Owen Darlow Gold Unit 1: Part C

Arts Award Gold Qualification Specification:

  • research into more advanced arts practitioners, their work and any organisations that support them, including details of any contact with the more advanced arts practitioners chosen or others involved with their work
  • ◗  reviews of relevant arts events
  • ◗  reflection on how their research and experiences have influenced their own arts practice and/or plans and how they might develop their arts practice in the future (integrated)

In this section you will find:

  • Review of The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe – The Bridge Theatre 30/01/2021
  • Architecture Tour of London – London 2022-2023
  • Review of Superhero movies at Odeon Surrey Quays – 2018-2022
  • Evidence of sharing reviews – Canva
  • Research into 3 important figures in game design
  • Interview with a practitioner about development pathways? (Waiting for a response)

The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe – The Bridge Theatre 30/01/2021

I went with my mum and 3 sisters to the theatre and was seated next to each other.

The production was fantastic and seriously impressed me. The protagonists’ audio volume was at the perfect levels but the witch had a bellowing voice and loud volume on her lines was intentionally used to intimidate the audience and feel similar emotions to the characters.

The cast all knew their individual parts in every scene and I’m sure they would have used a form of method acting because they were fantastic in every scene and portrayed the right vocal emotion and body language. The lighting also had a big part to play making the simple scene on set become more menacing or warm depending on where they should be; it helped the simple set with limited props become more complex and rich in every scene.

The costumes the main cast wore were very accurate to the time setting of the early 1940s with World War 2 on the horizon. Although it was a subtle detail and almost unnoticed, it adds to the authenticity of the casts’ performance.

They also had suitcases for ‘luggage’ when the kids leave for the country side; to my surprise the prop suitcases became part of the train they ventured on to the countryside by using a well choreographed performance by the actors but supporting that also with the effective use in the changing of lighting to make the audience feel like the scenery had changed.

The witch also had an impressive costume and was always elevated to the protagonists by the backstage cast to increase her intimidation levels and power in the scene. The seating was situated in the perfect position relative to the stage to make us feel the story of these characters as a 1st person view but also separate to the story and give us a 3rd person view.

I think after the analysis the key ingredient i take back is intentionality. Everything has a “place” in a show and game such as characters’ costumes, scenery, lighting, and also antagonists; they intentionally place these items and core ingredients in a show or game in these key places to achieve a certain emotion or effect because of this. So I think learning intentionality is a very hard thing but it can create a masterpiece whether it’s a video game, theatre performance or just a painting and it’s pivotal to add things in for effect rather than because the game or show feels empty; it can be a paradox as you feel the game is empty BECAUSE there is no effect from the external factors like lighting or scenery.

I think the show is definitely for fans of literature or writers as it is a classic novel that has cemented it’s legacy as a good series of books and to witness a good live action performance of a novel can definitely improve your opinion of the novel further. It is also for fans of the performing arts who can and will appreciate the methodicity and intentionality behind the delivery of every line, positions of everything in the scene on the stage but also the art of telling the story through theatre.

It could also be a good night/day out for a pair of people who enjoy theatre and can be useful to strike general conversation by discussing their opinion of the performance and can be a gateway to other similar conversation.

Architecture Tour of London – London 2022-2023

Architecture was important to me in coming up with ideas for my game and I also think it’s important for people to appreciate the art all around them. I decided to visit important locations for architecture in London and create an architecture tour that I could share with others.

I think we should look at historical locations from earliest to latest to see how architecture and design has developed through time. So I thought that the Tower of London would be a great place to start as its earliest part was built around 1078. London Bridge was originally built around 1200 but has been continually renovated through time and has tried to keep its historical look (Medieval Architecture). Then I think St.Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace are very good stops in the tour, built around C.1700 show off Renaissance architecture. An odd recommendation is “Big Ben” a tower in Westminster which displays gothic Victorian Era architecture. Finally, we have the Millennium Dome (O2 in Greenwich) and the Millennium Bridge to display the Architecture of 2000.

