Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Test screening - Alex Cox's Sid and Nancy

The UK poster
Think carefully and reflect on the role of audience feedback in your work...

I've blogged previously on how BJD initially looked doomed at its key stateside preview, with Miramax's head honcho Harvey Weinstein sat in with a US audience utterly baffled by the film's opening, with its very UK-centric turkey curry references (only for Colin Firth's oh-so-hilarious reindeer jumper to set the place roaring and BJD on to franchise fortunes).

Here's an example of a test audience utterly loathing the Alex Cox (Indie auteur) movie they'd just seen - usually a kiss of death, killing off any hopes of a distribution deal, but not in this case...
[Sid and Nancy] had a preview in LA - one of those events where the invited audience fills out forms and answers a studio's questions. these were some of the responses from the preview audience:
I feel this film was totally evil.

CREATIVITY: Alex Cox on Groupwork dynamics

The following is extracted from the brilliant Indie auteur Alex Cox's X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker (Soft Skull Press: Brooklyn, 2008). Writing about production of his debut feature, Repo Man (an archetypal cult movie - not to be confused with the Jude Law vehicle Repo Men), he recalls being challenged over portraying a key female character as a serial adultress. He thought his script was spot on, but then again ...
...I am a white male leftist, already guiltyu of the sins of sexism, racism, and generally wishy-washy-ism. As the days went by, I reflected regretfully on the adolescent sexism of my script. ... I [removed a] sex scene. Still I felt guilty: Debbie was still a poor excuse for a character ... I rewrote the liquor-store scene [giving her a heroic send-off].
This was a good idea. ... By alerting the director, the TV coordinator and casting director improved the picture. Could a film made by a group - where all take the role of a director, say - reach a decision like this? Presumably it could. Who knows? Maybe this interaction points to a more collaborative system, in which a group might make decisions more quickly.
(emphasis added; p. 59)
Have you reflected on the role collaboration played in your creativity? Remember, seeking out (at minimum) audience feedback implies that the audience/producer divide is questionable too! (cf. Gillmor's "the former audience" concept (2004))

If you're willing to try out something a little different, you might just enjoy Repo Man...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Opening EGs: Pretty in Pink (Deutch, 1986)

Image from clothing shop promo, 2013
(this is an example of how you might blog on an example of a film opening; scroll right to the bottom for a key tip. You're not trying to cover every possible theme or point for each opening you analyse, just make sure you end up with 3+ clear examples on all key themes from your range of film opening posts for your summary post) 

Paramount Pictures (prod. AND distrib.)

Budget: $9m; US box office: $40.5m

Opening duration: 2:30/4:41* 81%; IMDB 6.6 ; Roger Ebert 4*.

LINKS: Wiki; YT trailer; IMDB; boxofficemojo.

*Scene in house up to 2:57; title theme comes in and out 'til 4:41

[the info above puts the film in context]

[its useful to pick out ideas/elements you might use] An opening of contrasts: grim mise-en-scene, but straight into the rom-com love triangle narrative. Surprisingly plain sans-serif titles and downbeat title theme song. Front-loaded with titles. Interesting gender representation: is Ringwald stereotype, countertype or a complex mix of both?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


When blogging on this remember to:
  • state what the task is, using the exam board's explanation
  • highlight + explain each of the 3 editing techniques required
  • highlight + explain what continuity editing is
  • note anything you've learned from using hardware or software (cameras, uploading footage, editing software + tools used, exporting an edited file), including screenshots where appropriate
  • for any practical task reflect too on anything learned about planning, working with others/in a group etc
  • upload to your own YT channel
  • embed your prelim
  • start all blog posts with PRELIM: (eg, PRELIM: The Task + the Techniques Included)
Details on the prelim task can be found on the course summary handout or here. You can also access past student posts on this.

You will eventually have to answer an Evaluation Question (1 of 7) on this; you can find details on this here.