AS G322 revision booklet pt1 (Film Industry)
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AS G322 revision booklet pt1 (Film Industry) AS G322 revision booklet pt1 (Film Industry) Document Transcript

  • Some work has been taken from the OCR Media Studies for AS book 1
  • TIPS  Look out for hyperlinks to the internet and videos  Know key words in red and you’ll find some here Past exam questions Jan ‘09 Discuss the ways in which media products are produced and distributed to audiences, within a media area which you have studied Jun ‘09 How important is technological convergence for institutions and audiences within a media area which you have studied Jan ‘10 ‘Media production is dominated by global institutions which sell their products and services to national audiences.’ To what extent do you agree with the statement. This revision booklet is designed to help you prepare for the AS G322 exam, BUT only section B, remember section A is the TV Drama part. Section B of the exam paper will assess: 1. Your understanding of how media institutions (film companies) currently operate 2. Your ability to explore ideas about how audiences use media 3. Your understanding of the relationship between audiences and institutions (film companies) The word institution refers to the companies and organisations that provide media content, whether for profit, public service or another motive. We need to talk about media institutions in the plural and to recognise that it is possible, through such distribution networks as MySpace and YouTube, to be a producer and distributor of content some time, and a consumer of media produced by powerful corporations the rest of the time. For this part of the exam you will be concerned with how media institutions produce and distribute. The average AS Media student will be a digital native and your eyes will glaze over when your teacher speaks of an analogue past (when there were only 4 channels). You can’t be expected to feel the pace of change as you will have grown up with online media as the norm, but this part of your studies you do need to acquire a sense of how rapidly institutions and audiences are being transformed by digital technology. 2
  • CONVERGENCE (VIDEO) Convergence describes two phenomena: First, technologies coming together, for example, a mobile phone you can use as a still and moving image camera, download and watch moving images on, use as an MP3 player and recorder and access the internet with. Second, media industries are diversifying so they produce and distribute across several media—for example, a newspaper with an online version and audio podcasts or the coming together of videogames with films. We no longer live in a media world where television, videogames, films, newspapers, radio, magazines and music exist separately. For this reason it is essential that you study the impact of convergence on the film industry — the focus here is on the contemporary. AUDIENCES Audience is a huge area of media studies, so it’s important to be precise about our focus in this section, which is on the relationship between audiences and institution. You will need to analyse the more complex nature of new media audiences and how digital media distribution and consumption has allowed consumers to become producers (prosumers) or at least interactors, and thus far more active users of media. Gauntlett (2007a) goes as far as to say that new media erodes the boundary between producer and audience to the extent that it makes little sense to talk about media audiences at all anymore—he calls this rethink 'Media Studies 2.0'. Conventional research methods are replaced—or at least supplemented by new methods which recognise and make use of people's own creativity, and brush aside the outmoded notions of 'receiver' audiences and elite 'producers'. (Gauntlett, 2007a: 4) Web 2.0 (video) David Gauntlett explain the difference between Web 1.0 and 2.0 (video) Media 2.0 Charlie Brooker parody on web 2.0 Is Cinema toast? Social media changing the world (start it from 2mins in) The Concept formerly known as AUDIENCE This phrase is now commonly used by media professionals to describe the ways in which people engage with media, and it shows how contested the idea of audience is in the digital era. The ways in which convergence, user-created content and social networking have transformed the audience are often thought about in terms of audience 'fragmentation'. In this climate media institutions are desperately trying to provide 360- degree branding (link) for their products—to surround us with them across all the various converged media forms that we come into contact with—a good example of this is Avatar. 3
  • Csigo suggests that media institutions are no longer interested in keeping the audience together, but in 'triggering engagement' in people. Converging media, then, can lead to both control by media producers and resistance by the consumers, who now get to produce their own media. For media institutions, this imposes key changes: the media world changes from a 'value chain' (cultural products made and distributed to audiences) to a social network (a complex system where producers and audiences are mixed up). Another way of describing this is the shift from 'push media' (video) (where producers push media at us and we receive and consume it) to 'pull media' (video) (whereby we decide what we want to do with the media and access it in ways that suit us). The key term that is often used to describe the proliferation of people making and distributing their own video is the long tail. (video) To succeed in this section of the Key Media Concepts exam you need to develop a case study on a particular studio or production company. This institution must be located in a contemporary film industry and it must produce and/or distribute films to the UK. The focus will be on how this institution relates to:  Production: making films  Distribution: promoting films and getting them into cinemas and out on DVD/UMD, as well as any spin offs/related media products  Consumption: people paying at the cinema, renting or buying DVDs/UMDs, downloading FILM DISTRIBUTION Distribution: Introduction: What is Distribution? What is a Distributor? Distribution and Marketing Consider these two competing views of who holds the most power in terms of influencing what films get made and seen: If you break it down and look at it as a business then the audience has the greatest power. It's the audience that tells you what they like. So if the audience likes a particular superstar, then Hollywood is forced to use the superstar and that star then becomes extremely powerful. In a world where money spent on the budget of a film often sees 50 per cent going on promotion as opposed to what you actually see on screen, the idea that we have a world where the consumer can exercise authority is absurd. This industry is like any other. Of course it has to sell things, but it doesn't rely on waiting, listening, responding to what audiences want and then delivering that to them. It relies on knowing which parts of the world and the media need its products and will pay for them. 4
  • The first statement is from Tony Angellotti, from within Hollywood, and the second is from Toby Miller, an academic, both quoted in an article by Helen Dugdale (2006, p. 52). They can't both be right and you therefore need to come to an informed judgement on this dynamic. In reality, the question is much broader and is really to do with the nature of capitalism as a way of organising society! Put simply, does 'market forces' competition give the consumer more power and choice and thus influence what gets made for us to buy? Or does it actually convince us that what we want is what is being made for us? In the case of film marketing, it is a complex issue. Do millions of people go to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2 in the first week of release because it is such a great film, or because it is so well marketed? Or both? Film distribution describes everything that happens in between production (making the film) and exhibition (people watching the film in cinemas or on DVD/UMD, on television, via the internet or on a plane, or anywhere else). Far from being a straightforward state of affairs, distribution involves all of the deals done to get films shown (many films never get seen) and, just as importantly, promoted. This promotion involves paid for 'above the line' advertising, which will be funded as part of the project, such as trailers, posters, billboards and various spin-offs which are of mutual benefit to the film and another commercial agency, for example a