Opinion: Market Failure and the Public Good in the Australian Film and Television Industry

Australia has had some great success and failures come out of the Australian film and television industry. The ‘boom and bust’ era in the 1970’s and 1980’s occurred due to the Government regulations and taxable rebates that they offered producers to help them produce Australian media and continue to produce for Australian audiences. The 10BA tax rebate saw the production subsidy go from 150% in the early 1980’s to 133% and again dropping to 100% in the late 1980’s. This contributed to market failures in the industry and respective audiences as well as political figures questioning the public good of the art that was being produced versus the policies that were put into place throughout the boom and bust era.

In many the ways the market was a success and a failure which can be seen through particular film investments that successfully met their returns in the box office, locally and/or internationally. The 10BA tax rebate that provided producers with a government subsidy proved the unprecedented boom in the industry. An “improved financial infrastructure for screen production [meant that there was a] high risk and low profitability of Australian screen production” (Burns and Eltham, 2010). For this reason, I believe that due to the investment into the industry and the generous rebate that the government was providing, many people joined the industry creating home films at an extremely low quality. Burns and Eltham (2010), support my views by stating “low production and marketing budgets, distribution bottlenecks, and the poor investment decisions of the monopolistic screen funding agencies… created unpopular Australian cinema… [and] low artistic standards”. In 1988 to 2008, there was a negative 80% return on investments into the film and television industry with the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) investing $1.345 billion into 1,165 different film and television productions with a total return of $274 million (Burns and Eltham, 2010). Successful Australian films that contributed to the $274 million return are Crocodile Dundee (1986), Strictly Ballroom (1992), Mad Max (1979), and Wolf Creek (2005). I believe that if the government was not so relaxed in handing out the rebates to producers, and that they had a more controlled and monitored system, less productions would have been produced and we could have put more focus into successful productions which could have possibly reached the international market. In saying that, some of the home videos that were created were successful. The majority however, were not, creating a stigma and bad reputation for the Australian film and television industry. Errington and Miragliotta (2012), supports my claim by stating ‘broadcasters [producers] are crowding out the market… and the market will struggle to deliver [quality]’. With the boom in the film industry it provided a ‘limitless choice to consumers but the quality of the choices on offer was questionable’ (Errington and Miragliotta, 2012). I strongly agree with this statement due to the fact that not all productions that were produced during the rebate boom era were of great quality and is evident through the above financial statistics with a negative 80% return on government investments in the box office.

I believe that the Australian television industry has been more successful in terms of creating a market and engaging audiences. Successful television such as McLeod’s Daughters, A Place to Call Home, All Saints, Janet King, Blue Heelers, Sea Patrol and The Wrong Girl have had audiences fall in love with their characters and their lives, even years after some have stopped being shown on our home screens. These television shows portrayed Australia in their own way, from the outback farming life, to the suburban and city lifestyles, all of which were unique. Burns and Eltham (2010), state that “tourism and related industries also experienced flow-on growth… as Hollywood producers took advantage of Australian locations”. Just recently (2017), McLeod’s Daughters reunited at ‘Drover’s Run’ in the Barossa Valley in South Australia and took to the Today Show to say how great it was to have the cast at the reunion together, particularly with their fans.  Zoe Naylor (Regan McLeod) said “what I find amazing is that 10 years on, it (the show) has still got a life [in the audience]”. The Australian government has slowly come to terms with the success within the television industry. ‘Australian creatives and funding bodies have no doubt realised that they can no longer ignore this trend’ (Dunks G, n.d.). The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards (AACTA Awards), as well as the Logies, are proof of the trends that the television industry in Australia is a successful one.

