Saturday, 3 January 2015

Sightseers Research Task

The issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice:



What was StudioCanal's original purpose?
To focus on French and European productions.

Which big 6 company has connections with StudioCanal?
Universal Studios were owned by the same company from 2000-2004, therefore StudioCanal has co-produced  a number of their films.

How large is StudioCanal's film library?
It is the third largest in the world.

The importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production distribution and marketing:

Big Talk Pictures

What has been the total gross of ALL Big Talk Films?

Over $150 million.

What type of film does Big Talk specialise in?

Who founded Big Talk?
Nira Park in 1995.

Film4 Productions

Who owns Film4 Productions?
Channel Four Television Corporation.

When was it 're-established'?
In 1998 the company was re-branded as FilmFour to coincide with the launch of a new Digital TV channel.

Which TV channel is it connected to?
Channel 4 (and FilmFour). 

Bfi Film Fund

What is the purpose of the Bfi Film Fund?

They provide funding for feature film development and production, this includes completion funding and international co-productions.

What is its budget per annum?
They invest £26m+ of Lottery funds to support film development, production and distribution in the UK.

Rook Films



Optimum releasing

Budget: Little under $2 million. 

The issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically British) by international or global institutions

Where did the idea for the film come from?
It was originally a short film that was intended as a teaser for a television comedy series, however it was seen as being too dark. A director, Edgar Wright, saw its potential as a feature film.

How does the film qualify as 'British'?
It has a British director, its stars (Steve Oram and Alice Lowe) are British, the film is set in the UK, it is based on a very British underlying material, its characters are British, and it has a British crew.

Other films directed by Ben Wheatley
A Field in England, Kill List, Down Terrace & The ABCs of Death.

Distribution (how many screens in the UK and how long was it at cinemas for?)
92 screens in the UK and 122 days.

Films reception (how did critics receive the film? What is a BIFA and how many nominations and awards did the film receive?)
The film has an 85% (certified fresh) critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it also had rave reviews from critics such as Peter Bradshaw and Kim Newman. It won a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for Best Screenplay. It was nominated for 17 awards and it won 11 awards.

Box Office (opening weekend, domestic and world wide)
Opening weekend: $7,384
Domestic: $41,039
Worldwide: $2,735,440

The significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences

Which formats is the film available on?
TV, VOD, Magazines, National and Specialist Press, Outdoor – Underground, High Impact Online Display, Video & Social.

How was it released in the US (formats and release pattern)
It was released after the UK release, hitting cinemas in the US on the 10th May 2013- however it wasn't released in all cinemas. It was also released via Video on Demand on the 13th May, making the film accessible on TVs and computers.

How was it marketed how did StudioCanal help?
An online teaser campaign was used that created interest for the film amongst core films fans. The campaign was then broadened out to release with programmes such as Fresh Meat, and films like Submarine and Kill List. The London Underground and high impact press placements were used, this included a wrap on Guardian's Film & Music. Furthermore, it had a special screening at Cannes Directors' Fortnight, and then went on to win raves in Toronto, Locarno, Sitges and London- this great word of mouth helped to result in it being one of the hottest UK exports of 2012. 

StudioCanal supported the marketing by using campaigns and regional events (working with companies such as Organic, Emfoundation, Stella Artois and elevenfiftyfive) to build a strong sense of excitement around the film. The BFI also helped the film by funding it so that it was able to be released on 92 screens.

How was twitter and facebook used to market the film? 

Twitter was used to tweet news about the film in order to create a buzz around it, encouraging people to see it. It was also used to retweet people's positive reviews of the film, further encouraging people to see it. Facebook was used to the same effect.

How was Stella Artois involved? What is a Stella Artois bursary?

