The Australian Film Industry

Mason is convinced the West Australian’s Cannes-feted feature film debut would have grossed more at the box office had it been made in the US” (Roach, 2014)

To me this comment sums up pretty perfectly why Australian film makers are struggling to entice the Australian public to connect to our films, because they aren’t American.
When we think of western civilisation, the first country we think of is America, when we think of presidents we think of American presidents like Obama, American culture is more prevalent in our society than our own and we seem to prefer it, and their actors.

Screen Australia reported that in 2013, Australian films took just 3.5 per cent of box office takings in the country, this is lower than the previous year which still only took in 4.3 per cent. Jim Schembri (2011) from the Sydney Morning Herald stated that the public perception that Australian films are automatically bad has been around since the 1980s, and that stereotype although slowly diminishing is still affecting the Australian Film Industry dramatically. Perhaps one reason why the public don’t connect to Australian films is because a vast majority have been released according to a government standard of approval via the co-production treaty that Screen Australia has with the government. This treaty states specific qualifications for production such as significant Australian content and only feature films produced for exhibition to the public in cinemas. Of course there are many American films that also feature culture specific content, but many of these aren’t exactly always based on fact but on satire or combined with fiction.

The only solution I can think of to boost our reputation is a much better marketing strategy, and of course a pool of more talented writers and producers. Our film makers seem to be targeting the wrong audiences and have absolutely no idea what teenagers, children or the elderly are even interested in. A lack of creativity is evident, and in order to broaden our vision we need to take a leaf out of a successful book, which in this case it would be to invest in the kinds of ideas that American film makers are profiting off. Promote surveys, welcome feedback, do your research properly and take the time to listen and take notice to what your audience is saying and looking for.

I for one am not going to spend my weekend paying to watch another Australian film about the ‘Aussie outback’ and our love of crocodiles and kangaroos.

References

Roach, V 2014, Local audiences snub Australian filmmakers yet Hollywood loves them, http://www.news.com.au/, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/local-audiences-snub-australian-filmmakers-yet-hollywood-loves-them/story-fnk853hr-1227057559133&gt;

Schembri, J 2011, Australian film disaster at the box office, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/blogs/cinetopia/australian-film-disaster-at-the-box-office-20110321-1c3ov.html&gt;

Screen Australia n.d, Australia’s Producer Offset and International Co-production Program, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/dc0401b0-192a-4652-a6b8-5b6e57b7f2f0/TheFacts_flyer.pdf&gt;

 

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Classification in the home

The most obvious form of regulation in the home is the code of classification we see every day on our television screens. These ratings, which range from G (general audience) to R18+ are set in place to determine if what you’re watching is suitable for the audience or yourself.
As a child, only one of my parents managed to implement a system in which what I watched determined if it were deemed suitable or not by the government, which meant that from a very early age, I was already learning that rules only applied when certain people weren’t looking (thanks mum).

These classifications are only a code of conduct, and while not enforced legally are rated upon a system that takes many different factors into account. These are things such as nudity, violence, drugs, language and sexual content, all of which are not seen as suitable for children and in some cases only for teenagers over the age of 15 (MA). Each rating has it’s own set of rules and regulations and even it’s own on-air time slot. For example G is for a general audience, so is deemed appropriate for everybody and therefore is available for viewing at any time, R18+ however is restricted and is limited to adult “pay per view”.

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The most common social concern regarding these regulations is the argument that television corrupts or alters children socially, creating an atmosphere in which they are forced to mature ahead of time or recreate acts of violence they may be subjected to. Numerous studies have been done on these concerns, and in a 1982 report by the American Psychological Association the research found that there were three major effects of television on children (Cmu.edu, 1999);

Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others
 
•Children may be more fearful of the world around them
 
• Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.

The rules and regulations apply to all exhibitions of content, including home viewing. This is more likely to affect children as it’s the most common space for a television to be in use, and is also public to the members of the viewing household. In situations where there may be more than one child of different ages, these classifications become profound by determining the absence of either child depending on their age, directly relating the regulations back to the space in which they are previewed.

