Tuesday, 24 January 2012

How is gender portrayed in the opening sequence of ‘Sugar Rush’?

The representation of gender in the opening sequence of ‘Sugar Rush’ breaks the typical conventions expected by a specific gender, although it does also fit the conventions at the same time. It presents different stereotypes of the two genders, some being the feminine gay men to the masculine females.
The opening sequence begins at a fair ground, on the waltzer, with two teenage girls. This is seen as a typical teenage activity to do. The bright lights and loud music show that they are having fun; this combined with the fast edits shows the excitement of the two girls. The music playing is pop music, which is what teenage girls are expected to listen to. The fast edits give the impression that it is dream-like. When the two girls kiss, there is an extreme close up to show the importance of the shot. When this shot fades out along with the music, and the next scene fades in with the diegetic sound, and we realise it was just Kim’s fantasy. At this point, conventions have been broke, as it is not a stereotypical thing for a girl to dream about kissing her female best friend, whilst masturbating. Although she says it’s fine as it is the 21st century. This shows she is quite masculine, yet she has floral pattered bed sheets, which we assume was not picked by her.
When her father walked in, he is completely clueless to what his daughter was doing. This is known as a typical male thing, however in the next scene we see he is not the typical manly man, as he trying to do DIY but his wife downgrades him saying “we’re going to get a man in”, and he corrects her saying “I am a man” but she replies with “a real man”, which suggests she does not think he is a man and that he is incapable of doing male activities. We assume the dad is not respected in their family, as if he isn’t actually the man of the family, because when Kim mimics him, we can see she is being sarcastic and he is constantly repeating the same thing.
In this same scene, where they are all in the kitchen, we see a lot of different representations of gender. One being the mother, and by this part we see that she is not the typical mother, as she does not want to be called “mum”, so she isn’t reminded of her motherly responsibilities. And she is also drinking which is usually the man thing to do. This breaks the conventions. In fact, it is like the mother and father is in reverse roles and she is the ‘man of the house’.
We next see another male representation, being two feminine gay men. They are the typical gay man, with their language such as; “he’s a darling”, this is usually a womanly thing to say, which makes them fit the conventions of a gay man.
The voice over is in a one-tone, drone voice which is how a stereotypical teenage girl would be known as talking like.
Finally, in the last scene, Marie Sweet or ‘sugar’ is introduced. Her character is in contrast to Kim’s. Firstly she is presented as being a flirty, seductive teenage girl, with the biting lips and her tone of voice saying; “Kick ass baby”. Then there is the clothing she wears, which is tight and revealing. Sugar dresses and acts the way a man would want her to act. The close ups on her legs and cleavage suggest she is flirty. In this scene they are playing pool which is usually a masculine game for girls to play.
Overall, in the opening sequence of ‘Sugar Rush’, there are many different stereotypes of the male and female gender, either breaking or fitting the conventions.
Successful media products depend as much upon marketing and distribution to a specific audience, as they do upon good production practises.

To what extend do you agree with this statement?
- Use case studies to support your answer.
- Franchises.
- Institutions.

