Professionalism in Practice – Gaffer on “Hand in Hand” Music Video

Originally I was not involved in this production in any capacity, but when Fred changed producers halfway through the year and brought Amnah on board, I was brought on last minute as gaffer as no crew had been sorted out by that point.

I was only involved on two shoot days, one which involved shooting a party scene which was tricky to light and the second which involved an exterior rain scene and interior bedroom scene. The party scene was tricky to light as there was a section that was outside in a patio that needed to be lit, but there was no visible light source in the space. To combat this we decided to put fairy lights around where the principal actors will be in order to lighten up the area and augment that light with the rotolight kit. The effect we achieved was that of a nice soft light on the actor’s faces that made it clear to distinguish them but it was still obvious that it was night.

Lighting the space with fairy lights.

Lighting the space with fairy lights.

The interior was a lot tricky however as I had to light a room that would traditionally be quite dark as it was a party scene. To address this, I merely used one rotolight and bounced it off the walls at a low brightness which added as a mild fill light for the rest of the room. James (the DP) had a light attached to his Panasonic GH4 and used that as a key light which helped capture the party scene atmosphere nicely.

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For the second day of shooting, I did not really need to be there as most of the shots did not require any lighting at all. I couldn’t even get into the bedroom scene because the space was so small. For that day I mostly acted as a 1st AC and assisted James whenever I could with the camera, although he didn’t really need much assistance as the shots he needed get were simple enough for him to get on his own.

Overall, this shoot wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, taking into account it’s troubled production history and the fact that the producer changed halfway through pre-production. The result from the rough cut screening was a pleasant surprise and I look forward to seeing the finished version, as well as Fred’s second music video.

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Professionalism in Practice – 1st Assistant Camera and Co-Writer on “Tony”

This was one of the two productions this year that I was involved with in two different capacities. The first was as a co-writer with the film’s director Killiesha Bancroft and the second was as 1st Assistant Camera on set.

Firstly I’ll talk about my experiences co-writing the script with Killiesha before I talk about my experiences on set. When Killiesha first approached me to help her develop a script for her to direct this year, I struggled to come up with an idea that would bea story Killiesha would want to tell. After tinkering around with a script about a woman with sex addiction, both Killiesha and I did not seem to be inspired by the story within that script so we quickly abandoned it. We then opted to develop Killiesha’s screenplay Tony which she had wrote for the screenwriting module last year. I was familiar with the story so it was definitely the right story for both of us to be working on, especially as it had already gone through numerous drafts.

The main challenges in writing this script with Killiesha was nailing down the chemistry between Tony and Reece as well as trying to accurately portray the mental illness Tony’s mother was suffering from (which I had identified as paranoid schizophrenia from Killiesha’s earlier drafts). I believe we both did an adequate job in meeting those two challenge in terms of what was on the page, but I have to confess that I did not find the performances of the actors on set to be what I had imagined (especially the actress who protrayed Tony’s mother) from when me and Killiesha wrote the script. Whether the actors were miscast or whether it was down to Killiesha’s direction, I cannot say for sure, but it seemed to me that they did not capture the essence of the characters me and Killiesha worked hard to get on the page, a similar issue I had found in Mantas’ film which I wrote.

I think in regards to both Mantas’ and Killiesha’s films, the fact that I have issues with the way the film was presented may boil down to the fact that I have some experience directing in the past so I have been looking at these films throught the eyes of a filmmaker rather than a screenwriter, therefore I can identify things I would do differently if I had been directing. I think this is a habit I would need to break if I wish to continue writing scripts for other directors in future.

On to the production side of Tony.

Operating the follow focus on set as Sara and I try to capture a shot.

Operating the follow focus on set as Sara and I try to capture a shot.

I originally was not meant to have another techincal role on the set of Tony as I had already worked on the script with Killiesha, but having changed producers midway through pre-production, there were a lot of things that were arranged last minute. Amnah, the new producer, contacted me to help out as 1st AC with Sara and having no reason to turn her down, decided to accept.

