The Struggle of Australian Cinema

2014 is shaping up to be Australia cinema’s worst domestic performance in 10 years, the trend looks set to continue (News.com,2014). The Australian public just does not seem to care about Australian films. Even critically acclaimed films such as Animal Kingdom which was praised by Ridely Scott, Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino are barely successful with less than 500,000 Australians actually seeing the movie at the cinema. Less than a quarter of the nightly average viewership for Nine’s The Voice.

Many blame internet piracy for the low viewership of Australian Film. Recent research shows that 63 per cent of ­people between 15 and 50 have illegally downloaded movies or TV product in the past 12 months (The Australian, 2014). But if piracy was the problem how did Guardians Of The Galaxy make $22,229,868 in Australia in under 2 months (Box Office Mojo, 2014). Are Australian’s more likely to pirate Australian films than Hollywood blockbusters?12230 - Crocodile DundeeResearch needs do be done on why the public are not seeing Australian films. The optimal study in my eyes would include both quantitative data through online surveys and qualitative data from focus groups. First the public’s perception of Australian films needs to be identified then their cinema going habits and finally what they want out of Australian films. With this information the Australian film industry might be able to draw in the audience that it desperately needs.

Breakin’ The Law

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Rules and regulations are very important. Sure as a child you didn’t feel this way when you weren’t able to watch a movie because of its rating or play a certain game because someone told your parents it was ‘bad’ but they are. They are guidelines to what is acceptable and what is not. There would be no civilization without rules.

When I was going up my parents did their best to make sure that I was not watching anything that was to violent, with bad language or that was sexually explicit. There was no exact ‘rule’ but they would just try to direct me away by changing the channel on the TV or taking me to a different section in the video store. But as I grew older I was eventually allowed to watch anything I wanted at home but in public was different.

Australian-Government-to-reform-media-classification-asking-for-your-input-1076732Whether it was buying a game or seeing a movie with my friends I was restricted by the MA15+ rating. This rating restricted me from buying the game or seeing the movie without an I.D that proved I was 15 years or older. Buying games was easily circumvented by getting my mother or an older friend to get the game for me but the movies was different. I had to actually be there to consume the experience it was not as easy as getting someone else to buy it for me.

With the rise of the internet regulating the media consumption of children has become even harder. With so many different ways to access and consume content parents are having a hard time keeping up with what their kids are watching. It’s not as simple as looking at the classification of a movie anymore. Studies show that media consumption can be beneficial for children when consumed in limited quantities with a guardian present. The problem with this is the parent can’t always be there to supervise.

While rules and regulations are important in the end they can not be enforced at all times. Children will eventually be exposed to a variety of media and its important that they are educated when this occurs.

The Taskmaster

 

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Many people believe that they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously, but ADHD expert and psychiatrist, Dr. Edward Hallowell says this is a myth.The reality is that shifting tasks results in poor job performance. We need to be teaching our kids that multitasking is a myth and teach them the art of paying attention and focusing on one task at a time. – Online Behavior: Multitasking While Doing Homework By Screen Retriever

So multitasking is a myth? Well good doctor I believe I have a problem. I multitask all the time! From chatting on Skype while playing a game to listening to music while I study and I feel productive?

It’s a misperception says Dr. Wang ,PhD, of Ohio State University. We think we feel good because we’re getting more things done, but we’re really not doing ourselves any favors – The Habit Holding You Back By Christen Brownlee

Well that explains it. I thought I was being productive but I was actually was doing multiple things poorly instead of focusing on one task and excelling?

“The ability to multitask can preserve safety as well as quality of life,” says David Knopman, MD, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic and member of the American Academy of Neurology. – The Upside Of Multitasking

But the ability multitasking can preserve safety and improve my quality of life what do I believe?!?

Here lies the problem with internet researching, everyone has an agenda. Quote 1 was published on ScreenRetriever.com. Screen Retriever provides “a monitoring program that allows parents to record and remotely view their children’s computer screen in real-time”. So the quote from Dr. Edward Hallowell is used to justify using their program to make sure children are focusing on just one task. Quotes 2 and 3 while contradicting each other where both found on the same site Prevention.com website of a popular lifestyle magazine that seems to just publish anything relevant they can find to get hits.