I think the architecture is important in setting the scene and the “feel” of every building is reminiscent of the time period and I can use this to my advantage in my game because of the medieval + mythical setting and theme I can build the setting up to enhance my game. A medieval setting would use a stone type of building which is what I would use in the game rather than a glass, brick or metallic material like modern buildings.

An architectural tour would definitely appeal to historians and I feel it could appeal to tourists also. But I would recommend most people at some point in their life go on this or another architectural tour because it tells us a lot about our past and how things improve over time; also how these historical and important landmarks impact our daily life such as traffic routes.

Location 1: Tower Bridge

The Tower of London was finished in the 1080’s after a request by William the Conqueror to protect them from any water attack by the Thames. Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester was made responsible for building this strategic location and may have only been finished after William’s death, dates are not 100% clear because of the long gap in time. 

Location 2: London Bridge 

London Bridge first started construction in 1176 and finished in 1209, the bridge has been heavily renovated throughout time but has kept its old and timeless feel. Construction was supervised by priest and architect Peter Colechurch

Location 3: St.Paul’s Cathedral 

Started in 1675 and finished in 1710 the Cathedral encapsulates Rennaisance architecture and was overseen by architect Sir Christopher Wren. The crypt in the Cathedral is the final resting place of many important figures with an example being Alexander Flemming.

Location 4: Buckingham Palace

Started in 1703 and 1705, Buckingham Palace is the home of the Royal Family in London. Always from which the Queen used to give her annual speech. The Palace was designed by William Winde and is very much a “Palace”

Location 5: “Big Ben” 

It encapsulated Victorian architecture perfectly and is a marvel of London, taking over 15 years to construct this clock tower, it was initially designed by Edmund Beckett Denison

Location 6: Millennium Bridge 

The Millennium Bridge designed by Norman Foster opened on 10th June 2000 but had to close shortly after because it had a problem with wobble, the wobble got larger and larger until deemed unsafe. It was built to allow foot traffic but not obstruct scenery or boats passing underneath

Location 7: O2 Greenwich

The “Millennium Dome” is now commonly referred to as the O2. It is located in Greenwich, interestingly it opened on 31st December 1999 and closed on 31st December 2000. Originally to be a temporary building, it was a failure economically and didn’t bring in the required revenue but they decided to close it and open it again later permanently. Designed overall by Richard Rogers the building was created to celebrate the passing of the Millennia.

Superhero movies at Odeon Surrey Quays

Avengers: Infinity War – April 2018

Avengers: Endgame – April 2019

Black Adam – October 2022

I personally like the character development and story arc of the superheroes after the span of a few movies. The action scenes are always good to watch but i enjoy the story of the characters a lot more and i find it helps me enjoy the movie more when it’s a character you can have sympathy. I think the artistic parts about these movies are obviously costume design but also special effects, makeup, set design and using a real location or CGI to achieve this.

I feel like venue has an impact but not as strong of an impact as a theatre. The cinema venue with seat elevation, dark environment can help sensory needs and help us enjoy the movie a lot more; the big screen and loud audio helps achieve the dramatic and theatrical feel needed for a superhero to feel super.

I like the idea of a character arc rather than just a forever same character. I feel like it adds depth to the game; to have a protagonist who is really the antagonist in disguise or to have an antagonist become a protagonist can add texture to the game and story to keep players engaged.

I think these movies are a must-watch for comic book fans who hold select characters dearly or like a particular comic franchise such as Marvel Comics or DC Comics. I would also recommend young kids and teenagers to go on a day out but also to watch and appreciate a movie they’re excited about and take in the cinema atmosphere.

Case Studies

Artist 1 : Rob Wiethoff – Voice Actor

Rob Wiethoff was born in Indiana, USA on September 15 1976. Nothing really happened early on in terms of acting roles; he moved to LA because of romance and although was told he could get acting roles, he could not and was doing various jobs such as a bouncer, construction and a recruiter for IT companies. 

Wiethoff also went to high school and university in Indiana, and earned a degree in general studies in 1999. He considered studying aviation. 