McDonalds 'Happy Meal' with a film theme. It also includes related merchandising and 'below the line' publicity which is not paid for, but again generates mutual interest. For example, an interview with a star in a newspaper or magazine and reviews (the former will generally be positive, but the latter is, of course, the great unknown for film producers). It is crucial not to see film distribution as a 'helpful' stage in the life of a film whereby distributors treat all films equally and ensure fair play in getting films to the public's attention. The key players, the big companies who control much of the industry, control distribution of their own products, and of others (example 20th Century Fox and Avatar). Effectively films are loaned out to cinemas for a finite period and release deals are done that secure access to a certain number of screens at a time. In the UK film market, an increase in the quantity of screens showing films has not led to an increase in the number of films shown. Five major distributors dominate the UK film industry: United International Pictures (Universal is part of this company), Warner Brothers, Buena Vista, Twentieth Century Fox and Sony. Roughly nine of every ten films seem in the UK are viewed as a result of these distributors. In most cases these distributors are directly linked to the Hollywood production companies who make the films. They deal with exhibitors who are no longer (as used to be the case) owned by the same Hollywood companies, but who do, for reasons of profit, prioritise Hollywood films over others. Usually the blockbuster films we are familiar with are distributed via 'blanket release', so even if a small UK independent company manages to get its product into cinemas, it is usually competing for attention with one or more films that take on the status of an 'event'. One of the outcomes of the distribution arrangement 5
  • outlined above is that half of the films released in Britain do not reach the whole country. Perhaps surprisingly, given we live in the digital age, one of the obvious problems smaller companies face is a rather old fashioned one. Every film shown in a cinema is a separate 'print' of the film, projected via a reel. The major companies can afford to produce far more prints than the smaller companies, knowing the expensive outlay of funds at this stage will be worth it in relation to box office returns. A small company producing a less commercial product cannot afford to do that, so people who do want to see more 'alternative' films often have to wait until their local independent cinema has a print, and often there is little choice over where and when to see it. The UK Film Council is addressing this problem via its Digital Screen Network —the deal is that cinemas receiving financial support to equip themselves with digital facilities (thus avoiding the issue of prints) will in return be expected to show more films from independent distributors. DEFINING A BRITISH FILM There are various different 'official' ways of categorising British film. The British Film Institute (BFI—not to be confused with the British Film Industry which has the same initials) divides films into the following categories: Category A: films made with British money, personnel and resources. Category B: films co-funded with money from Britain and from foreign investment, but the majority of finance, cultural content and personnel are British. Category C: films with mostly foreign (but non USA) investment and a small British input, either financially or creatively. Category D: films made in the UK with (usually) British cultural content, but financed fully or partly by American companies. Category E: American films with some British involvement. It is fairly obvious that Britain can claim a great number of films under the D and E descriptions, a decent number in categories B and C and very few that have been successful as category A films. There are few well known 'purely British' films. And this equation becomes even more complicated when we start to explore the notion of where the money comes from. For example, if a film is made by a British film company, but that company is owned by a larger American group, is the production financed in the UK? And what is the significance of distribution? If a film is 'purely British' at the production stage but it is distributed in this country by an American company (who then claw back a chunk of the box office profits), is this film really a success story for the British Film Industry? For your case study, you will need to ask these questions and explore the way the studio/company operates both in 'old fashioned' production and distribution contexts and in the current online distribution and intermedial1 ‘spin off’ climate. 6
  • THE CURRENT BOOM UK film production experienced a crisis in 2005 and early 2006. Investment in the making of films dropped, largely due to the rate of the English pound against the American dollar and the availability of low cost studios in Eastern Europe. But later in 2006 and since, investment has returned, and this is related to a new Government policy of tax relief. This allows producers to be exempt from certain tax payments. Previously there had been a compulsion for films to be mainly shot in the UK for them to qualify for the avoidance of tax, but in March 2006 this was revised to allow for more overseas filming, an attractive amendment for investors. This is a great example of the importance of politics in understanding the media. It is impossible to critically assess the relationship between British films and audiences by only thinking about cultural reasons why British cinema is more or less successful in relation to Hollywood blockbusters. ‘Behind the scenes' there are financial, political and institutional reasons why films do or don't get made and released and seen by a potential audience. A recent good example of Hollywood's dominance is the record-breaking box office performance of Pirates of the Caribbean 2, seen by industry commentators as a victory of blanket marketing. Cynics suggest that a film of this scale does not need to be critically well received, as the efforts and dollars put into promoting the film so lavishly will guarantee an audience on the opening few nights and subsequent 'buy first, review later' DVD sales. In this case over £50 million was made at the UK box office, and 1.5 million copies of the DVD were purchased in the ten days after release. A more up to date example that is comparable and even exceeds the success of Pirates of the Caribbean would be James Cameron’s Avatar. A study of the ways in which the big Hollywood studios time the release of films is another area of key institutional knowledge for a Media student. The timing of releases in relation to the Oscars, school holidays, the spring/summer blockbuster period and DVD releases at Christmas is strategic, and any British release attempting to get attention amidst this marketing stealth will be at the mercy of this. THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY As with all media, any attempt to ignore the fast approaching world of legal film downloading is seen as 'swimming against the tide'. Piracy is a major concern of all film distributors, with Hollywood investigators claiming a 10 per cent increase each year in revenue lost to illegal distribution. In the UK the Film Council's report Film Theft in the UK (2004) claimed that only Austria and Germany have a higher degree of DVD piracy. The industry's recommendations include a strategy for responding to internet distribution opportunities, and for working with other media and communications industries. Ultimately the report sought to remind the public that small production companies are actually hurt more by piracy than multinational conglomerates, as they cannot bear the impact with 7
