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Product Placement in Independent Film: A Qualitative Analysis of Attitudes of Aspiring and Existing Independent Filmmakers

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PAGE 1

1 PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN INDEPENDEN T FILM: A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF ATTITUDES OF ASPIRING AND EXIS TING INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS By KAREN FENTON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ADVERTISING UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Karen Fenton

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3 To Mom, Dad, Christina, Concetta, James and Duncan.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my committee chairperson, Dr. Cynt hia Morton, and my committee members, Dr. Marilyn Roberts, Dr. James Babanikos, and Professor Elaine Wagner. Dr. Mortons interest and knowledge of product placement encouraged my ow n interest in the topi c, an interest that grew exponentially as my research unfolded. I am grateful to Professor Wagner, who encouraged my interest in creativity and art and to Dr Babanikos for his knowledge of the world of independent film, and for his rela tionships with independent film makers, some of whom served as my respondents. I also thank Dr. Roberts for stepping onto my committee when another member was away for sabbatical, and for her c onstant encouragement, support and practical advice. I thank Jody Hedge, Program Assistant to the Division of Graduate Studies and Research, who answered countless questions and provided ongoing encouragement. I thank Esther Biggs, a co-worker without whom I would not have had the array of filmmaker respondents which I did. I am also eternally grateful to each filmmaker who lent their time, expertise, and often humor to my intervie ws and for their candor and openness during the interview process. These filmmakers are: Dean na Russo, Chris Zara, Fr ed Zara, Paul Sirmons, Ralph Clemente, James T. Henri, Shamrock Mc Shane, Mike McShane, Darren McDaniel, and D.A. Jackson. And finally, I am appreciativ e of my boyfriend, James, who supported me throughout my research and writ ing and shared my joy when my results were complete.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... .9 Product Placement.............................................................................................................. ......9 Independent Films.............................................................................................................. ....11 Exploratory Question........................................................................................................... ...13 Organization of this Thesis.................................................................................................... .13 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................14 What Is Product Placement?...................................................................................................14 Product Placement versus Sponsorship...........................................................................16 The History of Product Placement..................................................................................16 Product Placement in Movies vs. Television..................................................................19 The Relationships of Product Placement.........................................................................20 The Appeal of Product Placement...................................................................................22 Placement without a Price...............................................................................................23 The Business of Product Placement................................................................................24 Identification of Product Placement................................................................................25 Product Placement Worldwide........................................................................................26 The Future of Product Placement....................................................................................27 What is an Independent Film?................................................................................................28 Funding an Independent Film..........................................................................................30 Making an Independent Film...........................................................................................30 The Future of Independent Film......................................................................................31 3 METHODOLOGY.................................................................................................................33 Interview Procedure............................................................................................................ ....33 Research Variables............................................................................................................. ....34 Sample......................................................................................................................... ...........35 4 RESULTS........................................................................................................................ .......38 Themes That Emerged from Interviews.................................................................................40 Response Theme Money/Cost.............................................................................................41 Response Theme Control.....................................................................................................44

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6 Response Theme Experience Level.....................................................................................46 Response Theme Filmmaker Interest in Product Placement...............................................49 Response Theme Artistic Inte grity/Art versus Business.....................................................50 5 DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION..........................................................................................54 Implications for Product Placem ent in Independent Film......................................................54 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ..........56 Suggestions for Future Research............................................................................................57 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... .........58 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT........................................................................................................59 B INFORMED CONSENT PHONE SCRIPT...........................................................................62 C INTERVIEW QUESTIONS...................................................................................................64 D INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS.......................................................................................66 Interview Transcription #1.....................................................................................................67 Interview Transcription #2.....................................................................................................74 Interview Transcription #3.....................................................................................................82 Interview Transcription #4.....................................................................................................89 Interview Transcription #5...................................................................................................101 Interview Transcription #6...................................................................................................110 Interview Transcription #7...................................................................................................117 Interview Transcription #8...................................................................................................127 Interview Transcription #9...................................................................................................136 Interview Transcription #10.................................................................................................144 REFERENCES..................................................................................................................... .......150 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................154

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Dimensions of attitude defined............................................................................................ ...35 4-1 Filmmaker respondent characteristics....................................................................................39

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8 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Advertising PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN INDEPENDEN T FILM: A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF ATTITUDES OF ASPIRING AND EXIS TING INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS By Karen Fenton May 2007 Chair: Cynthia Morton Major: Advertising Product placement is the placement of brands in a film or other media in order to gain exposure for the brand. This practice is often done for a fee or trade arrangement. Previous research on the topic of product placement in film focused on audience perceptions of the practice. My study sought to lear n how independent filmmakers felt about product placement. I questioned aspiring and existing independent filmmakers about their attitudes toward product placement in film. My study was a qualitative st udy consisting of ten in-depth interviews of eleven aspiring and existing inde pendent filmmaker respondents. I explored the attitudes toward the practice, the interest in the practice of product placemen t in general, and the filmmakers opinions on topics including audience distractio n by product placement, artistic integrity and product placement, and cost of film production and product placement. A major finding of my study was that product placement arrangements in the independent film world differ greatly from those in the worl d of Hollywood feature films. Another important finding was that though initially re sistant to the idea of product placement, most independent filmmakers reported that they would be open to the practice if it helped the bottom line of their film, as long as they could maintain a certain leve l of control and artistic integrity. Implications for product placement practitioners and suggesti ons for future research are discussed.

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9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION A consumers day is flooded with commerci al messages from start to finish. From morning radio and billboards during the commute to work, to sit-coms jammed with commercial breaks at night, it is seemingly impossible to fi nd a single moment of solace from the constant onslaught of advertising messages. To a consumer it may seem that advertising has reached its maximum potential in touching nearly every part of his life, but to an advertiser this is far from the truth. Consumers are constantly evolving and growing weary of tr aditional advertising techniques, but as fast as consumers are l earning ways to avoid commercial messages, advertisers are seeking to place messages into untapped regions of the consumers life. Product Placement Product placement, and specifically product pl acement in film, is one solution that advertisers have utilized to plac e brand images in front of cons umers without taking the hard-sell approach toward which consumers have grown so jaded. Product placement, sometimes referred to as brand placement, is the practice of placing brands within an entertainment medium, such as a television show, video game, or movie, in excha nge for some fee, be it money or actual traded product. Product placement has be en defined as, a paid product message aimed at influencing movie or television audiences vi a the planned and unobtrusive entr y of a branded product into a movie or TV program (Balasubr amanian, 1994), or as paid comme rcial insertions within a particular media program intended to heighten the visibility of br and, type of product or service (LaPastina, 2001). Product placement in film has ex isted in some form since the start of cinema, but this technique really broke through as a signifi cant method of mass communication in the 1982

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10 Steven Spielberg classic E.T : The Extra-Terrestrial This film featured the star character leaving a trail of Reeses Pieces candy to lure his alien friend. At the time of the films release Reeses Pieces was a new candy to the market and its feature role in the film increased sales of the product a reported 70 % (Segrave, 2004). With the true start of produc t placement in film in the ea rly 1980s, the academic study of this advertising technique wasnt far behind. The study of product placem ent in television, video games, and particularly film, has been a widely growing area of study in advertising research. The mid-1990s and through the following decade gave way to a variety of studies about product placement in film. Researchers analyzed how consumers felt about product placement (Gupta, Balasubramanian & Klassen, 2000), how they ar e influenced to buy by product placements (Morton & Friedman, 2002), and what products are best fits for movie and television placements (Freeman, 2000). During the year 2000 and beyond interest in the practi ce of product placement grew rapidly and studies of this technique increased significantly. Though several studies analyze the consumers attitudes and percep tions toward product placement, there is a lack of knowledge regard ing the attitudes and perceptions of product placement from those assembling the product messa ge: the filmmakers. In researching this specific product placement topic I found only a handful of articles exploring anything specifically related to th e attitudes or opinions of this group of people, and none directly related to the study of product placement in independent film (Nitins, 2005; Turcotte, 1995). My exploration is particularly timely in its contribu tion to product placement re search for reasons to be discussed in more detail below. Research reveals the persuasive nature of product placement. Product placement has grown in number and obviousness since its inception nearly 30 years ago. What started as a

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11 single brand placement in 1982 has exploded into seve n instances of real brand placements in 22 minutes of sit-com television in a mid-1990s episode of the NBC hit Seinfeld (Karrh, 1998) and 15 featured placed brands in Steven Spielbergs 2002 Minority Report (Segrave, 2004). What may be even more striking than the number of brand placements in Seinfeld (where brand placements were referenced an average of one every three minutes), is that the writers of Seinfeld even altered the dialogue in some places in or der to emphasize the brand references (Darlin, 1995). It is this alteration of the vehicle which delivers a placem ent, or the even more intense practice of altering a vehicle around products, that sparked my in terest in what filmmakers thought of product placement. Independent Films In the world of independent film there are a variety of genres. Most generally these can be divided into documentary and narrative film s. Documentary implies a non-fiction telling of events, though not necessarily an unbiased one, wh ile the narrative genre tells of a story, based on real or fictitious events (Evans, 2002). An independent (or indie) film is a film produced without the fina ncial or distribution backing of a major film studio (What is indepe ndent film, 2006). Independent films began in the early 1900s as a re sult of filmmakers want for indepe ndence from the constraints of the Motion Pictures Patents Company an organization of patent hol ders in the early 1900s who were highly restrictive in their control of patents related to raw film which ultimately drove filmmakers away from the MPPCs watchful eye on the east coast to a west coast home base (Motion Picture Patents Company, 2007). Independent films are not distributed in the manner as large studio films, their usual venue is thr ough a film festival or through a distribution arrangement that the filmmaker ha s located personally. In 1996 it wa s estimated that the business of independent filmmaking totaled around $300 million and with the growing popularity of indie

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12 films, it can be assumed that currently this am ount is significantly more (Marks, 1996). The mid-1990s gave rise to a new wave of popularity for the indie world and in the early to mid2000s this popularity has continued to grow. I ndependent filmmaking has moved away from its rebellious roots to the forefront of appl auded cinema. In 2003 independent films like Frida My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Bowling for Columbine dominated the awards season (Holmlund, 2005). The 2007 Oscars also boded well for independent films with nominations for Half Nelson and a Best Picture nomination for Little Miss Sunshine The rise in Internet DVD rentals, satellite TV, and specialized cable film channels has also increased audience exposur e to independent films. As i ndie films find more and more vehicles for distribution their popularity move s upward. While the popularity of independent film and the use of product placement in film are on the rise, there is litt le research on how these two practices interact. The purpose of my study was to explore as piring and existing independent filmmakers attitudes toward the prac tice of product placement, particularly as it influences their decisions about production budgets, artistic in tegrity, and audience receptivity to their films. My thesis will not only shed light on the opinions of the cr afters of the product placement message for researchers, but also give a dvertisers some insight about how product placement is currently being employed within the indie world so that they might discover possible avenues for further exploration. The contribution of my study is in offering practical insights into how product placement is used, and how this practice can be further improved, to create a more meaningful brand-viewing experience for the consumer, and maintain a meani ngful and artistic filmmaking experience for the filmmaker.

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13 Exploratory Question Though research on the practice of product pl acement in general has grown in recent years, research specific to this practice as related to independent film still presents a void. My study seeks to explore the link between product pl acement and independent film. The research question is: What are the attit udes of aspiring and existing inde pendent filmmakers toward the practice of product placement? Organization of this Thesis Chapter 2 presents a review of the literature and provides a ge neral overview of the current knowledge on the practice of product placement, w ith specific focus on the practice of product placement in film. Chapter 3 details the methodology, including the research design and procedure used for recruiting and interviewing research respondents. Chapter 4 reports my studys findings and Chapter 5 presents the conc lusions, limitations, and recommendations for future research.

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14 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The literature review is broken into two sections: the first on the topic of product placement in film, and the second, a brief introd uction to the topic of independent filmmaking. The review addresses the histor y, trends, cultural implications, media comparisons, and business relationships involved with product placement in film. Though the focus of this research will be on product placement in films, in order to fully u nderstand the background of this practice and to more thoroughly gauge the implications of produc t placement in film, product placement in other forms such as in television and video games will also be addressed. What Is Product Placement? Product placement has been defined as a pa id product message aimed at influencing movie or television audiences vi a the planned and unobtrusive entr y of a branded product into a movie or TV program (Balasubr amanian, 1994). Product placements are also defined as paid commercial insertions within a particular media program intended to height en the visibility of brand, type of product or service (LaPastina, 2001). This hybrid advertising technique, as co ined by Balasubramanian, is called hybrid because it represents a marriage of paid advertising and non-paid publicity. It has come into use recently as consumers have become more produc t-savvy and more jaded about the thousands of product messages aimed at them each day (Balasubramanian, 1994). Because product placement involves the merging of advertising and entertai nment, this technique has also been coined advertainment (Deery, 2004). Product placement is often considered a mo re under-the-radar way to put a brand message in front of consumers. When a brand is integrated into a show [or movie], it's not perceived as a commercial, and it's very pow erful (Tucker, 2004). Product placement has

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15 emerged as the solution to zipping (the pr ocess of skipping past commercials by fast forwarding) and zapping (the process of skipping past comme rcials by changing the channel) (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2001). Product placement has also gained popularity in response to the clutter of other advertising ave nues, such as the increased numb er of commercials per 30 minute television slot, and the decrease d length of commercials, from 60 seconds to 30 and now 15 second spots (Russell & Belch, 2005 ). As product sponsors realize that consumers are making an active effort to avoid their messages, they ar e forced to come up with new and creative ways to keep their brands and messages in front of th e consumer. Product placement is one solution to this advertising dilemma. To further expand on the definition, Tiwsa kul, Hackley, & Szmigin (2005) suggest that there are three distinct categor ies of product placement: 1) im plicit product placement (the placement of a product without any formal reco gnition of the product such as when a CocaCola sits on a table where two ch aracters are seated), 2) integr ated explicit product placement (involves a formal expression of the product and the product plays an active role in the script when the same Coca-Cola is picked up by one of the characters and commented on), and 3) nonintegrated explicit product pla cement (a product is explicitly recognized in connection to a show/movie, but not featured in it such as if a Coca-Cola were mentioned throughout a story, but the product itself wa s never actually shown). Turcotte (1995) recognizes three different types of product placement, though parts of his organization overlap with Tiwsakal et al. defi nitions. Turcotte suggests that product placement may be visually placed on a set but never specific ally referred to, that it may be spoken about in dialogue but not necessarily shown, or it may be f eatured visually and in the action or dialogue.

