NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MEDIA EDUCATORS
IN THIS ISSUE:
NAME 2007 CONFERENCE
BIG TEACHING UNIT AND IDEAS
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONTENTS
MEDIA EDUCATORS Editorial 3
A Member of the
Council of Australasian Media Education Organsiations REPORTS
ATOM Conference Reports 4
President: NZ International Film Festival 2007 16
Josephine Maplesden BSA Educational Resources 58
Hamilton GHS Youth Activism Book 58
FEATURE –Classroom Unit
Vice President The Hollywood System 18
Deb Thompson PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
National Media Studies Advisor NAME Conference 2007 60
NAME VIDEO COMPETITION
Sandra Chesterman SHORT REELS
Order details 60
Sandra.Chesterman@stcuthberts.school.nz REVIEWS AND NOTES
Treasurer NZ International Film Festival 16
Product Notes 17
Macleans College INTERNATIONAL MEDIA NEWS
firstname.lastname@example.org AND REPORTS
Selected Items from press and forums 13, 58
Pakuranga College Kupu Taea Media & TeTiriti Project
Cover Picture:Pakuranga College video team, one of the
six school finalists in the Royal Society of New Zealand
MEMBERSHIP Big Science Adventure setting up the camera for the next
Student $ 5 (subsidised rate) shot on Stephens Island in Cook Strait. Eileen Gallagher
Individual $30 (Y12) gets some helpful guidance from the team’s natural
history film mentor Kat Gawlik (right). The team filmed
Institution $40 tuatara conservation.
Send cheques made out to NAME to:
The Treasurer Photos: Unless indicated, all photographs by Gordon
Lawrence. Hollywood System illustrations provided by
NAME the author. Competition frame grabs by Sarah Fearnside.
15 Roxy Terrace
Glendowie News items mainly sourced from the Young People's
Media Network (UNICEF and the European Centre for
Auckland Media Competence)
New Zealand November 2006
(Note the new address)
SCRIPT Issue #65 NOVEMBER 2006
Welcome to our bumper end of year issue. organisations. For the last ten years, NAME has
also had a place in what is now the Council of
In addition to the various articles there are Australasian Media Education Organisations.
useful leaflets on Accuaracy, Balance and
Fairness in Maori news stories from the Kupu However, if you did not make the ATOM
conference, you can plan to attend the NAME
Taea Media and Te Tiriti Project, together
CONFERENCE which will be held 2nd to 5th July
with a copy of the trade publication C2 2007 in Auckland. This is something which you
included in the envelope. Both items were really do need to put on your calendar as it is sure
offered to us and we happily accepted with the to be a really great local event. As this is a TRCC
hope that readers will find them useful for the conference, teachers can have travel costs covered
classroom. (Note for webpage edition: C2 has been and then only have the enrolment and
held over until our next edition in 2007) accommodation to cover or claim back from their
school. We are hoping that some Australian
Thanks to those members who have kindly teachers will be able to come across as well.
provided content for this issue. Particular Certainly there has been some interest shown in
thanks to Kerensa Robertson for generously this possibility. You can also expect at least one
sharing her major classroom unit on the overseas speaker attending.
Hollywood Studio System.
It has been a milestone for media education in New
One of the highlights of the year has been the Zealand having Deb Thompson as our first
opportunity to attend the Australian Teachers of national media advisor. Deb has worked tirelessly
Media conference in Brisbane. I was particularly to visit all areas of the country and to offer support
impressed by this year’s conference. With a stress and resources to teachers everywhere. Thanks to
on new media and students’ involvement the her work we now have a national email list of
conference proved to be a refreshing look at the media teachers as well as an operating e-forum on
variety of new areas media studies teachers can the TKI site. Deb has been an active support on
move into. An opportunity to visit three Brisbane and for the NAME committee as well. It is exciting
high school media departments on the day to know that her employment continues for a
preceding the conference provided a vision of what further year.
could be aimed for in our schools.
Meanwhile, Geoff Lealand reports that he is
I attended my first ATOM conference at beginning to write up the responses from his
Melbourne in 1990 as the result of the enthusiastic NCEA research, with the aim to have a
reports of Barbara Cairns and Margaret Henley, preliminary report ready for the Medianz
who had gone to the 1988 conference in Brisbane. conference being held in Wellington during
Since then I have managed to get to another five February 2007. We will all be interested to read his
ATOM conferences and have benefited from the findings when they become available.
event each time. It is not just the content, but also
the socialising and network building which is just The NAME committee decided recently that we
as valuable. The Australians have managed to get should consider just two issues of SCRIPT this
some key international media speakers at these year. Most likely this will also be the same in 2007
conferences. I really encourage members to give with either a shorter newsletter or an e-publication
the ATOM conferences a place in their PD on our web site. We will keep you informed. With
programmes. With the cheap airfares often on the media forum on TKI up and running, some of
offer, the cost of attending is not that excessive. the material which would have traditionally gone
You can also make a holiday trip around the into Script is already distributed out to members
conference. (and others in this case).
The Australians established a national council to The committee wish all members and enjoyable
link the various state based media teachers’ summer break and hope you have the chance to
rest and relax.
Reports by Dr Axel Bruns
During the ATOM Conference, Axel
Bruns made extensive notes on the
various sessions he attended. He
placed these reports on his web site
blog under a Creative Commons
license. We are please to reprint a
selection in this issue of Script.
Readers will be able to gain an
indication of the range and quality of the conference sessions.
Perhaps you will be tempted to plan to attend the next ATOM conference in two years time.
Dr Axel Bruns lectures in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is the
author of Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (New York: Peter Lang, 2005) and the editor of Uses of Blogs with Joanne
Jacobs (New York: Peter Lang, 2006). He is currently developing From Production to Produsage: The Rise of Collaborative Content
Creation, forthcoming from Peter Lang in 2007/8. His book Gatewatching was nominated for the Communications Policy Research Award at
Fordham University's Donald McGannon Communication Research Center.
Bruns has coined the term produsage to better describe the currently paradigm shift towards user-led forms of content production which are
proving to have an increasing impact on media, economy, law, social practices, and democracy itself. Produsage provides a new approach
to conceptualising these phenomena by avoiding the traditional assumptions associated with industrial-age production models. His study of
these environments builds on his work in the area of participatory or citizen journalism and blogging. In 2007, Bruns is a visiting scholar at
Leeds University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he will further investigate the impact of produsage on democracy,
citizenship, and the media.
Bruns teaches in a variety of units across the Creative Industries Faculty, including New Media Technologies .
In 1997, Bruns was a co-founder of the premier online academic publisher M/C - Media and Culture. Bruns's research interests are in
produsage (or collaborative user-led content development), online publishing, online journalism, virtual communities, creative industries,
creative hypertext writing, and popular music studies..
Originally from Hannover, Germany, Burns has lived and worked in Brisbane, Australia, since 1994. Outside of his academic work, he is a
passionate advocate of Progressive Rock Burns is also an incorrigible news junkie, a keen explorer of new Internet technologies and part-
time Web developer, an all-too-infrequent creative writer, and a very amateur electronic musician
Ambient Virtual Co-Presence through Mobile Devices in Japan
The conference starts with Mizuko Ito from the University adults have much to learn. Compared to traditional
of Southern California, speaking about the social life of anthropology, Mimi's work also looks at a hybrid of the
mobile media. Japan is of course one of the key drivers of real (the physically local) and the virtual (the online and the
(3G) mobile media uptake at this point, especially within remote); this can capture everyday action and local
the younger generation. Mimi has mainly focussed on the knowledge in personalised, non-institutionalised, and fluid
use of digital technology amongst young people outside of settings.
school or work - i.e. in what are traditionally seen as non-
educational contexts. Here, it is important to understand Mobile use in Japan is distinct from PC-based use by its
young people's uses of new technologies on their own more personal or even intimate nature. Rather than being
terms - to regard them as digial natives and study their uses shared across the family (like TVs), mobiles are truly
as such. Further, it is important to understand the social personal and act as portals to an individual information and
construction of such technologies. What emerges here are community space - it is considered inappropriate to look at
kid-driven peer-to-peer knowledge economies, from which someone else's mobile phone screen uninvited, for
example. Mobile phones are one of the only unsurveilled very many excuses for not replying to such continuing
private spaces for young people, importantly. Additionally, conversation, however. With email the white lie of not
of course, mobiles are portable, and this is important having seen the email until a certain time can always be
especially also in the home - it provides always-on made; with mobile phones' instant communication
connectivity with their peer network. Indeed, older possibilities this is far more difficult.
generations describe the youngsters as 'the tribe that does
things while doing other things'. Text messaging especially Recently, PuriKura sticker pictures have become a key
accommodates communication as a layer which can exist aspect of girls' culture. These are created in multi-person
effectively even while a person ostensibly does other things photobooths and allow for a great deal of photo-modding
at the same time. before the set of photo stickers is finally printed. Individual
photos are often carried within the mobile phone case or
Against this, Japan's wired broadband uptake has been attached to the mobile phone itself. The viewing and
relatively slow. Instead, text messaging (initially through exchange of PuriKura photos is also an important social
pagers) is now very well established, and very stable social activity - almost similar to the collecting of baseball cards,
practices are in place around it. Especiallty in the late but far more personalised, of course. Compared to
nineties, this moved on to mobile phones: as prices dropped photoblogs, PuriKura photos are far more personal and
consideraly: keitai or mobile phones became iconic with intimate, and are not shared anywhere as widely as photos
the young, footloose street culures which also arose arund uploaded to photoblogs. Together, though, they set up
that time - and consequently were also framed in some social standards for how personal visual information should
discussions as a social threat and a sign of the impending be shared.
deevolution of humanity. This view assumes that youth
cultures are ineffective, immature users of new On to boys' culture, now: Mimi now discusses the post-
technologies, of course - but against ths Mimi posits a view Pokemon media mix - the variety of media forms related to
that young people are the fluent natives of the digital world; such phenomena now span film and TV, trading cards,
youth practices are not incomplete or immature but fully comics, computer games, and various other media forms.
competent. One of the key follow-up formats are the Spell of Mask
playing cards, sold in small packs for relatively small prices
Mobile phones are seen as disrupting existing public places at checkouts. They create an active community of
or an escape from the 'real' into a disjunctive space of the engagement amongst players and collectors, following a
'virtual' - but on the other hand they are also about the complex and locally differing set of rules. Media
integration of the 'virtual' as a pervasive presence in consumers and players thus build a customised relationship
everyday practice and place. They combine remote and to the content; players remix these media by creating a
networked relations as a persistent precence; they personal deck of cars, collecting and trading, and
seamlessly integrate with the mundane and pedestrian; they identifying with particular players.
present simultaneously the here and the elsewhere; and they
turn place and settng into a 'real'/'virtual' hybrid. Keitai uses Overall, then, such studies show the more pervasive
are technosocial practices, merging remote or mediated presence of the imagination in the everyday lives of
relations and physically co-present relations. This is children, There is an explicit recognition of childhood
ambient virtual co-presence. Youths in Mimi's studies keep entrepreneurism and connoisseurship. There are
an open channel with 2-5 intimate friends almost all the increasingly transnational arenas for children's cultural
time - they are always on, never alone (and arouse production, distribution, and exchange, and a growing
suspicion when they do switch off their phones). This is not centrality of visual media in ongoing social communicaton.
necessarily about contentful communicational acts, but New forms of media literacy that center on social exchange
more about maintaining virtual co-presence throughout the and peer-to-peer learning are emerging - and they need to
day. (Camera phones further add to the possibilities here, of be addressed by media educators.
course.) The underside to this story is also that there aren't
Towards an Australian Digital Children's Television Channel?
Lee Burton and Peter Maggs from the Australian Children's first-run children's drama (financed usually around 30%
Television Foundation are the next keynote speakers at with txpayers' money). However, such shows are
ATOM 2006, speaking on the children's television debate. invcreasingly shown at times when the intended audience
The Australian Communications and Media Authority's isn't around - kids typically aren't home at 4 p.m. on Friday
current review of children's television standards provides a afternoon, for example. Daytime programming is largely
backdrop to this debate. They begin by showing a brief filled with U.S.- and Japanese-made animation, which is
video of kids' statements of what thye'd like to see on TV - often provided to channels free of charge and makes its
perhaps in the form of a dedicated kids' TV channel... money through selling related merchandise. In the
afternoon, on the other hand, the 4 p.m. timeslot is filled
Peter now notes the long history and conflicted future of with locally-made shows competing for the same audience,
the ACTF. Government requirements call for 260 hours of even though the audience isn't likely to be home yet. This
C and 130 hours of P programming; within this C quota, could be seen as a waste of taxpayers' money. On the other
Australian TV channels must show a total of 32 hours of hand, the audience figures for kid watching TV peak
between 5 and 10 p.m. - along with primetime for other changes to the Australian digital broadcasting environment
demographics. - not as another Nickelodeon, but following a public
broadcasting model: featuring pre-school entertainment
For networks, then, producing and showing those 32 hours televisionl, drama, educational programmes, news, and
of home-made drama programming is more a form of current affairs.
contractual obligation than anything else - and indeed the
networks argue in favour of abolishing the 32-hour Many overseas channels already have such channels - the
obligation because of the poor ratings which their BBC has two, for example, and one of the most popular
indifferent programming strategies generate. There are also programmes here is the 5 p.m. BBC Newsround news for
few repeats - so there is a great archive of home-made kids programme. Importantly, though, such a channel
children's television programming, made in good part with would also include user-generated content from the kids'
taxpayers' money, which has hardly been shown at all on themselves (and Peter now shows a couple of examples of
Australian television. Thus, Peter argues for an Australian such DIY content).
Children's Channel to be introduced along with other
Media Education and Copyright Law
Cushla Kapitzke is the next speaker here at ATOM2006. what is theirs, but to to assure that all there is is what is
She focusses on the implications of copyright law changes theirs. But of course this is not an argument outright against
in the wake of the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, copyright - copyright fulfils an important role in striking
and how they may impact on media educators. She notes the balance between the originators and users of content: it
the rise of a large variety of neologisms - postindustrialism, must both encourage creators to create, and enable them to
fast capitalism, the information age, the creative economy, profit, but must also ensure that creators can build on the
postmodernity, neoliberalism, globalisation, and work of others. Richard Stallman contests the idea of
McDonaldisation - even while the U.S. remains firmly intellectual property itself, however - calling it 'a mirage'.
routed in the traditional assumptions of modernity in a At any rate, since WIPO was established in 1967, IP has
variety of ways. Libraries, for example, are often still been locked into a variety of transnational trade
excellently set up, but remain largely empty as they've agreements, and Cushla suggests that this is a problem.
failed to engage with the post-modern information needs of Powerful lobby groups from the U.S. and EU are driving
their clients. Cushla suggest a set of epochal shifts, from these developments, and this has profound implications for
ancient ceremony to the traditional library of modernity, to developing countries.
the new 'libr@ry' which is being explored developed in a
number of configurations by various organisations. Cushla now moves on to consider the impact of
globalisation - she notes that globalisation enables a tying
She notes that much of this is about the politics of together of global issues (for example emerging from
copyright, too: about 'brand name bullies' and the major WIPO) and local issues - and governmentality, examining
copyright industries attempting to lock down use of their the result of competing actions between those in control
content, and about the new digital generations and those being controlled. This is particularly relevant in
reconceptualising alternatives approaches to copyright as relation to the AUSFTA, of course, where the United States
an expression of free speech. She also notes Foucault's quite directly make the connection between intellectual
assertion that "the author is the ideological figure by which property enforcement and the 'war on terror'. Such
one marks the manner in which we fear the proliferation of theoretical approaches open a space for counterconduct by
meaning" ("What Is an Author?", 391). those opposed to the tightening of IP regimes, then -
punitive sanctions are not incontestable, and there is a wide
And copyright is changing: the World Intellectual Property spectrum of initiatives working both with and against
Organisation (WIPO) notes the ubiquity of copyright in normative legislative procedures and practices. Indeed,
everyday life, even while driving the criminalisation of there is also a new journal called Public Knowledge
copyright infringements through increasing penal sanctions. Futures which will continue this debate. Together, these
Copyright is seen as the 'sleeping giant' on the TRIPS and may envision a creative use rights ecology to provide a
international education agenda; Lawrence Lessig suggests balance, corrective, or alternative to the brave new future of
that the aim of the copyright industry not just to control copyright law.