While all of these quotes are from real studies they are clipped and warped to fit the agenda of the site they are published on. If seriously researching a topic one should always try to find the actual report these finding were originally published in to get the real picture of what is going on in its original context. As for multitasking I believe the video above explains it quite well.

 

 

For The World To See

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Source: CNN

A public space is generally defined as a place that is open and accessible to everyone. A place in which people gather and ‘socially engage with each other’ but with the rise of smartphones people seem to have forgotten that. Now instead of meeting people and observing your surroundings you can stay in your comfort zone, talk to people you already know and play Candy Crush.

On a crowded commuter train in San Francisco, a man shot and killed 20-year-old student Justin Valdez. As security footage shows, before the gunman fired, he waved around his .45 caliber pistol and at one point even pointed it across the aisle. Yet no one on the crowded train noticed because they were so focused on their smartphones and tablets. – Are Smartphones Turning Us Into Bad Samaritans? By Christine Rosen

Ms. Rosen then goes on to discuss the major problems facing our new screen obsessed society. Not only has our awareness been lowered but our duty to others as well and “the ease with which we can record and send images, which encourages those of us who are paying attention to document emergencies rather than deal with them.” Smartphones have blurred the lines between public and private spaces and in the process destroyed the notion of ‘civility‘.

Commuters Using Cell Phones on Train --- Image by © Tokyo Space Club/Corbis
Source: Tokyo Space Club/Corbis

“Smart phones, in short, have given users the impression that they move through communal spaces as if in private bubbles. “They feel that everywhere they are, they have their privacy.” Smart phones have created portable private personal territories.” – How Smart Phones Are Turning Our Public Places Into Private Ones By Emily Badger

Tali Hatuka, who heads the Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design at Tel Aviv University and colleague Eran Toch have found that “to smart-phone users the social norms of the physical world are often trumped. They’re becoming less important. All of this means we may need a concerted campaign to keep the “public” in the public sphere, to actively encourage people to observe and interact with each other. We may even need to redesign our public places to do this.” It has even been harmful to the users, as people have actually been injured due to using their phone while walking down the street and others have even fallen into fountains. So why has this become a social norm?

I Saw A Movie About A Tree And A Talking Raccoon

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A Movie Theater Source: fogsmoviereviews

Whenever I go to the movies it always brings back fond childhood memories of spending time with my family, eating popcorn and enjoying a funny movie. Recently my cinema experience has changed from being a family thing to going with my friends but last week I had another family experience when my brother and I went and saw Guardians Of The Galaxy.

We had been planning on seeing Guardians at release for months originally going to the advanced screenings but that didn’t work out due to our conflicting schedules. Eventually we found a day that worked out for both of us which turned out to be cheap Tuesday the day I go and see 99% of my movies.  Every Tuesday Event Cinemas offers 10$ tickets to everyone. I’ve always thought of it as a ploy to get people to the movies on a weekday but its a godsend for students such as myself trying to save every possible dollar.

We went to the 2:30 screening so the theater was nowhere near full but it didn’t affect the experience at all. Personally when I see movies at the theater I enter a trance like state taking no notice of my surroundings at all but this time I did notice the numerous laughs from the audience mainly at the high jinks of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon. Speaking of raccoons the audience demographic was quite different from what I expected for a movie starring a talking raccoon and living tree with the average age of those in the audience probably being around 20 but this may have been due to the 230 time-slot.

The movie itself was in my opinion the best thing that Marvel Studios has done (An opinion even Robert Downey Jr shares as he called it the best marvel movie ever). Great performances all round, a perfect balance of action and comedy and a phenomenal soundtrack. I highly recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested in seeing it.

 

Should you believe the NBN hype?

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about the NBN (possibly due to its delayed rollout) and the impact it will have once it’s rolled out across Australia.For those that are unaware the National broadband network (NBN) is a government initiative that aims to “enable access to fast, reliable and affordable phone and internet services, from a range of providers and close the digital divide by providing access to a minimum level of broadband services to homes and businesses across Australia. Due to the nature and size of our country, we plan to use a mix of technologies to deliver the NBN, using the best fit solution for each area.”(NBN Co, 2014)

NBN Co claims that its “Fast broadband has the potential to fuel growth and drive improvements to local economies, businesses and homes, bringing new opportunities to the whole country.” but is it really that different to broadband?

