Friday, 27 November 2015

Marketing, distribution and production practices essay

"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 believe that a successful film is defined by its ability to make money and win awards. The result of this is down to many key decisions which need to be thought about when marketing a film. The include A-list stars, explosions if it is a Hollywood/American produced film, or introducing new actors profiles and receiving positive critical feedback if it's a British film.

Two films which I have been studying are Mad Max Fury Road directed by George Miller and Ex Machina directed by Alex Garland. Both films are successful but in different ways. Mad Fury Road is more profitable as it had a larger budget and a bigger crew team, it cost $150 million to produce and turned over $374 million at the box office. Ex Machina only made $36.9 million with a budget if $15 million. Ex Machina is a success in response to it's Britishness being unpredictable, the product would appeal to older film aficionados as it contains full frontal nudity where as Mad Max Fury Road aims to target a larger and older audience who enjoy continuous action.

The production practices for Mad Max was long and lengthy which involved 10 years to map to map the story boards. Filming began in 2009 in Namibia but was delayed due to the start if the Iraq war. The film was then delayed again due to heavy rain in Australia where the film was originally going to be set. This had a slow and costly impact on the production team of Mad Max, as it caused more post production editing of the weather to be incorporated and the movement of all the vehicles and filming equipment. Mad Max Fury Road was also made with 80% of real practices, where effects were concerned, placing actors on real pole cats and strapping them to the front of the cars, this is another clear point which highlights the success which the film made, due to the product being more believable to it's audience, which resulted in more people going to watch the film as it offered a more realistic approach, which in turn helped the film make profit. The production practices in Ex Machina on the other hand were much shorter, production took place over four weeks with only a small cast. It's filming took place at Pinewood Studios in London and two weeks at Juvet Landscape Hotel in Vaudalen. The film includes very little SFX , CGI, special effects and has a greater reliance on scripts rather than the action and explosions predominantly seen in Mad Max Fury Road. The Britishness of the film focuses on introducing two new actors into the film industry before they were set to appear in the new Star Wars. (Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb and Alicia Vikander as Ava). This is good as it creates a bigger British acting list which puts more of them out on the scene, available to star in upcoming more expensive British films. The technology and camera work used in Mad Max was technical and focused primarily on the visual look rather than the context of the film. Synergy is used in in Mad Max Fury Road, for example, the edge arm is a large camera structure device used to capture the fast moving action between more than 150 vehicles which were involved in car chases. The film also works in synergy along side Warner.Bros, Village Road show Pictures, Kennedy Miller Mitchell and Rat Pac-Dune Entertainment. Production practices were much cheaper for Ex Machina because there were less actors and extra, and had a smaller filming process in general, working in synergy alongside DNA Films, Film 4 and Universal Studios.

The marketing of Mad Max was expensive costing them $7 million on TV advertising and an extra $4.37 million from Warner.Bros who helped them to advertise. Their image of advertising was going all out and targeting a wide market, by creating posters, turning an F1 car into a Mad Max car which looked rusty, and releasing constant video teasers, the first released on the 10th of December 2014. They spent a large amount of money on advertising because they were targeting their product at a wide audience who were the typical mainstream audience who like predominant action scenes and car chases. Ex Machina on the other hand was successful due to minimalistic advertising which heavily reflects their films context. They made social media their central focus point and made an app where you could have your face drawn by Eva (the artificial intelligence in the film), also a fake Tinder account was created which pretended to be an attractive 25 year old woman who was actually the actress who was playing the AI (Ava) in the film (Alicia Vikander), and was speaking to men who were then tricked and were directed to an Instagram page which was promoting Ex Machina. This was only done in Austin America which in comparison to other film marketing covers a very small proportion of the US. They relied heavily on self-promoting, receiving extra kudos from their fans spreading the excitement for them. The films advertising is almost parallel to its content, for example, the way in which fans were 'tricked' by the App symbolises the same process in the film where Caleb is 'tricked' into believing that he has been randomly selected to win a trip to the CEO of the company he works for. Advertising was also very minimalistic and simple but effective, this is the same in relation to the film as it is slow paced and simplistic where action is kept to a minimum, yet Ex Machina is perceived by a small part of the viral market as unique and a fantastic film, this shows how successful all stages of production and distribution was.

The challenging institutional practices were seen by the very different distribution methods. Mad Max was the most pirated film and had 22.90 million shares on Torrent Network, it remained on top of both national home video sales chart for two consecutive weeks and generated 48% of it's second week sales through synergy from Blue-ray. Ex Machina was distributed unexpectedly and increased slowly in popularity, the product was distributed by Universal Pictures, and was released by piggy backing onto the Avengers ending excitement which then helped Ex Machina to increase it's screens. It was originally released on four US screens, and after a few weeks managed to increase to 1200 screens. A week after Avengers came out it was showing on 2000 screens with a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Mad Max went straight out and came out in 2D and was re mastered into 3D on Imax. The film is still growing and is set to come out as a comic book in a miniseries and also to be created as a game at the start of 2016. Neither Mad Max Fury Road or Ex Machina are four quadrant as they are both rating 15+.

In conclusion I believe that the future of the film industry is looking to be dominated by the big action feature films produced in America with big budgets and big advertising campaigns. Social media is looking to develop over the next 20 years into an even more effective device used to connect a film to a wide audience through advertisement, therefore I think it will become the relevant source and will completely replace posters on public transport, leaflets etc. as the world is turning to an online extension. In the film industry there is set to be another three star wars films in the next five years and another fifty Marvel films in the next twenty years, this is evidence that British films will die out along with the more unique ideas and approach to films, being replaced and outnumbered by sci-fi stories where the hero will always save the day. PG will be the main rating available to watch and anyone who wants to see 'Britishness' in a film or something a bit different and unpredictable won't be able to as the industry will be filled with animated explosions.

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