Youth, Media, and Education in the United States
The second day at ATOM2006 has started, and we're to reconcile. She also notes 'the tyranny of the narrative' -
beginning with a keynote by Kathleen Tyner from the creating a conflict between how things are done, from a
University of Texas at Austin. She begins by noting the practical perspective, and what the storyline of any one
relationship between form, content, and context in studies media artefact is.
of the media - and that the relationship between skills and
knowledge in media studies and production is very difficult
In youth media, there is now a transition to a digital literacy problematic (perhaps especially in the U.S. context?), as
culture, with better access to lower-cost tools; this has also some of the more experimental or alternative content
led to a remix culture supported by greater availability of developed through such projects - whether in formal or
content archives and new distribution networks. Further, informal contexts - is easy to attack for political point-
there is also now the beginning of more supportive scoring. Youth media organisations often rank giving youth
academic standards and practices. Newseum.org, a voice, building community, and encouraging self-
Internetarchive.org, Livingroomcandidate, and the Library expression as very important goals of their projects - but
of Congress's American Memory project are all useful what is produced may not meet mainstream 'community
archives which can provide raw materials for such remix values'.
She finishes up on a project called GREAT - Girls
At the same time, however, there are also new challenges Redesigning and Excelling in Advanced Technology -
for youth media. There is the notion of digital natives vs. where 13-year-old students worked with state-of-the-art 3D
baby boomers (but Kathleen suggests that the dichotomy modelling packages to produce topical animations.
isn't as clear-cut as such divides might suggest - there are Positives from this are small improvements in maths and
some kids today which are perfectly happy to be readers or sciences skills, strong software application skills (which
writers only) and the notion of old vs. new media (even may or may not be transferable to other packages,
though so much of new media is as screen-based as old however), an increased awareness of careers in technology,
media); further, the notion of youth media production is and increased social and community networking. At the
complicated by school policy: kids tend to flock to the same time, however, their schools were too poor to offer
informal, non-school spaces rather than formal spaces of arts programmes, making it very difficult to learn the basic
media production as they are offered in schools because artistic skills required for these projects; there was strong
their choice of options is more limited there. Further, resistance to collaborative work especially from the most
Kathleen also notes existing dichotomies of art vs. activism talented girls; the learning space (provided by Intel) was
and art vs. science, but suggests that effective activism not ideal; skills and knowledge gained may or may not be
needs to embrace art in order to get its message across transferable to other projects; and there were a lot of
effectively, as well as that artists in new media problems recruiting and retaining appropriate mentors for
environments now need to embrace the scientific tools for this project. Even worse, too, once the project is complete
the effective use and development of new media. there is virtually no opportunity to continue this work in
everyday schoolwork after the conclusion of the project,
Kathleen now shows a number of examples to demonstrate and there were significant obstacles to the project (and to
the wide variety of approaches to youth media production. any further work) from school administrators and school
Such differences again make youth media production tech support staff.
Singapore's Media-Literate Society
Next up is Pam Hu from the Media Development Authority basic media literacy - and Pam outlines four stages of
in Singapore - which is one of the best-connected nations in media literacy as being aware of, appreciating, adopting,
the world, of course (next to some countries in Scandinavia, and advocating (new) media. Right now, on average, only
as well as South Korea, and Japan - indeed, the entire some 30% of Singapore's citizens are effectively media
country is a wireless hotspot...). The MDA is similar to the literate - and unsurprisingly, media literacy is highest
Australian Communications and Media Authority amongst the younger generations (media literacy rates at
(ACMA). Singapore is looking to position itself as an East- 45% here). However, even of these media-literate younger
West Media Gateway, involving media financing, citizens, most are located towards the lower ends of the
production, aggregation, and distribution; this is done in literacy spectrum. In Pam's view, the four pillars of such
part also through the Asia Media Festival (29 Nov. to 3 literacy are good judgement when engaging with media,
Dec. 2006), including film, television, and animation responsibility in using them, the ability to inspire others,
components, and Broadcast Asia (in June 2007). Singapore and balanced media lifestyle.
is also increasingly placing itself in international media
projects to develop global awareness of what it has to offer. At the highest end of media literacy in Singapore are the
The Media Development Authority was established on 1 'screenagers', who work across a broad range of
January 2003; it is charged with developing the technologies - but on the other hand, teachers are often not
Singaporean media industry and acts as a facilitator, yet exploiting the available technology (and in Singapore,
promoter, and catalyst. there's a lot of equipment available in educational
institutions) and media effectively enough (and they lag
As a basis for such activities, however, Pam now moves on behind their students to some extent); parents are also often
to the question of increasing media literacy, especially with a hindrance as they are insufficiently aware of career
the backdrop of continuing media convergence - she notes options in the media industries, and continue to push kids
the rise of user-led content generation (using Alvin towards traditional careers (medicine, law, etc.). This
Toffler's old 'prosumer' term), and outlines the need for a means that the MDA has students, teachers, and parents as
21st-century form of media literacy. The Singaporean goal target groups for its literacy programmes. Youth need to
is that by 2015, 70% of its citizens will be equipped with know that media are a career of choice; teachers need to use
media more effectively to make lessons come alive; and intellectual property usage ethics required - and example
parents need to know that they are responsibe for their kids' projects for this include 3D Dino Animation with the
media consumption habits and need to exert a positive Singapore Sciencentre, the online project Animate Now!,
influence. AniMania.com.sg, an annual student competition, the
World CyberGames, a computer game championship, the
There are a number of public/people/private partnerships film industry showcase and education project Moving
which MDA has developed, therefore, leading to an all- Minds, the Canon Digital Video Fest, Kid Witness News,
year-round media action campaign to boost media literacy. the School Video Awards, distributed Digital Audio
These are about media skills and craft (making things), Broadcasting of school classes for Mandarin learning, Kid
identifying such work as a career, and understanding the Reporters, and a CyberWellness campaign, using blogs to
engage young people in e-counselling. Phew.
New Media, Institutions and Media Education
Ben Goldsmith from the Australian Film, Television, and Websites like Google and Amazon to provide new ways of
Radio School is the next featured presenter at ATOM2006. accessing and combining information.
His focus here is particularly on new media and institutions
(as well as perhaps also on new media institutions). He Next, we're off into the blogosphere, and Ben spends some
begins by noting the convergence of communications time exploring Technorati to show the width and depth of
networks, computing and information technology, and the blogosphere - he's also kindly pointing to my own blog,
content (as explored for example by Henry Jenkins). Such so we're getting awfully circular here as I'm blogging his
convergence touches on technological, industrial, cultural, presentation as he speaks... From there, Ben moves on to
and social aspects - and it is defined both from the top wikis, showing (of course) the Wikipedia, but also the
down (by media conglomerates) and from the bottom up AFTRS wiki and the Stanford University wiki. Next up is
(by consumers and DIY content creators). People (and not podcasting, shown for example through the Podcast
only the young) can now control content flows, collaborate, Network, the ABC Online video podcasting site, the
access, and build collective intelligence, and create new Education Podcast Network, and AFTRS's LAMP, and
content as well as remix old content - and this has a from here Ben moves on to Flickr, showing for example the
profound impact on the development of the mediasphere. Flickr Brisbanites group as a place for content sharing and
Ben also notes Mark Pesce's view that television died on co-creation. But now there's also video sharing, done for
the day that Battlestar Galactica was accessed by viewers example through FourDocs (yes, there's life outside of
in the U.S. via Bittorrent after its premiere in the UK YouTube!).
(rather than waiting for the SciFi Channel to broadcast it
some months later) - and yet it is notable that this did not Where it gets even more interesting is in media mashups, of
affect BSG's ratings when it eventually did screen in the course - for example, there is now a mashup site for the
recent Ten Canoes film by Rolf de Heer, enabling users to
remix parts of the film; there was an international remix
This phenomenon is widespread now, across television and competition at the 2006 San Francisco International Film
cinema as well as other media forms (the recent worldwide Festival, enabling audiences to remix excerpts from the
television premiere of Jericho is another example). We now movies shown; Eyespot, which offers online video editing
operate on a find -> filter -> forward model, and this has tools (similar to Jumpcut); and of course the vast library of
created a participatory, produser culture of user-generated remixable content on the Internet Archive. Further, Ben
content, a personalised 'me' media culture, and a pull-driven notes the rise of social bookmarking (e.g. on del.icio.us) as
media environment where programming schedules are a form of user-driven content tagging that relies on the
dying. (At the same time, MTV have just created a virtual wisdom of crowds, and also describes the rise of social
world for its Laguna Beach show where users can view networking through sites such as MySpace (he shows
scheduled episodes of the show before they screen on musician Lily Allen's MySpace site as an example),
television itself...) Trouble Homegrown, Bebo, Friendster, and Facebook.
Further, there are more specialised social networking sites
This is driven in part by the Web 2.0 phenomenon - such as Sticky.net.au, SBS's Freeload.com.au, and
however poorly defined that term may still be. (And Kevin DeviantART.
Maney suggests that Web 2.0 is a little like Pink Floyd
lyrics - they can mean different things to different people...) And the big buzz at the moment is around YouTube, of
Ben notes here the example of the company Commission course - which has already racked up some amazing
Junction, which claims to be able to track user or consumer statistics in its relatively short existence. This, Ben
behaviour over very long periods of time (e.g. paying suggests, shows the obliteration of the traditional mass
commussions to advertisers of books even if consumers audience, and the rise of new media forms (such as the
only buy those books from Amazon years after seeing the YouTube-based fake videoblog Lonelygirl15) using such
advertisement). Ben also points to a piece by Brandon Web 2.0 tools - and of course right now there are
Schauer, asking what put the 2 in Web 2.0, and notes a significant rumours around Google looking to buy
number of other resources about Web 2.0 on the YouTube: a clear sign of success. Another alternative is
Programmable Web site. In particular, that site also follows Google Video, of course, and AFTRS has begun to use
Web 2.0 mashups - projects which use the APIs of existing Google Video for its own content now, too.
Ben argues that media educators must absolutely begin to strong argument that user-led content creation is the wave
come to terms with such tools - and indeed he's even of the future - on the other, his company NewsCorp has
pointing to Gary Hayes's suggestion that a Web 3.0 might begun to buy up the leaders of this new field, and thus there
not be too far away. Are institutions still relevant in this may be more media concentration to come, not less... So
context? On the one hand, Rupert Murdoch has made a much to talk about - but unfortunately Ben's out of time!
The Media Worlds of New Zealand Children
Geoff Leland from the University of Waikato is the next • dreams of conspicuous consumption (showing
speaker in this session at ATOM2006. His research is into specific brands, phones, and media centres);
the media worlds of young teenagers in New Zealand - how • dreams of privacy, power, and mastery (showing
do they perceive their own worlds? This work has taken security and surveillance systems, and portals);
place through the 1999-2005 period with some 2000 and
children in Hamilton and Christchurch, and Geoff argues • sculpting of interactive personalised spaces
that because of the fast pace of technological research such (showing zones of interactivity and socialisation).
research needs to be continuous - findings even from only a
few years ago are already outdated. Another reason for More recently, there is also a growing emphasis on mobile
tracking changes is also that the New Zealand population technologies and computers - but at the same time, older
profile is changing markedly through immigration and its media (such as books) and non-media elements (such as
accepting of humanitarian refugees (in stark contrast to toys, stuffed and live animals) also remain very much in the
Australia's inhumane asylum policy practices which ignore picture. Further, quite frequently everything has its place in
and breach international humanitarian conventions) - one the bedroom - there's a great sense of what is the
school Geoff has worked with has some 18% Somali appropriate place for all devices.
refugee children, for example.
Some of the themes emerging from all of this information
This research is not necessarily conducted through new centre around the convergence of technologies (underlining
media - indeed, drawing is an important aspect of this the shifting definition of 'media' in the 21st century) and the
study, too. For example, the children were asked to draw dichotomy between parents as digital immigrants and kids
their real and their dream bedrooms - showing amongst as a more experienced generation of digital natives (also
other things what media they did have access to, and the indicating the attendant frustrations of the younger with the
full range of media such as TVs, computers, sounds older generations). There is also good evidence of kids'
systems, and other media tools they would like to have awareness of the potential dangers of new media, and of
access to. The study found a number of key areas: their ability to self-filter the content that is available to
them in order to protect themselves from such dangers
Towards a Strong Basis for Everyday Social Documentary
The last keynote at ATOM2006 is by Andrew Urban, editor reality TV -, and Andrew draws a connection between this
of Urban Cinefile, and previously the creator and host of phenomenon and his own project Front Up for SBS. Front
SBS's Front Up programme. He begins by noting the Up broke, or perhaps rewrote, television's rules, enabled by
importance of media teachers for the future development of Andrew's own lack of familiarity with the medium's rule
society; further, he also notes the increasing question of and conventions. Media students today should be
information accuracy in an ever more highly mediatised encouraged to use the mass of available media technologies
environment - in Jerry Bruckheimer's words, 'the media are as tools to create media, and perhaps even revolutionise
a mile wide and an inch deep'. media forms and formats - but that's the important aspect:
they are tools, not ends in themselves. Responses to Front
Journalism is today still posited as a noble profession, Up, for example, were focussed mostly on how Andrew
standing for honesty, objectivity, and truth - and Andrew managed to extract so much personal disclosure from his
shows an excerpt from Edward R. Murrow's famous 1958 interview subjects, not on the production processes. The
speech (as seen recently in Good Night, and Good Luck) same focus should apply to today's emerging media
accusing the television industry of its failings - deluding, formats, Andrew suggests.
amusing, and insulating us. Broadcasting - and the media
more broadly - today are as crucial as then, but their basis From Front Up, Andrew has moved on to the online
has shifted, now taking in also a broad range of new publication Urban Cinefile, now up to its 500th weekly
participants, all the way through to individual produsers. edition, and he now discusses the changes to film and
television as convergence continues: the Internet is fast
YouTube elevates the quotidian to something approaching becoming the single most diverse entertainment and
everyday social documentary - not to be confused with information source, challenging television and changing the
entertainment world forever. Today, we are our own
programmers as well as our own producers, and once the But to teach people to distinguish between show business
Internet is streaming into the television set the current and valuable information now becomes increasingly
media revolution will seem like a walk in the park. important - we need more Ed Murrows in the media. Young
Convergence redefines the concept of media: the traditional people contemplating a career in the media need to shape
media establishment is no longer the only source of media an ethical career in an environment overloaded with vanity
and entertainment (Salam Pax had more viewers than and spin. The need for strong ethics should be promoted as
CNN's entertainment reports). Today's content is no longer a significant benefit for working in the media. Future
tomorrow's fish and chips wrapper - it remains available generations must find the strength and imagination to turn
and becomes part of the global archive of content. truth, honesty, and integrity into desirable attributes in the
media - with the help of media educators.
