Monday, September 29, 2014

Vloggers + UGC rivalling studios + conglomerates?

Certainly not a new topic this, although I haven't completed adding tags to the entire archive of posts, you'll see that 'UGC' (user-generated content) is a common topic (and I'll have a look to add 'vlogger' where appropriate: video-based bloggers).

Gradually being updated - use the tag clouds!
I blog again on this as its a topic we've been discussing in recent lessons, and I've reflected on in recent posts. As Media students today, the demands on and expectations of you are higher than in the past - with the technology at your fingertips, there is an expectation of at least 'prosumer' levels of quality, ideally there being no clear indication (or anchorage) of your work as student productions at all.
Fragment of a past post on this topic.

The skills you're developing are highly marketable and valuable:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Richard Ayaode autobiography (Warp: Submarine director)

Its not quite an autobio, apparently more of a humour book though framed on his film work...

As I type, he's being interviewed on Stuart Maconie's BBC R6 show (from 1:30 if you want to try it on the iPlayer). He describes it as an affectionate spoof of the Truffaut on Hitchcock book (the great French director interviewed Hitchcock, and the book is a straightforward transcript).

Can't see any reviews, though as its out on October 2nd I'm sure you'll quickly find a fair few on Amazon next week. The only (user) review I could find reckons its funny - but that the joke stretches a wee bit thin. Any insight/views would be welcomed...

YOU/audience are the product: Julian Assange

When we consider audience theory in Media Studies, the degree of flux and changing views on this is quickly evident, and a major theme in itself. Which, if any, of the long-established audience theories continue to hold true in the digital age, the web 2.0 era? Is it enough to write of "the former audience", Dan Gillmor's (2011) striking phrase? David Gauntlett even went as far as to declare the "end of audience studies" (2007, 2011), although Julian McDougall's (2009, in a very readable, student-friendly book) more moderate point that audiences are fragmenting, making it more difficult to meaningfully analyse or discuss/define audiences, is perhaps more useful.

There are those who see the blurring of the audience/producer line as full of democratic promise, not least Gillmor, though Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture (2008) is perhaps the most striking statement of this.
Is Jenkins too utopian, optimistic? [image source]

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Warp's £5m+ '71

(click through on to YouTube for the StudioCanalUK page)

I'll blog again on '71, Warp's highest-budget production to date, reportedly (Screen) around £5m ($8.1m), but take note for now that it is officially released on Friday October 10th, with screenings at the National Media Museum in Bradford amongst others:
I'm hoping to attend the 615 Friday screening - keep an eye out for any marketing of this film; if you spot any billboards or cinema stands, take a snap and pass on a picture!

UPDATE: DVD INTERVIEW JANN DEMANGE [Filmmakers' responsibility with representations; his own background/compare to Elizabeth; Film v TV; prioritising the grey or polysemy]

Would we really expect anything less from Warp ... the DVD (out March 9th; cinema release was October 10th 2014) has some useful extras: interviews with the lead, director and screenwriter. The following aren't quite verbatim, but quite close:
We have a real responsibility making films. This was about a really painful period in many people's lives, and we had to keep that thought and not just make choices for audience entertainment.
He raises his background - you could usefully compare this to Shekhar Kapur getting the gig for Elizabeth (Indian, no knowledge of the era!), an instance of WT taking a big commercial risk (that paid off handsomely: a $30m film that made $82m and spawned a sequel/franchise).
I'm not your natural choice for this film: my background is French-Algerian, I grew up in London, I'm not even a WASP. But I wanted to focus on the story of the challenges facing young men, not make a political film. It was very important to me to bring out the shades of grey with all the different players, and I made this clear when negotiating with the producers. I have no links to Belfast, it was the screenplay that drew me to this.
Working with television you have much more time to draw out an epic character arc, whereas in film its a mere snapshot and you have to work to make every moment count.

Rather stumbled upon this, but very useful context, and real micro-level detail:
I started working on the initial packshot for ’71 back in August 2014 and the final artwork files have just been sent. It’s rare for me to spend so long on an individual title (unless the delays are due to production issues!).
The Blu-ray and DVD packaging has gone down a slightly different route to the Steelbook release. Although using the theatrical artwork as its base, we wanted to create something that had a more military feel. The colours were adjusted and a new textures were added to the background, giving it the khaki texture. There’s also a little adjustment to the composition in “’71” as well a colour change. Both the Blu-ray and DVD releases have a cardboard o-ring sleeve, which has an overall matt varnish with spot UV gloss. The Blu-ray has a cut down O-ring, which shows the black Blu-ray case at the top.
Source: Rogue4 Design.
Khaki colourscheme the key to this design

Great quote here, and a useful one to use in an essay:
“The acclaim for Yann Demange’s ’71 comes as no surprise”, said Hugo Heppell, Head of Investments at Screen Yorkshire and Executive Producer on ‘71. “Its selection for Official Competition at the Berlin Film Festival is much deserved recognition for Yann, Angus, Robin and the whole team at Warp. We are immensely proud to have supported Warp over the last ten years and to see it now as the most significant film production company outside London.”

Thursday, September 11, 2014

'British' Cinema? Some egs to consider

With the Scottish referendum looming, this question could become ever more complex, but we need to think when using the term British to describe cinema that may be as much American, or more accurately linked with one of the UK nations/regions.

here's a few examples to consider:

Handmade Films, budget £1.1m, box office £0.5m UK, $1.5m US.

Typically unglamorous? Typical production finance issues - only rescued by Beatle George Harrison stepping in when the film was about to be abandoned! London features, though not a Southern setting in the main (albeit, the locals up north are portrayed as eccentric). A 'cult' movie.

Ali G Indahouse (Mark Mylod, 2002)
WT2, £5m. £10m, $0 ($27m)

American stylings and genre, though a satire of each and the UK fascination with US culture - it failed to get a US release nonetheless; few UK Indies ever do. The opening scene in gangland LA proved impossible to get insurance for - it alone swallowed up a good chunk of the budget. The Palace of Westminster is used as a key backdrop/location, although the drum'n'bass that fired up as Ali G drives (following the opening scene and over the opening titles) is likely to leave many non-UK viewers (and many of all ages here unfamiliar with that genre) a tad confused/bewildered!