On the first shoot day, we arrived early at a hardware store in Walthamstow to shoot the shop scenes. Overall the shoot day went pretty okay. The only major issue was the fact that Amnah had forgotten to book out a tripod, so all the shots that were shot in the shop had to be done on a gimbal. This proved difficult as there is a long dialogue scene between Tony and Reece in the shop so me and Sara had to take turns operating the gimbal as holding it for a long period of time can get exhausting. If we had had the tripod, shooting this scenes would have been much easier, but at the end of the day we had managed to get the shots we needed and ended up wrapping slightly earlier than scheduled.

Operating the gimbal in the hardware store.

Operating the gimbal in the hardware store.

The second and third day of the shoot moved on to the house interiors and exteriors. These shoot days were fine for the most part, except for the last day when the extras that were meant to arrive for an exterior scene did not arrive and had to be replaced very last minute by the director’s sister. This meant that production started later than scheduled and we therefore had to shoot behind schedule which was relatively stressful as we had many scenes to get through.

This led to Killiesha acting like 1st assistant director on set rather than as a director as she was very conscious about time and getting the shots done as quickly as possible so that we don’t fall behind schedule, rather than focusing on the quality of the scenes she was shooting. This could probably be attributed to the fact that we didn’t really have a 1st AD on set to help keep things running smoothly so that could perhaps be a factor into why we fell behind schedule.

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At the end of it all though, we managed to get the shots we needed too and wrapped on that third and final day. Looking back, I didn’t do a massive amount on set as I was hoping as Sara was adamant about operating most of the shots herself, which was understandable as she wanted to shoot as much footage as possible for her dissertation showreel. Overall I enjoyed my time on set and would definitely want to work with Killiesha and Amnah in future.

 

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Dissertation Practice Report

Dissertation Pathway: Screenwriting

Project Title: Redfield

For my dissertation project this year I opted to take the screenwriting pathway to write a thirty five page screenplay based on my own original idea. My screenplay will be a television pilot script instead of a short film script that is set in the fictional county of Redfield, Texas in the year 1907. This period is the decline of the American Old West where the frontier lifestyle is dying out and is being slowly replaced by new technologies such as automobiles, machine guns and oil rigging projects. Obviously the genre for my dissertation project is a Western so I have elected to focus on the film theory of genre criticism to analyse and discuss the informed choices that have gone into my project thus far. Furthermore I will also briefly touch upon feminist film theory in relation to one of the female characters in my script and the film theory of realism and how that relates to the historical realism in which has informed my creative decisions when researching for and writing my screenplay.

One of the reasons why I chose to write a Western was because the visual iconography and narrative tropes commonly associated with the genre are immediately recognisable to a mass audience. This is a notion Etherington-Wright and Doughty acknowledge in their book (2011:27) in which they talk about how the visual imagery of a film poster in marketing alone can communicate volumes to the audience about what type of genre the film poster they are looking at is advertising. The visual iconography present in my script that one can immediately associate with the Western are rifles, horses, sheriffs and deputies, outlaws, saloons, bank robberies, violence and ranches to name but a few. Even though I think that this strong imagery will help to fully establish that the setting of my story is a Western, visual iconography isn’t the only way in which an audience can identify different genres.

Ed Buscombe argues that describing the Western genre is more than just being able to identify it’s visual iconography as that isn’t the definitive thing of what Westerns are about (1995:15) and that the visual conventions just provide a context in which to tell certain types of stories. This is true in the sense that a film’s narrative is also another way of identifying what genre a film, or in my case television series, falls into. Many genres have typical formulaic plots that immediately tell you what genre the film you’re watching could fall into. Etherington-Wright and Doughty (2011:23) touch upon this in relation to the typical formulaic plots prevalent in musicals and horror films. For my dissertation, I’ve taken several tropes commonly found in Westerns such as the revenge scenario, bank robberies, and bounty hunting and used them as plot devices to help me tell a larger story about the decline of the American frontier and the advent of modernisation.