The Australian media industry, specifically film and television, has been debated throughout the years because of the “lack of audience appeal, due to the impoverished ‘domestic culture’” (Burns and Eltham, 2010). The debate between policy and creative art is an interesting one that has evidence on both sides of the argument. On one side, the policies in place for the media industry are great and have allowed for so many productions to be produced, and on the other hand there is the argument of whether or not every production that had been supported by the debate was worth supporting and calling art. I personally think that the policy allowed more creative directors and producers to showcase their works, but I also believe that the government should have been more strict with their 10BA rebate scheme as ‘anything’ can be classified as art, and some productions were not. The low quality in some films struggled to attract local audiences and the government contracted the rebate scheme (Burns and Eltham 2010). While the government questioned the art that was being produced in the Australian film industry, they still supported television and ensured the ‘protections of Australian content’ (Errington and Miragliotta 2012). In 2010, the government announced a $152 million funding to finance children’s television. This ensured producers and the public that all audiences have access to quality television as it has become increasingly important in recent years. I strongly agree with the funding that the government provides to Australian producers and broadcasting agencies although I strongly suggest that the government monitors where and how money is being used in the film and television industry to ensure that it will engage audiences and make box office hits. Thanks to Screen Australia, funding is now selective due to their “Significant Australian Content” review process. Previously it was “difficult to evaluate on the basis of cultural value” whether or not funding was appropriate for some of the productions produced (Ryan M, Goldsmith B, 2017). While the huge production of film and television developed internationally, some productions mislead our Australian culture. Some producers produced art that exploited the Australian culture which “reflects an American perspective of Australia”. This marketed Australia to others as a tourist destination instead of respecting Australia’s national identity. I don’t agree with misleading information, especially when it involves Australian history. The basis of art should respect the level of “quality film and the filmic expression of an Australian reality” (Thomas D, n.d). Genre films or Ozploitation films were classified as ‘alternate’ masterpieces of Australian cinema (Thomas D, n.d). Australian film and television can be seen as contributors to the ‘global exploitation’ industry that created a “construct around our differences in terms of landscape and socio-cultural identity” (Thomas D, n.d). Films of the Ozploitation era were cringe worthy and ‘trashy’ although they have become more widely accepted. I accept that Ozploitation films have become widely accepted that they are ‘so bad that they are good’.

Overall, I do not believe that the Australian film and television has been unsuccessful in the market. While it has not been as successful as Hollywood, I do not wish to compare it to Hollywood as the Australian film and television industry is its own unique industry that has had some great successes. While I do not agree with the 10BA tax rebate discussed, and the rebate rate being so high, it contributed to the boom in the film industry which created some great quality films (and not so great quality) that are still being recognised today. For this reason, I believe that Australia has a great and extremely talented film industry and it is not just for the public good of Australia. Hence, I find it most important that the government has profitable policies that support film makers, directors, producers, actors and actresses so that they can produce art as we know it.

 

References:

Burns, A and Eltham, B 2010, “Boom and Bust in Australian Screen Policy: 10BA, The Film Finance Corporation and Hollywood’s ‘Race to the bottom’”, Media International Australia, no. 136, pp. 103 – 115.

Errington, W and Miragliotta, N 2012, “The rise and fall and rise again of public broadcasting? The case of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation”, The Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 55 – 64.

Hartley M, 2008, “Not quite Hollywood” film.

Ryan, D and Goldsmith, B 2017, “Returning to Australian Horror film and Ozploitation cinema debate”, Studies in Australasian Cinema, Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 2 – 4.

Thomas, D n.d., “Tarantino’s two thumbs up: Ozploitation and the reframing of the Aussie Genre Film”, Metro Magazine; Metro Feature Section, pp. 90 – 94.

Dunks, G n.d., “Genre is big business on the small screen”, Metro Magazine; Scope and Screen Industry Views, pp. 124.

 

 

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Ozploitation

Ozploitation: the exploitation of Australian films and filmmakers taking advantage of the 10BA tax rebate. Typically, genre films such as Horror, Thrillers, corny Romance and Actions films that were made on a low budget with R18+ ratings were classified as Ozploitation films.

