Friday, 27 November 2009

Exhibition - types of film releases and the reasons for them

Several types of film release patterns
Again, this article is old and it does not take account of new release patterns such as the one devised by Warner Bros for "Jesse James". Yet it is helpful for definitions, etc.Types of Release

PatternsIndustry Analysis by Anthony Leong, Lara Kalins, Oren Levy, Marion De Marcillac, and Annekatrin Scholze© Copyright 1996

Wide Release
The most common release pattern, in which the film is released nationally in all markets. This is the pattern used by the majors, since this type of release pattern requires a heavy investment in prints and national advertising, which while having reach into all markets, is expensive. With a wide release, the producers and distributors can realize revenues to recoup their investment in a shorter time period (provided that the film is successful). Finally, revenues from DVD sales can also be realized faster from a quickly-executed theatrical release (the shorter the time period between the theatrical release and the DVD release, the greater the potential for DVD income).

The Modified Wide Release
The film will open in a few major markets and expand week by week to build awareness and allow positive word-of-mouth reputation to develop. This type of release would initially be supported spot advertising (advertising in a specific geographical area, such as a city) and may move to national advertising once it expands to other markets.

Exclusive and Limited Runs
Exclusive and limited runs begin with engagements at a limited number of screens, traditionally in large urban areas, such as Toronto. Based on favourable reviews and positive word-of-mouth, the film may move slowly to additional theatres. This release pattern is almost always used for upscale 'art-house' or foreign films and may be part of a platforming strategy, where critical acclaim in an important market will assist in providing momentum for a wide release.

Territorial Saturation ( a territory is an geographical area in which the film is released, i.e. Europe, the UK, USA, etc.)
Territorial saturation involves saturating a territory with bookings, heavy advertising and promotion, before moving on to another territory. This method would be used for films tailored to specific markets. In Canada, this would be seen with French-language films, which primarily would be well-received only in Quebec. It is also used by independent distributors for exploitation or family movies.

Universal Release – the film is released in several countries on the same day. For instance a major blockbuster is sometimes released in the USA and the UK on the same date.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Here's a crazy ad to make sense of!

The link to the powerful advert below shows the suffering endured by women. The issue of domestic violence is shockingly magnified as it plays with the audience's sense of reality:

Monday, 23 November 2009

Exhibition issues? - check out Pearl and Dean

Click on the image to enlarge

This is an example of the information you can find. Of course, you could analyse for the target  audience for your institution's case study film in for class, gender and age and blog the results on your case study blogs. Remember to add a title and tags so you can find your blog post easily.

For information for your case study film try this link and do a search.

Remember that the UK Film Council is another good source. You can look up the stats for the release of your case study film, and much more!

"Pulp Fiction" as a post modern text

Obviously you are not the only ones studying this topic around the country. Here's an essay worth reading by someone in your peer group. Thanks to Mr Ford ( whose blog can be found in the "Useful Links below" and Emily Haynes whose essay is posted below.) I particularly like Emily's arguments on time, intertextuality and audiences relationships with postmodern texts.

Pulp Fiction Essay

Film Distribution

Now, this IS VERY USEFUL for your case study institutions and films. Find information on how how your institution distributed their film with perhaps another institution at the British Film Council, IMDB, Screenonline or Pearl and Dean (the business section).

Film Distribution

Institutions and Audiences Key Terms

In some respects this presentation is useful. But remember that your unit is called Institutions and Audiences. You should have a British case study institution and film and the latter should be no more than five years old.

Brief and Intro to Audiences and Institutions

Postmodernism clearly explained

I like the clarity with which this page illustrates rather challenging ideas.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Dolce and Gabbana's risqué TV advert

This TV advert, currently showing on ITV's channels after the evening watershed, fits the criteria for a post modern advert rather well: the product and even more importantly, the brand, is alluded to by association; there is a sense of hyperbole and an emotional response is invited; the connection with the brand is only given at the end with D & G and, doubtless, the association is that one can be very daring when wearing D & G watches as "D & G time" is a much more romantically exciting experience than time spent wearing watches by other brands.

The implied upper-class status of the characters and mise-en-scene also suggests that only people of style and status would wear such watches. D & G watches would hardly be found on just anyone. There is the further implication that the usually boundries of acceptable behaviour do not really apply to those of high status.

Several rolling close ups are given of stylish watches worn by the young woman and men but not close enough for the brand to be recognised; however, the knowledge of the brand is made through the discovery of the girl's mother, whose scream is immediately muffled by an unseen young woman's hand and wrist bearing a D & G watch. In "virgin white" the enlarged "D & G" sign with the smaller word, "Time" underneath, embosses the image and rounds out the advert. The advert reinforces notions that you not only get the watch but D & G's
risqué experience of "time" too; perhaps the electric-like crackle not only signifies the end of the advert but its sample of D & G's "time".