FROM DEB THOMPSON’S VIEWPOINT
Notes from the Atom Conference QUT Brisbane October 2006
The theme of this conference was e-merging realities. For and raved about its ease of use and stability. At one school
our Australian counterparts in Queensland ‘new’ media has the ‘hot-spotting’ problem of cooking the cameras whilst
become a reality, as a change to senior curriculum has capturing footage has been solved by the use of line
meant they must teach it to the year 11 and 12 students (our protectors, to counteract surges caused by static electricity.
level 2 and 3). Schools in Queensland have a variety of The brand they have is Kramer PT-1FW. Gordon has
options for introducing media education across year levels, posted a picture of it on the forum (under practical work)
and senior teachers are not restricted to using the Senior Another hint from this school about organising equipment
Syllabus in Film, Television and New Media (2005), as was to bar code it (especially useful if you have lots of it, or
they can utilise other curriculum documents, but many of share between departments).
them do. It’s organised around three areas – Critique,
Design and Production. Equal weighting is given to each At the state school we saw some good examples of student
area, and they use the acronym TRIAL to represent the film. The emphasis put on the design part of the process
media concepts they teach and assess - Technologies, seems to make for a polished final product – each of the
Representations, Industries, Audiences and Languages. The courses we saw put a strong emphasis on replicating
course is spread over the two years (although some students industry production processes (like pitching their concepts),
do enter in the last year). Areas of study include World and future career choices are seen as very important. When
Cinema, docos, advertising, Genre study, Music Videos, designing a product they try and use a real-world context.
Industries, and marketing. Some teachers are now including The state school had produced actual promotional videos
video games and websites (the study of and the production for the local surf club. It also runs a 3-day camp for the
of). The students make 2 products a year, so need to students at the start of year 11. The students learn technical
commit to a good amount of outside class time. One school skills and team building exercises are an integral part of the
we visited didn’t allow any class time for editing. camp, as most of these students will have to work together
for two years (most production work is completed in
groups). They do intensive script writing exercises and
learn stage make up and other related skills that won’t fit
into the school year. In one private school (with great
resources and support from management) the Media
department also runs as a business, with the senior students
filming promotional and corporate work – edited by an in-
house adult editor who also acts as a technician (yes I know
- dream on!).
Each of the schools talked about working in with other
school departments in the future to create an integrated
product all the students could get credit for (e.g music
students creating the score, drama students acting in
productions – It’s something to think about). All of them
had film nights to showcase students’ work.
On the day before the conference a strong NZ contingent
joined a bus trip to 3 schools. We breathed a sigh of relief The sessions at the conference covered areas such as
when realising they weren’t streets ahead of us in terms of mobile cellphone uses, video gaming in the classroom,
courses and equipment. They are only just beginning to animation, Web 2.0 (told you it was big!!) – incorporating a
consider the use of blogs and wikis as teaching tools myriad of web uses such as social networking (blogging,
whereas some of us are already doing it – (go kiwis!). Two instant messaging and sites like myspace), podcasting, user
of the schools are private, so we took that into created video and music streaming sites (like you tube) and
consideration when drooling over their equipment! An sharing and modification of existing content. The ethical
interesting thing to note: Two of the three schools use Macs and legal considerations of downloading existing content
are obviously a growing concern (something you might like and share creative product. Site developers (including the
to cover with your scholarship students). However, one of speaker Justin Brow from Queensland University of
the things I took away from this conference is that there is Technology) hope to encourage peer-to-peer
(or can be) a much greater collaboration and sense of communication and sharing of skills and knowledge. He
discussed how the anonymity of using sites like this can
encourage personal expression and social skills in teenagers
too shy to interact in other ways. It also removes the
‘expert’ teacher as they all teach and learn from each other.
Users have to consider copyright issues before posting
content and they moderate the site – if there are a series of
complaints about a post then it gets pulled.
Some other things I found interesting:
Kathleen Tyner from the University of Minnesota
suggested this copyright free site with news and current
events archives http://www.newseum.org
She also talked about a summer video camp, during which
students did an exercise on the streets asking members of
the public questions about their media consumption (and
learn to use the camera at the same time). It occurred to me
community between web users. Consumers and producers that this is something we could adapt to do in a school
of material on the web are merging into the same situation at the start of the year to introduce audience and
person/people. With new technology it’s easy and teach skills. You could adapt it to other media forms as
cheap/free to create a product(notwithstanding copyright well (e.g writing a newspaper article). The questions looked
issues around using other people’s material, of course). Ben at the use of new media (internet, cell phones etc) across a
Goldsmith from the Australian Film, TV and Radio school range of ages. Students evaluate their findings at the end.
discussed the 3 f’s (web users find, filter and forward stuff
from the internet). He also provided these mind-boggling
figures: There are now 56 million blogs and counting,11/2
billion video streams on myspace AND Wikipedia is bigger
(more words) than the Encyclopedia Britanica!
If you are seriously interested he gave us this site about
Web 2.0 to go and look at:
this site about podcasting is also fab:
The issue of viral marketing was discussed and how it can
work for the ‘little people’ (not short people, ordinary
people!!!!!). The exposure that you can get for a product on
youtube, at no cost, could far out way traditional
advertising coverage – and is now being used to Michael Dezuanni (from QUT) gave a workshop about
complement traditional ways of advertising. Something to Video Games production in Media classrooms.
think about. Of course, now that the big fellas are buying The powerpoint on the process he used is available from
out sites like youtube and myspace there are further the Atom website (see below) – but a few tips to make it
implications to be considered! easier if you’re considering doing this
• Get an IT teacher on board (don’t NOT do this
just cos you don’t know about gaming )
• Use an online blog/moodle/wiki to present
tasks/instructions and collect completed work, to
collect student evaluation, to encourage students to
‘talk’ to each other about the process
flstudio5 – free music software (for those of you unlucky
enough not to have Garage band!!) download off net.
Other Sites to look at:
Teaching Flash Animation
Copyright free images for education
Or download workshops/presentations from
You might also like to visit the site
http://www.sticky.net.au where young people can create
Photos: Show aspects of the activities at ATOM and the schools visit.
Insomnia & Agoraphobia make for a winner
By Sarah Fearnside
A dark and abstract exploration of mental illness impressed Other finalists included a quirky short form from
this year’s judges of the NAME-SONY School Video Waiararapa College, “Thomas’ Great Questy Adventure”, a
Competition this year to take out first prize honours. pastoral piece where the eponymous protagonist loses his
Lynfield College Year 13 students Boris Jancic, Chayse pen while writing a love letter and must embark on a quest
Millar and Levan Church produced an inspired short film, to find it. Once again, Pakuranga College student Lorraine
entitled “Unsleep”, about a boy abandoned by his parents Edmonds paired up with fellow student Josh Young to
produce a strong dramatic piece, “Opening Night”, which
showcased Young’s professional directorial skills.
Wellington’s Newland’s College also produced some very
Above and below: Frames from the Lynfield entry.
entertaining and provocative films including a hilarious
Right: Frame from the Pakuranga entry
mockumentary following the rise to fame of a fictional
celebrity, Chad Michaels, and a haunting, expressionist
film “Deny Me Not” which was highly commended by the
judges for its “artistic and unique” style. Music videos
again featured as a genre, with Diocesan student, Lisa
Tsai’s video “Rebecca” also receiving recognition for
“slick visual presentation”.
This year NAME was delighted to receive sponsorship
from SONY NZ Limited who donated the prizes for the
winning school which were SONY products of their choice
up to the value of $1500. Richard Taylor, Business
Development Manager of SONY NZ went out to Lynfield
to present the prize at the Year 13 assembly. Taylor has
even generously offered to take the three student winners
into TVNZ as well as giving them complementary jackets
and hats. Media teacher, Stuart McKweon was “thrilled
for a week who resorts to eating his own socks rather than and a bit stunned” when he heard his students won the
endure the outside world due to his acute suffering from competition. The cameras chosen will come in handy as he
agoraphobia. Judges described the noir film as says it will mean that in the future groups will have more
“compelling…a beautiful mix between sad and funny” with time to film their projects, made difficult this year when the
one judge so drawn into the narrative that she declared she department was reduced to just one camera. Richard
wanted to take home the main character and care for him, Taylor was also impressed with the quality of the winning
which is a testament to the emotional complexity of the entry which he thought was “fantastic”, especially
film. considering the limited resources available to the students.
Narrowly missing out on top honours though was St NAME wishes to express our thanks to SONY
Kentigern College student, Sam Medary’s short film, “The NEW ZEALAND Ltd for their sponsorship of the
Root”, which refers to the money which tempts the film’s competition this year. In particular, Richard
protagonist as his greed spirals out of control. The judges Taylor, who has been a very supportive company
were particularly impressed by the ambition of the film as liaison person.
the narrative was complex and the settings varied and
authentically used. One of the judges described the entry as
professional with “stylistic and expert camerawork”.
Midterms and the Media
Was the press fair to voters?
Tomorrow's midterm elections are surely The networks don't spend anything like they
among the most closely watched and hotly used to on covering elections, but we still have
contested in many years. The media coverage as many resources as anyone else devoted to
has thoroughly discussed the latest polls and trying to hold the candidates and campaigns
approval ratings, as well as the barrage of accountable to the public interest. But it isn't
negative advertising. But when a "botched" easy. Even with all the modern technology out
joke receives wall-to-wall coverage, it is a there, tracking new television ads is merely
good time to ask whether political reporting is really, really hard, while tracking radio ads,
actually delivering citizens the information church fliers, and those robo-calls that come
they need to make informed decisions at the at the very end is nearly impossible. And once
ballot box. To hear some major media figures you get a hold of the content, figuring out how
tell it, performing some of the basic functions to truth-squad the item, and then report it in
of political journalism are not that important. context, is among the toughest tasks in daily
Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources
(11/5/06), CBS reporter Jim Axelrod explained
that reporting valuable information about Judging media coverage of elections is often
candidates is not the media's top priority—and reduced to asking whether the press was fair to
voters can get all that stuff someplace else this candidate or that. The better question,
anyway: though, is whether the press was fair to the
In this Internet age there's no shortage of
places to go if you want to read position This work is licensed under a Creative
papers or hear what candidate are holding Commons License.
forth about the economy, education, the
environment, anything like that. But our job,
especially in the last four or five days, is to
take everything that's coming in and crystallize
it through a filter of what is popping, what AUCKLAND NAME DAY
seems to be the most--I guess, what you'd call
man biting dog, what's out of the ordinary.
Fox News Channel anchor and managing
editor Brit Hume explained (Broadcasting &
Cable, 11/6/06) why journalists shouldn't
evaluate political advertising for accuracy:
I don't like the reporters that try to police
them, tell you what's true and what's not. Most
political ads are arguably true and arguably
false. It you start trying to get into issues of
truth and falsity, you end up doing what the
candidates do, which is arguing. My view is,
let 'em play. The truth is, negative ads work.
ABC political director Mark Halperin, on the
NAME president, Josephine Maplesden
other hand, seems to think that fact-checking
busy explaining significant points on
the candidates and tracking stealth campaign
teaching NCEA, with National Media
techniques is simply too difficult (Slate,
Advisor, Deb Thompson looking on.
Teens less likely to light up if they
understand media: study
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
EXTRACTED FROM: CBC News
Media literate teens are half as likely to "Acknowledging the effects of media on attitudes and
behaviour, media literacy teaches youth to understand,
take up smoking than their peers who analyze, and evaluate advertising and other media
have less understanding of advertising messages, enabling them to actively process media
messages rather than passively remain message targets," the
methods and motives, suggests a new study said.
Statistics Canada data has shown that smoking in Canada
"Many factors that influence a teen’s decision to smoke — has decreased, especially among teens. In 2001, 73 per cent
like peer influence, parental smoking and risk-seeking of youth said they never smoked cigarettes while in 2005,
tendency — are difficult to change," Brian Primack, an the percentage was 82 per cent.
assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the
study’s lead author, said in a release. In 1997, the federal government enacted the
…….. media Tobacco Act to regulate the sale,
"However, media literacy, which can be manufacturing and promotion of cigarettes.
taught, may be a valuable tool in efforts to literacy, …… The act includes stipulations that tobacco
may be a
discourage teens from smoking." companies cannot promote their products by
associating them with glamour, recreation,
The study, published in the current issue of the valuable tool excitement, vitality, risk, daring or sexuality.
Journal of Adolescent Health, surveyed 1,200
Pittsburgh high school students to determine in efforts to The study noted that developing a more
their level of media literacy. Students were comprehensive understanding of
asked to rate statements such as advertisements and media motives may also
"Advertisements usually leave out a lot of
important information," and "Movie scenes
teens from influence other behaviours including eating,
aggression and alcohol use. Researchers said
with smoking in them are made very smoking …. that youth are swamped with negative
carefully." messages in the media.
Researchers said that since students with scores above the "Although it is important to continue to attempt to reduce
median were half as likely to smoke, anti-smoking the amount of exposure to potentially harmful media
campaigns should be focused differently. Media literacy messages during adolescence, it is not always feasible to do
training could prove more effective than negative warning so," the study said. "Media literacy may therefore be a
messages, the study said. practical and empowering co-intervention."
My name is Earl - be my friend ...
Bob Dylan has 15,814 friends. Film director Kevin in the credits at the end of the first shows of the second
Smith has thousands. My Name is Earl, an series, which was due to screen in the US during
American sitcom that is a hit in Britain, has just September.
12, but that is likely to change.
Far more than a piece of aimless internet horseplay, the
All three have taken advantage of the web's current Friends of Earl Sweepstake is a cross-promotion between
phenomenon, MySpace, to promote their latest products. NBC, which airs the show in the US, and 20th Century Fox
TV, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire,
which also owns MySpace.
People who log on to the MySpace page for My Name is
Earl can enter a competition to have their picture included
The growth of MySpace and its popularity among young album. Indeed the entry on the page is a press release from
people, a key market, has turned it into a potent marketing Dylan's record company.
Earlier this summer, anyone who added Clerks director
Bob Dylan has used a MySpace page to promote the release Kevin Smith's MySpace page to their list of friends was
of his first new album in five years, due at the end of this promised a mention in the credits to his film Clerks II. The
month. His friends range from the glamorous to the credits ran to 10,000 names.
forgotten, but the message behind the page is clear: buy the
TV ratings to monitor adverts' viewing figures.
Some viewers will do anything to avoid watching television commercials - channel surfing, turning down the
sound or disappearing to make a cup of tea. But to settle a row between advertisers and broadcasters over how
many keep watching, accurate ratings for commercial breaks are to be compiled in America for the first time.
From November, the market research firm AC Nielsen will measure the number of people who watch commercials
using its panel of 10,000 households with special set-top recording devices.