References

Cmu.edu 1999, Violence on Television: What do Children Learn? What Can Parents Do?, viewed on 28 September 2014, <http://www.cmu.edu/CSR/case_studies/tv_violence.html&gt;

Multi-tasking Mediums

Since the year 2000, the attention span of an average human being has dropped from 12 seconds, to only a mere eight (Statisticbrain.com, 2014). This dramatic decline is believed to be the side-effect of social medias continuous, rising popularity.
Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, Pinterest, Tinder, Bebo, Tumblr, Reddit etc, in fact by the time I finish typing this sentence, you would have already lost interest.

“Attention, cognitive science tells us has a limited capacity: working memory creates a bottleneck that lets us hold just so much in our mind at any given moment.” (Goleman, n.d.). When the information flowing through our brains is boring, repetitive or routine, our minds start to wander, and as it does this it attaches it’s attention onto the closest distraction it can find: your handheld or compact social device.

In 2013, an investigation was conducted to determine the effects of laptop use in classrooms. “The results suggested that multitasking on a laptop is a distraction to both users and fellow students and can be detrimental to learning of classroom materials”, says Faria Sana (2013) one of these investigators. Although the use of a laptop computer does aid in providing a smart technological device to learn and depend on, it also allows the user access to online games, videos and social networking platforms.
I mentioned earlier that the more routine something is, the more our mind tends to wander. This rule is particularly true in regards to education, especially when there are more important things that demand your attention, such as your newly appointed boyfriend or the amount of rising likes on your current profile picture.

I am of course a self-confessed multi-tasker, as soon as there’s an advertisement my iPhone is already unlocked and open on the first application I see, I’ve even memorised where each one is so I don’t have to waste time looking at my screen to open it. My laptop has no fewer than eight tabs active at any one time, I switch between the fastest loading videos, refreshing my email, re-blogging on Tumblr and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. All of which are done within a matter of seconds of each other. Why? because it is available and accessible.

Mobile phones have become less about keeping in touch and more about angry birds, tinder and the 27 selfies in your camera roll that are all identical, but just didn’t make the cut.
There new apple watch is not even designed to primarily tell time, it’s been infested with smart phone features like remote app access, texting capabilities and gaming.
ON A WATCH.
Screen_Shot_2014-09-09_at_3.02.41_PM.0

The reality of the matter is, as we grow so to do our brains and they will continue to do so. We’re always searching for new and exciting ways to challenge ourselves, and distraction or no distraction, I have my eight tabs open and I still managed to complete this task on time.

References

Goleman, D. n.d, Focus. 1st ed.

Kurtzleben, D 2014, What you need to know about the new Apple Watch, Vox, viewed on 24 September 2014,
<http://www.vox.com/2014/9/9/6127087/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-apple-watch&gt;

Sana, F., Weston, T. and Wiseheart, M 2013, Laptops as Classroom Distraction FAQ, Yorku.ca, viewed on 24 September 2014 <http://www.yorku.ca/ncepeda/laptopFAQ.html&gt;

Statisticbrain.com 2014, Attention Span Statistics | Statistic Brain, viewed on 24 September 2014,
< http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics/&gt;

 

Redefining Public Space: An observation of personal mobile device use In a public space

Within five minutes of venturing out onto campus to stealthily capture people in the process of glueing their faces to their screens, I was amazed to discover that at-least every 1 in 5 person seen was distracted by either their phone, tablet or laptop.
This absolute emersion into their mobile devices significantly enabled the possibility to photograph the subject without their knowledge, nobody was aware that they were being photographed or watched.

Of course I was able to capture many people demonstrating the use of a private device in a public space, although the ethics of whether or not it was right to use these images were called into question. In the end I decided that even though these people were clearly in a very public space, what they were doing or were involved with was visibly very private . The ethics of street photography has been debated by many, one author, Joerg Colberg asks the question “If someone does not want their photograph taken do you, as a photographer, just go ahead and do so anyway, because you can?”. My answer to this question is no, you should not.

Consent is important when you’re involving other people, and although not technically illegal, the use of their image without this permission is promoting the idea that you do not value their private or personal space, even if it is in public.
A good example of this is perhaps filming a stranger whilst in the middle of a phone conversation, you have a right to be where you are, but what you are recording is personal information overheard by the filming of a public space, and even though this person is clearly in public the conversation that they are having is not intended to be, ethically we automatically know this, and the footage should not be used or broadcasted without permission.