The UK premiere was supported by Stella Artois, their bursaries are unique funds that directly support the film community. The premiere helped garner some great press attention for the film and promoted it's general release whilst engaging film audiences with Stella Artois.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Class and Status

Find five examples from UK and US TV dramas for the following: 

1. Upper Class (rich/posh)
  • King/Prince Arthur (from BBC's Merlin) is a member of royalty- and is therefore upper class. He conforms to the stereotype as he wears expensive looking clothes, he acts arrogantly at times in the first couple of series, he has enormous power, he is noble in his actions, he is brave, has good manners, he is good at fighting (which would have been expected in this period of time for Kings/Princes) he lives in a castle and has a servant.
  • However, he breaks the stereotype as he is caring, honest, selfless at times, kind to his people and understanding of them.
In this picture you can clearly see that Arthur is dressed in a fighting outfit,
showing that he is probably skilled at fighting and brave. Also, the materials of his
clothes look expensive.

  • Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Downton Abbey) was born into the aristocracy as her father was a baronet. She also married into a wealthy family. She wears extremely expensive looking clothes and materials which is stereotypical of someone of the upper class. She is quite ignorant and intolerant of other people's lives, she is traditional in her beliefs, she is rude, she is obsessed with money, and she is selfish. All of these conform to the negative version of the stereotype of the upper classes. 

  • I chose this clip to illustrate how the Dowager Countess is so ignorant and oblivious to what goes on around her and how she has never worked a day in her life, so everyday is a free day to her, and she therefore doesn't know what a weekend is. This makes her look foolish compared to the others sat on the table that are possibly more down to earth than she is. 

2. Middle Class (neither rich nor poor/in the middle)

  • John Watson (Sherlock) is a middle-class character. He is a doctor, which is seen as a middle-class profession. 

3. Working Class (poor/common)

  • Merlin always wears this outfit.
    Merlin (from BBC's Merlin) is a servant of Prince/King Arthur's.
  • He conforms to the stereotype as he does not have a variety of clothes, he tends to wear the same outfit- that does not look as if it is made from very expensive materials.
  • He breaks the stereotype of working-class people speaking with informal accents- he pronounces his words properly and doesn't have a strong regional accent.
  • He further breaks the stereotype as he has good manners and morals, and is selfless, intelligent and kind.

  • Rose Tyler (Doctor Who) conforms to the stereotype of the working-class (she worked as a shop-assistant before she travelled with the Doctor) as she lives on a council estate, she has a strong London accent- which means that she doesn't pronounce her words clearly, she talks about having no A-levels (so she doesn't have high education), she wears jeans and t-shirts mostly, and she seems bored with her life before she meets the Doctor.
  • However, Rose breaks the stereotype as she is intelligent, brave, fit and healthy, adventurous, she has good manners, and she is extremely kind and loving.
  • You can see Rose in one of her typical outfits here.

  • Barry Family (Waterloo Road)

        Monday, 8 December 2014

        Representation of Age in Waterloo Road: Exam Style Question

        In this extract from Waterloo Road a representation is constructed of a variety of ages, in a number of ways, through the use of the four areas of textual analysis: the use of camera shots, angles, movement and composition, mise en scene, editing, and sound.

        The mise en scene of the school setting immediately implies to the audience that there are going to be a mixture of age groups seen in this extract, young students and more mature teachers.

        In the first scene there is a tracking shot of the mature teachers shoes, they are quite old-fashioned and are a dull brown colour. This piece of costume could reflect the teachers mature age as these are typical shoes associated with someone of around 60 years old (which the teacher appears to be). The dull colour of them could also represent the stereotypical idea of mature adults being boring and not having much excitement in their lives. Furthermore, they could represent that he has an old-fashioned way of teaching- which is conveyed in his stern attitude towards the boys. The tracking shot of his feet almost creates a sense that he is an oncoming danger to the boys and their misbehaviour as it builds up tension- this infers that as a mature figure he has power and authority over the young students. This conforms to the stereotype of elders being the people you need to respect and be obedient to. This authority over youth is further established when the boys immediately try to hide what they're doing as the teacher approaches them, showing that they fear him in a way. The teachers dialogue also shows his power over the boys when he orders them to 'give it' about the camera and one of them corroborates with his request. Therefore, this mature character mainly conforms to the stereotype of someone around the age of 60 due to all of the factors mentioned.

