978-1457663543 Chapter 1

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
The Film Experience: An Introduction 4th Edition
Authors
Patricia White, Timothy Corrigan
ii
CHAPTER 1
ENCOUNTERING FILM: FROM PREPRODUCTION TO EXHIBITION
KEY OBJECTIVES
List the ways the stages of filmmaking, from preproduction through production to postproduction, and explain
how each stage informs what we see on the screen.
Describe how the mechanisms of film distribution determine what films we can see as well as when and how
we can see them.
Analyze how film promotion may predispose us to see certain films and to see them in certain ways.
Evaluate the ways in which film exhibition both structures and is influenced by audience reception.
Explain the ways in which media convergence and rapid technological advances are affecting virtually all
aspects of the film experience from production to consumption.
CHAPTER OVERVIEW
Chapter 1 talks about film as an industry, rather than an art. It begins with a detailed outline of the production
cyclefrom the screenwriter writing the script to securing financing to shooting to the very end, when
postproduction wraps and the picture is locked. Then, it examines how distribution, marketing and promotion, and
exhibition help determine what we see, why we want to see it, and the contexts in which movies are and have
beenviewed.
This chapter cites our experience of film and film culture within the different cultural, emotional, intellectual, and
social preferences that shape our tastes. Students know when they are being marketed to, but often they are not aware of
the extent of the industry infrastructure that determines how movies get financed, which movies they see, and when or
where they see them.
TEACHING THE OPENING VIGNETTE
While many students may be unfamiliar with Ryan Coogler’s film Fruitvale Station (2013), they are more
likely to be familiar with, or to have seen, his film Creed (2015), the most recent installment in the Rocky franchise.
Point out that just knowing about the Rocky franchise demonstrates that they are part of a shared film culture. You
may also point out that students who are unfamiliar with Fruitvale Station are likely familiar with the broader
cultural context to which the film belongs, and that they might consider themselves part of the same conversation
about race and criminal justice in which Fruitvale Station participates. One way to use this opening vignette as a
springboard for introducing the material covered in the chapter is to point out how these two very different films
demonstrate a few of the myriad ways in which broader social, cultural, and institutional forces shape the film
experience.
TEACHING THE CHAPTER
An introductory film class is one of many film experiences that students will have in their lifetimes. When
teaching this chapter, it can be useful to refer to the structure of the course as an example: What we can see
(distribution) depends on the collections of the instructor, the institution, nearby video stores and art houses even
RedBoxes and streaming sites like Netflix or Vimeo. Promotion of the movies we watch may rely on assigned
readings, familiarity with the stars, viral online advertising, or word of mouth from friends who have already taken
the course. Exhibition could take place in a theater or a classroom or on the laptops, televisions, or smartphones of
each individual student.
Because film culture surrounds us, it is easy to keep the lesson plan for this chapter current by drawing
examples from whatever movies are showing nearby. Students can bring in print ads or look at trailers, discuss
ratings and reviews, or debate the merits of various theaters based on the comfort of the seats, the clarity of the
sound, or the quality of the popcorn.
TEACHING THE VIEWING CUES
Release Strategies, p. 29
How might a distribution strategy determine a response to a film? Does knowing this strategy help you understand the
film’s aims better?
Consider looking at Will Smith’s years-long dominance of the Independence Day holiday weekend or the
premiere of the latest Transformers installment as examples of saturation releases. Or use Idiocracy (2006) as a case
study for a limited-release movie. Director Mike Judge’s black satire was “dumped” by Twentieth Century Fox. The
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distributor didn't screen it for critics, ran no print ads or trailers, and showed it on a mere 130 screens nationwide, even
though its predecessor, Office Space (1999), was a word-of-mouth cult hit that sold well on DVD.
Television Distribution, p. 31
Was the movie recently screened for class likely to have been shown on television? If so, in what way? How might such
distribution have significantly changed the look or feel of it?
For example, The Avengers (2012) might lose some visual power on a smaller screen or with the absence of 3-
D. And depending on which channel it aired, Deadpool (2016) might need to have scenes cut or potentially
offensive language dubbed for television viewing. Ask students to think of other movies that might be “neutered if
shown on broadcast or commercial cable television, and explain how.
Ask students to determine where the commercial breaks would be if the movie just viewed aired on network
television, either as an in-class exercise or in a journal entry. Another approach would be to show in class the
“abridged” versions on YouTube of the notoriously foul-mouthed The Big Lebowski (1998) or Glengarry Glenn Ross
(1992) that include only the shots in which characters use expletives.
