The Story behind Newspapers on TV

Kottke has an interesting article on newspapers used in TV shows, due to clearance time and costs they use fake ones supplied specifically for this purpose. This is an example of one of those things you don’t notice on screen yet requires a fair bit of time, effort and thought. There are hundreds of these sorts of things on every set that most people will never even be aware of.

It’s also another example of a business that supplies something you just never think about. If you think of all the things that surround our lives you can probably think of a few businesses that supply odd things you often overlook. Companies that do nothing but supply screws, or electrical sockets, but there are loads. Think about companies that produce ballcocks for toilets, who manufacture different types of putty, who churn out various food containers or make rubber seals for car doors.

Even simple things. Take a mug, yes there’s a company that supplied the mug to the store, but you’ll probably find that it was supplied the mug by a company that churns out blank mugs in a variety of shapes, who in turn buys the clay/porcelain/whatever from a company that does nothing but produce that. Have a wander around any industrial estate and you’ll find companies supplying things you’d never think of but have to exist.


Why Goblet of Fire is My Favourite

Originally posted on Potter’s Place

As I mentioned in my review, Goblet of Fire is my favourite of the Harry Potter books (thus far at least). For many fans Prisoner of Azkaban was the high point of the series, so I decided to try and explain just what it is I like so much and why I prefer it over the other books.

Goblet of Fire has been criticised for being overly long, it’s been suggested that Rowling’s huge success with the first three books meant the editors were told to stand aside, advised to only change what was absolutely necessary and let the obvious literary magic she possesses shine through. Rowling has confessed that she was under a lot of pressure to finish the novel because she had committed to an unrealistic deadline and was even fantasising about breaking her arm so she physically couldn’t write and would get more time. Perhaps this lack of time and added pressure is another reason why the story is longer, more convoluted and less focused than her previous works. Perhaps the tight deadlines meant the editors simply didn’t get time to do their job to the fullest. I will hold my hand up and say that the book does meander a bit, even I can see that, but you know what, I don’t care. It’s a book, I have lots of time to wallow in it, to dive right in and lose myself, to let it wash over me, to read and re-read parts over and over and spend time enjoying not only the story but also the setting.
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The Cinema Indoors

Originally posted on Filmography

There have been a number of articles about the movie industry reducing the time between a film appearing in the cinema and being available on DVD of late. The reasons given tend to be cost (you spend less on advertising), piracy (it gives pirates less chance to get illegal copies distributed) and potential earnings (the DVD market is worth more than the box office). It was only a matter of time before someone announced that they would be releasing a film in the cinema and on DVD at the same time (hat tip: Kottke). That time has come. In fact, in the deal proposed, the movie would also be released on TV as well (I assume on pay-per-view).
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Made for the Screen

This article was originally posted on Filmography

With the current furore over The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxyfilm I am beginning to wonder if it’s actually possible to adapt a beloved and bestselling book to the screen successfully. I suppose the other question is what makes an adaptation successful?

Due to the relatively short runtime of a movie it will never be possible to make it identical to a book. The Lord of the Rings extended trilogy comes in at about 12 hours and it still misses things out. There’s so much, both implied and written, in any book that you cannot possibly capture it all onscreen.
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Is Disney Finished?

I finally got round to seeing The Incredibles over the Christmas period (and it was by far the busiest of the three films I went to see at the Cinema) and it got me thinking. I remember reading news that Pixar will be discontinuing their relationship with Disney after their current contract runs out. The reason was money, Disney wanted too much for doing too little. I don’t know who it was at Disney that decided they wouldn’t give in to Pixar’s wishes, but if they aren’t fired already, they should be. Why? Well, Pixar hasn’t yet made a bad movie, in fact, I don’t think they’ve made one that hasn’t hit blockbuster status. IMDB, the film nerd bible, estimates Finding Nemo cost $94 million to make and put the worldwide box office takings at $702 million on 29th December 2003. Monsters, Inc., it says, had an estimated budget of $115 million, with the US box office alone finishing at about $255 million. These movies aren’t cheap, but they’re no more expensive than the average blockbuster and they’re out hitting most of them. Most unusual of all is that only one of their movies has been a sequel or spin-off – Toy Story 2 – which means they still have plenty of material to exploit should the going get tough. Continue reading

Film Piracy

I read recently, courtesy of the BBC, yet another story of the film industry trying desperately to curb piracy. I remember the issue of using night vision in cinemas coming up before as a method to stop people taping the movie and thought it bizarre, if rather harmless. Let’s face it, it’s completely impractical. For a day or two, a week tops, and in limited screens maybe, but cinemas aren’t going to fork over some of their profits to buy or employ technology and manpower to stand about on the off chance someone is trying to record a movie. Nor can I see anyone taking to bag searches and metal detectors being used, talk about spoiling the mood.

The most practical method is to try and stem the cause of the piracy. This sounds far easier than it will ever be. For starters, there are a number of reasons for the piracy, some personal (someone wants their own copy before anyone else), many financial. Looking at the markets that drive this industry (and it is an industry), the reasons come down to cost or time. That is to say that a pirate tape or DVD is cheaper than the original, cheaper than a cinema ticket, or that people just like to get what they see as a bargain. Alternatively, they buy pirate videos because they’re available long before the legitimate commercial product. Continue reading