        Miss. Chowdry's naivety and inexperience, which conforms to the stereotype of those in their early thirties (which the character seems to be), are highlighted by the male teacher's use of diegetic sound- in his dialogue. For example, this is apparent when he assumes that she took out insurance on the camera, and responds in an almost shocked tone of voice when he realises she hasn't. His reaction emphasises the mature male teacher's knowledge and experience and Miss. Chowdry's lack of these qualities. The cut to her reaction to what the male teacher says, and the close-up on her regretful facial expression, further highlights her mistake and therefore her inexperience. Resultantly, Miss. Chowdry's character clearly helps to emphasise that more mature adults are stereotypically the most experienced and knowledgeable, and that younger adults are quite inexperienced in comparison.

        The mid-shot of the girls walking down the corridor with one boy highlights the girls' costume and conveys that they conform to the stereotype of teenage girls caring a great deal about their appearance, as they are wearing short skirts and customized school uniforms. The mise en scene used here, such as make-up, further establishes that the characters conform to this idea. The non-diegetic use of music, which sounds like it is hip-hop, used when Amy runs after the boy in the corridor relates to this idea of youth, healthiness, and energy. Furthermore, Amy's aggressive attitude towards the boy and the vaguely aggressive sounding music relate to the stereotype of teenagers being violent. Therefore, the character of Amy clearly helps to construct a negatively stereotypical representation of teenage girls.

        After this there is a scene with a student and a caretaker. The close-up on the student's face and the dialogue he uses suggests that he is truthful about wanting to help the caretaker, the close-up clearly shows his sincere facial expression. This conveys that, although the caretaker infers that the boy is troublesome in his dialogue, the boy is not entirely a troublemaker and bad- he is actually quite vulnerable and willing to change his ways. This breaks the stereotype of some teenage boys being hopeless, aggressive rebels. Both characters have a similar amount of screen time and there are a lot of reverse takes between them, this implies that they have equal power and are willing to level with each other. This breaks the stereotype of adults in their forties (which the caretaker seems to be) exerting their authority over young people all of the time. Both of these characters therefore help to break the stereotypes of different age groups, and are a more realistic interpretation of them.

        Another significant moment in the extract which constructs a representation of the 13- 19 age group is the scene where it is made clear in the dialogue that a teenage girl is pregnant. This links in with a stereotypical theme related to teenagers in contemporary times- teenage pregnancy. However, the stereotype of the boy who is the father of the baby abandoning the girl doesn't seem like it's going to be apparent in this extract- the boy seems overjoyed in his dialogue, breaking the stereotype. It also breaks the stereotype of some teenage boys being uncommitted, selfish and inconsiderate, as this character appears to be caring for the girl and selfless. The girl however has an uncomfortable facial expression when the boy is acting in this way, highlighted by a close-up. The boy sat on the desk in front of the couple is put in focus at one point and is smirking, with the girl positioned behind him in the shot suggesting this expression is to do with her. These two characters seem to be inferring through these expressions that there has been some sort of romantic relation between them, that they have not informed the other boy about. This conforms to the stereotype of teenagers being uncommitted. The girls expression also implies that she is scared about her pregnancy, and that she is therefore vulnerable and sensitive- conforming to the softer and more sensitive stereotype of teenage girls. Overall, the characters in this scene both construct a representation of teenagers that are partly stereotypical and that are in other ways not.

        In another integral part of the extract the stereotype of some teenage boys is adhered to. There is a stereotype of teenage boys that is that they are geeky, are almost overly eager in school, are fanatical about video games, and have awkward, nervous personalities. In a scene in the clip there is a teenage boy that is intimidated by Amy, and you can infer this through the diegetic sound of his tone of voice- which is a panicked, quivering sound. This conforms to the stereotype as it shows that he has a nervous personality, and that he may be socially inexperienced as he can't handle Amy's aggressive attitude- suggesting he's never been in a confrontation before. This idea of him being socially awkward is also established in a earlier shot- where he is walking down the corridor alone, suggesting that perhaps the character doesn't have many friends and that he is lonely. The stereotype is further constructed through the mise en scene of his costume. He has a variety of badges on his blazer- inferring that he is eager at school, intelligent and does not have a good fashion sense. Furthermore, his hair is styled in an old-fashioned manner conveying, once again, that he has little fashion sense, and that he is not like the 'cooler' teenagers who typically keep up with what is popular. Also, the use of dialogue informs the audience that the boy has asthma- which is stereotypically associated with this stereotype. All of these factors conform to the geeky stereotype, contributing to a stereotypical representation of teenage boys.