Colberg goes on to argue that the most important question to ask is “whether the public is fine with it”. Just because you have no problem publishing them without their consent, it doesn’t mean that they don’t. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if a photographer captured my image and broadcasted it all over the internet or on any form of media without me knowing, it puts in question the legitimacy of what they are doing and how trustworthy the information they are publishing is. If somebody is willing to ignore my consent in favour of a few dollars or seconds of glory, they are not somebody I would be open to trusting.

When comparing public and private space, you have to acknowledge that with growth and evolution comes change. Public spaces, in the growing age of mobile and compact technology have now become places where people do private things, and these people were always going to eventually integrate the use of these devices into their everyday lives.
This in my opinion does not make it any less personal.

Although I had fun observing the relationship between people and their devices, it’s a relationship reserved strictly between those people and their screens, unless of course, I get consent.

A Night At The Movies

Planning a night at the movies always has it’s obstacles, choosing the right people, the right time, the right place and the right film to watch, everybody has to be in collective agreement about all of these conditions.

I chose three of my close friends, regular movie nights have always been a thing for us, so it was the easiest decision for me. Completely disregarding how tedious it is when involving two males who have indecisive tendencies, we all calibrated over Facebook, shooting session times and of course the most important decision of all; what movie we were going to see.

My female friend had no problems with either, stating that as long as the rest of us could agree on something, she would be happy to participate.
We finally settled on Guardians Of The Galaxy, and I was to wait at home while the other three got ready and came past to pick me up (my biggest obstacle being that I don’t drive), which thankfully overcame the capability of me attending.
The screening time was at 6:45 at the Nowra Roxy Cinema Complex, and as 6:40 rolled around with still no car in my driveway (and no attempt at communication to state otherwise), I was starting to worry that our plans might not even be going ahead (coupling possibility was slowly diminishing).

At 7:03 I heard the familiar rumble of the ridiculously loud black car and opened the passenger door to find that there were only two of them, not three.
“You know we’ve already missed the movie by 15 minutes right? You’re lucky they show ads at the beginning” I said, shaking my head.
“Well actually, we changed our mind” Said one of my male friends.
“We were going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, but then we switched to Spider Man 2, Jaymi got mad that we changed our minds at the last second so she stayed home”

“So, what are we watching then?” I replied.
“Oh, we’re watching Lucy now, it starts in ten, better hop in”.
Atleast I knew they hadn’t forgotten about me after all, and that I was still more than welcome to join in the poorly planned activity.

We all paid for our own tickets and did enjoy the movie collectively, sitting about half-way down the theatre all next to each other. Although it goes to show that no matter how prepared you think you are for a movie night out, there’s always atleast one person who has to make it difficult.

Cinema attendance is already waning from what it used to be compared to how I remember as a child, while I was lucky enough to be going with people who wanted to go regardless of the planning, these obstacles might be considered too tedious for other people. I think most would just prefer to stay home or download their own version without having to really make any effort, spend any money or worry about how they’re going to be getting there and back at the end of the night.

Locating the Networked Home: Quality Qualms.

I come from a very large family, at one point there were seven of us living in the same household, that’s a lot of phones, laptops and other internet connected devices. The grand scale of these technologies meant that the internet was a very slow road for us, the traffic was always backed up and we’d all very often experience some kind of ‘road rage’. 

Living on my own means more freedom from the road blocks and constant stop signs, although the remaining members of my family living in the same household (there are four) still often experience these difficulties. Especially now, in the era of iPads, iPhones, iPods, tablets and the declining age of internet users. 
Returning to my former-home, I find the 18-year-old in a tantrum over the lagging playstation, cries of frustration and loud profanities travel down the hallway to the lounge-room, as I prepare to interview them about the disadvantages of not living in an NBN connected home (although, I somehow find myself already knowing some of the answers to these questions). 