It all started in the 1970’s when the government supported the Australian film and television industry. They gave a 150% rebate to producers and film makers which created the Boom in the film and television industry. The government soon caught on to what was happening and soon cut the rebates to 133% in 1981, and again in 1983 to 100%. Ryan (2012), touches on the ‘Boom and Bust era’ that made the industry and it is evident through Australian history and Burns and Eltham (2010), paper that the government has played a huge role in the funding and the creation of Australian film and television. At the end of the 10BA we saw a lowered tax rebate for producers which slowed private investments into the industry.

The Ozploitation of genres in the film and television industry became a problem as years went on because of the content restrictions that were put into place by the government to filter movies. There were great debates between what was classified as art and self-expression against what was going to boost the Australian economy and the Australian film and television industry. Ryan (2012), discusses that if a film was too recognisably Australian, then it wouldn’t make it to the international screens. You may be thinking, what about Crocodile Dundee (1986) and Mad Max (1979) – they were Australian films, yes, although they were co-production films meaning that they had big Hollywood names to the production. Crocodile Dundee was also half set in New York which attracted a larger audience.

 

Image result for not quite hollywood

 

The documentary Not Quite Hollywood by Mark Hartley tells us a lot about the Ozploitation era. The genre era when films weren’t just ‘Australian films’. The genre’s included; violence, horror and action, with some great films coming out of each genre – Alvin Purple, Mad Max, Turkey Shoot, Patrick, The Man From Hong Kong and Long Weekend. Genre’s appeals to different audiences making them successful. For example; Alvin was made on a budget of $200,000 and took $500,000 in the box office.

 

Tarantino, a ‘fan’ of Australian film in the Not Quite Hollywood documentary, said that “at one stage, Australian films were so bang on, that even the Italians were ripping them [Australians] off.”

Action was the currency of the movie market when Australian films were being produced in the 70’s and 80’s. This meant that producers were fearless in these times, they gambled with their lives to get the perfect shot for the films. In most productions, it was lucky that no one died. Producers also started to bring in American actors because they believed it was the way to sell into the American and European market. Although some thought that it was crazy to even attempt to make it into the American market. There was huge controversy over bringing in American actors and actresses because they were taking jobs off Australian talent. Producers had to appeal to audiences in some way so they did what they had to do to get more attention in the market.

 

“This is why we watch exploitation cinema – to ask if this is really happening” Quentin Tarantino

 

References:

Burns, Alex and Eltham, Ben “Boom and Bust in Australian Screen Policy:10BA, the Film Finance Corporation and Hollywood’s ‘race to the bottom’”. Media International Australia. August 2010, No. 136, p. 103-118.

Ryan, Mark David (2012), “A silver bullet for Australian cinema? Genre movies and the audience debate”. Studies in Australasian Cinema. 6 (2) p. 141-157.

Film: Not Quiet Hollywood, 2008, Mark Hartley

When you assume you put the Ass in Ass’Traya Content

When people are asked about Australian content, it isn’t always favourable. Australian’s view locally produced content as… Bogan, with an outback setting, manly characters, with terrible accents and purely just one big “piss up” in the country we call home. While this doesn’t surprise me, I still think Australia has produced some great film and television, Love Child, Rabbit Proof Fence, Underbelly, Packed to the Rafters, McLeod’s Daughters, The Wrong Girl, All Saints, Wentworth, Muriel’s Wedding, and Mad Max. The box office begs to differ with my personal opinion of great Australian content, I still enjoyed them, and I know that they are crowd favourites from our class discussions.

What classifies Australian Content to be “Australian”?

Screen Australia is the amalgamation of the Government, Australian Film Commission (AFC) and Film Finance Corporation (FFC) along with other agencies supporting the Australian Film Industry. Australian films are funded by the Federal Government to support “Australian screen production, with an aim to create an Australian industry that is innovative, culturally important and commercially stable” (Screen Australia, 2015).

Surprise!

