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COMM103: Introduction to Mass Media

Unit 8: Movies   You should be noticing the order in which the units in this course are being presented.  For example, you may have anticipated that television would follow the unit on radio, but it does not.  It would be useful for you to consider why this unit reviews the history and impact of movies instead.  The reason is because it presents, like the music industry, an element in the evolution of media industries in general, a relatively isolated element that operated independently before it became enmeshed in the operations of other media industries as well.  This original independence in the movie industry was similar to the independence of recorded music before the widespread adoption of broadcasting technology, which enabled radio to include music as one of its products.  You should appreciate on a broader level the way one industry capitalized on another to attract wider audiences.  This course presents these industries as you would encounter building blocks, starting with the foundational media and then adding elements that were used as the foundations of new media, a process that continues to this day.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 4.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 8.4: 0.5 hours

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Define, break into categories (when possible), and provide examples of the following with respect to the motion picture industry: features, censorship, vertical integration, blockbusters, knockoffs, sequels, imperialism, globalism, piracy, and digital cinematography. - Identify significant social, political, economic, and technological milestones in the history of motion pictures and describe their impact on the industry. - Describe some cultural traits, attitudes, trends, or events that influenced the development of motion pictures and also when, why, and how motion pictures played a role in cultural developments. - Explain the impact of influential films in movie history and the influence of major Hollywood studios on the industry. - Analyze the major economic concerns involved in the production and distribution of films.

8.1 The History of Movies   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 8, Section 1: The History of Movies” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 8, Section 1: The History of Movies” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also cover the material you need to know for subunits 8.1.1–8.1.10.
 
Reading these sections should take approximately 15 minutes.  Completing the exercises associated with these sections may require an additional 45 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

  • Lecture: Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication: “Episode 16 – Movies, Part 1, and Episode 17 – Movies, Part 2” and “Episode 18 – The Business of Movies” Link: Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication“Episode 16 – Movies, Part 1, and Episode 17 – Movies, Part 2” (MP4) and “Episode 18 – The Business of Movies” (MP4)

    Instructions: Please watch all three of these episodes by focusing on how the explanations and examples the program hosts and student guests provide supplement the textbook readings.  In particular, listen for content which relates to the unit outcomes and take notes accordingly, especially when someone uses a specific example to illustrate a point.  Moreover, if you are not as familiar with American media as the textbook assumes you are, you might benefit from listening carefully to the discussions and then writing down the names of media, media personalities, or media products with which you are unfamiliar.  When you’ve finished watching, use the Internet to research any unfamiliar references so that you will be prepared if those references appear in the final exam.

    Watching these lectures should take approximately 3 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.1.1 The Beginnings: Motion Picture Technology of the Late Nineteenth Century   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.  Please focus on using this material to develop a timeline of important developments so that in the future you will have an efficient way to study how this industry evolved.

8.1.2 The Nickelodeon Craze (1904–1908)   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.3 The “Biz”: The Motion Picture Industry Emerges   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (8.1.3.1–8.1.3.4) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.1.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 8.1 of the textbook.

8.1.3.1 The Rise of the Feature   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.3.2 Hollywood   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.3.3 The Art of Silent Film   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.3.4 MPAA: Combating Censorship   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.4 Silent Film’s Demise   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.5 “I Don’t Think We’re in Kansas Anymore”: Film Goes Technicolor   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.6 Rise and Fall of the Hollywood Studio   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1 and is introduced by a subheading in the Section 1 reading.

8.1.7 Post-World War II: Television Presents a Threat   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.8 Down with the Establishment: Youth Culture of the 1960s and 1970s   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.9 Blockbusters, Knockoffs, and Sequels   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.1.10 The 1990s and Beyond   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.

