Monday, May 28, 2012

Cinema-to-DVD release gap to narrow?

I've blogged on this before, back in 2010, but a major studio head has once more raised the prospect of whats currently a 17-week gap between (US) cinema release and DVD release narrowing significantly to combat piracy. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says the current system simply "create[s] a gap for piracy".
There's another growing trend just now: the widening of the key 'summer' blockbuster season (recognised terminology), with Alice in Wonderland released in March 2011, and Hunger Games in March 2011, a full two months before the traditional May starting point.

Time Warner CEO predicts release date shift to combat piracy

Jeff Bewkes says making films available on all platforms early in their runs will reduce piracy, despite cinemas' objections
Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland provoked a battle between Disney and UK cinemas over its release window. Photograph: Disney /Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar
A powerful media mogul who oversees one of the most successful studios in Hollywood, Warner Bros, has predicted the demise of the longstanding "window" between cinema and home video releases in order to combat internet piracy.
Interviewed on the US PBS network's Charlie Rose show, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the entire film industry, "including theatre owners" had "an interest" in ensuring that new movies were available early in their runs for consumers to view on any platform, whether at the cinema, on DVD or view-on-demand (VOD). His comments will cause consternation among the owners of cinema chains, who have fought a running battle with studios to retain the traditional 17-week window before new films shift from the big screen to home video.
Bewkes accepted that the issue was a "dangerous" one, and said studios would "be as thoughtful as we can to do it in a way that doesn't undermine the theatre experience". But he nevertheless appeared to indicate that the window's demise was a done deal because the alternative was to "create a gap for piracy". He also predicted that the price of DVDs would come down further in future.
Cinema chains in the UK and abroad fear relaxation of the window in case film lovers decide to save their pennies and see new releases at home rather than travelling to their nearest multiplex. At the moment it is impossible to see new films in high quality anywhere else but the cinema, a monopoly which has arguably helped maintain box office yields since the arrival of VHS in the 1980s.
In 2010 Warner's rival studio Disney fought a battle with UK cinemas over the release window for Tim Burton's blockbuster Alice in Wonderland. In the end the film was released in cinemas according to the usual schedule and went on to gross more than $1bn at the global box office. The total worldwide box office stood at $36.6bn last year, up 3% on 2010, but only because markets such as China and Russia are growing rapidly and 3D films continue to yield a higher premium. Given that experts suggest that piracy costs the US economy alone more than $20bn annually, Bewkes's prediction begins to look more than reasonable. Nevertheless, further battles with cinema chains no doubt await if Hollywood decides to move forward with its current plans.

Monday, May 14, 2012

TSSpy marketing

This is a good example of marketing using social media, and a viral campaign.
The official website:
The company that designed it on behalf of StudioCanal: This is what they said about the campaign (and the background video they also included)

To mark the nationwide release of box office hit Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Impact was commissioned by film distribution company Studio Canal to create a guerrilla marketing campaign to support the movie launch and boost online word-of-mouth. This took place in the week prior to the movie’s release date on 16th September 2011.

The campaign saw  Tom, Stephen, Paul and Dave from the Impact Promotions team disguised as 1970′s spies, surreptitiously disseminating leaked dossiers on tube carriages, public benches, window sills, pub tables and other unexpected locations around town.
Our Secret Agents targeted London’s main transport hubs and railway stations, mingling with commuters and tourists at departure boards inside Liverpool Street,Waterloo and Charing Cross stations.
Following client brief, the team focused their efforts on mature and affluent ABC1 audiences, especially commuters and city professionals. All demographic groups targeted responded very positively to the promotion, seeming genuinely intrigued by the leaked dossiers and elaborate spy costumes. In their role as spies, the team actively engaged with the public, asking questions such as: ‘Did you drop this?’ and ‘What is the code word?’ or ‘Have you seen the Mole?’.
The campaign was linked to an online Facebook competition which allowed users to post photos of the found secret dossiers on the movie’s fan page for a chance to win film memorabilia. The activity contributed to generate 7000 subscribers within its first week of opening, with dozens of positive comments and candid photos of the leaked dossiers at various locations in London.