The ad's music sounds like an exaggerated hybrid of the action-thriller genre. It rolling piano music, electric guitars, drums and organ combine to create a strange sense of melodrama in which no one speaks and the two men unrealistically dispense with feelings of jealousy to share the young woman's affections. The musical score matches the choreographed movements of the three young characters in a montage of images which might even suggest the scene is a romantic dance.

Time appears to be collapsed in the advert between the present and the past. The young woman and men's costumes appear to be modern whereas mother's costume seems to exaggerate her age and "outdated outrage" by placing her from an earlier time. Even an
old clock can be seen behind the models casting a strong shadow. There is, of course, also the rather daring association with pornography with the viewer unexpectedly placed in the position of voyeur, alongside an unknown female who gags the mother. There is a point of view shot part-way into the advert which suggests the a hidden, female voyeur is spying on the three young people. The mirrors in the advert tend to reflect and mediate "reality" as they act as framing devices in which images reflect other images within the darkened mise-en-scene's low key lighting.

Intertextuality, although often an important feature of postmodern texts, is far less important for the advert than the associations with the brand (logo or sign) audiences are expected to make. As with many postmodern adverts audiences are expected to engage with and interpret the commercial. The YouTube comments after the video show that this advert has had this affect on young viewers.

Dolce & Gabbana are no strangers to provocative advertising. Their advertising campaigns often aim to shock and surprise and thus stand out. Perhaps the expectation is that the brand will also stand out for consumers. Here's what the company says about its advert:

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbanas creativity is the foundation of the new D&G Time commercial, with the direction of Cyrill Guyot.
A luxurious period apartment in Paris is the set for a malicious mademoiselle who abandons herself to provocative games, ending in an upper-class ménage a trois. The risqué situation is interrupted by her rigorous mother, shocked at the sight of such an impudent display.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Mad Men's advertising campaigns are more postmodern than modern

This connects with our recent work on the Cadbury's Gorilla TV advert and Sony's bouncy balls advert for it Bravia TV. Mad Men is a postmodern programme which is set in a late modern period. However its advertising pitches represent early postmodern advertising even though they are not as abstract as Cadbury's and Sony's! As excellent as Mad Men's attention to detail is it still discloses its origins as being produced in OUR TIME. Each of these texts were produced between 2005-7.

It's a postmodern trait that adverts should emotionally connect audiences with brands. The products are less important than the emotional connection forged between the user and the brand. Old style, late modernist adverting, which is still with us, tries to sell the product rationally and pumps away at why we need the product and how it is "good value" and is better than rival brands, etc.. Such adverts leave no room for audiences to interpret, engage and emotionally connect with the brand. The classic "Kodak Carousel" scene from Mad Men's last episode from series 1 is all about emotion; in this instance it is the post modern attachment to "nostalgia" and our emotional attachment to photographs that makes Don Draper's presentation so effective.

To enlarge click on the Full button (under the presentation) to read the relevant pages to know more.

Friday, 20 November 2009

"The Cult of Sincerity" - Postmodernism and Sincerity

Is it possible to live our lives without being ironic, sarcastic and . . . postmodern? A character in this offbeat comedy aims to find the most sincere message he can produce on a T-shirt. The film seems to have slipped under the radar of most reviewers in the media because if was the first film to be fully premiered and distributed on YouTube before being pulled to be distributed as a three dollar download. It's now also available as VOD (Video On Demand) from Amazon.

Here's three interesting scenes. All of them are about how none of us can escape being postmodern and the main character's uphill struggle against the irony, sarcasm and relativism of our postmodern age.

Play and Playability as Key Concepts in New Media Studies from Dublin City University

This is a very useful and timely study on virtual reality games and the players experience of them.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Spectacle and Emotion in Post Modern Media

These are two important terms for establishing how postmodern adverts, films, TV programmes, music videos, video games, etc. become "viral" and emotionally connect with audiences. This piece by an advertising agency is a must-read. Consider how audiences encounter spectacle and emotion(s) in Mad Men, the Sony bouncy balls TV advert, the Cadbury's Gorilla advert and Grand Theft Auto IV.