  • already acquired capital. Another aspect of technological change that the Film Council is concerned with is digital filming and projection. The Digital Screen Network project is the Film Council's attempt to provide cinemas with digital projection facilities, and it is hoped (but by no means guaranteed) that more small-scale independent films will get seen this way. At the other end of the 'food chain', digital technology has made life a lot better for low budget film makers and distributor-In the case of short films, it is now possible for these to reach a potentially wide audience via a range of hosts, from the UK Film Council to The UK Media Desk, BBC Film Network and Big Film Shorts, Film London's Pulse and a host of short film festivals, all of whom have online submission. DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION As far as the major studios and distributors are concerned, digital technology offers great potential to increase profits and dangers in equal measure. Digital distribution will certainly transform the film industry more than any previous technological change since sound. Once it becomes the norm to download film via broadband, the potential for a new form of ‘blanket distribution' is obvious—not only do you no longer need multiple prints, you can also bypass the cinemas (although the big screen offers a separate experience that is likely to remain attractive). Digital film has the advantage of offering identical versions of the film to each viewer, and this will without doubt save billions of pounds at the distribution phase. Despite the 'hype' over piracy and the digital enabling of this illegal activity, industry commentators believe that one advantage of digital distribution will be control and security, as most piracy is the result of a cinema-goer with a hidden camera distributing a poor quality version of a film to parts of the world where it has not yet been released (because the prints are currently somewhere else). Simultaneous global distribution via the internet will put an end to this 'time gap' and thus its exploitation by pirates. One issue for debate is about the quality of digital movies. Whereas some film makers and critics argue that the 'binary reduction' of images in the digital compression process reduces the complexity of image and light, it appears that just as music in MP3 comes without the parts that the human ear cannot hear, so digital films remove the degrees of texture that most viewers wouldn't notice anyway. Randle and Culkin explain the issues here: The movie we see at our local multiplex may have been shown many times over and the wear and tear on it will be considerable: scratches, dust and fading—as a result of having been exposed regularly to bright light—ail reduce the quality of the presentation. Even before wear and tear kicks in, what we are watching may well be a third generation copy—a process similar to making a photocopy of a photocopy, where some of the original definition is inevitably lost. Some experts believe that D-cinema will overtake the quality of the best conventional cinema within the next year or two, and at the same time address age-old industry problems. Prints are bulky and their manufacture, distribution and exhibition are labour intensive and therefore 8
  • expensive. What's more, in a world increasingly concerned with the impact industry has on the environment, it is hard to justify the use of a technology (film manufacturing), which involves a highly toxic process, when a cleaner alternative is available. (Randle and Culkin, 2004:10) Another interesting prediction that Randle and Culkin make is to speculate that film extras (another costly necessity for the film industry) may soon be replaced by digitally generated 'synthespians'—time will tell. To summarise, the digitalisation of film offers a range of new institutional practices. There are greater possibilities for the manipulation of the image itself, the editing process becoming more creative and composite images can be produced to incorporate digital animation. The 'one way' process of film making and consuming is threatened by the interactive 'Zeitgeist,' so that the generation of media users who are immersed in online media and videogames are likely to require new forms of interactivity in the film medium. Digital technology has reduced the costs of film making so much that DV can be seen as widening access to the 'means of production' for new creative talent. And the convergence of media through digital technology creates new opportunities for distributing and exhibiting. Marshall (2004) sums up the scene like this: The (digital) rejuvenation of film is not limited to the grand-scale strategies of a lugubriously2 large industry. The digital has created new cultural economies. There is clearly a place for short film via the internet. Through different websites, the digital version of film breaks down the limitations of exhibition that have controlled what it is possible for audiences to see. Digital cameras have made it possible to have filmic qualities in the smallest of productions. Although this expansive development of film is still quite circumscribed, it demonstrates how 'film' has been more accessible and is connected to the wider new media and cultural phenomenon of the will-to-produce. (Marshall, 2004: 87) Think about this Cinema as an institution has survived several threats to its life. Most notably, it was predicted that television would make it extinct, but cinema survived by securing cinema releases prior to TV broadcast and because of its social, 'night out' context. Later, the VCR seemed to have put a bigger nail in the coffin, but this time cinemas redefined themselves as multiplexes, offering a broader 'leisure experience' on an American model, together with the emergence of the 'blockbuster' and its associated expensive marketing. Despite multi-channel television offering viewers the opportunity to download films to watch at their convenience, hard drive recording, specialist film channels that are now relatively cheap to subscribe to and online rentals making the visit to the local Blockbuster unnecessary, cinema still 9
  • survives (as does Blockbuster). So the question is—will cinema always survive technological change, or is the latest technology a bigger threat because it is at the exhibition end of the chain? Whereas the changes in accessibility given above are to do with distribution, the pleasure of the filmic experience is determined greatly by the size and quality of the screen. Hollywood films in particular are still largely driven by spectacle and noise, as well as character and narrative (perhaps with an eye to the preservation of the cinema box office), and people still want to see these films on the biggest screen with the loudest sound. If you owned a 'next generation' HD television and had access via broadband to new releases instantly via the kinds of digital distribution processes outlined above, how likely would you be to give up on the cinema? KEY AREAS OF STUDY 1. The issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: - What is the affect on the British film industry and Independent filmmakers of Major Film Studios? KEY POINT: - The film industry is dominated by major Hollywood studios – these studios often own companies that cover all aspects of the filmmaking process – These humongous-sized mammoths are able to use their size and ownership of a wide range of media to cross promote their films (and other media) across their wide media empires. The synergies of cross-promotion that can be created by these media organisations is mind-boggling. For 20th Century Fox's Avatar it resulted in the greatest 'word-of-mouth' ever generated for a big budget film and no doubt this helped the film become a blockbuster. (Fox with-holding the trailer from the summer and early Autumn also created an itch to see film and this also added to the 'word-of - mouth'.) Such are the benefits of cross-media ownership by these giant institutions. To see examples of the range of institutional ownership click on Newscorp who own 20th Century Fox's "Avatar" as your starting point. Click here for what the huge media conglomerates own The dominance of companies like 20th Century Fox – allows for films that they back to achieve 360 degree status – since 20th Century Fox owns a range of different media companies. 10
