Sunday, December 9, 2007

Radio Script - Noises Off

The American University in Cairo is now showing a main stage production of the Tony nominated play Noises Off. Nermine Amer has more on that.

Noises Off is about a third rate theatre company trying to rehearse and perform a long run of a bad bedroom farce called ‘Nothing On’. As the show tours various cities, the play keeps getting worse and worse until all semblance of the play has vanished.-:11

- Nat sound: audience applause and cheers: 09

The play directed by (name) has been very well received. The audience got the punch lines and roars of laughter filled the auditorium. As a typical Egyptian convention to show excitement, the audience’s applause was heard several times in the middle of the play.-: 16

FILE/TAPE: Actor (name)-: 13

IC: “I didn’t understand why…”
OC: “…a good thing”

(name) is studying for a year abroad at the American University in Cairo. She says that the amount of work they went through to reach this result is humongous.

Now, she as well as her fellow actors feels that their work finally paid off.

Students took major parts in the creative process of the play. Noises off is the graduation project for Assistant Director (name). -:19

FILE/TAPE: Assistant Director (name)-: 11

IC: “Technically, it’s a very…”
OC: “…to do it”

Most of the audience members seemed to be commenting on the same thing. Everyone was amazed by the amount of work this play must have required so as to come out that good. Most of the people say that they are coming to see the play again and that they will bring more of their friends along. - 16

FILE/TAPE: Audience member (name)-: 7

IC: “It’s the best…”
OC: “…almost five years”

This is Nermine Amer reporting for AUC Radio.

Business of Ramadan

“This is by far the worst Ramadan we ever went through, in terms of business of course”, (name) said.

Even though the holy month of Ramadan affects and helps revitalize Cairo’s social life, it doesn’t necessarily help it economically. Some food service businesses’ daily consumption deteriorates during Ramadan.

“According to the studies that the restaurant does, what caused this inactivity this year in Ramadan is the fact that Ramadan and the beginning of the school year started at the same time; the first month of school is usually a busy time for us”, said (name), Manager of Bon Appetite.

In Bon Appetite, the busiest time of the day during Ramadan is only Iftar time. 90% of costumers that come before Iftar are international students most probably studying at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

But during the rest of the year, the restaurant is active from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. everyday non-stop.

To compensate their loss in Ramadan, Bon Appetite tries its best to attract people to come have Iftar at their place. Consequently, a set menu is made offering complete meals that has all the things one would need during Iftar (including water and dates), each with a specific price.

The busiest time of the year in general is exam times because it’s when the majority of the students stay at university studying for several hours.

“70% of our consumers are students because of the American University being so close to us but people who generally dine in restaurants in downtown are of older ages because restaurants has calmer atmospheres”, (name) said.

Similarly, café Cilantro which is also a place right beside AUC, experiences the same thing. Fewer people come to Cilantro in Ramadan in comparison to the rest of the year.

“A lot of people come after Iftar but they are usually too full to eat so they end up only ordering drinks and this of course effects us”, (name), Manager of Cilantro said.

Cilantro is a bit inactive during Ramadan. However it is better than last year. This is because Cilantro is more popular as a place than last year. The place gets more popular year by year. Cilantro now has consumers from the age of 20 to 40.

“Cilantro presents no special offers in Ramadan or on any other times or occasions, because we have fixed items that don’t change and this is how Cilantro works”, (name) said.

Cilantro attracts a lot of people because of its strategic place beside AUC and a number of schools. Cilantro has a total of 80% Egyptian consumers and 20% foreigners.

However, (name), a 21 year old AUC student says, “I think that the places around university are pretty inactive in Ramadan because there are a lot of places that take the attention from them”. He explains, “People prefer to have Iftar in a place with a nice view like the Nile and go to Ramadan tents at nights because it has music and offers something different. In addition, some people spend their post-Iftar time praying and don’t go out at all”.

Ramadan in Cairo is most known for its pre-dusk chaos on the streets that- once the break fast starts- is quickly replaced by a feeling of tranquility and peace as people are in their homes eating with their families. It’s certainly the quietest and calmest period anyone will experience in loud Cairo. However, it certainly isn’t the best time of year for Cilantro and Bon Appetite’s business.

The Pitch: An Advertising Revolution

The Pitch: An Advertising Revolution

The American University in Cairo’s (AUC) Development Organization (DO) is currently working on a photography advertising competition called “The Pitch”.

The Development Organization’s communication development committee is conducting an advertising photography competition this semester aimed at teaching participants the principles of photography and how to use programs like Photoshop.

The participants are expected to take pictures and work on enhance them through a series of workshops. The participant with the best print ad at the end will win the competition.

“The Pitch” is about developing talents, creating new tools of communication, entertainment and creating communication channels between us and AUCians”, (name), DO’s Vice President, said.

The project is still ongoing and the closing event will be on the 7th of December.. Two sessions of the workshop were made.