When you think of Australian content in the media I bet you don’t think of The Great Gatsby, do you? Either did I at first, there was definitely no terrible Australian accents and there was nothing but class in the film although our drinking culture was definitely present. One Australian actress (Isla Fisher) doesn’t make it an Australian film, but according to Screen Australia, a film is classified as Significant Australian Content if:

  • the subject matter of the film
  • the place where the film was made
  • the nationalities and places of residence of the persons who took part in the making of the film
  • the details of the production expenditure incurred in respect of the film, and
  • any other matters that we consider to be relevant.

We all love a bit of Leo and Isla but what classifies The Great Gatsby to be Australian is the great Baz Luhrmann – an Australian screen writer and producer (and his team that produced the film). Luhrmann gathered a significant amount of experienced cast and crew members (400 to be exact) over the 17 weeks of filming. While the NSW Government invested 40% of the Producer Rebate to assist with the production and financing of the film. At the AACTA Awards in 2014, Gatsby came out on top.

Creative content and control is a significant indicator to what classifies Australian Content. The clip below from Studio 10 covers the key points in the classification.

It seems as though even our Australian media professionals are confused and they need some clarification themselves.

While Australian’s cringe at the sight of our locally produced content, we hold the history close to our heart, and we will always feel at home with Australian content. Cringe worthy Australian content is being produced, but what Australia really wants is something that is engaging, entertaining and not another boring History lesson from High School that makes us want to fall asleep or worse, not watch it at all – Australian content should be celebrated not cringed at!

 

Animal Connections

It can be argued some animals are smarter than humans, but it can also be argued that humans are smarter than some animals. Be careful of which animals you talk about because Chimpanzees and Dolphins, for example can blow your mind out of the water with their intelligence and they are so much smarter than we are. But compare humans to say a Panda Bear or a Turkey, and we as humans are so much smarter.

Anthropomorphism, according to Literary Devices (2017) is defined as ‘a technique in which a writer ascribes human traits, ambitions, emotions or entire behaviour to animals, non-human beings, natural phenomena or objects’. For example: The tea pots, candle stick and clock in the Beauty and the Beast film act and behave as humans do, thus this is anthropomorphism. The word is derived from the Greeks as ‘Anthropos’ meaning ‘human’ and ‘morphe’ meaning ‘form’ therefore ‘human form’.

It’s evident if you spend a lot of time with an animal (one that doesn’t have short term memory loss, like a fish of course), they will grow attached to you, and you will grow attached to them if there is love and affection there. It is often evident with domesticated animals such as cats and dogs. Dogs especially will grow attached to you if you play and feed them frequently.

doggo and human
https://au.pinterest.com/nmcclibrary/dog

You can teach them tricks and tame them with treats which is an incentive to learn and obey their owner, this creates a special bond between the owner and the animal – one where emotion is felt and does not break easily. Kennedy S (2005), wrote an article “More than man’s best friend: a look at attachment between humans and their canine companions” which discovered that dogs can allow for social connections if the human is open to it. She wrote “people appear to look to companion animals for emotional comfort and understanding, rather than more pragmatic services. This shift signifies the belief that dogs can be fully functioning social companions” (Kennedy S, 2005).

 

Take the example of Christian the Lion. A lion cub raised by humans when he was found in a small cage not living life to the fullest. Anthony Bourke otherwise known as ‘Ace’ and John Rendall two Australians bought the cub in England in 1969. They raised the cub and called him Christian and when Christian was getting too big (and too expensive) they decided to return him to the wild in Kenya. Ace and John created a special bond with Christian and became emotionally attached. Even though a lion is considered a wild animal, there’s nothing stopping a human from having an emotional connection – especially when it is raised from a small cub.

 

Even though Christian was released into the wild in 1970, Ace and John still went back to visit Christian. Christian was living in the wild for a year after Ace and John decided to return and were aware of the huge risks. They could not be sure if Christian was going to remember them or attack them. As the video showed, the emotional bond between Christian the Lion and Ace and John his owners was still there years down the track as he greeted them with a big lion hug.