  • KEY POINT: The success of Avatar was ensured when the film achieved critical acclaim, since it had the backing of a company that was able to use cross media convergence since it owns companies within a range of industries. YOUR REVISION NOTES SHOULD INCLUDE – WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ISSUE IS WITH MULTI MEDIA CONGLOMERATES OWNING A RANGE OF COMPANIES Issues raised by media ownership Working title has been apart of Universal since 1999, when the parties signed an agreement due to expire at the end of 2007. Despite alleged offers from Dreamworks, and Sony. working Title co-chairs Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan signed an agreement at the end of 2007 to extend their stay at Universal for seven more years. The previous deal seems to have worked well for both parties, Working Title has produced a number of low budget films and the slate does consistently well internationally. And no, it’s just because everyone likes Hugh Gant. The LA times claims that Working Title is second only to Imagine Entertainment as “Universals most consistent supplier of films”. Although Universal and Working Title have a healthy and productive relationship, it’s not to say that converging with a major film Production Company doesn’t have disadvantages. For instance a British film maker may find it difficult in making his film entirely ‘British’ if it is being financed by an American production company, or business. The film maker may well find himself tied down to creating a main stream film, as its only expected that there be some sort of influence from the American side of the company. Potentially destroying his creation, or finding it’s been manipulated in such a way it no longer resembles what he imagined initially. An example of a British production company having a disagreeing relationship with their distributor was Aardman productions and Dreamworks. They ended their 5 film distribution deal after just 3 films. The companies converged in 1999, producing ‘Chicken Run’ Curse of the Were Rabbit’ and ‘Flushed Away’ However the last two reportedly generated losses, prompting Dreamworks to announce the split, and explain the couple had “different business goals”. Spokesman for Aardman, Arthur Sheriff said “We always knew America would be a hard task for us, we’re a very English company. We embrace the international market but we think part of our strength is our English sense of humour, and we want to continue with that” Unfortunately in this case Aardman productions were dropped by Dreamworks, as they wanted to move focus on to computer animation, and no longer saw a demand in stop motion animation pictures. But Aardman productions were no push overs and although they were being supported by Dreamworks financially, they didn’t want to make a leap into CGI, and ruin what they had become leaders in creating. 11
  • The Dreamworks Aardman split illustrates the effects of being tied down to a mainstream company, what might appear to be a solely ‘British’ company was, in fact governed by its American co owner. 2. The importance of cross media convergence What is cross media convergence? Describes the way in which industries produce and distribute (show or sell) texts across several media. For example how do the film industry promote films on TV? Radio? Magazine. KEY POINT: The film industry is an industry which utilises convergence on a grand scale. Blockbuster films often become 360 degree products, since major distributors like Warner, 20th Century Fox have enough money to fund multimillion dollar campaigns. Avatar is an example of a film that was subject to 360 degree promotion in that the films distributors ensured the film was promoted What examples can you think of – that you can use in the exam of Avatar’s producers and distributors using Cross Media Convergence? Avatar and Coca-Cola Avatar's Augmented Reality Campaign Interactive Website Exchange – below the line promotion Synergy 3. what has been the impact of digital technology on the production, distribution, marketing and consumption of film Digital technology is currently revolutionising production, distribution, exhibition and consumption of film. Films are now cheaper and easier to 12
  • make, cheaper to distribute and the film watching experience is being enhanced by digital cinemas (known as D-Cinemas). You need to know how production, distribution and exhibition is being changed by digital technology. WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY ON FILM PRODUCTION? Refer to Avatar – provide specific examples of how digital technology effected the production of this film Until recently Hollywood studios were the only ones who had the money to pay for digital tools, and for the labour involved in producing digital effects. However the shift to digital media effects not only Hollywood but film making as a whole. As traditional film technology is replaced by digital, the logic of the film making process is being redefined. In Production- In today’s movie making, the creative work that takes place on a computer can be as important as what goes on in front of the camera, this technology is now a standard part of the movie making tool kit. The impact of digital technology on Hollywood has been gradual but all-encompassing. Today a movie can be shot, edited, and distributed from camera to theatre and beyond, without involving a single frame of film. The shift to digital, changes both the business and the art form of cinema. Cinematographers, long resistant to digital image recording, are starting to embrace the use of digital cameras, shooting clean-looking footage that’s easier to manipulate than film. Commonly available software allows small special effects shops such as Hybride to render entire virtual worlds, and blend them seamlessly with live action shots. Scenes that would have required elaborate sets 25 years ago can now be shot against a blue or green screen; the setting can be filled in later and then tweaked until the director is satisfied. Elements and tools – from digital characters and environments, to motion capture techniques that records actors’ movements and facial expressions – are now handled routinely, with confidence rather than crossed fingers. Cinematographers are the film era’s last holdouts. As the people most directly responsible for the colour, texture and clarity of the images on screen, they tend to be conservative. Many still prefer the richness, highlights and grain of film over the cleaner, harsher look of digital image recording. But other cinematographers say they are drawn to the capabilities the technology provides. Cinematographers have long used low- res video playback to check their work on set, but the images on film often look quite different. Digital movie making solves that problem. “There’s a huge comfort factor in looking at an 13
  • image you know is going to look the same way it is on the screen”- Industry veteran Dean Selmer, an Oscar winner for ‘Dances With Wolves’ has used Panavision’s digital Genesis camera on his latest movie, the Mel Gibson – directed epic Mayan ‘Apocolypto’. For directors, less cost pressure means more creative freedom, and compared to film stock, digital tape is almost free. “Sometimes you can roll for an hour without cutting, because you can, you find moments there that you might loose otherwise” -Director Robert Rodriguez Rodriguez, who often doubles as his own cinematographer, shot his last two movies digitally. Sin City is a film creation that best represents the outfit Hybride, which is best known for rendering stylized digital backdrops. Sin City’s dark comic book atmospheres melded the live action of the movie with the raw visual approach of graphic novelist Frank Miller, who also wrote the book upon which 300 is based on. 300 is a shot-for-shot adaptation of the comic book, without advanced digital technology, these types of adaptations wouldn’t have as much scope to create the surreal fantasy world in which the story is set. The film was shot almost entirely in a sound studio, relying solely on the after affects in the editing process to give the film its flesh. “I wanted to get at the book as much as could, Shooting outside we couldn’t control the skies and the lighting to the extent I wanted to. And the landscapes are different in real life. They don’t exist in the real world only in Frank Millers imagination” – Director Zack Snider Post production of the film was handled by Meteor studios and Hybride technologies filled in the blue screen footage with more than 1500 visual effects shots, such as manipulating colours by increasing the contrast of light and dark, also certain sequences were de-saturated and tinted to establish alternate moods. Giving the film it’s realistic but yet gritty illustrative feel. During the battle sequences, the blood never appears to be on the ground. In one scene, the blood hits the ground and disappears, in many it vanishes in to the air. In another, the droplets fall and stick out of the ground like arrows. -This whole scene has been incorrectly regarded as an error in 300, it was in fact a deliberate stylistic 14
