Monday, December 21, 2009

TisEng sequel?!


It seems so:
'News of another British classic (also appearing on the Observer's Top 25 list): Shane Meadows is making the sequel to This Is England - as a four-part television series. The show will move the action on four years from the end of the film and bring back many of the main characters, including Thomas Turgoose as wannabe skinhead Shaun. Entitled We Were Faces, the series will be set in 1986 and finds Shaun preparing to leave school and enter the grown-up world.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Viral marketing + UK box office analysis

If you got the Guardian on Friday you will have seen a rather handy feature on trailers and the experimentation that new media is allowing, especially as regards viral marketing campaigns and a shift away from trailers that reveal virtually the entire plot to much more enigmatic teaser-style trailers. No? Try then! Ties very neatly into the whole issue of marketing we were considering recently.
There's also a nice example, from a regular series, of a trailer being ripped apart for being ... well, read for yourself at (wee bit of narrative enigma there for you).
Another regular Film Guardian feature is in-depth analysis of box-office takings. The latest is an excellent overview of some of the key trends in release strategies, and contains much useful info on the arcane business of releasing movies in the UK, discussing the importance of digital 3D screens and the problems facing arthouse cinemas (with very precise screen/takings figures to reference), as well as the commercial failure of a spate of British releases. All useful material which you can read at

Just how many digital 3D-equipped cinema screens do you think there are in the UK? The answer shares the name of Zack Snyder's 2006 semi-animated epic...
And how many screens is James Cameron's $230m budget Avatar set to open on in the UK? I'm thinking this must be a record (the answer is 3 and a third times the previous answer) at about twice the typical figure for a UK number 1.

Hugh's he kidding?

Interesting appearance by the rom-com king and purveyor of the cliched stereotype of posh Britannia that defines the image many in the US in particular have of the UK's diverse population: Hugh Grant, sporting surely dyed hair, made a grumpy visit to Jonathan Ross' couch on Friday, which you can temporarily watch at

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Warp X comedy playing at Bradford NMM

Bunny and the Bull is playing at the National Media Museum between Fri 11th - Thurs 17th December. What better way to combine revision and relaxing?!

Bunny And The Bull Trailer Online

It's not a Mighty Boosh film per se, but here's one for the fans anyway, by the looks of things. Check out the trailer for Bunny and the Bull here.
Written and directed by Paul King, who was behind the camera for every episode of the TV Boosh to date, it's a fantasy travelogue, with the stylistic twist that we don't actually leave the protagonist's flat. Instead, Edward Hogg, co-starring with Simon Farnaby, recalls the trip from the comfort of home, and the visuals are filtered through polaroid snapshots and wonky recollections.
You can see the connection to the Boosh's papier-mache asthetic, and there are cameo roles for Booshers Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, as well as the ace Richard Ayoade.
Is this the Shaun of the Dead to the Boosh's Spaced? Is Paul King's career set to follow the same trajectory as Edgar Wright's? [source:]

Read Times review: 
See trailer: 
Warp reports:
Another view: 'Bunny and the Bull, from the ultra-hip (is that good?) Warp X out of the UK, is another flick I've been clocking for a long time.. long before it's world premier was announced at TIFF. (See stills here) It premiered to positive reviews and unfortunately we haven't been able to catch it yet, but the first footage just dropped today in preparation for the upcoming London Film Fest which our own Ben Austwick will be covering. Howz it look? Sick, funny, and twisted. Me likey.' [source:]

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


[I meant to post this here, not on the AS blog, but need to post it again as there are some resits - and this material is useful for aspects of the A2. A2 students should also look up another post on the AS blog centred on marketing, which includes a range of PowerPoints on specific WT films:]

I'm hoping to revise the following docs, and provide briefer essay plans for the questions from the two sittings thus far of this exam, but to ensure you've got enough to work ahead on the following should help. If you want any of these photocopied let me know and I'll do sets for both classes.