I agree with the statement that marketing and distribution is just as important as production in making a film successful to the point, where it is important for DVD and BluRay release, but the production of the film has to be good for it to be successful in cinemas.
With companies like Disney and Sony being vertically integrated with other companies, they make production easier and better. Sony bought Columbia Pictures in 1989, this meant any sub companies that Columbia owned at that time, were now owned by Sony. Therefore, Sony could still produce their own films, with the help of Columbia Pictures. They could still use the equipment to make the films. This would lead to them releasing the movies on BluRay and DVD’s, which would be played on Sony equipment, giving them an even larger profit. With them being vertically integrated, they can ensure that their films will do well in the chain of cinemas they own. Sony further bought out a previous music company, making it Sony Music Entertainment, and would feature artists or bands on Sony films. Spider-Man is a good example of this, as synergy was used to release video games and soundtracks from the film, by them doing this they increased movie sales, and since the musician that sang the soundtrack was signed by Sony, they made money off that too. The first movie was so successful with production practises and the use of synergy, that it became a franchise. With two sequels and an upcoming fourth movie. This usually happens if the first movie is successful enough. Spider-Man is not the only franchise of films, in fact Harry Potter is the most popular one, each one getting more and more successful.
Although, while Sony distributed the films by using convergence. Such as social networking sites, this could have had a bad effect on the franchises, as people could post negative comments about the movie on Facebook or Youtube trailers, all used to promote the film. They were able to counteract this sort of thing with Slumdog Millionaire as Tug - a digital media agency was brought in to raise the awareness of the film in the UK - began promoting it on search engines to people who were interested in Pathé, India etc… this gained them 75,000 new visitors to the official Slumdog Millionaire site. Using convergence, they were able to promote the film on TV adverts as well as on the internet. All of this contributes to how well the overall success of the film goes. There were problems of piracy with Slumdog Millionaire, so to prevent this, they released the film to DVD and BluRay quicker. At first, it was going to be released straight to DVD without even going into cinemas, but with the funding of large companies like Pathé and Celador Films, they were able to use vertical integration and put the films in the wide cinema chains they owned. Viral trailers were used to market the film which was on AddictTV, then Danny Boyle asked them to create another one with sounds and images of the movie for the web. The Slumdog website used flash technology, again like the trailers, pictures and downloads were also available.
Monsters is another example of how convergence is used, as Foursquare set up ‘infected zones’ where users could have the chance to win merchandise off the movie. This had a great impact on movie sales, as it was getting the users excited for it.
Viral marketing takes a huge role in all of this, as it’s how the fans and viewers find out about the movie. Although there were the negatives about using social networking sites, there were positives too. The fact that fans could be updated on the movie. For example, Paranormal Activity had a button which would give people the option to get the film shown in their cinemas/areas. This builds the audience up to what they expect.
Overall, I think that the distribution of film is slightly more important, because even though the quality of the movie is very important, none of it would be worth it if it didn’t get promoted well enough.
How significant have convergence, synergy and vertical integration been in the development of Sony and it’s ability to produce, promote and distribute films? Make reference to Spider-Man and your own choice of recent releases. You must consider DVD and BluRay as product too.

Sony is one of the biggest film companies dominating the UK. It first started out in 1989 when they took over Columbia Pictures Entertainment. They aren’t just a well-known company in the film industry, they are also known for their range of digital technology
Since the company was founded, it came out with a range of products, from PC’s to PlayStations. Whilst they produce, promote and distribute films worldwide, convergence, synergy and vertical integration are important parts of doing so. They make great profits each time, with a huge genre range of movies.

Spider-Man is an example of how Sony uses these conventions to release films. It uses synergy as a film usually has a soundtrack, video games or toys etc... For example, with the soundtrack; it is sung by a famous band – who are also signed by Sony - therefore it immediately gained the bands fans as an audience. The music video will also feature scenes from the movie, but will not give away too much, making viewers want to see the movie. If the movie is successful, they most likely will release toys and video games. Sometimes they even release them before the film, to get people excited for the film and Sony gets a maximum profit. Posters and adverts are also a main part in promoting the film. Adverts/trailers are shown during main times when most people will be watching TV, and usually on most watched channels such as; ITV, BBC One, BBC Two, Channel 4 and Channel Five. This again, is usually played with the soundtrack playing in the background; therefore if people recognise the artist then they’d want to see it.

‘Friends with Benefits’ is another example of how Sony uses synergy and convergence to promote a film. For this film, social networking sites played a key role in distributing the movie, as they had Facebook pages which would keep users and fans up to date, and also on twitter too, as well as promoting it on the ‘trending topics’ worldwide. They sometimes have competitions on official Facebook pages or official websites, to give people a chance to win free tickets or free games, which gives the audience a sense of ownership towards the movie. Companies like Orange also had competitions to win merchandise; this would be giving Orange more business and more viewers for the movie. Posters were also used to promote the movie, they would be released and shown way before the movie had been released, to build up the excitement with the audience.