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16 Product Placement versus Sponsorship There is some overlap in the definitions of product placement and sponsorship. While researchers have still not settled on where to draw a clear line between the two, it is nonetheless important to define each. Product placement has been defined to be unobtrusive and inserted into paid media (Balasubramanian, 1994; LaPastina, 2001). Sponsorship may not be initially placed in a medium, but may be broadcast through one anyway, such as with a banner at a sports event that is televised. Sponsorship has been defined as the pr ovision of assistan ce either financial or in kind to an activity by a commercial organization for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives (Meenaghan, 1983). Schneider and Cornwell (2005) draw the distinction between product placement and sponsorship in that product placement involves th e placement of a brand name within a scripted media, while sponsorship approaches event incl usion under the guise of philanthropy, and views media exposure as a secondary benefit to this. The History of Product Placement The history of product placement finds its root s in early cinema and dates back to the start of cinema in the 1920s. At its inception pr oduct placement did not involve meetings with studios, brand managers, and the li ke as it does today: rather, it was a nave, casual, and personto-person arrangement. Products were handed off to celebrities, often for a small gratis fee paid to the celebrity personally (Segrave, 2004). It is reported that these barter-style agreements were the norm for product placements until around 1970 (Mckechnie & Thou, 2003). Product placement began in radio in the 1930s, when products would often be central to a radio shows narrative. The term s oap opera refers to the on-air dr amas of early radio that were fully and unabashedly sponsored by one specifi c brand of soap, and later, other household

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17 products (Russell & Belch, 2005). Product placement began in television in the 1940s, when advertisers would purchase entire time slots for branded shows such as The Texaco Star Theater (George, 2005). During the 1930s and 1940s product placement made occasional appearances in film. For example, in the 1948 film Mildred Pierce Joan Crawford drank br anded Jack Daniels liquor (Nebenzahl & Secunda, 1993). However, the prac tice of product placement from the 1920s until 1970s was not consistent, nor was it considered profitable. Film was not a totally ignored medium, but advertising occurred th rough this period first as ad reel s shown before films, then as ad trailers in the 1960s and 1970s. In the mid1970s it was stated that, for 40 years ads in theaters have been standard pr actice nearly everywhere except the U.S. and Canada (Segrave, 2004). Advertising in theaters just hadnt caught on in the United States. as advertisers failed to acknowledge its potential for br inging a brand to a mass audience and filmmakers failed to realize the financial gain that could come from this practice. Nineteen seventy-seven was the year that this opinion and practice changed, and the year that really set advertisers and filmmakers up for the marriage of film and advertising that was to occur in the 1980s. In 1977 a Frenchman named Roger Hatchuel ran an experiment to disarm the fears that many advertisers had about the placement of adve rtising messages in the theater atmosphere. Hatchuel ran three minutes of adve rtising for nationally distributed products like Chrysler and Seiko and surveyed the audience s after viewing the commercials to determine whether or not the presentation of advertising in the film atmosphere elicited any negative reactions. The audience had no strong negative reaction, as many had expected they might, so Hatchuel moved forward with the placement of regular advertising trailers before films (Segrave,

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18 2004). Shortly after, the rest of America followed this practice, and advertising accompanying films is a practice that continues in similar manner today. Product placement started in the form that it is most commonly recognized in 1982, when Steven Spielberg, the director of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial approached Mars, the makers of M&Ms, with an idea to include this candy in his film. Mars, unfam iliar with the exact idea and implications of involving its already-successful product in a Hollywood film, declined the offer, so Spielberg next approached Hershe y, the makers of Reeses Pieces candy. Hershey wisely agreed and the placement of the candy re portedly caused sales to skyrocket 70 percent (Segrave, 2004). The mass success of the Rees es Pieces placement spawned a new way for communicators to get their messages in front of audiences: placing their products in the films that consumers were already willing to pay to go see. Jump forward 20 years in Spielbergs career from his initial product placement success, and this director may be found again reaping the benefits of this growing communication tool. Spielbergs 2002 Minority Report featured 15 major placed brands, including the likes of Gap, American Express, USA Today, and Pepsi (Segrave 2004). These placed br ands were not in the least subtle to the paying viewer. At a price tag of a combined 25 million dollars, these corporations made sure that their na mes were seen and hopefully remembered. The popularity of product placement has exte nded to modern television as well, and although that success is not the focu s of this literature review, it is certain ly noteworthy. Today consumers are now quite used to seeing well-kno wn brands incorporat ed throughout television storylines and backdrops in orde r to give the show a more real istic appeal (George, 2005). As marketers and advertisers look for whats next in innovative advertisin g, more and more are turning their attention to product placement as a unique way to keep their brands in front of

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19 consumers and work around consumer avoidance of advertising messages (Cardona, Chura, Fine & Sanders, 2002). Product Placement in Movies vs. Television It is reported that a larger audience views television than movies, and it is estimated that the average American households TV set is on for 7.2 hours a day (Avery & Ferraro, 2000). In terms of selective exposure opportunity, a consumer specifically chooses to go see a movie, and which movie to see, so he presumably has more power over viewing or avoiding product placements in movies. Yet, in opposition to this cl aim, it could also be argued that a consumer has control over which channels he views (Ave ry & Ferraro, 2000). Moreover, since a viewer typically views the same television shows over a longer period of time, versus visiting the characters once in a movie theater, he is more apt to become involved with the program and its characters, and by extension of that, more influe nced by the placed products that character uses (Avery & Ferraro, 2000). Avery and Ferraro (2000) also examine the amount of placement content in television versus movies and found that commercial movi es re-run on television contained more product placement than regular scripted television shows. These researchers also found that these movies also contained more persuasive product placements that is, placements that were visually prominent and positively portrayed than those in television shows. Another study by PQ Media found that in 2005 television actually accounted for over half of all produc t placements relative to movies and a category of other placements (J. E., 2005). Though larger audiences are expos ed to television shows na tionally, it is important to note that many Hollywood movies are released worl dwide, and therefore movies can also reach as wide an audience as television, if not wider (Mckechnie & Thou, 2003). Worldwide movie distribution can also dictate wh ich brands are placed in film, whereas a brand featured in

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20 television may be more geographically localized and therefore inappropriate for worldwide distribution. An example of this is the 1993 film Demolition Man which made reference to Taco Bell foods, and was edited to refer to Pizza Hut foods for release in Australia and other countries as Pizza Hut was more geographically relevant to these other areas (Demolition Man, 2006). Nonetheless both media film and television can experience a long shelf life via syndication or video/DVD release (Morton & Friedman, 2002). The Relationships of Product Placement Product placement is said to have a symbio tic relationship between a filmmaker who can choose which products to feature and a product sponsor who is constantly attempting to place his products in front of consumers (Balasubraman ian, 1994). Balasubramanian expands on this relationship stating: To efficiently locate product placement opportunities, the pro duct sponsor usually hires a specialist firm to act as a liaison with movi e studios and secure story scripts far in advance of movie production. These scripts ar e carefully reviewed to locate desirable story contexts for placing a specific product (Salmans 1981); when these contexts (and the consideration terms accompanying them) are acceptable to both the moviemaker and the product sponsor, a product placement resu lts (Newsweek 1989). For example, Alaska Airlines, Apple computers, Bounty paper towe ls, and Ore-Ida Frozen French fries were an integral part of the movie Short Circ uit (Tucker 1989). Similarly, Gerber products (e.g., baby food, strollers, and high chairs) were successfully placed in several television series, including thirtysomething and Our House (Cain 1988). (1994). The relationship between television producer s and product sponsors is evident in the editing of The Real World a reality show on MTV, which claims to simply document the real lives of seven young strangers, yet is so emphatic about product placement relationships that they systematically blur out l ogos for companies that arent unde r contract, a practice that one could argue reduces the environmen ts realism by creating a more artificially selective display of brands than is generally f ound in real life (Deery, 2004).

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21 Product placement also involves a relations hip between the brand and the viewer. Product placement, in its very essence is a way to reach potential consumers in a smarter, subtler, and at times more credible way than the typica l 30-second commercial. However, this is often compromised as product placements move from the natural backgrounds and TV settings; for example, Jerry Seinfelds favorite cereal strate gically placed on his counter, to the foreground of storylines and reality television; for example, brand names as ce ntral to the storyline of shows like Survivor and The Apprentice (Deery, 2004). Product placement not only involves managing the relationship between movie studios and product sponsors, but also managing commerci al media buys that occur after a product has been placed. Product placement, though obviously a force in its own right, is often buttressed by other strategic media buys, such as commercials at the start of the co mmercial block immediately following the scene the product was featured in, or other sponsors hip arrangements. This was the case recently for Subway restaurants whic h worked with its media-buying firm, WPP Group's MediaCom, and General Electric's NBC on an ad package (centered around the sit-com Will & Grace ) that involved both the product placem ent and a 30-second commercial to run during the episode (Subway, 2005). This strategic media planning, which can involve commercials, sponsorships, and product pla cements, all centered ar ound a single television episode provides an example of product placement taken to the next level. In these cases product placement is the nucleus of a media buy, the produc t is not only advertised during a show, but also featured within the show itself to ensure a much greater audience reach. Another example of how product placement can be built into lucrative media packages and acting as the catalyst for othe r traditional advertising is in th e package deal for Heineken and the film Be Cool starring John Travolta. In this arra ngement, Travolta, as the films main

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22 character, was featured drinking Heineken in th e film. The movie took Tra voltas characters tie to the brand a step further by feat uring him in the Heineken televi sion commercials as well. This campaign was further buttressed with Heineken/ Be Cool point of purchase displays, movie ticket giveaways, radio promotions, and even a L ive the Cool Life Heineken promotional sweepstakes which offered V.I.P. treatment to popul ar nightclubs as another way to tie the movie and the beer together (Hargrave-Silk, 2005). The Appeal of Product Placement Product placement has a unique appeal as a marketing and advertising tool for brand managers and producers. According to Ted Wi rth, creative-services manager for Subway restaurants, Product placement helps us connect with our consumer and it puts our products in a more tangible scenario. That can't often be done in commercials" (Subway, 2005). Research has found that positive portrayals of a product in movies can result in a positive intent to purchase the product f eatured in film, while negative portrayals can be a reason for discontinuing use of a product (Morton & Frie dman, 2002). Findings li ke these are what motivate product sponsors to continue to grow this area of communication. Product placement involves the creative pursuit of brand placement in a variety of media. The main point of placement is to get the brand in front of the consumer, hopefully in a context within which the placement seem s unobtrusive and natural. The placement seeks to enhance the media that it is placed in, rather than domina te it. One creative product placement deal involved Timex watches and the author Tom Clancy, in which Timex was approached with a $1.3 million proposition to be highly incorpor ated into a Clancy novel, CD-R OM, movie, and Internet game (Nelson, 2002). Product placement is developing in other medi a as it gains popularity. Two such media are computer games and video games, both of wh ich are estimated to be equally if not more

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23 popular with younger audiences than the television medium. One difference between gaming and watching television is that consumers are actively involved with the game and are compelled to pay much closer attention to the screen. Time spent in fron t of a computer or video game screen is quality time, while time spent in front of the te levision or at the movies usually do not involve comparable levels of media engagement For this reason, such outlets hold extreme appeal and are important areas for growth in product placement as time goes on (Lindstrom, 2005). Placement without a Price Product placement, though often viewed as a lucrative business opportunity, can also occur without an explicit exchange of money. Th e start of this review touched on the roots of product placement and noted that in its very earl y days placement usually occurred as a barter arrangement. Today, products are sometimes chosen simply because they are the best fit for a television or movie scene, or because the tele vision or movie studio wish to use a products established brand character to represent some char acteristic of the show/films characters. This was the case on Seinfeld which placed Drakes Cakes coffee cakes as central to a particular storyline because the product adde d to the shows East Coast flavor (Jensen, 1997). The snack cakes, which have been a staple in Northeastern grocery stores for decades, have become the prop of choice for Hollywood studios seeking to create a hip East Coast look for their TV shows (Jensen, 1997). Drake's says it didn' t solicit -or pay for -any of the product placements, but the company couldn't have gotten th e attention at a better time. It had already decided to expand beyond the Northeast and Flor ida when TV viewers started phoning to ask where they could find the snacks (Jensen, 1997).

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24 The Business of Product Placement Though a product may be fortunate enough to be placed in television or movie for free based on some characteristic or meaning the product holds, more often than not product placement comes at a price. As mentioned prev iously, in the 20 years since he started placing products in E.T. product placement has blossomed into a lucrative business opportunity for Steven Spielberg, who grossed 25 million in product placement deals alone for Minority Report (Segrave, 2004). Research indicates that product placement can enter a film in four ways: 1) a brand can solicit a film and offer to pay a f ee for placement in a film it belie ves reaches its ta rget audience; 2) studios can approach brands for placement and a fee when they believe they have a fit; 3) studios can simply place a brand in a film at no cost and without the explicit permission of a brand; or 4) placement deals can be specified and arranged by independent product placement firms (Gupta, Balasubramanian & Klassen, 2000 ; Entertainment Resources and Marketing Association, 2006). Product placement is viewed as both a mean s to keep up the momentum of an already successful product, as well as a solution for businesse s and brands that are facing declining sales. Such was the case for Sears department store th at turned to Norm Marshall & Associates, the same product placement specialists that pl aced USA Today newspaper in Spielbergs Minority Report (Tucker, 2004). Sears was looking at nontra ditional means of promoting the brand and, in part, responding to the changing lands cape and the media mix (Tucker, 2004). Marketers that use product placement are b ecoming more proactive in the dealings of product placement in order to have a more hands -on control of when a nd how their products are featured in film and television. Coca-Cola, Ford, and BMW have even taken on the role of

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25 program producer in certain cases in order to ex ert their influence and control (Karrh, McKee & Pardun, 2003). Identification of Product Placement While product placement is enjoying massive popularity in modern television and film, there is growing concern that the very idea of product placement is a violation of the laws for the separation of editorial content and advertising (Baerns, 2003). Though there are laws in place that product sponsors must be cl early identified, and advertisi ng pitches clearly distinguished from editorial content, it seems that the loophole that advertisers are a ggressively pursuing in order to reach savvy consumers in a more sub tle way is the same loophole that many academics and researchers fear is being exploited. This discrepancy resu lts in a confusing gray area regarding where the entertainment ends and adve rtising begins is developing (Baerns, 2003). Product placement is also garnering increas ing attention from consumer advocates who have suggested that brands be identified in the op ening credits of a film in order to clarify which part of the film is story and which is adve rtising (Gupta, Balasubramanian & Klassen, 2000). Gupta et al (2000) also note that consumer a dvocates have suggested allowing for ticket price reductions based on the number of placements in a film, requiring refunds to consumers upset by product placements, and an overall limit to the amount of product placements in a film in order to preserve the creative integrity of the movi e-going experience. A more recent comment on this issue came in May 2005 when a member of the Federal Communications Commission called for stricter regulation of product placement, stating that there is nothing wrong with product placement as long as it was properly disclosed as required by law. There is no specific law regarding product placement at this time, but as product placement grows in frequency and popularity there is no doubt that this issue will at some point be brought up in the court law in order for these legal boundaries to be clarified (Shields, 2005). The Commissioner, Jonathan

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26 Adelstein, noted that product placement was partic ularly worrisome when it appeared in news broadcasts, and urged lawmakers to make clear and prominent disclosures for all commercial messages (Tell the FCC, 2006). The issues surrounding product placement become even harder to define when one considers non-traditional media ta ken in context with the fact th at there are no specific credits typically attached to the message in which pr oduct placement is being conveyed. A recent example of this is with online blogging. Bloggi ng (i.e., web logging) or keeping a web diary, started and is widely represented as the aut hors personal thoughts a nd opinions posted on the Internet for the world to read. However, in December 2004 the line between editorial and advertising content became blurred when a soft ware company announced that it would pay select key bloggers to endorse its products in their online blogs for a fee (Roush, 2005). Product Placement Worldwide Though extremely popular in the United States, product placement is a technique that is also reaching audiences worldw ide. For example, in Brazil where the practice called merchandising, product placements are often ce ntral to the narrative of prime time telenovelas (soap operas). Furthermore branded placements are growing even more relevant to the themes and narratives of the dramas as time goes on (LaPastina, 2001). The United Kingdom also has its share of product placement, specifically in British soap operas and mini-series (Tiwsakul, Hackley & Szmigin, 2005). Though recent articles po int to the use of product placement in U.K. television, there had been a 50-ye ar ban on product placement in this region (Hall, 2005). The U.K. has previously been strict about product placement in order to protect the in tegrity of its programming and prevent any detrimental effects th at it may have on its audiences, but is now leaning toward the liberalization of product placement restrictions as this form of advertising gains steam.

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27 Studies of China in relation to product placement have reveal ed that when compared to the United States, Chinese audiences were gene rally less accepting of product placement in movies as a form of reaching consumers (Mckechnie & Thou, 2003). Another topic of study regarding produc t placement around the world is one that considers the placement within movies that ar e released worldwide. Gould, Gupta & GrabnerKrauter (2000) note that not all products will be regarded with the same acceptance across different nationalities and that product sponsors, when negotiating to pl ace a product in a film, should be aware of this potential issue and not overpay to place their product. As mentioned previously, while the local ization of product placement can be very effective via television (i.e. Brazil), movie product placement is a different ma tter as products and product recognition can vary across nations. The Future of Product Placement The future of product placement is not certa in, and as the media landscape continuously changes product placement may gain or lose fa vor. In the three year period from 1990 to 1993 that Advertising Age commissioned a study of the number of incidences of product placement on major network television stat ions (studies conducted by Hume, 1990 and Fawcett, 1993) product placement increased by almost 11 percent (Ave ry & Ferraro, 2000). Product placement is currently booming and is featured in television sit-coms, reality shows, competitions, and movies alike. Recent product placements have appeared on everything from The Apprentice and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to All My Children and Scrubs (George, 2005). Ford even had the hit show 24 create entire storylines inco rporating their Ford vehicles (George, 2005). Statistics published in Broadcast & Cable suggest that television product placement may be the wave of the future, noting that while traditional advert ising avenues grew by only 7% from 2004 to 2005 television product placement grew by 30.5% duri ng this same time period (J. E., 2005). Les

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28 Moonves, the chairman of CBS, pr edicts that within three or f our TV seasons (from 2005), up to 75 percent of all scripted, prime-time network shows will feature products or services paid for by advertisers (George, 2005). As discussed throughout this literature review, product placement has extended beyond film and television to various outlets such as computer games, video games, and even books (Nelson, 2002). The beauty of product placement, and a key reason for its momentous growth, is the mutually beneficial relationship it instills between advertiser and producer, consumer and media. A brand placed in a film or game gains brand exposure, the film or game producer gains financial resources to produce their film or game, and consumers gain a more realistic atmosphere to their media consumption experi ences. Today, product placement is a $3.4 billion industry (J. E., 2005). With this kind of money a nd the increasingly creative forms it is taking, it seems that product placement may be here to stay What is an Independent Film? In order to fully understand the context of th is study a reader must be equipped not only with knowledge of the practice of product placement, but also a general unders tanding of the world of independent film. An independent or indie film is a film produced without the backing, either financial or in the process of distribution, of a major film studio (What is independent film?, 2006). Independent film s began in the early 1900s as a result of filmmakers desire for independence from the constraints of the Motion Pictures Patents Company. Despite the birth of independent film in the 1900s films remained largely produced by major studios until the late 1950s and early 1960s wh en advancements in the technology of film were made. In the 1980s the accessi bility of low cost computing equipment reduced the cost of producing a film considerably, serv ing as another step forward in the history of independent film (Rusco & Walls, 2003).