Crucially, the devices will exclude viewers who use digital recorders and skip through adverts when they play
recordings back. Participants will also register when they leave their seats for a call of nature or a visit to the
The move has far-reaching consequences. AC Nielsen's ratings are the generally accepted barometer used to set
the price of advertising slots, which raised US$22bn for the big US networks last year. Some experts have
suggested that broadcasters' income could slide as it becomes clear just how many viewers have adopted
sophisticated avoidance tactics.
An AC Nielsen spokesman said: "There's been a sense that advertisers wanted to know who's actually watching
About 12% of Americans own digital video recorders such as TiVo, which allow viewers to pause live shows and
skip through commercial breaks, and the proportion is expected to rise to 20% by the end of the year.
Sat. 28th Oct.
Three of the
On left: Kate
Ward from BSA.
Cheflyn and Helen
Mohawk Media on
NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS: 2007
Do you take your Media Studies classes to the local film festival when it arrives in your location?
Some schools do and over the years teachers report very positive reactions from their students.
In most centres the festival organisers are very helpful to schools wanting to organise a class trip.
Part of the festival experience can be in organising for your class to attend two films on the same day. Why not when
you have gone to the trouble to get them there in the first place?
With many teachers now finding that their school is becoming less supportive of class activities outside the
classroom, it may be advisable to get festival trip applications in early – even before the end of this year, so that they
go onto the calendar.
Robyn Harper email: email@example.com
The 2007 Film Festival dates are as follows:-
Telecom 39th Auckland International Film Festival July 13 If teachers could also put in their email what subjects they
- 29 are teaching this would prevent them getting emails
Telecom 36th Wellington Film Festival July 20 - August 5 notifying them about films that are of no interest to them.
Telecom 31st Dunedin International Film Festival July 27 -
August 12 All other areas the cinemas contact the schools in their
Telecom 31st Christchurch International Film Festival specific areas. However, it is always a good idea to make
August 2 - 19 contact and tell them you are interested.
Telecom 31st Palmerston North International Film Festival
August 9 - 26 Note that student groups can usually get special prices and
Telecom 30th Hamilton International Film Festival August group rates for their festival visits which include free seats
16 - September for accompanying teachers.
Telecom 31st Napier International Film Festival August 22
- September 9 “Having taken media students to the Auckland
Telecom 31st Tauranga International Film Festival August International Film Festival during most of the last 20 or
30 = September 12 more years, it has become an annual highlight for my
Telecom 31st New Plymouth International Film Festival students – they want to go. Have the catalogues arrived yet
September 6 - 19 is the regular question as term two progresses? When they
Telecom 31st Nelson International Film Festival September do, they read through them with an excited interest. Once
20 - October 3 we have organized the class films,some will then plan what
Telecom 31st Masterton International Film Festival they will see in their own time.
October 10 - 24 I describe the class trips as viewing for enrichment.
Telecom Greymouth International Film Festival, 2007 Over the years it is a pleasure to run into past students at
October 4 - 10 the current year’s festival and compare what we are seeing.
Telecom 31st Queenstown International Film Festival Most ex students will include the festival screenings in the
October 25 - November 7 things they best remember about school and my classes.”
Telecom Levin International Film Festival, 2007 November (Editor)
1 - 14
Telecom Gisborne International Film Festival, 2007
November 8 - 21
Telecom Whangarei International Film Festival, 2007
November 15 - 28
The festival guest director will ask producers about the
availability of a study guide when accepting films for our
Information about accepted films can be emailed to Frame from the St Kentigern entry in the
teachers once titles begin to be confirmed. NAME Video Competition
Media teachers who would like to receive this information
Auckland Schools –
Lynn Smart email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellington, Christchurch & Dunedin Schools –
This is a small tape-less video camera which can fit into a
shirt or coat pocket. It records onto a SD (Secure Digital)
memory card which is about postage stamp size. It is the
second generation in Panasonic’s 3CCD SD camera
range and looks great.
The recording format is mpeg 2, the same as used for DVDs.
The default picture ratio is 16:9 wide-screen but 4:3 can be set.
It also has a 3.1 mega pixel still camera setting.
The flip out screen is bright and larger (2.8inches) than most
handicam screens. There is no eyelevel viewfinder.
It has a Leica 10 times optical zoom lens with optical stabiliser.
Panasonic provide a very basic editing programme Motion SD
1.1 which is packaged with the camera. It is very limited but
does transfer the shots to computer easily. Shots seem to be
loaded onto the PC in the same manner as digital stills would
ZOOM CONTROL AND RECORD BUTTON be brought across. The software by default expects the
SETTINGS CONTROL exporting to be to DVD.
I was impressed by the small overall size, by the large flip out
viewing screen and by the image quality on the screen. I did
find the camera a little small to use but I would enjoy taking it
on a holiday. Basic controls were logically placed for hand
held filming. Images taken transferred across to the PC as
sharp with good resolution.
The camera has three quality settings. I was using the top
quality setting (XP), and did not try average (SP) and low (LP)
settings. The main advantage of using the lower settings is
running time. Matched with that is the number of cards you
would need to cover any long filming project. The 2GB card
gives 25 minutes of top quality filming with SP providing 50
minutes and LP 100 minutes. So providing cards for your
world trip would become expensive. The camera comes with a
TOP MOUNTED MICROPHONE LIP UP FLASH FOR 2 GB card, but will accept larger capacity as well.
Still images proved to be quite useable and much better quality
than I have previously experienced from a video camera stills
Sockets are USB-2, power in and a multi function output for
AV and SVHS. A suitable lead is provided, as is a lead to take
headphones from the same socket.
Would I buy it for my media class? Not at present. I would
happily go on holiday with it, but for the price (listed at $1799
shop price could be lower), I could get a couple of mini DV
tape based cameras and for a class I really want as many
cameras as I can get. At present tape is still the cheapest
storage medium for students and it is cheap to swop tapes for
The smaller size of a Panasonic 2GB card shown in comparison each camera user.
with other 2GB storage systems. GL
understanding of a
specific media industry
System 1930- 1948
SECTION 1: THE STUDIO SYSTEM: AN OVERVIEW
SECTION 2: ORGANISATION
B. STUDIO OWNERSHIP
SECTION 3: ROLES AND RELATIONSHIPS
A. PRODUCTION PROCESS
B. KEY PERSONNEL AND RELATIONSHIPS
APPENDIX 3.1: DECLINE OF THE HOLLYWOOD SYSTEM
SECTION 4: CONTROLS
B. THE PRODUCTION CODE: AN INTERNAL CONTROL
B. ESSENTIAL WAR INDUSTRY: AN EXTERNAL CONTROL
SECTION 5: CASE STUDY
A. ‘CASABLANCA’ AND THE STUDIO SYSTEM
B. CASABLANCA- ROLES AND RELATIONSHIPS
C. CASABLANCA AND PROPAGANDA (SEE SECTION 4B)
APPENDIX 5.1: TIMELINE OF THE MAKING OF CASABLANCA
SECTION 6: EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
WHAT THEY WILL ASK YOU
odel/Hollywood_Model.htm Best overall information- very relevant
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1406 The Global media Giants
www.cinematheque.bc.ca/education/pdfs/f_h_guide07.pdf worksheet to go with Global Media Giants
http://www.fathom.com/course/10701053/session1.html the studio system
http://www.moderntimes.com/palace/1946.htm the end of the studios
http://www.filmsite.org/20sintro.html the studios themselves
http://slate.msn.com/id/2619/ The economics of the studios- mostly 2005, but great back info.
www.gwu.edu/~elliott/news/lemondediplo.pdf the effects of the studio system
http://www.moderntimes.com/palace/huac.htm huac- the hunt for unamericans
http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/blacklist.html The Hollywood blacklist
http://www.caslon.com.au/censorshipguide15.htm Censorship from Hays to New Zealand- great link to
‘investigate an issue’
The Cinema Book (Pam Cook)
Making Movies (James Monaco)
The History of Film
SECTION 1: THE STUDIO SYSTEM : AN OVERVIEW
Some have compared the Hollywood studio system to a factory, and it is useful to remember that studios were
out to make money first and art second. Their product output in 1937 surged to over 500 feature films. By the
1980s, this figure dropped to an average of 100 films per year. During the Golden Age, the studios were
remarkably consistent and stable enterprises, due in large part to long-term management heads--the infamous
"movie moguls" who ruled their kingdoms with iron fists. At MGM, Warner Bros. and Columbia, the same
fabled immigrant showmen ran their studios for decades. Power, then, was definitely situated with the studio
The rise of the studio system also hinges on the treatment of stars, who were constructed and exploited to suit a
studio's image and schedule. Actors and actresses were contract players bound up in seven-year contracts to a
single studio, and the studio generally held all the options. Stars could be loaned out to other production
companies at any time. Studios could also force bad roles on actors, and control the minutiae of stars' images
with their mammoth in-house publicity departments.
During the classical
Hollywood era, each
renowned for a
certain genre of film
or a particular
roster of stars.
Spencer Tracy, Bing
Astaire and Ginger
Rogers were some
of the well-known
emerged during this
period. In addition,
the four actresses
shown on left
worked on such
classics as Susan
and God (1940),
She Done Him
Grand Hotel (1932)
Top row, from left
to right: Joan
and Mae West
Bottom row, from
left to right: Greta
American Film Institute
Garbo (MGM) and
Somewhat paradoxically, however, studios also had to cultivate flexibility and product differentiation, in addition
to consistent, factory output. Studio heads realized that they couldn't make the same film over and over again
with the same cast of stars and still expect to keep turning a profit. Examining how each production company
tried to differentiate itself from the rest of the market has led to loose characterizations of individual studios'
Niche studio styles
The biggest cache of stars (Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and Spencer Tracey, among others) and tended to put out
a lot of all-star productions, such as Grand Hotel (1932). Paramount excelled in comedy, having Mae West, W.C.
Fields, the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby at their disposal. Warner Bros. developed a reputation for
gritty social realism, ranging from gangster pictures, which were often based on newspaper headlines, to war
pictures and Westerns. 20th Century Fox forged the musical and a great deal of prestige biographies, such as
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).
RKO provided a haven for Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, etc.) and dance supernovas,
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. RKO also created King Kong (1933). Columbia's major claim was director
Frank Capra, including his masterpieces It Happened One Night (1934) and Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936),
Universal thrilled and terrified audiences with the original Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931) and The Wolf
Man (1941). United Artists, formed by silent greats Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, D.W. Griffith and Douglas
Fairbanks, specialized in distributing productions.
Despite the early proliferation of film production that occurred during the classical Hollywood period, studios
were also challenged by growing governmental censorship efforts that aimed to limit audience-pleasing films
filled with unnecessary sex and violence. The movies were born as a low form of entertainment, and early on
certain groups decried the movies' capacity to lower morals. Stars' scandalous cavorting--most notably, Fatty
Arbuckle's conviction for a kinky sex-related murder of a model in 1921--increasingly threatened the public's
good graces towards the motion-picture industry. By 1922, it looked as if the studios faced imminent government
Rather than risk government intervention, the studios put William Hays, former Postmaster General of the United
States, at the helm of the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America organization (MPPDA), in the
hopes of adequately self-censoring before the government intervened. The MPPDA also assembled a Production
Code in 1930, a document that outlined, in excruciating detail, what could not be shown or said in movies.
The MPPDA's efforts didn't really work because there was no real means of enforcing the Production Code.
Cinematic sex and violence continued to sell very well. So the early 1930s constitutes an amazingly steamy
period, epitomized in actress Mae West's controversial lines that were filled with double entendres and sexual
imagery: "I can make it happen when the shades go down," she purred. And audiences knew exactly what she
was referring to by "it."
In 1934, the MPPDA put Joseph Breen in charge of the newly-renamed censorship body, the Production Code
Administration (PCA). The PCA decided that films had to gain a seal signifying that they had met the moral
guidelines outlined in the Code. Otherwise, a film could not be exhibited and the studio had to pay a $25,000
fine. This finally gave the Production Code the authority it previously lacked.
The PCA followed a script from first draft through production, and often Breen would butt heads with studios
over a film's crossing the line from a moral perspective. The process generated a flurry of documents outlining
what had to be cut out and why. These documents, now housed in various archives in Los Angeles, California,
form a compelling social history of the attempt to develop movies that reflected the moral sentiments of the
Though this system ultimately broke down (the current rating system was adopted in 1968), the mesmerizing
power of movies to both exhilarate and corrupt audiences remains a central American preoccupation. For
example, Hollywood films are still criticized for the way in which they seduce underage viewers.
SECTION 2A: ORGANISATION OF THE STUDIO SYSTEM
FROM "ECONOMIC CONTROL OF THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY", MAE HUETTIG (1944)
Task: Use the information to answer the following questions.
Hollywood "a large inverted pyramid, top-heavy with real estate and theaters, resting on a
narrow base of the intangibles which constitute films."
THE FOCUS OF THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY WAS ON EXHIBITION, NOT
Therefore the Organisational Structure depended on:
1. Hollywood run from New York by execs close to Wall St., publishing and Broadway.
2. Those in charge of exhibition knew what the public wanted.
3. Those in charge of distribution knew what those in charge of exhibition wanted.
4. Ultimate decision on making pictures laying with CEO who:
- determined A and B picture budgets
- how much to spend on prestige pics
- tentative production schedules
Only at this point did a Hollywood based production dept. enter the fray.
- The Majors, or the Big Five owned substantial theatre chains
- The Majors raised the cash to acquire these chains through the public sale of bonds and stocks pre-
1929 taking on long term debt (reflected in presence of investment bankers, businessmen etc. on Motion
Picture Company boards)
"The production of films, essentially fluid and experimental as a process, is harnessed to a form of
organisation which can rarely afford to be either experimental or speculative because of the regularity with
which heavy fixed charges (debt) must be made." (Huettig)
How important was the ownership of theatres?
Theatres were the method of exhibition- and of revenue gathering in box office receipts. The Majors
owned Affiliated chains, which ranged from 200 – to 1500 theatres in size – accounting for 20% of total
HOWEVER – these cinemas accounted for 80% of 1st-run houses and the most profitable subsequent run
houses (generally located in major metropolitan areas). So these theaters accounted for 50% - 80% of the
Box Office in any given market.
Only in largest cities did majors’ theaters compete directly. Elsewhere they pooled their product for
nationwide distribution. Thus one company’s hit benefited all theatres.
Thus Huettig concluded that production and distribution were only important to the extent they enabled
the majors to maintain their favoured status in exhibition.
How to account for the "Little Three" – Universal, Columbia and UA
with very few theaters?
A: No one studio had the capacity to produce sufficient films to fill its subsequent run theaters which
needed up to 300 pics per annum. The little three filled this gap. Columbia and Universal mainly made B-
pics for the low end of the market. UA was purely a distributor for "a small group of elite independent
How important was Wall Street to the industry?
What were the CEO’s responsibilities?
Why was exhibition more important to the Motion Picture Studios than
production? (Who financed it)
Where did the Independent Producers fit in?
Graphing the Organisational Structure
Shareholders, Investors and financiers.
These were often from the East Coast
and were investing in order to make a
Exhibitors The Chief Executive
Box Office receipts show what
Deal directly with
films are popular (profitable)
Exhibitors and have to Makes the decisions about
provide a marketable deal. production schedules, budgets of
A and B movies and prestige pics.
The CEO was usually a large
shareholder, or founder of the
company, but was dependent on
Head Of Production
Made the day to day decisions about the studio, determined
individual film budgets and appointed producers.
SECTION 2B: STUDIO OWNERSHIP
Read the following article and then complete the tasks.
