Friday, 27 November 2015

Improving Your Essay

In today's lessons you will make improvements to your essay.

Step 1. Update your YR12 tracker with your CWA grade from the essay.

0-19 = U
20-24 = E
25-29 = D
30-34 = C
35-39 = B
40-50 = A

Step 2. Read the whole class advice ppt and identify audience and distribution pattern.
Step 3. Re-write your essay directly onto your blog ensuring that you have responded to your targets.
Step 4. Post onto blog for me to re-mark.
Step 5. Scan in your first draft and post to your blog.
Step 6. Await new grade

Improving your essay - AS Media Aud and Inst from Mr Smith


Where can I find evidence? Your 100 facts blog post and this teaching blog!

Where can I see an example of two TOP B grade responses? HERE

What terminology should I use?
  • Production practices
  • distributed
  • audiences engage
  • distribution and marketing strategies
  • facilitating or challenging institutional practices
  • success or failure
  • synergy
  • cross media or digital initiatives
  • specific audiences

January 2013 Examiners' Report (Film)

Film was the most popular media area studied and at times very successfully. Those candidates that addressed the question well would compare and contrast a major Hollywood Studio with a British film company. The most able responses were supported by examples across a range of media and these in turn were embedded in institutional practices such as synergy, convergence and cross media promotion. The most able candidates also argued that despite the power of film companies (backed by conglomerates) outweighing smaller independent and British film companies in terms of success, many opportunities have been created by the ever changing online age, for example Vertigo films and ‘Monsters’ or ‘Streetdance 3D’ and ‘The Microwave’ scheme encouraging films like ‘Shifty’ to be produced. There were also some confident discussions of three of the majors: Disney/Sony/News Corp with ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Life of Pi’ and ‘Skyfall’ being introduced as particularly relevant and topical case studies. Candidates who studied these examples seemed to have a broad understanding of issues around audience.

Less able candidates would simply describe media ownership, sometimes incorrectly, for example using Pinewood Studios as a discussion of ownership, or offer potted histories of film companies. In some instances candidates had very little to say on media ownership, displaying a lack of preparation for the set question. There were a significant number of film titles mentioned which are deemed as non-contemporary: (‘Atonement’ (2007), ‘Notting Hill’ (1999) ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (1994) and ‘Chicken Run’ (2002). When discussing examples form the online age it is a basic response to argue that a product or service is a T-shirt or piece of merchandising, candidates need to identify and explain the example; likewise a mention of a twitter account or references to Netflix or Lovefilm are basic ways to present examples. Candidates should be encouraged to provide detail in the examples they use and explain these in relation to the set question.

Ben Wheatley on A Field In England

A Field In England (2013) Trailer

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Mark Kermode Reviews Kill List

Kill List : Interview With Ben Wheatley

Kill List research

Find out as much as you can about the companies that helped produce Kill List:
Then do the same for the distributors:
  • Optimum Releasing (UK)
  • IFC Midnight (US)

Kill List (2011) Dir. Ben Wheatley

Kill List is a cult-classic from the low budget feature slate Warp X, which wowed the critics when it had its world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas. The dark and twisted horror film from award-winning director Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace), Kill List tracks an ex-soldier turned contract killer who begins to unravel when he takes on a new assignment. Kill List was filmed at locations across Yorkshire in 2010 with financing and support from Screen Yorkshire. Protagonist handles international sales and Studio Canal took the UK rights to Kill List following a bidding war between UK distributors. A US deal was struck with IFC Midnight. Michael Smiley won a BIFA for Best Supporting Actor.

Brief synopsis:

Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier turned contract killer Jay (Neil Maskell), is pressured by his partner Gal (Michael Smiley), into taking a new assignment. As they descend into the dark, disturbing world of the contract, Jay begins to unravel once again - his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness….

Kill List is produced by Claire Jones & Andy Starke for Warp X / Rook Films with backing from the UK Film Council, Film4 and Screen Yorkshire.. Executive producers Robin Gutch, Katherine Butler, Lizzie Francke, and Hugo Heppell. Warp’s Barry Ryan co-produced.

The cast features Neil Maskell, Michael Smiley, MyAnna Buring and Emma Fryer. Ben Wheatley co-wrote the script with Amy Jump.

What the critics said:

 “brutally impressive… a challenging and gripping chiller”  ScreenDaily

“weird and darkly amusing...progresses from uncomfortable character study to subtly intense crime thriller, and ultimately deep, dark horror”

“mystery, murder, and flesh-busting madness....rivals the best horror films for sheer tension and terror.”

“several cuts above its fellow midbudget horror effectively twisted piece of work”

Kill List (2011) Trailer

European Economic Area (EEA)

The European Economic Area (EEA) provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the internal market of the European Union (EU) between its 28 member states, as well as three of the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.[4] The Agreement is applied provisionally with respect to Croatia—the remaining and most recent EU member state—pending ratification of its accession by all EEA parties.[2][5]

The EEA was established on 1 January 1994 upon entry into force of an agreement between the member states and the EU's predecessors, the European Economic Community and the European Coal and Steel Community.[4] EFTA states which join the EEA participate in the EU's internal market without being EU members, adopting almost all the relevant EU legislation other than laws regarding agriculture and fisheries. The EEA's "decision-shaping" processes enable them to influence and contribute to new EEA policy and legislation from an early stage.[6]

One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA, but has a series of bilateral agreements with the EU which allow it also to participate in the internal market.

The British Film Industry: Match the explanation to the institution (Answers)

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

What Class Are You?

Click on the image and take the test.

Class & Status

Find two examples (a mixture of images and clips) from UK and US TV dramas for each of the following:
  1. Upper Class (rich/posh)
  2. Middle Class (neither rich nor poor/in the middle)
  3. Working Class (poor/common)
Add a brief justification for each choice.

Possible programmes:

Mad Men
Peaky Blinders
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
The Village
Ripper Street
Doctor Who
Game of Thrones

What Class Are You?