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29 Within the world of independent film there are a variety of genres a nd most generally these can be divided into documentary and narrative f ilms. A documentary implies a non-fiction telling of events, though not necessarily an unbiased one, and a narrative is most often defined as the telling of a story, be it based on real events or not (Evans, 2002). Since in dependent films are not largely distributed in the manner that large studio films are, the venue in which an independent film usually gains an audience and popularity is the film festival or th rough distribution which the filmmaker arranged personally. Though it seems that advertisers interest in placing products and filmmakers need for financing independent films may be a natural f it, there is a limited body of knowledge on this relationship. Though product placement is not a specific area of research in connection with independent film, advertisers are attempting to align their products with the world of independent filmmaking in other ways, such as sponsoring traveling indie film festivals, like the one sponsored by Levis Dockers brand in 1997 (Ebe nkamp, 1997). Similarly, the automaker Audi and Turning Leaf wine sponsored the 17th a nnual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards film festival and awards show (Gr eenberg, 2002). Other brands atte mpt to reach the indie film audience by creating indie films themselves, as wa s the case for BMW and Aeropostle, who each produced shorts featuring th eir products (Cuneo, 2002). It seems advertisers may be utilizing these methods of association with independent films because the very nature of indi e films is a spirit of rebellion and resistance to commercial influence and control. True independent film production is about financing films from sources that have no control over your story, your vision, your creative id eas. You are free to make the film you want to make (Funding, 2006).

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30 While product placement may alleviate co sts of making a film for the filmmaker, advertisers are showing increasing interest in indie films as a forum for placing their brand messages. One website even offers financi ng for filmmakers and product placement for the sponsors who pitch into the pool of money from which films are made (Filmventure, 2006). Funding an Independent Film In 1996 it was estimated that the business of independent filmmaking totaled around $300 million (Marks, 1996). Today, it can be assumed that this amount is significantly more. However, it is important to put these costs into pers pective because as th e popularity of indie filmmaking rises, in many cases, the cost of pr oducing an independent film has fallen, making this world even more enticing a nd accessible than it once was. Many would-be filmmakers are lured into the world of indie filmmaking based on the myths of indie successes that have become le gends (Marks, 1996). For example, the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project was produced for $22,000 and went on to $240.5 million (The Blair Witch Project, 2007). These legends are few and far between due in part to the fact that a film produced for a few thousand dollars (or even less if shot digitally) very rarely gets any kind of distribution. Frequently, by the ti me the film is transferred to the proper quality film for distribution, the sound is remixed a nd all the deferments paid (deferments are when an actor or crew member works on credit and will be paid only if the film itself is successful), and the film promoted, the filmmaker rarely takes home a pr ofit (Marks, 1996). Furthe r, many indie films are funded not only by outside investors, but on the fi lmmakers own credit, a move that can follow him for years to come (Marks, 1996). Making an Independent Film The process of making an independent film often relies heavily on the equipment and software available to the public. Si nce independent film by its very na ture is free of the guidance,

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31 regulations, and the pocketbook of a large film studio, independent filmmaking is often a second job for the filmmakers done with home video cameras, digital cameras, and personal computers using programs such as Adobe After Effect s, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere (now discontinued), and Apples Fi nal Cut Pro (Moltenbrey, 2004). Of course there is much more to making a f ilm than just the equipment used to make it. There is the matter of actors, wr iters, directors, producers, li ghting, script supervisors, prop masters, costume designers, and so on. The cast and crew of an indie production depends on the size budget of the production, and ca n be on a very small (one or two) people to very large (100+) scale. Once a film is shot, it must be edited, a nd then a way to reach audiences must be identified. While in the past the actual filmma king was the biggest challenge, with an indie boom in the mid-to-late 1990s, combined with th e evolving trends in film equipment, the challenge has moved from the act ual making of the film to getti ng the completed film distributed (Goald & Munson, 2002). The Future of Independent Film The creation of an independent film, no matte r how ambitious the f ilmmaker, is often a struggle due to budgetary constraints. However, today the landscape of the world of independent filmmaking is changing quickly. Whereas a film maker in the past would have to raise a significant amount of capital in orde r to even shoot his first scene, digital filmma king makes the world of filmmaking entirely more accessible and affordable to the novice filmmaker (Kennedy, 2005). According to Kennedy (2005), in the very near future film will no longer actually be part of filmmaking; this process will go complete ly digital. While this concept has a significant impact on the actual process of f ilmmaking, it will also have an impact on the preservation of

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32 films once they are complete. A film will no longer be a physical entity that eventually succumbs to corrosion and disintegration, rather it will be stored and preserved digitally. The mid-1990s showed a dramatic increase in popularity for the indie films. During early to mid-2000s the popularity and critical acclaim of independents films continued to grow. Independent films also became more common during this time period due to a rise in Internet DVD rentals, satellite TV, and speci alized cable film channels. The popularity of independent film and the us e of product placement in film are both on the rise today, and there is little research c onnecting the two. This study seeks to explore the attitudes of independent filmma kers toward the practice of pr oduct placement and the next chapter presents a detailed discussion of the re search design used to further investigate the research question.

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33 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of this study is to explore as piring and existing inde pendent filmmakers attitudes toward the prac tice of product placement in order to shed light on this unexplored area of advertising research. The cu rrent body of knowledge on product placement presents a primary focus on the study of consumers attitudes and re actions to the method of product placement. However, there is a lack of research specific to filmmakers opinions about product placement. Based on this void the nature of this study will be qualitative and highly exploratory and will be conducted as an in-depth qualitative analysis of filmmakers attitudes toward the practice of product placement. Though exploratory research can be conducted through other methods, such as focus groups, the specific qualifications and scarcity of qualified resp ondents (local aspiring and existing independent filmmakers) made the sample pool small enough that in-depth interviews could be conducted personally with each filmmaker respondent. The in-depth interview has been likened to a conversation with a purpose (Legard, Keegan & Ward, 2003). According to Lega rd, Keegan, & Ward (2003), a good in-depth interview should feel natural to the respondent, but should adhe re to the purposes of the interviewer. The in-depth interview is used to answer questions of va lue, definition, and policy. According to Stacks (2002), advantages of the in-d epth interview include the rich detail that can be drawn from a one-on-one session with a respo ndent, and the fact that the interviewer can gather detail about the topic at hand as well as about the respondent himself in order to best qualify the information gathered. Interview Procedure The interviews were semi-structured, in-d epth and held at th e convenience of the interviewee. The interviews ranged from 25 60 minutes in length depending on how much

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34 feedback the participant had. An interview guide consisting of nine questi ons that examined four specific dimensions of filmmakers attitudes to ward product placement was used as the basis of the interview. This outline was followed to keep the interview on track and avoid straying from the topic at hand, as well as to thoroughly explore the identified dimensions of attitudes. A sample of the protocol can be found in Appendi x C. Nine classifying questions were also included as part of the intervie w guide. The purpose of the ques tions related to dimension of attitude was to gauge filmmakers reactions by bringing up topics related to the identified dimensions. For example, Do you think product pl acement has an effect on the finished films quality? was asked to address th e dimension of artist ic integrity of the film. Does product placement affect the cost of making the film? wa s asked to address the dimension of cost of producing the film. The purpose of the clas sifying questions was to put the filmmaker responses into context of age, gender, years of expe rience, education and so on. The interviews were audio taped and afterwards transcribed verbatim. These steps were completed for every participant before the qualitative analysis took place. Research Variables Four variables were examined in this study to explore aspiring and existing independent filmmakers attitudes toward pr oduct placement. These four dimensions included: artistic integrity of the film, cost of producing the fi lm, audience distract ion by placed products, and filmmaker interest in genera l topic of product placement. A rtistic integrity of the film was used to explore the filmmakers perception of how closely the completed film adhered to the filmmakers original vision for the film. Cost of producing the film was us ed to investigate the filmmakers perception of budget and how the use of product placement affected the bottom line. The dimension audience distraction by placed products was used to explore the filmmakers perception of how placed products influenced that audiences focus on the films storyline, and

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35 filmmaker interest in the general topic of product placement was used to discover the filmmakers personal interest in product placement. These va riables were measured by the authors interpretation of the re sponses to each question that wa s assigned to one of the four noted dimensions. The author measured dimens ions abstractly by identifying themes in the filmmaker responses. Table 3-1 presents these dimensions and their corresponding definitions. Table 3-1. Dimensions of attitude defined Dimension of attitude Study definition Artistic integrity of the film The filmma kers perception of how closely the film adheres to his original vision and refers to the intactness, intention and purity of th e end result film. Cost of producing the film The filmmakers perception of the budget and how the use of product placement aff ects the films budget. Audience distraction by placed products The filmmakers perception of how placed products affect the audiences focus on the f ilm itself, meaning the main plot, characters, scenery, a nd all placements that do not carry an intended brand message. Filmmaker interest in general topic of product placement The filmmakers level of personal and professional interest in the topic of product placement. Sample Independent filmmakers served as the re spondents to this study, and thus a basic understanding of who these people are is necessa ry to understand the context from which the studys results are derived. The re spondents to this study all cons idered themselves professional independent filmmakers because their filmmaki ng was not a hobby, rather it was done for profit. In this study most of the filmmakers intervie wed had other day jobs , and many had daytime careers that tied directly into their indepe ndent filmmaking ventures, such as teaching film, writing and editing, visual designing, or engaging in entrepreneurial ventures. This holding of a

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36 day job while being an independent filmmaker seemed to be the nor m for at least the most basic level of independent filmmakers. Though an absolute snapshot of the avera ge independent filmmaker is impossible to compile, it seems that most independent filmmakers share at least a few common qualities, including; a creative desire to ma ke a film that adheres to his or her vision as a filmmaker, an entrepreneurial spirit to be able to raise money to shoot an indepe ndent film, and a desire to share his or her creative visi on with an audience. According to Lindenmuth (1998), independent filmmakers make the films that they want to s ee and that arent being made by large studios. The type of sample used to recruit partic ipants was a snowball sample. Aspiring and existing independent filmmakers were located through the authors academic and professional contacts and a snowball referra l technique was employed to in crease the sample. The sample frame required that all respondent s be independent filmmakers who make films for profit not leisure and therefore who consider themselves professional filmmakers. The filmmakers were also chosen based on the type of film they make, which was indepe ndent (indie) and nondocumentary. Documentary filmmakers were not c onducive to the purposes in this study in that products that appear in their films are not pl aced per se. In addition these filmmakers do not have specific scripts and dialogue which may be affected by product placement. The interviews took place over the period of November 2006 February 2007. All the participants received written a nd oral information about the study previous to their participation in it. A participants willi ngness to participant was first s ecured via personal conversation, telephone or email. The author personally conducted each interview, which were held separately, with the exception of one father-son duo, who preferred to be interviewed in a joint

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37 session. The interviews were conducted in person when the filmmaker was local, or over the phone for filmmakers from out of town. The next chapter will detail the research findings of this study and relate specific filmmaker quotes from the one-on-one interviews to the researched dimensions of attitude.

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38 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The aspiring and existing filmmakers ranged in age from early 20s to mid 60s and ranged in years of filmmaking experience from one year to over 40 years. It is th is vast range of years of filmmaking experience within the respondent pool that leads to the classification as aspiring and existing filmmakers. The respondent pool was composed of two female and nine male aspiring and existing filmmakers. The filmmakers were of various racial and ethnic backgrounds, including African American, Asian American and Caucasian. The filmmakers ranged in level of education from the completion of some college to the completion of multiple Masters degrees. Most of the filmmakers interviewed had other day jobs that were not filmmaking, though all considered themselves professional filmmakers. Many had daytime jobs that tied directly into their independent f ilmmaking ventures, such acting as Director of a film program at a Florida community college or acting as the Film Commissioner of the State of Florida. Others utilized filmmaking skills, such as screenwriti ng or designing to hold related jobs such as English school teacher, magazine editor, graphi c designer, or entrepreneur. Still others made films for profit, but held day jobs unr elated to their filmmaking pursuits. The respondent pool was composed of: two brothers and independent filmmakers for six years, an office administrator and filmmaker for f our years, a father and son duo and filmmakers for two years, an Orlando filmmaker and en trepreneur, a Hollywood actress and independent filmmaker for one year, an artist and filmmaker for nine years, a sc reenwriter for five years, the Director of the film program at Valencia Co mmunity College in Orlando, Fl and the Film Commissioner of the State of Florida and filmma ker for ten years. A more specific breakdown of the characteristics of each responde nt is illustrated in Table 4-1.

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39 Geographically the filmmakers largely hailed from Florida, specifically from Gainesville or Orlando, as this was the gr oup most accessible to the author. The remaining filmmakers resided in Venice Beach, California; Tallaha ssee, Florida; and Ne w York, New York. Table 4-1. Filmmaker re spondent characteristics Filmmaker Years Experience Age Gender Location Occupation 1 <5 years 32 F Gainesville, FL Office administrative manager 2 5-10 years 30s M Gainesville, FL Entrepreneur/graphic designer 3 <5 years 37 M Orlando, FL Entrepreneur/website owner 4 <5 years 27 F Venice Beach, CA Actress 5 <5 years 55 M Gainesville, FL Middle school English teacher 6 <5 years 20 M Gainesville, FL Student/filmmaker 7 <5 years 29 M Gainesville, FL Screenwriter 8 20+ years 50s M Orlando, FL Director of college film program 9 20+ years 52 M Tallahassee, FL State film commissioner 10 5-10 years 34 M Orlando, FL Filmmaker/graphic artist 11 5-10 years 36 M New York, NY Filmmaker/writer/editor The respondents were recrui ted by snowball sampling. Aspiri ng and existing independent filmmakers were located through the authors aca demic and professional contacts and a snowball referral technique was employed to increase the sample. The sample frame required that all respondents be existing or aspiri ng independent filmmakers who ma ke films for profit not leisure and therefore who consider themselves professiona l filmmakers. In order to recruit participants the author first spoke to a personal contact w ho was an aspiring filmmaker who suggested the author could meet othe r aspiring and existing filmmakers by a ttending a small Ga inesville film festival. At this event the author made contac t with a number of other filmmakers of various levels of experience, most of whom were used in this study. Besides the aspiring and existing

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40 filmmakers that the author met personally at the film festival, the remaining filmmakers were referred either by the authors pr ofessors or through other filmma kers that were interviewed. The respondent pool of filmmakers completed as few as one to as many as over 30 films during their respective film career s and worked with budgets as low as zero (with some minor out-of-pocket costs, but largely on a barter or favor system) to as large as $1.2 million. Themes That Emerged from Interviews Five prominent themes emerged from the interviews conducted, many of which were interconnected with other themes, or served as umbrellas over more specific reactions. The major themes that emerged from the interviews were money, control, experience, interest in product placement and art versus business. The first theme that will be discussed is that of money. When money was discussed it was not in relation to a product placed in exchange for direct cash but rather a barter arrangement for goods or services, which served to decrease the bottom line of the film. A second theme that emerged is the idea of control. This theme was de fined as the filmmakers ability to control the content and artistic vision of the resulting final film. A third theme that emerged was that of experience. This deals with bot h the number of years that a respondent had been involved in filmmaking and also his or her personal experience with produc t placement. Another theme was that of the filmmakers interest in the topic of product placement. This theme addresses the respondents reported personal and professional interest in the t opic of product placement. The final theme that emerged was the question of art versus business for the filmmaker. This theme deals with the idea of balancing business and artistic vi sion and touches on the topic of artistic integrity of the film. The following discussion expl ains the themes in great er detail and provides illustration for each using respondent verbatims.