Westerns are also well known for their singular focus on masculinity and on male heroes. For my pilot script, I did not want to just focus on male characters as I also wanted to explore female characters and women’s identity in the Old West too. In her essay, Sarah Berry-Flint describes women as representing “civilisation in the classic western” and that their roles within any given classic western story must be marginal (2003:31). In my script however I elected to write a female character that has her own degree of agency and her own narrative arc to follow in her hunt for an outlaw who killed her mother. I think in today’s cultural climate, where there is the debate in Hollywood around diversity and gender pay equality, having a multi-layered female character in a genre which has been traditionally male-centric would add a degree of contemporary relevance to my story.

In relation to realism, André Bazin endorses Westerns as an idealised version of historical reality (1972:142) and that even though most Westerns are hardly historically accurate, the myth behind Western stories have existed in American folklore since before the dawn of cinema, adding a sense of cultural realism so to speak. Realism has always been on my mind when writing my screenplay as I did not want my story to be a highly stylised and unrealistic take on a Western, like films such as Django Unchained (Tarantino, 2012) or Wild Wild West (Sonnenfield, 1999), both films which take the Western genre and deliver a fresh take on it with different elements. Instead I wanted my screenplay to evoke a grounded approach to the Western mythos, similar to the hit television show Deadwood.

This involved extensive research into how people in Texas spoke, the socio-economic status of various professions of society, the legal proceedings back then involving bounty hunting as well as the different weapons, tools and modes of transportation available in 1907 among other things. This comprehensive research I felt was necessary in order to tell my story with the degree of grounded realism that I wanted.

In my endeavours to achieve a sense of realism in my script I came across an issue early on in my writing process with the language of my characters. I had elected to use some of the vernacular that was spoken during the period in which my script was set but was also using language used in contemporary society that people today would instantly recognise and as a result I had a conflict of cadence in the way in which my characters spoke. To rectify this I elected to rewrite all of my character’s dialogue so that the language largely reflects how people speak today as I feel that would be more accessible to a contemporary audience. As a result my script could fall under the scope of being a revisionist western in the sense that it is historically accurate in some parts and not in others. This was an approach that was adopted by Deadwood in which David Milch, the show’s creator, opted to write his characters using current day profanity rather than the type of profanity actually used by Americans in 1876, mainly because the actual profanity they used wouldn’t carry the same impact on audiences that current day profanity would have (Nunberg, 2008).

In conclusion, there have been several film theories that have informed my choices in regards to my approach to writing my pilot script for my dissertation and I feel that by paying particular attention to how each of them can influence my story creatively, it has helped me develop my script into something stronger.

 

Word count: 1,075

 

References

Bazin, A. 1972. “The Western or the American Film Par Excellence.” In What is Cinema? Vol. II. Ed. Hugh Gray. Berkeley. University of California Press.

Buscombe, E. 1995. “The Idea of Genre in the American Cinema.” In Film Genre Reader II. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Deadwood: The Ultimate Collection. (2007) [DVD]. Paramount Home Entertainment.

Django Unchained, 2012 [Film] Directed by Quentin Tarantino. USA. The Weinstein Company.

Etherington-Wright, C and Doughty, R. 2011. Understanding Film Theory: Theoretical and Critical Perspectives. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Miller, T. and Stam, R. (eds.) 2003 A Companion to Film Theory. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.

Nichols, B. 1976 Movies and Methods: Vol I. Berkeley. University of California Press.

Nunberg, G. 2008 The Language of Blogs. Available at: http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~nunberg/deadwood.html (Accessed 28 February 2016)

Wild Wild West, 1999 [Film] Directed by Barry Sonnenfield. USA. Warner Bros.

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Redfield – Second Draft Feedback

Redfield [Pilot] [Second Draft]

I wrote this new draft after taking on all of the advice I had received from the first one. In this draft, of the advice I took on, I rewrote the introduction of George Jenkins much earlier and with more emphasis than before. I completely reworked Tessa’s introduction which I’ll get more into later and I rewrote the final dialogue scene between William and Jackson, removing William’s monologue and adding a jump in between when Jackson lights a fresh cigarette to when he has finished it to symbolise a passage of time.

I’ve also made some additional changes that came to mind as I was preparing to write this new draft. Among those were the introduction of oil leakage subplot with Maggie, the first scenes where Jackson is introduced to William and co. at McKinley’s ranch and extra additions to Tessa’s narrative arc as her new introduction informed my choices to include certain scenes.