        The last scene is perhaps the most significant in constructing a representation of those that are middle-aged. One of the male teachers in this age group dresses in a costume typically associated with teenagers- a T-shirt and jeans, with his underwear worn in a high up manner. There is a tilt-shot of the character, emphasising the hilarity of the moment and how he clearly looks ridiculous as the clothes he is wearing are not suited to his age group. His costume infers that he is trying to be young again, that he is therefore perhaps having a mid-life crisis, that he is attempting to fit in with the youth, and his dialogue to Miss. Chowdry infers that he is endeavouring to impress her. The fact that he believes that these clothes would impress her expresses that he is naive and gullable, and this is highlighted by the close-up on his face and his embarrassed facial expression when Miss. Chowdry tells him he looks ridiculous. This breaks the stereotype of mature adults being knowledgeable and wordly, as he looks foolish. There is further emphasis put on how ridiculous he looks through the use of non-diegetic hip-hop sounding music, that clearly shows he is foolish for trying to dress up like the youth, as he doesn't fit with the music because he is not young- whereas Amy and her attitude did fit with similar music used earlier on the extract because she is young. These factors therefore create a representation of middle-aged people being foolish by attempting to be youthful, breaking the knowledgeable, and comfortable with who they are, middle-aged stereotype.

        The editing in throughout the extract cuts quickly from frame to frame, creating a fast-paced school atmosphere. This reflects the energy of the young students and also the chaotic time that the teachers have at school. This subsequently implies that the teachers have to deal with some student that are unruly- which conforms to the misbehaving teenage stereotype.

        In conclusion, the extract constructs mainly stereotypical representations of a variety of age groups. However, a few characters do break the stereotypes in some ways- such as the teacher at the end of the clip.
        "Cross media convergence and synergy are vital processes in the successful marketing of media products to audiences." To what extent do you agree with this statement in relation to your media area? 

        Cross media convergence and synergy are vital processes in the successful marketing of films to audiences. Media convergence, for example the use of social media, has become a crucial part of modern day marketing to the masses, and so has uses of synergy such as viral websites releasing clues to a film's plot. Without these marketing strategies films would probably have a smaller audience, and resultantly make a smaller gross.
        Media convergence has become a key part of successful marketing of films to audiences. For example, YouTube has become a platform for companies to release film trailers on- and also to promote their trailers on the adverts before other videos on YouTube. Clips and sneak previews of a film can also be released, raising excitement and anticipation around the film- getting people talking, and subsequently more people aware of the film. YouTube allows an extremely large audience to easily access the film trailers and clips, and therefore more people are likely to be interested in the film and to go and see it at the cinema. This clearly results in a larger cinema audience and a larger gross. Also, it may result in a bigger younger audience, as young people are typically the group that uses YouTube the most and therefore they are the ones who will see these trailers more than any other age group (particularly the elderly).
        Another integral use of media convergence is the use of social media, such as Twitter. Film companies can make accounts on Twitter for their film, and through this account they can release effective marketing like photos from the film, information about the film, links to trailers and clips, and they can also tweet countdowns to the film's cinema and DVD releases. These marketing methods create excitement and result in people tweeting about the film- spreading the word online so even more people are aware of it- and then, possibly, a larger audience will come to see it. An example of the effective use of Twitter is the marketing for The Amazing Spider-Man. There was a Twitter account created for the film that revealed a scavenger hunt with the latitude and longitude co-ordinates of markets in US cities. After they had graffitied a Spider-Man logo on a wall, whoever won this hunt was allowed to view a scene related to the film. This was an excellent piece of marketing as it raised excitement as it was a large-scale project and got people talking online, spreading the word, encouraging others to go. It also appealed to the young people on Twitter, making them talk about the film too. This spreading of the word would have resulted in a larger cinema audience and a larger gross, contributing to the film’s success.
        Synergy is also incredibly vital in the successful marketing of a film to audiences. For example, The Grand Budapest Hotel


        Media convergence:

        YouTube- post trailers and clips
        Twitter- Amazing Spider-Man hunt thingy, post links to trailers and clips, countdown
        Facebook- post pictures, links to trailers, countdown


        Comic book prequel to Dredd
        Toys for Amazing Spider-Man
        Website made for Grand Budapest

        Tuesday, 2 December 2014

        “Successful media products depend as much upon marketing and distribution to a specific audience as they do upon good production practices”. To what extent would you agree with this statement, within the media area you have studied?