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41 Response Theme Money/Cost The theme of money or cost was a major asp ect of the filmmaker responses related to product placement. This theme is defined as the financial effect that pr oduct placement causes in an independent film. This is discussed by res pondents as a barter ar rangement for goods or service which lower the cost of filmmaking. This is the factor that was discussed most consistently across interviews, and it has many aspects to it. Some filmmakers expressed a willingness to be flexible to the brands demands if it ultimately benefited the bottom line and, as a result, the film as a whole. Others expresse d a complete unwillingness to incorporate product placement in any way and a resistance to the idea of money all together This latter group of filmmakers talked about their desire to stay true to what independent filmmaking is really about and not to compromise their script, vision, or f ilm in any way just to lower costs. One such filmmaker commented on this stating: Youll find that, um, well I find that a lot of independent filmmakers, they, they dont want to place specific products in their, in their films because, it kind of goes against the whole idea of independence. Because then you ve got basically, like a corporate, if you like see a corporate motto somewhere than its almost like that person has sold out. Its kind of like the image in a sense. However, more often filmmakers talked a bout the positive effects product placement may have on a film. One filmmaker who held this opinion stated: Any time that you can get so me kind of donation of goods services, and in some instances money, usually not on our level mo ney. With that money that youre saving from having to buy, pay for those goods, services and put it up on the screen, it has a good effect on a film. And the other thing is, you know, not everyone is making road runner pictures, not all the products can be named Acme, I mean, we live in a world full of products and brands, and, uh, people are branded very early in lif e and, you know, hit with all this advertising stuff, so we all know that they have Fords and Chevys and Dodges and all that. Another filmmaker talked about his willingness to compromise with the studio that was funding his film saying, Like if were working th rough a studio, and the st udio is getting part of

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42 the funds from a certain company and they ju st want, you know, a cereal box there or something, Ill throw it in, no problem. A different filmmaker discussed the bene fit of product placement stating, product placement, at least from the independent filmmakers point of view, can save you money because it can provide you things that, that you dont ha ve to buy, therefore you can use that money to make your picture better. This same filmmaker later stated: Especially in the low budget world where youre trying to save money, you want every dollar you can on the screen, so if you can get something for less money or nothing because you feature it and it doesnt hurt the story than it just makes good sense to use that and then take that money and use it so mewhere else to make a better movie. Another filmmaker repeated this idea stati ng, (Product placement) improves the quality of the film because you get to th row some extra dough at it. This same filmmaker furthered her view by placing emphasis on her wi llingness to approach the idea of incorporating products into a film realistically stating that success in film is all about, knowing your price tag.because everybody has got their price tag. On the other side of this issue were the filmmakers who expresse d the negative effects that money could have on an independent f ilm. The same filmmaker who commented on the benefit of throwing extra dough at a film also commented, But at the same time it kind of diminishes the quality because you have to slap a Yoo-Hoo sticker or something, you know, right across a train set in the opening scene of The Sopranos for example. Other filmmakers talked about the implica tions of trading quality for money, I mean, what good is money if its going to ruin the story? And an in experienced filmmaker talked about the temptation to comp romise for money stating: Its difficult because, right now, I have, you know I have spent a lot of time trying to actually build a budget trying to get my own films made and I hadnt even found that

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43 money, much less, advertiser money. So, I th ink being on this level seeing any kind of money, you tend to want to jump at it. In general, filmmakers seemed to have mi xed opinions about the idea of money in connection with product placement. Most overwhe lmingly the filmmakers interviewed reported that cash in exchange for a product placement was never really a possibility for them as their films were too low budget or apt to be distribu ted too narrowly, if at all. The way money came into play then was most often through a barter arrangement in which the brand provided goods or services (most often goods) in ex change for an appearance in th e film. The exact arrangements for this were often very casual and did not us ually require a written contract. Depending on the film the appearance could come in the form of a spot in the background of a frame or as a product worn or used by one of the films characters. One filmmaker commented on how he decrease d his bottom line without featuring goods. He stated, We did a huge special thanks list(for the) people (that) would provide meals for us or locations. You know, our agreem ent with them was that, was that there would be a special thanks credit. Another filmmaker spoke on incorporating a bake ry brand into a film in exchange for baked goods for his cast and crews meals. He said: In one of the travel sequences we had the Entenmanns box sitting on the dashboard semi-subtly. And so she (the person provi ding the goods) was elated. She must have hooked us up with a hundred million calories. We dont make it look pretty. Its like half torn, and, you know, its people tr aveling across country. It wasn t sitting there perfectly framed or anything. You know, its just sort of hanging out. This same filmmaker spoke about incorpora ting another brand into one of his films: Something that we spend a lot of mone y on in making films is Polaroid film because, you know, they can really give you the camera for free because they get you with the film. Its basically a dollar a picture. Right, I mean. A Polaroid, Ive gotten twice photographic st uff. And a Polaroid, is we had the girls that are crossing the Welcome to North Carolina, theyre taking a picture

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44 out of the convertible and it happened to be a Polaro id picture. And so we got free Polaroid film for the whole shoot and it probably saved us $10,000. While filmmakers specific experiences with product placement film seem to have a strong connection with their feeli ngs about money in relation to product placement, the spectrum of attitudes was still impressive. The filmmakers interviewed varied from placing high value on any money (in the form of goods or services) that could be devot ed toward improving their film, to resenting money and viewing it as corrupting their work. Response Theme Control The theme of control was closely tied into independent filmmakers responses about their attitudes toward product pl acement. This theme deals with film makers ability to fully influence the content and artistic vision of the final film. This theme ties closely into the idea of artistic integrity, but was also brought up in conversations related to money, audi ence distraction, and a variety of other topics. Thus, it is important to view the theme of control as a unique result. When the filmmakers were asked if they believed that product placement enhanced or hurt the quality of a finished film, often res ponses came in mixed forms, and centered around how the placement was done and how much cont rol the filmmaker had over the placement. One filmmaker stated, I think the ideal would be all in the contract, I guess, that we sign with the company. This filmmaker went on to state, t o make sure that we had those freedoms the freedom just to keep it (the product placement) ta steful in the movie. But I certainly wouldnt rule it out. Another filmmaker echoed this opinion stating: There would have to be some specifics for that, that if the product was used in a particular scene, and they were paying some money towards it, there would have to be some specifics in the contract that I use it to my, you know, to the best of my abilities, I use it with my discretion. And if it needs to get cut out of the f ilm because the scene itself isnt working, I also ha ve the discretion to do that.

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45 This theme of control also ties into the id ea that product placement can be done tastefully or obnoxiously, a point that many of the respond ents commented on. One respondent stated, In general, I dont really have a problem with it, if its done, if its done tastefully and its not overdone, and its not, like, in your face. While another filmmaker stated: Ive seen films where it almost looks like you are watching a series of commercials, you know, so it gets a little bizarre You know, its not every time you pick up a soda its a Coca-Cola facing perfectly towards the camera. Yet another filmmaker commented: Its weird trying to make the story about th e product. Then it, it becomes more of an advertisement. And so then its no longe r about the story, its no longer about, um, filmmaking or the art of f ilmmaking, its just an adve rtisement, a commercial. Some respondents commented that they chose to be independent filmmakers based on the level of control it allowed them. One filmmaker re ported, Its, because in that sense I think that this is, this is the level where you get most artis tic freedom. This same filmmaker repeated this idea stating, I like the freedom of being able to just take shots and depending on, and not really having to worry about like, How many times is this in here? For the most part filmmakers expressed the amount of control the filmmaker retained as directly proportional to how well the placement could potentially be done. The filmmakers expressed a distaste for deals in which too much control is ha nded over to the brand, be it in mandating how the brand should app ear, the number of scenes in which the brand must appear, or any alteration of the script. Largely filmmakers seemed to agree that the most natural product placements were the most successful placements as far as not appearing obnoxious or over the top and that an acceptable product placement is most likely one that is born out of the script, not vice versa.

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46 Response Theme Experience Level Another key theme that emerged from the film maker interviews was that of experience level of the filmmaker. This addresses both th e number of years that a respondent had been involved in filmmaking and also his or her pers onal experience with product placement. Though filmmakers were not specifically questioned about their ideas on level of expe rience as related to their attitudes toward product placement, it beca me apparent throughout the interviews that most often those filmmakers who were most accepting and open to the practice of product placement were the filmmakers who had the most filmmaking experience. While this was not an absolute for every interview conducted it seemed that th ere was a direct relati onship between those who had made enough films to come into contact with some sort of product placement in their film career and those who accepted the pr actice of product placement. It seemed that the filmmakers with the lesser amount of f ilmmaking experien ce still held fast to preconceived notions of the practice, but did not have personal expe riences to discuss in relation to these notions. It seem ed that filmmakers with lit tle experience had invested less money into their films over time than those who had made multiple films. This lack of personal investment seemed to keep thes e less experienced filmmakers resistant to the idea of product placement. To them placing products represented another hand in their film. Because they had not been around the block enough to recognize some of the financial benefits, so were not yet at the stage of compromise in their filmmaking. Those filmmakers who had been in the business for a number of years, however, were much more open to the idea of product placement in exchange for goods or services because they ha d personally experienced a benefit from product placement and had seen first hand how product placement could improve the bottom line of their film.

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47 For instance, one filmmaker who had made films for appr oximately two years and had not had direct contact with a product placement arrangement in his film career stated, No, I dont think wed want to identify ourselves with a particular commodity. He further stated that he looks at product placement in general as, a universal as being its a bad situation. Another independent filmmaker who had comple ted one feature film was open to the idea of creating his own brands to place, but not necessarily to placing th e brands of others. He stated: It was a way of in a business plan thinking, Okay, well, if you just make a film youre putting all your eggs in one ba sket and if you merchandise th ings (within your film) then any one of those little quirky th ings could take off on its own. This same filmmaker also commented on how overwhelming the idea of product placement can be to an inexperi enced filmmaker, stating: If you consider it as something you could do, then often, the mountain of paperwork and dealing with larger companies, especially when you are a small fry, you know, youre really not going to get any money for it, and certainly youre really going to run into a lot of hassles. So I think a lot of independent filmmakers try to write that stuff, you know, out of their scripts. Another filmmaker with limited hands-on experience stated, I think in a way its sort of a political thing.Im personally resistant to do that . He later stated, I dont like the idea of product placement. I think it adds a lot of fake nature to movies. On the other side, the filmmakers with the most experience (e.g. 10 to 30 years) approached product placement from a more comp lacent angle. While filmmakers at this level also expressed their desire for control over th e placements and their resistance to compromising an entire scene for a placement, they largely stated that product placement could have its function in the world of an indie filmmaker in that it brought goods and services that could improve the bottom line and improve the film overall.

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48 One filmmaker of 30 years stated, If a produc t is used correctly, I dont think it can hurt the quality of a film. Its when they overdo it (that it hurts the quality). A second experienced filmmaker stated, I mean, Ive used product placem ent even in my small films, but you never let it get in the way of telling the story or overriding the purpose of the scene or the dramatic impact of the scene. He went on to say: On The First of May we did a deal, and I be lieve it was with Old Navy for wardrobe for the actors and that saved us. Not only sa ved us a good amount of money, but, which allowed us to put in other areas to make th e movie better, but it was a great look for the character in the film, for the boy in the film to be wearing these products, that it was a very simple wear, and that was his character. A final quote that supports th is theme came from a filmma ker who was new to indie filmmaking, but had years of experience in the fi lm industry as an actress. In this case, her experience in the industry played out to yield an opinion similar to those filmmakers who had years of filmmaking experience. She stated her opinion toward product placement use: If thats the difference between an 800 theater release and, and, you know, a massive release then, oh my god, I think those people would change their minds very quickly. And maybe thats the difference between work ing in a city like L.A. as opposed to Florida. This filmmaker pointed out a similar theme that was brought up by the indie filmmakers themselves; that is, working at a lower budget le vel and in a city like Gainesville or Orlando keeps filmmakers relatively se parate from the practice of compromising their visions for financial gain. Whether filmmakers keep thei r art pure because they choose to and avoiding product placement is part of that choice, or be cause they have no choice not to because product placement is not readily available at their level, remains a debate.

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49 In general this theme emerged as one that was of mention, but was not as overwhelmingly present as the other themes. None theless, that the theme emerged as a trend among a small pool of respondents brings up in teresting ideas and ma y merit future study. Response Theme Filmmaker Interest in Product Placement A dimension of attitude that was set out to be studied initially was that of the level of filmmaker interest in general topic of product pl acement. This theme addresses the respondents reported personal and professional interest in th e topic of product pla cement. This dimension emerged as a theme of the interviews, but did no t seem to have a direct correlation with the intensity of a filmmake rs attitude toward product placemen t, as even those filmmakers who reported having little to no interest in the topic in general still expressed strong attitudes about it during their interviews. When asked if he considered product placement every time he made a film, one filmmaker responded: I dont think about it as much as Im just traveling the planet and I know Im surrounded by stuff, you know. I dont put a lot of thought in to it, its really a prop master who puts the thought into it. Another filmmaker responded to the same questi on in a somewhat similar manner stating, It becomes pervasive that you ha ve to be aware of it. Another common response came from those w ho reported that product placement is in the back of their heads, but not a top consid eration when making a f ilm. When asked if he considered product placement each time he made a film, one filmmaker reported: You have to be because you, because it comes into play when the sale of the movie happens. So if you dont have clearance, agai n, it stifles the distri bution process because you have to go and get it, or you have to cut your movie again.

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50 Another filmmaker echoed this response stating, Its not, its not on your top ten things you think about. It is on your ch eck list as, Okay, who can we involve to help us. Another response to the questi on of how much one considers product placement came in the form of a product displacemen t. Some filmmakers reported th at the only reason they really consider brands when shooting and editing their f ilms is because they are aware that they cannot show brands due to clearan ce issues. One filmmaker commented on this stating: Usually, um, its kind of drawn to my, its broug ht to my attention like as were filming, like you start putting things, and then someones like, Hey, you cant see that name, so we have to, like, turn it around, or like, tape something over it.I deal with a lot of that more often than actual product placement. A second filmmaker also discu ssed this point stating: Our practical concern, and it was eye-opening for me when we were on the set and, um, our script continuity man and our cinematogra pher went to great extremes to cover-up the Aquafina machine that was dispensing soft dr inks and anything that might be construed as a product that could appear in the movie, because we ha dnt of course been granted any permission to use their products in the movi eso they went to great lengths to cover everything up. In general filmmakers reported noticing pr oduct placement, but only to the degree that was necessary to get their films completed. That is, filmmakers noticed pr oducts in order to edit them out of films to avoid future legal implications, or placed pr oducts in a scene most often for realism and authenticity, and rarely for branding or money purposes. Response Theme Artistic Integrity/Art versus Business The final theme that was discussed across interviews was the idea of artistic integrity or weighing the interest in ones bus iness against the dedication to ones art. This theme deals with the idea of balancing business and artistic vision and touches on the topic of artistic integrity of the film. This topic was identifie d during the inception of the study as a point of interest and therefore specific questions were derived to ga uge the respondents fe elings about artistic

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51 integrity in relation to the prac tice of product placement. Filmmaker responses to this dimension of attitude were strong, and did not vary ove rwhelmingly. Instead, n early every filmmaker reported a loyalty to their story and considered vision as more important than any benefit that could be gained from placing a product in their film. Yet, with that said, most were open to evaluating the benefits on a case-by-case basis. What did vary was the intensity with which respondents expressed this view. Some filmmakers reported very strong fee lings toward the idea of product placement. One filmmaker reported, It would be compromi sing your artistic integrity and certainly the kinds of movies that we want to make are not designed simply to entertain or simply to make money. This same filmmaker reported: To look at the big picture, it hurts it as much as it possibly could. It corrupts it and turns things into their opposites. For artists to function in a societ y they should lead, not follow. And product placement puts the commodity ahead of human beings and it s contrary, its the opposite of art. While other filmmakers mirrored this general opinion, most did not express their feelings quite as strongly, and viewed product placemen t as more of a case-by-case decision. One filmmaker reported, Its an even balance of making the film thats in your head without compromising any of the shots.and product placement is one big compromise. This filmmaker also reported, everyone has to compromise along the way somehow. This filmmaker further commented on the idea of co mpromising art for business by stating that produce placement involved some que stions to the filmmaker: Like, what kind of future do you want to support? Do you have a family to support? Do you have, do you want a steady job? Then its easier to incorporat e things like product placement, as a filmmaker into your work because it depends. Do you want to provide money for you and your family and sell out to the thing? Or would you rather forfeit future jobs, and maybe have to sell your house, you know, because, you know, because you wont put a product label in one shot.

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52 This filmmaker furthered the idea of striking a balance between her vision as an artist and her best interest financially by commenting, Its a balance between being an artist and keeping some type of integrity and also knowing your price tag. This filmmaker also commented on how product placement as a marketing or business decision must be weighed against the integrity of the film. She said: I would have to consider as a filmmaker is how it would incorporate into it. Just like how I would, I would compare product placement to sex scenes. Would a sex scene, you know, increase the marketability of my film ? Or, you know, is it really going to add to the artistic integrity of my message as a filmmaker? Another filmmaker commented on the incorpor ation of product placement into a film stating, Its all in the way, in the art, its all in the way that you pursue your art. Another filmmaker echoed this opinion by stating, Its kind of, it really just comes down to the artistic vision. One filmmaker discussed her belief in the idea of making produc t placement work on a case-by-case basis stating: I can see a product placement sometimes worki ng out that way, like if, if that product had something to do with the stor yline, and then all of the sudden its like, Oh, you know, it adds, it adds to, like, th e, um, it adds to the pa cing, it adds to the motion of the film, then its not so bad. But more often than not I see that its, its a little intrusive. The findings of these interviews centered around five major themes: money, control, experience, interest in product placement a nd art versus business. In general filmmakers reported that they would consider product placem ent depending on how it fit into their particular script, but none reported that they would ever allow product placement to outweigh their original vision or planned scripted s cenes. Filmmakers seemed generally open to compromise to a

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53 degree, but all were comfortable exercising their filmmaker control and ultimate product placement veto. A major finding of my study was that product placement arrangements in the independent film world differ greatly from those in the worl d of Hollywood feature films. Another important finding was that though initially re sistant to the idea of product placement, most independent filmmakers reported that they would be open to the practice if it helped the bottom line of their film, as long as they could maintain a certain leve l of control and artistic integrity. Implications for product placement practitioners and suggesti ons for future research are discussed. The final chapter of this thesis will discu ss the conclusions and lim itations of my study. This section will also make suggestions for future research and comment on the themes that resulted from the study.