  • choice to reflect the ‘graphic novel’ origins of the film. Post production on 300 lasted for a year and was handled by a total of ten special effects companies, who without, the production would have never been the ‘graphic epic’ like it promised. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND DISTRIBUTION WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY ON DISTRIBUTION OF FILM? Key points: Distribution is cheaper Quicker Simultaneous global releases of films to cut down the attraction of pirate copies. Digital distribution Distribution: The Logistics of Distribution Digital Distribution on the blog For the exam be aware the various ways that a film can be distributed and the advantages/ disadvantages for institutions and audiences. Remember distribution includes marketing! Advances in Technology In Distribution, marketing, exchange- New digital technology not only affects the actual production, but also the way in which the film is distributed to audiences all over the world. Movies encoded as digital data files –either recorded on optical disc and physically shipped or broadcast via satellite, has increasingly replaced film prints as the preferred method for distributing movies to theatres since 2005. Another advantage of broadcasting via satellite eliminates the current need to return and destroy film prints, as well as reduce the risk of film prints falling in to unauthorized hands. Using digital film is much easier than using just film. Film is heavy, hard to work with and fragile. The process of receiving, prepping, and showing, dismantling and returning a movie requires skilled labour and resources. Digital cinema movies can be managed with the simplicity of basic computer commands and operated just like a VCR. Compared with film cinema, the digital film has the clear superiority in maintaining constant quality with use. The first showing of a digital movie will be identical in quality to the 1,000th. Digital movies do not get scratches or break the way regular film does. Every copy of a movie is identical to the master reference print. Normal film wears out, gradually becoming too damaged for use. Digits on the other hand 15
  • will never wear out. Another benefit is that the new technology will allow simultaneous global release of new movies, thereby reducing the ability of pirates to copy a movie in one region and sell DVDs in areas where the studios haven’t yet released the movie. Additionally, delivering a single copy or 100 copies ends up costing exactly the same amount for the cinema, therefore more cinemas are able to buy the latest releases, increasing their own custom. With digital cinema, the movie studios also have the ability to modify their content whenever it is found desirable. Movies can be changed even after they are released. In effect, extras on DVDs are becoming increasingly popular. Giving the director a chance to give an insight in to his latest piece of work, the production process, along with background facts and figures, interviews with cast members, snippets of the film, etc. Overall the transition from film cinema to digital cinema, has in fact, lowered the cost of movie distribution for studios. By eliminating film prints, studios could eliminate the £2,000 to £3,000 cost for each print made of a motion picture. This translates into an expense equal to about 10% of a movie’s production budget. EXHIBITION: WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY ON THE EXHIBITION OF FILM? KEY POINTS: Better quality of picture More flexibility in what you can watch in the cinema Disadvantages expensive to change all of the cinemas to digital technology. Case study example - Avatar digital technology is beginning to bring flexibility to the cinema going experience – since Avatar was available in ordinary cinemas – not just at Imax. It was available in 3D and normal quality and was very popular with audiences. READ UP ON THE DIGITAL SCREEN NETWORK – WHAT IS THEIR ROLE? HOW WILL THIS IMPACT ON FILM PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION IN THE UK? 16
  • 4. WHAT DO FILM COMPANIES HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHEN THEY ARE TARGETTING GLOBAL AND LOCAL AUDIENCES? Key point: The consideration of local and global audiences begins at the stage of PRODUCTION: producers think about who will be the audience for the film, how the audience will relate to the idea, how many people would be up for watching the film – They need to decide whether it will be a film with global or local appeal WHEN PRODUCING A FILM – the following impact on whether the audience will be local or global THE CAST (Hollywood actors tend to have more global appeal than actors from other countries – unless they have acted in a Hollywood film). THE DIRECTOR (big name directors help to sell the film to a global audience – especially if they have created a global hit before). THE IDEA OF THE FILM: -Producers must ask the question – will the idea of the film be something that people from a variety of cultures can relate to or people from a specific culture. THINK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KIDULTHOOD AND THE BOAT THAT ROCKED OR AVATAR AND THIS IS ENGLAND – WHAT WERE THE USP’S OF THESE FILMS – WHAT MADE AVATAR A FILM WITH GLOBAL APPEAL? (AND SUPPOSEDLY THE BOAT THAT ROCKED? – REMEMBER THIS WAS MARKETED GLOBALLY BUT ONLY MANAGED TO HAVE SUCCESS LOCALLY – WHY?) WHAT MADE KIDULTHOOD AND THIS IS ENGLAND FILMS WITH LOCAL APPEAL? DISTRIBUTION – LOCAL VS GLOBAL Key points: INDEPENDENT distributors tend to be the people that distribute films with local appeal. (Like Warp/ Warp X) A distribution campaign is based on whether the film has global or local appeal. A film with local appeal may have an understated promotional campaign, so you will see it advertised in the local press, on radio and on local news programmes. The films distribution budget will not be as big as the distribution budget for a global film. This is because a film with local appeal – will draw much smaller audiences than a film with global appeal – so because local films will not make as much money as films with global appeal – distribution companies will not be willing 17
  • to spend a fortune on promoting a film if they are not going to make a profit from box office sales. KEY QUESTION DOES A FILM ACHIEVE SUCCESS BECAUSE OF ITS APPEAL – OR BECAUSE OF THE MONEY GIVING OVER TO ITS MARKETING CAMPAIGN? USE YOUR NOTES TO FORM ARGUMENTS (think Avatar vs. This Is England) 5. Issues raised in the targeting of British audiences by international/global institutions No film is for everyone. Every film made has a target audience. It’s the film company’s job to know specifically who they are. A film may not communicate effectively or succeed at the box office unless the audience is determined initially e.g. The Boat That Rocked. Identifying with a target audience is not about selling out or being formulaic, it’s about being relevant and appealing to the audience without breaking the integrity of the film. Most film studios will make an educated guess, as to which target audience will be interested in their film. A film producer once said when he was figuring out the target group for his audience he would ask himself “Who would stand in a queue outside, at night, in January to see this film” And there, he had his target audience. However, as simple as his questioning may seem, a lot more research goes in to determine the target audience. A target audience is defined primarily by gender and age range. Addition elements include socioeconomic status, rural or urban, race, family status, theatre goers or not, and special interest. These interests can be anything from political interests, to religion. Or the particular subject matter of the film, such as visual art, human rights, faith, relationships, or even the use of music. In Working Titles’ case, they have a clear idea of the audience they envisage for the film before they bring a director on board, matching the director to the nature of the project and the target audience. When the film is complete, they usually test completed projects with UK audiences first, and then with American audiences, to get a good idea of how the movie will be received. The chairmen of Working Title claim good luck has played a huge part in their success. They are constantly surprised by reactions to their films. “We often put down the number of what you think a film will ultimately do worldwide in gross revenue, but it’s amazing the one you didn’t think would work is suddenly huge” -Eric Fellner 18