Use this example!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Chief Examiner's exam tips

I'm copying these straight in: there's much more over at (thats a blog run by ther Chief Examiner of our exam board, OCR - its very helpful)

Friday, 4 May 2012

AS exam advice: Audiences and Institutions

Whichever media area you are covering for this question, it is important that you show understanding of the key concepts and refer to specific examples in your answer. In this post, we will consider some of the ways in which you can help yourself do well with five 'top tips'.

1. Read the question carefully

You have no choice of questions, so you have to have a go at what is there on the paper; sometimes students panic and think that they don't understand the question- maybe because of one particular word- but so long as you have prepared on all the concepts there will be something in the question that you recognise. Words like 'technology', 'convergence', 'distribution', 'marketing', 'digital'  come up and you should see them as your 'hook' into the question. Even if the overall wording seems to be baffling, look for the terms that are there in the question and see them as the springboard for your answer.

2. Don't spend ages on an introduction

You only have 45 minutes to answer the question, so there isn't time to waffle! A quick sentence which sets out what you are going to do and which media area or industry you are going to use will suffice. You can prepare a lot of this in your head in advance, so something like: In this essay, I shall write about (concept) in relation to the (film, music, radio, etc) industry, drawing on (examples) as my case studies.

3. Know your examples

Whichever industry you are writing about, you will need examples to support your points. I would always advocate having some contrasting examples so that you can look at all angles; for example, you might have a mainstream high budget film from the USA to contrast with a low budget independent Uk film, or a major record label to contrast with a little UK indie label. That way, you can talk about the different ways in which the industry might operate in different circumstances. You need not know absolutely eveything about just two examples, however. It could be that you know about the funding of a particular low budget film, but don't know about its marketing; in which case find another example of something similar where you can find out about its marketing. The important thing is to get a good grasp of the ways in which the concepts apply rather than every tiny detail of a specific case study example. What you do need is to make sure you understand the general principles well and can back up your points accurately.

4. Try to be systematic

Don't jump about between points; spend a bit of time at the start of the exam planning the structure of your answer and working out the main points and examples for each paragraph. this will ensure that the rest of your time is spent fruitfully as well. Know what key point you will make in each paragraph, what examples you will refer to and how you want to make a case from it all. Use similarity and difference as starting points for organising an argument; there will be differences between mainstream and indie which you might use as your way through, for example.

5. Make it all legible

Remember, examiners may be old and may have poor eyesight. Well at least that applies to me! Most students do not have great handwriting, so make it easier for the examiner to find the strengths in what you have written. Keep your paragraphs relatively short- half a page at most. Leave a clear line between each paragraph. There is nothing in the rules to say that you can't use a highlighter pen to emphasise your key examples or terms. Don't overdo this, but it does sometimes help to draw the reader's attention to points which ought to pick you up marks.

Prepare well and you should do well. Answers to Q.2 often look shorter than those for Q.1, but if you know your stuff and have revised properly, they shouldn't be. Good luck!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Exam tips for AS students

With just three weeks to go to the exam, here are a few tips for the OCR AS G322.

1. Practice a bit of writing on TV Drama and particularly in organising your notes. You'll find a whole presentation of tips on that part of the exam in my presentation from an earlier post on Feb 29. There I suggest that you go into the exam knowing how you will organise your notes, so that you have a structure to look out for things and to ensure that you maximise the note-taking time. After the first screening, if you draw a grid in the answer booklet, like this:

It will give you all you need for the four categories- mise-en-scene, camerawork, editing (continuity editing, at least) and sound. Down the side are the three categories P- point, D-data (or example) and Q- question (how to relate point and example to the question set). This model was suggested by Vicky Allen at Thomas Rotherham College, who gets good results every year, so she should know!

When revising for the exam, fill out a grid like this with the points you are going to be looking for on the day, then regardless of the extract, you will have things to look for. You won't be able to take one in to the actual exam, but you will have fewer things to memorise to cover!

So, under mise-en-scene, you might be looking for key examples of setting, costume, props, colours, makeup, hairstyle, lighting, posture, gesture. For camerawork you want to make points about angles, shot distances, camera movements, framing and focus. For continuity editing you want examples of the 180 degree rule, match on action, shot reverse shot, eyeline match, insert shots. For sound you will want examples of music, dialogue, sound effects, use of foley, counterpoint, sound bridges. If you have lists like this that you can then remember, that gives you plenty to look for.