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54 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION This study initially set out to study aspiring and existing filmmakers attitudes toward the practice of product placement in film. Though opini ons about the practice of product placement in general were revealed, an unexpected world of product placement was discovered through this study that differed from the initial concepts of product placement recounted in the review of literature the world of product pl acement in independent film. Implications for Product Plac ement in Independent Film I sought out filmmakers opi nions toward product placem ent. Product placement was initially defined as, a paid product message aime d at influencing movie or television audiences via the planned and unobtrusive entry of a br anded product into a movie or TV program (Balasubramanian, 1994). However, it soon became evident that for independent filmmakers perhaps a more appropriate defini tion of this practice may be a barter arrangement for goods or services in order to decrease the bottom line of an independent film. It seems when defined this way product placement is acceptable in the world of independent film. The results of this study highlight a largely unexplored opportunity for product placement in independent films. Though somewhat resistant to the idea of product placement, the indepe ndent filmmakers interviewed for this study were for the most part open to placin g products in exchange fo r goods or services if it would decrease the bottom line of their films production. The practice of placing products in independe nt films has benefits and risks to both parties involved in the placement. For the filmma kers benefits include the receipt of goods or services that save the film mone y and ultimately decrease the co st of the film overall. Also, depending on the good or service donated, the sp ecific product may enhance the realism or credibility of the film.

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55 A disadvantage to the filmmaker is the potential loss of full control ov er his or her film. The filmmaker may have to make some compromi ses including placing the product in at least one scene and making sure that the product is visible and identifiabl e. Another potential disadvantage may be that product placement adds artificiality to the film depending on how the placement is executed. For the product marketer this arrangemen t has the potential benefit of reaching an untapped independent film-viewing audience. Produc ts may gain credibility or be viewed as cool, unique, or in support of the arts for appear ing in indie versus comm ercial feature films. Also, product placement at this level comes at a very small cost and is usually a casual barter arrangement in which marketers donate some sma ll amount of their goods to the films cast and crew for use throughout the making of the film. A disadvantage to the marketer is the risk th at the film may not be distributed widely, if at all. Often independent films have limited rel ease at film festivals and other events, and are thus seen by a very limited audience. Additionall y marketers run the risk of turning their product placement over fully to the filmmaker to use at his discretion. Based on this arrangement the placement may be either too overt and offend the viewing audience an audience which may frown upon product placement at the start or be too subtle and not be noticed at all. All in all it seems that th e most overwhelming response from filmmakers and the most notable guideline that emerged fr om this study is that product placement in independent film should be evaluated on a case-by-cas e basis. It was revealed that in the opinion of filmmakers, the placements that are born out of a script are the most natural, unobtrusive, non-offensive placements. Those placements that are fitted in to a script or scene often appear, awkward, obnoxious, and unnecessary.

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56 For advertisers, product placement in indepe ndent film is a viable, largely unexplored option for reaching audiences that may be resi stant to traditional a dvertising methods. The investment to appear in an independent film is often minimal, and the rewards may be great. Filmmakers, too, should continue to explore their options for placi ng products in their films in order to enhance their films budget. The filmma kers that were interviewed for this study who experienced the most success and longevity we re the ones who approached their filmmaking both with artistic vision and business sense, a co mbination that served to increase their film budgets and in turn increase th e success of their films. Limitations One-on-one interviews have a number of advantag es including the rich detail that can be drawn from a one-on-one session with a respondent and the fact that the interviewer can gather detail about the topic at hand as well as about the respondent himsel f in order to best qualify the information gathered (Stacks, 2002). Despite th ese advantages it is important to note the limitations associated with the method of this st udy. First, qualitative in -depth interviewing can be challenged by the presence of an audio re corder which may affect the openness of the respondent (Yow, 2005). Also the qualitative in-depth interview method that was employed was appropriate for this subject matter, but is not ge neralizable to a larger population (Stacks, 2002). Therefore the results from this particular study mu st be viewed in the context of the respondents, and each respondents attitudes are drawn from hi s or her own unique set of experiences with product placement. Additionally, th e high cost in both time and m oney, as well as the difficulty in gaining access to each indivi dual interviewee created hurdles for this method of research (Stacks, 2002). In-depth interviews require a larg e amount of research before the first interview is conducted in order to identify the most approp riate respondents, set up interview times and locations, and develop questions that properly explore the topic of study (Stacks, 2002). Time,

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57 location, and scheduling presented challenges to this study. While ma ny filmmakers were agreeable to participate when initially cont acted, actually pinning down a time and place to conduct the interview was more challenging. Also, while filmmakers local to the author were easily visited and interviewed in person, a large portion of the inte rviews (six out of the eleven conducted) were held over the phone. Phone interv iews presented issues in recording interviews that were clear enough to transc ribe, and conducting interviews at a speed that would keep the respondent interested enough to st ay on the phone and not lose inte rest. Lastly, at times it was a challenge to keep the interviews on track. While most often filmmakers seemed to open up and discussed their films and filmma king experiences with candor, at times it was trying to strike a balance between obtaining short, sparse answers and overly wo rdy, off-topic responses. Suggestions for Future Research This study set out to gain insi ght on how filmmakers actually feel about the practice of product placement in film. While independent fi lmmakers were chosen as respondents based on their accessibility to the author, the indie filmmaking wo rld now presents a whole new angle from which the practice of product placement may be researched. Specifically, effectiveness of product placements in independent films is a suggested area of future research. Though indie filmmakers ar e initially resistant to the idea of product placement, this study revealed that when approach ed as a benefit to a films bottom line, product placement is actually quite accepte d in the indie world. A study of how indie film viewers feel about seeing products placed in indie films woul d be an appropriate follow up to this study. Another suggested area of study is that of Hollywood filmmakers attitudes toward product placement in film. While some preliminary research exists on this topic (Turcotte, 1995), a qualitative interview with feature filmmakers who have had repeated hands-on experience with paid product placements in film would no doubt yield fascinating results.

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58 Another suggested area for future research w ould be a quantitative survey on the topics explored in this research. Now that specific th emes have been identified, a quantitative study which could provide generalizable results may be in order. Themes to be studied quantitatively may include questions related to the aspects of control, money, filmmaker experience, general interest in product placement and a rtistic integrity which emerged from this study. A final topic that may be addressed is that of audience created films for the Internet such as those available on YouTube.com and whether or not brands are placed in these films. The rise in online user-generated conten t in recent months has exposed a new area for academic study that is largely unexplored. As the technology to create online videos becomes more accessible a new venue for brand placements may be coming to light. Studies of this topic may include an exploration into the number of instances in which a brand has paid or bart ered to be included in such a film or the effect of brands included in these films. Conclusion The knowledge gained from this research ca n be used by advertisers, researchers and filmmakers alike to gain a snap shot of independent filmmakers attitudes toward the practice of product placement in film. Advertisers may utili ze this data to uncover new opportunities for relaying their brand message to the jaded potential consumer. Researchers may utilize these results to base future studies on the effectivene ss of brands placed within independent films and filmmakers may utilize these results to learn about how product placement is currently being employed within the indie world and to discov er possible avenues fo r decreasing filmmaking costs.

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59 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT

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60 Informed Consent Protocol Title: Thesis on Independent Filmmakers Attitu des toward Product Placement in Film My name is Karen Fenton and I am a student at the University of Florida writing my thesis on filmmakers opinions toward product placement. Please listen to/read th is consent before you decide to participate in this study. A copy of this consent has been emailed to you, so you do not need to copy down the contact information that we will go over. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this study is to learn the atti tudes of independent filmmakers toward product placement in film. What you will be asked to do in the study: You will be asked to answer open-ended questions related to product placem ent. This will take place during a scheduled phone interview or dur ing a scheduled face-to-face meeting at an agreed upon location. The entire interview will be audio recorded for future transcription. Additionally, you will be asked some general classi fication questions at the conclusion of the interview. Time required: 45 minutes (One phone conversat ion/face-to-face interview) Risks and Benefits: There are no risks or benefits associated with participation in this research. Compensation: There is no monetary compensation fo r participation in this study. Confidentiality: You have the right to confidentiality to the ex tent provided by the law. If you choose to participate and would not like your name associated with your responses, this is acceptable. If you choose to participate and would like to be named, this is appropriate as well. Personal information such as your phone number and email address will not be included in the final results, nor will it be given out to any third party. Only I, my professor, and the educational parties necessary will see your full information. The interview will be audio recorded. This recording will be used solely for the purpose of this study and will not be listened to by or distribu ted to anyone outside of this study. For the

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61 duration of the research and writ ing of this study the audio recordings will be stored in the locked home office of the principal investigator At the conclusion of this study, the audio recording will be destroyed. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is complete ly voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from study: You have the right to withdraw from th e study at anytime without consequence. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Principal Investigator: Karen Fe nton, Advertising Graduate Student Department of Advertising, 2084 Weimer Hall, (352) 870-0354 Supervisor: Cynthia Morton, Ph.D ., Professor, Department of Advertising, 2084 Weimer Hall, (352) 392-8841 Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Fl orida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250, ph. 352-3920433. Agreement: I have read/listened to the procedure described ab ove. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: ________________________________________ Date: ______________ Principal Investigator: _______________________________ Date: ______________

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62 APPENDIX B INFORMED CONSENT PHONE SCRIPT

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63 Informed Consent Phone Script (Audio Recording Permission) Protocol Title: Thesis on Independent Filmmakers Attitu des toward Product Placement in Film To be read over the phone before Informed Consen t is read. This is to be clear that the conversation will be audio recorded and that the respondent is in agreement with this process. My name is Karen Fenton and I am a student at the University of Florida writing my thesis on filmmakers opinions toward product placement. During this interview you will be asked to answer some questions about your attitude towa rd product placement, as well as some general information about yourself. With your permission, this interview will be audio recorded, so that I can transcribe it after we talk, in order to ca pture everything you say to me to be used for my study. If at any time you are uncomfortable with being recorded or in terviewed, you may choose to end the interview and I will dispose of the record ing if this is your prefer ence. If the interview runs its full length (an anticipated 25-45 minutes) I will end the audio recording at the conclusion of our interview. Once I am done transcribing the audio recording, this material will be disposed of. May I have your permission to audio record this interview? If yes, begin recording and read Informed Consent form to obtain consent. If no, end interview.

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64 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

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65 Interview Questions Dimensions of Attitude Questions: 1. Do you think product placement has an e ffect on the finished films quality? 2. Do you feel product placement enhances or hurts the quality of the film? 3. In your experience (or knowledge of others experience) does product placement affect the cost of making a film? 4. How do these cost affects (whether positive, ne gative or neutral) weigh in making the decision to include product placement in a film? 5. Is there an instance in which no cost bene fit would merit the in clusion of a product? 6. Do you think product placement distracts the film audience from the story at hand? 7. Do you consider product placem ent every time you make a film? 8. Do you seek out products to include in your films? 9. What kind of products have you/do you seek out for inclusion in your film? Classification Questions: 1. Note gender: 2. What is your age? 3. What city do you reside in? 4. Is filmmaking a pr ofessional pursuit? 5. What is your occupation? 6. What is your average films budget? 7. What is your level of education? 8. How many years have you been making films? 9. How many films have you made? 10. Would you like to be named in the study? 11. Can you refer me to another filmmaker who you th ink may be willing to participate in this study?

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66 APPENDIX D INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS

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67 Interview Transcription #1 Chris Zara, New York Filmmaker, 36, Writer, Editor Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2:30 p.m. Phone interview I= Interviewer R=Respondent First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins. I: So youre a journalist, a nd I talked to your brother, and he is a director? R: Yes, and I essentially write the sc reenplays and he does everything else. I: Okay. R: Were sort of a team. But my role is mainly through writin g and story development. We develop stories together and then I live in Ne w York and I send the stories down here and he does everything else down here, he films it, he hi res the actors, he does all the auditioning and all that stuff. Hes most of the film. Im really just kind of the writer and story guy. I: Well I think writers are pretty key though as far as product placement b ecause a lot of times thats where, you know R: Yeah, and I can certainly give you some of, y ou know, in the past, especially in my early days as a writer I would naively write specific products into the story because they exist in the real world and you want to give the story a real feel. I: Right. R: But as I got older, you know, and more experi enced I realized that that kind of stuff you end up changing anyway. I: Right R: Because, like, for example you cant get Coca-Colas approval, or whatever so you go with something else or you just go with what you have. I: Right. R: But, um, you know in the beginning you kind of think its cute to use real products, you know, especially to make jokes about them, because, you know I: That will get you in trouble (laughs) R: People of our generation sort of appreciate pop culture references and products are a big part of our pop culture, so, you know, its something that I do try to write into a story when I can. I: Right. I think, I mean, Im studying advertisi ng and product placement so Im hyper-sensitive to whenever I see a product pla cement, but I think that, you know, generally as a culture, were becoming, well Americans, so much more comforta ble that it gets spoofed and made fun of a lot more. You know, whereas before you could maybe slip it in, or a company could maybe place a product, now I feel like people are almost a lot of times audiences are on to them or offended by it. R: I think so. I think that you see a lot of that And I think in that ne w movie with Will Ferrell, Talladega Nights, where they have the Wonderbread a ll over the place I: Yeah, I didnt see it but R: No, I havent seen it either, but the trailer, I mean you could seetheyre kind of really being a little blatant about it and I thi nk theyre trying to be funny. Th e fact that, like, Wonderbread was like everywhere I: Right.

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68 R: And its kind of obnoxious, but its supposed to be. I: So they were tongue in cheek. R: I think when its done tastef ully, I think it can be done okay and maybe the audience member wouldnt even notice. I: Uh huh. But then you get films like, um, with Tom Cruise Minority Report where there were like fifty brands in a scene, and you know R: Right, right. Again, I think again they were trying to be a little spoofy because it was the future, they were trying to show you how bad its going to be in the future. I: Right. R: Like if you think things are bad now, just wait until the future and just imagine how youre just bombarded with products. I: Right. R: You walk into a store and, umOkay, and what else? I: Okay, so you write the scree nplays, is this your professi on? Do you have a different profession? R: No, my profession is, uh, my day job is I am an editor for an entertainment newspaper. I: Okay. R: So filmmaking is not something that we actually make a living off of. I: But you would classify yourself as a professional filmmaker? I m ean, Fred told me that its a pursuit, you know, and you guys put it out there ev en though its not you r one hundred percent full-time, its a profession. R: Well, yes. Ideally yeah. I mean, we certain ly, I certainly would not consider myself an amateur. I: Right, its not a hobby, basically. R: Yeah, its not a hobby, and its di rectly related to what I do. Be cause the paper that I work for is an entertainment paper so I feel like the two are not mutually exclusive. I: Mmmhm. R: What Im doing at the newspa per and then what I do with a films I write stories at the newspaper and I write stories, um, with Fred. So, yeah, I guess basically you could call me a professional storyteller. I: Um, I guess Ill just go through some of the more basic questions fi rst, such as and you know, just answer these as best you can since Fred answer ed a lot these too but the, your films average budget? What would you say? R: Um, thats a good question. Definitely under five thousand. I: Okay. R: Um, typically in the two to three thousand dollar range. And th eyre short films, so keep in mind that the average length of one of our movies is fifteen minut es, but still, you know, I think even three grand for a fifteen minute film is exceedingly low budget. We do everything we can we get away with as much as we can without having to pay for We dont pay the actors, which Im sure Fred has explained to you that wed like to start paying the actors, thats actually something that I: Right R: Were kind of tired of, like, borrowing peopl es time and not really compensating them, uh I: Well, you said it kind of works as a trade off though because then they have something for their resume or, you know, a reel to take. R: Yeah. Certainly, but eventually you come to a point where you re alize, ok, this is hard work and people really deserve to get paid.

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69 I: Yeah. R: And, uh, I think weve just come to that po int in our livesbut, uh, but up until this point weve cut corners wherever we can so our movies are exceedingly low budget. I dont know if youve seen any of them I: I actually saw A Tale of Two Megans in Ga inesville which is how I found out about you guys. I copied your website down and found you on the Internet. R: Ok, good. Ok, I think it yeah we played recently at the Florida ART Festival. I: Yeah, and he (Fred Zara) told me the budget for that when you take out the equipment and stuff like that which he owns was like five hundred dollars? Which just blew my mind, I mean, I dont know a whole lot about independe nt filmmaking but thats amazing to do something like that for five hundred dollars. R: You know, Im glad to hear that because that means we did our job. I: Yeah, I mean R: If you believe we spend a lot more money on itthen I: Thats what he sa id thats the goal!. R: But you can get away with a lot for very little I: Yeah, um, and you guys have been making films for how many years? R: Umwe started in late 2000. I: Okay. R: In this venture. We actuall y, we grew up together we used to make home movies in the early eighties too (laughs). I: Okay. R: So, uh, weve really been doing this for a long time, just on a fun level. I: Uh huh. R: But late 2000 is when we formed the company. I: Okay. And with the company youve made ? He said about six or seven films? R: Uh, yeah, yeah, Id say about that. A Tale of Two Megans was a bout number six, I think. I: Okay. And thats your latest film, right, the one that I saw? R: Right, we do have something in development now. I dont know if he told you but I: Oh really? You have to send it to Gainesville then. R: What we have in development now is out of our hands. Weve written a screenplay and we sort of optioned it to this company. I: Oh? R: And theyve basically ta ken over, so we really have no control over that. I: Thats cool, though. Um, can I ask you your level of education? R: Yes. I am a college I gue ss you would call me a college dropout. I got kicked out of high school and never really finished college, but Ive been taking, uh, you know, and I took some college courses, on screenwriting and filmmaking, but I never finished, so I: Uh huh. Okay. So some college, and youre a professional now. R: Yeah. I: Um, and heres another weird one, can I ask yo ur age? Or you can give me an age range if youre not comfortable. R: Im 36. I: Okay. Sorry, thats all for like setting up when I talk about the resu lts, so I can say my candidates were R: You, you actually, youre doing fine. When I interview people I always ask, do you mind if I ask you You know, because some people, they dont want to give you their age.