  • This was the case when Working Title released ‘Four weddings and a funeral’ in 1994, gaining the company mainstream traction, after an unexpected global box office success. It is one of the highest grossing British films in cinema history, with world wide box office in excess of $260 million. Four of Working Title’s films still remain in the highest grossing British films of all time, including ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ ‘Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason’ ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Notting Hill’. ‘Four Weddings’ was a huge success in America right from its first screening, which was in fact, before the English release. What made the film so huge worldwide were its universal themes, witty dialogue, and colourful supporting cast. ‘Four Weddings’ had at its helm, a group of hip Londoners who were bent on making a piece about people much like themselves, writer Richard Curtis included, sought to ‘modernize’ some of those old Hollywood romantic comedies. The success of ‘Four Weddings’ was as much a surprise to Working Title as it was to film makers alike, whilst other British films fell at the wayside, Working Title film formed an award winning formula to creating a global success. All Working Title films tell the same story of unfashionable people humiliated in their pursuit of romance. An all American star in one of the lead roles (Andie Macdowell) was paramount, a goofy, intelligent, confused, attractive male in a lead role (Hugh Grant) plus a backdrop of wacky friends, and even wackier relationships. We see an assortment of quirky Brits, beloved by Americans, who provide a hefty portion of witty banter. Everyone in the audience has someone they can identify with, it’s this mixture of personalities that draws us right in, we want these people to succeed. Yet we love witnessing their downfall, and cleverly the comedy carries off some otherwise excruciating moments. ‘Four Weddings’ like most of Curtis’ films are all quintessentially ‘British’ therefore appealing to a wider target audience. Countries such as America enjoy seeing Britain, especially England represented as a charmingly quaint country, with chocolate box cottages, tea shops, and posh accents. However, this sort of idealization in British film is looked upon by some British filmmakers as a problem. After films such as ‘Four Weddings’ many UK film makers embraced the new idea that they could make an impact on the world stage, and started making films designed for universal appeal, rather than just aiming to impress or be true to Britain. Here’s where the problem lies with so many British film makers. Many of them felt that some British films were really American films with an English accent, determined to relay a light hearted Britain, with all social struggle put to one side, concentrating only on insignificant story lines, with a bright outlook in general. 19
  • “As British films go, it’s not merchant ivory, not angst ridden streets of London, while its slightly old fashioned-the first 10 words in the film are ‘fuck’ which helps the audience get in to it” – Tim Bevan One filmmaker at the time of this new era of ‘internationalism’ was director Danny Boyle, whos directional debut was the 1994 crime thriller ‘Shallow Grave’ shortly followed by ‘Trainspotting’ in 1996, both as far from ‘quaint’ ‘rose tinted’ representation of Britain as you can get. The films delve in to a world of drugs, deception, betrayal, addiction, and ultimately death, laced with pitch- black comedy moments that left audiences undecided to whether ‘Trainspotting’ promoted drug use or not. ‘Trainspotting’ is often accused of ‘glamorizing’ the gritty lifestyle of heroin addiction, however the film was critically appraised for tapping into the youth subculture of the time, being given the title as ‘a true representation of British social realism’ the main theme being the exploration of urban poverty and squalor, in ‘culturally rich’ Edinburgh. The film did incredibly well in Britain, revealing that the heroin culture, although dark and forbidden, was also equally as fascinating. On its release in the United States, the first 20 minutes of the film were re- edited, with alternate dialogue. Because of the strong Scottish accents and language of the characters, it was believed that American audiences would have difficultly understanding them, as they were so culturally specific. The film was a huge success; it demonstrated that the American public hungered for glimpses into Britain’s dark and mysterious heroin culture. American critic Rodger Ebert heaped praise on the film for its portrayal of addicts’ experiences; the film demonstrated that there will always be a market for ‘precise observation’ which in fact was director Danny Boyle’s main objective within the film. Proving that filmmakers don’t have to ‘sugar coat’ their film, or put famous actors or actresses in the lead roles, just to relate to an audience, especially an American audience, as once thought before. Connoisseur of film Shane Meadows mostly know for his revenge drama 20
  • ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ and the bold but brilliant ‘This Is England’ is typically unorthodox in his approach to modern film making, general rules and regulations of film are pushed aside, creating unique modern day- British social realism masterpieces. This Is England is a poignant state-of-the –nation address that shows Meadows at his most mature. He has shown time after time his ability to work with limited budgets and talented non professional actors; the route of why his films have become so successful. Meadows tends not to write a script as a starting point, what really drives him are occurrences that have affected him throughout his life. He believes you don’t have to be an amazing writer to make a good film, life experience is more important, if you’re going to make a film about working class people, you have to have experience of a working class upbringing, otherwise, how are you going to represent that class accurately. “How can he make films about something he don’t know or understand… your not from their man… it’s just not real” – Shane Meadows on director Mike Leigh (Vera Drake) “I really like Lock stock, but they’re all really cool criminals, cool music and that, but seriously how many criminals do you know going about stealing diamonds! As where in my films… they steal dog food” –Shane Meadows Meadows recognized a large gap in the film market, he saw that directors were ‘detached’ from their films, as where he wanted to make films that he had connection to, and understanding of, also because he cared about the people he was going to portray on screen. He makes all his films instinctively, leaving it up to the audience to perceive the film as they wish. Therefore, he doesn’t have a specific target audience in mind, and doesn’t make films for large audience consumption. However, after releasing four critically successful films, Meadows was quickly becoming recognized as one of the most distinct British voices in cinema, and found he was being approached by various production companies, requiring his vision. Although, once in collaboration with Film Four Meadow’s saw quite a difference in attitude towards the production of his film overall. He felt forced into casting famous actors in his roles, using cinematographers and editors he wasn’t familiar with, also he was far more aware of the ‘targets’ he was supposed to be reaching , and when he did, he totally regretted it. “They said you need to make a breakthrough film! And when it happened I totally regretted it… it was an absolute crock of shit, I totally hate it!” –Shane Meadow on his film Once upon a time in the Midlands 21
  • 6. HOW DOES THE WAY IN WHICH YOU CONSUME FILM GIVE AN INDICATION OF THE PATTERNS OF CONSUMPTION OF FILM Key points: What is the current situation with cinema going? Cinema viewing figures are currently at the highest they have been for 40 years. Last summer – cinema audience figures reached - 17.56million which is the highest since the early 1970’s. What could be the reason for this increase? HOW DO PEOPLE CONSUME FILM:  Cinema  DVD and Blue Ray -  TV – VOD  Internet  Pirates  Illegal downloads Do you and your friends buy pirates or illegally download? Here are some key facts about illegal downloading and pirates  The film industry (according to experts) loses around £500- £700m a year to piracy  The revenue gained from pirate DVD’s alone is approximately £278m pounds a year. THIS IS ENGLAND This is England is directed by the Midlands director, Shane Meadows. The plot couldn't be more 'indigenous3', but this is not the England of The Queen, Notting Hill or Pride and Prejudice. Instead the 1970s Skinhead movement, its 22
