Notes from OCR AS MEDIA STUDIES by Julian McDougall Production: making films Distribution: promoting films and getting them into cinema and out on DVD, as well as any spin offs / related media products Consumption: people paying at the cinema, renting or buying DVDs and downloading and purchasing related products.Britain and America On the one hand, British cinema has a tremendous advantage over other European national film for the simple reason that America is geiographically huge and Americans speak English…The flipside of this coin is obvious. American films have the same advantage and the American studios have enormous capital at their disposal. They produce more films, those films are more expensively created and they can afford to take more risks, knowing that one success will pay for 9 failures at the box office. The distribution of films into our cinemas and DVDs into our shops is dominated by US companies… 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? Distribution involves all of the deals done to get films shown… and just as importantly, promoted.The British Board of Film Classification What does the BBFC do? -classifies films as U, PG, 12, 12A, 15, 18, R18 There are three main considerations: legal (material may break the law – there are several laws to do with obscenity, equality, incitement and the protection of children). Protective (material is scrutinised for its potential to cause ‘harm’ though this is a huge area of debate – who decides who needs protecting from what?) Societal (material is reviewed with broader public opinion in mind with particular regard to language)What is a British Film? A; films made with British money, personnel and resources?
B: films co-funded with money from Britain and from foreign investment, but the majority of finance, cultural content and personnel are British. C: films with mostly foreign (but non USA) investement and a small British input, either financially or creatively? D: films made in the UK with (usually) British cultural content, but financed fully or partly by American companies. E: American films with some British involvement For a company like Working Title who are owned by a larger American group (Universal) is the production financed in the UK? 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 piracy. Small production companies are actually hurt more by piracy than multinational conglomerates, as they cannot bear the impact with already acquired capital. 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 distributors. 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 cinema (although the big screen offers a separate experience that is likely to remain attractive). Simultaneous global distribution via the internet will put an end to the ‘time gap’ and its exploitation by pirates