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70 I: Well, thats what I thought. R: But I find most people dont mind. I: Yeah. R: Um, Ive never really had anyone say, Id prefer not to give my age. I: Yeah, and I thought itd be easie r to just kind of ask outright instead of saying, Is your age: 18-35, 36- R: Yeah, well, you want to be real specific be cause I dont know if you re writing this like an article, but you really want to, I mean, read ers like specifics. So if you said, like, a thirtysomething filmmaker the first thing a reader is going to think is Well, thirty what? 31 and 39 are two different things. I: Yes. R: So, uh, yeah, Im 36. I: Um, youre the older brother R: I am the older brother. I: Um, okay. Im just going to go through the qu estions. A lot of these youve pretty much already covered so you can short-answer them, bu t, um. We talked about, do you think that product placement has an affect on the finished films quality? You sa id a little bit about it might add realism. Do you think it ever detracts? R: It really is a case-by-case basis. I think it can detract if its obnoxious. I: Uh huh. R: And not in an intentional way. Like, I think the Talladega Night s situation might be intentionally obnoxious because it s funny. Or the Waynes World, well, I dont know if youve seen Waynes World where theyre all talking ab out the different products that he says, Ill never sell out to them but in the course of not selling out he is actua lly selling out. Its supposed to be funny. I: Right. I remember seeing that a l ong time ago. Do they do Burger King? R: They do Pizza Hut I: Pizza Hut! Thats it! R: And they actually do like an aspirin commercial in the course of it and they actually do it just like the commercial its suppos ed to be funny and it is funny. I: Yeah, yeah. R: But, in a situation where it s not supposed to be funny and its obnoxious like, for example the label is intentionally turned toward the screen in a way that it wouldnt be in the real world, um, I think it does detract a litt le bit from the quality, um, and pulls you out of the movie a little bit. I: Right. R: Im thinking of a situation, theres a new show on TBS called My Girls (author note: show referred to is titled My Boys) and its a sit-com. Uh, and I know that the show was sponsored by Match.com. I: Uh huh. R: Match.com. And theres a scene where the girl says, Well Im going to go on Match.com and find a new boyfriend. And you can just tell that they threw that in there. I: And you can just feel it, yeah. R: Its so, its so ar tificial. And, uh, it pulls you out of it a little bit and it just makes you roll your eyes a little bit. I: Yeah. R: Um

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71 I: Thats really what Im after. (laughs) You know, things like that. Who feels one way or another. R: Well and theres so many examples and it really is hard to tell if its going to work or not. I: Mmmhm. R: Um, I think like in Back to the Future the sequel where theyre in the future I: Uh huh. R: And theres like Pepsi everywhere. I think thats kind of funny, because, like, theyre using real products like Pepsi, but its like a futuristic Pepsi or some thing. And like thats kind of funny when they do it that way. I: Dont they do Pizza Hut too? With like the tiny pizzas? R: Yeah, he pulls out like a tiny pizza. Right, its like products everywhere! I: Yeah. R: Theyre in the future and its supposed to be funny. Um, but then other times I dont know, theres times when its not qui te as tasteful or like I: Mmhmm. R: Well, theres that other movie with Sylvester Stallone where they go in the future and all the fast food restaurants are Taco Bell. I: Demolition Man, (laughs) I yeah. R: Demolition Man? And I think whats obnoxious and humorous works, but uh, I think theres examples like the one I told you with Match.com where its not supposed to be funny and its just kind of obnoxious. I: Right. What about how product placement aff ects the cost? Fred told me that you guys havent necessarily dealt with n ecessarily being compensated by a brand to include it, but, just your general opinion on it. Like if a brand comes up with mo ney how would you feel about putting it in your film? R: As a filmmaker I guess we would do it but it would depend on the situation. I: So as long as a lot of what Ive been h earing I guess I would say th e bottom line that I got from your brother was that really, you know, mov ie first, and then maybe the brands of the money second. Like, as long as it, as long as he still had cont rol and he didnt have to face labels a certain way or write ar ound it in the script or whatever. You know, then sure, money is nice but as soon as it you know, somebody else had a hand in your project then, he said, pretty much no amount of mone y is worth that to him. R: I think the ideal would be, um all in the contract, I guess, that we sign with the company. I: Right. R: Yeah, and to make sure that we had those freedo ms the freedom just to keep it tasteful in the movie. But I certainly wouldnt rule it out. I: Right. R: And if its going to help us pay for our movi e, um, you know, I would do it. As long as, yeah, I think like Fred said, as long as we had control over, you know, of usage. I: So, to answer the question is there ever an instance in which no monetary benefit could, you know, include a product placement you would say the answer is control. Is that, thats the bottom line for you? R: Um, yeah, if I felt like it really wasnt appropriate. I: Uh huh, okay. R: I mean, what good is the money if its going to ruin the story? I: Right.

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72 R: I guess another question could be what if we couldnt make the movie otherwise, what if we didnt have the money or that was the only way. But I cant imagine a situation where youre relying entirely on one advertising entity to pay for your movie, so I: Uh huh. Well I would guess at that point R: In answer to your question, yeah there is a point where I just w ouldnt do it. If its inappropriate for the story, you should turn it down I think. I: Okay. Um, I have a question do you cons ider product placement every time you make a film? And it sounds like you guys probabl y dont specifically think about it. R: Um, no we dont. Um, the last few that we di d it wasnt really an issue. We wrote a story early on called Laugh Track with the lead character ge ts turned into a sit-co m and theres a lot of pop culture references that we rea lly didnt have the rights to a nd that if we had shopped that movies beyond film festivals we really would have had to ge t all the rights to the sit-com characters. And in that case, yeah I did think about it, because we did think about it one time maybe making this a feature length movie or some thing. And those are the situations where you have to think about it because you may need Co ca-cola to make the scene work for whatever reason. I: Uh huh. R: Or you may need McDonalds or whatever else, you know, whatever else comes up in your story. I: Um, when you do think about product placem ent do you does your mind automatically go to certain things. Like as far as writing a screenplay is it always about soda or clothing or maybe even a location? Just kind of what are your thoughts on what you think of when youre writing a screenplay and brands. R: Its almost always for the sake of, um a pop culture reference thats somehow funny. I: Okay. R: I wrote a screenplay and (in it) a guy eats hi s friends peppermint patty. And he says, You know that felt good. I felt the sensation of being in the Artic tundra. And he says it just like the commercial and its supposed to be, you know, hes kind of making fun of the commercial. I: Uh huh. R: In a situation like that if I had ever gotten that movie ma de, Id want to go out and solicit peppermint patties and ask them if we could really use the product because it makes the scene so much more authentic. I: Right. R: Even though theyre kind of ma king fun of it a little bit. H opefully theyd be good sports about it and let us do it and maybe ev en give us a lit tle bit of money. I: Well thats what I was saying. I mean it sounds like in that case you would go out to the company and ask, Can I use this candy? but from what Im reading, like, you could go out to them and say Hey, Im making this film and if you want your candy in it give me a certain amount of money. R: Its good for you, its good for me. I: Yeah. R: I think in E.T. they did that. I: Thats how it all started, yeah. R: I think from the story they initially want ed to use M&Ms and M& Ms said, No, we dont want this stupid alien eating M& Ms not realizing that the movi e was going to be a big hit of course. I: Right.

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73 R: And went with Reeses Pieces instead, and of course Reeses Pieces made probably a ton of money using E.T.s image all over the place after that movie came out. I: Right. And something like that, I mean, even though thats such a legend as far as product placement its so hit or miss, you know? R: The movie could have tanked. I: It could have been horrible. It could have been like what is this thing??, but, I mean, its Steven Spielberg, it worked out, so R: Right. I: Um, okay well youve pretty much answered all my questions about product placement. I just want to know if I can use your na me when I write up the results? R: Yeah, youre absolutely free to use anything I told you. Yeah, my name, my age, whatever. I: Ok, great. ### End of Interview

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74 Interview Transcription #2 Fred Zara, Orlando Filmmake r, 34, Graphic Artist Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2 p.m. Phone interview I= Interviewer R=Respondent First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins. I: So, Fred, where do you live, Orlando? R: Yes, I live in Orlando. I: And your brother lives so mewhere else but hes visiting you, is that right? R: Uh, yeah, he lives in New York City but hes here right now. I: Ok, cool. As you know I am studyi ng for my Masters of Advertising. R: Okay. I: And the topic that Im studying is product placement in film, and pretty much everything thats out there that Ive found is about kind of more wh at the consumer or the audience, the receiving end of product placement, how they feel about it and thei r attitudes towards it. Im really just interested in kind of what the f ilmmakers feel about it. If th ey feel, you know, positive, negative, anything about the artistic integrity of their film and things like that. So I really just want to hear about your experiences with product placement R: Uh, well I havent had any personal experience with product placement, and I certainly cant speak for filmmakers as a whole, but I: Right R: In general, I dont really have a problem with it, if its done, if its done tastef ully and its not overdone, and its not, like, in your face. I: Okay R: Because, you know, particular products, I mean a ny kind of name product is part of real life, and youre making a film to, you know, replicate real life, then some of those products are going to show up from time to timebut, I mean, if it s a scene that, that warrants somebody drinking a Coca-Cola, then fine, but, I: Uh-huh. R: But if its a scene about two couples, like a couple having a c onversation, and their conversation starts turning towards how good the Coca-Cola is, I mean, that would be, that would be, overdone and th at would be annoying. I: Mmmhm, right. R: I mean, it can be, it can be done overdone, a nd it can be in your face and take you out of the film, which I think is obnoxious, um, but in ge neral it doesnt really bother me and it makes people money on the side and theres nothing wrong with it. I: Well, that was actually my next question, um, if you said you havent d ealt with it personally, but any filmmakers you know of, or just your knowledge of the indus try or filmmaking in general how product placement effects cost ? Do you have any comments about that? R: Um, no, not anything in particular, I mean I: Okay.

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75 R: It could probably, from what I understand, it can help offset some costs, because theres the, uh, companies that are paying to have their product in certain productions. I mean, that can help to go toward production costs and keep production costs down. I: Mmhm. R: And have that money go toward something else and then that can, that, thats not always a bad thing, especially on low budget productions where.We actually, I was working on a feature film, um, development on a feature film a couple of years ago, and thats one avenue we were, we were experimenting with to try and get funding for the film. We were approaching companies and seeing if theyd be interested in, you know, helping fund the product helping fund the production if they had, like, a small spot, um, tastef ully done in the film. I: Right R: We had, we had some, some alcohol companie s that were somewhat interested, but it never really, never really we nt anywhere. Um I: Okay. That kind of leads me into the next question, um, with your mention of possibly alcohol companies being included. Uh, would you say th at would be an instance in which, I mean obviously, sometimes product placement can be pret ty lucrative, especially in bigger budget films, but do you think there would ever be an option of absolutely not including a product, you know, perhaps if it distracted from the scene? R: Basically um, for me personally yeah, I mean, thats why I I: Okay. R: thats why I live in Orlando and I consider my self an independent. I: Right. R: Because I, I theres, theres a lot of things that I just, I won t do, for the integrity of the film. And then, you know, if Im um, not that Im necessarily, like for instance against the porn industry, but if Im making a film that has nothing to do with the porn in dustry and they, they want to throw a lot of money at me to plug, like, a porn website or something on somebodys tshirt I: Uh huh. R: I would probably tell them, thats not a good idea. It doesnt, it doesnt, say they want to put it on one of my characters that wouldnt wear that t-shirt. I: Right. R: I would, I would just tell them no, I mean Im fine with turning down money with, for, something thats just not, you know, good for the pr oduct the product, the project. I mean, if I was totally interested in just making money I w ould move out to L.A. and I would try and build my ranks out there. I: Right, and so in your example about the porn tshirt, it wouldnt be the actual content of the placement or the industry that it wa s coming from, its just the fact that it didnt fit with that scene or that script, correct? R: That, for me personally, yeah, I mean. I: Okay. R: I would, I would only really allow it if it worked toward a particular scene or for the particular film as a whole. I: Mmmhm. R: It really doesnt have anyt hing to do with me wanting to b oycott well, I might want to boycott like a Wal-Mart, or something like that, but i n, in general, I, I woul dnt really want to boycott any particular company ju st because I dont like them. I: Uh huh.

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76 R: Um, and if it works for the scene then more power to them, let him wear, let him wear a porn shirt if thats th e kind of guy he is. I: Right, right. R: Its not that Im worried about that kind of thing. Its just that, uh, if it was an obvious plug, and they (the company placing the product) came on set and they asked me to make sure the label was facing the camera at all times, I wouldnt wa nt that, I wouldnt want th at to be an issue. And I would just, the money part wouldnt be, w ouldnt be, wouldnt make my decisions for me. I: So for you, it is a lot more and yo u typically are a director, correct? R: Uh, yes, yeah. I: Um, so for you, its, its more about, you wouldn t trade the control to set up the scene the way you wanted to and for the money of having somebody there. Like, oftentimes, I understand theyll send a brand manager to, like, turn all the labels one way lik e you said or things like that. And, youre saying for you its ju st not worth the trade off. R: Thats not really worth the tradeoff, no. I: Right. R: It would, there would have to be some specifics. I mea n, theres always going to be exceptions made I: Right. R: But there would have to some specifics that, th at if the product was used in a particular scene, um, and they were paying some money towards it, there would have to be some specifics in the contract that I use it to my, you know, um, to the best of my abilitie s, I use it with my discretion. And if it needs to get cut out of the film because the scene itself isnt working, I also have the discretion to do that. I: Mmmhm. R: You know what I mean? Because, I mean someti mes you shoot a scene, and it just doesnt work in the context of the movie as a w hole, and I wouldnt want, you know, these money people to come knocking on my door telling me I have to leave that scene in. I: Uh huh R: If they put money into the film and their pr oduct is in that scene. I mean, those kinds of specifics would have to be in the contract, or, it just wouldnt be worth it because then the end product that has my name on it, which is this film is out there thats something that, that Im not happy with its something that I didnt really put together. I: Absolutely. R: So I: Okay. Um, yeah, because Im actually doing my research, I read about a couple different cases, and one of them was like with Jerry Maguir e, the feature film obviously, where they were supposed to include a brand, Reebok or Nike, and they didnt and it turned in to this whole thing. And, I mean, so Im very interested in understand ing, as a filmmaker, because, to be honest with you, Ive talked to some people who are like, Oh yeah absolutely its worth the money Ill do whatever they want SoI really value the fact that Im kind of hearing the other side of that from you. R: Well, thats good. Did you, you did talk to pe ople for this piece that felt that way? I: Mmhmm. R: Well, I mean, theres certainly people out th ere and you bring up the Jerry Maguire thing. I mean, that whole crew is that s on a whole different level. I: Uh huh. R: I mean, they almost dont even make movies (laughs) I: (laughs) Its pretty much a commercial, right?

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77 R: A lot, yeah, a lot of times they dont even ma ke movies for the content in the script, or the story they, they make it on the commercial value of it. I: Uh huh. R: And if product placement is part of that co mmercial value, and they can cash in, well then, theyre going to go with that. But I mean, guys like us, I mean, we want to tell our stories the way we want to tell our stories. I: Uh huh. R: And if their product doesnt mesh with our story, then, it just doesnt get in there. I: Right. R: Moneys not really the issue. I: Right. R: Um, okay, well then I have a fewkind of classi fication questions relate d to that. And just let me know if you dont want to ask um, answer a ny of these. Things that Im asking are like, what is your average films budget? I understand youve worked on a lot of different films, so this probably varies, correct? R: Um, it, it varies, but theyre all pretty low, I mean theyre all within the, you know, the thousand ($1,000) range to fifteen hundred ($1,500) Uh, you know, really in the thousand dollar or so range. I: Oh, okay. R: UmI mean, it canI mean, Ive work ed on other films that have budgets. I: Uh huh. R: But in terms of the films that Ive produced. I: That you Like, what about, Tale of Two Megans, that I saw? R: (laughs) Uh, A Tale of Two Megans, uh, it, its interesting, A Tale of Two Megans, if you want to put our fixed costs as fa r as, um, my computer software, a nd uh, the cameras that we use. A lot of those things are calle d expenses but between me and my director of photography, um, we own all that equipment. I: Right. R: So, I dont necessarily figur e all that into the budget. I: Right. R: Um, so if Im just talking about the budget fo r that particular piece, were probably talking about five hundred dollars. I: Are you serious? R: Yeah, I mean I: Wow R: It was a three day shoot, I had five actors. And I basically had to feed the actors for three days. I: Uh huh. R: Um, there was, there was minimal props, uh, we shot on set so there, you know we didnt have to build any sets. I: Uh huh. R: Uh, and and like I said we owned all the equipment. I: Wow R: There really wasnt a lot of cost that went into it. And, um my, um, my music composer is a good friend of mine. Hes a professiona l composer in Seattle, Washington. I: Uh huh.