If the animal is older it makes it harder to connect with as they have already adopted their characteristics and personality. In the case of Christian the Lion and his owners, they were able to form a bond at a young age which kept strong even through years of separation. Kennedy S (2005) suggests in her study that humans can have special bonds with their animals (specifically dogs in her research), in which ‘they have been able to achieve a special type of communication and understanding between their companion and themselves.’ She also suggests ‘those who have never held strong emotional intimate relationships with other humans might claim the same.’ This comes down to our emotional intelligence and how we are able to connect and empathise with others which can be reflected in connections with animals.

If you have ever had a pet, you will know this bond that I am talking about. The bond where your dog is always excited to see you come home from your day out and when they are sad to see you leave.

 

References

Bourke A 2016, Christian’s Story – Moving to Kenya, viewed 29 March 2017, <http://www.alioncalledchristian.com.au/the-book/christians-story/#movingtokenya>.

Bourke A 2016, Welcome to a Lion called Christian, viewed 29 March 2017, <http://www.alioncalledchristian.com.au/>.

Kennedy S 2005, More than man ‘s best friend: A look at attachment between humans and their canine companions, University of South Florida, p. 1-11, 33-35.

Literary Devices, 2017, Anthropomorphism – Definition of Anthropomorphism, viewed 29 March 2017, <https://literarydevices.net/anthropomorphism/>.

SPFW21 (YouTube User) 2008, Christian the Lion, viewed 29 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btuxO-C2IzE>.

 

 

Poverty vs. Poverty Porn

The media often shows the suffering that we don’t need to see, suffering that doesn’t bring an impact on individuals but only gives a bias opinion. What the media fails to show is the suffering we need to be aware of, the issues across the world such as poverty that aren’t brought to our attention unless we go out looking for the information.

Instead of the media focusing on the unwanted negatives, they should be focusing on issues that need attention to create change in the world. They should be focusing on issues such as poverty, domestic violence, depression and suicide; The critical issues that are impacting individual lives and should be use to educate others about particular issues within society and the world.

Jack Black travelled to Uganda and created a small documentary to help educate fortunate people, like us, around the world about the real issues. You can see his documentary below:

Even though the video has had 120,000 views on YouTube, it can be classified as an Impact Movement as the world needs to know about these issues. His campaign then joined with the Red Nose Campaign which focuses on ‘child safety and empowerment, attempting to end world poverty and help those who need it most’ (Red Nose Day, 2017).

The way I would describe Poverty Porn is images that have been captured and released to the media for fortunate viewers to look upon an image and feel good about themselves / the situation. It is something that should not be looked passed as something that gives us pleasure because we are more fortunate than another person.

Domestic Violence is an issue that the media doesn’t show enough of because they want to protect viewers and there are apparently better news stories to talk about. The media struggles to show the facts of how many people are affected by this and provide help the people who need it. While the government is helping by providing funding to Domestic Violence organisations and creating awareness, it can be questioned if they are doing enough for those affected. There are multiple services (but not limited to) Australia wide that provide support for victims, such as:

  • Domestic Violence Crisis Support
  • Domestic Violence NSW
  • Lifeline – Support line
  • Refuge
  • White Ribbon Campaign
  • Youth off the Streets
  • Salvation Army

Here are some statistics from ANROWS (2012) and Domestic Violence Prevention Centre (2017):

  • At least one women a week is killed by a partner/former partner in Australia
  • One in 19 men have experiences sexual or physical violence, compare this to the One in Six women that have experienced sexual or physical violence.
  • 58% of victims have never contacted the police
  • 61% of victims have had children in their care when the violence occurred.
  • 62% of incidents occur in the home.