        I agree that the marketing and distribution of a film is more crucial to the success of one than whether it is highly regarded by critics. This is due to a number of factors, such as; the production practices used in contemporary times to distribute and market films to specific audiences, how audiences respond with these strategies, and how media convergence targets a specific audience. However, there is an element of positive opinions from critics playing a role in a films financial success as well.

        For example, The Grand Budapest Hotel has been highly acclaimed by critics and has a 92% rating on the website 'Rotten Tomatoes'. These positive reviews of the film interest people into going to see it in order to know what all the excitement is about, and to see it as they don't want to miss an excellent film. Furthermore, those who can't afford to go to the cinema very often want to go to see a film that they think is worth the trip- so if the film is critically acclaimed than they are more likely to go to see it. All of these factors contribute to the films financial success, meaning that the critics’ opinion is vital.

        On the other hand, for big budget American blockbusters such as The Avengers (which had a budget of $220 million) they don’t need particularly good critical reviews to be successful. This is due to their spectacular visuals and A-list stars (for example Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson) that appeal to the four quadrants, and therefore contribute to a larger audience and a bigger financial success.

        However, production practices which allow films to be distributed and marketed for specific audiences are more integral in a film’s success than critics’ reviews. For example, The Grand Budapest Hotel is available in UltraViolet (UV) format- this means that when consumers buy a physical DVD they don't have to buy a film again online in order to have it on devices (like tablets) as they receive a redemption code with their physical copy that allows them to download it on to multiple devices. This distribution targets people with devices such as phones and tablets, so it targets mostly young people that are stereotypically more technologically advanced than those who are older. UV allows young people to access films easily and therefore they are more likely to buy the film, contributing to its gross- and subsequently its success.

        Other production practices such as the actors used in a film also make the film a bigger success due to them appealing to a certain target audience. In The Grand Budapest Hotel there are some actors that perhaps target a mature age group, such as Bill Murray and Ralph Fiennes. Older age groups tend to have seen these actors work before, more than younger age groups, and may be interested in seeing their new work, meaning that they'd go to see the film. Subsequently, the film would have a larger audience and a higher gross- resulting in a bigger success. However, Wes Anderson has to have an ensemble of well-known actors in order to draw in audiences, due to his auteur directing only appealing to aficionados at times, whereas blockbuster American films can only have one A-list star in (for example Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games series) and people automatically want to see it.

        The size of a distribution company also allows for a film to be a bigger success. For example, 20th Century Fox are the world's second largest film studio- distributing massive commercial successes such as Avatar and Alien. The size and wealth of this distribution company means that they can afford to distribute their films worldwide and therefore can allow a vast audience to easily access their films, and they can afford a large marketing campaign to raise their films' profile and encourage people to see them. These factors tend to result in a huge gross, due to a film having a large audience, and a hugely successful film.
        Furthermore, the marketing of films through social media using convergence promotes a film and therefore makes more people aware of it, and likely to go and see it. An effective use of social media to market a film to a specific audience was during the promotion of The Amazing Spider-Man. There was an official Twitter account for this film that revealed a scavenger hunt by posting a tweet saying 'Property of Peter Parker... Lost' with the latitude and longitude co-ordinates of direct markets in big US cities. The people who won this scavenger hunt were able to view a scene related to the film after graffitying the Spider-Man logo on a wall. This use of marketing was effective as it used Twitter, which young people mainly use- and therefore got them talking about the film and encouraging others their age to go and see it. This type of marketing is also exciting, on a wide-scale and appeals not just to young people, but everyone, once those that use social media have spread the word.
        The marketing of The Grand Budapest Hotel includes a website that had clues and hints about the films plot. This wasn’t particularly exciting and only appealed to those that were already fans of Wes Anderson’s films, wanting to find out information about his new one. This therefore didn’t get a wider audience involved, like The Amazing Spider-Man’s marketing did, and resulted in a smaller audience and a smaller gross.