Well if you were asking me personally I would answer yes as my Internet speeds have more than doubled since the installation of NBN in my home but as 20 year old student I’m on they internet quite often so obviously I would notice the difference but what about someone from a different generation, someone who just uses the Internet for 10-15 minutes a day to check your emails or buy something on eBay how would it much of an impact does faster Internet make on their internet browsing habits. Well I spoke to my grandparents and here is what they had to say.

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My grandparents have had an Internet connection for around 15 years starting with dial-up then changing to broadband when it became available here which they used until late last year when they upgraded to NBN. When asked about the differences between the 3 different services they said “The difference from our original dial-up to the broadband connection was massive but I haven’t even noticed a difference between the broadband and the NBN we have now I just expected it to make more of a difference”.

The features that came with NBN bundle were what they was really impressed with a free wireless modem and a T-Box. The Wi-Fi made such a difference to them because now they have a tablet and a laptop in addition to the home computer and can access the Internet from anywhere in the house with ease. The T-Box because it allows them to easily keep track of their programs and watch them whenever they want and for the Bigpond movies service. So the freebies that came with the NBN made more of an impact on them than the actual NBN. I found this quite strange until I thought about it. The majority of people don’t need a better connection to do what they do on the internet.

“A lot of the – there’s no real nice way to say this – a lot of the nerds and geeks are excited, but the majority of people just don’t care,” says Armidale local Dave Martin, 29 (Business Insider, 2013).

Australia’s internet continues to lag behind the rest of the world but just as Dave said most people just don’t care. Living in a semi-rural area such as Jamberoo the general consensus seems to be a similar response as Dave’s. People don’t seem to get why the NBN is important and they don’t really have a reason to find out. I believe the problem lies in where the NBN has been implemented first, rural areas.

Sure installing NBN in rural areas is important to our national infrastructure and has caused economic growth in areas such as Bathurst but would it not have been better to roll it out in metropolitan areas where people who need good internet have been forced to move to get a decent connection in the past? Anyway the NBN will (hopefully) continue to spread thoughout Australia allowing more and more people to give it a go and if they are anything like me they’ll love it.

References

“Learn more about the NBN”, NBN co, viewed on 23/8/2014

http://www.nbnco.com.au/about-the-nbn.html#.U_m14kgWVvE

Collins B, 2013, “ELECTION 2013: Here’s What People In The First City To Get The NBN Actually Think Of It”, Business Insider viewed 24/8/2014

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/election-2013-heres-what-people-in-the-first-city-to-get-the-nbn-actually-think-of-it-2013-8

LeMay R, 2013, “NBN? No big deal, says Armidale”, Delimiter, viewed 24/8/2014

http://delimiter.com.au/2013/09/02/nbn-big-deal-says-armidale/

A Box Office Smash

The Guardians of the Galaxy source: cartooncornerproductions
The Guardians of the Galaxy source: cartooncornerproductions

Guardians Of The Galaxy the newest effort from the Disney owned Marvel Studios was doubted from the moment it was announced. It was said to be the riskiest thing Marvel has done since Iron Man (Marvel’s first solo feature film production). Would a movie about heroes no one has ever heard of including a green woman, a talking racoon and a tree work?

Well the verdict is in according to Hollywood touting a 92% approval rating on popular review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and more importantly (Well in Hollywood’s eyes at least) it has made $327.3 million (more than double its budget) and one of the fastest to do it in just 10 days Guardians was a box office hit.

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Box office revenue is the most common measurement of success for a Hollywood movie. Box office revenue is the amount of money raised by ticket sales whilst a movie is in theaters . It gives studios an indication of both how much money they made and their audience i.e how many people saw their movie.

The Box office revenue as a tool of measuring success is criticised by many as they believe that studios are focusing too much on revenue which takes away from film as an art form. Box office revenue also doesn’t account for all the other revenue streams such as merchandising.

Many movies have bombed at the box office and been highly successful in DVD sales such as the Judge Dredd reboot ‘Dredd’ proving that box office isn’t everything but it is still the quickest and most reliable representation of how many people saw a movie and how much it made box office revenue will continue to be the most prominent statistic in the film industry.