One of the scenes I included was actually showing the bank robbery at Nickelwood Town and we see the act of Tessa’s mother Miriam getting raped and killed. Initially I was only going to allude to this in dialogue as an event that has already happened but I felt that I needed to show the traumatic event in Tessa’s life that propels her into her character arc of wanting to bring these men who did this to justice, the same way I established William’s character journey from the opening sequence of the event that fuels his thirst for vengeance.

I also tried to introduce Tessa in a different light than I did in my first draft, showing subtly her desire to rebel from what society expects of her. I attempted this by showing a scene in which Tessa is dressed in riding clothes and hides her riding boots  away from her mother who was about to enter her room. I did not put much emphasis on Donald and Michael Trager as I did in my first draft as I felt it was better served to save those characters for the next episode. I also introduced the character of Sally Harding as a potential mentor figure to Tessa rather than someone she already knew as I felt that the audience would want to see how that relationship is established.

Additionally, I also rewrote Jackson’s first encounter with William and co. as I felt that the version in the first draft was too stilted and the scenes felt forced. With this draft I tried to make it seem as natural as I could make it.

The feedback I got from my tutors on this draft was overall positive, but they gave me a few points to consider. One of those points was that Tessa and Sally’s conversation scene felt like a meeting between two potential lovers. This took me aback because that wasn’t my intention when I was writing this scene but the more that I think about it, the more that I think that this could make an interesting dynamic to their relationship. It made me aware that if I was going for the mentor-protege relationship, it would just be a carbon copy of William and Jackson’s future relationship and that’s something I did not want to repeat. So I’m considering taking these two characters in that direction as I feel that it would give my script a contemporary relevance by featuring LGBT characters, even though it is set in 1900s America.

Another piece of feedback I received was that my reintroduction of William after 8 years needs to be clearer. So I’m thinking of having a visual reference that links 13 year old William to 21 year old William which I think would make for a nice transition.

Also, with the second converstion scene between William and Jackson, I was told that Jackson readily questions William’s desire to chase outlaws when in their previous scene he rebuffs him so I need to rewrite that scene to give Jackson the power in that scene and have William earn his interest.

And finally the role of Doggett was thought of as being just functionary in the scenes that he appeared in. I’ve been given the suggestion of fusing his character with Wyatt who appears later in the script as he will serve more of purpose later on in the story so this is a suggestion I would most likely be considering.

 

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Professionalism in Practice – Screenwriter on “Cellular”

After the pitches, I approaches Mantas offering myself for hire as a screenwriter for his pitched film which was as of then untitled. He agreed and he sent me a very rough draft of the basic plot outline of the film for me to formulate a first draft from.

I met with Mantas numerous times for story discussions whenever I presented a new draft. I initially wanted to explore phone addiction and how it could potentially have a negative effect on a person’s physical relationships with other people but Mantas wanted to take the concept in a different direction and emphasise the point that there are so many things one can do with technology that any real world counterparts are not as important; but at the same time he wanted to explore that all innovations technology can bring can be hugely distracting to what’s important. Eventually, I decided to go along with Mantas’ vision of his film and try and implement my screenwriting talents to try and achieve what he wanted.

In our subsequent story meetings our constant point of focus was on raising the stakes for Marie (the main character) in regards to her phone addiction, fine tuning her conversation scenes with her mum for strong dramatic effect and by presenting the story in as visually coherent a way as possible.

Mantas and I butted heads on a few story issues such as his insistence on including a scene in which Marie masturbates on her phone and my concerns toward perhaps including too much information in the opening newscast voiceovers along with the onscreen text messages. I managed to talk him out of including the masturbation scene at the beginning of the script as I, along with others who have read the script agreed that a scene such as that didn’t tonally fit with the rest of the script so he eventually agreed to abandon it. We couldn’t come to a consesus on whether or not we were conveying too much information with the on screen text messages and the newscast voiceover so we didn’t fine tune those scenes as much as we could and this would lead to problems that I will discuss later.