JAN 2009
Section B: Institutions and Audiences
Answer the question below, making detailed reference to examples from your case study material to support points made in your answer.
Discuss the issues raised by an institution’s need to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied.
Candidates must choose to focus on one of the following media areas though you may make reference to other media where relevant to your answer.
- Film
- Music
- Newspapers
- Radio
- Magazines
- Video games

JUNE 2009
Discuss the ways in which media products are produced and distributed to audiences, within a media area, which you have studied.

There is already one update to add: NBC-Universal has been bought from its owners, GE (General Electric) by Comcast. They're buying a controlling 51% stake (leaving GE with 49% of the shares) for $30bn (thats £18bn) - though this creates such a large company that doubts have been raised as to whether it will be permitted.
See: Comcast to take control of NBC Universal
• Deal includes NBC's TV network and Universal Pictures
• Critics express concerns over monopoly and stifled creativity
Comcast-NBC Universal deal faces regulatory hurdle
Federal commissioner says tie-up faces 'a very steep climb' in effort to create powerful new force in American broadcasting
Plus the NBC-Universal section of the Guardian site

This is quite a detailed overview; it would be an idea to create your own, briefer version, but this is a useful resource nonetheless:
As Exam Brit Cinema Revision Guide                                                                                                                                            

This doc tries to specifically highlight the differences (and some similarities) between Warp and WT. If I get the time I will add the last three sections, but there is already a lot to work on in this:
Wt Warp Comparison Grid Draft1                                                                                                                                            

Sunday, December 06, 2009

EMPIRE - "INSIDE EMPIRE" special edition overviews mag's history

Especially for the A2 folk currently working on producing Film Mag covers/review pages, the "Inside Empire" edition is a useful resource, billed as "THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WORLD'S BIGGEST MOVIE MAGAZINE", though it does provide an intriguing overview not just of the development of the magazine but also the movie industry throughout (and slightly before!) your lifetimes.
Critic Angie Errigo boasts that "historically Empire has a strong track record of loving young lions and getting behind promising newbies who went on to make good." Steven Soderbergh, Spike Lee and WT-produced Coen brothers are all cited as examples (Inside Empire (2009) "They do make 'em like they used to", p. 19).
The language used in the contents page quite clearly denotes this as a laddish mag, with 'the C-word' for example rather surprisingly used without any euphemism or asterisks, though this edition lacks the usual adult chatline ads at the back.
I've added the following excerpt from this to the post -

Empire magazine critic Angie Errigo makes an interesting defence of the state of modern movie-making against claims that its filled with mega-budget tat that ignores narrative in favour of sheer spectacle (Inside Empire (2009) "They do make 'em like they used to", pp. 18-19).
A voice and a vision, and a reluctance to do what is expected are what's wanted in aspiring filmmakers. A-list stars and million-dollar explosions are completely optional if there's a story to be told, an emotion to be felt, a mood to be captured. Far from being a downbeat era of pap, these are wildly exciting times for all of us, rich with possibilities. Having entered the digital age with web access for all and an array of technology that gets cheaper by the minute, it's more possible than ever for movie brats to make their own productions and make them more ambitious and sophisticated than the Super 8 kids managed in their backyards. For every Hollywood film that costs upwards of $150 million, thousands of 'home movies' can be made and hundreds that are good to go in cinemas. It isn't naive to believe that 'talent will out'. The next Shane Meadows, Steve McQueen and Duncan Jones are out there at work within and without 'the System'.

 Super 8 is an old-fashioned format of video camera. If you've ever seen Son of Rambow imagine you were making your coursework with the same technology, a VHS video camera and two VHS machines linked up for editing (no digital technology at all, no computers even!).