Once you have watched the extract through, during the second screening you can very quickly note down    your grid and start to put in examples to support your points and then as you watch it a third and fourth time, you can start to relate the examples you find  back to the question, by asking what they contribute to the representation under scrutiny. So, for instance, how is the setting being used, how are camera angles being used, how are features of continuity editing used to help establish differences between characters. You'll have 30 minutes in total for the note-taking, so make the most of it!

Remember, the more you do in preparation for the note-taking, the better your chances in the essay itself. A well-organised answer in the 45 minutes for writing, supporting points with examples, will go a long way towards getting you a good mark!

WT Box Office History to 2010

Data from
Av budget $29m, av worldwide gross $73m!!!!
The RC rom-coms contribute nearly $2bn of the $5bn (nearer $6bn by now) all-time total, BUT the last major RC hit was back in 2004 with the BJD sequel Edge of Reason. Just as with the horror movies we looked at, it seems even WT may be somewhat reliant on franchises too: a 2nd sequel is due out soon. The horrid TBTRocks was a flop, increasing the attractiveness of a return to a proven winner.

WT has produced the worldwide, all-time 199th (NHill) + 292nd (BJD) + 319th (BJD2) biggest movies: see Full Monty was 331st!

BJD is the 175th biggest film franchise of all time:

Box Office History for Working Title Movies

Release DateMovieProduction
Box Office
Box Office
May 19, 1989 For Queen and Country $191,051 $191,051
Jan 1, 1990 Fools of Fortune $83,000 $83,000
Apr 19, 1991 Drop Dead Fred $13,746,300 $13,746,300
Aug 21, 1991 Barton Fink $5,726,463 $5,726,463
Sep 4, 1992 Bob Roberts $4,300,703 $4,300,703
Mar 9, 1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral $4,500,000 $52,700,832 $242,895,809
May 5, 1995 French Kiss $9,018,022 $38,863,798 $98,393,930
Dec 29, 1995 Dead Man Walking $11,000,000 $118,266 $39,387,284 $83,088,295
Mar 8, 1996 Fargo $7,000,000 $730,265 $24,567,751 $51,204,567
Oct 17, 1997 Bean $2,255,233 $45,334,169 $256,574,128
Feb 13, 1998 The Borrowers $29,000,000 $6,075,079 $22,619,589 $54,045,832
Mar 6, 1998 The Big Lebowski $15,000,000 $5,533,844 $17,498,804 $46,189,568
Mar 6, 1998 Everest $364,244 $87,178,599 $127,990,128
Nov 6, 1998 Elizabeth $25,000,000 $275,131 $30,082,699 $82,150,642
Oct 13, 2000 Billy Elliot $5,000,000 $215,681 $21,995,263 $109,280,263
Dec 22, 2000 O Brother, Where Art Thou? $26,000,000 $195,104 $45,506,619 $75,763,814
Apr 13, 2001 Bridget Jones's Diary $25,000,000 $10,733,933 $71,500,556 $281,527,158
May 25, 2001 The Man Who Cried $93,455 $747,092 $1,790,840
Aug 17, 2001 Captain Corelli's Mandolin $57,000,000 $7,209,345 $25,528,495 $62,097,495
Mar 1, 2002 40 Days and 40 Nights $17,000,000 $12,229,529 $37,939,782 $95,092,667
May 17, 2002 About a Boy $27,000,000 $8,557,630 $40,803,000 $129,949,664
Dec 31, 2002 Ali G Indahouse $0 $25,936,616
Nov 7, 2003 Love Actually $45,000,000 $6,886,080 $59,472,278 $247,967,903
Jul 30, 2004 Thunderbirds $55,000,000 $2,766,810 $6,768,055 $28,231,444
Sep 17, 2004 Wimbledon $35,000,000 $7,118,985 $16,862,585 $41,666,476
Nov 12, 2004 Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason $50,000,000 $8,684,055 $40,203,020 $263,894,551
Apr 22, 2005 The Interpreter $90,000,000 $22,822,455 $72,708,161 $163,954,076