There were three tiers of studio ownership: The Big Five, The Little Three and the ‘Poverty Row’ independent
producers. The importance of the studios was based on vertical integration- ownership of the production, distribution
and exhibition of the movies.
By 1929, the film-making firms that had all three elements of vertical integration, and later ruled Hollywood were
known as The Big Five. They produced more than 90 percent of the fiction films in America and distributed their
films both nationally and internationally. Each studio somewhat differentiated its products from other studios.
The Big Five
The Big-Five studios had vast studios with elaborate sets for film production. They owned their own film-exhibiting
theatres (about 50% of the seating capacity in the US in mostly first-run houses in major cities), as well as
production and distribution facilities. They distributed their films to this network of studio-owned, first-run theaters (or
movie palaces), mostly in urban areas, which charged high ticket prices and drew huge audiences. They required
blind or block bookings of films, whereby theatre owners were required to rent a block of films (often cheaply-made,
less-desirable B-pictures) in order for the studio to agree to distribute the one prestige A-level picture that the theatre
owner wanted to exhibit. This technique set the terms for a film's release and patterns of exhibition and guaranteed
success for the studio's productions. [Monopolistic studio control lasted twenty years until the late 1940s, when a
federal decree (in U.S. vs. Paramount) ordered the studios to divest their theatres, similar to the rulings against the
MPPC - the Edison Trust.]
The Big Five Studios Logo
1. Warner Bros. Pictures, incorporated in 1923 by Polish brothers (Jack, Harry, Albert,
and Sam); the studio's first principal asset was Rin Tin Tin; became prominent by
1927 due to its introduction of talkies (The Jazz Singer (1927)) and early 30s
gangster films; it was known as the "Depression studio"; in the 40s, it specialized in
Bugs Bunny animations and other cartoons
2. Adolph Zukor's Famous Players (1912) and Jesse Lasky's Feature Play - merged
in 1916 to form Famous Players-Lasky Corporation; it spent $1 million on United
Studios' property (on Marathon Street) in 1926; the Famous Players-Lasky
Corporation became Paramount studios in 1927, and was officially named
Paramount Pictures in 1935; its greatest silent era stars were Mary Pickford and
Douglas Fairbanks; Golden Age stars included Mae West, W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby,
Bob Hope, and director Cecil B. DeMille
3. RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures, evolved from the Mutual Film Corporation
(1912), was established in 1928 as a subsidiary of RCA; it was formed by RCA,
Keith-Orpheum Theaters, and the FBO Company (Film Booker's Organization) -
which was owned by Joseph P. Kennedy (who had already purchased what
remained of Mutual); this was the smallest studio of the majors; kept financially
afloat with top-grossing Astaire-Rogers musicals in the 30s, King Kong (1933), and
Citizen Kane (1941); at one time, RKO was acquired by eccentric millionaire
4. MGM, first named Metro-Goldwyn Pictures, was ultimately formed in 1924 from
the merger of three US film production companies: Metro Pictures Corporation
(1916), Goldwyn Pictures Corporation (1917), and the Louis B. Mayer Pictures
Company (1918); Irving Thalberg (nicknamed the 'boy wonder') was head of
production at MGM from 1924 until his death in 1936; the famous MGM lion roar in
the studio's opening logo was first recorded and viewed in a film in 1928; its greatest
early successes were, The Wizard of Oz (1939), as well as Tarzan films, Tom and
Jerry cartoons, and stars such as Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and Spencer Tracy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
5. Fox Film Corporation, founded in 1912 by NY nickelodeon owner William Fox, was
known for Fox Movietone newsreels; it later became 20th-Century Fox, formed
through merger of 20th Century Pictures Company (founded in 1933 by Darryl
Zanuck) and Fox in 1935; famous for Betty Grable musicals in the 40s
The Minor Film Studios: The Little Three
Three smaller, minor studios were dubbed The Little Three, because each of them lacked one of the three elements
required in vertical integration - owning their own theaters:
The Little Three Studios Logo
1. Universal Pictures, (or Universal Film Manufacturing Co), founded by Carl
Laemmle in 1912; formed from a merger of Laemmle's own IMP -
Independent Motion Picture Company (founded in 1909) with Bison 101,
the U. S. production facilities of French studio Éclair, Nestor Film Co., and
several other film companies; its first successes were W.C. Fields and Abbott
and Costello comedies, the Flash Gordon serial, and Woody Woodpecker
2. United Artists, formed in 1919 by movie industry icons Mary Pickford,
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Charlie Chaplin, and director D.W. Griffith as an
independent company to produce and distribute their films; United Artists
utilized an 18-acre property owned by Pickford and Fairbanks, known as the
Pickford-Fairbanks Studio, and later named United Artists Studio in the
3. Columbia Pictures, originally the C.B.C. Films Sales Company in 1920
founded by brothers Jack and Harry Cohn, and Joseph Brandt, and officially
named Columbia in 1924; their studios opened at the old location of Christie-
Nestor Studios; established prominence with It Happened One Night (1934),
Rita Hayworth films, Lost Horizon (1937), The Jolson Story (1946), and
"Poverty Row" Studios and Other Independents:
Other studios or independents also existed in a shabby area in Hollywood dubbed "Poverty Row" (Sunset Blvd.
and Gower Street) where cheap, independent pictures were made with low budgets, stock footage, and second-tier
actors. It was the site of Harry and Jack Cohn's new business, the C.B.C. Films Sales Company (later becoming
Columbia Pictures). Many of the films of the independents were either horror films, westerns, science-fiction, or
• Disney Studios - specializing in animation; Walt and Roy Disney originally opened their first studio in 1923
in Los Angeles in the back of the Holly-Vermont Realty office, and called it Disney Bros. Studio; in a few
years, they opened a new facility in downtown LA; in the late 30s, they relocated to a 51-acre lot in Burbank,
and changed their name to Walt Disney Productions
• the Monogram Picture Corporation - Rayart Pictures, which had taken over the old Selig Studio in Echo
Park in 1924, became Monogram Pictures in 1930; it was founded by W. Ray Johnston to make mostly
inexpensive Westerns and series (Charlie Chan, the Bowery Boys, etc.)
• Selznick International Pictures / David O. Selznick - it was formed in 1935 and headed up by David O.
Selznick (previously the head of production at RKO), the son of independent film producer Lewis J. Selznick,
the founder of Selznick Pictures
• Samuel Goldwyn Pictures - headed up by independent film producer Samuel L. Goldwyn
• 20th Century Pictures - formed in 1933 by Darryl Zanuck (head of production at Warner Brothers) with
Joseph Schenck, brother of Nicholas Schenck, president of Loew's, Inc., the parent company of MGM; in
1935, the Fox Film Corporation merged with 20th Century Pictures to become 20th Century-Fox, with
Zanuck as president
• Republic Pictures - founded in 1935 by the merger of smaller 'poverty row' studios:
Write a definition for each of these terms:
Big Five ____________________________________________________
Little Three ____________________________________________________
Poverty Row ____________________________________________________
Vertical Integration ____________________________________________________
Block Booking ____________________________________________________
What were two main differences between the Big Five and the Little Three?
Why was Block Booking bad for the exhibitors?
How did the Independent Studios survive?
Draw a graph that shows and explains the system of Studio Ownership.
SECTION 2C: FINANCING
THE HOLLYWOOD STUDIO SYSTEM (1930 – 1949)
Read the article and complete the following tasks
The HSS was the system that enabled the US film industry to dominate the world. It was an
extremely effective system for producing large quantities of films for a mass audience. Its impact
and methodology still has relevance today.
Prior to 1908 the film industry was something of a free-for-all. Various people were developing
and using film technology. In 1908 the MPPC (Motion Pictures Patents Company) was
established. The MPPC was a coalition of the major production companies who were keen to
control all aspects of the film industry as cinema was becoming hugely popular thus offering
considerable profits. The MPPC allowed these companies to monopolise the industry.
This did not please the independent distributors who found their “share of the pie” had
As a result the film distributors began to relocate to Hollywood and move into film production. For
the production of films Hollywood had certain advantages over the East Coast (where production
had previously been based).
1. low land prices
2. attractive climates (films were shot on uncovered sets)
3. disparate locations within a short distance
4. cheap labour
5. being far away from the MPPC.
They also sued the MPPC under anti-trust laws (a US version of the monopolies and mergers
commission) resulting in its dissolution in 1915.
Aided by the events of WW1, Hollywood was producing 90% of American films, exporting
massively abroad, and it was the most important film industry in the world.
An oligopoly is a situation where a market is completely dominated by a small number of
companies limiting competition.
By 1930 eight studios dominated Hollywood:
The Big 5 (majors): MGM, Paramount, RKO, Fox, Warner Bros.
The Little 3 (minors): Columbia, United Artists and Universal.
The majors were Vertically Integrated meaning they exercised control over production,
distribution and exhibition. The minors did not control exhibition but had access to the major’s
Vertical integration means that the major studios made, released and marketed their films, even
owning the cinemas in which they were shown. Exhibition was the most profitable sector of the
film industry – Pre TV and Video; box-office receipts were the source of income for recouping the
money spent on making films. It made sense for the film studios to want all of those profits for
themselves. They did not own all the cinemas in the US (approx. 16%) but the ones that they did
own were the “first-run” cinemas that got the most popular films exclusively before their
competitors (as a result they delivered 75% of all theatrical revenues).
The advantages of this system were that the majors controlled the money and power within the
A practise devised by Zukor at Paramount, meant that the film studios were able to force
independent film exhibitors to buy the cheaper and less high quality films produced by the majors
in order to get the high quality features they wanted. Films were booked in blocks rather than
individually (this could even be done before the films were finished. “A” films (featuring major
stars and decent production values) could only be booked along with cheaper “B” films – thus
guaranteeing audiences for all of the studio’s output regardless of quality.
The Contract System:
As part of this approach to filmmaking all staff involved with producing a film were signed to long-
term, permanent contracts with the studios.
This included stars who were typically contracted to a studio for 7 years. The contracts were
such that the star had no choice in the films that they had to make or how many (they would have
to make several each year). Despite being crucial to the marketing of films (helping differentiate
between what were often very similar films), stars had very little power. If they refused to do a
film they would be suspended without pay and their contracts would then be extended (by 1 and
half times the duration of the film’s production). Frequently stars would be lent out to other
Give five reasons for the establishment of a movie industry in Hollywood.
Explain what an oligopoly is and at least one positive (good) and one negative (bad) effect.
Explain what block booking was.
Draw a ‘T’ chart with the positive and negative effects of block booking.
Why was the contract system good for the studios?
3A: PRODUCTION PROCESS
Read the article and complete the following tasks
Assembly Line Production:
In order to meet audience demand during this period each of the studios were producing on
average one film per week. The production of this vast amount of films was achieved by the
studios modelling themselves on factories.
Just as the production of a car was divided into discrete tasks (different people put the doors on
to those that fit the windscreen) filmmaking was approached in the same way.
Everybody involved with making the film (other than the producer) were simply salaried staff,
there to perform their function. Once this function was completed they would simply move onto
the next project. So a director would be given a project only after a writing team had finished the
screenplay, other personnel would be selected for him and once the film had been shot, the
project would pass onto the editors.
The only person who saw the film through the complete process would be the associate producer
who monitored shooting schedules, budgets, etc. for each of their films. As these men were
focused on making money rather than creativity they were primarily concerned with ensuring that
films ran to schedule and budget. These associate producers were answerable to the Head of
production, who was responsible for making sure the studio made money.
As a result of these techniques studios became associated with particular styles of film – e.g.
Paramount’s European style sophistication and lavish dramas or Warner Brother’s working class
Genre served the purposes of the Hollywood Studio System for 2 reasons:
1. They offered financial guarantee (by guaranteeing the audience for the film). Because the
films are formulaic, they could be recycled repeatedly, ensuring consistency. Studios
could target, select and predict audiences on the basis of genre. Generic films could be
pre-sold to a particular audience (along with the appopriate star) as audiences could be
sure they would get the pleasure of the kind of characters, story-lines and outcomes they
2. They saved the studios money, as genre meant that the studios could re-use sets, props,
costumes, story-lines, etc. repeatedly.
The US underwent a series of traumas between 1929 and 1949 including – the Wall St. Crash,
The Great Depression and WW2. Rather than these crises having a negative effect on the film
industry, Hollywood flourished by offering escapism from the everyday problems people suffered.
Also Hollywood enjoyed governmental support as an “essential industry”, disseminating
propaganda during the war.
Draw a diagram explaining Assembly line production. Remember to include the various stages of
the production process.
What relationship did the writer, director and post production crew have with each other? Why?
Who were the key personnel?
Why were genre films increasingly made in the 1930’s and 40’s?
SECTION 3.B: KEY PERSONNEL AND RELATIONSHIPS.
Now that you know who the key personnel are, summarise the relationship between the
Executive Producer and the director.
Explain why there may have been no contact between the writer, director and post production
What positive and negative outcomes can you see resulting from this approach?
Using your notes so far, complete the diagram. Each box should have a job title and description,
along with their responsibilities.
Shareholders, Investors and financiers.
These were often from the East Coast
and were investing in order to make a
Exhibitors The Chief Executive
Box Office receipts show what Distributors Officer
films are popular (profitable) Deal directly with Makes the decisions about
Exhibitors and have to production schedules, budgets of
provide a marketable deal. A and B movies and prestige pics.
The CEO was usually a large
shareholder, or founder of the
company, but was dependent on
Head Of Production
Made the day to day decisions about the studio, determined
individual film budgets and appointed producers.
APPENDIX 3.1: THE DECLINE OF THE
HOLLYWOOD STUDIO SYSTEM.
By 1949 the HSS was in decline, a decline that ultimately ended the Studio System. This is not
to say that the studios did not survive, indeed other than RKO all of the major studios remain
major players within the film industry. Likewise, Hollywood’s dominance of the film industry
However the decline of the HSS was such that it transformed the industry to such extent that
Hollywood, and the film industry generally, would never be as successful again.
There were a variety of interrelated factors that contributed to the studio system’s decline:
1. Divorcement: In 1948 the US courts required the studios to divorce production,
distribution from exhibition because the practice broke anti-trust laws. This brought an
end to Vertical Integration, effectively ending the oligopoly of the studios – especially as
the studios had abandoned block booking earlier in the decade.
2. The huge demand for films in the 1940s meant that several independent production
companies were able to establish themselves. Indeed the major studios were sub-
contracting work to such companies. This meant there was at least some competition for
3. Stars began to seek greater independence from the studios. In 1943 Olivia
DeHavilland had taken Warner Bros. to court over her contract with them. This lead to
fixed term contracts replacing the 7-year – unlimited contracts. This gave the hugely
popular stars far more power to negotiate and also benefited the crew.
4. The workforce also organised themselves far more effectively, forming trade unions
whose demands drove up the cost of production, and help end unreasonable working
5. The worldwide market for Hollywood films was limited as other countries placed
import tariffs on the studio’s products. At the same time audience’s interests in European
Art Cinema enjoyed a revival.
6. Television competed with cinema after 1948. During the 1950s TV became the
dominant leisure pursuit.
7. The popularity of television was partly based on wider social trends in the US. People
were increasingly moving from urban areas to suburbia – affecting the popularity of the
city centre cinemas. Also, people were buying their own houses rather than renting.
