Monday, 19 May 2008

Indiana Jones - drawn in Photoshop

This is a fun way to introduce the new film due out on the 22nd of May. S. Maguire has talent. The video is accompanied by the unforgettable theme tune by John Williams.

Alfred Hitchcock on editing and montage

Hitchcock was a master film-maker and his comments on "cutting", "assembling" and "montage" are well worth listening too. The famous murder scene from Psycho is used as an example of montage. Hitchock goes on the explain how "the size of the image" can create shock in the scene where the detective is killed. Afterwards he demonstrates how cutting and the substitution of an image can change an audience's perception of a scene. Great for budding film-makers!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Good luck with the exam tomorrow!

But don't even think of doing this!


Saturday, 10 May 2008

British Movies - a great new link

The state of the British film industry in 2007

"Boomtime for the British film industry thanks to Austen, Mr Bean - and Gordon Brown."

This is an article from last year but its information including facts and figures are useful for assessing the recent state of the British film industry .

But . . . here is a different take on the same topic:

Statistics for the British Media and Film Industry (FS2)

An amazing resource for historical statistical information on The Media and the British Film industry in Britain. But figures for recent decades are absent! However there is a good reason.

"This section assembles historical data about media in the UK. Mostly this data is effectively in the public domain, but for some datasets a cut-off date has been adopted and set at 1985—a not entirely arbitrary year as that it the one in which the British government cancelled the mechanisms by which extensive data about cinema and film releases were collected."

The British Film Industry (FS2)

Two great links for reading about and researching the British Film Industry. The Parliamentry Report is thorough and the BBC's British Film Industry pages are wide-ranging.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Film company ownership - horizontal and verticle integration (FS2)

Media terms - horizontal and vertical integration (types of media ownership and its implications.)

Media critics, such as Robert McChesney, have noted that the current trend within the entertainment industry has been toward the increased concentration of media ownership into the hands of a smaller number of transmedia and transnational conglomerates. Media nowadays tend to be in the hands of those who are rich enough to buy the media such as Rupert Murdoch.

Horizontal integration, that is, the consolidation of holdings across multiple industries, has displaced the old vertical integration of the Hollywood studios. The idea of owning many media outlets, which run almost the same content, is considered to be very productive, since it requires only minor changes of format and information to use in multiple media forms. For example, within a conglomerate, the content used in broadcasting television would be used in broadcasting radio as well, or the content used in hard copy of the newspaper would also be used in online newspaper website.

What emerged are new strategies of content development and distribution designed to increase the “synergy’ between the different divisions of the same company. Studios seek content that can move fluidly across media channels.

From Wikipedia

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Censorship and Film (FS2)

Links for study information on censorship and film

An excellent explanation of British film censorship

The British Board of Film Classification (student pages)
Film Censorship - some notes (A really useful overview of the topic broken into accessible sections)

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

FS2 Exam Technique

Work from the particular (detail) to the general (an overview/overarching argument).
Show academic caution ('possibly' – 'probably')

Students who do best at this paper do the following:

- they give a balanced, direct engagement with the stimulus (the questions and their associated resources)

- they introduce examples from their case studies

- they try to frame their answers within a broader perspective on producers (institutions) and audiences

-they are also able to show comparative distinctions in your arguments

-they onsider questions from a broader perspective by making a brief plan to expand your thinking.

Here's a sample FS2 exam question from 2006
How important are film reviews in determining whether or not people choose to see a film?

To answer this question:
analyse what the question is asking you. Think about its key words and the phrase "how important". That will enable you to give an answer that allows you to weight up the significance of film reviews and consider other things that entice audiences to see films. Some reviewers have more status in some audiences' minds than others. The same goes for magazines, etc.

Other reasons for audiences "choosing" to see films include:
  • the film may be part of a franchise and thus have its own in-built fanbase
  • the director may be the film's selling point
  • the stars that are in the film may appeal to fans
  • some audiences prefer films with no stars
  • word of mouth is always important for influencing audiences to see a film
  • there may be a fad or trend to see the film within an age-group given the publicity it has garnered.
  • parts of reviews may have become part of the film posters and convinced sections of audiences to see it.
  • etc.
Remember to back up your points with solid examples mostly drawn from your case study and from your own knowledge.

