Thursday, 7 January 2016

Audience & Institution (Christmas 50)

Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production and exchange of media texts in your chosen media area?
One of the key factors of making a successful film is to use successful production companies. By doing this, more money can be spent on the film and bigger budgets are produced. Bigger budgets allow money for high quality special effects, cameras, crew, marketing etc. Films made with smaller production companies, however, may struggle with doing this as they don’t have the money or budgets to be making such big investments into projects. This means they have less chance of top quality cast members and the marketing may be bad for the film; which lowers the attention of the public eye.
The production companies involved with the making of Mad Max: Fury Road (Kennedy Miller Mitchell, RatPac-Dune Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures) had all produced the previous films in the Mad Max series; ultimately meaning they were able to spend the profits made from the other films and their other successful films to create this one. A lot of money was spent on this particular film. The budget was around $150 million and it actually cost around $153,600 to make. It made $374.4 million at the box office which meant it defiantly made tremendous profits. These companies could then spend that money on up and coming projects- and this process continues. These production companies aren’t majorly known and they aren’t as big as other companies such as Pinewood Studios, however they were able to spend the profits from their previous films to form a fantastically thrilling film. The distribution company used for this film was Warner Bros. Warner Bros is part of the Big 6. This means there is a lot of experience and successfulness to be added into the films marketing and distribution process. Seeing as Warner Bros is so big and successful, there was a lot of money spent on marketing and advertisements. Roughly $41.9 million was spent on advertising the film through methods such as posters, trailers and the use of social media like Twitter, Facebook and official websites. This meant that the film was advertised in a way in which the public were more inclined to notice and consider viewing. All the marketing paid off seeing as the film was a massive success. The film itself being associated with Warner Bros did it a favour as it is known globally that Warner Bros always distribute brilliant films, so audiences knew that it would be a fantastic film.
Ex_Machina was produced by three relatively known companies (DNA Films, Film4 and Scott Rudin Productions) who have been fairly successful on their previous films. Two out of three of these companies have worked together before which means they both work well together and come out with successful films. The budget for this film was $15 million which means it didn’t have as much money as films like Mad Max to be spending on effects, cast etc. However, Ex_Machina did have some relatively known stars such as Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac who added to the promotion of the film. Despite only being made on a budget of $15 million, Ex_Machina was extremely successful and made $37 million at the box office. The majority of the budget was spent on the use of special effects in the post-production process to help the sci-fi theme to become real. This was mainly focused around Ava’s robotic body to make her as human-like as possible with her stomach and head looking like a robot. The film was distributed by Universal Studios which, again, is known for being successful. This enabled lots of money to be spent on marketing by trailers, posters and social media sites like Tinder and Twitter; adding to the attraction of the film.
Kill List is a lot different to the two previously mentioned films. Its production companies (Rook Films, Warp X, Film4 Productions, Screen Yorkshire and UK Film Council) are all part of the British Film Industry. All of them except Film4 Productions are small companies which were still in the starting point of their company career. Film4 provided a low budget of $800,000 which, unfortunately, wasn’t gained back as it only made $462.206 at the box office. There was no profit made and the film was seen as a flop. The companies it was distributed by (Optimum Releasing and IFC Midnight) were fairly new which meant they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing. The film was barely advertised as not many people knew about it, however there was a trailer and the odd poster. Kill List was rated an 18 which meant that there was a select audience to watch it. This pushed views down as not everyone could go watch it. One of the biggest problems with Kill List (and many films of its kind) is that because it uses such new companies, there isn’t enough recognition and reputation of the companies to make people think the film would be worth seeing. This means that when another film is released at the same or similar time by a bigger company like Warner Bros or Universal Studios, the public would automatically think theirs would be better; meaning they wouldn’t watch Kill List unless they had a genuine interest for the genre or storyline. This is a very common problem in the film industry which has to be careful thought about. This is why most companies use the film release schedule as a guidance to what is being released and when.
In conclusion, issues raised by media ownership in the production and exchange of films is done by the fault in that there are many things viewers want in a film; usually being an adrenaline-charged storyline and lots of effects. Expectations are made for big companies so they will release fantastic films which is where smaller companies go wrong as they don’t have the money or experience to do so; forming unsuccessful films.

