The Reflection

7d1eedda0e64f2dd3b612d1f43db4f57.jpg

Through the duration of the BCM288 course, Transnational Media and Culture Industries, I have been able to reimagine and mould my understanding of film and television within a culturally driven industry. I have developed a key understanding of the processes that are associated with the development of television and film as well as having the ability to apply this knowledge to everyday examples. By gaining knowledge and depth about the differences and similarities across borders and overseas has lead the development of television and film to be greatly explored in each of my blog posts as well as in the various assignment tasks. There was a lot covered within this subject but the few topics that really stood out to me are as followed below, these were the topics that helped me understand Transnational Media and Culture Industries on a deeper level.

There was a lot I was oblivious about when it came to the development of film and television in terms of the government support for the media industry. The media industry lacks a great deal of funding from the government, especially in Australia, as clearly seen in the Department of Communication and Arts document on funding to the Arts, which develop polices to deliver “programs that encourage excellence in the arts, help to protect our cultural heritage and support public access to and participation in, arts and culture in Australia”. Being compared to that of the British government and their support of the media industry, it almost seems that Australia is a couple of steps behind, though is trying to catch up and provide more support in our schools to help promote the media industry of Australia. This leads nicely into the work of co-production, Australia does a lot of work with other countries to create big named cinematic films.

Throughout the weeks I have learned the connections needed to produce a films especially in terms of co-productions amongst countries. Though these types of films can be turned into great cinematic films there are often many setbacks and disadvantages of the concept closely linked to cultural identity. These are often found with a country’s national identity not being showcased through the film at any means “concerning the character of the program and the creative talent employed” as well as the “cultural integrity of the program produced is undermined”. (McFadyen, Hoskins and Finn, 1998). Apart from behind the camera with the works of editors, writers, producers and directors, as seen with the cinematic adaptation of The Great Gatsby, film in Australia but based on the American culture and novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The main thread between all the lectures throughout the course was the differences and similarities within each individual culture and how these reshape the entertainment we see. The translation of comedy was extremely interesting to me, coming from Britain myself, I do find the level of humour does differ between cultures and therefore within television does has an impact on the styling’s of each individual character. Different cultural aspects in individual countries does mean that changes to characters, settings or storylines must be altered to fit the styling’s of the culture and people of the country, who see certain situations in a different light. This was particularly evident in the re-adaptation of ‘The Office’, in Britain, America, Germany and Australia, which the show has been readapted to ‘Utopia’. A prime example, which highlights the change in comedic elements to fit the views of particular countries.

This video also showcases how popular television shows have been adapted to the cultures of different countries especially that of Britain and America.

I believe my understanding of transnational media and culture industries has been expanded to all areas of the media industry from the cultural aspects of the industry to its technical developments.


References:

Australian Government 2016, ‘Department of communication and the Arts’, viewed 28th October 2016 <https://www.arts.gov.au/&gt;

McFadyen, S, Hoskins, C and Finn, A 1998, ‘The Effect of Cultural Differences on the International Co-production of Television Programs and Feature Films’, Canadian Journal of Communications, vol. 23, no. 4 <http://cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/1063/969&gt>

The Reality of Co-Production

coproduction5

Co-production is a film, television program, or theatre production organised by two or more people or organisations, rather than a single person or organisation (Cambridge Dictionary).

Co-production can be sourced internationally as well as locally, by allowing different countries to come together and produce a film, television program or theatre production. It is not only small scale productions that are receiving support from co-production but big name productions are too using the help of other organisations to help fund and complete their products. Today, co-productions are mainly focused on popular genres, highly simulating Hollywood productions that contain hybrid elements drawn directly from a variety of genres.

“International TV and film co-productions reflect the continuing integration of cultural and economic activities on a global scale. Co-productions have been on the increase since the early 1990s, coinciding with convergences – political, economic, technological and content – in the film and television industries.” (Baltruschat, 2002)

coproduction-activity-country.png

In Australia co-production agreements are made between the country governing body and the governments of various countries, thus to create benefits for both parties. Currently Australia has co-production treaties with the UK, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Germany, Korea, South Africa, Singapore and China and holds a Memoranda of Understanding with France and New Zealand.

