Monday, November 17, 2014

GENDER: Women less successful on Kickstarter?

Some useful data here in a survey reporting on the comparative levels of success of male/female Kickstarter appeals; females feature in none/1 of top ten most successful appeals across a range of media categories, and female teams fare significantly less well than male teams. However, the report also notes that females often look for smaller amounts (<$5k) and are just as successful in this limited range; females often look specifically to friend and family circles, potentially limiting the scale/ambition of appeals.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Rom-Com Audience

I've cross-posted this on the rom-com and AS Coursework blogs, so won't post again here, but there is a lot of info and analysis very pertinent to British Cinema in there, with Warp and Working Title prominent in the analysis and examples used.

Read it here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Working Title franchising: new Bridget Jones, About a Boy TV series...

It is abundantly clear when we compare Warp Films With Working Title that the former's typically no-star, low budget (predominately) social realist slate does not lend itself to sequels/prequels/re-imaginings, although This is England is a notable exception, with a possible second film to add to the existing film and two TV series. WT's slate is full of franchises: Elizabeth, Bean, Bridget Jones, Nanny McPhee... its a long list.

...And it is about to get longer! Adapting films for TV is nothing new - the Coen brothers' Fargo is enjoying new life as a US TV series, and as noted above This is England has enjoyed two sequel TV series so far. WTTV is an increasingly important Working Title subsidiary, with big-name directors and stars increasingly viewing TV as at least on a par with cinema, a dramatic reversal of years past. Have a look at Working Title's IMDB entry and you'll find ever more TV entries in there. Amongst these is a new series for - naturally! - NBC in America: About a Boy is now a US TV series.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Richard Dyer's star system

This is a simple but highly useful audience/narrative theory, which also reflects standard marketing thinking (question 1 a potential distributor will ask of a film production: who's the star?). Richard Dyer's (Amazon book list) landmark 1979 book Stars argued that the star system was central to how the media operate, and how we read texts. Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society (his 1986 follow-up) used case studies of Hollywood icons from the golden era, examining 'the ways in which audiences simultaneously construct and consume a particular star's persona' (Wiki). You might see parallels here with much later web 2.0 theorists such as Gauntlett and Gillmor and such declarations as "the former audience" (see this post for associated material on this).

The point here is that your text's narrative extends well beyond the film opening, 4 minute video, or even the wider promotional package.

I thought about this when reading a Film Guardian feature on Tom Cruise and director Christopher Nolan's insistence on diegetic as opposed to CGI stunts:
It goes deeper still though, into the weird contract we draw up with ourselves when we watch film. “Tom Cruise is doing that for real!” we exclaim to ourselves as we see Tom Cruise doing some casual rappelling. “Whoa!” We never truly watch blockbusters as pure narratives, but instead are constantly aware in their place in a wider ecosystem of celebrity, in which Cruise also has divorces and jumps on sofas and twinkles next to fans. We’re in awe of Cruise-as-Hunt rather than Hunt himself. (Tom Cruise, Christopher Nolan, and the new anti-CGI snobbery)
The excellent MediaKnowItAll site has a useful entry on this, considering not just the film angle but also how the music industry inculcates this approach to its modes of operation:
A star is an image not a real person that is constructed (as any other aspect of fiction is) out of a range of materials (eg advertising, magazines etc as well as films [music]).  
Their entry is copied in below, but is best appreciated on their site, where you can also click around and find further useful material.