AS Film Studies
Producers and Audiences Revision Book
1. Your understanding of how filmproducers(film companies)
2. Your ability to explore ideas about how audiences watch/use film.
3. Your understanding of the relationship between producersand
The word institution refers to the companies and organisations that provide media
content, whether for profit, public service or another motive.
We needto talk about media institutions in the plural and to recognise that it is
possible,through such distribution networks as MySpace and YouTube, to be
aproducer and distributor of content some time, and a consumer of mediaproduced
by powerful corporations the rest of the time.
For this part of the exam you will be concerned with how media institutionsproduce
You will have grown up with online media as the norm, but thispart of your studies
you do need to acquire a sense of how rapidlyproducersand audiences are being
transformed by digital technology.
Convergence describes two phenomena: First, technologies comingtogether, for example, a
mobile phone you can use as a still andmoving image camera, download and watch moving
images on, use asan MP3 player and recorder and access the internet with. Second,media
industries are diversifying so they produce and distribute acrossseveral media—for example,
a newspaper with an online version andaudio podcasts or the coming together of
videogames with films. We no longer live in a world where television, videogames,
films,newspapers, radio, magazines and music exist separately. For this reason it isessential
that you study the impact of convergence on the film industry — thefocus here is on the
Audience is a huge area of film studies, so it’s important to be precise about our
focus in this section, which is on the relationship between audiences and poducers.
You will need to analyse the morecomplex nature of new media audiences and how
digital media distributionand consumption has allowed consumers to become
Vertical Integration, Above the line marketing, Below the line marketing, Synergy
marketing, Merchandising, Viral marketing, Budget (Low, mid range, big),
Conglomerate, Subsidiary, DSN – Digital Screen Network, HD – High definition, Blu
ray, Digital Distribution, 35mm reels, Independent cinema, Mainstream cinema,
Piracy, Niche audience, CGI, Consumer/ Prosumer, Convergence
producers(prosumers) or at least interactors, and thus far more active users of
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,
Web 2.0 (video)
David Gauntlettexplain the difference between Web 1.0 and 2.0 (video)
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 theways in
which people engage with media, and it shows how contested theidea of audience is
in the digital era.
The ways in which convergence,user-created content and social networking have
transformed theaudience are often thought about in terms of audience
Inthis climate media institutions are desperately trying to provide 360-degree
branding (link) for their products—to surround us with them acrossall the various
converged media forms that we come into contact with—agood example of this is
Csigo suggests that media institutions are no longer interested in keeping the
audience together, but in 'triggering engagement' in people.
Convergingmedia, 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 socialnetwork (a complex system
where producers and audiences are mixed up).
Another way of describing this is the shift from 'push media' (video) (whereproducers
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 itin ways that suit us). The key
term that is often used to describe theproliferation of people making and distributing
their own video is the longtail. (video)
To succeed in this section of the Key Media Concepts exam you need todevelop a
case study on a particular studio or production company. Thisinstitution must be
located in a contemporary film industry and it must produceand/or distribute films to
the UK. The focus will be on how this institution relatesto:
o Production: making films
o Distribution: promoting films and getting them into cinemas and out onDVD/UMD,
as well as any spin offs/related media products
o Consumption: people paying at the cinema, renting or buyingDVDs/UMDs,
Distribution: Introduction: What is Distribution?
What is a Distributor?
Distribution and Marketing
Consider these two competing views of who holds the most power interms 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.
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 onDVD/UMD, on
television, via the internet or on a plane, or anywhere else). Farfrom being a
straightforward state of affairs, distribution involves all of thedeals done to get films
shown (many films never get seen) and, just asimportantly, 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 filmand another commercial agency, for example a
McDonalds 'Happy Meal' witha film theme. It also includes related merchandising
and 'below the line'publicity which is not paid for, but again generates mutual
interest. Forexample, 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
greatunknown for film producers).
It is crucial not to see film distribution as a 'helpful' stage in the life of a filmwhereby
distributors treat all films equally and ensure fair play in getting films tothe public's
attention. The key players, the big companies who control much ofthe industry,
control distribution of their own products, and of others (example20th Century Fox
and Avatar). Effectively films are loaned out to cinemas for afinite period and release
deals are done that secure access to a certainnumber of screens at a time. In the UK
film market, an increase in the quantityof screens showing films has not led to an
increase in the number of filmsshown.
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
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 weare familiar with are distributed via 'blanket release',
so even if a small UKindependent company manages to get its product into
cinemas, it isusually competing for attention with one or more films that take on
thestatus of an 'event'. One of the outcomes of the distribution
arrangementoutlined above is that half of the films released in Britain do not reach
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 independentcinema 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 ScreenNetwork —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
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 theBritish Film Industry?
For your case study, you will need to ask these questionsand explore the way the
studio/company operates both in 'old fashioned'production and distribution contexts and in
the current online distribution andintermedial‘spin off’ climate.
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,
politicaland institutional reasons why films do or don't get made and releasedand 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 upto date example
that is comparable and even exceeds the success ofPirates 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. Thetiming 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 majorconcern 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 thanmultinational conglomerates, as they cannot bear the impact with
already acquired capital. Another aspect of technological change that the Film Council is
concerned with is digital filming and projection. The DigitalScreen 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
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 ofhosts, from the UK Film Council to The UK
Media Desk, BBC Film Network andBig Film Shorts, Film London's Pulse and a host of short
film festivals, all ofwhom have online submission.
As far as the major studios and distributors are concerned, digital technology offers great
potential to increase profits and dangers in equalmeasure. Digital distribution will certainly
transform the film industrymore than any previous technological change since sound.