UK Film Mag Circulations

Although there a range of smaller-scale, Indie rivals, the film mag sector in the UK is dominated by just two players, Empire and Total Film - both of which are published by major companies (Bauer and Future respectively - see the mags blog for info on Bauer), a conglomerate with global reach in the case of Bauer.
Both are quite Hollywood-centric, not especially going out of their way to reflect what the UK film industry is up to for its UK audience! Their covers routinely lead on some Hollywood star or director. Indeed, Empire ex-editor Phil Thomas is quite open on this:
Empire was set up to counter the pomposity of most film writing .... We took a different tack: movies are great until proven otherwise. Especially Hollywood movies.
The British film industry, such as it was, never really forgave us for that, but it was the 'critics' who loathed us most. They believed that every issue, with its Hollywood star on the cover and Barfing in the Movies features inside, was proof of Empire's agenda against serious European films, and our obsession with "propping up" Hollywood. As if it needed propping up.
(Thomas (2009) [Editors] "Phil Thomas", Inside Empire, p. 22)
Flick towards the back of each and look at the ads: all these invites to ring up young ladies for a nice chat suggests each sees the male reader as their primary demographic, a common assumption in both music and film publishing which I've always found a rather strange reflection of our culture (these companies are very, very good at knowing who reads their mags!).
The latest ABCs are out - figures are released monthly but half-yearly and annual comparisons are always paid particular attention to for highlighting trends. I'm sure you know by now that ABCs are how the official circulation (not necessarily sales) figures by the Audit Bureau of Circulation are known!
Here's the latest summary, from the excellent (though troubled itself; ironically the Media industry has struggled to support media on the media: The UK Press Gazette and MediaWeek the main players) MediaWeek:
IPC's NME and Bauer Consumer Media's Kerrang! reported year-on-year circulation drops of 27.2% and 28.3% respectively during the first six months of 2009.
In the film market, a special edition guest-edited by Steven Spielberg helped Bauer's Empire achieve a circulation of 194,016, up 2.3% period on period and 3.6% year on year.
The performance of Kerrang! and  NME reflected a market hit hard by the rise of digital platforms and changes in consumer behaviour. But Eric Fuller, managing director of NME publisher IPC Ignite, is committed to the title. "The paper publication remains in very rude health," he says. NME's website posted strong growth, for an ABCe of 4.7 million unique users in June.
Future Publishing's Classic Rock reported increases both period on period (0.2%) and year on year (5.5%) to 70,301. This is among a clutch of titles aimed at older music fans, including Q and Mojo, that remained steady despite market uncertainty.

You can read further analyses at:
The world’s biggest-selling film magazine EMPIRE celebrates its 20th anniversary year with a sixth consecutive ABC rise to 194,016.
Earlier this year the EMPIRE team, led by Editor Mark Dinning, relocated to LA to work with the world's most famous film director and guest-editor Steven Spielberg. The special issue included exclusives from a veritable Hollywood Who's-Who - Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson amongst them.
A blockbuster packed six months in film has seen movie titles Empire and Total Film both post an increase in circulation figures.
Batman, Terminator, Harry Potter and Transformer sequels all released in the last six months must have contributed somewhat to a 3.6 per cent rise to 194,016 for Empire and a 0.6 per cent rise to 85,031 for Total Film.
Bauer's Empire scored a massive exclusive for its June issue, with legendary director Steven Spielberg guest editing the magazine's 20th anniversary edition.
While many magazines suffered falling sales, the total average net circulation and distribution of UK consumer titles over the first six months of 2009 was 63.76m copies, a fall of 1.9% year on year.
Despite the doom and gloom, the magazine sector is still growing, with a total average net circulation and distribution of 81,227,572 across the second half of 2008, a 3.7% increase year on year and up from 76,238,115 in the second half of 2003.
The top-selling actively purchased magazine, relying on subscriptions and newsstand sales, was once again H Bauer's TV Choice, which sold 1,369,088 copies on average each week in the second half of 2008, down 2.5% year on year.
Two more weekly TV listings magazines sold more than 1m actively purchased copies each week – IPC's What's on TV, down 5.1% year on year to 1,315,543, and BBC Magazines' Radio Times, down 1.7% to 1,018,704.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Shane Meadows DVDs in Library

I've just added a Shane Meadows DVD boxset to the Library collection (for Media students only). The four films can be loaned out individually - see the pic for details or look up

These are mostly Warp films, so obviously useful viewing for the AS, but also for A2; Shane Meadows has emerged as a key figure within Indie cinema in terms of (re-?)defining Britishness in the noughties

Be advised: The movies contain many challenging, quite adult scenes