Click on the link and take the test.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

TV Drama Suggestions

  1. The Wire
  2. The Walking Dead
  3. Breaking Bad
  4. Chicago Fire
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. Doctor Who
  7. Spooks
  8. True Detective
  9. Misfits
  10. Gossip Girl
  11. Mr Robot
  12. Ironside
  13. ER
  14. The Good Wife
  15. Suits
  16. Top Boy
  17. Skins
  18. Line of Duty
  19. Homeland
  20. Prison Break
  21. Heroes
  22. Lost
  23. Agents of SHIELD
  24. Waking the Dead
  25. Luther
  26. The Vampire Diaries
  27. True Blood
  28. Hustle
  29. Empire
  30. Power
  31. Law & Order
  32. NCIS: Los Angeles
  33. Hawaii 5-O

Representation of Ethnicity

Find examples of how the following ethnic groups are represented in TV drama (British or American):
  • Black
  • White
  • Chinese
  • Asian
  1. Find examples from three TV dramas (not Soaps) for each ethnic group
  2. Are the representations stereotypical or not?
  3. How and why is this the case?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Representation of Ethnicity

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of ethnicity using the following:
  • Camera shots, angles, movement and composition
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Mise en scene
50 marks

EAA: Explanation, analysis, argument-20 marks
EG: Use of example-20 marks
T: Terminology-10 marks

TV Drama-Generic Conventions

You will find that TV dramas all have the following ingredients:

  • Characters – even particular kinds of characters: eg, at its most simple, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters.
  • Stories – they all tell stories, whether those stories involve adventure, crime or romance and they often, but not always, end happily.
  • The stories are told against familiar backdrops: – eg, homes, police stations and offices (for crime dramas), hospitals (for medical dramas) – most of which are created in studios. However, most dramas also use outside locations to create particular effects.
  • Camerawork – particular kinds of shots are used: eg, sequences involving establishing shots followed by mid-shots of characters, shot/reverse shots to show character interaction and, in particular,close-ups to show the characters’ emotions.
  • Stories use dialogue to tell the stories. Occasionally, monologues are built in (as voiceovers, a character telling a story).
  • Music is used to punctuate the action, create effects (suspense, tension) and underline emotional moments.
  • Particular subgenres tend to have items which make them immediately identifiable – police cars, blue lights, operating theatres and scalpels, triage/reception areas in hospitals. Icons of the genre, they symbolise the (sub)genre.

Representations of Ethnicity-Theory

Four Key Themes in Racial Representations
  • exotic
  • dangerous
  • humorous
  • pitied
(Alvarado et al. 1987: 153)

Unity and Conflict

  • Conflict is often the binary opposition of ethnic groups and the wider society.
  • Unity is often an element of the representation of ethnicity, this hits a stereotype of ethnicity, that of close families and tight communities.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road Research - 100 Facts

Produce a fact file for the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road (directed by George Miller)

I have compiled some information about pre-production, production, post production, marketing and distribution.

You need to read all the articles and complete a blog post containing 100 facts about the film.

10 of your facts MUST be:
  1. The invasion (yes invasion) and subsequent war in which country, that stopped filming?
  2. What TWO formats was the film originally going to be in to only then NOT be in?
  3. How many times was filming delayed?
  4. In which year did filming first conclude?
  5. In what year did they have to go back and film additional scenes?
  6. At what point did Warner Bros panic and insist someone write a script?
  7. When did the stars sign up to be in the film?
  8. Where was the film originally going to be produced only for it to rain!
  9. How much was spent on TV adverts?
  10. How long did crew spend in Namibia?

Mad Max Fury Road: Choreographing Complex Stunts & Car Chases | Design FX

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road Delayed… Again [Updated]

[Update: George Miller is talking about the reason for the delay.]

Things are not looking good for Mad Max: Fury Road. George Miller’s fourth Mad Max adventure has hit another road block – meaning that the film won’t start filming until 2012, at the earliest.

It’s the second delay for the film (which is scheduled for back-to-back shooting with a sequel, Furiosa) in recent months and there are reports that the reboot might even be scrapped – as the price of the Australian dollar rises.The action adventure film, which is currently set to star Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, was postponed in July because an unexpected amount of rain left proposed shooting locations too green for George Miller’s vision of a post apocalyptic world. Pre-production has already started on the film with millions spent – some rumors even state that some stunt work has already been filmed.

However, the crew have now been told that filming will not begin until February 2012.

The latest delay doesn’t bode well for Mad Max: Fury Road, which was originally set to shoot almost a decade ago – with original star Mel Gibson. Back then, troubles in the Middle East led to the film getting canned, and although no reason is given for this latest delay, the hopes of seeing Mad Max: Fury Road are starting to look bleak once again – as shooting has now been pushed-back more than a year.

This news is deja vu for Miller, who was well into pre-production on Justice League when the plugged was pulled due to budgetary reasons. It remains to be seen if Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron will even be in the film when (and if) Max returns to the screen. Thanks to Inception, Hardy’s star is on the rise, and Theron is constantly busy, thanks to her Monster Oscar win – so if, one year from now, Miller does get Mad Max on the road again – it might be with an entirely different cast.
The news comes as Mad Max’s studio, Warner Bros., is currently locked in a very public dispute with the Australian actors union over casting for The Hobbit. Any conspiracy theorist will likely come to the conclusion that the studio has delayed plans to shoot Mad Max in Australia as a way of getting back at the union as a result of their boycott of Peter Jackson’s film. Though this is purely speculation. The incident may even lead to a European The Hobbit shoot – not New Zealand where The Lord of The Rings trilogy was filmed.

UPDATE: Apparently weather conditions (not money) are to blame for the latest delay with Fury Road. As George Miller told the Sydney Morning Herald:

”Unfortunately for Mad Max, what was wasteland is now this wonderful flower garden…We’ve looked at every single nook and cranny in Australia for these specific locations…That’s why Broken Hill has become such a base for outback films: you’ve got the infrastructure of the city itself and the treeless plains beyond…Obviously if we go to Namibia or Morocco or Chile it’s a different kettle of fish, but we want to shoot it here…Governments are working incredibly hard to bring these productions in…They’re so sought after around the world because they infuse a massive amount of foreign cash into the economy and create a lot of jobs…Everyone’s competing for that and right now it’s no more expensive to shoot in America than it is in Australia.”

