Monday, June 08, 2009

#1054 Ben From England, Banana Robbery

Show 1054 Monday 8 June

Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah, welcome to The Daily English Show.

Today’s guest is Ben. He’s from England and he lived here in Niseko this winter. I met him a few days before he left. And we talked about filmmaking, editing, a film festival that he’s organising in England and we talked about learning French.

I started out by asking Ben what brought him to Japan.

Um, just a change really. I got offered a interesting job. And, ah, I was in Canada last year on the Canada-Alaska border, working for a heli-ski company. And I wanted to do another ski season somewhere but I didn’t want to do somewhere where they spoke English. I wanted a bit more of a challenge. Um, just a country I’ve always been interested in. I thought it would be a great place to come.


Kia ora in Stick News today a teenager in the United States tried to rob a store with a banana.

A 17-year-old boy in North Carolina held a banana under his shirt and walked into a shop. He said he had a gun and demanded money.
The owner of the shop says he and a customer jumped on the boy and held him until the police arrived.
But while they were waiting, the teenager ate the evidence.

And that was Stick News for Monday the 8th of June.
Kia ora.

conversations with sarah
#666 How did you learn French?

with Ben Smith

Step 1: Repeat Sarah's lines.
Step 2: Read Sarah's lines and talk to Ben.

Sarah What have you been doing here in Japan?

Ben Ah, I was doing web design … on a, on a, an education project.

Sarah Is that what you were doing back in the UK?

Ben Ah, no, in the UK I was, ah, editing. I was working for the BBC doing, ah, documentaries and just sort of freelance editing for them.

Sarah When you were working for the BBC what was the most interesting documentary that you worked on?

Ben Ah, they were all pretty morbid, but all really interesting.

Sarah What do you mean by morbid?

Ben Well, there was one about, um, child abuse in Uganda. Ah, one about families returning to their home after the genocide in Congo. Ah, a lot about vaccinations and stuff like that in third world countries. Um, herbal remedies in Africa, it was a lot of stuff in Africa actually. There was an interesting one in Antarctica, ah, where they were doing some, some research there about global warming. That was probably the most interesting one.
Because what I was doing, I had to look at all the raw footage of everything and, and make the first edit, so edit it down to, ah, like an hour. And then the senior editors would come and chop it more.
So when I was looking at stuff of, you know, child abuse in Uganda and stuff like that … seeing some really tough images to have to watch through in, in real time and sort of censor things out and try and keep things, you know, like … they were long days anyway.

Sarah How did you get into that?

Ben Ah, well, I, I took a degree in digital multimedia. Um, but that, that wasn’t, that wasn’t really a prerequisite to it, I just sort of stumbled into it. I knew I wanted to do documentary. Um, and just pretty much through friends of friends, ah, put in my name to different things and then I got a call from this production company who were doing great stuff with BBC World so … sort of got an ongoing job with them for, for about a year.

Sarah What do you enjoy about editing?

Ben That’s a, that’s a good question. I just like creating the story about … more about people actually. I went, I went to Alaska to make a documentary on a, a big festival they have at the end of every winter there, um, it’s called Arctic Man.
And, ah, I went there to make a documentary more about the skiing and, and snowmobiling. And in the end the really interesting part was the people that we were speaking to. And it just became a completely different film, you know, just, just Alaskans in themselves are quite interesting people, they’re quite different and I ended up making a completely other type of film to what I was expecting to.
And, ah, that just got me wanting to do more and more editing and stuff. But … it takes me a long time, anyway, so … actually, I never finished that film. It’s still on the back burner, yeah.

Sarah What kind of films are you interested in making?

Ben I wanted to make a film here about some sort of mountain festival, like that they have maybe every year. Something much smaller than the Sapporo Ice Festival, like, there’s one in Kutchan, isn’t there … something like that. And then contrast it with this one in Alaska and then eventually make one in South America and one in maybe Australia or New Zealand. And then, sort of, have a big, sort of um document, of all mountain cultures and how they celebrate winter in different ways. But that’s my sort of ten year project anyway. Yeah, but I haven’t, I haven’t done a lot of filming since I’ve been here. I’ve been too busy either working or skiing. So, it’s not a bad situation to be in.

Sarah What do most enjoy about the filmmaking process?

Ben I enjoy the filming more, ah, but the editing’s the bit where I, dunno, it’s more interesting. Um, but, yeah, it’s great to be on location somewhere interesting, filming. You know, it’s always a shame when people come back with the tapes and they’ve been all over the place and you just get to look at it.

Sarah What’s your favourite documentary film?

Ben Ah, Grizzly Man, have you seen that one? (No.) It’s about a guy that goes to Alaska every summer to live with bears, for 13 years, and he goes a little bit crazy and on the last time he went he got eaten by one. Yeah, it’s a good film.

Sarah Tell me about the film festival that you’re organising.

Ben Me and a friend are setting up the, the UK Snow Film Festival. There’s not really been anything like it in England before, where they’ve got a, a set of, of films together all to do with snow and the mountains and, sort of, mountain culture. Um, so we’ve looked at getting some of the best films from across the world to, to sort of premiere in one weekend in England. Um, and also amateur filmmakers as well, we want them to submit short films and try and promote some British athletes. Ah, so everyone can come and get, get excited about the new season. Yeah, so that’s at the end of November just before next season starts.

Sarah How did you learn French?

Ben Um, it was an ex-girlfriend. We, ah, lived together for about three years. We used to have a, a French day. So, like, every Wednesday we’d speak French. And we didn’t have much to talk about at first, so it was difficult. But, um, yeah, by the end of the three years I was, I was getting good enough to converse and argue and stuff, so that’s always good.

Sarah Do you have any advice for people who are learning English?

Ben The, the best advice someone gave me, is … cause people would say, “Oh, I can’t learn that, I’m not good with languages …” And I don’t think that really makes sense. I think if you take the time to actually learn it, practice it, speak it and write stuff down and go over things that you don’t remember, then you’ll learn it.
Um, so, my advice would be, like, don’t make an excuse that you’re, you’re not good at it. Actually learn it and, and … For me what helped was repetition of writing things down. Ah, and, ah, after a while it just, sort of, slowly started to stick.
Um, so I think you have to actively learn and study and, and go back at the end of the day and check out things that you didn’t understand, um, and not just expect it all to filter in to you, just because you’re here. Like, I, I’ve not learnt much Japanese here I really wanted to but it’s not come as easy and I know that I’ve not really been studying it as much as I should do.

filming notes

The interview was filmed at Captain Hirafu in Niseko, Japan on Thursday 28th May 2009.

The ending was filmed looking down at the road from the balcony of my apartment.


today's news
today's STICK NEWS pictures

UK Snow Film Festival
DEXthis - Brighton-based web design company


show start
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Future Cha Cha
from: Brooklyn, NY, United States
artist site

cws start
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: The Jazz Woman
from: Brooklyn, NY, United States
artist site

qa start
artist: ioeo
album: triptracks
track: triptrack2
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

qa bgm
artist: Blue Did
album: SynthPennarguear
track: 01bluediddesed
Plourin, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

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