On October 13, 2008, it was announced that BBC Worldwidehad bought a 25% stake in Big Talk That Mitchell and Webb Company- Big Talk will produce allfuture Mitchell and Webb projects and also "give them theability to work with other writers and performers as producers".BBC Worldwide support the company in exchange forexclusive first-look distribution rights. In 2007, Nira Park expanded Big Talk Productions to create BigTalk Pictures, a feature film subsidiary separately controlledbut fully owned by Big Talk Productions. Although Big Talk Productions still remains an independentfilm company, and has managed to expand to convergewith other companies, it has still had to rely on one of thebigger conglomerates, BBC Worldwide, to an extent, for morewidespread promotion, higher budgets, and therefore amore reliable success rate.
This is most clearly seen in the promotion of the films Big Talk haveproduced. In particular, Shaun of The Dead (2004) used muchcross-media convergence and synergy when producing andpromoting the film. Promoted by the magazine ‘Total Film’, thus widening the audienceof the film and the amount of money it makes at the box office, aswell as boosting the ratings for the magazine as it was a muchanticipated film. This is an example of cross media convergence asboth are examples of the use of the media to target, andexpand, a target audience. In 2006, the National Entertainment Collectibles Associationannounced that it would be producing action figures based on thefilm as part of its "Cult Classics" line that features fan favouritecharacters from various genre films. Upper Deck Entertainment released a card for the popular World ofWarcraft Card Game in 2007, an ally named "Shawn of the Dead“. These 2 promotional methods are therefore examples of synergy, asthey have completely different markets, but are coming togetherto both make more profit.
New media technologies allows theindependent film companies to widentheir audience, as this sometimes cannotbe done through extensive promotionalcampaigns, like the biggerconglomerates. For example, when looking at Attack theBlock (2011) made by Big TalkProductions, there is a huge number ofspecial effects used…
The film features over 100 FX shots, which were completed overthe course of 4 months by Swedish effects house, Fido. The shots included a range of CG fur, jaws, paws and claws forthe alien creatures. The budget of was just £8 million, of which little would havegone on the VFX, the alternative to a full CG solution allows thecreatures to sit naturally in the film, while still allowing for astylised effects look. Fido created an animation rig that was capable ofsniffing, snarling, grinning, and most importantly, some bigimpressive roars. Magnus Eriksson was responsible for the jaws and teeth, whichwere sculpted in ZBrush and animated in Maya. They were alsoshaded and rendered in RenderMan The extensive list of software that was used for the creation ofthe monsters in this British Independent film is a prime exampleof how new technology is helping independent filmcompanies.
Internet sites such as YouTube and Vimeo allow for amuch wider spread promotional campaign for thesesmaller companies, such as Big Talk. For example, BigTalk have their own YouTube channel, where they canlink to the trailers of other upcoming films they have. Thisallows for cross-promotion, but overall for the samecompany Social Networking also plays a huge part in thepromotion of Independent Films. They can freely createFacebook pages dedicated to that one film, whichwould be linked on the film’s website, and Big Talk’swebsite. This can also pave way for the use of ‘viralmarketing’, something that Independent Filmcompanies can rely hugely on, as they do not have thehuge budget to be able to synergise with bigconglomerates.
New technologies such as iPhones and iPadsthat have converged many differenttechnologies together allow the consumer tobe able to download apps and filmsthemselves to their device. This is where theindependent film companies create most oftheir attention, as they cannot afford to have alarge promotional campaign for the DVDrelease of the film. This also allows for the popularity of the film tospread through the new technologies, as it isquick and easy to share trailers, wepages andother things relating to a specific film to others.
The British audience used to be the prime target audiencefor the Independent film companies, such as Big Talkproductions, who have converged with Film4 andChannel 4 previously to release extremely successful filmswith the British audience. However, now the largerconglomerates are starting to target the British Audienceas well. Companies like Studio Canal, and Working Title, are nowconverging to work together with the Independent filmcompanies, to distribute films such as The KingsSpeech, and Slumdog Millionaire, which went on tobecome huge hits internationally. This, in turn, although being almost vital to theIndependent film companies success’, is limiting theircreative freedom and expression, as the conglomeratesare only releasing films with one aim- to make as muchmoney as they can.
I own new devices, that are converging technologiestogether, such as an iPhone, iPad, and laptop. I find out about films through promotion on socialnetworking sites, and mainly through trailers at thecinema. I buy DVDs frequently, and like to watch them inblue-ray as I have a blue-ray player. I watch films in the cinema, DVD, on my smaller moreportable devices, on my computer and on TV. I do feel that I am repeatedly watching the samenarrative, recycled over and over again, done by theconglomerates. However, this in a sense in the reasonwhy they are so successful- because they aresafe, and not challenging people’s opinions orknowledge. I also tend to watch films in afranchise, which is only really done by the bigger filmconglomerates.