        The marketing of specific types of products is also key in a films financial success. The marketing for The Amazing Spider-Man included the release of action figures of the film's version of Spider-Man by various companies such as Hasbro, which was revealed at the July 2011 Comic-Con. These action figures appeal to children and therefore may make them want to go and see the film and encourage their parents to see it. Furthermore, the fact that the Hasbro figure was revealed at Comic-Con clearly appealed to The Amazing Spider-Man's key audience- as these are the people who are most likely to be fans of the comic, and therefore will want to see the film. This subsequently got these people even more excited for the film, increasing its audience size, gross and success.

        Furthermore, the marketing of specific types of products is also seen in the promotion of the film Dredd. There was a prequel to Dredd in the form of a comic book, which followed the life of the antagonist of the film (Ma-Ma) before the film begins. This raised awareness of the film in fans of the comic book, which were a large target audience, and got them increasingly excited about it and talking about it, therefore encouraging more people to go to see it and creating a bigger audience. This resulted in larger financial success.

        How audiences engage with distribution and marketing strategies clearly conveys the effectiveness of them. For example, statistics say that 15-24 year olds make up the largest percentage of the cinema demographic- this shows that marketing (through social media) aimed at them obviously works as it encourages them to go to the cinema resulting in this percentage. This is why films such as The Avengers did so excellently at the box office, as it appeals to this age group. Furthermore, this is why it was so crucial that The Grand Budapest Hotel had a variety of marketing that could appeal to 15-24 year olds as well as the older generation who are usually interested in Wes Anderson films. Strategies were used like a viral video of how to make your own Mendl’s pastries (from the film) that may appeal to a younger audience, as it is quite unique and entertaining.

        On the other hand, the fact that phone-free screenings and over 30s screenings have had to be created suggests that this is the result of such a large young audience that other age groups may not want to sit and watch a film with. This goes against the communal experience of going to the cinema, and infers that marketing strategies may not be as effective as it seems when concerning all age groups. So, this may show that there needs to be more marketing aimed at older audiences in order to have a more equal cinema demographic so measures like these wouldn't have to be necessary.

        Also, there are arguments against the film industry's methods of success at times. For example, Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa has said that he believes that cinema admission prices should be lower for British films. He said that 'a blockbuster can cost $250m and a UK independent film can cost $4m but it's £10 or more to see both. I think we should see UK films priced at £4 and US films at £10'. He believes that this would stimulate admissions and also increase the demand for British films. The lack of price flexibility makes people less likely to go to the cinema to see a smaller, independent, British film than a US blockbuster as they want to go when they know that it will definitely be worth it if they can't afford tickets on a regular basis. They don't want to take a chance on spending their money to see the smaller films that they are not guaranteed to enjoy.

        Furthermore, at times audiences challenge distribution practices such as the use of UV. For example, redemption sheets that come with the physical DVDs can sometimes direct the buyer to websites that you need to make an account on, and these often confuse the consumers. This problem caused a backlash when UV was first launched. Also, some consumers have tried to sell their redemption codes online- taking away gross from the DVD sales. Another problem with UV is that companies such as Apple do not support it, and this is a problem with films that are released in this format that are targeted at a young, and mostly technologically advanced, audience that perhaps have iPhones or iPads and will not be able to use UV- resulting in a lower gross from the sales of UV DVDs. This was a problem with The Grand Budapest Hotel as this was released in UV yet its target audience of aficionados mostly had technology such as iPhones and therefore couldn’t utilize the UV technology.
        Another example of distribution practices being used incorrectly was the fact that Dredd was released in only 3D in most cinemas, meaning people would have to travel to cinemas a long way away from their home to see it in 2D. This made those who weren’t Dredd’s target audience not want to see the film; as they wouldn’t be willing to pay extra for a 3D ticket for a film they weren’t really interested in or travel a long way to see it. Also, the target market of Dredd (aficionados) are not the kind of people who would want to see a film in 3D- therefore this is poor marketing to the film’s target audience, and would result in less gross at the cinema as they would just buy it on DVD instead.