As a result of the delay, long time Mad Max fans might see a grain of hope that Mel Gibson could return to his iconic role of Max. The actor has had many well-publicized personal problems in recent years and a return to Mad Max would probably make more sense than the rumored Lethal Weapon 5 or Maverick 2. It remains to be seen if Gibson would even be interested, or if Miller would retool the script for an older (and madder?) Max – but it might be the only way of getting Max back into his Interceptor for another adventure filled with carnage and mayhem. It looks like we might need another hero after all.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Production Delayed

Every recent bit of news regarding Mad Max: Fury Road has been fantastic. Despite concerns that the next Mad Max installment would be retrofitted with 3D, we later discovered the film would actually be filmed using advanced 3D tech. Additionally, despite earlier concerns about casting, we’ve seen Miller actually put together a decent group of talent.
Unfortunately, the news today is less fantastic – production on Mad Max: Fury Road has stalled.
At the L.A. Inception premiere, Tom Hardy (the star of Fury Road) told MTV the production has hit a temporary red light.
While the news is disconcerting, it may give Hardy a little more time to get in peak physical form for the role. It’s not like the man is out of shape, but Mad Max will call for a different kind of hero – a man physically affected by an apocalypse, but strong enough to defend himself at any cost.
Hardy’s reveal of the production delay comes without any explanation, though the recent Gibson controversy can’t help – but it doesn’t seem to be anything major. Basically, no Hobbit-like issues.
“[We’ve] stopped. They pushed it back a little bit so I’m not up against it at the moment, so I’ve lost some weight, that’s it.”
Normally, I scoff at any attempt to continue a franchise with a replacement leading actor, but Hardy has proven himself worthy of any role Hollywood offers up. Are you listening Bond casting directors?
Hardy’s dedication to beefing up for his unbelievable performance in Bronson proves he has what it takes to transform for a role. He is one of the best chameleons in film today and could someday challenge Christian Bale in the weight-shifting actor category.
Hardy’s focus and determination to create a character, instead of human scenery, is what will elevate Mad Max: Fury Road. The actor and his director, George Miller, have been working on a way to establish a human story within the action-filled movie. Then again, shooting in 3D doesn’t suggest high drama.
Somehow, even in the midst of this disappointing news, Hardy managed to stay positive and build anticipation for Fury Road. In response to a query about his co-star Charlize Theron, Hardy gushed about her “incredible” nature.
If there is one movie franchise I wish took the “James Bond route” and churned out dozens of sequels, Mad Max would be it. The character is rich and exciting. His motivation is one that could generate drama over the course of multiple films – and the apocalyptic world George Miller created is one I’d like to explore again and again.

George Miller’s involvement is a great place for the fourth installment to start, but if they want a successful continuation of the franchise, Tom Hardy will definitely have to bring his limitless charisma and star quality to the film.

‘Mad Max 4′ Will Be Shot Using ‘Revolutionary’ 3D Tech

The guys over at /Film had a reader point them towards an exclusive article in the Australian movie magazine Inside Film, which stated that Dr. George Miller’s upcoming sequel/reboot Mad Max: Fury Road is going to be going the 3D route.

For months now we’ve suspected that Mad Max 4 would be retrofitted with 3D – i.e., the type of post-production 3D conversion process that we’ve seen with Clash of the Titans, Alice In Wonderland and most recently in The Last Airbender.

Avid movie fans know all too well that the process of retrofitting a movie with 3D is a real issue in the movie industry right now. The post-conversion process diminishes the quality and colors of movie footage, and worse, creates a hackneyed pop-n-flat “3D effect” that is little more than a reason to charge moviegoers exorbitant prices for tickets. So, hearing that Mad Max: Fury Road was going to be subjected to such a format was pretty disheartening.

But alas, what we dreaded has NOT come to pass (for once). In fact, Inside Film is reporting that Mad Max 4 will be shot using 3D rigs and cameras that are being specially developed by George Miller himself. Said the director:

“We are doing 3D on Fury Road – we are shooting with real 3D cameras…Seven years ago we were going to shoot in 3D but the technology in cinemas wasn’t geared for it then but I always loved 3D or stereo…”

Mad Max 4 is currently slated for a rough-n-tumble shoot across the Australian Outback (likely early next year), which would represent something of a challenge, as directors such as Michael Bay have noted that shooting with 3D cameras is a cumbersome experience. However true that may be, it didn’t stop James Cameron from changing the landscape of cinema with Avatar; it also hasn’t stopped Bay himself from ultimately shooting Transformers 3 in 3D.
For now it seems that 3D is here to stay, and in the case of Mad Max 4, I’m not worried. Dr. George Miller is an Oscar-winning pioneer when it comes to visually impressive films (see Babe and/or Happy Feet), and was even recently awarded the status of honorary member of the Visual Effects Society – the first non-U.S. citizen to be recognized in such a way.

There’s also the fact that Miller has Peter Jackson’s WETA handling visual f/x, makeup and costume designs for Fury Road. When the guys who brought Middle Earth to life in Lord of the Rings are behind a film, in my opinion it’s somewhat safe to raise one’s expectations.

What do you guys think: Does George Miller developing new 3D shooting techniques intrigue you? Does the process (if done right) seem fit for a film like Fury Road? Or is the thought of “3D shaky-cam” already making you nauseous?

Mad Max: Fury Road should start production early next year (at the latest).

Sources: Inside Film via /Film

Summer Movie Piracy Rises: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Tops 2015 Downloads

Digital pirates have been more active in swiping illegal copies of top Hollywood releases this summer compared with last year, according to new data.

