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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G
Daniel Robinson

Week 7: Early Film Kinetograph and Kinetoscope • W.K.L Dickson/Thomas Edison • Kinetograph: moving picture camera, 1892 • Kinetoscope: • Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 Kinetoscope - peep hole viewing machine 1893 • 1.35 mm black and white motion picture (15 sec) • Dancers, acrobats, prize fighters, vaudeville performers • Edison ‘studio’ supplied films • Disappeared by 1900 Inventing the Projector • Francis Jenkins/Thomas Armat – basic principle est by 1895 • Auguste/Louis Lumiere – cinematograph in Paris 1895 • W.K.L Dickson/Herman Casler – Biograph in 1896 Showings: Phase One; 1895-1905 • Vaudeville – movies – novelty acts ‘chasers’ • Penny Arcades – owners buy/rent projectors, regular film screenings • Traveling shows- traveling exhibitors, tent shows Nickelodeons 1905-1918 • Films Only – continuous showings • Growth – 1914: 18,000 US, 2.7 million daily admissions • Longer films – 10 to 15 minutes, one reel westerns and melodramas Nickelodeons Audience Growth • Urbanization • Industrialization • More Disposable Income • More Leisure Time Lesiure and Culture Low Culture • Arcades • Dance halls • Vaudeville • Saloon • Pool hall • Minstrel shows • Burlesque theatre Nickelodeon/Low Culture • Poor sanitation smells, overcrowding • Outside barkers, handbills, lights • Darkness and morality • Raunchy vaudeville opening acts The Story of Film 1998 • Nickelodeons • Stars/Star System • Industrialization of Cinema • Studio System/Studio Control Silent Films (mid 1920s) • Commercial Success – 800 features annually, 100 mil. weekly attendance, 25,000 cinemas • Aesthetic Success – The Tramp, Wings, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Clara Bow • Visual Storytelling Experiencing Silent Films 1920s • Elegant, ornate cinemas • Musical accompaniment • Audience imagination • Subjective experience not passive viewing Talkies • The Jazz Singer 1972 • Primarily visual to primarily verbal • Comedy: pantomime to dialogue • Standardized, less individual interpretation • Writers-journalists/literati • Theatre actors/directors NY/Hollywood Star System/Studio System High cost and sound movies Studios (Paramount, MGM) • Order and predictability • 300-400 films a year, A and B movies • Proving ground for new stars • 7 year contracts 1930s/Depression • Stability in turbulent times • Stereotypical mold for stars City and Social Alienation Country City Family tradition Impersonality Religion Normlessness Framework of purpose Anomie: lost in the crowd Close-knit community Self-help manuals Character Personality Movie Star as Model for Personality Models: newcomers/new situations Stage, screen, playing field • Define success, attractiveness • Confident behavior • Decisive; “harmonious personalities” Whole person; well-integrated self Celebrated actors as “personalities” Star System/Star Gazing Studio investment – lengthen stardom Fan mail and fan clubs – 1934: 535 clubs and 750,000 members Star Building Photography Simultaneity of experience From rural commonality of experience to shared celebrity one (movie’s releases) Close-up Shot; faces Women and Film Why many women novelists today but few women filmmakers? Novelists: Margaret Atwood, Anne Michaels, Anne-Marie Macdonald, Barbara Gowdy, etc. Senior Women at Knopf Canada; Doubleday Canada; Penguin, etc Women Filmmakers Ca. 7400 feature films between 1939-1979: how many directed by women? Under 10% Canadian feature film directors Nell Shipman Canada’s first female filmmaker Others in interwar years: • Leni Riefenstahl (Germany) • Germaine Dulac (France) • Mabel Normand, Lois Weber, US Back to Gods Country 1919 • Wrote, directed, act • Critical and financial success Nell Shipman Productions Make films (Idaho), sells rights in NY • “Something New, 1921) • “Grub Stake” 1923 Rise of Hollywood Studio System Post-mid-1920s (MGM, Paramount, etc) Vertical integration of production, distribution and exhibition Studio ties and feature filmmaking Shipman “cottage industry” vs “industrialization of filmmaking  Magder reading and scarcity of CDN films in CDN cinemas Women Filmmakers Early film and novelty • Popular entertainment; vaudeville; theatre (women) Economic Factors (post-1925) • Filmmaking and capital investment • Entrance barrier or newcomers Social factors • Female exclusion • “Old boy’s network” Early Film Readings Armatage “Girl from God’s Country” 226-271 Silent film era Nell shipman was a big actress Female protagonist as heroic rescuer was the role she often depicted In remakes of her films by other producers the women protagonists show little of the heroic characteristics of the shipman model Reduced to a one-dimensional functionality based solely on feminine sexuality Women are powerful in some examples and as defenseless victims in others Construction of feminine subjectivity is inscribed not only with Shipman’s heroism but integrated with feminine helplessness as well • May be vulnerable for a minute or two but heroism prevails in the end • Heroism is not achieved at expense of conventional