Sony is a vertical integrated as it has many sub-companies, which have been bought or created by them. In the long run, this profits Sony as, for example; they do not need to buy any equipment as they will own companies who have the equipment… therefore it’s theirs. They could also own companies which promote films, which would therefore give the free promotion. They would profit even further by this as it would do better at the box office and on DVD/BluRay sales. A good example of this would be the soundtrack of a movie, which is usually, sang by someone signed by Sony or one of the sub-companies. This could lead to that artist promoting the movie on their twitter or Facebook page, in result; more profit for Sony. Sony began to release films in BluRay, as they co-created it and BluRay products; this forced other companies into creating BluRay products too. It became a very popular product, and many more people bought BluRay discs of their movies. However, Spider-Man is not a good example of this, as Sony did not release this movie as a BluRay, if they did they could have had a much larger profit, as it could have enticed more customers to buy one of their BluRay DVD players.
How was the film ‘Monsters’ marketed and distributed?

• Budget – production
• Locations
• Marketing methods –which were most effective
• Other films released at a similar time
• Critics reviews
• The role of vertigo
• Any other studios or institutions involved
• Box office profit

The film Monsters was released in December 2010, and was produced at a budget just under $500,000. This compared to other huge production films out around the same time, is a very small budget, such as; Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows Part 1 which had a budget of £150,000,000 or Black Swan with a budget of $13,000,000, plus both these films had a much bigger Cast and Crew. The total success of Monsters was bigger in the UK than it was in USA, as it made£348,577 in the opening weekend compared to $20,508 in the USA. They made a good profit from the movie as that was just what they gained in the opening weekend, let alone the sales of DVDs and BluRay, which would add to the money. The main reason they had a good profit from the movie, was because they only had two real actors, and anyone else that happened to be passing by weren’t real actors or they just happened to be there, this meant that there was less wages to pay out to the Cast and Crew. Plus, there was not a script therefore; they didn’t really need a writer, as they were just told how to interact with other cast members. Gareth Edwards – the director – as well as wrote the narrative, he also edited the footage from over 100 hours, down to 94 minutes, again saving money on wages. However, since it was a UK produced film, it would have cost more money to shoot the movie in Costa Rico, Mexico. Although it might have cost them to go to Mexico and film it, it wouldn’t have cost that much as there wasn’t much of a Cast and Crew to take. Momentum Pictures which helped Vertigo distribute Monsters. Momentum Pictures is a leading motion picture distributer, and has won 8 BAFTAS awards in February 2011. Films like The King’s Speech were also distributed by Momentum Pictures, which had a budget of £8million.
As for the Marketing Methods, they used Foursquare to promote it, as they would has ‘infected areas’ where people could check in and have a chance of winning Monsters merchandise, this was set up by Vue Entertainment and Cineworld Cinemas, which also gave users access to exclusive Monsters content. As well as posters and online trailers, they also premiered the movie at film festivals like the Southwest Film Festival. The most effective method out of these, was probably the trailers shown online, and they were even advertised by Virgin Media, for example; if someone played a song on Music On Demand, the trailer would come on beforehand, and I think this was the most effective as it would hit the main target audience of teenagers.
Critics reviews were mainly positive, it received a 6.6 out 10 on the site Rotten Tomatoes with the site’s consensus; “it doesn’t quite live up to its intriguing promise, but Monsters is a surprising blend of alien-invasion tropes, political themes and relationship drama”. The film also ranked 3rd on Moviefone’s Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies 2010 list. Vertigo plays the role of paying for the promotion of the films and distribution. Compared to well-known companies like Paramount, they needed to pay for their equipment and things, whereas Paramount would own the smaller companies who make the equipment, so they can just take it off them. Vertigo played a big part in the production of the movie, they have also produced award winning films.