Eminem and Rihanna’s song ‘Love The Way You Lie’ is an example of domestic violence in the media where it is used for entertainment aka Poverty Porn. When the song was released in 2010 it caused  an uproar because the video clip is a classic domestic violence scenario. MTV News wrote an article “Warns of the cycle of abuse”, they said; “One moment, a couple sleeps in each other’s arms, the next, they’re violently fighting, tossing bed sheets. Later they kiss passionately, pressed up against a wall the man has just punctured with his fist” (Thomas R, 2010). While some say it’s creating awareness for domestic violence and the vicious cycle that people put themselves through convincing themselves they their partner loves them, it may also encourage certain behaviours that are not accepted in society – but because they have seen it from popular artists, then they see it as okay. People listen to ‘Love The Way You Lie’ as entertainment/pleasure and are not seeing the bigger picture behind the lyrics and the video clip that provokes a situation of domestic violence.

The media needs to be cautious in the way that they represent domestic violence as it can cause major issues long term for struggling individuals that are victims or know someone who is.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service: 1800 737 732

Police: 000 or 112

 

 

 

References

Bryant W et al., Homicide in Australia: 2010-11 to 2011-12, viewed 27 March 2017, <http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/21-40/mr23.html>.

Comic Relief, 2017, Red Nose Day – Our Impact, Viewed 20 March 2017, <https://rednoseday.org/our-impact/>.

Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc., 2017, Domestic Violence Statistics, viewed 20 March 2017, <http://www.domesticviolence.com.au/pages/domestic-violence-statistics.php>.

EminemVEVO, 2010, Eminem – Love the way you lie ft. Rhianna, viewed 24 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uelHwf8o7_U>.

Hayden E, 2010, Love the way you Lie: What’s Eminem Trying to say?, viewed 20 March 2017, <https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/08/love-the-way-you-lie-what-s-eminem-trying-to-say/344563/>.

Thomas R, 2010, Eminem’s ‘Love the way you lie’ warns of the cycle of abuse, viewed 22 March 2017, <http://www.mtv.com/news/1645285/eminems-love-the-way-you-lie-warns-of-the-cycle-of-abuse/>.

VEXhomie, 2015, Jack Black brought to tears after meeting homeless kid, viewed 18 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qreSf170bjk>.

The Selfie: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A selfie is an artwork of a person that gets put on display for public eyes to see (Evans N, 2017). It dates back centuries ago and has developed over time to something that people often question now a days. Urban Dictionary (2009) defines a selfie differently as it focuses on using Social Media as a platform to post and share. It also explains that it needs to be taken by the person in the photo itself.

According to Google the first selfie was taken in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, although I think that we can all agree that self portraits, even though they were not take by a camera, have been around for longer than we can think back to as self painted portraits were popular when cameras hadn’t even been invented.

To help me explain all of this history, I found this YouTube Video where this kid explains everything the way I wanted to, check it out!

 

 

Since Alex has done a great job of explaining everything I was going to focus on, lets look at the moral panics of the selfie, how selfies now a days are being used for great issues and campaigns, and also how they are creating issues.

Moral Panics become an issue or a panic when certain ways and “practices are adopted within society by young people, women, or people of colour” (Cohen, 2002). The biggest panic about the selfie is the sexualisation that some females (and males) present in their photos. Sexualisation has become a big issue in society now a days and is now captured by individuals themselves. Cleavage, bare flesh and not enough smiles has become the age where sexualisation has grown rapidly in the photos that we take today. Consciously or not, they are taken to make ourselves look and feel good about ourselves and to get the most ‘likes’ on our photos. Images get taken most of the time only to be shared onto some form of a social media platform, whether it be, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and so forth. Social media has now become “the broadcasting tool to create and advertise the personal brand. Their online avatar spruiks the image they want to sell to their peers” (Gorman V, 2013). To reduce the panic, one can only monitor and control the sensible usage of what young people do with their social media accounts along with who and what they are sharing.

Selfies while they can be sexualised and can demean individuals, they can also be used for creating awareness for issues that happen within the world. A great example of a campaign that went international was the ‘No Makeup Selfie Challenge’. It was created to produce awareness and to raise money for Cancer Research in the UK. It took over Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter in the matter of days and trended for months reaching people all around the world, even celebrities were putting their two cents in.

