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Section A of the FM2 exam paper Producers and Audiences involves reading and interpreting stimulus material about audiences, producers and the institutions behind the film making and viewing process. e.g. box office figures, posters, fan web sites, statistics, production costs, issues and debates etc. You will also be expected to refer to your own case studies. An example of an exam question can be found at the back of this booklet. The information you gain from this exercise can be used as a case study for your exam FM2 Section A - Producers and Audiences. This assignment will encourage you to read a wide variety of resources about production and distribution of film. You will also find out about the finance and the marketing of films. Also by reading other case studies compiled by your peers, you will have a wider number of case studies to draw on and be excellently prepared for the exam! Most students do badly in this exam because they don't know what to do with the resource material. By researching and tracking your movie, you will be able to read and interpret the resources. Also by questioning the information you find in the statistics, you will be able to engage with the debates and issues behind film studies. All essential to gain the top grades…
THE TRACKING EXERCISE: You have been given the title of a film to be released some time in the future. This is now your film which you will champion
in Film Studies lessons over the next few weeks. I will check in on your film’s progress in lessons and you should keep a log of notes, clippings, pastings, images etc which you can use as a case study. You need to use your blogs regularly as I will be checking in and award grades for your progress. You need to track your film’s success… or failure… on the way to the big screen. You need to track the processes it goes through from its birth to production; from distribution to audience reception; and you need to log any merchandising and tie-ins connected with your film. ASK THE QUESTION WHY? You should interrogate the information you find. Study those figures. What can you learn from them? What is interesting to you in the statistics, tables, articles you have read? E.g. compare American and British box office figures. Why might the film have done better in the UK than America? Or does your film appeal more to particular regional or ethnic groups? Why? Who decides on distribution? Are the distributors saturating the market or is your film only appearing in one small art house cinema in Clacton. If so Why? We are coming up to Christmas and school holidays. Is this a factor in deciding on the release date, classification of your film? Also think about how we define ‘success’. Is it just money? Check out the reviews. ‘Sight and Sound’ might be raving about a film which proved to be a box office flop in terms of first weekend takings. Why? Interrogate the information. The person who asks ‘Why?’ learns most!
The first thing to do is visit The Film Distributors Association web site (FDA) to find the exact date for the release and track any links to related web-sites offering information about your film. Other useful websites are listed on pages 5 & 6 of this booklet.
What to look for and track... REMEMBER Ask the question 'WHY?' wherever possible. AND ask yourself, “What is interesting about this information?” Classification Release dates Where? The distributors The production company The director - other films by same director The Actors who and how much they get paid The genre of the film Tie in Promotions e.g. Star and Production Company benefit Finance Production costs Actors’ fees Box Office Figures First weekend returns
How much the movie grosses Advertising/ Publicity • Web-sites devoted to the film, Posters, TV ads, Magazine ads etc Merchandising, MacDonalds(?) Toys… Previews and Reviews Press Releases etc, etc If you can, go to see your movie when it is released. Interview members of the audience in order to poll what they thought of the film. IMPORTANT WEB SITES: FDA Film Distributors Association IMDB International Movie Database Box Office Guru for box office research Box Office Mojo UK Film Council Regional Film Agencies www.filmcouncil.org.uk Screen Online MPA Motion Picture Association MPAA Motion Picture Association of America Useful for press releases and statistics
And some others… Let me know if these links do not work.
Bright Lights Film Journal http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/ British Film Institute http://www.bfi.org.uk/ Entertainment Weekly Online http://www.ew.com/ew/ Empire Online http://www.empireonline.com/ Filmsound.org http://www.filmsound.org/ Participations: International Journal of Audience Research http://www.participations.org/ Premiere Online http://www.premiere.com/ 5
Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies http://www.scope.nottingham.ac.uk/ Senses of Cinema http://www.sensesofcinema.com/ American Film Institute http://www.afi.com/ Animation World Network http://www.awn.com/
PRINT Sight and Sound Empire Film Screen (v. academic)
FM2: British and American Film Section A: Producers and Audiences Choose one question from this section. Either 1. Study the items in Part A of the resource material, which includes: • a website to download films • an official film website • a newspaper article on a Hollywood film and the web. Using this material as a starting point, and drawing on your own case studies, answer the following question: ‘The internet is of equal benefit to producers and audiences.’ How far do you agree?  or 2. Study the items in Part B of the resource material, which includes: • the three basic elements for a successful Hollywood film • a poster for a popular UK film without stars • a box office list of the top ten films of 2007 in the UK. Using this material as a starting point, and drawing on your own case studies, answer the following question: ‘Hollywood films have movie stars. That’s why they are more appealing to UK audiences than UK films.’ How far do you agree with this comment? [40)