“My passion for photography is what inspired me to do this project”, (name), Communication Development Committee Deputy, said.

(name), one of DO’s active members, believes in the aim of “The Pitch” and contributed to the project by helping in organizing it and during the recruitment time.
Everything is going well so far although its member wished it was even better.

“The Pitch needed better financial and human resources”, (name) said.

The more DO gains in popularity at AUC and people have knowledge on the nature of its projects, the more its projects in general would work better and be more successful. Now, people tend to misunderstand the aim behind DO. Actually one of the negative aspects of “The Pitch” is that people don’t get the main aim behind it.

The fundraising committee is working hard so that “The Pitch” can get good sponsors.

The founder of DO is (name) and it was launched in summer 2007. “The Pitch” helped in the publicizing and giving exposure to DO.

When DO was launched, it was opposed by many people because they were under the impression that it was founded to take some kind of revenge (since (name) was running for the SU elections last year and he withdrew) so many complaints were filed against it.

Moreover, DO’s logo at the beginning was criticized, it was perceived as provocative for some people. So DO’s high board members decided to change the logo, and tried to show their positive intentions. People finally believed them

“I felt that I can be a more productive and effective member of the society by what I will be able to achieve through this activity.” (name) said on the reason she joined DO.

A series of mini cultural events is planned for next semester but nothing about that has been finalized yet.

“For next semester we will be working on “For a better Egypt” and awareness campaigns. Both are with the intentions of spreading awareness among AUCians and increasing their civic responsibility. Also we give them the opportunity to work and participate in the projects whether as members or as volunteers”, (name) said.


Do you think “The Pitch” is a good idea?
Yes: 40%
No: 5%
I never heard of “The Pitch”: 55%


Writing the Radio Script

I decided to write on the play "Noises Off" that I've been working on for nearly 2 months now. Writing the script and getting the information for it was very easy. i knew all the information about the show. I personally know all the people i wanted to interview. I knew that they will be very honest with me. This was a fun assignment. I liked the freedom of selecting a topic. It made things a lot easier and more fun.

Writing for Radio in general isn't that fun to me, i prefered broadcast. I think my favorite stories were the ones for broadcast. I like the fact that certain parts of the story relied on the pictures presented with it.

Writing "The Pitch: An Advertising Revolution"

I had a very hard time with this story. Eventhough I had everything I'm responsible for prepared (interviews, who i wanted to interview...etc) I had problems actually conducting the interviews. Due to my very busy schedule, i couldn't personally meet with the people i wanted to interview so i called them and asked them if they are willing to let me do an email interview with them. I made it clear that i need the answers as soon as possible (this was 3 days before my story was due by the way). Eventhough they seemed very serious about sending me back the interview ASAP, i never got them. I kept calling them to remind them of it and all i got was "OH! i'm sorry, but i'm very busy, i swear i'll send it to you by tonight" or "My grandma died" or "yeah yeah i remember the interview you're talking about but i have finals you know!"

The thing that drove me mad was that they never told me that they can't do the interview, i kept telling them, "if you can't do it then it's ok but you have to tell me that so that i can have time to see who else to interview so that i meet my deadline". They drove me mad, and i was stressed enough and I wasn't ready for their lack of professionalism and carelessness at all.

I decided to change the club (that was a day before my "extended deadline"). i talked to members from another club who were very helpful and sent me their answers on the same day. I wrote the story (i was very rushed of course) at the end. it wasn't the best story i've ever written of course but i'm glad i submitted it.

i got the answers from the first club i intended to write about after I submitted the story. As i expected their answers were very rushed, unclear, incomplete and full of spelling mistakes (And I'm 100% sure my questions were very simple, straight forward and clear). They didn't even apologise for sending it that late. It's very sad how these people "supposedly" are leaders of a club.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Writing "Business of Ramadan"

Writing the “Business in Ramadan” story wasn’t difficult for me. It went very smooth.
One of the things that I decided to do to make the process easier was going to the restaurant or café after Iftar. I think this way the person I’m interviewing won’t be tired (because of fasting).

Whenever I ask for the manager, people working there were a bit taken aback and were like “Why? Is there anything wrong?” I thought it was funny.

I interviewed the manager of Bon Appetite and the manager of Cilantro. I was interested to know how the businesses of a restaurant and a café were going in Ramadan. I introduced myself and told them generally what my story is about. I had to ask them if they are ok with me using a recorder. They were fine with it. I also used my notebook to take notes of what they were saying but I’m always worried I’m not going to be able to write everything so I used the recorder just in case.

The two managers I interviewed were friendly and were pretty specific in their answers. I felt they were honest and helpful. I didn’t need to fight my way through to get the answers I wanted. They gave me very good quotes. They were accurate and clear.

At the end of the interview, one of them was like “Good luck with your story and May God be with you” which I thought was really kind and sweet of him.