normative femininity, Shipman’s character always gets it all – heroism, love and a family Magder “Featureless Film Policy” 234-243 The Scarcity of Canadian films in Canadian cinemas The feature film sector is taken at the focus of analysis for 3 reasons: • It is representative of the cultural industries, the most highly capitalized sector of cultural production in the contemporary period • It is the clearest example of foreign domination – measure in terms of production and consumption in the whole field of culture in Canada • It has recently been subject to major policy initiative of Canadianization Branch plants - The branch plant economy is the phenomenon of US companies building factories (branch plants) in Canada primarily to sell products in the Canadian market. The branch plants built in Canada were strictly under American rule. Canadian tariffs on imported products led U.S. companies to build factories in Canada, in effect bypassing the tariffs. Branch plants did not improve Canadian private production Quote quickies – main consequence of branch plants in Canada, the American factories only fulfilled the bare minimum requirement of regulation National Film Board of Canada – NFB 1939 to promote and produce and distribute the production and distribution of films designed to interpret Canada to Canadians and other nations Motion Picture Export Association of America suggested the Canadian Cooperation Project – the Hollywood majors produce a few films in Canada, the NFB films are released in the US and to insert Canadian sequence into regular Hollywood filmt o promote tourism. This policy made the building of branch plants the governments explicit goal Massey-Lévesque Report – 1951 one year after the CCP the government initiate its first full scale review of cultural policy. The mandate of the Massey-Lévesque report articulate the fundamental premise of the states intervention into the sphere of culture and communications. It articulated the need to establish some form of national communications infrastructure that would promote Canadian interests. Massey-Leveseque made the classic distinction between high and low culture, low was entertainment and high was government, policy, politics, etc. Massey thought entertainment provided by the commercial cinema was potent and the most alien influence shaping Canadian life Popular culture needed funding in order for Canadian to shape its own identity Druick “NFB and Government” 259-243 NFB – state sponsored film-making institution specializing in short non-theatric documentary films. Ahs an almost mythic status, both in Canada and abroad NFB seems to represent an alternative to the capital intensive rationalized systems of global Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood NFBs biggest advocates are modernizing social reformed aiming to use the medium of film as a communication technology for consolidating middle-ground opinion in Canada and about Canada It will appropriate realisms more radical potential and apply the form to the liberal nation-building project NFB was established by the passage of the National Film Act Vague mandate for the production of films that would help Canadians in all parts of Canada to understand the ways of living and problems of Canadians in other parts In the late 1940s and early 1950s the NFB was granted a reprieve in the form of cold war national cultural policy NFB remake itself in an education film provider in the 1950s Late 1960s the NFB embraces new technologies like IMAX and portable video In the 1970s established Studio D the women’s studio 1980s and 1990s focused on supporting emerging filmmakers from minority and first nations communities. The NFB supports a massive website and continues to fund documentary and educational films Foucault and Governmentality – Foucault defines governmentality as the range of practices organized around conducting the self in society. The census and statistical studies are productive ways of categorizing and thereby seeing the population. Measuring or documenting the population may actually help to product it. The foundation of the nation building particular to Canada has been the subdivision of the population into manageable groups. NFB –State documentary film can be characterized as the telling of statistical tales. Facts and numbers are combined and superimposed on to the story of a typical person or place, whether real or fictional. The close connection between social policy an documentary narrative become apparent in the controlling ‘voice’ of the NFB. NFB films consistently about social types – several categories are essential to the birth of the managerial welfare state in NFB films: • Mental and social hygiene • Labour management co operation – middle way where social concessions are made to labour in return for political agreement • National security • Education Most common narrative strategy was the enactment of a typical story 1960s edited interview became prevalent Performing documentary: focus is on the filmmaker’s subjective response to historical and social events, it is often combined with the invitation to filmmakers from