  • uneasy relationship with West Indian culture (from respect for which it grew) and its distortion by the racist National Front forms the backdrop for a story about the adolescent life of a bereaved boy. Meadows previously had varied box office and critical success with a range of other films all based on domestic life and relationships in the Midlands, including Twenty Four Seven, A Room for Romeo Brass, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands and Dead Man's Shoes. In his films the presence or absence of fathers and older male authority figures and the effects of such on young working class men are depicted with a mixture of comedy and sometimes disturbing drama. Another major difference between Meadows' output and the more commercially 'instant' British films from Working Title and similar companies, is the importance of cultural reference points— clothes, music, dialect—that only a viewer with a cultural familiarity with provincial urban life in the times depicted would recognise. This is England was produced as a result of collaboration between no less than seven companies—Big Arty Productions, EM Media, FilmFour, Optimum Releasing, Screen Yorkshire, the UK Film Council and Warp Films. It was distributed by six organisations—IFC Films, Netflix, Red Envelope Entertainment and IFC First Take in the USA, Madman Entertainment in Australia and Optimum Releasing in the UK. ("This is England" released digitally in Norway thanks to the European project: D-PLATFORM) The critical response to This is England has largely been to celebrate a perceived 'return' to a kind of cultural reflective film-making that was threatened by extinction in the context of Hollywood's dominance and the Government's preference for funding films with an eye on the US market, as this comment from Nick James, editor of the BFI's Sight and Sound magazine shows: I forgot, when watching Shane Meadows' moving evocation of skinhead youth This is England at the London Film Festival, how culturally specific its opening montage might seem; it goes from Roland Rat to Margaret Thatcher to the Falklands War to Knight Rider on television. What will people outside of Northern Europe make of the regalia of 1980s skinheads from the Midlands? Hopefully they will be intrigued. This Is England made me realise, too, that some British films are at last doing exactly what Sight and Sound has campaigned for; reflecting aspects of British life again and maybe suffering the consequences of being harder to sell abroad. (James, 2006:16) 23
  • WORKING TITLE PRODUCTIONS Working Title is one of the worlds leading film productions companies making movies that defy boundaries as well as demographics. Working Title was established is 1984 by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe, at that moment in time money for film production was exceedingly tight, so in 1992 Working Title went looking for a corporate backer. Soon after fusing with Universal Radclyffe left the company, making way for Eric Fellner, who took her place. New Zeland born Bevan started his career as a runner on a soap opera, before serving his apprenticeship at the National Film Unit. In the early eighties he moved to Britain and started working at Video Arts –John Cleese’s successful corporate training production house. In 1983 Bevan started a music video production company, Algebra, which was to become Working Title a year later. Its first feature ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ helped launch the careers of director Stephen Frears and Daniel Day Lewis. Fellner also started in music videos making promo videos for bands such as Duran Duran, and Fleetwood Mac. He then moved into British films, producing ‘The Rachel Papers’ and ‘Sid and Nancy’ among others at Initial Pictures. Bevan left Initial pictures in 1992 to join Bevan at Working Title. Working Title’s films were a mixture of Left-off-centre independent films such as ‘Sammie and Rosie Get Laid’ and support for American indie productions such as Tim Robbins’ Bob Roberts. Working Title’s breakthrough hit was 1994’s ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. After a long dry period with few international hits, the production company proved that the British could once again fashion films with global appeal. International successes followed: among them ‘French Kiss’ ‘Dead Man Walking’ ‘Fargo’ ‘Bean’ and ‘Elizabeth’ mixing critical with commercial success. That’s not to say that all Working Title films are a success, their biggest flop being ‘Captain Correlli’s Mandolin’ it was their most expensive film and, ironically the one that seemed most likely to succeed. Adapted from the widely popular book of the same title, with an all star cast, it still managed to disappoint with the critics and in the box office. 24
  • Working Title has made over 90 films that have grossed over $4.5 billion worldwide. Its films have won 6 academy awards, 26 BAFTA awards, and also prestigious prizes at Cannes film festival, and also at the Berlin international film festival. Bevan and Fellner have been awarded with the highest film awards given to British film makers, the Michael Balcon award for ‘outstanding contribution to British cinema’ at the Orange British academy (BAFTA) film awards. They also received the Alexander Walker film award at the Evening Standard film awards. Lastly both chairmen were honoured with CBE’s (Commanders of the Order of the British Empire) for their years of commitment to British film making. Process of post production, production, marketing and distribution ‘The Boat That Rocked’ The Concept: The idea/Production company In thinking about the processes that occur during the life of a film, it is easy to forget the first step in that journey is the original idea. This can either come from a writer, a director or producer in the form of a book, a play, or an original treatment for a script. In the case of ‘The Boat That Rocked’, the idea is an original one. Writing the script is only the first stage in getting a film to the screen. What Curtis (Writer) needed was finance in order to get ‘That Boat That Rocked’ actually made. He turned to Working Title, one of the leading British production companies with whom he had worked successfully in the past. Eric Fellner knew audiences would react well to the film, it was a great mainstream idea, with amazing music and cast. “It had a number of things going for it, the first being that its Richard Curtis, he’s almost like a brand in this country, people look out for his next film” -Eric Fellner The big advantage of making the film with Working Title was that they were already allied with Universal Pictures, a major Hollywood studio. This meant the producers had a direct line to finances, as well as a way of distributing the film and ensuring that it would be screened in cinemas. The Producer One of the first people on board the project is the producer, it is usually the producer who works on the film longer than anyone else, seeing it through from the moment they pick up an idea, to the film being made and sold; the producer is critical to its success. One of the first jobs for the producer is reading through the script, Co producer Hilary Bevan finds that the first reading of the script is an extremely important time, and she never begins the script if she hasn’t the time to finish it in the same sitting. 25
  • “I never rest with a script, I’ve learnt that there’s always something funnier to be found within the script” – Hilary Bevan (co producer) Starting with the script is very important as a producer; the script is the blueprint for the whole film. From the script it is possible to: • Calculate what certain costs will be in the budget • Work out the most efficient way of filming • Work out which locations are needed • Work out what sets need to be built • Work out what other actors are needed for both major and minor roles Whilst the script is being developed the producers put together the key members of a creative team, who will work on the budget and who will be vital in the planning of the film. Usually, once a head of department is chosen, they will usually bring their own assistants or crew -who they usually work with on projects, who automatically also come part of the crew. The Budget Whilst the script is being developed and the creative team are starting to form ideas, Hilary Bevan works with others on the team to draw up the budget for the film, although, one key person is usually responsible for working out the final budget. The budget gets broken down into sections; costumes and makeup, actors, the set, music clearance etc. Essentially it’s not difficult to budget as long as you are disciplined, and have good knowledge and understanding of the script. Casting A major part of the budget is spent on the cast, they have an effect not only on the budget, but also the final feel of the film. “All parts are crucial, because if you have just one person that doesn’t quite fit, and a note of unreality comes into the film, then you’ve lost it” – Hilary Bevan (co producer) The choice of actors that appeared in the film was vital on two counts. Firstly being able to convincingly play a particular character, and secondly their names would be just as important for the marketing of the film –to attract audiences. Some of the parts were known in advance, and some were auditioned, the right balance of actors is key. The characterisation of each cast member has to be determined and counteracted, also how they look together, how they act together, how they react with each other, is it believable? 26