Home Video, VOD, and Internet Distribution, p. 32
How might the distribution of a film that was released in the last year have been timed to emphasize certain
responses? Was it a seasonal release?
Students can demonstrate their savvy by distinguishing between a summer blockbuster and an autumn award
contender. Are horror films released close to Halloween? Do romantic comedies come out in February? Ask
students, either working alone or in small groups, to try to name at least one movie per holiday and share the results
with the class. Challenge them to come up with some titles that provide an alternative to family-friendly fare by
intentionally flouting holiday traditions, such as the Christmas comedies Bad Santa (2003) and Scrooged (1988) or
controversial horror movies like Black Christmas (both the 1974 original and the 2006 remake) and Silent Night,
Deadly Night (1984; 2008).
Marketing and Promotion: What We Want to See, p. 37
Name a movie you believe has had a strong cultural and historical influence. Investigate what modes of promotion
helped to highlight particular themes in and reactions to the film.
Distribute a list of the top-ten grossing films or recent Academy Award best picture winners and ask the class to
identify modes of promotion for each movie. Ask whether success at the box office or recognition by the industry has an
effect on a film’s historical and cultural impact. Why or why not?
Media Convergence, p. 44
Watch a clip of the trailer for Suicide Squad (2016). What kinds of messages does the trailer send about the film? What
are they? Are they coherent and complementary, or self-contradictory?
Have students watch the clip on LaunchPad for The Film Experience before class. Ask them to bring film
advertising examples for a similar blockbuster in current release with them or have them e-mail examples before the next
meeting. Do any seem to be appealing to more than one audience? Do any use imagery that resembles what they saw in the
Suicide Squad trailer? Point out subtle advertising campaigns, like sponsored Web pages on the New York Times site or
tie-ins at the grocery store or sporting events. What is the strangest place they’ve seen a movie advertisement? Did it make
them more or less likely to see that film?
Word of Mouth and Fan Engagement, p. 45
Consider a recent film release that youve seen, and identify which promotional strategies were effective in
persuading you to watch it. Was anything about the promotion misleading? Was there anything about the film you feel
was ignored or underplayed in the promotion?
Assign this Viewing Cue as an out-of-class research assignment. It offers a great opportunity for students to
learn how to research newspaper and magazine coverage using LexisNexis Academic. Remind students to search for
articles about the stars and the director, as well as the movie itself. To model what students should consider, you may
screen in class the “film press book” for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 shocker Psycho, which Universal distributed to theater
exhibitors instructing them how to engage and manage ticket buyers. The press book” is streaming on YouTube and is
also included as a bonus feature in the Psycho DVD and BluRay releases.
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The Timing of Exhibition, p. 49
Consider how viewing the movie you most recently watched in class on a large screen versus a laptop would affect your
response.
Ask students how they decide to see a movie in the theater, or at home on a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Have they ever changed their opinion of a movie after seeing it
in a different format? Ask students to consider the captive viewing experiences of traveling on a bus or an airplane
in which a movie is shown. Have they ended up enjoying a film they otherwise would not have sought out?
Leisure Time, p. 49
Think of a movie you’ve watched as a “leisure time” versus a “productive time” activity. How might the film be viewed
differently in a classroom versus during a long airplane flight? How might your film choice be affected by the timing
and context in which you will view the movie?
Have the class nominate films as leisure time candidates and write them down. Ask students to explain why
they feel these films are classified as leisure time” rather than “productive time.Then ask them how a movie like
This Is the End (2013) might go over in class. Could they use the movie to illustrate any of the concepts covered in
this chapter? How?
TEACHING THE FORM IN ACTION
The Changing Art and Business of the Film Trailer, p. 43
Perhaps the easiest way to approach the topic of trailers is by screening some examples during class perhaps
the infamous “elevator trailer” for The Shining (1980) or more recently, the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
What sort of trailers would be shown before any of these films? What does the selection of trailers before a given
movie suggest about the assumptions marketers made about likely viewers? Or have the class generate a list of
trailer clichés: pieces of music that are overused or cases where the best jokes are spoiled by their inclusion in the
trailer. The site www.traileraddict.com is a wonderful resource. Ask students to research award-winning trailers at
www.goldentrailer.com. Were there any winners that were better than the films they were advertising? Look at the
fake trailers in movies like Grindhouse (2007) or Tropic Thunder (2008)why are they so effective? Finally,
consider the decade-spanning career of voiceover master Don “In a world where . . . ” LaFontaine by showing the traile r
for In A World… (2013), Lake Bell’s film about rival voiceover artists.