marginal communities to tell their own stories Almost every NFB film at least implicitly endorses either the federal system or the social policy process by which group identities must be securely fixed before they can be recognized and supported within the large national context. Week 8: Magazines Development of the Magazine Early form: academic/scholarly journals • Journal des scavans - France 1665 • Philosophical transactions of the royal society - London 165 Popular magazines • Resemble books, early newspapers • Offered “comment, criticism and satire” • Daniel Dafoe’s review 1704 • Josephs Addison’s spectator 1711 o Informal essays, fiction o Frivolous articles o Aimed at male and female audiences Early Canadian Magazines Imported to North America Nova-Scotia Magazine and Comprehensive Review • John Howe • Reprints from US, Britain • Canadian fiction and poetry Short-lived • Overwhelmed by newspapers • Exceptions o La Bibliotheque Canadienne o Literary garland Literary-Political Magazines in Canada Canadian Illustrated News: 1869-1883 • Pioneered Photoengraving • Tied to Canadian nationalism The Week: 1883-1996 • Goldwyn Smith • Encourage to US-Canadian ties Grip: 1872-1894 • Cartoonist John W. Bengough • Satirical weekly, political cartoons Characteristics of Literary-Political Magazines Illustrations, engravings High culture, business, politics Subscription-based • 25 cents/issue • Few ads Upper-class readership Keys to success • Lax copyright laws • Population incomes • Communication, transportation • “Natural monopoly” Turning Point: Saturday Night 1887-2005 - short life as a blog Edmund e. Sheppard - cowboy and editor Literature and current topics • Avoid controversy • Article, profiles, cultural subjects • Stories and poetry • Cosmetic and household columns Increase in advertising American General Interest Magazines Bad for Canadian magazines - Loss of natural monopoly Shift from class to mass Price drops • McClure’s 10 cents/issue • Saturday Evening Post – 5 cents/issue Entertainment and diversion - Friction, light features, recipes Advertising • Readership as commodity • Still target upper-class Impact on Canadian Magazines 1900s: US Magazines flood market • 1925: Outsell Canadian magazines 8 to 1 • 50 million sold per year Canadian editors petition for protection Arguments: • Puritanical o US magazines immoral • Economic o Protect Canadian jobs • Nationalist o Vital national communication Free press contradiction • Free press v. govern intervention “Half Hearted Protection” 1920s: Liberals reject tariffs • Lower postage, paper duties instead 1930s: Conservatives impose tariffs • Ads to content ratio • 1931-1935: 62% drop in US circulation • Removed by liberals in 1935 World War II • Time and Readers Digest in Canada o Canadian paper rations o New editorial content o Aggressive ad sales 1954: US magazines = 80% of Canadian market Canadian General Interest Magazines Targeted to women • Canadian home journal • Everywomans world • Canadian homes and gardens Recognition of women as consumers • 80% of home buying • Content focused on recipes, house work Maclean publishing • Maclean’s 1911 • Mayfair 1927-1961 • Chatelaine 1928 Endangered by US magazines Korinek - Mrs. Chatelaine Contest Created 1960 • Homemakers • No single, working, elderly, lesbian women Goals • Reader survey, publicity for magazine • Celebrate “Canadian homemaking” Normalization of women’s roles • “Preferred” role for women o stay at home mothers o cook, clean, entertain First winner • Joyce Saxton • Plenty, Saskatchewan • Farm wife, mother of 3 The Chatelaine Community and Mrs. Slob Gender as primary common trait Prolific letter writers Magazine to represent reality Mrs. Slob Contest - • Beatrice Maitland • Challenged ideals, gender roles • Letter writing between “slobs” • Changes to Chatelaine Reflected social debates • “Second wave feminism” - Betty Friedan the Feminine Mystique The O’Leary Commission and C-58 New Royal Commission 1960 • Grattan O’Leary - Press freedom was “ not absolute” • Tax based solution o No tax deduction ads in US magazines, this doubled the cost of ads Tax changes enacted 1965 • Exempt: Time and Reader’s Digest o US State Department pressure Bill C-58 1970 • Pierre Trudeau • Ended exemptions Magazine Renaissance in Canada Revival period 1970-1985 • Maclean’s becomes weekly news magazine • Harrowsmith - Country living, popular with affluent urbanites 1976 Controlled circulation magazines • Entirely advertising funded • Free distribution - targeted readership • City magazines Increase in subscription rates, profits Segment Making Magazines Decline of general interest • Undesirable subscriptions o Poor, working class, elderly o “Waste circulation” o Terminated subscriptions o Increase ad rates/revenue • Saturday Evening Post, Life fold Rise of segment-making magazines • Focus on market segments o Gender, race, location, hobbies • Demographic research Segment-Making Titles Market segments • Imagined communities • Less national focus Adveritsing advantages Popular titles: • Car and driver 1955 • Bon Appetit 1956 • Runners world 1966 • Rolling stone 1967 • Men’s Health 1987 • Out 