Eventually, both of us came to a draft that we were both happy with so that Mantas could start shooting. As far as I’m aware the production went well. However after the rough cut screening, an issue came up on the clarity within the film’s narrative as some people didn’t manage to catch the threat of eviction that was a plot point in the film. Also most people struggled to keep track of the opening of the film as they were confused with all the visual on screen information they were getting as well as the newscast voice over. This was an issue I had feared at the writing stage. Additionally a lot of people did not see the point as to why Marie would study to resit her exams if she isn’t eligble for financial support anymore for failing the first time.

Of course taking on all of this feedback on, there was little I could do to improve upon the story issues. This was a valuable experience in seeing how a director can take a script you’ve written, made a film out of it with their own creative vision and seeing how everyone reacts to the film you’ve written being presented through a different creative lens. I was at a crossroads on whether I should take the blame for the story issues or whether I should let Mantas take the blame. After much self-deliberation, I think as a screenwriter, I should learn to share the burden a bit more with directors who I write scripts for, because at the end of the day even though the director has final say on the creative story side of the script I still feel it’s my duty as a screenwriter to speak up and inform the director whether or not I think he or she is making the best story decision for the story they want to tell if I feel I have a better alternative. This is a lesson learned that I would definitely be taking on board in future projects that I script for others.

Drafts written:

Connection Lost (working title) [First Full Draft]

Cellular (working title) – Second Draft

Cellular – Third Draft

Cellular – Fourth Draft

Cellular – Fifth Draft

Cellular – Sixth Draft

Cellular – Seventh Draft

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The Hateful Eight – Release Strategy Analysis

The Hateful Eight (Tarantino, 2015) is the new film by Quentin Tarantino that is currently on general release in the United Kingdom. In an era dominated by digital filmmaking and digital cinema projection Tarantino and the Weinstein Company elected to release The Hateful Eight in one hundred theatres in North America in retrofitted theatres in order for it to be projected in 70mm film, the way Tarantino intended (Kenigsberg, 2015). In the UK however, only one cinema venue acquired the exclusive distribution rights from The Hateful Eight’s UK distributor Entertainment Film Distributors to screen the 70mm print of The Hateful Eight which was the Odeon Leicester Square.

I chose to analyse this film’s release strategy due to its unique distribution method, especially the fact that the Weinstein Company elected to use the fact that the film was shot and will be projected in 70mm in select theatres as a way of marketing a unique selling point of the film to audiences. The fact that it wasn’t a wide release of 70mm (this would be impossible today due to the every cinema projecting films digitally) and instead only select theatres would be screening the 70mm print of the film with additional footage added a sense of exclusivity to the release of the film. It was like a calling for cinephiles and film buffs to spend their money to travel to these select theatres to witness the film in its purest form. Tarantino himself feels that films nowadays fail to give audiences a good enough reason to leave their house and go to the cinema, that people are content to stay at home and watch films when they come out on cable channels, streaming services or on home video (The Hollywood Reporter, 2016). This ties in neatly with Tarantino’s desire to emulate the roadshow events that were prevalent in Hollywood cinema during the 1950s and 60s (Movieclips Coming Soon, 2015) which made going to the cinema feel like a big event due to the intermissions and overtures and film programmes that going to a screening would provide. Putting on an event like this in today’s climate of the film industry would be a unique cinema going experience which would entice audiences to visit the roadshow screenings of The Hateful Eight to get an experience they could never experience at home.

British director Christopher Nolan expressed the same sentiment at a debate at the BFI Southbank (Rosser, 2015) in which he laments at the fact that cinema exhibitors are not putting on a show for their audiences, that cinema going has become reduced to just sitting in an empty room with a large television to watch a film. Perhaps this is why Tarantino and the Weinstein Company opted to do something different this time around in regards to a cinema release. Quentin Tarantino and his films are considered a distinctive brand in their own right as film enthusiasts will always flock to see a Tarantino film, so by utilising his name as a cinematic brand, the Weinstein Company felt confident enough to market the release of The Hateful Eight with it being screened in select theatres with a 70mm print to promote the exclusivity of the film’s potential appeal.