Oct 27, 2006 Catch a Fire $14,000,000 $2,026,997 $4,299,773 $5,699,773
Jan 26, 2007 Smokin' Aces $17,000,000 $14,638,755 $35,662,731 $56,047,261
Oct 12, 2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age $6,153,075 $16,285,240 $74,769,388
Dec 7, 2007 Atonement $30,000,000 $796,836 $50,980,159 $130,200,290
Feb 14, 2008 Definitely, Maybe $7,000,000 $9,764,270 $32,241,649 $55,863,786
Aug 1, 2008 Sixty Six $9,359 $224,614 $224,614
Sep 12, 2008 Burn After Reading $37,000,000 $19,128,001 $60,355,347 $163,415,735
Dec 5, 2008 Frost/Nixon $29,000,000 $180,708 $18,622,031 $28,144,586
Apr 17, 2009 State of Play $60,000,000 $14,071,280 $37,017,955 $91,445,389
Apr 24, 2009 The Soloist $60,000,000 $9,716,458 $31,720,158 $38,454,152
Oct 2, 2009 A Serious Man $7,000,000 $251,337 $9,228,788 $30,360,570 Play
Nov 13, 2009 The Boat That Rocked $50,000,000 $2,904,380 $8,017,467 $37,472,651 Play
Mar 12, 2010 Green Zone $100,000,000 $14,309,295 $35,497,337 $97,523,020 Play
Aug 20, 2010 Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang $35,000,000 $8,407,685 $29,197,642 $97,799,865 Play
Mar 18, 2011 Paul $40,000,000 $13,043,310 $37,412,945 $100,179,947 Play
Aug 12, 2011 Senna $73,497 $1,612,430 $11,856,854
Oct 21, 2011 Johnny English Reborn $45,000,000 $3,833,300 $8,305,970 $164,539,660 Play
Dec 9, 2011 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy $21,000,000 $310,562 $24,149,393 $81,452,811 Play
Jan 13, 2012 Contraband $25,000,000 $24,349,815 $66,528,000 $98,406,855 Play
Feb 3, 2012 Big Miracle $40,000,000 $7,760,205 $20,157,300 $25,615,524 Play
Nov 16, 2012 Anna Karenina $49,000,000 $320,690 $12,816,367 $70,939,105 Play
Dec 25, 2012 Les Miserables $65,000,000 $27,281,735 $148,809,770 $442,169,052 Play
Aug 9, 2013 I Give It a Year $5,436 $34,657 $28,237,364
Aug 23, 2013 The World's End $20,000,000 $8,811,790 $26,004,851 $47,214,446 Play
Aug 28, 2013 Closed Circuit $2,464,931 $5,750,995 $5,883,157 Play
Sep 20, 2013 Rush $38,000,000 $187,289 $26,947,624 $95,224,595 Play
Nov 1, 2013 About Time $12,000,000 $1,076,250 $15,323,921 $88,787,551 Play
Sep 26, 2014 The Two Faces of January $43,116 $445,817 $1,570,506
Nov 7, 2014 The Theory of Everything $207,000 $207,000 $207,000 Play
Sep 18, 2015 Everest $0 $0
Dec 31, 2015 Vikingr $0 $0
Feb 5, 2016 Hail, Caesar! $0 $0
Dec 31, 2017 Bridget Jones's Baby $0 $0

HUGE new Warp links list added

You can use this to aid your revision: IMDB, Wiki + other sites for most of the Warp Films/X releases, + distributor Optimum/StudioCanal UK + more
Links descriptions also contain a lot of info: you can learn a lot from these even without clicking into the sites!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Paul/Avatar essay/guide

Watch the trailer below:

This is from the just released (13.3.2011 in UK, 20th in USA) Paul, a $40m WT production starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.
Here's WT's web page on Paul, packed with multimedia features - listed on
 Paul and Avatar

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

WTs film websites

At you'll see a lot of familiar names: this is the company that designs and produces WTs multmedia website, including the individual sites.
Today, I'd like each of you to pick out ONE WT film listed by Redberry, take notes on what they say (especially any notes on audience!) and then visit the film's site and take notes on what promotional features you find there