8.2 Movies and Culture   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 8, Section 2: Movies and Culture” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 8, Section 2: Movies and Culture” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also cover the material you need to know for subunits 8.2.1–8.2.2.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes.  Completing the exercises associated with this section may require an additional 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.2.1 Movies Mirror Culture   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (8.2.1.1–8.2.1.6) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 8.2 of the textbook.  Realize that connections between culture and cultural artifacts like music are always theoretical and rarely factual.  As you complete these readings, see if you can spot causal relationships between movies and culture in the readings which are stronger than theory because they can be directly observed.  However, remember that correlation does not mean causation: Just because one thing changes when there are changes in something else does not mean that “something else” caused the change.  See if you can apply some alternative explanations for why movies tend to mirror culture, alternatives that do not include a strictly cultural influence.

8.2.1.1 Birth of a Nation   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.1.2 “The American Way”   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.1.3 Youth versus Age: From Counterculture to Mass Culture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.1.4 The Hollywood Production Code   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.1.5 MPAA Ratings   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.1.6 The New War Film: Cynicism and Anxiety   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.2 Movies Shape Culture   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (8.2.2.1–8.2.2.3) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 8.2 of the textbook.  Realize that connections between culture and cultural artifacts like music are always theoretical and rarely factual.  As you complete these readings, see if you can spot causal relationships between movies and culture in the readings which are stronger than theory because they can be directly observed.  However, remember that correlation does not mean causation: Just because one thing changes when there are changes in something else does not mean that “something else” caused the change.  See if you can apply some alternative explanations for why changes in the movie industry seem to be associated with changes in our national culture.

8.2.2.1 Film and the Rise of Mass Culture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.2.2 American Myths and Traditions   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.2.2.3 Social Issues in Film   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.2.

8.3 Issues and Trends in Film   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 8, Section 3: Issues and Trends in Film” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 8, Section 3: Issues and Trends in Film” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also cover the material you need to know for subunits 8.3.1–8.3.3.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes.  Completing the exercises associated with this section may require an additional 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.3.1 The Influence of Hollywood   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (8.3.1.1–8.3.1.4) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.3.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 8.3 of the textbook.  As you complete this reading material, ask yourself, in what realm do the influences mentioned originate?  Are they culturally-based, or do political, economic, or historical factors explain more about them?

8.3.1.1 The Blockbuster Standard   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.3.

8.3.1.2 The Role of Independent Films   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.3.

8.3.1.3 The Role of Foreign Films   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.3.

8.3.1.4 Cultural Imperialism or Globalization?   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.3.

8.3.2 The Economics of Movies   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (8.3.2.1–8.3.2.2) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.3.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 8.3 of the textbook.  Movies have become more and more expensive forms of entertainment, in spite of the competition they face from other formats.  How does the cost of movie-going affect your decisions about it as a form of entertainment?  Have your impressions changed recently?  If so, what caused that change?

8.3.2.1 Rising Costs and Big Budget Movies   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.3.

8.3.2.2 The Big Budget Flop   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.3.

8.3.3 Piracy   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.3.  As you complete this reading, focus on the economic impact of piracy, making sure you can explain the effects piracy has had on distribution as well as production.

8.4 The Influence of New Technology   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 8, Section 4: The Influence of New Technology” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 8, Section 4: The Influence of New Technology” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also cover the material you need to know for subunits 8.4.1–8.4.2.

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercises, end-of-chapter assessment, critical
thinking questions, and career connection associated with these
readings may require an additional 15 minutes to complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.4.1 Effects of Home Entertainment Technology   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (8.4.1.1–8.4.1.2) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 8.4.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 8.4 of the textbook.  When you read this material, focus on the way the technology impacts the people who use it and how it has changed the way other media operate as businesses.  Do not get distracted by the technical aspects of production or delivery.

8.4.1.1 The Optical Disc System   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.4.

8.4.1.2 DVD Revenues and Decline   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.4.

8.4.2 The Industry Goes Digital   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.4.  As you complete this reading, try to compare how the digital format changed consumer behavior in this industry compared to other media industries.