Case Study - ShiftyG322 Key Media Concepts (TV Drama)Section B: Institutions and Audiences UK film aimed at a national audience Traditional UK film genre PRODUCTION - Ultra low microbudget production via NationalLottery UK Film Council / Film London Typical UK film funding DISTRIBUTION - Metrodome distributors MARKETING - Interesting use of viral marketing, film festivaland award ceremony EXHIBITION - Produced with DVD extras in mind
Case Study - Shifty1. UK film aimed at a national audience Shifty is a typical British ‘success’ story. Filmed on a shoestring budget, directorEran Creevy was still able to create thischaracter-led, well-crafted, cinematicpiece as his first feature film.Eran Creevy - Well established in theworld of music promos and commercials,he has been honing his craft for a good fewyears before turning his hand to features.http://www.thereel.net/blog.php?article_id=172 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkYhQoLEDzA
Case Study - ShiftyThe actors - As his first feature, it was obviously a riskfor well known actor Daniel Mays (Atonement and VeraDrake) and up-and-coming actor Riz Ahmed (Brits andDeadset) to undertake but, with Eran’s well-written script,insightful character observation and on-point direction,what was created in only three weeks certainly wasimpressive.
Case Study - Shifty2. Traditional UK film genre The story tells of 24hrs in the life of your ‘friendlyneighbourhood crack dealer’ and doesn’t adhere to theoften, stereotypical workings of previous British,working-class, grimy gangster flicks. It’s a character led film that has its feet firmly on theground. It doesn’t try to be something it’s not andthere’s no glossing over the grim realities of a storybased on a childhood friend of Eran. Genre - contemporary, urban thriller with a strongelement of social realism. More Ken Loach andMike Leigh than Guy Ritchie or kidulthood!
Case Study - Shifty3. Ultra low budget production Microwave challenges film-makers to shoot a full length film for up to £100,000.The scheme will provide an intensive approach to film-making, with an emphasison tightly focused scripts, short production schedules and commercialpotential. Microwave offers a unique professional mentoring scheme from leadingindustry figures. Film London and its partners will also offer a range of assistance including in-kind support from leading facilities and service companies, waived locationsfees from many of London’s local authorities, and a generous ‘revenue share’model which will enable producers to utilise the UK’s new tax credit to secure a40% share of receipts. Completed projects will have the opportunity toshowcase at the annual London UK Film Focus sales event as well as at majorinternational markets.http://www.filmeducation.org/shifty/production_q4.html
Rory Aitken - Producer The Microwave Scheme challenges filmmakers to makefilms for £100,000. You could make it for less, but for nomore. Its run by Film London so they oversee theproduction and you have to go through various stages ofapplications. The last one of which they call Micro-schooland thats a week where you spend time with experiencedpeople in the industry who talk you through your film andyou try to develop it in various directions - to the script, thebudget and who youre going to get to act in it etc. - andthen you have to pitch the film to about 10 people on apanel for 15 minutes which is the most terrifying bit of it all.They then gave us half the money and we had to raise theother half. Then they helped us make the film with thatvery, very low budget. http://www.filmeducation.org/shifty/production_q2.html
Case Study - Shifty4. Typical UK film funding The average budget for a domestic UK filmin 2009 was £3.3 million – in 2010 it was £1.2million. Independent The Duchess, In Bruges, Son of Rambow UK Film Council productions Bright Star, In theLoop TV Co-productions BBC The Duchess, Fish Tank, Revolutionary Road Film4 Slumdog Millionaire, Nowhere Boy European co-productions Adulthood Anglo-American co-productions Mamma Mia!,Quantum of Solace and The Dark Knight
Case Study - Shifty Interesting use film festival and awardceremonyAs part of the microwave project Shifty premiered atThe Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival on Friday24 October 2008 at Odeon West End.Shifty was also nominated for a FIPRESCIInternational Critics Award for best first or secondfeature and later for 5 British Independent FilmAwards.Shifty had some great reviews off the back of thescreenings from the Daily Mail, Time Out included itas one of their three ‘Picks of the Festival’, Heatmagazine called it ‘Ace!’, and The Observer called ittheir ‘personal discovery of the festival’.