  • Planning The script provides the blueprint for the film. Once the producers are happy with the script its time for the production team to start planning the actual film. The team needs to consider what the writer was trying to achieve, what the director wants to accomplish and what the audience would find believable. Once the budget for ‘The Boat That Rocked’ has been set, producer, Hilary Bevans Jones’ new task is to work with her heads of departments to ensure that all the necessary planning is complete. This involves planning locations, booking technicians and camera crew, organising insurance, scheduling the film, and working on the ‘look’ of the film, discussing this with designers and looking at issues of accommodation, travel, and equipment. ‘The Boat That Rocked’ is set in 1966 and therefore requires a ‘60s’ feel to what is seen on screen. Because the setting is less than 50 years ago, certain members of the audience might have clear or vague memories of that period. Therefore the ‘look’ of the film would need to carefully reflect that period of time, places, fashions, surroundings, objects, hairstyles, and clothes. As well as planning the look of the film, the production team then has to find locations where they can film, which could be made to look like 60’s buildings and rooms. From this they can decide on when the film will be shot and which scenes will be filmed on which day, - in short to construct a filming schedule. A schedule is basically a timetable for the shooting of a film. A film is rarely shot in the order that we finally see it, restrictions on when people and locations are available mean that shooting has to be carried out with all these complex considerations in mind. For sake of the economy, all scenes on one set or location will be filmed at the same time out of sequence. The team will have looked at the various locations, the availability of the actors, then very carefully plan the order of shooting. Editing As filming begins, editor Emma Hickox is starting to put together scenes from the film. At this stage she works closely with the head cinematographer Danny Coen. Everyday vast quantities of film rushes are sent to the editing suite where they are digitalized on to the computer, the material is then watched and checked. From a technical point of view there may be issues that crop up, for instance dodgy lenses, or unstable shots, it’s the job of the editor to spot these problems. So apart from a creative angle, the editor is used for keeping everything on track, and will also highlight any arising issues. The turn around in the editing suite is extremely quick, so if any issues do arise they need to be dealt with instantly. The art of editing is based around choice and selection, the more filmed material that Emma has, the more choices and options there are when it comes to the editing process .Key to the whole film is the music from the 60’s, 27
  • which forms not only the soundtrack to the film, but also helps Emma make decisions when it comes to editing sequences which have music over the action. Editing a comedy film presents its own challenges to an editor; key to any film is the development of the story and the characters who play out the events. Emma has to bear both these points in mind when she’s constructing the scenes. By the end of filming Emma has made a construction of the film –consisting of the first edits of all the scenes in the script. This is the first stage of the editing process –putting together the assembly. The assembly uses as many shots as possible to make the scene look as it is written in the script. As the film is edited, Emma cuts many of the characters lines, this is due to the actors embodying their character, and they don’t need to deliver as many lines –as their body language tells the story. In the case of ‘The Boat That Rocked’ the first construction of the film was 5 hours long, the actual final cut is 2 hours 6 minutes long. Marketing When marketing a new film the studio has to bear in mind, who they think will come and see the film, and how they can attract them to see the film. In creating their marketing campaign they need to consider what the films unique selling point is, what makes the film different from the other films out in the market already. Whilst also thinking about who the target audience is for the film, which part of the cinema-going public might most want to see the film; the distributors’ main focus is working out this audience, and to build up early awareness for the film amongst the public. A film distribution company will know what attracts people to the film, therefore tailoring their campaign to what audience they want. In doing this they will need to communicate information about the film to audiences – in such a way that will make them not only aware of the film, but want to come and see the film also. Trailers- After a teaser trailer has been running in cinemas for a few months, the distributor will then release a full trailer which will be longer and give more information about the film then the previous teaser trailer. The teaser trailer for ‘The Boat That Rocked’ was 39 seconds long, the full trailer is 1 minute 30 seconds long, giving the public a much more ‘rounded’ idea of the film. However there must be a synergy or relationship between the two trailers, having given audiences and ideas about the film, the main trailer takes this idea and develops it further. Posters- The use of posters in a film campaign is just as important as the trailers, mainly due to the availability of space. Billboard space 28
  • is cheap as is the production of posters. The reach is also an important factor, as poster use allows the distribution company to advertise elsewhere other than inside a theatre or cinema building. A poster has to try to capture in a still image the excitement and promise of the moving images they will see in the cinema. The poster for the film has to give the viewer as much information about the film as it can in one short ‘look’ of the image. At the beginning of the campaign the distribution company will produce what is called a ‘teaser’ campaign (much like the teaser trailer) in which one or two posters are released which will make the public aware the film is coming without giving too much away. More information will be given in the main campaign which will appear closer to the release of the film. Shelf Space- Once the film is released on to DVD, the new task for the distributor is to find shelf space within stores. In most shops usually only the top 10 DVD’s of the time are presented in a priority position, as where most other DVD’s are put in to one large section. Once the DVD has been released the distributor will fight for physical shelf space within a store, to get a good position for the DVD. Studio’s like Universal Pictures have the clout to get their films into the shelves in a good priority position, the effect of the position can ultimately make or break the sale. TV/Radio spots- Just before the films release interviews with various members of the cast or crew will appear on a number of TV and radio shows, to promote the films release. This sort of advertising is usually free for the production company and also the TV/Radio show - as both parties get something out of the deal. TV show will also usually play a small clip of the film, mostly taken from the trailer, giving the guest the chance to discuss the film etc. As where radio shows may play sound bites from the film, and in the case of ‘The Boat That Rocked’ the main point of emphasis being the music used in the film, - gives the film a good selling point to audiences listening. Other marketing strategies are slowly introduced after the film has been released including merchandising products such as, DVDs, soundtrack, T-shirts, Books, Posters etc. There is also marketing that comes from the audience of the film, including reviewers’ pages on the internet, Myspace and Facebook pages, and fan sites/ forums. 29
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  • 1 Lying between; intervening; intermediate 2 Mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially to an exaggerated or ludicrous degree 3 Home-grown