“We’re not connected to the NBN” my mother, Maryanne Spresser confirms, rolling her eyes at the background noise. 
The connectivity of the NBN in the Shoalhaven was considered a high priority in the pre-election hype of 2012, and in-fact the high-speed fibre optic cables that enables this connectivity were already underway in 2013 for installation in the main streets of Nowra, NSW, but were halted in March due to the change of government. These plans were reinstated in January of this year (2014), but have again halted due to unknown reasons, and with no clear indication of recommencement. 

The timing of these installations is shown as follows on the Shoalhaven City Council Website:

 Immediate – Should occur the 2012 calendar year
 Short-term – Should occur in the 2011/2012 – 2012/2013 period
 Medium-term – Should occur in the 2013/2014-2014/2015 period
 As required – Should occur wherever required according to need
 Ongoing – Is a continual process that is not time bound

“We hope to achieve faster internet speeds, better coverage (especially in regards to the weather lately) reliability with connectivity and also expect to be able to connect with more devices so we have more sharing capabilities.” says Maryanne.

The children of the household have different ideas, with one suggesting better public access to WiFi (because McDonalds just doesn’t cut it) and another complaining about how the internet access they have now limits him to slow, “laggy” gaming. 
“I’d like to be able to game without dropping out every 5 minutes, or freezing into buildings” he says.
“It gets really frustrating when you’re in the middle of a game and all of a sudden the connection stops and you have to start all over again, I hate losing all of my progress”.

The household is connected to Telstra Broadband wireless access, which provides them with 200 gigabytes of data for $60 a month. “This is never enough of course” says Maryanne, “The kids are all on their devices 24/7, so it eats into the data usage pretty quickly”.

In five years, Maryanne expects that Australians will still be doing very much the same as they are now; “Online shopping, paying their bills, watching free movies and listening to free music, downloading a lot quicker”. 
Although, there are some differences she thinks will stand out; “I think we’ll have easier and faster access to people in other countries, therefore easier collaboration with professionals in their fields e.g; medicine. It’ll also affect my experience of being at home, because it’ll make it easier to do everything as it will be quicker, so there’ll be a lot less time wasted”.

All members of the household have now wandered in and listening to the responses, nod their heads in agreement.
Not wanting me to forget the importance of video games, Dylan Spresser, the second eldest member of the household (18) speaks up and adds “I just want to add that the quality of online video games and gaming in general will improve a lot more, less lagging and also faster downloads”. 
The general agreement of these statements suggest that everybody in this household would like access to the NBN in the near future, with the mention of the possibility of not receiving it short-term, there were angry murmurs and “not bloody likely’s” announced aloud. 

“Our home internet access is limited and with bad weather it drops out, you could be in the middle of an important conference call, or an online video chat with a distant relative and you lose the connection, it’s frustrating” says Maryanne.
“It’s not fair if everybody else gets faster internet and we’re left to feed off the left-overs of the past” she says. 

The NBN does not look like it is in the near future for this family, with constant broken promises and the starting and stopping of progress, all the government has managed to do in this family’s opinion is “raise false hope”. 

References

myNBN Rollout Tracker 2014, myNBN | 2NWR FSA (Nowra-Bomaderry), viewed 24 August 2014, <http://www.mynbn.info/fsa/2NWR&gt;

Shoalhaven City Council 2014, viewed 24 August 2014, <https://www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/My-Property/National-Broadband-Network?portalid=3?portalid=3&gt;

Television Interview.

“I can still picture it in my head, even after all of this time” Says 44 year old mother of five, Maryanne Spresser.
“Our television set was in the corner of the lounge-room against the wall, I remember I used to sit on the floor and sometimes a beanbag, because I was the youngest it meant that I wasn’t allowed on the lounge, my older siblings always got priority.”

Reminiscing about her favourite shows as a child, Maryanne talks about how her absolute favourite was ‘Little house on the prairie’.
“Gilligans Island, Hogans Heroes and saturday morning cartoons, those were really the extent of my TV education” She laughs.
“I remember watching Looney Tunes on ABC (we only had two channels, including WIN), watching Road Runner, Porky Pig and Archie and Veronica.”
Ms Spresser talks about how different television programs are now compared to when she was young – 
“The quality of cartoons has changed so dramatically, I mean we had violence back then, but we never considered them violent (If that makes sense).”

