Monday, July 14, 2014

Engaging the audience

During the Travel Through Books session we were asked who should we blame for the current state of the Malaysian Film Economy where there is an oversupply of films. Plus, it doesn't help that referring to the supply-demand graph, tickets are a overpriced. Hence no motivation for people to go watch local films.

We were asked to choose only between the two: Audience vs Filmmakers. 

The answer is definitely is not as straightforward as you think. There are clearly more parties involved in the local film industry ecosystem like the regulatory bodies, production houses, studios, distributors, sales agents, equipment rental houses, production teams, post production houses and many more.

For simplicity's sake, let's entertain Audience vs Filmmakers. I can't answer this, since both are key to the supply-demand chain. However, if you put a knife on my throat, i would have to go with filmmakers. This is because audience are laymen. Filmmakers are what you call 'ahli', which means people of knowledge. And knowledge comes with a set of responsibilities. Like engaging the market and provide alternatives or enlighten the audience to what it is that they want. 

At the moment, like it or not, people want entertainment. This argument is subjective because different people have various definitions of entertainment. Some enjoy purely cinematography. Some enjoy slapstick jokes. However, filmmakers can try to provide some form of quality within the entertainment.

Quality is also subjective. But i think one of the many elements of quality is being able to engage. Which means an audience have to be asking,"What is going to happen next?".

There should at least be some form of story telling where, if all else fails, a 3 act structure would be nice. Some form of context, a journey, conflict, resolution, raising the stakes, and final resolution would be nice rather than a just a series of gags without structure. This would help keep the audience engaged because there is a story to follow.

Not denying that there are other factors  that can engage audiences. I am just saying let's get back to basics shall we? After all, this all started with cavemen sitting around the fire, telling stories to each other. It's just that the medium has changed, That is all.


Read up : Nadiah Hamzah on (click here), talking about trying to find funding for  her film idea - "Jupiter"

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