Taylor Swift on 1989, Spotify, Her Next Tour and Female Role Models


To read all about Taylor Swift’s rise and significance, check out the feature story on the singer in this week’s magazine. But not everything could fit in the story, so here’s the rest of what Swift told TIME. The moment’s most successful recording artist has big theatrics planned for her 2015 tour. And she’s praying for an Iggy Azalea cameo. While she struggles to name a role model in the music industry, she finds herself looking up to Mariska Hargitay, the actress behind Olivia Benson, and Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, these days.

For the rest of Swift’s thoughts, including why she ditched streaming music service Spotify, how she writes a song and the media’s portrayals of women, here are excerpts from our conversations.

Why did you leave Spotify? I’m in an office of people who are upset they can’t stream your music.

Well, they can still listen…

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Morning time and life

Last night was one of my worst nights I’ve had, it was so difficult. I hated life and couldn’t see much good about it… But I’m not going to talk about that, instead I’m going to talk about what happened when I woke up.
I woke about 7:30am and as I lay in bed waiting to fall back to sleep I heard some banging on the roof and gutter near my bedroom window. I’ve heard this a few times so I didn’t think much of it, however it seemed to be a little louder today so I kept thinking “I wish you’d keep it down, I’m trying to sleep” and eventually it did stop.
A few minutes later though I heard some chirping, I smiled slightly because what I had just heard must have been an excited mother anxiously waiting the arrival of her babies.
I’ll admit that when I first woke up I was annoyed because it was so early but it was for good reason I guess as I heard a family of birds that changed my perspective on life from what it had been the night before. My perspective is brighter now.

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Research evaluation

The reason why research is so important for when it comes to making a documentary is because the filmmaker needs to have a broad understanding of the topic of the documentary they are making and to find people to interview for it. There is two different types of research; quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research is to do with statistics, mathematics etc. data such as questionnaires, pie charts and so forth.  Qualitative research is very detailed research of a specific topic to get a more thorough understanding of it, this can be done through the Internet, reading books from a library or bookshop and interviewing people that know about the topic whatever it may be. The reason the filmmaker needs to have a broad understanding of the topic of the documentary they are making is because they need to find out valuable information that would be good to discuss in the documentary to educate the audience on the topic being discussed. Another reason for research is for the filmmaker needs to figure out what angle they want to take with the documentary.

Some of the qualitative research I’ve done was on the Internet i.e. reading articles about comics, watching documentaries about comics and looking at comic book graphics, as I will be planning on adding them into my documentary (for the interviews where I will be using a green screen and also for my opening and end titles). Some other research I’ve done is interviewing people and looking at the age ranges of people who read comic books; through different decades and also in the present day. I also plan in the next few weeks on looking into how many comic books people read throughout a whole year and how much they roughly spent on buying them, these are both examples of quantitative research.

The role of the researcher in the case of my documentary is to firstly pick a topic that will be of interest to me; so I picked comics. Then to research different things about comics and to figure out what kind of angle I want to take with it.

My original objectives were to come up with a good documentary idea that I would really enjoy making and get some interesting research done for it. My objectives were met.

A modification that I made with my documentary was the structure of it therefore slightly changing the research I had to get done for it. The change of the structure was from the documentary going from focusing on just superheroes to then being about comic book culture and superheroes. I made this change because when I went to film at The Big Glasgow Comic Weekender the people I interviewed weren’t just fans of superheroes, they were more into comics and/or anime so it was better to ask them more about that stuff. So instead of researching just superheroes I researched comic books as a whole and things relating to them such as the culture, writers, illustrators, cosplayers and conventions etc.

There weren’t really any alternative courses of action with my research stage apart from turning the focus slightly away from superheroes to also include a bit about comic culture.

The majority of my research stages worked, the only problem I had was getting a reply from Frank Quietly so I decided that I would try to contact other artists whether they are professional or still at college/university.

I think when it came to researching for my documentary the only weakness I had was contacting people to see if they would want to be interviewed for the documentary as I struggle a lot of the time when it comes to talking to people. So therefore everything else I did while researching was strength.