TEACHING THE FILMS IN FOCUS
Distributing
Killer of Sheep
(1977), pp. 38-39
Start by assigning newspaper and magazine articles about Killer of Sheep’s release after a thirty-year delay, or ask
students to find some on their own.
Discussion Question 1:
What influence might this film’s version of black urban life have had on other films if it had
been released in 1977?
Discussion Question 2:
What was Milestone’s history of restoring and distributing other movies both before and after
Killer of Sheep’s theatrical, non-theatrical, and DVD distribution?
Exhibiting
Citizen Kane
(1941), pp. 50-51
It’s difficult to convey to students the notoriety enjoyed by Orson Welles at the time of Citizen Kane’s release.
Consider showing the “War of the Worlds” sequence from the documentary The Battle over Citizen Kane (1996) to
give them a sense of the place he occupied in the culture. Look at how the original ad campaigns promoted his
celebrity. The theatrical trailer, available on YouTube, gives a fascinating glimpse into the promotional tactics of
another era in film history.
Discussion Question 1:
What do you know about Radio City Music Hall and what it might mean to have the
premiere moved from there to a less glamorous location?
Discussion Question 2:
What influence did the French critics writing in Cahiers du cinéma after World War II have on
propelling Citizen Kane to renewed acclaim and classroom study?
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ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS
Alternative Activity
FILMS CITED
Adaptation (2002)
Alien (1979)
Argo (2012)
Avatar (2009)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Bad Santa (2003)
The Battle over Citizen Kane (1996) Be
Kind Rewind (2008)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Black Christmas (1984)
Black Christmas (2008)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Blade Runner (1982, 1992, 2007)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Boyz N the Hood (1991)
Bring It On (2000)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Bubble (2006)
Casablanca (1942)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Clerks (1994)
Clueless (1995)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Creed (2015)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Days of Heaven (1978)
Deadpool (2016)
The Departed (2006)
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Dreamgirls (2006)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
Eyes Wide Shut (2000)
Fantastic Four (2015)
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Finding Dory (2016)
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (2007)
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Glengarry Glenn Ross (1992)
The Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Grad Budapest Hotel (2014)
Great Expectations (1998)
Grindhouse (2007)
Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
High-Rise (2015)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Hitchcock (2012)
Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014)
Hot American Summer (2001)
The Hunger Games (2012)
The Hurt Locker (2009)
I Am Cuba (1964)
Idiocracy (2006)
I’m Not There (2007)
In A World… (2013)
In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
Independence Day (1996)
Innocents of Paris (1929)
Inside Out (2015)
Irma Vep (1996)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jaws (1975)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Jurassic World (2015)
The Kid (1921)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Killer of Sheep (1977)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Life of Pi (2012)
A Little Princess (1995)
Lincoln (2012)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
Love and Friendship (2016)
Lust, Caution (2007)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
Minions (2015)
Monsters University (2013)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
My Brother’s Wedding (1983)
Napoléon (1927; 1981)
Nightmare on Elm Street movies (1984-1989)
Office Space (1990)
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Pacific Rim (2013)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
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The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
The Pillow Book (1996)
Planet Earth (2006)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2015)
Prometheus (2012)
Psycho (1960)
Rebel without a Cause (1955)
Rocky (1976)
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Scrooged (1988)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
sex, lies, and videotape (1989)
Shaft (1971)
The Shallows (2016)
Shame (2011)
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
The Shining (1980)
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984).
Silent Night, Deadly Night (2008).
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The Singing Detective (1986)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Snowpiercer (2013)
Speed (1994)
Star Trek films (1979-1994)
Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005)
Star Wars: Episode IIIRevenge of the Sith (2005)
Suicide Squad (2016)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song (1971)
Tarnation (2003)
The Ten Commandments (1923)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
This Is the End (2013)
Titanic (1997)
To Sleep with Anger (1990)
Toy Story (1995)
Trainspotting (1995)
Transformers movies (2007-2017)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Turbo (2013)
The Walking Dead television series (2010-2017)
What Time Is It There? (2001)
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Yentl (1983)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Zodiac (2007)

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