Once itbecomes the norm to download film via broadband, the potential for a newform of
‘blanket distribution' is obvious—not only do you no longer needmultiple prints, you can
also bypass the cinemas (although the big screenoffers a separate experience that is likely to
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 digitaldistribution will be control and security, as most piracy is the
result of acinema-goer with a hidden camera distributing a poor quality versionof a film to
parts of the world where it has not yet been released(because the prints are currently
somewhere else). Simultaneousglobal distribution via the internet will put an end to this
'time gap' andthus 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
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 soonbe 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 theimage
itself, the editing process becoming more creative andcomposite 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 technologycreates new opportunities for distributing
Marshall (2004) sumsup 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 rentalsmaking the visit to the local Blockbuster unnecessary,
cinema still 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 largelydriven 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
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 ownershipof a wide range of media to cross
promote their films (and other media)across their wide media empires. The synergies of
cross-promotion thatcan be created by these media organisations is mind-boggling. For
Century Fox's Avatar it resulted in the greatest 'word-of-mouth' evergenerated for a big
budget film and no doubt this helped the film become ablockbuster. (Fox with-holding the
trailer from the summer and earlyAutumn 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
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
KEY POINT: The success of Avatar was ensured when the film achievedcritical 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 makermay find it difficult in making his film entirely ‘British’ if it is
beingfinanced 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
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
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 Aardmanproductions 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.
The DreamworksAardman split illustrates the effects of being tied down to amainstream
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
Exchange – below the line promotion
3. what has been the impact of digital technology on the
production, distribution, marketing and consumption of
Digital technology is currently revolutionising production, distribution, exhibition and
consumption of film. Films are now cheaper and easier tomake, cheaper to distribute and
the film watching experience is beingenhanced by digital cinemas (known as D-Cinemas).
You need to know howproduction, distribution and exhibition is being changed by digital
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY ON FILM
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 logicof the film making process is
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 digitaltechnology on Hollywood has been gradual
but all-encompassing. Today amovie can be shot, edited, and distributed from camera to
theatre andbeyond, 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
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 theblue screen footage with morethan 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
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 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?
Distribution is cheaper
Simultaneous global releases of films to cut down the attraction of pirate
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.
Moviesencoded as digital data files –either recorded on optical disc andphysically shipped
or broadcast via satellite, has increasingly replacedfilm prints as the preferred method for
distributing movies to theatressince 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
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 100copies ends up costing exactly the same amount for the cinema, thereforemore
cinemas are able to buy the latest releases, increasing their owncustom.
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.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY ON THE EXHIBITION
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 atImax. It was
available in 3D and normal quality and was very popular withaudiences.
READ UP ON THE DIGITAL SCREEN NETWORK – WHAT IS THEIR ROLE?
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT ON FILM PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION IN
4. WHAT DO FILM COMPANIES HAVE TO THINK ABOUT
WHEN THEY ARE TARGETTING GLOBAL AND LOCAL
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
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
THINK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KIDULTHOOD AND THE BOAT THAT ROCKED OR
AVATAR AND THIS IS ENGLAND – WHATWERE 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
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 to spend a fortune on promoting a film if
they are not going to make a profit from box office sales.
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
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 hewas figuring out the target group
for his audience he would ask himself “Whowould stand in aqueue outside, atnight, in
January tosee this film” Andthere, he had histarget 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 ahuge 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
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 (AndieMacdowell) 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 asAmerica enjoy seeing Britain,
especially England represented as a charminglyquaint 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 werereally American films with an English accent, determined to relay a light
hearted Britain, with all social struggle put to one side, concentratingonly on insignificant
story lines, with a bright outlook in general.
“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
On its release in the United States, the first 20 minutes of the film were reedited, 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 ‘Dead Man’s
Shoes’ and the bold but brilliant ‘This Is England’ is typically unorthodox in his approach to
modern film making, generalrules 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, whatreally 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
“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 filmsinstinctively, leaving it up to the audience to perceive the
film as theywish. Therefore, he doesn’t have a specific target audience in mind,
anddoesn’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
“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
6. HOW DOES THE WAY IN WHICH YOU CONSUME FILM
GIVE AN INDICATION OF THE PATTERNS OF
CONSUMPTION OF FILM
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:
_ DVD and Blue Ray -
_ TV – VOD
_ 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 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 theMidlands 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 andsimilar 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, asthis comment from Nick James, editor of the BFI's Sight and Sound
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.
WORKING TITLE PRODUCTIONS
Working Title is one of the worlds leading film productions companies making movies that
defy boundaries as well as demographics. WorkingTitle was established is 1984 by Tim
Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe, at thatmoment in time money for film production was
exceedingly tight, so in 1992Working Title went looking for a corporate backer. Soon after
fusing withUniversal 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
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 ManWalking’ ‘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.
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 caneither 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 gettinga 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, itwas 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
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.
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.
“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
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
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.
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?
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, certainmembers 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 oftime, 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.
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 aroundin 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, 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
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.
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. Increating their marketing
campaign they need to consider what the filmsunique selling point is, what makes the film
different from the other filmsout 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 doingthis they will need to communicate
information about the film to audiences – insuch a way that will make them not only aware
of the film, but want to comeand see the film also.
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
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.
The use of posters in a film campaign is just as important as the trailers, mainly due to the
availability of space. Billboard space 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 oneor two posters are released
which will make the public aware the film iscoming without giving too much away. More
information will be given in themain campaign which will appear closer to the release of the
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 beenreleased the distributor will fight for physical shelf space within a store,to get a
good position for the DVD. Studio’s like Universal Pictures havethe 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.
Just before the filmsrelease 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.