I think my research stage went a lot better than I thought it would and I really enjoyed researching for the topic I had chosen, as I am a comic book fan myself.

I have been thinking that if I have enough time to that I could maybe write a short comic strip and see if I could find anyone to illustrate it for me then I could add it into the end of my documentary for an extended version of it.

When it comes to my production stage I will need to stay focused and always keep my plan in my mind so that it doesn’t fall apart but to also not be too attached to it in case I find something a bit better.

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Showreel/creative aspects evaluation

This year at college my creative aspect of my graded unit work included camera techniques, editing, using After Effects, Photoshop, a little bit of Protools and making a WordPress blog for my work to go up on.

I loved making the WordPress blog and I think that I will actually continue using it once I’ve finished college. When I first saw WordPress I thought it would be quite tricky to work but in fact its easy and simple to use just like most social networking sites. I made myself a header with my production company name and logo on it and made the background colour purplish, for my background I made it a photo I had took of my graphic novels and it went well with the purplish colour on the header I had set. The work I decided to put on my blog was my short films from my NC and HND courses, documentary reviews and a film analysis I had wrote this year, my journal entries for my documentary, my documentary, my short film and maybe my drinks advert too.

During the production stage of my documentary I got a little more confidence when using a camera and so when I came to shooting for my short film I done all the camera work for it which I really enjoyed and even managed to get some shots I really liked. The production stages for both went well but could have went a lot better, especially with the short film, if I had spent more time filming and not leaving it to so near the deadlines. Also, with my documentary I should have filmed a lot more interviews etc so that when it came to editing I would’ve had a lot more footage to choose from to include in the documentary and get the best possible story.

In my production and post-production stages of my documentary I created comic book graphics to include in it, I done this by using Photoshop and After Effects which has given me more confidence to use them in any future projects I will be working on.

When it came to editing my documentary I found that this was my strongest stage in the production and it was also the stage I enjoyed the most, it was nice seeing all my footage coming together. I was well organised with all the media files, which I found a good thing as my workspace was tidy and I could find the footage I wanted without needing to waste time looking for it.

I admit that once all the files were on Avid, I had a little trouble with deciding where to start i.e. I wasn’t sure how I wanted the documentary to begin so I thought it would just be best to review all the footage and determine what clips I would want in the documentary.

Once this was done I started getting an idea of how I would want the structure of it to be so I began putting a sequence together and eventually had a rough cut done. After the rough cut had been shown to the class and I got back to editing I took all the feedback into consideration, I duplicated the rough cut sequence and started messing about with the structure.

I think this was the strongest and most confident I’ve been when editing something, I had a good idea of what I wanted it to look like and what effects I wanted to add to it. If I was trying something a little new to me (i.e. the effects) then I would muck about with it to teach myself how to do it but if I did end up really stuck with whatever it was then I just asked my lecturer for help. I think my only weakness was perhaps time keeping, however I did manage to meet the deadlines.

When it came to editing my short film I really enjoyed it after learning new things on Avid when I was editing my documentary so I was excited to get started on the edit. I found that this was my strongest stage in the production, just like it was with my documentary. I was well organised with all the media files, which I found a good thing as my workspace was tidy and I could find the footage I wanted without needing to waste time looking for it.

Once all the files were organised into bins I began syncing the audio and video clips then putting sequences together for each different scene and after I done that I made a sequence as a rough cut.

After letting some people watch my rough cut (lecturer and classmates) I got feedback on any changes I should make and took it all into consideration for the fine cut. I then began looking for music on http://www.freestockmusic.com/ that would be suitable to fit in with my film. It was difficult to find royalty free music that would go with the mood of my film but I got there in the end, sort of.

My edit and short film as a whole could have a lot better if I hadn’t rushed it but I think it turned out quite good with the time frame I had left myself, but I will need to work on my time keeping for future projects to get the best possible end project.

Making my showreel was easy, I just had to put all the footage I wanted to use for it on to Avid then put it all in a sequence. I’m quite happy with it but it could have been better.