When this happens the focus of people’s leisure interests changes – becoming
increasingly home based (DIY and TV, not Cinema and eating out).
Increased costs of production, decreasing revenues (the result of audiences falling by half
between 1946-56) and the closure of 4000 cinemas meant that there was no longer a
guaranteed market for the films they produced. As such the assembly line system of production
was no longer relevant.
SECTION 4: CONTROLS
Using what you already know about making movies in the Studio era, complete the chart
below. Use the notes in the rest of this booklet to find information if you don’t remember.
Section 4a: Controls
Controls are factors that control the production of movies
Internal Controls include production processes, editorial policy, commercial considerations,
codes and quality controls.
External controls include government and societal agencies, pressure groups, market demands,
codes and industrial standards.
Note: For this section, it is important to know a little about American history. When Hitler invaded
Poland and started World War 2, the U.S.A government did not want to get involved. However, a
large number of Americans thought that it was important to stand up and fight Hitler as they
believed he was a threat to democracy. Those that wanted to stay out of the war, and isolated
were called Isolationists. Those that thought America should get involved and intervene (many
Hollywood studio directors), were called Interventionists. It wasn’t until the bombing of Pearl
Harbour, an American base that the Isolationists decided to join the war.
Summary of Controls and Effects
Internal controls Definition Effect
A or B grade movie? This influences budget
Casting ‘B’ or ‘A’ list stars
Assembly line process A common ‘vision’ isn’t shared
All films have a similar style
(Production Process) ‘Auteur’ non-existent
Contract system Casting depends on who is on
Consideration) Can mean bad casting
Block Booking The need for a certain amount of
(Commercial ‘A’ and ‘B’ movies
Production Code Means scripts have to be
(Industry code of rewritten to get censor approval
Practise.) Some subject matter isn’t dealt
with, like abortion , or can only be
shown if they are ‘punished’ like
External Controls Definition Effects
SECTION 4B: THE PRODUCTION CODE – AN INTERNAL
Read the article and complete the following tasks
Ever notice that films of the 1930s and 40s
• meander around topics of sex?
• hide violence behind foreground objects or within shadows?
• never treat serious subjects dealt with in the best-regarded novels of the era?
In noticing these, you’ve seen instances where the Production Code Administration had their
way against the wishes of filmmakers. The Production Code Administration scuttled, weakened
or diluted numerous scenes proposed by writers and directors of Hollywood films from 1934 to
Are you ready to learn about the Production Code and the
Production Code Administration of the Motion Picture Producers
& Distributors of America?
When the Code went into effect in July 1934, all movies from the
major studios appeared on screen preceded by an MPPDA
“approved” logo like this one. Just what the moviemakers had
done to bring on this Code — and what they would continue to
do even as the Code was bearing down on the less creative —
is the subject that you now have the opportunity to delve into
The Production Code of the Motion Picture Industry (1930-1968)
Movies from 1930 to 1968 were governed by a Production Code. Scenes that violated,
challenged or stretched the limits of the Code are described. (The dates above, 1930 to 1968,
may be misleading because from 1930 to mid-1934, numerous movies were released without
penalty or remedial action even though the movies did not conform to the requirements of the
The Production Code came into being because the owners of the major Hollywood
movie studios sought to stave off the threat of a national government-run
censorship operation. They also wanted to assure concerned civic leaders
throughout the United States that Hollywood would deliver only wholesome movies
and thus that there was no further editing to be done by the state and local
censorship boards that had sprung up during the decade preceding the Code.
The Studio Relations Committee was organized, in 1930, by the already-extant
organization the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA)
and given the responsibility for the administration of industry self-censorship. The
Studio Relations Committee was reconstituted as the Production Code
Administration in 1934, after which it was more effective.
The Production Code was adopted March 31, 1930, although it would be modified
over the years.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Production Code (also known as the Hays Code) was a set of guidelines governing the production of
motion pictures. The Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA, later to become
the Motion Picture Association of America or MPAA) adopted the code in 1930, began effectively
enforcing it in 1934, and abandoned it in 1967. The Production Code spelled out what was and was not
considered morally acceptable in the production of United States motion pictures.
As adopted in 1930, the code had no effective method of enforcement. A mechanism for enforcement was
created in 1934. For the following twenty years or so, virtually all motion pictures produced in the United
States adhered to the code.
The Production Code was not created or enforced by federal, state or city governments. In fact, the
Hollywood studios adopted the code in large part in the hopes of avoiding government censorship—
preferring self-regulation to government regulation. Thus, adherence to the code was always mostly
voluntary. In the mid-1950s, a few major producers began to openly challenge the Code. By the mid-
1960s, Code enforcement had become virtually impossible. The Code was abandoned in 1967 and
replaced, in 1968, with the MPAA film rating system.
Before the Production Code
Before the adoption of the Production Code, many perceived motion pictures as being immoral and
thought they promoted vice and glorified violence. Numerous local censorship boards had been
established, and approximately 100 cities across the country had local censorship laws. Motion picture
producers feared that the federal government might step in.
In the early 1920s, three major scandals had rocked Hollywood: the manslaughter trials of comedy star
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle (who was charged with being responsible for the death of actress Virginia Rappe
at a wild party), the murder of director William Desmond Taylor (and the revelations regarding his
lifestyle), and the drug-related death of popular actor Wallace Reid. These stories, which happened almost
simultaneously, were sensationalized in the press, and grabbed headlines across the country. They seemed
to confirm a perception that many had of Hollywood—that it was "Sin City".
Public outcry over perceived immorality, both in Hollywood and in the movies, led to the creation, in
1922, of the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (which became the Motion Picture
Association of America in 1945). Intended to project a positive image of the movie industry, the
association was headed by Will H. Hays, who had previously been United States Postmaster General and
the campaign manager for President Warren G. Harding. Hays pledged to impose a set of moral standards
on the movies.
Hays spent eight years attempting to enforce a moral authority over Hollywood films, with little effect. The
Hays office did issue a list of "Don'ts" and "Be Carefuls" in 1927, but film-makers continued to do pretty
much what they wanted.
1930 to 1934: the 'pre-Code' era
With the advent of talking pictures in 1927, it was felt that a more formal written code was needed. The
Production Code was written, and adopted on March 31, 1930, but no provisions were made for effective
enforcement. The period between 1930 and 1934 is often referred to as the 'pre-Code' era because, even
though the Code existed, studios mostly ignored it.
This and future codes were often called the Hays Code due to its leadership. Although Hays' name is thus
often associated with censorship, he was fairly mild-mannered and easily persuaded and manipulated.
1934 changes to the Code
The MPPDA responded to criticism of the racy and violent pre-Code films by strengthening the Code. An
amendment to the Code, adopted on June 13, 1934, established the Production Code Administration, and
required all films to obtain a certificate of approval before being released. Joseph I. Breen was appointed
head of the new Production Code Administration. The Code was further fortified by the creation of the
Catholic Legion of Decency, which designated "indecent" films that Catholics should boycott.
Under Breen's leadership, enforcement of the Production Code became rigid and notorious. The Code
prohibited any reference in a motion picture to illicit drugs, homosexuality, premarital sex, profanity,
prostitution, and white slavery. Films could still be violent, and feature heterosexual romance. Smoking
cigarettes was still allowed and even encouraged. Films could not endorse hatred of a racial or ethnic
group, but the Code also prohibited interracial relationships or marriages. The power of Breen to change
scripts and scenes angered many writers, directors, and Hollywood moguls.
The first major instance of censorship under the Production Code involved the 1934 film Tarzan and his
Mate, in which brief nude scenes involving a body double for actress Maureen O'Sullivan were edited out
of the master print of the film. Another famous case of enforcement, dramatized in the 2004 Martin
Scorsese film The Aviator, involved the 1943 western The Outlaw, produced by Howard Hughes. The
movie was denied a certificate of approval and kept out of theaters for years, primarily because promotion
for the film focused attention almost exclusively on Jane Russell's breasts. Eventually Hughes was able to
persuade Breen that the breasts did not violate the code and the film could be shown.
Provisions of the Code
The Production Code spelled out specific restrictions on movie language and behavior, particularly sex and
crime—though Hollywood developed ways to get around some of these restrictions and keep audiences
coming back to the theaters. It prohibited nudity, suggestive dances, and the ridicule of religion. It forbade
the depiction of illegal drug use, venereal disease, childbirth, and pregnancy outside of marriage. The
language section banned dozens of "offensive" words and phrases, leading to the shocked outcry from
many moviegoers when the film Gone with the Wind included the word "damn." Criminal activity could
not be depicted on film in a way that led viewers to sympathize with criminals. Murder scenes had to be
filmed in a way that would discourage imitations in real life, and brutal killings could not be shown in
detail. The sanctity of marriage and the home had to be upheld. Adultery and illicit sex, although
recognized as sometimes necessary to the plot, could not be explicit or justified and were not supposed to
be presented as an attractive option.
The 1950s and early 1960s
Hollywood worked within the confines of the Production Code until the late 1950s, by which time the
"Golden Age Of Hollywood" had ended, and the movies were faced with very serious competitive threats.
Vertical integration in the movie industry had been found to violate anti-trust laws, and studios had been
forced to give up ownership of theatres by the Paramount Case. The studios had no way to keep foreign
films out, and the foreign films weren't bound by the Production Code. The anti-trust rulings also helped
pave the way for independent art houses that would show films created by people such as Andy Warhol
and others working outside the studio system.
Finally, a boycott from the Catholic Legion of Decency no longer guaranteed a commercial failure, and
thus the Code prohibitions began to vanish when Hollywood producers would ignore the Code and were
still able to earn profits.
SOME OF THE RULES FROM THE PRODUCTION CODE…
Crimes Against the Law
shall never be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and justice or to inspire
others with a desire for imitation.
(a) The technique of murder must be presented in a way that will not inspire imitation.
(b) Brutal killings are not to be presented in detail.
(c) Revenge in modern times shall not be justified.
(d) Mercy killing shall never be made to seem right or permissable. (Added Later)
2. Methods of crime should not be explicitly presented.
(a) Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc., should not be detailed in method.
(b) Arson must be subject to the same safeguards.
(c) The use of firearms should be restricted to essentials.
(d) Methods of smuggling should not be presented.
3. The illegal drug traffic must not be portrayed in such a way as to stimulate curiosity concerning the use of, or
traffic in, such drugs; nor shall scenes be approved which show the use of illegal drugs, or their effects, in detail.
The use of liquor in American life, when not required by the plot or for proper characterization, will not be shown.
The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex
relationship are the accepted or common thing.
1. Adultery and illicit sex, sometimes necessary plot material, must not be explicitly treated or justified, or
2. Scenes of passion
(a) These should not be introduced except where they are definitely essential to the plot.
Excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures are not to be shown.
In general, passion should be treated in such manner as not to stimulate the lower and baser emotions.
3. Seduction or rape
(a) These should never be more than suggested, and then only when essential for the plot. They must never be
shown by explicit method.
(b) They are never the proper subject for comedy.
4. Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.
5. White slavery shall not be treated.
6. Miscegenation (sex relationship between the white and black races) is forbidden.
7. Sex hygiene and venereal diseases are not proper subjects for theatrical motion pictures.
8. Scenes of actual childbirth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented.
9. Children's sex organs are never to be exposed.
The treatment of low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects should be guided always by the
dictates of good taste and a proper regard for the sensibilities of the audience.
Obscenity in word, gesture, reference, song, joke or by suggestion (even when likely to be understood only by part
of the audience) is forbidden.
Pointed profanity (this includes God, Lord, Jesus, Christ—unless used reverently—Hell, S.O.B., damn, Gawd), or
other profane or vulgar expressions, however used, is forbidden.
Pointed profanity and every other profane or vulgar expression, however used, is forbidden.
Complete nudity is never permitted. This includes nudity in fact or in silhouette, or any licentious notice thereof by
other characters in the pictures.
Undressing scenes should be avoided, and never used save where essential to the plot.
Indecent or undue exposure is forbidden.
Dancing costumes intended to permit undue exposure of indecent movements in the dance are forbidden.
Dances suggesting or representing sexual actions or indecent passion are forbidden.
Dances which emphasize indecent movements are to be regarded as obscene.
No film or episode may throw ridicule on any religious faith.
Ministers of religion in their character as ministers of religion should not be used as comic characters or as villains.
The treatment of bedrooms must be governed by good taste and delicacy.
Tasks: Complete the timeline
This shows the developments in the production code.
1941 First film to meet opposition was ____________________
Why was the code introduced?
What was censored under the production code (Summarise)
What impact did it have on the type of material that could become a film?
What ,might be some problems for movie makers in using the production code?
SECTION 4C: ESSENTIAL INDUSTRY STATUS- AN EXTERNAL
With the start of the 1940s, the war in Europe drew ever nearer to American shores. Try as it might to
perpetuate the escapist fantasy of the 1930s, Hollywood grew ever more aware of the impending conflict.
It became time for Hollywood to once again take up the propagandist role. A few propaganda films began
to inch onto the screens, taking potshots at the old German nemisis. These early attempts invoked the
wrath of congressional isolationists. On September 9, 1941, a battle began between the best talent in
Hollywood and the U.S. Senate as isolationists sought to curb the interventionalist tone Hollywood had
begun to take. The hearings adjourned after three weeks, but the debate about what role Hollywood should
play in propaganda continued. In October of 1941, Senate Resolution 152 was enacted, calling for
thorough and complete investigation of any film propaganda.
The debate ended on December 7, 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Following the Pearl Harbor
attack, President Roosevelt cited Hollywood for its role during the wartime period, claiming that the
motion picture was the most effective medium to inform the nation. By June of 1942, the Office of War
Information had become the official guardian of the film industry, supervising the Hollywood propaganda
machine. Studios churned out countless movies glorifying the war, the men who served in it, and the
American homefront which supported them. At the same time, other films reminded the moviegoer of what
the fighting was for: the preservation of American culture and history. Hollywood stars set examples,
joined the services and went on USO tours, sold bonds, and promoted scrap drives. When World War II
ended, the film industry could congratulate itself for a job well done. Hollywood went to war for the
mobilization effort, and returned victorious.
Office of War Information
For the benefit of both your studio and the Office of War Information it would
be advisable to establish a routine procedure whereby our Hollywood office
would recieve copies of studio treatments or synopses of all stories which
you contemplate producing and of the finished scripts. This will enable us to
make suggestions as to the war content of motion pictures at a stage when it
is easy and inexpensive to make any changes which might be recommended.
-Lowell Mellett (FDR presidential liaison to media) to studio heads, December 9, 1942 (4)
The Office of War Information (OWI) was one of the numerous government bureaucracies created by the
total mobilization effort of the Victory Program. On June 13, 1942, the White House announced the
creation of the OWI and the appointment of its chief, Elmer Davis. OWI was to undertake campaigns to
enhance public understanding of the war at home and abroad; to coordinate government information
activities; and to handle liaison with the press, radio, and motion pictures. In effect, the OWI was charged
with selling the war. The agency issued elaborate guidelines, divided into numerous categories, to insure
conformity in every film. OWI asked film makers to consider the following seven questions before
producing a movie:
• Will this picture help win the war?
• What war information problem does it seek to clarify, dramatize, or interpret?
• If it is an "escape" picture, will it harm the war effort by creating a false picture of America, her allies, or
the world we live in?
• Does it merely use the war as the basis for a profitable picture, contributing nothing of real significance
to the war effort and possibly lessening the effect of other pictures of more importance?