Audience & Institution (Christmas 50)

To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the area of media you have studied?

Digital distribution affects the marketing and consumption of media products in the film industry as it affects how the film is viewed; whether it be in cinemas or on sites such as Netflix and the internet in general. It also affects the film’s success and the success of the marketing process as it is an easy way of grasping audience attention globally as it can be advertised on more platforms. This means there are many online marketing methods used which helps with the marketing and consumption of media products as more people will see them and have access to sites such as YouTube, which showcases trailers etc, as people nowadays have become so reliant on the internet.

Digital distribution means that films can be distributed over the country to different cinemas digitally using electronic devices such as USBs. Distributing like this is an advantage as films can be distributed digitally and it is quicker to deliver them instead of driving costly film reels around to different places. This saves money and the film can be distributed to more areas at a fast rate as there are more copies available. This means that there is a wider audience as more places are available for showings; enabling the public to have more places to view it. Despite there being many advantages like easy distribution and cost cuts, there are some disadvantages with digital distribution. Nowadays, a lot of people rely on the internet to provide them with access to films on illegal sites where they can download it. This means that as the majority of distribution is done electronically, it has a higher chance of being leaked to these sites; meaning less people will actually go to the cinema to view it or purchasing a DVD- lowering sales and income; leaving companies with less of a profit.  

Digital distribution was used to help advertise Mad Max: Fury Road as it used trailers and adverts which highlighted the fantastic use of visuals and effects which made the film gripping and exhilarating. This gave the audience an insight as to what the film would be like which gave a positive vibe as Mad Max was already a successful franchise. Other advertising methods were used such as posters and online advertisements which helped to gain publicity as more people would see it being advertised online. This added to the awareness globally and not just within the existing Mad Max fan-base. The distributors clearly thought about what would grasp attention quickly and they made the right choice in selecting scenes from the film with incredible effects to highlight the films adrenaline-charged storyline; leaving viewers wanting to see more. Mad Max: Fury Road had a very large budget of $150 million and this meant that a good amount of money could be spent on the marketing side of the production process; gaining more and more publicity. Mad Max was still being shown in cinemas in September which meant that it had a very successful run from its release date in May; this was still going on whilst DVDs were being released and games were introduced to further the profits.

Distribution was an issue for Kill List as it wasn’t marketed as well as the other films. It used methods like trailers and posters to advertise, however the trailer was disappointing and it was evident that there wasn’t a lot of effort put into promoting the film. Kill list was eventually released on DVD, but it wasn’t released in any other format like Blu-Ray. Seeing as the trailer wasn’t very well thought out, it could be the reason that sales were so low as people may have thought they would wait for it to come out on Blu-ray/dvd; limiting audience members as it was dvd only. Kill List was added to online sites like LOVEFILM where more people could view it. This is a good way for companies to further distribute films as it brings in more views; meaning more money made. This has helped Kill List and many other films as, previously mentioned, people nowadays tend to use the internet to access and watch films, so it was a good way for them to bring in views and awareness. Kill list was made on a low budget around $800,000 which meant that it didn’t have a lot of money to spend on both the film and the marketing, which is why it may have been unsuccessful.

Ex_Machina was cleverly planned out. Distributors realised that the film release schedule was busy, so they released the film at different times for different countries for example the UK release date was the 21st of January 2015 and it was released in the US on the 14th of March. This meant that it was being viewed at different times so money was coming in at different points. This enabled the distributors to spend money on keeping advertisements going in the countries of which the film hadn’t been released. Ex_Machina was well advertised using trailers, posters and online apps and sites like Tinder; creating a profile for Ava which helped attract attention to her- enabling them to advertise over the app. It was released on DVD, Blu-ray and also in 3D which meant that the film was making money from different digital formats which overall impacted the sales and how successful it was as there were more ways for the film to be consumed by the public. Ex_Machina provided many ways for this which meant it was successful at consuming and distributing as there were ways for all types of viewers; whether it be at the cinema or at home on Blu-ray.  
In conclusion to this, digital distribution defiantly affects the marketing and consumption of media products excessively as the majority of the population would much rather stay at home and watch films on DVD, Blu-ray or through sites such as Netflix etc. This is because it is comforting and there are less expenses involved as you still get the cinema experience, but at a lower cost. Digital Distribution has allowed this to happen as many copies are able to be created, allowing the public to purchase DVDs. This all adds up to the profits made on the film as more money is coming through on a daily basis as DVDs are being bought weeks, months and even years after the film has been released.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Textual Analysis & Representation: Luther- Sexuality (Christmas 50)