For the period between June 21-Sept. 9, 2015, the five most-pirated films — led by Warner Bros.’ “Mad Max: Fury Road” — were downloaded on torrent networks worldwide 85.34 million times, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio. That’s a 29% increase over 66 million during the same time period last year, when “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was the No. 1 target of Internet thieves.

One reason for the piracy uptick may simply be that Hollywood released more popular movies this summer. In the U.S., box office revenue was the second-best on record, after 2014 hit a seven-year low, with ticket sales of $4.48 billion between May 1 to Labor Day weekend, according to Rentrak.

Indeed, the top five movies pirated globally piracy also performed well in theaters — and they’re clustered around sci-fi and fantasy themes, which appeal to the young-male profile of peer-to-peer downloaders.

“Mad Max: Fury Road,” which has generated $374 million at the box office worldwide, had 22.90 million shares on torrent networks over the summer. That was followed by Universal’s “Jurassic World” (18.16 million); Disney/Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (15.87 million); Lionsgate’s “Insurgent” (14.46 million); and Paramount’s “Terminator: Genesis” (13.94 million), which sagged at the U.S. box office but has done well overseas.

In the U.S., the five most-pirated movies for the summer of 2015 were: “Max Max: Fury Road” (1.75 million downloads); “Jurassic World” (1.21 million); “Insurgent” (1.16 million); “Ted 2” (1.10 million); and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (1.09 million).

Mad Max 4 to be Retrofitted with 3D?

It’s been common knowledge that George Miller’s Mad Max 4 (or Fury Road ) would be a 3D feature for quite sometime. Considering that it’s a $100 million tent-pole film in the second decade of the 21st Century – that’s no big surprise.

However, what may come as surprise is that the movie, which stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, will be converted to 3D – after the film has been shot. The 3D retrofit would be similar to fellow Warner Bros stablemate Clash of The Titans – and you already know how we felt about that conversion.

So what does this mean for Mad Max 4? Will it have the same substandard 3D presentation as Titans?

Titans had a rush 3D job intended to capitalize on the success of Avatar. Even though Mad Max will get a post-production 3D conversion, it appears that the 3D elements are at least being planned ahead of time – and already incorporated in the production process.

In addition, Max is getting a solid amount of time in post production, which would indicate that the film will have time for a high grade 3D conversion – and not a quick money-making cash-grab (well, not an overt money making cash-grab anyway).

Nicolas Hoult, who has parts in both Clash of The Titans and Mad Max 4 was responsible for the “retrofit” revelation – specifically stating Mad Max 4 would be “retrofitted” to 3D after the film was shot – so that it could incorporate preplanned 3D elements.

Hoult had been invited to a recent UK press event held by Samsung – a press event to unveil a new LED TV lineup. The electronics manufacturer brought together numerous actors, and other celebrities to offer their “thoughts” on 3D technology – and, of course, to help sell the product line.

In regards to 3D films as a whole, Hoult was optimistic about the format:

“You only have to look at the reception 3D is getting in theatres. Personally, I’m really enjoying it – you just want to be absorbed by a movie when you watch in 3D.”

In addition to Hoult, guests at the Samsung event included Kevin Spacey, BBC film presenter Claudia Winkleman, and Alexandra Burke – the 2008 X-Factor winner.

So, fear not Mad Max 4 fans – your 3D experience still has the potential for greatness. Well, unless you’re still bummed that Mel Gibson, the original Mad Max, isn’t involved.

Will you be seeing Mad Max 4 in 3D or, given the amount of 3D features en route, will you see this one the old fashioned way?

Do You Realize Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

I’m serious. Mad Max: Fury Road should not exist. It should never have gotten made. It certainly shouldn’t be as awesome as it is. And yet somehow, against all odds, this impossible cinematic masterpiece is in theaters right now, in defiance of reality itself.

Obviously, the fact that Hollywood decided to make a new Mad Max film 30 years after the last movie came out isn’t that exceptional. If there’s a franchise that anyone has nostalgia for — or at least awareness of — there’s a decent chance that Hollywood will make another in hopes of cashing in. Generally, these tend to be remakes or reboots, so the first miracle is that Fury Road isn’t a needless reboot, but a new chapter in the Mad Max saga. I can’t imagine how much Hollywood execs wanted to remake The Road Warrior, or give a new origin story for Tom Hardy’s turn as Max. I don’t know how director George Miller managed to convince the studio that modern audiences didn’t need to be coddled.

Actually, I don’t know how Miller was hired to direct the movie at all. Yes, Miller was the creator, writer and director of all three Mad Max movies, but when has Hollywood ever shown a creator loyalty? That’s not a studio executive’s job. Their job is to make as much money as possible, and given Miller’s track record, there’s no way he should have been hired, creator or not.

Do you know what Miller was doing before he returned to Mad Max? In the last 20 years, he has only directed three other movies: Happy Feet, a CG cartoon about a bunch of dancing penguins, Happy Feet Two, and Babe: Pig in the City. Three movies not just for kids, but for little kids. Movies that contain no action to speak of, no violence, and nothing in common with Fury Road. He literally hadn’t made an action flick since Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985, and it wasn’t even a very good movie! Yes, Miller was tapped to direct a Justice League movie several years ago, but that fell apart, and no one gets to put “almost” on their resume.

Do You Realize Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

Look, I know it makes sense to normal people that you would only let the creator of Mad Max make a new Mad Max movie, but Hollywood studio executives are not normal people. They’re cocaine-addled lunatics who are terrified at the idea of losing potential box office revenue. From that viewpoint, hiring Miller is a legitimately risky decision. He’s woefully out of practice, his last action film was mediocre anyways, he’s 70 years old… there’s no reason to suspect he could make a summer blockbuster, let alone a modern summer blockbuster, let along a goddamned action movie masterpiece. There are plenty of other movie directors out there who, while they may make crappy movies, still make movies that almost always make money. As nightmarish as it is to consider, from a studio exec’s point of view, it would have been more fiscally responsible to give Fury Road over to a Brett Ratner or a Len Wiseman or one of their ilk.

