The Big Picture

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Top*Four index 1999

Archive 2000-01


  movies on the dvd
  Disney Channel
  cartoons grow up
  review of cinema
  the actors' factory

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Roberto Dondi
Word processing, html programming and the ropes 
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  "Essai du cinéma en ligne" 
The Big Picture.

(intro) Is the marketer an imagination man? Well, I wrote a bit on the 'cinema' because it's a marketing-oriented leading industry. The Internet allowing...

In the pictures, the products are complex, as a result of the work by an équipe, and loadsa components are contributing to mold a concept frequently draft or fitted by other people -novelists, writers, comedians. A web site allows a MOVIE to set up an advertorial, informing web users -before they become an audience- about the marketing mix which makes it unique. But later, what'd be the site used for, after the movie has been on view? The purposes could be the same which force going back to a crime place: evidence or testimony. The score about the film, available for the history exploiting ideas, icons, costumes, characters, plots, hoots. Being the reason for the fact a movie, out of theaters, becomes another product! It enters the palmarès of picture awards or, for the most part, the underground of cult-movies and the personal book of the "misunderstood-except-for-me". It turns into a HOME-VIDEO [BigStar (1)] to seduce the undecided mass or to feed a fan's homevid. Finally it enters the waiting room to become a TV-MOVIE, once passed the non-competition-time-out against the first supply forms. In its evolution (convolutedness) from the big screen to the little screen, the new thing will rely on tracks the movie sowed at the first impact to people: critique, judgements, posters, trailers, gates, awards. Tracks a web site could help to collect and update like on a résumé.

Distribution across the theatres sets up the selling to the audience and the viewing of the movie is the consumption. (The public term of consumption makes of moving picture the most worldwide spread show and the most shared within the post-World War II generations). 1999 is closing a century deeply marked by the launch, achievement and progress of the cinematography, maybe the entertainment best incorporating the dreams and sorrows of the 20th century. Developing the Internet at century's dusk, the multimediality grown on picture (moving+sound+color) makes the Web poor and small with regards to dimension and diffusion! From 1950 to 1990 the viewers on Italian movie theaters dropped about 800 to 100 million, sign of a deep change on people's habits and moods. And enemies as commercial and public TV during 1970s-80s -based on a cheaper broadcasting of movies- siphoned from cinemas a big share of viewers. And the movie's industry (The Big Picture) keeps marketing its products through a high ability of adaptation to lure viewers into cinemas. From product's invention to simple adaptations to blossoming into new forms and supports. In fact The Big Picture always forced expensive strategies and sowed money in competing with home-based entertainment newcomers (by means of multi-rooms theater, worldwide promotion, country segmentation, and local schedules). Returns of which should be very high to reward marketing costs. And several traditional studios are today among the most active companies on diversifying the business into other communication markets, including the Internet [Disney/Channel (2)].

Just to the big industry and its vertically integrating with trade, we have to attribute the fact the selection of on-screen movies to be viewed, is strictly limited by offering. Like for many consumer goods, this offering varies highly on number and quality through several periods of the year and the lifetime -as summer/winter, vacation/working days- outlining a movie fruition by many aspects "seasonal" with regards to both single place and single customer. The brand image -the high level of waiting for a movie by people, that means the acceptance to view it- may be ensured by a director/author, a box office star, sometimes by theatre (on essay movies), sometimes by a producer (specially for cartoons). Marketing a movie internationally is a process wheeled by marketing research and so festivals, awards, p.r., merchandising are items of the movie's launch abroad. A movie doesn't take away from golden rules of product marketing management. So the good performance of authors, technicians and players, is conditioned by distributive chain and factors of rare selecting, highly dangerous for visibility and survival of the movie itself, in the original country too [Cinema (3)]. How many movies are dying in the can? Sure the wide production is managed by filtering at bottom level -a real grass-roots level- that is dispensing WOW or BOMB long before the people judge. Such a high death rate among movies is maybe the darkest shade of the Big Picture, as though the management from an accounting point of view shouldn't risk the outsiders, wouldn't acknowledge its "natural born" children, and likes better to forget than give them a home. But this is a different story.

The history of cinematography teaches us how the products can be shot again after years, by changing such components of it as background, technique, players. And this is a not recent policy: The 10 Commandments ('23, '56), The Longest Day ('62) vs. Savying Private Ryan ('98), Titanic with umpteen titles ('30, '42, '53, '58, '80, '97), The Thing ('51, '82), And Then There Were None ('45, '74), Cape Fear ('62, '91), Scarface ('32, '83), Mayerling ('36, '69, '77), Heaven Can Wait ('43, '78), The 7 Samurai ('54) vs. The Magnificent 7 ('60), Lolita ('62, '97). And the series (The Godfather '72, '74, '90; The Pink Panther '63 to '93), parodies (Young Frankenstein '74 vs. a number of Frankenstein since '31), mentions (Casablanca '42 vs. A Night In Casablanca '46), the jumps of characters from TV to cinema and conversely -Batman, Zorro, The Avengers. Therefore death and revival are always being natural gift of the most vital art. Technical and aesthetic characteristics, tale style and players' performance make each film a brandnew one and an engine of renewal for roles, events, stories [NYFA (4)]. The relaunch becomes, for nostalgic people, a sign the times are changing (going down in flames) and, for enthusiastic people, a really new ball game (better going no-go). In the goods manufacturing something like occurs to cars, a business sector where launches have been following each other to reproduce the best selling models of the past. Resulting a time-out between the original model and the new one as long as about 30 years -like as many movies' remakes. Not by case the cars -and once the motorbikes (Easy Rider '69)- have often generated, on so-called action and adventure movies, some meaningful association, even if their presence was magnified by customized model. With some exception today worthy of a return onto the screen (say New Beetle).
"Things go in cycles" marketers say.

(outro) ...and the Blair Witch Project would arrive later!
©1997-2000 Roberto Dondi - DMLR
1st outlined: [January07/1999]


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Here Italian text

This article has been revised on June 4th 2000, before coming up again over the Internet. I just watched the final of Terry Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1989), thus quoting the words: "then it wasn't a fable, it was true...", I wish to remember all low budget films and B-movies we never wanted to watch because they didn't seem like TRUE movies have to appear or be marketed --the author.


Now a short list of the resources you can visit online about the new technology in film making.

  • Films, events, clips and much more at the RESFEST -International film festival on digital filmmaking tools
  • How to make a DV movie
  • Other suggestions of the hottest tools for creating digital video content by clicking on MAC OS and POWERBOOK images, upside-down!

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