This extract is from Luther and focuses on sexuality.

The use of dialogue in this extract emphasises how sexuality is represented in tv dramas. Ian begins by talking about Zoe 'washing sheets' which reflects the gender stereotype that women belong in the kitchen and should clean the house. He then continues and begins using language and phrases such as 'whore' and 'strip her down' which are incredibly harsh and rude; reflecting on how women used to be treated and viewed. This idea that women are whores still goes on in today's society. The phrase 'strip her down' links with the male gaze theory as he clearly viewed Zoe Luther in a sexual way; immediately sexualising her. Non diegetic sounds like music are added in to build tension, and the song played at the end of the clip could be seen as a juxtaposition as the scene itself is quite sad as Ian has been shot; but there is a sense of happiness for Mark as he finally gets revenge. As this happens, Luther is the only character in focus and it shows his pained facial expressions. This shows that he is suffering which men don't like to be seen as, as stereotypically they are seen to be strong minded.

This extract follows a linear narrative and includes continuity editing to show the realism of the piece. The extract cuts from one person to another; especially in conversation. This is where we see the camera work of shot reverse shots to help the audience see the facial expressions of the characters. A close up is used to capture the moment when Luther strangles Ian to show his anger; which links with the stereotype that men are physically strong and violent. A low angle is used to show Luther on the floor after being stabbed which could be seen as him being weak which men, ideally, don't want to be viewed like. A mid shot is used when Alice shoots Ian which lets the audience know that she is the one who did it. This shows Alice as some form of hero in the sense that she helped Mark put an end to Ian; which goes against the stereotype that men are usually the heroes.

All of the characters wear formal clothing which reflects their professional jobs. Luther is in dull colours which could suggest his distress over Zoe's death. Ian wears a suit which links with his job as a DCI officer, however his top button of his shirt is undone which could imply his scruffiness and as a way to catch the female attention as he could think it is cool. Mark also wears a suit and wears darker colours than Luther which suggests he is suffering more than Luther, which is evident by his pained facial expressions. Alice wears minimal makeup, but enough to highlight her natural beauty; especially her eyes and lips- this could be seen as a sexual thing as it emphasises her beauty which men would enjoy. Her outfit is professional and conservative which she may feel is important when dealing with Ian as he sexualised Zoe and used her in a sexual way; initiated by her clothing choice.

Textual Analysis & Representation: Hotel Babylon- Ethnicity (Christmas 50)

This extract is from Hotel Babylon and focuses on Ethnicity.

The use of the non diegetic sound of up-tempo music beings to build tension as panic is spread throughout the hotel. The fast beat could be seen as a reflection of the heartbeats of those who are trying to escape from the immigration services. The panic is further shown by the diegetic sound of the overlapping voices. The vocal collage helps to build the tension and emphasises how scared the workers are. A sound bridge is used from the moment immigration leave to when Jackie is cleaning out Ibrahim's locker. The beat is still present however a soft melody is placed over the top to emphasise the mood of sympathy and devastation. The dialogue used also helps to reflect ethnicity. The moment the male from the immigration services mentions his job title it is evident that they are searching for illegal immigrants. When Jackie is informed of their arrival she immediately rushes to the kitchen and yells out 'immigration' in multiple languages. This automatically confirms that there are multiple ethnic backgrounds present.