1992 Parallels to television department Week 9: Television History TV as “Problem Child” of Communication • Unidirecitonal • Aesthetics • Mass audience - lowest common denominator • Cognitive impairment - postman “amusing ourselves to death” Television • Leisure: Family Interaction • Advertising/Consumerism • Politics/Government • Effect on Existing Media – Print and Radio Still image transmission • Photofax transmission (1880s-1900s) – Wire news photos 1920s • Radio transmission of photos 1920s • Facsimile machine 1930s – “broadcast newspapers” Moving image transmission • John Baird 1926 o Spinning disk as electrical information o First demonstration of television o BBC 1929-1935 early experiments Patent fight Vladimir Zworykin 1932 • Experimental broadcasts • RCA/David Sarnoff Philo T. Farnsworth – earlier patents Early television BBC 1936-39 RCA at 1939 World’s Fair NBC broadcasts in New York 1939- Slow Growth/Limited Use 1930s-40s Why delayed development? • Patent/legal fights • Depression • World war II • Line of sight transmission o Stratovision and 300 mile transmitter Rapid Growth, 1949 - 1959 TV sets TV stations 1940: 3,000 NYC 1941: 23 (experimental/limited range) 1949: 1 million 1948: 52 (freeze by FFC) 1951: 10 million 1952: 108 1959: 50 million Post 1948 growth factors End of rationing Manufacturers and advertising Prior model of commercial radio Post 1948 TV (US) limited state role license frequencies limited spectrum doctrine economic concentration/duopoly VHF scarcity High Profits of Networks NBC, CBS (ABC) Growing Popularity 1948 – • Suburbanization • Baby boom • More leisure time • Rising disposable incomes • From upper to middle to lower classes o 60% sold (1950) on credit o “Poor mans theatre” TV: Utopian Promise Unify and separate • New suburban family unit • Private social relations • Nuclear family • Postwar family values Separate gender roles/social functions • Day parts/schedules TV and 1950s family life 1. Magazines in 1940s say little about TV (put in basement out of sight) --In 1950s TV as 'new family hearth' --replace fireplace and piano; (broadcast Xmas eve logs) (Terminator: fire in hollowed- out TV) --TV as central figure: “cultural symbol par excellence of family life” Leo Bogart, 1956 surveys; 1. One respondent: his "family now stays home all the time and watches the same programs. [We] turn it on at 3 pm and watch until 10pm. We never go anywhere." 2. Another respondent: "my husband and I get along a lot better. We don't argue so much. It's wonderful for couples who have been married ten years or more. Before television, my husband would come in and go to bed. Now we spend some time together." 3. Bringing romance back into marriage: woman: "until we got that TV set, I thought my husband had forgotten how to neck.” TV and Family Room Term first used in 1946 Organized household space – ideal of family togetherness Family – television room: semi circle family/TV TV and Childrearing Remedy for “problem children” - Juvenile delinquency moral panic, Keeping kids at home TV: Dystopian Outcome? Total attention unlike radio, not backdrop to bridge, conversation Disrupt family/home – • Less time for housework • Kids avoid outdoor play • Complex adjustments to domestic life • Viewing choice conflict The Honeymooners - TV or Not TV • Domestic isolation/social integration • Spatial confinement • Production work and leisure (TV viewing) • Gender conflicts • Assigned domestic roles • Passive viewing/TV “addiction” Hogarth - Public Service Broadcasting 1950s – Canadians broadcasters developed a strategy engage the public in a way British and American broadcasters had not Middle ground – between UK (information) and US (entertainment), featuring public affairs programs that Canadians would actually choose to watch in a more or less competitive north American broadcast market Canadian broadcasters tended to view the TV as an instructive service with public affairs programming as its cornerstone Massey Commissioners hoped information programming would encourage Canadians to concern themselves with real as opposed to synthetic situations. The Massey report called for the maintenance of proper boundaries between information and entertainment programs and was particularly critical of broadcasters who lacked specialized knowledge. Canadian public service television seemed incapable of monitoring its audience Televisions modes of reception were seen to be uncontrollable compared to previous modes of communication Canadians to watch Canadian television at all would be a difficult feat CBC research indicated that Canadian television viewers were hardly the citizens that wanted educations TV – producers had ceased to regard viewers as an ideal public service audience Public affairs viewers came to be seen as a sort of brute common denominator, the needs and desires of which should be more or less accepted Canadian public affairs programs seemed incapable of maintaining established public service hierarchies of knowledge and representation in the texts themselves - most important model was the television magazine Documentaries were cheaper then fiction and variety