• Does it contribute something new to our understanding of the world conflict and the various forces
involved, or has the subject already been adequately covered?
• When the picture reaches its maximum circulation on the screen, will it reflect conditions as they are and
fill a need current at that time, or will it be out-dated?
• Does the picture tell the truth or will the young people of today have reason to say they were misled by
This last question was, at first, a consideration of extreme importance for OWI. The agency, which was
often classified as "liberal" by other branches of the government, started out with the intention of truthfully
representing the war. Films like Casablanca genuinely attempted to inform the moviegoing audience of the
causes of and reasons for the war. The OWI sought to avoid hate pictures, providing instead a balanced
view. These good intentions quickly dissolved, though, as the OWI found it necessary to crack down on
the motion picture industry. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hollywood turned out numerous anti-
Japanese films, some of them quite racist. Particularly, the mid-summer 1942 Little Tokyo, U.S.A.,which
dealt with the controversial subject of Japanese internment, caused the OWI to crack down on the artistic
license of Hollywood. As the OWI became more regulatory, truthfulness gave way to the use of
sentimental symbolism to manipulate opinion by denying or clouding relevant information. By the end of
World War II, the OWI had a heavy hand in all production coming out of Hollywood.
The Battle Ground
A year of bad news IN 1942 left the American public fearing that, perhaps, "we could have lost that war,
and were within inches of losing it..." (6) The grim atmosphere of 1942 caused the OWI to take "Will this
picture help the war?" quite seriously. Every act seemed to carry great importance for the war. OWI
decided that drastic measures were needed to bring Hollywood in line with the agency's propaganda
The tightened control of the motion picture industry resulted in an outpouring of films about war.
Hollywood produced numerous battle films dealing directly with the conflict, in an effort to offset the
ominous events following Pearl Harbor. These films offered the same theme: as in World War I, the Yanks
were coming. The early battles were lost, but final victory would belong to America. Film after film
pictured Americans routing their enemies and liberating enslaved nations. While many of these war films
were turkeys, some represent World War II Hollywood at its best. Films like Sahara, Bataan, Flying
Tigers, Guadalcanal Diary,andWake Island represent not only the best of Hollywood's persuasive skills,
but also classic cinema.
These films filled a void left by the depressing news from the fronts. Later, when the tides turned toward
victory, the battle-film genre served to glorify American military spirit.
But what about the issues facing the home front? The fact that, by the final phase of World War II, less
than one-third of all films were directly connected to the war indicates that Hollywood did not spend the
entire war period shooting down Japanese planes and exploding Nazi tanks. Hollywood turned to different
genres: the comedy, musical, and nostalgia films. However, these films served just as much propaganda
purpose as did the battle films.
Courage, Comedy, and American Nostalgia
While American soldiers were off fighting the Axis powers in faraway places, civilians at home found
their normal way of life completely altered. Consumer goods became limited as rationing went into effect:
crude oil, rubber, butter, meat, canned goods, clothing and shoes were all in short supply. Unacustomed to
such constraits, Americans chaffed under the restrictions of home front mobilization. The one place where
the public could still spend its money freely was at the movies. The OWI recognized the discontent of the
average American, and sought to counterbalance this mobilization effect with entertainment. OWI enlisted
the help of Hollywood to bolster the morale of the American public. Hollywood responded with
enthusiasm-if there was one subjrect Hollywood producers thought they knew, it was America. The
Hollywood propaganda machine pured out countless morale films, in an effort to sustain spirits on the
home front. Stuios produced upbeat stories with happy endings about people who were beautiful, witty,
and successful, but not so far removed from a middle class norm as to make it difficult for audiences to
identify with the actors. The films presented an idealized version of American society, glorifying the
average citizen who made personal sacrifices for the war effort. Hollywood and the OWI found that they
could use similar sacred and sentimental symbols in the propaganda effort. In fact, the most popular
movies of World War 2 were usually musicals with up beat stories.
Task: Complete the timeline for the Essential Industry
13-Jun 1942 _________________________________________________________
Why was the office of war information involved?
Why might movie production have been considered an ‘essential industry’?
What were the questions that the Office of War Information considered when
Would a movie that showed the Japanese in a sympathetic manner have been
made? Give reasons.
What types of movies were to be made?
SECTION 5: THE STUDIO SYSTEM IN ACTION:
CASABLANCA: A CASE STUDy
Running time: 102 (or 82) minutes
Black and white
directed by Michael Curtiz
written by Philip G. Epstein, Howard
Koch and Julius J. Epstein
based on the play Everybody Comes
to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan
cinematogher, Arthur Edeson
music by Max Steiner
edited by Owen Marks
Humphrey Bogart (Richard "Rick"
Ingrid Bergman (lisa Lund)
Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo)
Claude Rains (Captain Louis
Peter Lorre (Ugarte)
Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser)
Sydney Greenstreet (Senor Ferrari)
SECTION 5A:THE MAKING OF CASABLANCA
Read the article, view the documentary and answer the questions
It's Almost the Same Old Story: When the Legend Becomes Fact, Print
While we are waiting for the book about Casablanca in the BFI Film Classics Series, I would like to call
attention to two not-so-recent books of the type "the making of..." Though the books in some ways are very
alike - e.g. the organization of the material, with a chronological account of the making of the film from
the original play (bought by Warner Bros) until the opening of the finished film, the later fate of the film,
TV spin-offs, and a number of critics' analyses of the film - the two books complement each other rather
nicely. Neither of the authors seems to know the other (or the other's project), and having drawn on the
same sources, mainly the Warner Bros Archives at the University of Southern California, they inevitably
overlap: the same story, the same anecdotes, and the same debunkable myths!
Among the many legends about Casablanca is the question
of who wrote the script. In an article from 1973,
screenwriter Howard Koch took credit for most of the script
and was generally believed, but much of the raw material
can be found in Murray Burnett & Joan Alison's play,
Everybody Comes to Rick's, and that dozens of lines made
the transition unchanged. Because of the standard studio
practice of using multiple writers, four writers are
responsible for the script: roughly speaking, Howard Koch's
largest contribution (he was on the film for seven weeks)
was in making the film more political and giving it weight
and significance; the Epstein brothers (who worked for
twelve weeks) gave the film its sparkling dialogue and wit,
and, to further complicate things, besides the fact that
several late drafts bear no writer credit, they rewrote each
other's material, so "(w)ith delicate balance, Koch managed
to hold down the gags while the Epsteins managed to cut the
preaching";  and in between was Casey Robinson,
Warner Bros' highest paid screenwriter, who took three
weeks to straighten out the love story, changing the Ilsa
character of the play from an American tramp into a
romantic European heroine.
Censorship and Casablanca
Even - of all people - Joseph I. Breen, head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association,
contributed positively to Casablanca. Regarding the scene in Rick's apartment in Casablanca, when Ilsa
tries to get the exit visas, Breen suggested: "The present material seems to contain a suggestion of a sex
affair which would be unacceptable if it came through in the finished picture. We believe this could
possibly be corrected by replacing the fade out on page 135 with a dissolve, and shooting the succeeding
scene without any sign of a bed or couch, or anything whatever suggestive of a sex affair."
Another persistent myth is that nobody knew how the film would end. Bergman said that when she asked
the writers which man she would end up with, they answered that they had not decided yet. But Breen
would never have allowed Ilsa to forsake her husband and stay with her lover, and due to the war (in mid-
1942 the German armies were still victorious) Rick could never have been arrested or killed. The problem
was simply how to make the ending work.
And when the shooting at the airport (on one of WB's stages) finished, there were still eleven days left, so
Bergman knew exactly what Ilsa felt about the two men before she played several earlier scenes with
Bogart and Henreid.
Making The Movie
Casablanca truly is "the most decisive exception to the auteur theory."because although Curtiz was the
film’s director, Hal Wallis is conisered the film's true creator (if authorship is to be narrowed down to one
person). Miller writes: "Of all the artists who helped create Casablanca, the one whose overall influence
was the strongest was producer Hall Wallis." Harwitz writes: "Hal Wallis was the creative force behind
Casablanca… It is impossible to read through the hundreds of memos Wallis sent and received without
understanding how thoroughly he shaped the movie, from the quality of the lighting to the exact details of
the costumes to his insistance on a live parrot outside the Blue Parrot Café."
Curtiz is portrayed in a poor light in the two books, especially in Harmetz's. He was respected much more
for his professionalism than his artistic achievements (from 1927 to 1961 he directed 101 movies,
sometimes five a year) but was apparently disliked or downright hated by most, except producers, who
admired his workaholism, which he tried to force on everyone, sometimes causing actors and crew to stay
on the set for seventeen hours a day. He had emigrated from Hungary in the late '20s, and even after thirty
years in America, English was a foreign language to him. "He spoke five languages," says his stepson,
"and I am told he spoke all of them equally bad."
One more brief delay was caused by Curtiz's mangled English. On the day he arrived to shoot the first
Black Market scene, he informed the properties man, who already had assembled an impressive group of
animals for the shot, that he needed a "poodle, a black poodle." The request seemed unusual, but the prop
man was not about to argue with the temperamental director, so he set about finding the dog while
everyone waited. As luck would have it, there was just such an animal available, and the man got it to the
set within half an hour. "It's very nice, " said Curtiz, "but I want a poodle." When the poor technician tried
to explain that that's what the dog was, Curtiz exploded: "I wanted a poodle in the street! A poodle of
water! Not a goddamn dog!"
The other one goes: "Once, when viewing a marathon dance contest, John Barrymore reportedly turned to
his date, who had just marvelled at the endurance of the contestants, and quipped, "That's nothing! Have
you ever worked for Mike Curtiz?" 
When editing the film, producer Hal Wallis fine-tuned the ending. He had four possibilities for the final
line: 1) "Louis, I begin to see a reason for your sudden attack of patriotism. While you defend your
also protect your investment."
2) "If you ever die a hero's death, Heaven protect the angels!"
3) "Louis, I might have known you'd mix your patriotism with a little larceny."
4) "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Harmetz reproduces a memo to editor Owen Marks in which Wallis has narrowed the decision down to the
last two choices, which he wants Owen to have Bogart speak - and the author of those lines was Wallis.
The Government and Casablanca
Though a print of the film was rushed to the American troops in North Africa, it was never shown. Robert
Riskin, head of the motion-picture division of the overseas branch of the Office of War Information,
withheld it "on the advice of several Frenchmen within our organization who feel that it was bound to
create resentment on the part of the natives."
Viewing: ‘You Must Remember This’
(The Making of Casablanca)
Take notes under the headings below.
Head of Production: Wallis
Relationships on set
The relationship between the ‘Big Five’
The contract system
Assembly Line Production
Relationships and Key Personnel.
1. Hal Wallis was the head of production at Warner Bros. He had a very hands-on
approach to this production, and made decisions about who worked on the film, but went
beyond this to changing dialogue and deciding on key scenes and events.
There was conflict with the director, Michael Curtiz. In the readings you have been given, find an
example of a conflict between Hal Wallis and Michael Curtiz. What was it, and what does that
say about their relationship?
2. Hal Wallis also chose the writers, but wasn’t above telling them what they should be writing.
Give TWO examples of Hal Wallis’ involvement in the script.
3. Writing is a more collaborative effort than it sometimes seems. In Casablanca, the writers
worked at the direction of Mr. Wallace and each contributed something to the plot. List the writers
and their contribution to the story. If you can, list the special talent they bought to the studio.
4. The contract system meant that studios were often using the stars they had available, but for
Casablanca, the studios ‘swapped’ stars- who was swapped and what does this say about the
relationship between the studios?
5. Controls: Censorship.
The censor was concerned with the relationship between Ilsa and Rick.
• Who was he?
• What was his concern?
• What was his suggestion to fix it, and was it used?
6. What does this tell you about the importance of the MPPDA?
7. The War Office didn’t show Casablanca in one place. Where was it, and why?
8. Who was the key force behind ‘Casablanca?’ What does this say about the auteur theory?
TASK: KEY PERSONNEL AND RELATIONSHIPS IN
Below is a model of key personnel and relationships for Casablanca. Complete the
model. You should be adding in Who the person was, what they contributed to the
story and any major communications issues involved in production.
The Chief Executive Officer
Head of Production Writer No.1- The Epstein Brothers
Writer No. 3
Writer No. 1
SECTION 5C: CASABLANCA AS PROPAGANDA
(IMPACT OF OFFICE OF WAR INFORMATION)
Warner Brothers, released November 27, 1942.
Casablanca is one of the best films produced by the World War II Hollywood
propaganda machine. One of the early war films, it represents the Office of War
Information's (OWI) early intentions of truthfully representing the war and educating
the moviegoer about the issues surrounding the conflict. The film addresses the
intricacies of the Berlin-Vichy situation, and makes subtle references to Spain and
Ethiopia. While the film often gets bogged down in it's attempts to accurately depict
the war (did the average viewer truly understand the numerous allusions to the complicated
issues of Ethiopia and Vichy France?), it is not lacking in propaganda. At the time Casablanca
was made, the USA was not involved in World War II because they didn’t see what it had to do
with them, and left Britain and her allies to fight Hitler alone. It wasn’t until the USA itself was
attacked (Pearl Harbour) in 1943 that the USA joined the war effort. This was an unpopular move
as Hitler was seen as a terrible threat to the USA.
Casablanca glorifies the heroism of the resistance movement. Many of the European countries
invaded and occupied by Germany had a resistance movement to fight back- the most famous of
which was the French Resistance Movement, which worked closely with Britain to rescue British
pilots caught behind enemy lines and gather information about troop movements. In Casablanca,
Humphrey Bogart stars as Rick, the tough, cynical owner of a glamerous nightclub in "neutral"
Morocco, where thousands of refugees have fled Nazi brutality. Behind Bogart's cynical exterior
is a man who used to care. Throughout the course of the film, Rick reveals that he has fought
fascists in Ethiopia and Spain, and fled Paris in the face of German occupation (showing that he
used to be involved in the war against fascism(Italy) and the Nazis (Germany). As the plot
develops, Rick softens to the resistance cause once again, although he has asserted that he
sticks his head out for no one. He eventually helps Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), the head of the
Czechoslovakian resistance movement and the husband of Rick's former lover Ilsa (Ingrid
Bergman), escape capture. Rick heroically sacrifices his chance to be reunited with Ilsa, giving
Laszlo the two exit visas intended for Rick and Ilsa.
While the propaganda is much more subtle in Casablanca than in later war films,
it is none the less prevelant. In one scene, the French refugees in Rick's bar sing
"La Marseillaise" in defiance to the German soldiers singing "Horst Wessel".
Rick's cynicism is due to broken love (not lack of political commitment), he stoicly
forfeits a renewed chance at love, sacrificing his personal happiness for the
resistance cause. The message is clear: resistance to the Axis powers is more
important than personal happiness. In aiding the movement, Rick too becomes a
hero. So shall the average citizen who puts the war effort ahead of his own interests.
In some ways, Casablanca is typical of war-time movies. It was considered unpatriotic by the
Audience of the time to criticise the war effort. If you think of the Bush administration’s war on
Afganistan and Iraq, and the deep divide between Pro and Anti war opinions today, you will
understand how much a pro war message was the only possible market decision. The interesting
thing about the War movies of WWII is that they do not idealise how hard this war will be, instead
focusing on the need to fight evil- no matter what the personal sacrifice.