The different ethnic backgrounds are also shown when the camera pans across the dining room where all of the cleaners, chefs etc are having their meal. They are seen to be separated into groups of people who share the same background and are chatting away in their own languages. This is different however for the black male and female. It is evident that they come from different backgrounds as he is saying Grace before eating whereas the female is patiently waiting for him to finish before she eats; showing her respect for his beliefs. This shows that she could have sat with others who are similar to her in the sense that she has no beliefs, but she sits with Adam as they look similar. Close ups are used to show the panic on Jackie's face as she realises Ibrahim is not in the cupboard with the rest of them. A mixture of close ups and mid shots are also used to capture Adam helping the woman who is having a hypoglycaemic attack. This is where he reveals that he hasn't always been a cleaner; which reflects the stereotype that immigrants, such as those with an African and European background, take the jobs which are looked down upon by the majority of the white British population.

Continuity editing is used to show time moving on and adds a sense of realism to the narrative. Cross cutting is used to show the contrast between the immigrants who are safe in the cupboard and how exposed Ibrahim is to the immigration services; showing his capture. The extract follows a linear narrative and uses a shot reverse shot when the head of immigration is talking to the manager as they both have a sense of authority so are separate on screen instead of using a two shot.

Costume contributes to the representation of ethnicity as all of the immigrants are shown to be in workers uniforms and the other characters are in suits and professional uniforms to highlight authority. Stereotypically white people are seen to have the better jobs and earn more money such as managers and high roles within services like immigration so they are represented to have posh clothing. The red uniform of Ibrahim could be interpreted as a way of portraying the danger he is in as red has connotations of danger and trouble. The change in lighting from the bright lively hotel to the dark dim cupboard emphasises to the audience that they are in hiding and don't know what could happen next.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

What Is Distribution?
  •  What part of the supply chain is distribution? Distribution is the third part of the chain.
  • What is distribution often referred to as? Distribution is sometimes referred to as the 'invisible art' as it is a process known only to those within the industry and it is never usually written about.
  • What does 'vertical integration' mean when discussing distribution?  Vertical integration is where the three stages: production, distribution and exhibition are under the control of one company which sees them as part of a large process instead of individuals.
  • Why isn't 'vertical integration' so common in the independent sector? Vertical integration doesn't commonly happen in the independent film sector as producers don't usually have long term links with distributors; who similarly have no links with exhibitors.
  • What three stages are involved in the independent sector?  Licensing, marketing and logistics are part of the independent sector.
  • What is licencing? The process where a distributer requires legal rights to exploit a film.
  • What are the two levels of licencing? International Distribution and Local Distribution.
  • What is the advantage of being a major US studio? US studios have their own distribution offices in all major territories.
  • What three different types of rights can you acquire on a local level? Theatrical rights (cinema) Video rights (video and exploration) and TV rights.
  • What are royalties? Royalties are paid to the producer by the distributors. Royalties are taken from the profit the film makes. This profit is then equally shared to the producer for theatrical leg, payback higher royalties, broadcast rights, and lower for video and DVD.
  • What is the most effective way to increase interest in a film? Releasing the film in a theatrical way (meaning in cinemas) is the best way, however it should also be well marketed.
  • How long does it take for a film to reach 'free to air' TV? It takes two years for a film to be shown on television after being released in cinemas.
  •  What are the two key questions surrounding the marketing of a film? 'When?' and 'How?'
  • What day are films typically released on? Films are typically released on Fridays in the UK.
  • What will a distributor look at before releasing a film on a Friday? Distributors will look at the film release schedule and see which Friday has the least amount of film releases before they make a decision.
  • What is a 'light' week in terms of distribution? A light week is where there are only a few films due to be released.
  • What does it mean to 'position' a film distinctively? Positioning a film distinctively is where the distributors make sure that they avoid releasing their film at the same time as a film including similar traits like themes, subject matter etc.
  • Why has this become increasingly difficult in the UK? In the past there has been almost 10 new releases a week scheduled, so it makes it difficult to find a prime time to release.
  • What are P&A? P&A are the costs of print and distribution.
  • How much can P&A cost? The P&A can range from less than £100,000 to 1 million for release of film in the UK.
Marketing - Prints And Adverts
  • Typically how many prints will a 'specialised' film have? A specialised film will have less than 10 prints.
  • How many will mainstream films have? A mainstream film will have over 200 prints.
  • What is a key factor in developing the profile of a film? Press Response
  • How else can awareness of a film be raised? Advertising a film in magazines, newspapers, on the radio and cinema posters help build awareness.
  • Why is distribution in the UK seen as risky? The cost of print for advertisement is high in the UK.
  • Why are companies looking towards viral marketing? Marketing and advertisement are at a low cost and it is effective.
  • What are the benefits of a 'talent visit'? It wins significant editorial coverage for support with release.
  • In the pre digital film age what was a distributor responsible for? A distributor was responsible for the transportation of films to the cinemas across the UK.
  • How much does a 35mm print typically cost? It usually costs £1,000, however if it is subtitled it would be double the price.
  • How many reals is a typical feature print? 5 or 6.
  • Why do 35mm prints get damaged? They go through so many different projectors they end up getting damaged. 
  • Where are prints stored? UK's Central Print warehouse in West London.
  • How long did a theatrical release used to last? Theatrical release used to last  around 6 months.
Digital Distribution
  • When did digital distribution begin in the UK? Digital distribution began in the UK towards the end of 2005.
  • Name two advantages of digital distribution? It is a cheaper way to distribute and it is easier to transport as it can be done through computer files or a USB; instead of being delivered on film by delivery vans.
  • Which countries adopted digital distribution early and why? China and Brazil...
  • How many screens were digital in 2005 and how many are now? 211 in 2005 in the UK...
  • Why has digital distribution radically altered the operating model of distributors? Digital distribution radically altered the operating model of distributors due to the low cost of film copies and digital distribution providing a greater flexibility in distribution.
  • What has happened to the typical release period for a film? When a film is still being exhibited in cinemas, it is available to pre order on DVD or Blu-ray.
  • What is a loss leader and why are companies using the Cinema as a potential loss leader? A loss leader is where a product is sold below its market cost to attract customers. Companies use the cinema to do this as it attracts a large audience so they will therefore want to see the product. This helps as a large number of people go to the cinema at least once or regularly.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