But not only was Miller hired, he was given a massive $150 million budget and, more insanely, he seemingly also had complete creative control. You know who gets that deal? Practically no one. Maybe guys like Chris Nolan, who have churned out enough summer blockbusters over the years that the studio doesn’t feel the need to second-guess their every decision.

The reason I know that Miller must have had almost total control over the movie is because he was allowed to make decisions no studio executive would have or should have allowed, no matter how much cocaine he/she was on. Here five things I can’t believe Miller was allowed to do:

• Have Max be the sidekick in his own film.

• Hire Nicholas Hoult, one of Hollywood’s youngest, most attractive stars, then shave his head, paint him bone white, and have him play a character with disgusting chapped lips for the entire movie.

• Get rid of Max’s iconic car in the first few minutes of the flick.

• Ignore conventional action movie structure in order to present one giant, two-hour long car chase.

• Give the main villain a name that will confuse every one all the time, because they assume there’s been some kind of error and the character’s real name must be “Immortal Joe.”

These are all reasons the film is awesome, but they’re also not things the studio should have allowed. These aren’t safe decisions. But then again, there’s nothing safe about Fury Road.

Do You Realize Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

Was Miller blackmailing the president of Warner Bros. or something? Did he find a genie? Because those are the only two reasonable solutions for why Fury Road got made now, which, by the way, is yet another miracle. Reportedly, Miller has been working on Fury Road since 1998 and very nearly got it made on several occasions. At first Mel Gibson was going to reprise the role of Max, which would have been a disaster, because Gibson is an anti-Semitic loon. Then it was going to be a a 3D CG animated movie, which probably would have been lame and looked terrible, and even if it was good wouldn’t have been nearly as good as the movie we eventually got.

Ignoring the fact that most films that languish that long in development hell never, ever, ever get made anyways, so many random things had to happen to prevent us from getting an earlier, crappier version of Fury Road. The movie had to be thwarted, over and over again, for nearly 20 years so we could get this version of Fury Road — so Miller would have this specific idea, so the studio would give him that much money, that for god knows what reason the executives didn’t interfere with Miller’s vision, and that Gibson wasn’t involved.

So I’ll say it again — Mad Max: Fury Road shouldn’t exist. It shouldn’t have been possible. It certainly wasn’t plausible. Hollywood executives are paid to prevent this sort of potential disaster from ever happening. And yet somehow, one 70-year-old man who had been stuck directing children’s movies for two decades took a somewhat beloved franchise from the ‘80s and not only made one of the most badass movies of all time, but also created a legitimate masterpiece of the action genre.

If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

Three different types of reboot

Movie directors approach “rebooting” a film franchise in different ways.
There is the prequel, which often lays out the history of a beloved property prior to the point where the saga began many years before. Regretfully, those usually only score big for the original movie homers (see “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” and try to forget all things Jar-Jar).
Conversely, there is also the sequel for those times when director or a studio thinks it would be a good idea to start the adventure again in “real time.” That’s what happened with “Superman Returns,” which ended up being everyone’s kryponite.
The most popular approach, however, may be the scratch model, or “starting over from scratch.” Take another angle, learn from the previous defects, and become a fan of the story first. Look at Christopher Nolan and “Batman,” J.J. Abrams and “Star Trek,” the latest iteration of Spider-Man, or even the Daniel Craig versions of 007.

People love these inventive takes on a story they all know because they are judging it along with the original the entire time they are gawking at the big screen. The latest scratch model is “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Mad Max: Fury Road DVD Sales

Warner’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” remained on top of both national home video sales charts for the second consecutive week, while Lionsgate’s “The Age of Adaline” debuted at No. 2 the week ending Sept. 13 on both Nielsen VideoScan’s overall disc sales chart and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.
“The Age of Adaline,” which also debuted at No. 1 on Home Media Magazine’s video rental chart for the week, is a romantic drama that earned $42.6 million in U.S. theaters and stars Blake Lively as a young woman who stops aging after an accident. For a drama, the film sold remarkably well, moving more than 57% as many units as “Fury Road” did in the latter’s second week of release.
DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” slipped a notch to No. 3 on the overall disc chart. The 20th Century Fox-distributed film – which earned $177.4 million at the domestic box office – has remained in the top five for seven weeks, exhibiting remarkable staying power.
Rounding out the top five on the overall disc chart are two new releases: “Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals” (No. 4), the latest direct-to-video release in the Barbie franchise from Universal Pictures, and “Supernatural: The Complete Tenth Season,” from Warner, at No. 5.
Two other new releases finished close behind: “Homeland: Season 4,” from 20th Century Fox, debuted at No. 6, and Lionsgate’s “American Heist,” a crime drama about two wayward brothers, bowed at No. 7.
“Fury Road” generated 48% of its second-week sale from Blu-ray Disc, to 30% for “The Age of Adaline,” 14% for “Barbie,” 19% for “Supernatural,” 21% for “Homeland” and 23% for “American Heist.”
On Home Media Magazine’s video rental chart for the week, “The Age of Adaline” was followed by Universal Pictures’ “Unfriended,” which shot up to No. 2 now that the horror film’s 28-day holdback from Redbox is over. DreamWorks Animation’s “Home,” last week’s top rental, slipped to No. 3, while Warner’s “Hot Pursuit” and Sony Pictures’ “Aloha” round out the top five.

Thomas K. Arnold is editorial director of Home Media Magazine, 

Top 20 Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart for the week of 9/13/15:

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. The Age of Adaline (new)
3. Home
4. Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals (new)
5. Supernatural: The Complete Tenth Season (new)
6. Homeland: Season 4 (new)
7. American Heist (new)
8. PAW Patrol: Meet Everest
9. The Walking Dead: Season 5
10. Interstellar
11. Descendants
12. Aloha
13. Insurgent
14. Star Wars: The Original Trilogy
15. Hotel Transylvania
16. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Monster Musical (new)
17. Gotham: The Complete First Season (new)
18. Texas Rising
19. The Longest ride

20. Hot Pursuit

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: Global Crew of Artisans Ride Into Namibia for Arduous Shoot

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‘Mad Max’ Again Outraces ‘Hot Pursuit’ for Top Movie Ad Spend Title

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by, “Mad Max: Fury Road” again beat out “Hot Pursuit” for the title of top-spending movie of the week, while newcomers “Tomorrowland” and “Poltergeist” made their debut.