Timeline of ‘The Making of Casablanca’
1940 Burnett, collaborating with a friend, Joan Alison, used his Vienna
experience as the basis for a play, Everybody Comes to Rick's.
December Wallis had received the suggestion from script-reader Stephen
Karnot: "A box-office nautral -- for Bogart, Cagney, or Raft in out-
of-the-usual roles." And from fellow producer Jerry Wald: "This
story should make a good vehicle for either Raft or Bogart.".
December 27, Irene Lee, head of Warner Bros. story department, with Hal
1941 Wallis' approval, purchased Everybody Comes to Rick's for
January, 1942 A press release is issued, and Ronald Reagan is starring in the
February 14, Hal Wallis told casting director Steve Trilling that Bogart would
1942 star in Casablanca
February, 1942 Wallis discussed the play with two of the studio's top writers, the
Epstein twins, Julius and Phil
April Epsteins gave Wallis the first third of the movie, Wallis
immediately turned around and gave it to another writer, Howard
Koch, for his suggestions, while having the Epsteins continue to
work on Part II.
April 22 Around this time, Ingrid Bergman is told that she has the role of
Michael Curtiz is named director. His movies were ‘brought in on
time, they rarely went over budget, and they almost always made
May 20, 1942 Robinson(screenwriter) sent Wallis seven pages of notes. They
began: "Again, as before, my impression about CASABLANCA is
that the melodrama is well done, the humor excellent, but the
love story deficient."
May 25, 1942 Production of Casablanca commenced
July 6, 1942 In a memo to Curtiz, Wallis expresses his frustration about the
ending as “It was practically impossible to write a convincing
scene between the two people in which Rick could sell Ilsa on
the idea of leaving without him.”
Problems between Curtiz and Wallis regarding changes made
July 22, 1942 last day of regular shooting
When editing the film, producer Hal Wallis fine-tuned the ending,
and wrote the final line.
Composer Max Steiner tries to change the theme song, but can’t
because Ingrid Bergman couldn’t re-film the scenes
1942 The film opened in one New York theatre on Thanksgiving Day
1943. general release January,
SECTION 6: THE ASSESSMENT
The examination has two essay questions, which require you to show both your understanding
of the industry and how it functioned.
The marking criteria distinguishes between ‘Describe’, ‘Explain’ and ‘Analyse’. Check out the
difference in your handouts.
Your Assessment is to write TWO essay answers, each 600 words long. You will have two
class periods on essay writing and planning of this essay.
Media Industry: The Hollywood Studio System 1930-1948
Analyse how the media industry is organised and controlled.
The Studio Organisation: The Big Five, the Little Three and Poverty Row…
The system and its role in controlling the industry
e.g. Vertical Integration; Block Booking …
Internal Controls- mention as many as you can remember, but focus on censorship.
External Controls- Government Essential Industry and market demands (Genre)
Use Casablanca for examples to support what you are saying.
Analyse the roles and relationships of THREE key personnel within your specific media
Explain that the production process was ran like an assembly line, with each stage supposed to be
independent, but that this didn’t always work in practise.
The Studio Head
- Who he was, what he did and his responsibilities.
The Head of Production
- Who he was, what he did and his responsibilities.
- Mention Hal Wallis and his extraordinary involvement in ‘Casablanca’ and his conflict with the
director. This shows that the Head of Production could be extremely involved in some films.
- Who he was, what he did and his responsibilities.
The Chief Censor
- Who he was, what he did and his responsibilities. Mention his direct interference with ‘Casablanca’ to
show his power- he said ‘make sure there’s no suggestion that they went to bed together.’
REMEMBER- Write what the role was supposed to be- a ‘job description’, and then use Casablanca to
show the differences between the model and the ‘real world.’ You can talk about the personalities
involved if you feel comfortable doing so.
Remember that ‘ANALYSE’ means to show that you have THOUGHT about the theory (How it should
work), the application (How it does work) and developed some ideas about the differences. An evaluation
(how well does it work) of the process itself may be useful.
The Studio System and Casablanca
Whenever people think of Casablanca, they think of it as being a ‘great’ movie- a classic, but it never was
intended to be anything special at all- it was a complete coincidence, really. When ‘Casablanca’ was
made, it was made as one small movie in several hundred. The studio that made it cast every member in
it, not because they were suitable, but because they were available in the week that ‘Casablanca’ started
Casablanca is commonly voted one of the greatest movies of all time, due to it’s timeless tale of lost love,
growing war and ‘beautiful’ friendships.
In the film, Casablanca is a place in Morocco, part of unoccupied France, where refugees frantically try to
escape the Nazi threat, and opportunists seek to profit from their despair. Lucily for the producers, a few
days before the release of the film, in 1942, the Allied forces had landed in Casablanca, ensuring a hit
movie. The movie went on to get an Oscar for best picture in 1943.
That great movies came from the studio system was a miracle, but they did come. As the studios aimed to
produce 52 movies a year (a new movie every week) by making movies like a production line, profit, not
artistic integrity was their aim. The veteran screenwriter Julius Epstein said ‘It was not called the motion
picture industry for nothing. It was like working at belts in a factory.’ The studios assigned the ‘B’ grade
movies to house directors (under long term contracts) who were to make films quickly, cheaply and with
little outside resources.
This affected Casablanca as the script wasn’t finished when production started.
Ingrid Bergman wasn’t sure who Ilsa would end up with, and Michael Curtiz, the
director told her to ‘play it in between’ Rick and Lazlo. Even the ending had to be
changed, as after test screening, it didn’t work. This led to the addition of the
immortal line Rick says to Captain Renault, “ Louis, I think this is the beginning of a
The censorship system that ruled had even altered the dialogue of the film. Improper sexual comment
was not permitted, along with some of the humour . One censored line was a woman who was to have
said: "It used to take a villa at Cannes, or at the very least, a string of pearls. Now all I ask is an exit visa."
Casablanca (1942) from Johnny Web (abbreviated text)
"You must remember this ..."
I have read innumerable books about the mood of America during World War 2. But when you really come down to it, it doesn't
matter how much education you have, how much you've thought about this matter, or how interested you are. In your heart, you
know how America viewed itself at the time if you've seen Casablanca.
Casablanca's Rick Blaine was more than a character. He was America. He speaks to us now across the generations, because our
self-image has not changed so dramatically, and Rick is that mythological view which we Americans hold of ourselves. On the
outside we are reluctant to fight, cynical, tough, uninvolved, fiercely individualistic, and not a little bit bitter. On the inside we
are capable of great sacrifice, compassionate, idealistic, and savage when aroused. As Americans see ourselves, we feel free to
make fun of lunatic Frenchmen with their prissy, artificial manners, but if they need us, we're there.
Is that accurate? Probably not, but that's immaterial. It's how we saw ourselves then, and how we see ourselves still, right or
Because it taps so deeply into the American male mythos, Casablanca is probably the "favorite" of more American men than any
other film, and it is as popular with film scholars as it is with average viewers. It was popular in its own time as well. It won the
best picture Oscar and, unlike many "great" pictures, was a solid box-office success. It had the third-highest box office total of
all the Warner Brothers movies made during wartime, grossing six million dollars. To put that into modern perspective, 25
million people saw the film it an era when the population of the country was much smaller, making it the equivalent of a $200
million blockbuster in today's dollars.
It is also possible to argue that this film is not just a popular entertainment, but is at or near the summit of cinema's artistic
achievements, given Tolstoy's definition of art as "deep, creative communication of feelings," yet it was never intended to be art
at all. At the time it was viewed as "just another movie" (Lauren Bacall's words) made under the old studio system, created
simply to make
a buck. Unlike most enduring works, it was a group project, with no single passionate visionary behind it.
You might wonder, "What about the director?", but such a thought is generated by inappropriately projecting today's
moviemaking process into the past. Directors simply weren't as important in those days. Mike Curtiz was a solid director, but he
was just a studio employee on a weekly salary, and was considered a hired hand. Directors were held in such low esteem by the
studios that Curtiz's entire paycheck was once withheld because he made $27 in personal phone calls on the Warner telephones.
He was assigned to direct the Casablanca script because his schedule happened to be clear when William Wyler turned the
project down. Even after the project got under way, Curtiz had minimal control by today's standards. He didn't even get to
choose the key members of his crew. He hated the man who was assigned to be his sound editor, but had to accept him anyway.
He asked for one editor, and was assigned another. He used the cinematographer the studio told him to use. The
cinematographer and editor were chosen, like Curtiz, simply because they happened to be free the week Casablanca started
Curtiz had no input on the script either. That would have been unthinkable in those days. He never even saw the script until
shortly before it was time to start filming. At Warner Brothers, directors directed and writers wrote, and they both reported to
the producer. It was producer Hal Wallis who controlled the writing teams and held final script approval. He began by buying an
unproduced stage play. Three weeks after Pearl Harbor, Wallis authorized Irene Lee, head of Warner's story department, to pay
$20,000 for the rights to Everybody Comes to Rick's. That play might have stayed on the Warner back burner if America had
stayed officially neutral, but the bombs falling on Hawaii meant that the overseas war was now America's war, and that fact
gave the project a new urgency. What had been an exotic tale of foreign intrigue now seemed to Wallis like a stirring example of
how America could do the right thing when necessary.
That obscure play was only the beginning. It was rewritten innumerable times, eventually involving seven different writers. The
final Casablanca script was the result of an unlikely serendipity - it was a thoroughbred horse somehow designed by a
committee. Of course, every major character who ended up in the movie was already in the stage play, and every major plot
development had already been present. There was even a black pianist who played "As Time Goes By." The true genius,
however, was in the refinement. In the stage version, Ilsa was a sophisticated but emasculating American slut (named Lois) who
lost Rick when she cheated on him casually, and then later cheated on Victor with Rick. That amorality wasn't going to fly in the
Hollywood of the 1940s. The character of Rick Blaine in the play had been a self-pitying lawyer who screwed up his marriage
by cheating on his wife. That obviously wasn't Bogart's screen persona, but Bogart had been cast before the first word of the
film script had been written, so the first team of studio writers, twin brothers Julius and Phil Epstein, rewrote the character to
suit Bogie. Julius said, "Once we knew Bogart was going to play the role ... we tried to make him as cynical as possible." They
did a helluva job. What really makes Casablanca work perfectly is the Epstein's dark comedy, which gives us permission to
accept the film's sentimentality, and keeps the attitudes timeless. The bantering between caustic Rick Blaine and the garrulous,
shallow, womanizing, but somehow loveable French Vichy administrator still seems brilliant today.
Rick's love for Ilsa is hidden beneath a veil of cynicism and some very real pain:
When it comes to understanding the America of wartime, some people come to libraries to learn from books. Some people come
to the last remaining elders who remember those days.
But everybody comes to Rick's.
And, of course, the most famous exchange between Louis and Rick, Louis's words after Rick has gunned down Major Strasser:
Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Thanks very much to Kerensa Robertson of Otahuhu College for sharing this unit of work with fellow
Original formatting and fonts have been altered to meet on-line pdf file requirements
You can email Kerensa at [KRobertson@otahuhucollege.school.nz]
Youth Activism, Engagement and Participation
Good Practices & Essential Strategies for Impact
Last year, while Nick Moraitis was working at Amnesty, he wrote a publication looking at good practices in youth
engagement, activism and participation.
You can download it here in PDF format:
With 119 pages, this is a very informative book. There are more than 60 case studies focusing on events, music activities,
advertising to youth, websites, setting up youth advisory councils, and much more.
The case studies are surrounded by tips and tactics from world experts in this field, as well as links to toolkits and further
While it was specifically written for Amnesty national offices, itcould be of interest to media teachers.
BSA MEDIA STUDIES RESOURCES
The Broadcasting Standards Authority is about NAME PD day in October and it gained a
open a new section on its web site for education positive and enthusiastic response.
From January 2007, the free resources will be
There will be a variety of resources available available on line for downloading by teachers.
which will suit media classes from Level 2 to They will be in both Word and PDF formats. Go
Scholarship. Content includes a media to www.bsa.govt.nz
production ethics check list, information on how
the radio and TV formal complaints system Members of NAME were involved in preparing
operates, together with activities tailored to the these resources along with the BSA.
NCEA topics of representation, investigation and
understanding a media industry.
An advance look at the content being developed
was given to teachers attending the Auckland
Have Dutch found a way to make young buy newspapers?
A new Dutch daily newspaper is attracting thousands
of new young readers - but unlike most other new
dailies around the world, it is paid for. NRC Next is Instead of the traditional news values of 'who, what,
attracting 'young, well-educated people who were not where and when', NRC Next claims to concentrate on
regular newspaper readers', according to the World background, analysis and opinion. It assumes that
Association of Newspapers. readers have already learned the main points of the
news from other channels.
Six months after its launch, it now claims a daily sale
of 70,000 with a 1 Euro cover price. NRC Next Source:
shares an office with established evening newspaper http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/article/191006/newspapers_nrc_next -
NRC Handelsblad and takes 60 per cent of its copy
from there. The rest is produced by 27 young staffers.
Burger King advert upsets campaigners
A TV advert for a burger has drawn complaints from food campaigners. Sustain, which
campaigns for better food and farming, wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority over Burger
King's advert for a Double Whopper, which shows a man abandoning a girl in a restaurant
because he is "way too hungry to settle for chick food", and going to Burger King instead.
Groups of men are shown walking the streets eating burgers and holding "I am Man" banners.
Sustain's Richard Watts said the advert undermined healthy eating messages. The ASA is
considering an investigation. Press Association Tuesday November 7, 2006
Junk food makers using internet to target children, says watchdog
Children are being targeted by junk food manufacturer, launched an interactive website which
manufacturers through internet advertising, included animated icons children could email to their
chatrooms, text messages and "advergames" on friends. A McDonald's website offered free e-
websites, an obesity watchdog warned yesterday, postcards. Pepsi has an online game in which
calling for global action to protect their health. characters race to serve thirsty customers.
Self-regulation by the food industry has failed, At the International Congress on Obesity yesterday,
according to a report from the UK-based International the Global Prevention Alliance - an umbrella
Obesity Task Force to a conference in Sydney, organisation representing concerned non-
Australia. "New forms of advertising are increasingly governmental organisations - called on the World
being employed which bypass parental control and Health Organisation and other UN agencies and
target children directly," says the report by Tim governments to develop international standards to
Lobstein, coordinator of the taskforce's childhood protect children from the marketing of junk food.
Wednesday September 6, 2006
"These include internet promotion (using interactive http://media.guardian.co.uk/marketingandpr/story/0,,1865894,00.html
games, free downloads, blogs and chatterbots), SMS
texting to children's cell phones, product promotions
in schools and pre-schools and brand advertising in
During three months of 2005 more than 12.2 million
children visited commercial websites promoting food
and drinks. A survey by the Food Commission that
year found that most big food brands had websites
and many have sites specifically aimed at children as
young as six.
The report says that internet advertising is rapidly
expanding, using a range of technologies such as
flash-animated games and online chat rooms. One
popular form is the "text 2 win" competition, offering
children prizes to text the code from a specially-
printed pack. Fanta and Cadbury are among the
companies that have run successful campaigns.
Viral marketing generated interest among school
children for Real Fruit Winders. Kellogg's, the
BACK COVER CONTENT HAS BEEN LOST IN TRANSFER FOR WEB DISPLAY– SOMEHOW!