Creating awareness about big issues and getting thousands of people around the issue to support the agency or people involved is going to be successful of Social Media is used as it is the biggest communication platform in the world and can reach hundreds of thousands of people in the matter of seconds with a simple hashtag (#).

Another great example is the “It’s  okay to talk” campaign where males took a stance against depression and suicide within the male population to create awareness. The Campaign was driven by UK Rugby League player Luke Ambler after his brother in law committed suicide in 2014. It took men around the world by storm as the statistics came into the open and started to be talked about. The caption on the photos posted stated:

In 2014, 174 males aged 20-24 years died by suicide, considering all causes of death this accounted 34.9% of deaths among 20-24 year old males. That is a horrible percentage for such a young demographic. In addition, the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 is suicide. In 2014, 2160 took their own life in Australia. That’s 6 men every day, 1 man every 4 hours!

41% of men who contemplated suicide felt they could not talk about their feelings and only 20% of people know that suicide is the most likely cause of death for men age under 45.
People need to remember that a person is not inferior if they experience depressing or suicidal thoughts and more importantly it is not weak to talk about those thoughts with others, in fact it is probably one of the bravest things a person can to do.

So if you have something troubling you please talk to your friends or family! And to those who know of someone doing it tough, make sure you talk to them!!!

While selfies can make a positive impact around the world through making awareness toward particular issues there are also some issues that can be raised with selfies themselves. Like discussed before from Gorman, the selfie is about broadcasting and advertising your personal brand which can be an issue. Why you make ask? There are perfectionist in the world, and people that care (too much) about their image and how they are portrayed and if they can’t get that perfect selfie and don’t like how they look, serious issues may arise for some – serious  issues being depression, low self-esteem and suicide. One particular news story that is mentioned in ‘What Does the Selfie Say? The Global Phenomenon’ by Senft & Baym (This weeks reading) was the UK teen (Danny) that attempted suicide because he was not satisfied with the quality and outcome of his selfie. Aldridge and Harden reported for the Mirror UK that Danny left school at 16, lost weight to make himself feel better and took over 200 selfies a day which consumed 10 hours of his day. His mum Penny saved him from his overdose and has been treated for his technology addiction, OCD, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Excessive anxiety about person appearance). Danny told Mirror UK that he would often get bullied online by the comments he would get on the selfies he posted, but when he did get a nice comment he would be on a high. Although Danny had a life saving outcome to his story, there are many that don’t. While this is an extreme case of a negative impact of selfies, it is important to not forget the lesser extremes – the people that don’t appreciate their body, looks and way of life.

All in all, the Selfie has taken the world by storm with its campaigns, history and communication through networks that it is an ever developing product that will be around for centuries more.

If you or someone you know needs help you can contact the following:

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

 

 

References

Aldridge G et al. 2014, The selfie addict that took TWO HUNDREAD a day – and tried to kill himself when he couldn’t take perfect photo, viewed 19 March 2017, <http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/selfie-addict-took-two-hundred-3273819>.

Baym N K, Senft T M 2015, What does the selfie say? Investigating the Global Phenomenon, The International Journal of Communication, pp. 1 – 14.

Cohen, S 2002, Folks devils and moral panics: The creation of the mods and rockers (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Evans, N 2017, The Self, University of Wollongong, NSW Australia.

Gorman V 2013, Social Media, sexualisation and the selfie generation, viewed 19 March 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-23/gorman-the-selfie-generation/4974132>.

Press Association 2014, No-Makeup Selfies raise £8m for Cancer Research UK in six days, viewed 19 March 2017, <https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/25/no-makeup-selfies-cancer-charity>.

Unickle A 2017, The Evolution of the Selfie, viewed 19 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waxk0tGm2H0>.

Urban Dictionary 2009, Selfie definition, viewed 18 March 2017, <http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Selfie>.