So with the film currently out on general release, did its release with a 70mm print make a difference in to how audiences respond to cinema going? Some audiences expressed amazement at the stark contrast in the quality of the image in comparison to digital projection and that seeing the film in its 70mm print is worth it (Eisenberg, 2015), however some fans had bad experiences viewing the film in its 70mm projection with issues ranging from sound syncing to the focus of the image (McNary 2015). Considering that virtually all commercial cinemas now use digital projection to screen films, the required technical expertise to operate an old fashioned film projector has become an obsolete skillset which is undoubtedly what led to bad projections of The Hateful Eight.

Some however feel that it is worth the risk seeing the film in its 70mm print due to the difference in the quality of the projected image on screen. With the film being heavily marketed as being shot in 65mm with Ultra Panavision lenses (lenses that haven’t been used since Ben-Hur (Wyler 1959)), this would paint the picture that this film is something that needs to be experienced in the 70mm format. However if movie theatres do a bad job projecting the film then does that hinder the Weinstein Company’s marketing strategy for the film? Its unique selling point, that it is filmed with Ultra Panavision lenses and that a roadshow version of the film will be projected in 70mm in select theatres, becomes marred with uncertainty amongst film audiences as undoubtedly they would read online and on social media that some of the select theatres it is being projected on have faced technical difficulties, putting people off seeing the roadshow version and opting for the standard digital projection in their nearest theatre.

So if releasing a film in 70mm is such a risk, why would a distribution company risk it at all? Even back in the heyday of celluloid, releasing a film in 70mm wasn’t cost effective as 70mm prints were expensive to process and installing the right equipment into theatres to project the film was far from cheap also, so most films were shot and released in standard 35mm with 70mm films getting only a limited release. In the digital film era, this is even more apparent with only a handful of films in the last ten years being given a limited release in select theatres in 70mm; among those films being The Master (Anderson, 2012), Inherent Vice (Anderson, 2014) and Interstellar (Nolan, 2014) with the last wide release of 70mm comparable to the scale of The Hateful Eight was Far and Away (Howard, 1992) over twenty years ago. Some would argue that distribution companies elect to release films this way as it’s a way to market their films with a unique selling point, getting audiences to come to cinema and spend their money to watch a film with a different experience, similar to how major studios release and market their blockbusters films as being released in IMAX or in 3D; to give audiences a sense that they can’t view a film the same way at home the way they do in the cinema. However, some will argue that it’s just a way for older generation filmmakers to hold onto to the dying format of cinema that is celluloid and that they are forcing the old way of cinema onto a new generation of filmgoers. However, I would be inclined to think that the former reason is why distribution companies opt to release some of their films in 70mm. The film industry at the end of the day is a business and studios want to make money, so I feel that they would not make an unnecessary risk without being confident that they could profit from them. In the case with The Hateful Eight, I imagine the Weinstein Company were banking heavily on Tarantino’s brand image as a prolific and popular filmmaker to entice people to see the film.

That being said, did The Hateful Eight deliver the box office returns that the Weinstein Company had hoped it would? The general rule of thumb in the film industry is that a film needs to earn back at least twice the amount of its production budget at the box office in order to break even (SinCityFinancier, 2013). Since The Hateful Eight is still currently having it’s theatrical run, it’s hard to determine whether or not the film is going to lose money or not. However, compared to Tarantino’s previous film, Django Unchained (Tarantino, 2012), The Hateful Eight had a less impressive opening weekend, earning only $15.7 million compared to Django Unchained’s $30 million opening weekend numbers (Lee, 2016); in the same article, Harvey Weinstein, one of the executive producers behind The Hateful Eight has commented that it was a bad idea financially to give The Hateful Eight a Christmas release as it coincided with the release of Stars Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) which was widely hyped to be the biggest movie of the year. Another example of a film earning less than what was expected at the box office during 2015 was Steve Jobs (Boyle, 2015) which underperformed at the box office due to the competition from other films marketed for adult audiences (Lang, 2015). Films that competed along with Steve Jobs in the US were Bridge of Spies (Spielberg, 2015), Black Mass (Cooper, 2015) and Room (Abrahamson, 2015). This goes to show that the release date of a film could heavily influence a film’s box office earnings as the current competition that is currently out could hinder a lesser known or relatively low key film’s chance of doing well.