shows with their orchestras, ballets and multiple sets. They could be profitable if their material was tractable enough to be worked into popular television Shows would allow the corporation to deal with a large number of topics in a short amount of time, the general interest format promised to attract a wide range of viewers – television magazines would prevent the documentary from falling into the NFB’s hands by default Distinctions between entertainment and instruction were difficult to maintain in magazine programming given the way shows were produced and scheduled – Tabloid is an example, it was designed to be popular. It was produced, promoted and scheduled in ways increasingly indistinct from entertainment television. The mix of information and entertainment was more evident in the lineups of shows themselves Taste and good judgment and fallen wayside for ratings and shock value Public affairs announcers in radio were recruited exclusively from positions of authority, hosts were also limited to recording in the studio. The same traditions carried on in television It was hard to resist the hectic production schedules and economies, which allowed for brief encounters between reports and events. By the mid 1950s V had relocated the voice of public affairs in the personality tv host, they were seen to help shows make sense, they were encourage to speak directly to viewers to encourage affective rather then purely cognitive modes of identification Producers worked to encourage audience identification by producing more intimate and involving forms of documentary imagery. Pictures of public affairs television should make viewer feel they were not just learning about a story but experiencing it through the eyes of a reporter Public affairs television was no longer meaningful and informational - the new programs were sensationalized Ex – women’s television magazines. Shows were introduced because of complaints from critics about soap operas CBC programmers became to believe the Canadian housewives would learn to plan her day around the TV set Keep viewers glued to the tv set Pleasure always remained instrumental to Canadian televisions instructive framework, the middle ground experiment was never so neat and easily contained as the government thought Rutherford – And Now a Word from Our Sponsors Response of the advertising industry to Canadian television can be described as cautious. The big warning: television is not a magic device which works well for all whose use it. Some manufacturers might be better advised to avoid television altogether. Even those who could benefit from the new exposure ought not to take their ad money away from proved media. Main problem was cost. Cost per thousand households or CPM was one of the ways the industry estimated costs. Toronto CPM 27$ falling to 13$ a year later. Radio was only 50 cents. TV seemed to be very costly for advertisers Some Canadian companies experimented with advertising in the states – labatt in detriot The most aggressive ad agency was Mclaren – they did hockey Many advertisers were branches of American companies jumping on the bandwagon More and more advertisers believe the TV commercial was a surrogate for the actual salesman Advertising on TV had taken off following in the wake of the rapid expansion of TV services and of the boom in sales of TV sets across the country televisions in the 1960s eased in front of radio, explosive rate of growth didn’t continue during the next decade Canadian TV was especially weak as a medium of local advertising Biggest chunk of TV revenue was generated by national ads Print media could simply expand their size to incorporate an increased volume of ads, television could not CBC – 1968 only allowed 4 minutes of commercial time in a half hour period More demand for prime time spits which were limited, and commonly were American programs Cheap commercials gave way to more costly filmed and videotaped commercials At first a lot of commercial dollars were spent in New York when it was cheaper to import. In 1968 a survey found that a quarter of the commercial messages aired on Anglophone television were imports 61 percent of the commercials were produced in Canada and another 10 percent were modified in Canada Some messages had to be tailored to the Canadian marked which required a certain amount of adaptation Advertisers cut loose from New York when local filmmakers improved facilitated and costs were estimated higher in New York then Toronto Costs of making commercial were modest compared to buying time The increasing cost of air time weaned advertisers from the notion of exclusive sponsorship Sponsorship and participation – same thing but different name Biggest advertisers supplemented their TV time with space buying in the print media and time purchased on radio Didn’t seem wise for advertisers to put all their eggs in one basket when they had to pay so much for TV privileges However the power of television appeared so great and companies poured money into it hoping to sell consumer goods Week 10: Television History II Television in C
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