Metrodome distributorsFollowing the London Film Festivalscreening in October Shifty had interest fromseveral distributors.Rory Aitken - We went to meet severalinterested parties individually to discuss thefilm, and after some negotiations with themall, we went with Metrodome - a great UKdistributor who did Donnie Darko, and Oscar-winning The Counterfeiters last year.http://www.filmeducation.org/shifty/production_q7.html
So what did the distributor Metrodome find attractive aboutShifty? Metrodome acquired Shifty having seen it in 2008 and I think thefirst and most important point is that cinema can be so much morethan big studio blockbusters. I think great British cinema, can beabout a place that you might live, about people you might know. Itcan involve stories that might be familiar to you. It really doesnthave to be an Americanised view of the world. Theres somefantastic cinema out there which comes from Britain, from Londonand other regions, and I think really in distributing films like Shiftywere just trying to get people to see how diverse cinema is in Britaintoday. One of the important things for Metrodome about Shifty was -although it is an urban genre film which obviously brings to mindBullet Boy, Kidulthood & Adulthood its not just a group of anecdotesand stories about drug dealing scrapes and the police. At the heartof it, there are two people getting to know each other again after fouryears apart and a universal story about friendship. So although it isan urban genre film, its very important that its telling a real story.http://www.filmeducation.org/shifty/marketing_q1.html
What kind of challenges did a film like ‘Shifty’ present inmarketing terms? The marketing challenge for us is telling people who we think wouldbe interested in the film that its coming and its out there and wehave to do it in such a way that you feel you can make an informeddecision. It can be a struggle for a small company because we cant spendthe level of money that a Hollywood blockbuster would spend so wehave to try and be clever about how we do things and I think wehave to be sure that when we speak to the target audience thatwere doing it in such a way that they feel that the tone is right andrepresents the film To do that were used a mixture of TV and ads on things like pirateradio. We did fly-posting. The poster of the film was really designedto be eye-catching and simple but really we always said the posterneeded to be quite exhibitionist. A show-off poster - just so its bigand loud and yellow - but we also need to be able to give you anidea of what the subject matter of the film is without spelling out thatits about drug dealing as that may be a problem for some people.http://www.filmeducation.org/shifty/marketing_q2.html
Case Study - Shifty International DistributionShifty went on to further success and secured adistribution deal in Australia. The newly set-updistribution arm of Curious Film, based in Sydney,handled the release. Deals like this signify the increasing opportunities for independentfilms to reach audiences globally. Mia Bays, Creative Executive for Microwave, went to Australia togive a keynote speech in which she gave her tips for making a littlego a long way.Her top tips urged film-makers to make sure they had aclear motivation, story and vision for their films andemphasised the importance of teamwork. However, shemaintained that getting your film made is only the firststep – “half your job is making the film, the other half isgetting it out to the world”.
Case Study - Shifty Interesting use of viral marketingDrugs email banned by ad watchdog‘Shifty’ email viral campaign banned An email marketing campaign for the British film Shifty thatencouraged people to "stitch up a mate" by making them thinkthey were being investigated by police for drugs offences hasbeen banned by the advertising regulator. The website promoting the movie, which charts a bad day inthe life of a drug dealer, allowed web users to anonymouslysend a friend an email with the headline "CriminalInvestigation". The email, which was sent from a ficticious police department,told the recipient they had been named by someone caught in aclass-A drugs swoop by police as a "habitual narcotics user".
Produced with DVD sales in mind…!Throughout the production period, aselection of accompanying materialwill be produced such as documentaryfootage of the films being made, as wellas transcripts of seminars andinterviews. This will be made universallyavailable as an online learningresource for all micro-budget film-makers.