Co-production has become increasing popular in Australia since 1986 when formal arrangements were first signed with 12 countries. Meaning 164 co-productions have either been completed or have commenced for production as of 30th April 2016, among these is Hollywood’s blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road. Co-produced films have accounted for a lot of Australia’s economic finances as well as showcasing the rich culture the land holds. However, critics have stated that though there are many positives of co-production in Australia, this act can hinder the cultural identity of the country and its people. As the traditions, rituals and stories of the land and its people are neglected.

A study published in the Canadian Journal of Communication looks at the possible draw backs of international co-production in Canada, Japan and Australia, taken straight from those who work and are involved in the industry. The drawbacks found that many producers were worried about the “compromises concerning the character of the program and the creative talent employed” as well as the “cultural integrity of the program produced is undermined”. (McFadyen, Hoskins and Finn, 1998)

Other drawbacks saw a concern with the costs of the production and negotiating across countries as well as shooting costs for the production and an increased involvement with the government especially when working with international partners.

However, despite all the drawbacks of co-production producers from various countries and backgrounds have come together to produce many outstanding films. An Australian example of this would have to be none other than Mad Max: Fury Road. A Hollywood blockbuster with Australian roots from its directors, producers, editing team as well as many actors, this film in particular was a huge success deeming it the most successful co-produced Australian film. Although the film itself made no reference to Australian culture it did utilise many Australian talents and landscapes.

mad-max-fury-road-soundtrack.jpg

Co-productions are a tricky process and can’t always please all areas of filmmaking, even though elements of culture are often lost in the productions when the plot lines aren’t specific enough, they do diversify their talent to try and cover as many areas as possible.


References:

Baltruschat, D 2002, ‘Globalisation and International TV and Film Co-productions: In Search of New Narratives’, Media in Transition 2: Globalisation and Convergence, pp 1-19, viewed 29th September 2016 <http://cmsw.mit.edu/mit2/Abstracts/DorisBaltruschat.pdf&gt;

McFadyen, S, Hoskins, C and Finn, A 1998, ‘The Effect of Cultural Differences on the International Co-production of Television Programs and Feature Films’, Canadian Journal of Communications, vol. 23, no. 4 <http://cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/1063/969&gt;

Screen Australia 2016, Co-production Program, viewed 29th September 2016 <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/funding-and-support/co-production-program&gt;

 

TV Readaptions

Many genres found within television cannot always be redefined in various countries, as they do not meet the cultural views of the audience. However, comedy is a genre that can be adapted successfully to better suit different cultural themes.

MDot-TheOffice-640x360-MP.jpg

The success of mock-umentary sitcom ‘The Office’ has led to a number of localised adaptations, based on the basic storylines and themes, being produced in other markets in other countries making it an international franchise. The original series was made in the UK and aired in July 2001. Written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant the program consisted of two six episode series before coming to an end due to low rating. The show generated a lot of success since its cancelation within British comedy as well as on an international market. The show then moved on to the American market being adapted for American audiences with the help of Greg Daniels, veteran writer for SNL, King of the Hill and The Simpsons. The show had more success than the UK version going along for nine seasons before ending due to being criticised for losing its quality.

There was a lot of skepticism received by critics towards the adaptation of ‘The Office’ in America, allowing for mixed responses when the first season was aired. However, with the introduction of the second season came a more positive response, which allowed the series to become the phenomenon it is known to be today.

But in order for these adaptation to become successful on any level they must adhere to the cultural direction of the audience they are developing for.

“Audiences are attracted to cultural products that are close in cultural content and style to the audience’s own culture” (Straubhaar, 2007)

Successful adaptations will “arises when a program developed in one country can be reformatted in different territories and the local producer and broadcaster can access a template that has already withstood two rounds of R&D” (Keane and Moran, 2008)

‘The Office’ has had many adaptations but two renditions from completely different walks of life are the German version ‘Stromberg’ and the American version. Although the basic storyline is the same and is carried through both versions of the show the setting, characters and some plotlines have been reshaped to suit the audiences viewing them.