“Our Television sets were so different”, She reflects as she glances at her modern LCD.
“We had ours in a big wooden box, with large round knobs on the outside, these of course were the dials because there were no remotes back then (laughs), there was also a large metal aerial on top of the set, nothing like you’d see today.”

Watching her children stare fixedly at the current TV in her own lounge-room, Ms Spresser describes how hard it is to explain how much things have changed.
“I mean look at children now, they spend hours in front of the Television, sometimes I honestly think I’d prefer how it was back then to now. We weren’t really allowed to watch it much like today, we were always outside running around and being active.”

When asked about the differences that stood out the most, Ms Spresser took a moment to think and responded with;
“I’d say the biggest change is obviously the diversity in channels, there are so many more choices now, and even the colour. For the first few years of my life we never had a colour Television, but I remember later we were the first ones in our neighbourhood to get one, everybody was jealous”.

“It’s so strange reflecting back on it now because TV was so much more innocent back then you know? More family oriented. The Quality was awful compared to now, but I think out shows were so much better. I don’t know, it’s a two way thought process really, the shows nowadays such so much”.

 

Bio.

For most of my life i’ve lived in the same place, it’s only until recently i moved up to Wollongong to study and become a journalist, which i think is something i’ve wanted for as long as i can remember.

I’ve always felt like there was something wrong with the world, nothing i ever heard or read seemed to fit everything that everyone else was saying. I’d see snippets of information about terrorism, wars and famine and it puzzled me that i never saw any of this being broadcasted where it really mattered, where people could see.

I learnt very quickly that everybody did know, they just didn’t want to or didn’t care, which is when i decided that i wanted to be one of the people who did, and make sure that everybody everywhere knew that they should too.

I want to shoulder the responsibility that is associated with Journalism, and do it properly, instead of modernising everything to the point where everything is either inaccurate, censored or filtered to fit desired outcomes.

My most prevalent media spaces are YouTube and Tumblr, which is pretty ordinary and nothing special but also a major part of my day/outlet.

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I’m 21, a dedicated feminist, vegetarian and book lover, in my first year of studies and also cats, cats and more cats.

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xoxo Jamie Reynolds.

Remixing the Internet


Online music videos are affected by both convergence culture and remix culture, due to the increasing power held by media audiences in terms of media reproduction and redistribution“.

Anders Fagerjord simply defines remixing as a way of creating new genres from pieces of earlier genres, a perfect example of this concept is YouTube’s distribution of remixed music parody videos, either professionally or user produced.

The news footage of the attempted “rape and robbery” in Huntsville, Alabama went viral in 2010, was later edited into a remixed version that is arguably the most popular remixed video of that year and  has been viewed over 116 million times since it’s upload. This alteration prompted other user-based parodies such as “Sweet Browns” interview.

Fagerjord (2010) refers to YouTube as a remixed platform, as well as producer: “You might call the site a clever remix of a video gallery, a blog-like commenting system, a system of friends and connections as in a social network site such as LinkedIn and a file-sharing site or network”, so not only does it provide a platform for sharing and creating new content out of previous videos, it also contributes to the remix culture itself simply by existing.

References:

Fagerjord, A 2010, After Convergence: YouTube and Remix Culture, International Handbook of Internet Research, pp.187-200.

Transmedia narratives on YouTube.

Youtube is very capable of contributing successfully to various forms of transmedia narratives, as the media platform was built around the access and sharing of multiple contents to millions of users worldwide. Using YouTubes video hosting service, the platform allows user generated parodies to exist on almost any website, circulating and promoting on the internet, gaining easy access to a wide range of audiences. Consumers and producers alike are capable of distorting or creating their own form of narrative and uploading it into the public sphere, where it then proceeds to be seen, distorted again and then re-distributed.

Take for example the production of online parody’s such as Toasty.Tv’s “House of Thrones”, which expands on the television series “Game of Thrones” in a comedic way, outlining the subject content and commenting on and adapting the characters. Through this process, users are  able to extend on the original understanding of the information, and gain a broader perspective.

Henry Jenkins labels fan fiction as an “unauthorized expansion of  media franchises into new directions, which reflect the reader’s desire to “fill in the gaps“, which is exactly what these parodies or “fan fiction” narratives succeed in doing through the use of transmediality.