Wiethoff initially did TV adverts and small roles in films. Eventually he auditioned for the role of John Marston in 2008 for “Red Dead Redemption”. He had to perform his lines whilst folding up laundry and initially considered it a waste of time but was given the role a few days later.

Wiethoff’s major role was definitely in Red Dead Redemption (2010) being the protagonist in the Western shooter, he played the role of John Marston. A former outlaw, Marston has to eliminate his former gang members such as Williamson and van der Linde for the US Government for his past to be wiped clean. Wiethoff would have to do the voice lines and acting but also motion capture for the character. 

Wiethoff has recently been in “Red Dead Redemption 2” (2018) as an younger John Marston in the van der Linde gang, and has been relatively quiet since however has been to Rockstar (developers of Red Dead Redemption series) fan conventions showing his face and receiving things off fans.

Artist 2 : Lucas Pope – Game designer

Lucas Pope was born in 1977/1978 and grew up in Virginia. During the coursework he took a particular interest in the computer programming segment of the course; becoming involved with the mod community of Quake and other games. He had then created the developer company “Ratloop” however became dormant relatively quickly because of the inability to meet demand as a small organization. 

Pope wanted to study in the realms of mechanical engineering however just didn’t appreciate this as much as the computer programming side of the course and this led into the exploration of creating indie games. 

After the failure of Ratloop, Pope joined “Realtime”  and helped develop ‘Re-mission’. He then joined “Naughty Dog” but felt he was hired because of his mechanical engineering skills rather than any computer programming skills. He worked on the sequel “Uncharted 2” and credited the director of the game for teaching him how to focus development of a game around key concepts. The director was impressed with Pope’s ability to make different types of systems on the menu for the first 2 Uncharted games. He left Naughty Dog before Uncharted 3 to develop more experimental indie games. He developed ‘Mightier’ in 2 weeks which was nominated for the IGF award, “Valve” contacted Pope about putting the game on Steam for free. 

Whilst working on a port for ‘Rocketbirds’ to PS3 he had to live in Signapore with frequent visits to the USA where he envisaged a game involving a passport inspector. This birthed ‘Papers, Please’ of 2013 and was incredibly successful winning multiple awards and financially aiding Pope with the development of his next game ‘Return of the Obra Dinn’ of 2018 which was equally successful. 

Pope lives in Japan with his wife and 2 kids and had released in March 2024 ‘Mars after Midnight’ on the Playdate system. 

Artist 3: Dan Houser – Game Writer and Producer

Dan Houser was born in November 1973 in England; his father was a solicitor and his mother was an actress. He grew up near a “video library” which founded his early love for story telling. 

Both Housers (Dan) and his brother Sam started out wanting to be musicians. Dan Houser studied Geography at Oxford University, it shows no real connection between his education and his later career path; rather it was his interests in his childhood that shaped his later decisions. 

Dan Houser worked at BMG Interactive testing CD-ROMs and was a full time employee until 1996, during this time saw potential in a game called “Race’n’Chase” which later became known as “Grand Theft Auto”. After BMG Interactive was acquired by Take Two Interactive. Both Dan and Sam Houser moved to New York to found Rockstar Games in 1998. 

Dan Houser has been a writer or voice actor in the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series. Credited with producing 5 of the games, my personal favourite of the series (so far) has to be GTA 4 where it captivates Dan Houser’s incredible set of skills with GTA 4 having a fantastic story with different endings and characters to suit his portrayal of “Liberty City” a twist on New York; this for me is the epitome of Dan Houser’s work so far. GTA 5 was and is the best selling game of the franchise so far which is also another achievement to add to his long list.

Dan Houser is still a shareholder in Rockstar Games despite his resignation from the creative department in 2020, his brother Sam is the president of Rockstar Games. Although unsure of Dan Houser’s current status and/or projects, Rockstar Games is to release GTA 6 in 2025 barring any delay of course which is bound to be in the Top 5 best selling games of all time.

Unit 1 – Part D

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