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Paperwork evaluation

The role of a producer is to plan and also oversee the full making of a film before it is viewed to the public. When it comes to making professional films you need to have a few things in place first before you begin filming, such as; the script, synopsis, treatment, recce reports, risk assessments, shooting script(s) and storyboard(s). The reason that a producer would need all this paperwork in place is because it would be more difficult to shoot a film without an idea of what exactly has to be shot so a script is needed for the storyline and so actors can learn and memorise their parts, a synopsis and treatment to pitch the idea to production companies, film distributors etc. Shooting scripts and storyboards to tell the director, camera operators, audio technicians and actors the setup of the shoot and you’ll need recce reports and risk assessments to have all cast and crew aware of any dangers or disruptions that could happen on the shoot.

When it came to my short film and documentary I had all these things in place before I began the production stage. So I think my performance of a producer was rather good in the pre-production stages of my documentary and I really enjoyed this stage. I liked thinking up ideas and then settling on one to actually do. I made my documentary about comics, which is something I’m interested in so the research part of the pre-production stage was enjoyable and I even learned a few things about comics that I hadn’t known beforehand. The reason I chose the comic idea over the mental illness idea is because I thought it would be better fitted as I knew it could grasp my attention for the whole college year because it wasn’t a heavy topic and I could have fun with it. My research part involved looking up things on the internet and watching different documentaries to get a good idea of how they are made, I watched a few comic related documentaries including ‘Superheroes’ and a documentary film about the life of comic book writer Harvey Pekar called ‘American Splendor’ which I then wrote reviews on. I think watching these documentaries really helped me come up with ideas for the one I made, it was while watching them I decided that I would want quite a lot of comic book looking graphics in mine such as the narrative boxes for when the interviewees names came up on screen.

But during my research stage the angle of the documentary changed a lot, the first idea I had was to talk briefly about the history of comics, the different ways in which comics can now be read and also to talk about the stereotypes of comic book fans.

When I was researching the history of comics I found out just how long a lot of the popular superheroes have been around so decided that I wanted the documentary to focus a little more on superheroes rather than comics as a whole. A few other ideas for the documentary that came to me over the research stage were talking about; the price of comics throughout the years, trivia time with the interviewees, why I and others think superheroes are popular, words people associate with superheroes. I also thought that it would be a good idea if I went to a comic event/convention to talk with enthusiastic fans and if I spoke to people that work in the comic industry, whether it was writers, artists, publishers or just someone who sells comics in a shop.

As I said a little earlier in the evaluation during my pre-production stage I thought it would be a good idea to have comic book graphics in the documentary so I spent hours looking for good tutorials, trying out different effects and practicing on all types of photos so I could find something I liked.

Also for my documentary I kept a written journal on Mahara and updated it frequently about what I was doing in the process of making “Addicted To Comics”.

When it came to my short film I had thought up a few different ideas for the storyline and wrote a script for each of them. My short film was weak considering I kept putting it off because I wanted to focus on my documentary, I should have instead focused on both of them equally. With the idea I had settled on I only spend a few hours of a day on writing the script, if I had spent additional time on it then I think it could have been a more compelling story. If I had took extra time with this short film it could have turned out a lot better than it did as I really liked the plot when the idea first came to me.

Therefore to sum up in evaluating my role as a producer I think there are definitely some things I could have done to improve my projects. When it comes to documentaries I need to take more care when thinking of good and interesting questions to ask when I’m interviewing people and with any length of films I need to make sure I don’t rush the paperwork for it, especially the script. So in future projects I will take all this into account and spent more time on the pre-production stage.

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HND Film and Television Production ’14 showreel

In college as part of our graded unit we were to make a showreel completely on our own of what we thought was some of our best work from that year, this is mine.

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Week 39 and 40

(28th May-6th June)

Finished fine cut and uploaded it to Youtube. Had presentation of it on friday the 6th of June which went really well. Glad my lecturers liked my documentary 🙂

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Coming soon!

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Short film!

I admit that this my best work as I rushed it and was also focussing more on my documentary.

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Here is the finished documentary, enjoy!

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