25 facts about Mad Max: Fury Road

1: The filming stopped due to the attacks on September 11th in New York and the Iraq war. 
2: The film was going to be in 3D, as well as filmed crew-free in Namibia. This was changed and filmed in multiple formats.
3: Filming way delayed 3 times. 1st was the Iraq war, 2nd was the filming of Happy Feet and 3rd was the rainfall in the Australian outback. 
4: Filming first concluded in 2013.
5: They had to go back and film additional scenes in November 2013.
6: Warner Bros panicked and insisted someone wrote a script in 2010.
7: All principle cast members signed up to be in the film in 2010. 
8: The film was originally going to be produced in New South Wales (Australia) however unexpected rainfall caused them to change location.
9: $41.9 million was spent on advertising the film.
10: The crew spent a total of 10 months in Namibia. 
11: The budget for the film was $150 million.
12: It cost a total of $153,629,485 to create the film.
13: The films certificate is 15.
14: The duration of the film is 120 minutes.
15: IMDb's rated the film 8.2 out of 10.  
16: The original actor in the film was going to be Mel Gibson.
17: Charlize Theron shaved her head for her role of Furiosa; causing her to wear a wig for her role in 'A Million Ways to Die in the West'.
18: $7.5 million was spent on advertising in 957 nations which was across 42 different networks.
19: The film was shot in sequence, which is rare, and the storyboards were completed before the script was made.
20: Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy did not get along during the making of the movie and they ended up not speaking at all on set.
21: Rosie Huntington-whitely said it was harder to film Fury Road than Transformers.
22: George Miller likes to make it clear to audience members that the film isn't a CGI film.
23: Mad Max: Fury Road was released 30 years after the last film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
24: Over 80% of the effects seen in the film are real effects, stunts, makeup art and sets.
25: Furiosa has part of her left arm missing and in order to achieve the effect, Theron wore a prosthetic and green sleeve during filming. The visual effects team then painted out, adding in a central mechanical piece where necessary.