Another factor that could have hurt The Hateful Eight’s box office returns in the UK specifically was the whole controversy surrounding the exclusion of The Hateful Eight from key UK cinema chains such as Cineworld, Curzon and Picturehouse Cinemas (Lee, 2016). This was due to Odeon having exclusive rights to screen the 70mm print roadshow version in their largest venue, Odeon Leicester Square in the West End. Cineworld reportedly wanted to screen the roadshow version at their Picturehouse Central venue that is also located in the West End, (Picturehouse Cinemas being owned by Cineworld) however The Hateful Eight’s distributors preferred the much larger venue of Odeon Leicester Square which has a screen that can seat over a thousand. This could be an instance where the marketed exclusivity of the roadshow version could in the long run hurt The Hateful Eight’s box office chances as cinema goers may not want to travel all the way to the West End to watch the roadshow version, especially film fans who do not live in London. But then again, the Weinstein Company have already retrofitted one hundred cinema venues in North America to screen the roadshow version, which was reported to be an expensive endeavour costing on average between $60,000 and $80,000 per theatre (McKnight, 2015). Therefore it perhaps would have ballooned the Weinstein Company’s costs to retrofit a similar amount of venues in the UK.

In conclusion, The Hateful Eight offered cinema goers a unique experience to watch a film in an era that is dominated by IMAX, 3D and online streaming. Whilst watching a film in IMAX and in 3D is a unique experience in itself in that sense that it cannot be replicated at home to its fullest effect, more so can be said of celluloid film projection. Tarantino and the Weinstein Company offered audiences something different and unique in order to enrich the cinema experience, but are releases like this the future of cinema? Will more auteurs like Tarantino lobby their distribution companies for relatively wide releases of their films? The answer is likely no, due to the cost it would require for theatres to retrofit their equipment, compounded with the fact that Hollywood movies rarely turn in a profit anyway due to exorbitant marketing and advertising costs on top of a film’s production cost (BoxOfficeFlops, 2015), the practice seems unlikely to become a trend. Perhaps filmmakers and film distributors would need to find another way of offering audiences a unique experience at the cinema in order to entice them to attend, one that is financially viable.

 

Word count: 1,864

 

Bibliography

 

Ben-Hur, 1959 [Film] Directed by William Wyler. United States. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Black Mass, 2015 [Film] Directed by Scott Cooper. United States. Warner Bros. Pictures.

BoxOfficeFlops, 2015 When Does a Movie Break Even tt the Box Office? Available at: http://www.boxofficeflops.com/articles/when-does-a-movie-break-even-at-the-box-office/ (Accessed 13 January 2016)

Bridge of Spies, 2015 [Film] Directed by Steven Spielberg. United States. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/20th Century Fox.

Django Unchained, 2012 [Film] Directed by Quentin Tarantino. United States. The Weinstein Company.

Eisenberg, E. 2015 The Hateful Eight needs to be seen in 70mm, despite the risks. Available at: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Hateful-Eight-Needs-Seen-70mm-Despite-Risks-101887.html (Accessed 12 January 2016)

Far and Away, 1992 [Film] Directed by Ron Howard. UK. Universal Pictures.

The Hateful Eight, 2015 [Film] Directed by Quentin Tarantino. United States. The Weinstein Company.

The Hollywood Reporter, 2016 Watch THR’s Full, Uncensored Director Roundtable with Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott and more. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ7qKKQrSBY (Accessed 11 January 2016)

Inherent Vice, 2014 [Film] Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. United States. Warner Bros. Pictures.

Interstellar, 2014 [Film] Directed by Christopher Nolan. US-UK. Warner Bros. Pictures/Paramount Pictures.