        In conclusion, I believe that the use of effective distribution and marketing to a films target audience is far more pivotal in a film’s success than whether the critics regard the film highly or not. Without marketing and distribution people would not be necessarily aware of a film at all, and would have no ease of access to it- meaning that they wouldn't be able to watch it in some cases. This would mean that a film would be a financial failure, and therefore what the critics thought of it wouldn't make much difference to its financial success.

        Friday, 28 November 2014

        Grand Budapest Hotel Research

        Task 1 Research

        1) What is Indian Paintbrush and who owns it?
        Steven M. Rales owns Indian Paintbrush which is a production and distribution company. It has produced films like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox. The company is based in California and was founded in 2006.

        2) Which company is Fox Searchlight a subsidiary of?
        It is a subsidiary of the Fox Entertainment Group, which is a sister company of 20th Century Fox.

        3) Which type of films do Fox Searchlight distribute?  

        They specialise in distributing independent films, British films, dramedy films, horror films and non-English language films.

        4) Which two countries financed the film?

        Britain and Germany financed the film, it was a co-production between the two countries. It was filmed in Germany and financed by German film-funding organisations and financial companies.

        5) What did Anderson use instead of CGI (computer generated imagery)?

        A three meter tall handmade miniature model was used for wide shot of the hotel, he also built models for things such as the tree-spotted hill and the funicular railway.

        6) Where did the inspiration for the Hotel come from?

        They looked at vintage pictures at the Library of Congress of European holiday spots and hotels, as well as locales like the Palace Bristol Hotel, the Grandhotel Pupp (Czech Republic) and the Grandhotel Gellert (Budapest).

        Palace Bristol Hotel (Carlsbad)

        7) Which
        film festival opened with The Grand Budapest Hotel?
        The 64th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2014.
        Alexandre Desplat 2013.jpg
        Alexandre Desplat

        8) Alexandre Desplat wrote the score, which major Hollywood films has he worked on?

        The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & Part 2, Godzilla, The Golden Compass and Zero Dark Thirty.

        9) How many awards has the film won?
        Five: The Berlin International Film Festival, Jury Grand Pix for Wes Anderson; The David di Donatello Awards, Best Foreign Film for Wes Anderson; The Golden Trailer Awards, Best Graphics in a TV Spot; The Nastro d'Argento, Best Costume Design for Milena Canonero; and the World Soundtrack Awards, Best Original Score of the Year for Alexandre Desplat.

        10) Initially how many cinemas did the film open on in the US?
        Four cinemas.

        11) How much did it average per cinema?


        12) The film was released on Ultraviolet BluRay, what does this enable consumers to do?

        Stream and download the film to multiple devices, this means that they can watch the film without having to rebuy them from websites like Apple.

        13) Which companies do not support Ultraviolet?

        Disney, Google, and Apple.

        14) What complaints did Ultraviolet encounter when it launched and other problems?

        • Limited interoperability with existing services: Ultraviolet content is not available yet on some popular video platforms (e.g. iTunes).
        • Limited content- Some small studios and Disney have not yet released their films with UV rights, meaning its impossible for someone to have a complete collection of films in the UV format.
        • Confusing processes- Redemption sheets that come with the physical discs sometimes direct the buyer to sites that need you to register on, and these often confuse the consumers. This was a huge problem when Ultraviolet first launched, and caused a backlash among buyers. Redemption codes have an expiry date also.
        • Restrictions on use- At the moment, you can not download an UV file and then copy it to another device.
        • Black market- Some consumers have tried to sell their redemption codes online.

