ending up in any other way once we got to the final half an hour of this film. It did feel a little disappointing overall, but realistically, Mary was soon no longer a desperate student, and became what we can only describe as the ‘monstrous feminine’. Overall, the Soska twins have provided an entertaining film that is aesthetically pleasing to view and constantly keeps you guessing. The dark humour and unique side-characters really brought this film together for me and made me enjoy it overall, but sadly, I can’t help but with the Soska twins could’ve created something a lot more powerful here.

Categories
Film

Film: His House (2020)

‘Your ghosts follow you. They never leave.’

As his debut feature, Remi Weekes’ His House is packed to the brim with commentary and this is a film I’ll likely discuss, and recommend, for a long time. 

Weekes documents the horror, and inescapable trauma, of the refugee experience – particularly at the hands of the British asylum system and systematic racism. The pressure to adapt to a new environment while simultaneously handling displacement, racism and trauma is portrayed through the nightmares and visions of our characters, Bol and Rial, as they live as asylum seekers in London. 

Although the film was a slow burn, and some of the visual horror felt unnecessary, Weekes really stands apart from other directors in his portrayal of what I’d say is the most important aspect of the film – trauma. His House shows us that the ghosts of our past are brought with us everywhere we go, and in the case of Bol and Rial’s tragic circumstances, these ghosts can really push us to our limits. 

This is a promising start to Remi Weeke’s career. His horror debut doesn’t just tackle class and racial borders, but the plight of refugees too, and I commend Weekes for packing so much important social commentary into one short film. His House ultimately reminds audiences that this is a true story of trauma and not just a haunted house tale; and it makes me incredibly excited to see Remi Weekes future work.

Categories
Film

Film: Saint Maud (2019)

Saint Maud presents itself as a story of the darkest depths of loneliness and what this can really do to a person such as our beloved Maud. Sent to be a carer for a dancer and choreographer who is slowly dying from lymphoma, Maud tries to save her, but ultimately this is not the fate her God has decided for her. 

Rose Glass captures the trauma that Maud has faced wonderfully on screen – or at least, as wonderfully as you can capture a true tragedy. As a character, Maud is undeniably lost. She wants to feel love, to feel wanted and ultimately, she wantsto tackle her demons. As Maud went through every motion, it seemed to be Glass’ intention that the audience felt it with her. I did, and Rose Glass created a wonderful piece of art with Saint Maud

If more details had been revealed about Maud’s dark past, the exegesis of the narrative could have been entirely different. Which is what helps to make Saint Maud quite beautiful – the puzzle pieces of Maud’s backstory leave her fate entirely open to various interpretations from its viewers. 

As her directorial debut, Rose Glass has presented us with an incredibly strong female-fronted horror film. I just hope that Glass’ brings us a longer feature next time.