“Each of these two iterations of the British-created program represents case of localization strategies, which are language-block-by-language block or country-by-country approach to deal with differences within a region” (Moran, 2009). Therefore, both shows have been repackaged in local languages over dubbing or subtitling, to suit local viewing preferences of the audience. This helps make a more personal connection with the audience, as they are able to connect with the show on a deeper level as it tackles local and cultural themes.

Since the success of the mock-umentary style, Australia too has jumped on the bandwagon by creating their own show, with similar aspects to both ‘Stromberg’ and ‘The Office’ called ‘Utopia’. Which Netflix has since bought from Working Dog, therefore opening up global reach for the Australian television market.


References:

  • Moran, Albert 2009, TV formats worldwide: Localising Global Programs, Intellect Books, Bristol

The Inner Working Of Reality TV

reality-tv-collage-scxg7n.jpg

Unnecessary. Pathetic. Boring.

Those are just some words that are usually associated with reality TV. But I bet you never thought reality TV could be associated to any positive words.

Inspirational. Educational. Insightful.

For many years reality TV has gain a negative connotation towards it, due to people’s lack of understanding of the meaning and impact reality TV has had on our society.

“While many people think that reality TV is nothing more than a series of freak shows, some serve the greater good. A good deal of what is on TV can be very useful to the viewer”

(Perritano, 2016).

Although reality TV has such a negative stigma, a 2011 American study shows that 15.5% of people watch and engage in reality TV and it is slowly increasing as time goes on.

I myself do not like to brag that I watch reality TV but the truth of the matter is that I do and I couldn’t for the life of me explain why I enjoy it so much. However, after watching Andy Dehnart’s TED Talk on the value of reality TV, it got me thinking about the social impact it has had on the changing issues that we have come to accept in this day and age.

Dehnart explains that reality TV helps build relationships and experiences with people you have not met and wouldn’t have met if you were not watching them on a television screen. This bond made to people who we wouldn’t normally meet are the people who allows to understand and embrace a different culture and side to society that we would possibly be sheltered to.

A big issue that reality TV has helped over come and created awareness for, is for the LGBT community. It all started with a reality documentary ‘An American Family’ (1973), which followed the Loud family around with their daily activities. This show had its debut with its first every openly gay character, Lance Loud. This insight into his life and struggles as a publicly gay figure on television opened the doors to some of the other openly gay reality TV stars who are helping reshape the way we view the LGBT community.

The main figure who has raised awareness for the transgender scene was retired gold medal-winning American Olympian Bruce Jenner, also known for his appearance on ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ and marriage to Kris Jenner and his two daughters Kendall and Kylie. Jenner landed his own reality TV show ‘I am Cait’ after transitioning in 2015 from Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner. This show followed Caitlyn through before and after her transition as well as her personal struggles and life that came after the change.

Caitlyn Jenner, along side other stars on other reality TV show’s have opened up a more public forum for the LGBT community, creating awareness for the struggles and hardship which the community faces on a daily bases. Recently Geordie Shore star Marnie Simpson opened up about her sexuality, following fellow cast mate Nathan Henry’s reveal to the Geordie family that he was in fact gay.

Although a lot of you may not like reality TV with all its drama and unnecessary conflict, you must see what it has done to help make awareness in our society.

Even though you may not believe that they have any relevance to your life, I challenge you to watch some reality TV and see if you can form a connect with the cast members and see if you can spot the social issues they are helping to over come.


References:

Dehnart, A 2013, ‘The Value of Relaity TV, TedTalk, online video, YouTube, 12th April, viewed 6th August 2016 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hWrRlSITKw&gt;

Perritano, J 2016, ‘What is reality TV’s influence on culture?, How Stuff Works: Culture, viewed 6th August 2016 <http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/tv-and-culture/reality-tvs-influence-on-culture2.htm&gt;