Draw up concept maps of the production studio and the main distributors for your case study films. These will give you a head start when it comes to finding out about marketing later on.
What happened during pre-production of your film?
Whose idea was the film? Did the idea start with the writer, or were writers brought in to develop a preconceived idea?
Where did the idea come from? Was it an original idea, or perhaps a book first, or TV series, or comic strip, or from some other source?
Who wrote the original script? Did other people become involved in the writing as the project progressed?
How easy was it to arrange the financial backing to make the film? Who were the financial backers?
Casting – who were cast in the main roles and why? How important were stars? How did the film-makers think the chosen stars would appeal to audiences?
Who was the produce and how did he or she become involved?
Who was the director and did he or she become involved? Why were they asked to do it?
What had they made before? (Credentials)
Who composed the film music and why was he or she chosen?
What happened during the production phase?
Was it an easy ‘shoot’? If there were difficulties what were they? Were there tensions between any of the creative personnel, often known as ‘the talent’?
Was any part of the film shot on location? If so, where? Why were some locations chosen over others? Were costs a factor?
Where there any difficulties with casting or with acquiring the stars/actors the producer wanted?
What did the film cost to make? How much did the stars get? Where did the budget go? Was the film shot within budget? Was it ever in any danger of going over budget? Can you find a breakdown for the budget?
Were there any changes to the script during production? How many changes or re-writes?
Did the same scriptwriter(s) stay ‘on board’ all the time, or were some replaced?
List some of the key people who made contributions to the production and highlight some of their individual contributions
What happened during the marketing and distribution phase of your case study film?
Who were the distributors? How well known was the company? What is their track record as distributors? (Other films/genres)
Who was the target audience? How do you know?
How did the film-makers decide where to release the film and when? What was the eventual release pattern?
What deals were made for distribution abroad? How easily were these deals secured?
Why did they at any stage change their plans for the release pattern, and if so, why?
What was the national and local release pattern? Why?
What was the marketing and advertising strategy for the film? Was there a premiere, and if so, where?
Find film posters and analyse them for how they reach their audience(s) (Find former posts on posters on this site to help you.)
Analyse a trailer/teaser trailer and consider how the trailer persuaded and positioned British audiences to see the film.
What outlets were used for advertising? Was TV used, for example?
Were there any merchandising tie-ins?
Was any additional publicity gained, and if so, how? What happened during the exhibition (audience) phase?
When was the film released; also where and on how many screens?
Was there a particular strategy attached to increasing the number of prints available?
Were there any difficulties with the censors? How did the censors classify the film?
Were there any other special restrictions placed on the exhibition of the film?
What were the reactions of the critics to the film? Was it considered a critical success? Has it been re-assessed since then?
Did the film create a particular media debate, or create news headlines?
How much money did the film take in its first year? Was it considered a commercial/financial success?
Did it have ‘legs’, that is did it continue to run in the cinema for some time?
Remember there are questions that you will not be able to answer; however there may be topics that you would like to include that are not covered in the questions set out. All the questions are only offered as guidelines; it is for you to work on the development of your own chosen product from concept to screen.
Watch the interview with the director of "The Lives of Others", Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck.
For Independent Film and its Audience make notes on on Von Donnersmarck's ideas about:
- the film's look and style - realism and attention to detail - casting - the importance and significance of the film's music ( in what ways is music signficant in independent film, compare with John Carney's "Once") - how other films enabled the audience's reception (in Germany and elsewhere) of this film - anything else that you you consider to be an issue for Indendent Film and its Audience (Section B of FS6) http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m39BJ7HIN7DAGI