Kenigsberg, B. 2015 Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight resurrects nearly obsolete technology. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/movies/tarantinos-the-hateful-eight-resurrects-nearly-obsolete-technology.html?_r=1 (Accessed 11 January 2016)

Lang, B. 2015 ‘Steve Jobs’ Bombs: What Went Wrong With the Apple Drama. Available at: http://variety.com/2015/film/box-office/steve-jobs-flops-1201626243/ (Accessed 13 January 2016)

Lee, B. 2016 The Hateful Eight: not showing near you at three key UK cinema chains. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/05/the-hateful-eight-quentin-tarantino-not-showing-cineworld-picturehouse (Accessed 12 January 2016)

The Master, 2012 [Film] Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. United States. The Weinstein Company.

McKnight, B. 2015 Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight Is Costing Theaters A Small Fortune For 70mm Upgrades. Available at: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Quentin-Tarantino-Hateful-Eight-Costing-Theaters-Small-Fortune-70mm-Upgrades-95517.html (Accessed 13 January 2016)

McNary, D. 2015 ‘Hateful Eight’ 70mm Projection Issues ‘Rare and Far Between,’ Weinstein Company says. Available at: http://variety.com/2015/film/news/hateful-eight-70mm-projection-problems-1201668461/ (Accessed 12 January 16)

Movieclips Coming Soon, 2015 The Hateful Eight Featurette – Ultra Panavision (2015) – Quentin Tarantino Movie HD. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGg2N32Z-co (Accessed 11 January 2016)

Rosser, M. 2015 Christopher Nolan issues warning over the future of cinema. Available at: http://www.screendaily.com/news/christopher-nolan-issues-warning-over-the-future-of-cinema/5095317.article (Accessed 11 January 2016)

SinCityFinancier, 2013 Film Break Even Point According to Forbes and Moviemaker.com. Available at: https://sincityfinancier.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/film-break-even-point-according-to-forbes-and-moviemaker-com-2/ (Accessed 12 January 2016)

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, 2015 [Film] Directed by J.J. Abrams. United States. Walt Disney Motion Pictures.

Steve Jobs, 2015 [Film] Directed by Danny Boyle. United States. Universal Pictures.

Room, 2015 [Film] Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Canada/Ireland. A24 Films.

 

 

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Filed under MDA3300 - Film Research & Context

Redfield – First Draft Feedback

Redfield [Pilot] [First Draft]

For the first draft of my screenplay the general feedback I got from my screenwriting tutor and my cohorts was that whilst my script was well-written technically and filled with a lot of promise as a potential television pilot script, there were a few things I could still consider in order for it to be better.

One of the conflicting responses I got from people centred around the character of Tessa Trager. Whilst many people said that they liked her character and how I had written her, some people were concerned that she comes across a bit too strong and too tough, taken into account the time period in which my script is set. I couldn’t help but agree that I had introduced her too strongly and not left a lot of room for her to grow as a character. I came to the realisation that how I had written her in this first draft is the type of character I would want her to eventually become, so the benefit of her character arc (that I had missed) is to use the format of television writing to my advantage and establish that Tessa would go on a path that would eventually lead her to becoming that type of person I had written initially. Television serial writing allows you as a writer to take your time in developing your characters and this is something I would definitely take on board when it comes to rewriting.

Another piece of helpful feedback I had received was the way in which I introduced George Jenkins. I was told that I waited too long in the opening sequence to fully establish George Jenkins’ character. Since he is pivotal character to the plot of my series it would be essential that I give him a much stronger introduction that separates him from the rest of his posse as a key character so this is something I would definitely take on board for my next draft.

In regards to the dialogue of my characters, some people commented on the fact that the language in which my characters speak wasn’t consistent as characters would use slang that was used during the early 1900s as well as contemporary curse words that modern audiences would be familiar with; this inconsistency came across as jarring so in my next draft I would have to choose as to whether I stick with the actual slang and curse words used during the time, or more contemporary language so that it would be accessible to modern audiences.

Finally, in the last dialogue scene between William and Jackson I was told that the monologue William delivers to Jackson basically repeats what the audience already knows from the first opening sequence. I was advised to find a different way to convey William telling Jackson his backstory but not make it feel redundant. This is something that I have to figure out as I approach writing my second draft.

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Filed under MDA3400 - Film Dissertation Project