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78 R: Um, a guy by the name of Ron Leonardi, an d he, um, he worked for me for free because weve, weve, you know, helped each other out on so many different products or, uh, projects in the past. I: Right. R: So I didnt have to, have to pay him. And he added, I mean, he added so much with the score to make it seem that mu ch more professional. I: Right, Im so impressed. R: My lighting guys were as professional as th ey come, but, again, friends of mine that are willing to just work for me because they like me and my ideas so I: And with the actors? R: So, we keep it cheap. Um, with the actors, I didnt pay, other than, other than, uh, I, you know, I paid for their food and I gave them, you know, nice copies and credits of the film. I: Uh huh. R: But I, I didnt actually give them day rates. John, John Hill who played the lead. I: Right. R: Um, I worked with him several times in the past and I do some stuff for him on the side I edit some, like, demo reels for him. I: Uh huh. R: So I do some stuff for him, he does some stuff for me, we ki nd of You scratch my back, I scratch yours And I when we wrote the script for A Tale of Two Megans I had him in mind for it. I: Uh huh. R: But I asked him, I mean, hes a professiona l actor as well, and gets paid well to do it. I: Uh huh. R: You know, I I, one thing that I try to do fo r my actors if Im not going to pay them, um, is that I try to keep shooting schedule, as, as shor t as possible, because, theyre, theyre great actors and they do a great job. Um, I cant really afford to pay them on some of these, some of these films, so the least I can do is not take up too much of their time. I: Right. R: That they can be making money elsewhere. I: Right. R: Um, and I think thats a good tr adeoff, that Ill try and delive r them a nice product from my end if they work for me for basically no money. I: Mmhm. R: Um, and in return, it will only cost them about three or four days of their time. I: Mmmhm. R: And its usually a pretty good tradeoff for peopl e who are, who are trying to build a resume. And as far as John, who already has a resume, well hes, hes just a friend of mine, we just get along and so we do each other favors. I: Wow, yeah, this is uh, you know largely my fi rst, like, foray into independent films and I had no idea that something, you know, I fe lt like the films that I saw here in Gainesville were very professional looking, for the most part, and, I mea n, especially that one, I cant believe you did that for five hundred dollars. And all the tradeoffs and things like that, but thats just amazing to me. R: Well, well thank you. I mean, we really appr eciate that, because we try to um, if youve actually chronicled our films from the past five years since we kind of got started, I: Mmhm.

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79 R: Uh, youll definitely see, um, I hope youll de finitely see the progression in the production value even though our budgets havent really ch anged, you know, none of us really have any money, I: Right. R: You dont really make money in this kind of field until you get to another level. I: Uh huh. R: Um, though our production budgets havent rea lly changed, I spent less on A Tale of Two Megans than I have on my two previous films. I: Uh huh. R: Um, weve just gotten better at disguising the fact that we re not really spending money. Weve gotten, between me and our director of photography and our writing and the way I can direct some actors, um, weve gotten better at ma king it seem like theres more money behind it than there really is. I: Uh huh. R: But I appreciate that you thought that it was done for a little bit more. I: Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, so you went to film school, correct? R: Uh, I didnt, I didn t graduate film school. I: Oh, but you studied at? R: But I did go to, I did go to, but I dont know if you would even nece ssarily classify it as a film school I went to Valencia Commun ity College for a couple semesters. I: Well, actually one of the people that Im going to interview is Ralph Clemente, do you know him? R: I do know Ralph, yeah. I: Yeah, hes one of the people that Ive talked to before, actually. I havent done the official interview, but I just kind of have been talki ng to a couple people to feel out what sorts of questions I would want to as k, and things like thatand, uh R: Ralph Clemente, yeah. I: Yeah, he had a lot to say act ually. Like, I called to ask him one quick question and we were on the phone for like an hour. I was just like, Okay! R: Hes an informative guy. I dont I guess he would remember me. We, uh, we were going to produce a film program two years ago. I: Mmhm. R: Um, and our funding, we werent coming through with our funding, so instead we, uh, optioned our script to a production company. I: Uh huh. R: So, but I did have several meetings with Ralp h, meetings that I thought would pretty much be scheduled for fifteen, twenty minutes and we were there for two hours. I: Yeah. R: And I was just kind of rapping with him about all the different thi ngs that hes done and I: Yeah. R: Uh, hes an informative guy, and hes a nice guy, and from what I unde rstand the people that have actually, have been on set with him, hes a good guy to have on set. He gets down to business and he can get serious when need be. I: Mmhmm. R: Yeah, Ralphs a, Ralphs a good s ource to have for what youre doing. I: Good, yeah, Im supposed to call him, in a little bit here. Um so, you are, your occupation is professional filmmaker, this is your full time job? R: No, that is not correct.

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80 I: Oh really? Can I as k what your occupation is? R: Certainly. Uh, I do some different things. I: Okay. R: But professionally I do, I guess consider myself pr ofessional for that fact that I have been paid I: Mmhmm. R: To write a script. I: Okay. R: Um, I have been paid on occasion to edit. I: Uh huh. R: So I guess that makes me a professional, but I also hold a job as a graphic artist. I: Oh, okay. R: I do headshots and re-t ouching for actors, and uh I: Okay. R: Its all industry-related, but I: Right, well, just when I write up the results and talk about th e pool of respondents, you know, I have to say males and females, eighteen to wh atever, lets say fifty, primarily composed of, you know, professional filmmakers which you woul d fall into and also graphic artists you know, so I can name out everything to kind of set up R: I I guess you could really just say indus try professional because everything I do is industry-related, but I: Okay. R: But, like, in our town, here in Orlando, we kind of wear a lot of different hats. I: Right, right. Um, do you mind telling me your age, or you can give me an age range? R: Im 34. I: (laughs) Its kind of a weird question to as k. And you said youve been making films for five years? R: Um, weve been seriously attempting to make films since around late 2000, 2001. I: Okay. R: So its been about five or six years. I: And, the number of films that youve made? I ve been to your website and I see you have a link for student films also, so what? R: Yeah, I dont know that I would nece ssarily classify those as films. I: Okay. R: So whatever the other films are. I guess theres six or them, seven of them. I: Okay, okay. Um, thats pretty much what I had to ask you. I think you, uh, I mean it was really helpful to talk to you because I feel like you had a clear stance on the issue and you had a lot to say. R: Yes, Im sure Im giving you more than youre actually going to use or need. I: But thats better, more is better than less. (laughs) R: Its a good experience for me as well because Ive done a couple of interviews here and there, but Im not necessarily somebody that talks to a lo t of people. I mean, Ive done some of these film festivals and pane ls and stuff like that I: Right. R: But Im not generally all that comfortable with talking to a lot of peopl e. But I need to be more comfortable

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81 I: Well, I was going to say, Im a good place to st art then, because this is an academic study and you know you can work your way up to being publis hed in magazines and stuff, for now youll just be in the library (laughs). R: Well, yeahwhen Wired mag azine calls next week Ill I: Youll be all set! Uh, I ha ve one more question for you Fred, do you want me to use your name in the study? R: Certainly, yes. I: Okay, and I can say the names of your films and everything? R: You can say anything you want. I: Okay, fabulous. Okay, thank you so much. R: Youre welcome. Ill talk to you later. I: Okay, you too. R: Bye. ### End of Interview

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82 Interview Transcription #3 Shamrock McShane, Gainesville Screenwriter/School Teacher, 55 Mike McShane, Gainesville Director/Student, 20 Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007 10 a.m. In person at Millhopper Library, Ga inesville, Florida I= Interviewer S= Shamrock M= Mike First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon and signed. Next, recording begins. I: First, I guess I need to know a little bit about how you consider yourselves independent filmmakers. What context you said director, writer. Um, if you can just give me a little insight into what actual experience youve had, how many films youve worked on, things like that. S: Okay, well, most recently we completed a feat ure length narrative film called The Votive Pit, I: Okay. S: 88 minutes in length. I: Okay. S: Uh, it took us a year of shooting. I: Okay. S: Um, Michael was the director. I: Okay. S: I was the screenwriter and the movie was based on a play I wrote. I: Okay. S: Um, so our, our involvement w ith film comes out of the theater. Ive been in the theater since the 1970s. I: Okay. S: Michael has made two feature length films. He, uh, previously made a documentary film. How long was that movie? M: It was, uh, 90 minutes. S: 90 minutes, called Its All Good. I: Okay. S: And, uh, Michael has been more directly involved with the making of films. Ive been involved only as an actor and a screenwriter. I: And a screenwriter. S: But not just on our films, also on a feature length narrative film called Silent Warrior I: Okay. S: Made by a local filmmaker Georg Koszulinski. I: Oh, Im going to talk to him also. Alright. S: Mmhmm and Substream Films. Um, I worked on The Hawk is Dying with Paul Giomatti as a professor, an extra in on e of the party scenes. I: Okay. S: And, uh, a number of other local films here. A nd Mikes made a number of short films, if you want to talk your credentials.

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83 I: Absolutely and I was going to say at the e nd of this you have the option of me using your names and the titles of your film s so if you want to pepper the in terview with the titles of your films, I encourage you to do so. S: Certainly, and well back it up with some email. I: Okay, good. Okay great. Okay. M: Yeah, Ive been working ove r the past, I think it s now two years, with the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre and the Gainesville Association for the Creative Arts with their teen programs making short films based on their, what theyve wo rked off of either Shakespeare or their own life stories into short films. So Ive been working on that. I: Mmhmm. Okay. Um, would you consider filmma king then your professiona l pursuit? Is this full-time? S: Its certainly Michaels profe ssional pursuit at this time. Im a full time public school teacher. I: Okay. S: And chairperson of the Language Arts department at Westwood Middle School. I: Okay. S: But Ive been a man of the theater, as I say, si nce the 1970s. I was previously the playwright in residence at the Acrosstown and we have our own production company. So its more than just a hobby. I: Does your production company have a website? S: Yes, it does. I: Can you provide that to me? S: Yes. I: Um, alright. You both live in Gainesville? S: Yes. I: Okay. And may I ask your ages? S: I am 55. M: I am 20. I: Okay. And level of education? S: I have my Masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. I: Okay. M: I am pursuing a B.A. in English a nd a minor in Technical Theater at UF. I: Okay. And you say that youve been in thea ter since the 1970s but youve been making films for how many years? S: Um, gosh I guess the last five years. I: Okay, and is that the same for you? M: Yeah. I: Five years. And do you mind if I name you in this study? S: Oh, please do. I: Okay. Well, um. Im studying product placem ent. Im trying to pursue my Master of Advertising hopefully to finish up this spring. Um, so Im interested.morepretty much everything Ive read on product placement so fa r is about how consumers or how audiences perceive it and Im interested in what filmmakers think about it if they feel that it possibly compromises artistic integrity, if they feel that, Ive talked to some people that say, you know, its great for a budget especially for an independ ent film and theyd be happy to work in a product in whatever manner possible. So I have a couple questions relate d to that, just about nine. Um, and certainly touch on your own experien ces, experiences of ot hers that you know of, anything that you feel is relevant. Okay?

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84 S: Okay. I: Okay, um, do you think that product placement has an effect on a fini shed films quality? S: Well, our practical concern, a nd it was eye-opening for me wh en we were on the set and, um, our script continuity man and our cinematogra pher went to great extremes to cover-up the Aquafina machine that was dispensing soft drin ks and anything that might be construed as a product that could appear in the movie I: Okay. S:because we hadnt of course been granted any permission to use their products in the movie. I: Uh huh. S: And we live in a world of commodity. Thats what our world is made out of. Um, so they went to great lengths to cover everything up, an d I can see the moral question that might be presented to a filmmaker if you could finance your film in part by placing products within view of the audience then it would become I guess the ma tter of the particular commodity and what its intentions were, and what bene fit, or how its consumed. I: Okay. S: You know, if people are going to smoking cigarettes in your movi e, if people are going to be drinking drinks in your movie, can it be construed as if you are condoning those activities, or. I: And do you think as a screenwrite r would you ever change a script to fit in a brand? If perhaps maybe the director or producer said, you know, th is is a good opportunity for money to finance the film? Or do you feel that thats a total distraction? S: Um, I would like to think no, no I would not Uh, and that it would be compromising your artistic integrity and certainly the kinds of movies that we want to make are not designed simply to entertain or simply to make money. I: Uh huh. S: So it doesnt operate on a bottom line like that And no I dont think wed want to identify ourselves with a particular commodity. I: Okay. And what about you? M: With also on our last project that it was even to the point of in editing I handed it over to a second editor and as much as possible they would cut out even th e spoken words of any, anything that came out like Mount ain Dew or M&Ms, they tried to cut that out as much as possible. I: Mmhmm. S: Particular references. M: Right, particular references. S: to specific commodities. I: Now, is that because of your fear that perhaps this film would get bigger and then Mountain Dew would S: Thats exactly it. Thats exactly it. And I had never even thought about that before. And the logic behind it from the people that are warning us about those kinds of things was, you dont have to worry about anything.UNLESSyou ever make a nickel. I: Right, exactly. So its not, just to clarify, its not the speci fic reference, like, pop culture incorporating that, th ats not your worry. Its will they come after you for money? S: Mmhmm. I: Okay, um, Ill pose this question. I feel like Ive kind of gotten an answer but maybe you can clarify. Do you feel that product placement enhan ces or hurts the quality of a film? Or maybe its situational.

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85 S: Um, well, to look at the big picture, it hurts it as much as it possibly could. It corrupts it and turns things into their opposites. I: Okay. S: Um, for artists to function in a soci ety they should lead, not follow. I: Uh huh. S: And product placement puts the commodity ahead of human beings and its contrary, its the opposite of art. So I think, and thats the only way you can look at it in the abstract, unless you wanted to talk about Coca-Cola came to us and offered us X number of dollars to have the people drink Coke instead of Pepsi. I: Okay. Um, I think well get to that in the next questions.where we talk about money. Um, do you share that opinion? M: Yeah. From what Ive dealt with at UF th at there have been, you know, stories of even in E.T. and stuff where they had to compromise. They couldnt get the rights to use M&Ms to disperse for the alien so they had to use Skittle s, and, you know, absurd lit tle qualms over little product placement things which I think should not affect a film. You just should do whatever your initial goal was to make your film. I: Uh huh. And that there shouldnt be this issue with rights and brands and that is what youre saying? S: Yes. Property. It becomes a matter of property. I: Okay. Um, so how do you think these costs affect the decision whether or not to include product placement? You would say even if ther es a cost benefit to the filmmaker, it doesnt justify inclusion? S: No, no. Its a limitati on. Its a it constricts. I: Well, you have a consistent opinion and thats good. M: Right. Even in the humor in State and Main of, you know, he hands over this ad that theyre supposed to put in the film for Bazoomercom in the middle of this 1890s film and the humor of that, when you get to the end of the film you pan past the window and its the shot of Bazoomercom. I: Uh-huh. Its funny that you bring up E.T. al so because from my end of it, from studying advertising thats like heralded as the birth of product placement. S: Oh yeah. I: The fact that they couldnt get M&Ms to agree and that they had to go with Reeses Pieces, and Reeses Pieces sales, like, quadruple d, it was something totally ridiculous. S: Yes, yes. I: And in advertising everybody wa s like Yes! This is what we want!. You know, I think there also might be some division in the world of independent filmmaking versus, I mean Steven Spielberg and E.T., that was already a commercial venture to begin with, so perhaps he didnt have the samequandary. Um, so do you consid er product placement every time you make a film? So, maybe not in placing a produc t, but in editing it out. Is it always kind of in the back of your mind? S: Oh yeah. I think it becomes I: Okay. S:pervasive that you have to be aware of it. I: Okay. And thats to avoid brands coming after you? S: Yeah. Yeah. Legal complications. I: And you would never seek out a product to incl ude in your film? I me an, is there ever.? S: I would. I would. The Mead corporation,

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86 I: (laughs) Okay. S: That produces the Mead composition book. If I could make an ad for the Mead corporation, I would. (laughs) I: (laughs) Um, so theres neverI guess the ty pe of screenplays that you write you would never want pop culture references in it? Or theres ne ver a time when you think we need to say CocaCola? S: Well, no. That-that, I think is the real crux of the argumen t here. Um, corporations who produce these commodities, which are pervasive, they re all throughout the world. How can you present an accurate pict ure of the world without depicting Coca-Cola? I: Right. S: A world in which no one says Coca-Cola, they say soda pop. I: Uh huh. S: Its not it becomes inaccurate. So, that, to me, is the crux of the argument. They produce the commodity, do they then own that piece of reality in the world? I: Uh huh. S: Or does an artist have a right to use that? I: So, Im kind of getting from you that you th ink that the commodities and the brand names should be fluid; there shoul d not be rights to that S: Exactly. I: And that just because S: When they sell their co mmodities they get a profit. I: Thats when they make their profit. Okay. Every, every brand? I mean, dont you think that I think Coca-Colas probably a bad example because it is so pervasive S: For example I: But if I spent my lifes wo rk creating such-and-such a prod uct, you know, Kleenex another bad example, but I have then no rights to pe ople can use it in any context that they want because its part of reality? Is that? S: I would as, as an artist? Yeah. I: Okay, okay. S: Yeah. I mean if it turns out Mona Lisa is wearing Gucci shoesand now they want I: Some rights to that. You say no. And do you agree with that? M: Yeah.(inaudible). I: So do you think you would use brands if ther e werent this rights i ssue? If you knew that nobody could every come afte r you? If it was fluid? S: Oh certainly. Yeah. I: And would you incorporate th em a lot into everything, you w ould just not worry about? S: Heres the particular exampl e from the movie that we made. We made a movie about public schools I: Mmhmm. S: And the issues that affect public schools. For example, the vending machines that are in schools. I: Mmhmm. Mmhmm. S: And the access that students have to junk food throughout the day. I: Uh huh. S: In fact one of the mottos that keeps being repeated thr oughout the movie is, Dont go round hungry. I: Uh huh.