Examiners are under instructions to reward what is in your answer as opposed to what is not there. Convincing answers that are not mentioned in the bullet points above will also be rewarded.

Topics to cover for the FS2 exam

FS2 Producers and Audiences: Hollywood and British Cinema
Main study areas and topic within each area to study for the exam. You may not be able to cover them all – but we can cover a range of topics within each area. Add examples where possible to your case study.

Films as products
The global and local dimensions of film
Film Studios
Films as commercial products
Adaptability of the film industry
Filmmaking: the process
Film production, distribution and exhibition
You will need an overview and examples exam questions
Useful websites:

Audiences as fans and consumers
The early cinema experience ( nice to know but unlikely to come up)
Changing patterns of consumption including multi-screen cinemas and home cinema ( a favourite topic in the exam)
the role of the audience in the filmmaking process
Censorship and classification
Fan power
Industry power
Examine a range of example exam questions (see a previous post for examples of these)
Useful websites for further research: (The British Board of Film Classification) or
(Websites such as the last four above give a powerful sense of the global reach of such corporations and the immediate visual impression of the range of interlocking media owned by each of them.) (up-to-date information on who own what in the media entertainments industry.)

Stars – what are they and why do we have them?
Your experience of stars
Stars – the concept of being "a star" and whether stars have international stardom or localised stardom within Britain. (Does it matter for the British film industry whether a British star is also an international star and a bigt name in the US?)
How do stars' private lives tie-in with their screen personas (how their publicity agents project them and how their roles are influenced by their lives offscreen.

Examine a range of example exam questions
Useful websites:

Hollywood back in the day and Hollywood today – Old Hollywood and New Hollywood
Old Hollywood and New Hollywood. How does Hollywood today compare with the Hollywood of the 1940s-50s?
Actors, directors and agents
Production: an overview
Distribution in Old Hollywood and New Hollywood

Examine a range of example exam questions
Useful website:

Is the British film industry in any way distinctive and different?
How does it cope with having to survive in the shadow of Hollywood?
A distinctive and different cinema
Surviving in the shadows
Useful websites:

New technologies in the film industry
Film and technology
Film and changes in technology (think about the representation of reality (see a previous video) and changes in how films are distributed today and will be in future.)

Sunday, 4 May 2008

FS1 Storyboards or scriptwriting for coursework

There will be some changes next year but for this year the following advice should pay off.

The synopsis

When writing your synopsis carefully consider the genre and its generic elements as you construct a scene. Think also about the narrative structure of your scene.

The cinematography and editing
Your scene should be between 15-25 shots with shot numbers, timings, mise-en-scene and a variety of shots including camera angle and movement. You might also consider the types of focus you might want to use. (Try to avoid too much still camera.) Show the examiner that you can visualise your scene in an imaginative manner that helps communicate your film. Several shots could be typical of the film's genre. (For instance in a comedy you might use a canted shot.) Show also that you can use a repertoire of edits, although you also need to be sensible and use a range of edits where appropriate.

Cinematic Ideas
Pull together the ideas that you used to construct the scene and be conscious of how you tried to construct it using film language, genre and narrative. Place your scene within the wider narrative of the film. Think about the structure of the narrative in your scene and how it fits within the film's plot. You could also explain here how you were influenced by films that share the same genre and how you tried to emulate shots, or part of a scene.

Consider the problems that you faced in film language, narrative and genre and how you overcame them. Perhaps you shifted from a storyboard to a script because you are more of a writer than someone who can visualise and lay that vision out in the form of a storyboard. Point out here responses to your work from other students and tutors in how you met aspects of the genre and whether they made any suggestions on changes you might make to your treatment of the genre, cinematography, mise-en-scene or narrative.

The above is not an exhaustive list. Just treat it as a starting point in your work.

1. Synopsis - about 200 words. [5 marks]

2. The Storyboard - about 25 shots. [20 marks]

3. Cinematic Ideas - about 200 words. [5 marks]

4. Evaluation - 400 - 500 words. [10 marks]