“Fury Road” repeated its No. 1 position on the strength of a slightly lower estimated $7.5 million spent on 957 national airings across 42 networks led by MTV and Comedy Central. The vast majority of that spending targeted the NBA Basketball playoffs, with just under $1 million dedicated to placing ads against last week’s games.

Holding steady in second place was “Hot Pursuit” with an estimated $6.3 million spent on 1,030 national airings across 38 networks led by VH1 and MTV. Spending was far more dispersed, with the bulk of the money spread between three programs: “American Idol” ($272,000), “Grey’s Anatomy” ($268,000), and “The Voice” ($264,000).

Meanwhile, “Tomorrowland” entered the list at third, with $5.2 million spent on 643 national airings across 31 networks led by Disney XD and Disney Channel. Fellow newcomer “Poltergeist” debuted at fifth with $4.9 million spent on 991 national airings across 30 networks led by MTV and FX. They bookended “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” which rose up to fourth place with an increased investment of $5.1 million spent on 900 national airings across 35 networks led by Cartoon Network and Disney XD.

Overall, the state of TV advertising spending seems back to average levels from the dip it took last month. Following a yearly low of $32.7 million four weeks ago, the category last week totaled an estimated $47.8 million on TV advertising spending. Warner Bros. again led the pack with $17.2 million spent across 13 spots, followed by Universal Pictures with $6 million supporting three spots, and Marvel at $5.4 million behind 10 spots.

ABC captured the bulk of the movie ad spending, with $5.8 million, followed by TNT with $3.4 million and NBC with $3.3 million. But MTV aired the most spots, with 446, followed by VH1 with 401 and FX with 360..

Why Tom Hardy Felt The Need To Apologize To Mad Max: Fury Road's Director

In case you haven't heard, Mad Max: Fury Road is phenomenal, and the positive buzz that's surging through Hollywood currently seems unstoppable. Positive reviews keep flying in from critics everywhere, praising the movie's brilliant style and meaningful storytelling. But you know what's a sign that it's really good? Tom Hardy himself was so impressed that he actually apologized to director George Miller for not better understanding the filmmaker's vision on set and being frustrated with his process.

Both Tom Hardy and George Miller took part in a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival earlier today, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, it was this venue that the actor decided was perfect to say that he was sorry to his director. Discussing his feelings after first getting to see the film, Hardy noted that his immediate reaction was to think, "Oh, my God, I owe George an apology." He then turned to Miller and expressed his regrets:
I have to apologize to you, because I got frustrated [during the movie’s shoot]. There was no way that George could have explained what he had conceived.

When you consider some of the details of the production, it's pretty easy to understand why Tom Hardy may have found himself getting frustrated with George Miller. The trade report cites that all-in-all there was 450 hours of footage for the editors to sort through - and given that he was playing the title character, it's not super hard to imagine that Hardy is featured in a ton of it, and therefore forced to work quite a bit. Also, shooting that much may have given the impression that Miller didn't know exactly what he wanted, and one can understand why an assumed lack of vision would irk someone in Hardy's position.

It's also hard not to discount the environmental conditions, which were clearly pretty harsh and probably didn't create the best work environment. Shooting hours and hours of footage is not super fun when a harsh sun is beating down on you and sand is constantly blowing in your face.

What's really kind of nice about this story, though, is the fact that we often hear the complete opposite of this story, with actors or filmmakers years removed from a project that went wrong complaining about how much they hated the experience. Mark Wahlberg notably did it a few years ago while talking about M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, and Tom Hardy himself actually did it late last year while discussing his "miserable" time making McG's This Means War.

Hardy feeling the necessity to apologize to Miller about his behavior is a clear sign of his appreciation for the finished product - and he's hardly the only one showing it in advance of Mad Max: Fury Road's release. With over 151 reviews counted, the film currently has a 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and I'm definitely happy to have my opinion represented in that number. Everyone should see it when it hits theaters tomorrow, May 15th.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Production Delays: Warner Bros. Intervenes

Ever since the end of Beyond Thunderdome’s theatrical run in 1985, fans of the popular Mad Max films have been eagerly awaiting another sequel. Hollywood was poised to give them one, but as we all know, things in the movie business don’t always go according to plan. After dealing with numerous production delays, financial troubles and post-9/11 travel and shipping restrictions, the project entered “development hell,” from which many suspected it would never escape. However, the passionate director of the original three films, George Miller, remained determined to carry the torch for Mad Max 4.


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Miller’s fire has kept the light from burning out, but there have undoubtedly been moments where it was dimming. After seeing Mel Gibson drop out, and after enduring nearly another decade of production turmoil under Miller’s watch, the fourth installment in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, finally started shooting in Namibia in July, with Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) playing the titular character that Gibson made famous (and vice versa). With Miller finally getting to capture his vision – and with a $100 million to $125 million budget at his disposal, things finally seemed to be going smoothly – that is, until it was announced that production on Fury Road  is at least five days behind schedule.

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter this week that amidst obvious concern for the film, Warner Bros. President Jeff Robinov flew to the Africa set a few weeks ago to evaluate the situation and apparently the report was not glowing. The studio has assigned producer Denise di Novi to supervise the ongoing production and report any further problems. Robinov believes di Novi’s presence on set will help move things along, so that the movie can wrap on time – a deadline currently set for the end of November

Said Robinov:

 “It’s easier having someone there who has experience and who can keep us posted on the day’s events.”

WB will also be keeping a close eye on the books, as Miller has a history of going over budget.  This was the case on the production of the animated film Happy Feet 2, which Miller also made at Warner Bros.