However, the use of 'spectacle' in this piece is not Guy Debord's view of this concept which he sets out in "Society of the Spectacle" (1967.) A difficult but very enlightening read.
Society of the Spectacle

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Reality and Plato's Allegory Of The Cave

The film is an old one, but Plato's theory of forms is presented by Orson Welles in one of the clearest ways available on the Net. The video is particularly useful for discussions on postmodernism, advertising, reality, truth, pastiche, Jean Baudrillard's simulacra, or films such as The Truman Show , The Matrix, etc.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

An argument against Jean Francis Lyotard's postmodernist argument on Grand Narratives

The collapse of the "Grand Narrative"

Most famously, in La Condition postmoderne: Rapport sur le savoir (The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge) (1979), he proposes what he calls an extreme simplification of the "postmodern" as an 'incredulity towards meta-narratives'. These meta-narratives - sometimes 'grand narratives' - are grand, large-scale theories and philosophies of the world, such as the progress of history, the knowability of everything by science, and the possibility of absolute freedom. Lyotard argues that we have ceased to believe that narratives of this kind are adequate to represent and contain us all. We have become alert to difference, diversity, the incompatibility of our aspirations, beliefs and desires, and for that reason postmodernity is characterised by an abundance of micronarratives.  From Wikipedia

One of the old, modernist grand narrative was, and for some still is, that science will solve nearly all our problems. Of course, apart from religious narratives, there are a number of other "grand narratives", too. Hollwood draw on most of the'grand' narratives listed below. One major flaw in Lyotard's argument is that postmodernism, itself, offers its own "grand narrative".

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Sony TV advert parodied by Tango

"In early 2006 an advertising campaign for 'Tango Clear' was launched, parodying the 'Balls' themed advertisement for Sony BRAVIA LCD televisions. The original Sony advert consisted of thousands of coloured balls as they bounce down the roads of San Francisco. The Tango advert was set in Swansea and featured fruit instead of coloured balls, using the same production style and the same music track by Jose Gonzalez. It also copies almost exactly the moment from the Bravia advert when a frog leaps out from a drainpipe. It parodies Sony's slogan '' with 'Refreshment like no other', finishing the advert with "It's clear when you've been Tango'd".(from Wikipedia)

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Sony's TV advert from early 2006

Jaun Cabral's bouncy balls advert for SONY.

Questions to aid the analysis of postmodernity of TV adverts

If you consider it alongside the the later Tango Parody what is post modern about this famous TV advert from 2006?

Are its associations merely arbitary or can audiences actively interpret these adverts?

Consider also whether the brand in the advert is more important than its product(s), which are regularly improved and up-dated with new models.

Which produce the greater meanings and associations for audiences the product or the logo? (Give reasons)

What are the meanings and associations produced in these adverts?

In what ways is this form of advertising powerful or ineffectual in reaching audiences/consumers?

Why type of audiences does it work best with: mass or niche audiences and why?

How do adverts like this one "emotionally connect" audiences with the product?

What is the sense of "spectacle" here?

How were these products advertised in earlier decades when modernist mass consumption was the norm? (Have a look at some of the earlier adverts on YouTube.)

In the closing years of Fordist, mass production and consumption Sony marketed their televisions in the UK with a different emphasis, even if the message was was roughly the same. The audience did not really need to work very hard at interpretation as it was done for them. In those days intertextual references were beginning to seep through but were fairly laboured as the older style of advertising based on mass consumption was still entrenched. The intertextual reference is to a well known soap powder (DAZ)convinced "housewives" to test the whiteness of its wash against other products by using free soap powder for a trial wash. Celebrity-fronted advertising is still with us, as it has been since the 1950s. John Cleese was, . . . well, John Cleese, who was known for his 1970s comedy series "Fawlty Towers", his earlier appearances in "Monty Python" and some British films.

Here's another parody of the bouncy balls advert:

Cadbury's Gorilla 2007

Taken with the adverts that it influenced what is post modern about this TV advert?
It was created by Argentine-born, Fallon Advertising's creative director Juan Cabral, who had created the immensely successful Balls and Paint spots for Sony's BRAVIA line of high-definition television sets, wrote and directed the piece, acting as creative director, art director, copywriter and director.

Read this article in which the writer critises this advert and post modern adverts like it. Make a note of some of his arguments. Do you agree or disagree with them?

And now, the pastiche or "remix" using the same gorilla?

And the parody?
More information:
Articles on the advert

Modernism and Postmodernism Compared

This table by Martin Irvine from Georgetown University is invaluable for making comparisons between modernism and postmodernism.

Beware, the willingness to make distinctions between characteristics like this is a modernist trait. Postmoderns tend to blur distinctions.

For our case studies to date: Mad Men and GTA IV, I've coloured the most important comparisons in blue.

What is most important here is how modernism and postmodernism perceives reality.