Wilson, G 2016, Why guys are getting personal online – the social media campaign driven by the boys, viewed 19 March 2017, <http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/why-guys-are-getting-personal-online–the-social-media-campaign-driven-by-the-boys/news-story/b18cb728398904d8ec3710c567acf5ac>.

 

Reflection

I arrived at this topic when I met Charlotte from the USA and we made a connection talking about how we both enjoy travelling. When having to link the narrative design to a topic of our choice, we wanted to focus on communication across time zones as we both know it can be tricky to stay in contact while abroad and when you return home. We both love travelling and have both experienced being a student studying abroad for at least 6 months. I believe that it was a good decision to pair up with Charlotte as we built a friendship and worked really well together bouncing off each others ideas and learning new things. The topic choice, I believe, was a good choice as we both have experience in this area and we were able to find people to interview easily through our university connections. Our goals for the assessment were to achieve a final result that allowed us to show that communication across different time zones can present itself with challenges, although not always necessary.

Our research is based off primary research that we gathered ourselves. As this was a narrative story project, we found it best not to use many other resources besides our own. Although to help us with our digital story telling foundation, we referred to the Nick Couldry article to help us conduct our assessment. We organised interviews with 4 students that are studying abroad at UOW with very different stories and backgrounds. The research method of interviews was a positive aspect of the project as we were able to create a video adding another platform to our digital project. The one struggle we had during the planning stage was ensuring it stayed within the requirements of media relativism. Once we had worked out the basis of our research, we had many ideas and struggled to decide what was going to be the strongest points to our narrative story. My background of studying and working overseas influenced what I thought was going to be the end result. From my experience I was expecting that once overseas, students didn’t keep in contact with home very much, if at all, and once returning it was hard to stay in contact as students adjusted back to their old lives. The project was produced on the platform, WordPress, with a video element showing an edited version of our interviews. While I wish that we were able to be a bit more creative with our presentation, the blog was what we felt comfortable doing. Adding in the video element was a fun learning experience for the both of us as we learnt the basic editing skills and were able to expand the project onto another platform of media presentation. Presenting this assessment, I personally would have presented our findings on a different platform such as a video, although I am happy with our results  of the final project for the subject, Media, Audience and Place.  The introduction is at the bottom of the page, thus meaning you need to work backwards for the narrative story and was justified as it is a series of blog post for the effect.

Having the background knowledge of studying abroad and Charlotte being connected to many international students at iHouse, we were able to easily relate to the topic with our background knowledge. This assessment as been a huge learning curve for me as managing multiple assignments and other commitments outside of university has allowed me to focus on my time management skills and how to approach assessments before the deadline. Learning about iMovie was also a new stepping stone for me. I had used the program before, but about 6 years ago, so I was not updated with the technology. It took a lot of clicking and playing with the program before working out how to effectively use the program and complete editing before the date that Charlotte and I set for ourselves.

The research with the international students that we conducted was the highlight of my experience working on this project as I got to implement the ethics that I learnt from BCM210 into this assignment (as well as making new friends). I created a Participation information sheet which students read and signed before we started the filming process. It informed the students that they were a part of academic research, that they would be filmed for academic purposes and that they could remove themselves from the project at any time with no questions asked.

This research can be used in future for students that are considering studying abroad. It can also be useful for individuals that are looking for secondary research based off personal experiences. The research shows that as time goes on for the student abroad they are more settled with their new life, thus they make less contact with friends and family at home. Time zones can not be deemed as a problem unless there is an emergency they needed to contact home for. Research also showed that the students were able to get live updates with friends via Facebook and Snapchat which allowed them to talk less, but still stay updated. The geographical distance made a huge impact on how often they would make contact across time zones but the apps made it so easy for any given time.

Overall, I am satisfied with the presentation of the narrative project and it has helped me develop confidence, video editing skills and a more professional outlook. Charlotte and I worked well as a team overcoming differences with ideas to find a common ground while exploring new ways to go about things. I could not have asked for a better International student to work with on this project.