‘Fury Road’ Concept Art
Set photos revealed in recent months have shown that the money is appearing to be well spent, at least so far, as Miller attempts to recapture the desolate landscape and the imaginative post-apocalyptic world that the previous entries deeply ingrained in the minds of moviegoers. Much of the expense is likely attributed to the road-ripping vehicles and the creative, but savage weaponry that will appear in the film.

As far as the script and plot details go, a synopsis was released by Miller a couple of months back; the story will follow Max and a group of survivors fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by Imperator Furiosa, who will be portrayed by Charlize Theron (Prometheus). The film will be an account of the ensuing road war.

However the final product turns out, fans of the originals will surely come out in droves for the highly-anticipated and way-overdue Fury Road. It certainly has been a long and furious… er, road for the film thus far, but hopefully it reaches the finish line.There is also a fifth addition to the franchise in the works, Mad Max: Furiosa, which Miller could shoot right after he finishes Fury Road.

Mad Max: Fury Road is currently expected for a 2013 release, but no specific date has been announced.

A graphic tale: the visual effects of Mad Max: Fury Road

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Shooting Mad Max: Fury Road

John Seale knows how to tell a story on screen using images — one reason he is at the top of the world's cinematography profession. More than that, in person he also knows how to hook you into a story, engaging you with character voices and acting out the story as if he were a director blocking a scene, all the while leading you towards some self-effacing punch line.madmax

This approach set the tone for a highly entertaining evening for NZCS members and friends at the Horse and Trap in Auckland during March. ​

The whole effect was reinforced by the deadpan David Burr, who, when he was not trading punch lines with Seale, explained technical details.
Both were in New Zealand courtesy of Panavision to talk exclusively to NZCS about their work on Mad Max: Fury Road due for release in May. Seale was DP on the movie and Burr — whose connection with New Zealand stretches back to focus pulling on Sleeping Dogs — earned the second unit DP credit.

The movie, like the earlier movies in the franchise, was directed by George Miller who Seale describes as both a single minded film maker and one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

Seale became the DP on the production after years of preparatory work by Dean Semler, who had a programme of testing the 3D cameras that were being developed for the movie according to criteria set by Miller.

It was an ambitious goal, since the 3D camera rig had to be small enough to go through the windows of the truck where a lot of the action takes place. The main truck is just one of the extraordinary vehicles in the movie. (See

madmax1On top of that, the harsh desert location and shooting conditions required the cameras had to be waterproof and dust proof. Seale explains a raft of cameras would be needed because Miller did not want to be delayed by a simple lens change which, on a 3D rig, results in a time consuming optical realignment.

Heat was also a design issue. All digital cameras with high data rates and on-board processing generate a lot of heat which intensifies as processors are packed into a compact chassis. In this case an active cooling system was required adding more complexity to the system by the time Seale got the call inviting him to shoot the movie.

"I had worked with George in Pittsburgh on Lorenzo's Oil, and Andrew Lesnie was not available," he jokes, recalling the moment with a self-depreciating grin.

More seriously, he says a movie like this is a huge commitment.

"You are theirs for two years," he says, "And I had about eight hours to think about it.

"For starters it was the first digital film that I had ever done and it was at short notice. I had been reading little bits here and there, but suddenly it was all on."

But for Seale, equipment and techniques are secondary considerations in a decision like this.

"George Miller is a lovely man, he's very determined and he is a consummate film maker. That is who you love working with, it does not matter how they get there."

Once committed to a production, Seale accepts the parameters of the job and works within them, a process he calls locking your brain down.

madmax2He says the initial approach to shooting Mad Max: Fury Road was based on a single camera philosophy - the idea that somewhere on the set is a single perfect spot for the camera to record that scene. It's an idea that stretches back to Polanski, Kubrick and others, but not one Seale was used to.

"At that stage I had come out of a few action movies, and even emotional movies, where I just threw in every camera I could lay my hands on. The power of editing is such that if you put six cameras in and make it work, the editor loves you."

He believes giving the editors the option to cut on finer points of performance gives them flexibility and power. Actors too, thank him for it. At the same time, he admits there is a price to pay in lighting compromises for multi-camera shooting, but it is a price he believes it is worth it.

"So there I was, thinking maybe six or eight cameras, and George is thinking one," he says. "You accept that. That is the challenge - let's go. And it's on this 3D behemoth. And you start to lock down."

Once into the testing, Seale found the contrast range between the interiors and the harsh desert exteriors a challenge for the cameras. At the same time he was limited in balancing the windows because of action that would take place through the window frames.

He says all this culminated in a Monday morning production meeting when Miller unexpectedly announced a switch to 2D shooting.madmax3

"It floored everybody; it was as quick and as clean as that. And he turned to me and said 'Johnny what camera are you going to use?'.

"I said: 'Well George, I am a Panavision man, and I'll give them a ring in the next 20 minutes.' That is how we ended up swinging over to Alexas [with Primos]," he grins again, knowing that some two year later, he can safely retell this pivotal decision as if it were some lighthearted banter.

"We found the Alexa Plus a nice big camera, but they also had the Alexa M's [split head and recorder version]. Of course we loved the idea of those straight away."

The switch to 2D shooting was a major shift in approach, making the shoot much more straightforward, but loading post-production with a 2D to 3D conversion.

"We made no consideration for 3D post at all during our 2D shoot," he says, pointing out with relish that this might be a shock to some other 3D cinematographers.

"I had the 11-1 zoom on what I called the paparazzi camera," he recalls, referring his like of operating. "I was always poking in, getting little close ups and reactions that I thought would help the editor. I was in at 250-270 mm. The 3D books I read said don't go longer than 50 mm, but I was at the longer end of that thing all the time."

He adds he didn't worry about the foreground in frame — another traditional caution with 3D.

"I didn't think about it for five months and we slept like logs," he says, his smile emerging again. "As the visual effects boys said earlier this year, every week new software comes out that helps you make 3D in post."

"We put glasses on and ran some scenes and it looked fantastic," adds David Burr, who also reveals the extent to which the single cameraapproach was eroded in practice.