Master Narratives and meta narratives of history, culture and national identity as accepted before WWII (American-European myths of progress). Myths of cultural and ethnic origin accepted as received.
Suspicion and rejection of Master Narratives for history and culture; local narratives, ironic deconstruction of master narratives: counter-myths of origin.
Faith in "Grand Theory"
(for explanations in history, science and culture) to represent all knowledge and explain everything.
Rejection of grand theories but is prepared to give credit to local theories
Faith in, and myths of, social and cultural unity, hierarchies of social-class and ethnic/national values, seemingly clear bases for unity.
Social and cultural pluralism, disunity, unclear bases for social/national/ ethnic unity.
Master narrative of progress through science and technology.
Skepticism of idea of progress, anti-technology reactions, neo-Luddism; new age religions.
Sense of unified, centered self; "individualism," unified identity.
Sense of fragmentation and de-centered self; multiple, conflicting identities.
Idea of "the family" as central unit of social order: model of the middle-class, nuclear family. Heterosexual norms.
Alternative family units, alternatives to middle-class marriage model, multiple identities for couplings and childraising. Polysexuality, exposure of repressed homosexual and homosocial realities in cultures.
Hierarchy, order, centralized control.
Subverted order, loss of centralized control, fragmentation.
Faith and personal investment in big politics (Nation-State, party).
Trust and investment in micropolitics, identity politics, local politics, institutional power struggles.
Root/Depth tropes.
Faith in "Depth" (meaning, value, content, the signified) over "Surface" (appearances, the superficial, the signifier).
Rhizome/surface tropes.
Attention to play of surfaces, images, signifiers without concern for "Depth". Relational and horizontal differences, differentiations.
Crisis in representation and status of the image after photography and mass media.
Culture adapting to simulation, visual media becoming undifferentiated equivalent forms, simulation and real-time media substituting for the real.
Faith in the "real" beyond media, language, symbols, and representations; authenticity of "originals."
Hyper-reality, image saturation, simulacra seem more powerful than the "real"; images and texts with no prior "original".
"As seen on TV" and "as seen on MTV" are more powerful than unmediated experience.
Dichotomy of high and low culture (official vs. popular culture).
Imposed consensus that high or official culture is normative and authoritative, the ground of value and discrimination.
Disruption of the dominance of high culture by popular culture.
Mixing of popular and high cultures, new valuation of pop culture, hybrid cultural forms cancel "high"/"low" categories.
Mass culture, mass consumption, mass marketing.
Demassified culture; niche products and marketing, smaller group identities.
Art as unique object and finished work authenticated by artist and validated by agreed upon standards.
Art as process, performance, production, intertextuality.
Art as recycling of culture authenticated by audience and validated in subcultures sharing identity with the artist.
Knowledge mastery, attempts to embrace a totality. Quest for interdisciplinary harmony.
The encyclopedia.
Navigation through information overload, information management; fragmented, partial knowledge; just-in-time knowledge.
The Web.
Broadcast media, centralized one-to-many communications. Paradigms: broadcast networks and TV.
Digital, interactive, client-server, distributed, user-motivated, individualised, many-to-many media. Paradigms: Napster and the Web.
Centering/centeredness, centralized knowledge.
Dispersal, dissemination, networked, distributed knowledge
Determinacy, dependence, hierarchy.
Indeterminacy, contingency, polycentric power sources.
Seriousness of intention and purpose, middle-class earnestness.
Play, irony, challenge to official seriousness, subversion of earnestness.
Sense of clear generic boundaries and wholeness (art, music, and literature).
Hybridity, promiscuous genres, recombinant culture, intertextuality, pastiche.
Design and architecture of New York.
Design and architecture of LA and Las Vegas
Clear dichotomy between organic and inorganic, human and machine.
Cyborgian mixing of organic and inorganic, human and machine and electronic.
Phallic ordering of sexual difference, unified sexualities, exclusion/bracketing of pornography.
Androgyny, queer sexual identities, polymorphous sexuality, mass marketing of pornography, porn style mixing with mainstream images.
The book as sufficient bearer of the word.
The library as complete and total system for printed knowledge.
Hypermedia as transcendence of the physical limits of print media.
The Web as infinitely expandable, centerless, inter-connected information system.
Martin Irvine
© 2004-2009
All educational uses permitted with attribution and link to this page.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Exhibition, Consumption and Exchange - Case Study Concept Map

This is the third concept map and final part of your case studies. Research the information and arguments appropriately for your case studies and produce posts on your blogs.

Click on the image to enlarge

Grand Theft Auto Parodies

Of course, a game and franchise like this one has been widely parodied. It seems like it has been widely tried from The Simpsons to Lego. Here are an example from YouTube. Many of the parodies are the result of exhange.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Immersion in video games

Semiotics- the study of signs

We've been touching on some of this stuff in lessons: "the sign structures that we call culture". This is a great little video which illustrates signs as icons - indexes - symbols.