        Task 2- Comprehension

        Part 1- The Story:

        List the cast of the film as explained in the featurette:

        Ralph Fiennes: M. Gustave
        Owen Wilson: M. Chuck
        Tony Revolori: Zero
        Edward Norton: Henckles
        Saoirse Ronan: Agatha

        Jeff Goldblum: Deputy Kovacs
        Tilda Swinton: Madame D.
        Adrien Brody: Dmitri Desgoffe
        Jason Schwartzman: M. Jean
        Willem Dafoe: Jopling
        Harvey Keitel: Ludwig
        Bill Murray: M. Ivan
        Mathieu Amalric: Serge X.
        F. Murray Abraham: Mr. Moustafa
        Lea Seydoux: Clotilde
        Tom Wilkinson: Author
        Jude Law: Young Writer
        Bob Balaban: M. Martin

        Part 3- Building A Hotel:

        1) Where did scouting for a hotel take place?
        Central Europe
        2) Which location did the production team eventually use?
        A department store in Gorlitz, Germany.
        3) Did they film on location or on a sound stage?
        On location.
        4) Where were the production offices located?
        On the top floor.
        5) How did they film the 60's and 30's hotel?
        They wanted to shoot the 60's and the 30's hotel back to back, so they created a set within a set. They built the 30's set and then the 60's one, then they shot it backwards and peeled away the 60's layer- exposing the earlier period of the hotel.
        6) Where did inspiration for the hotel's interior come from?
        They travelled to different places in Eastern Europe, gathering ideas of what would go in to the hotel.
        7) How many extras did it take to fill the lobby?

        Task 3 - Marketing

        1) Read this Variety piece and summarise the 5 secrets to the film's success:

        • Anderson's World- The detail used by Anderson has gave the idea for a collection on eBay (a partnership initiated by Waris Ahluwalia, who owns a fashion label). There has also been an art collection inspired by the film. There are auction items, some of which are selling out, which allow the audience to feel like they have a part of the world that they see in the film.
        • Unique Promotions- A model of the hotel has been touring cinemas from Hollywood to Berlin. Secret Cinema screened the film as well, creating excitement around it in England (and also a viral video of the night on YouTube which further promotes the film).
        • Viral Chow- Instructional videos were released telling people how to make their own Mendl's pastries. These went viral as fans sent back their creations, and these were then used by Fox Searchlight in TV spots on cooking channels. There were eight marketing shorts shot as well, including one of M. Gustave. These things made people aware of the film on social media and got people excited about it, and those that weren't in the know about it in the know.
        • Young Moonrisers- The success of Moonrise Kingdom has attracted a new, younger, generation of Anderson fans that then went on to see the Grand Budapest Hotel.
        • Universal Access- The film was received wonderfully by critics. It got a rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. This attracted audiences that wanted to see what the fuss was about. Also, critics have called Budapest Anderson's most accessible film- meaning more people are likely to see it, generating a bigger box office success.
        2) How did Anderson use the QE2 (Queen Elizabeth 2nd) to market the film?

        Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola went on the ship to promote their film, screening it multiple times and holding a Q&A session. The Cunard CEO David Dingle said 'Mr. Anderson has many fans among Cunard passengers, and we know they will jump at this unique opportunity to enjoy his films and spend time with him and his wonderful collaborators'.

        3) What connects Prada to the marketing of the film?
        They collaborated with Anderson, designing the costumes and the props for the film. Those interested in fashion may have wanted to see their input in the film and may have gone to see it because of this. There were two windows and an indoor display in a Prada shop in Berlin dedicated to the film, interesting visitors and subsequently attracting possible audience for it.

        4) Visit this viral website and identify how the films plot is revealed

        Clues to the films plot are on this website. For example, there is a picture of a Mendl's box and a picture of Boy With Apple.

        Task 4 - Opinion

        1) Why would a big Six company be interested in supporting a smaller distribution company like Fox Searchlight?
        In order to not make the same old blockbuster films that don't earn a lot of respect and to make critically acclaimed films that will gain respect.
        2) Which audience category best describes The Grand Budapest Hotel (Mainstream, Mainstream plus, aficionados)
        3)Why might the use of Ultraviolet alienate the film's audience?
        As many people who own products by companies who don't support UltraViolet won't be able to access the film in this way.
        4) Why might the use of secret cinema work as viral marketing for the film?
        The clip of the Secret Cinema event on YouTube is likely to become popular because it looks so entertaining it will intrigue people into going to see the film.