"We had a bunch of little cameras aside from the Alexa Ms. John tested Canon 5Ds and ran them past the visual effects department. While the quality obviously wasn't up to that of an Alexas, the visual effects department said we could use them.

"So we would be all over the vehicles with handheld Canons. We'd have wide angle lenses close to actors, and we were bumping around and trying to hang on while the thing was belting in across the desert.

"When you're in there so close to the actors or stunt guys with wide lenses, the images have a certain energy but the camera operators were often in shot. Initially we were told 'Don't worry about that we will paint you out.' Well, painting us out after a month or six weeks tended to get a bit expensive. So that style of photography went out the window and was replaced by the Edge arm, which could get to most of the positions we were able to get to when we were strapped to the vehicles."

"George's one camera deal could go away a little bit because I pressured him a lot all the time," adds Seale, "and he said 'I don't think we will need them, but put them in'. I think when he got into editing a year later, he found there was some quite valuable stuff it in there."

While Seale earned flexibility in this approach, he says Miller was adamant about other creative choices, defying convention along the way ...

The story continues in NZCS newsletter #7. In the meantime Seale has a tip about Mad Max: Fury Road: "Sometimes when you see a trailer you have seen the whole film, but with this one you have not," he says.

The Editing of MAD MAX: Fury Road

Film Editor Margaret Sixel was given over 480 hours of footage to create MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. The final edit ran 120 minutes and consisted of 2700 individual shots. That’s 2700 consecutive decisions that must flow smoothly and immerse the viewer. 2700 decisions that must guide and reveal the story in a clear and concise manner. One bad cut can ruin a moment, a scene or the whole film. No pressure!

Mad Max center framed

The most popular editing tendency for action scenes and films over the last 10 years has been the “Chaos Cinema” approach. A barrage of non-congruent and seemingly random shots that overwhelm the viewer with a false sense of kinetic energy and power. It can be effective in smaller doses, but exhausting and confusing when absorbed for 2 hours. If the story is incomprehensible due to editing…you are doing it wrong. So how do you keep action scenes energetic and fresh without shaky cameras and hypersonic editing?

Tom Hardy Center Frame

One of the many reasons MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is so successful as an action film is the editing style. By using “Eye Trace” and “Crosshair Framing” techniques during the shooting, the editor could keep the important visual information vital in one spot…the Center of the Frame. Because almost every shot was center framed, comprehending the action requires no hunting of each new shot for the point of interest. The viewer doesn’t need 3 or 4 frames to figure out where to look. It’s like watching an old hand-drawn flip book whiz by. The focus is always in the same spot!

Charlize Theron center framed

This was an edict passed down directly from director George Miller. Over the walkie talkies during every scene he could be heard saying “Put the cross hairs on her nose! Put the cross hairs on the gun!” This was to protect the footage for editorial and to ensure that the entire high speed film would be easily digestible with both eyes and brain. Every new shot that slammed onto the screen must occupy the same space as the previous shot. This is by no means a new technique, but by shooting the entire film in this way, Margaret Sixel could amplify and accelerate scenes, cut as fast as possible with the confident knowledge that the visual information would be understood.

“Eye Trace” is another editing technique that posits that you can guide the viewers eye and make them look where you want. By using motion in frame and/or positioning critical points of focus in successive shots to fall on a natural or comfortable area of the screen. An arrow shot from a bow flying left to right on screen of one shot…will seamlessly cut with a whip pan into the next shot that has a target and an arrow already stuck into it still quivering from the impact. Your eye is tracking the arrow left to right and your brain expects it to hit somewhere on the right side of the screen in the next shot. The viewer never sees the arrow make contact and doesn’t need to. A properly placed sound effect will convey the energy and impact. Apply this same technique to the punches, gunshots, spears, car crashes or any other shot in MAD MAX:Fury Road and you can see how much easier it makes the action to follow.

Mad Max storyboards by Mark Sexton.

As they prepared to shoot the film, George Miller had no script. He did have over 3500 storyboards created by Mark Sexton. The Studio of course asked for a script and George said there wasn’t one. He offered the 3500 storyboards as it had taken him more than 10 years to get the story mapped out with this precision. The Studio said they NEED a script. George apparently had one cranked out but said it was “not good”. It didn’t have to be. He already knew how the whole film would look and feel. Visually center framed and barreling right at the audience.

9 Facts About The Troubled Journey Of Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road may very well be the film that breaks a trend. Typically, when a film is delayed, feuds erupt on set, and endless problems pop up, the film is doomed to be poor. However, the new trailer for Fury Road suggests that George Miller (the original Mad Max director) may have gotten things right.

The long, hard journey for Mad Max from production to release is not quite complete, but the finish line is in sight. Here are some of the facts behind the troubled production…

1. Originally slated for a 2003 shoot in Namibia, the film had to be delayed after the beginning of the Iraq War caused trouble with shipping and security in Namibia. Production began again in 2009.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road will be released thirty years after the last film, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

3. Charlize Theron shaved her head for her role of Furiosa, and had to wear a wig for A Million Ways to Die in The West.

4. Rumors flew that Charlie Theron and Tom Hardy, who plays Max, did not get along at all, and that Theron got to the point of not even speaking to Hardy on set.

5. Constant weather delays and location issues caused the film to be delayed more than once, including cold when it was supposed to be hot, and vice-versa. Reshoots also delayed the final product on countless occasions.

6. Liam Fountain auditioned for Max but lost the part to Tom Hardy. Liam Fountain played Max in the 2011 short film Mad Max Renegade, which takes place between the first two films.

7. The film was shot in sequence, which is rare, and the storyboards were completed before the script.

8. Over 80% of the effects seen in the film are real practical effects, stunts, make-up and sets. CGI was used sparingly mainly to enhance the Namibian landscape, remove stunt rigging and for Charlize Theron’s left hand which in the film is a prosthetic arm.

9. Originally, Mel Gibson was going to have a role as a drifter in the film, but this never came to fruition.