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87 S: Which is the motto that appears on the Toms machine, the vending machine that circles around and around and around. I: Oohokay. S: And we made particular references to the ki nds of junk food that kids ate throughout the day. I: Uh huh. S: Doritos, M&Ms, Milky Way, umm. M: Snickers. S: Snickers. I: Uh huh. S: And that was definitely part of the st atement that we were trying to make. I: Uh huh. S: Now, once the movie becomes popular, um, ha ve we in any way, uh, damaged the reputation or the profitability of these products? I hope so! I: Uh huh. S: (laughs) I: That was your purpose. S: Yeah. I: So, I guess, this is really my first taste of independent filmmaking, but Im thinking of that Fast Food Nation movie? S: Oh yeah. I: So obviously McDonalds did not give them rights to do that. But is there a difference between a documentary and a narrative? I mean, because this public school film that you made was a documentary, correct? S: No, it was not. It was not. I: Okay. S: And that was one of the reasons that we made it a feature, a narr ative, a work of fiction, rather than a documentary. I: So but you still used the real Toms brand and their motto, slogan? S: Mmhmm. I: So, in that case, if that film were to be released to larger audiences and become popular they would absolutely have a right, Toms, to come after you? Right? S: Well thats what were going to find out. (laughs) I: (laughs) Okay. Because I dont know myself you know, from an advertising standpoint, from you know, as far as I know everyone wants their mone y of course. But I feel like if it were a documentary wouldnt they have no right to it because youre only reportingsomethingbut theres still an angle. S: Yeah. I: Okay, something for me to look into. Um, so I already talked a little about.the next question is what kind of product have you, or do you seek out for inclusion in your films? We know that you dont specifically seek out prod certain pro ducts, but if you, again if there were none of this rights issue, would there be any certain thing that youd love to be able to just show the brand name? Or does it not really make a difference? S: No, no. Just as it exists in the culture and to depict it. I: Okay. So maybe, just the most common everyday things you would show. S: Mmhmm.

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88 M: Right, instead of having to specifically figure out, oh, we can t film here because theres the big sign of whatever item, or thi ng out there in the world that woul d cause any lawsuit or issue to be shown. I: Uh huh. Okay. What about locations? Is that also an issue that you th ink about if youre going to shoot something outside of Harrys Seafood downtown, McDonalds? S: Oh yeah, yeah. I: Do you, I mean, whats the proces s for that, just out of curiosity? S: Well, as, as I recall from when were setting up the shot I: Uh huh. S: that becomes whats going to be in the frame? I: Uh huh. S: And if you can avoid re ference to any commodity. I: So the first part of that is to avoid it? S: Yeah. I: And what if its unavoidable? Do you then go into that establishment and ask permission, or do you just go about your? S: Um, it depends on the case. Yeah. I: Okay, okay. Um, thats pretty much of a ll my questions, unless you guys want to share any specific, like, anecdotal e xperiences that youve had. S: Just the ones that weve mentioned. And, uh, no, we havent had occasion certainly no ones offered us a ship load of money to to put their name on it. I: Uh huh. And even if they did, you feel that its not worth it, right? Thats really what Im getting from you. S: Yeah, yeah. I: Okay, okay. Unless for some reason perhaps it fit seamlessly into your script without a lot S: Well, the only way that it would be possibl e would be for us to agree that, uh, they were giving us money to actually sell their product down the river. I: Uh huh. (laughs) S: (laughs) And if they we re cool with that then M: (laughs) I: And I say good luck ever finding that situatio n. (laughs) Okay, you know its just interesting to me because Ive talked to a couple of other filmmakers so far, and you have by far one of the strongest opinions. A lot of people said case by case, situational you know, wed think about it, etc. So, I feel lik e both of you share this kind of one-sided artistic integrity opinion. S: Oh, and, and of looking at as a univ ersal as being its a bad situation. I: Right, right. Absolutely. Okay. Okay, um let me just make sure I went over all the classifications.and I, I think thats it. That was much shorter. S: Well thats good! Thats good, because you know I said I told some people we were going to be interviewing with you a nd I said, Well, Im not sure what we think of product placement!, so I guess well find out I: Through the questions. S: When we talk about it. M: Its good to know. I: Okay. ### End of Interview

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89 Interview Transcription #4 Esther Biggs, 32, Sales Administra tion Supervisor at Naylor, LLC Monday, Jan. 8, 2007 11:45 a.m. In person at Naylor, LLC I= Interviewer E= Esther First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon and signed. Next, recording begins. I: Okay, um, first I have some classification que stions for when I write this up and if youre comfortable telling me your age? E: Im 32. I: And you live in Gainesville? E: Yes. I: And you are, whats your title here at Naylor? E: Um, Sales Administrator Supervisor. I: Supervisor, okay. And you are al so a professional filmmaker? E: Mmhmm. I: Um, and, I guess next Id sa y, how many films have you made? E: Um, to completion, um, Id say, one of, one f ilm that I worked on is actually completed. I: Okay. E: Um, two are in post. I: Post-production? E: Mmhmm. Um, actually theres a short film that I worked on that is completed, so I guess that would be two completed. I: Okay. E: One feature and one short. Um, and then anothe r feature that I worked on, just kind of, uh, its too long to still be in post, so Im guessi ng that that ones never going to be done. I: (laughs) Oh okay. Okay, fair enough. Um, a nd how many years have you been making films? E: Um.I dont know. (laughs) When did I start? Um, I would say, at least, at least four years. I: Okay. E: Um, because I started working in theater about six or seven years agoand I started working on films a couple years after. So Id say probably four years ago. I: Okay. So did you study film or theater? E: No. I: You just got into it.kind of as your interest? E: No, I just kind of got into it. Um, I.just, uh, the basics I learned from television production in high school. I: Okay. E: And then, um, from theres its just hands-on experience. I: Okay. So how did that really start if you dont mind my asking? E: Um I: Did you have friends th at were doing it, or? E: No, well, somewhat, um, its something that Id wanted to get into when I was younger, but, um, just, other, other factors kind of persuaded me to study something else when I was in school.

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90 I: Uh huh. E: And then, um, an ex-boyfriend of mine actually was studying, uh I: Film. E: Film. In, in school, like film studies and st uff like that. He majored in, um, Journalism, like something, Telecommunications. I: Uh huh. E: But, um, like he primarily stud ied that just so he could get some work done, like more in film. I: Uh huh. E: The film industry. So when, um, he started getting into it more, he fi nally found a job that I could do, and like, just as a volunt eer, and thats kind of how I got more and more involved in it. I: Uh huh. E: Um, but that was like after I started my theater company with the intenti on of trying to, um, to get into film soon, soon after. I just wanted to get some experience with the actors and get some experience with lik e production design I: Uh huh. E:and just the basics because theres a lot, a lot of shared, um, uh, requirements that you have for both. I: Okay. E: Yeah, so I: And your theater company is called? E: Its Thursday Afternoon Productions. I: Okay, and they perform at the Acrosstown? E: Mmhmm, yeah. Its primarily there, like, we started out perf, uh, performing all over the place. I: Okay. E: Like all over like different bars, and um, wherever we could find a place basically. I: Okay, okay cool. Umso out of these, you di d one feature length and one short, um, I ask what the average films budget is for you, so if you can give me a range? E: Um, Id say, less than $10,000. Um, Id say between $5,000 to $10,000. I: Okay. Even for a short? E: For a short, though, um, I just, no. Fo r a feature probably $5,000 to $10,000. Um, for the short though, I, I cant say because Ive worked as the script supervisor so I dont really know the budget at all. I: Okay. E: Um, but there were a lot of people who were who were around me that seemed like they did it, and they did their job for a living. I: Uh huh. E: And I know that they I: So you assume that they were being paid? E: Yeah, I assume that they it was all deferre d, but, Im assuming that they were being paid a decent amount, so even that short could have been $5,000 to $10,000. I: Okay. Um, from talking to the other, some of the other filmmakers I learned that sometimes, like, actors dont get paid necessarily. E: Mmhmm. I: Its more like for their portfolio or their resume. E: Yeah. I: So when you say $5,000 to $10,000, thats including paying, who? Actors.?

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91 E: Actors, yeah. I: And production people, and lig hting, and make-up, like everyone? E: For everything, yeah. I: And the food, its all included in that? E: Mmhmm. I: Okay. Just to kind of clarify that becau se when I, you know, write this all up, I want everything to kind of be relative so th at we know what Im talking about. E: Okay. I: Um, and I can name you in this study? E: Sure, sure. I: Okay. And any films that you name, Im just going to make sure that I write them down because Ive found that so far in transcribing thats been one of my biggest issues is making sure that I get the film names right. E: Okay, yeah. I: Um, we went through alloh, could you tell me your level of education? You said you did some college? E: Some college, yeah. I: Okay, some college. Okay. So for my pr oduct placement questions; my first question is do you think that product placement has an affect on a finished films quality? E: Um.it depends. And, uh, yes and no. Because it depends on, like, how much of the product has to be in the forefront. I: Uh huh. E: Like what the requirements are. Like if its th ere just because it has to be there, like, if we need a can of soda, doesnt matter what kind, but lets say we had, um, Coke actually sponsor us. I: Okay. E: Um, just as long as I dont have to put it in the front of the screen. I: Uh huh. E: Like if its scripted that it s supposed to be there as just part of the background, no, it doesnt. I: Uh huh. E: But when they start putting in, like, requirement s of it has to be in a minimum of this many shots or, you know, it has to have th is kind of visibility, then, yes. I: Okay. And so youre saying, uh, almost like lowering the filmmakers level of control E: Yeah. I: is negatively affecting the quality of the, of the finished film? E: Um, more often than not, yes. I: Okay. E: It is, yeah, more often than not, yes. I: Thats what Ive heard. Ive gotten, you know, some mixed responses so far, but I feel like control is kind of a key word. E: It is. And the thing is, like, sometimes th eres a happy its like, when, um, were working on a scene and Ive scripted a sc ene, Ive storyboarded the scene, and then the actors improv something thatsperfect. I: Uh huh. E: And, I can see a product placement sometimes working out that way, like if, if that product had something to do with the storyline, and th en all of the sudden it s like, Oh, you know, it adds, it adds to, like, the, um, it adds to the pacing, it adds to the motion of the film, then its not so bad. But more often than not I s ee that its, its a little intrusive.

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92 I: Okay. That makes sense. So maybe, to clar ify, if the product, if the placement is born out of the script, and not vice versa, like E: Yeah. I: Because one of the things I was kind of intere sted in, and the ideas that Im really exploring, which Ive talked to you about, ar e like artistic integrity, and kind of the purity of what, you know, the project youre working on, if the fina l result is really what you intended as a filmmaker E: Mmhmm. I: or if it is intruded upon, like you said, by specific placement s. So, um, what do you think about when a placement kind of, a script has to work around a placement? E: Um, thats, I feel like th ats definitely a negative. I: Uh huh. E: against the final product, the film, because, um to me its, its the story, and then, um, the creation of the story itself and how its all put together and how it s all just this collaborative effort. I: Uh huh. E: But its weird trying to ma ke the story about the product. I: Uh huh. E: Then it, it becomes more of an advertisement. I: Right. E: And so then its no longer a bout the story, its no longer about um, filmmaking or the art of filmmaking, its just an a dvertisement, a commercial. I: Uh huh. Just out of curiosity a nd this isnt one of my official questions, but I think it helps get us on the same page, can you think of a, a time wh en youve seen a placement in a film that has been done well? E: Umhmmm I: Because I Its almost a tricky question I feel because a lot of times if you see a placement then maybe its too obvious. E: Yeah. I: But E: Thats because it, it works best wh en you dont even notice that its there. I: Uh huh. E: Um.I dont, no I cant think of anythi ng specific where I thought it was done well. I: Okay. E: Where it wasnt.it just kind of complimente d a scene rather than taking away from it. I: Uh huh. So, I guess in that case it would proba bly be not something you walk out of the film really remembering. E: Yeah. I: Because it was kind of seamless. E: Yeah. I: Um, okay. Um, in your experience, and maybe if you havent dealt wi th this personally, but knowledge of others experiences, does product placement affect the cost of making a film? E: Um, yeah, because, um, usually it helps reduce the cost of making the film. I: Right, okay. Um, so do you know anybodys specific experiences? E: No, I dont I: Do you know any filmmakers who have gotten compensated? E: No, not yet, not yet.

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93 I: Okay. E: On this level though its, its rare that you ever see that. I: Uh huh. E: Um, although, in, uh, in a sense though where sometimes locations are a product, if you consider a location a product, the n, at this level its pretty high. I: Uh huh. E: Because, um, even for, like, my film, like using specific locations to, um, to promote a specific business. I: Mmhmm. E: And you use their location for free. I: Uh huh. So youre saying instead of the busin ess paying you, its the f act that theyre not charging you? E: Exactly. I: Thats the E: And that reduces the cost of production, yeah. I: the compensation. So, normally in independen t film, do you often pay location fees? Or do people ask that of you and maybe youll get? E: Um, it depends. It depends on, um, it depends on where you are, because if youre in a city like, like Gainesville where there are not a lot of films made I: Uh huh. E: more people are willing to, to open up their lo cation because they dont its not something that theyre required of a lot. I: Uh huh. E: Its probably like maybe once in a lifetime for some people. I: Right. So theyre almost excited. E: So, yeah, so theyre kind of excited to par ticipate. But if you go to some place like Orlando, or Miami, or out in L.A., or New York I: Or New York, yeah. E: everyone expects to be paid. I: Okay. E: Its just, unless you actually know them, you have a, like, persona l history with them. I: Uh huh. E: Um, and theyre rare, from what Ive heard its rare that theres an actual location that just kind of, you know, um, will just do it for free if you dont know them, if you dont know them on a personal basis. I: So locations, because thats something that I talked to you first before I developed my questions or anything E: Mmhmm. I: and its kind of confusing because locations are almost, like, the opposite, financially, of a product placement because, say youre shooting something, you know, in front of, like, Universal Studios in Orlando. You know, you would a typical product placement, the way that Ive learned it, is a pa id product insertion. E: Mmhmm. I: So, in that case you would expect Universal to pay you to show their lo cation almost like builtin, free advertising, even though theyre paying. E: Yeah, yeah. I: But locations really dont wo rk that way, locations typically require a fee of the filmmaker.

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94 E: Mmhmm. I: It why do you think that is, just because youre using.? E: Um, because, its primarily because of, um, from what I gather, its because youre using up their space. I: So its more involved E: So its more intrusive of them. I: Uh huh. E: Whereas if I have, like, a product, like, this tape recorder here. I: Uh huh. E: And Im, you know, Im going to give it to yo u for you to use, it does, it takes nothing from me. I: Uh huh. Okay. E: Whereas, like, if were shooting out in front of Universal, you know, were going to have to block off a certain amount of space. I: Uh huh. E: That means that theres, since theyre an entertainment, uh, business, where they require people to come in and actuall y see them on a daily basis. I: Uh huh. E: If were blocking off their entrance, that s, those are all, where clients come in I: So same with a restaurant or a bar. E: Same with a restaurant, exactly, were taking up space where its part of their, their income, its part of their revenue, and so th ats why were required to pay them. I: That makes sense now. I just, I was giving a pr esentation on this a couple semesters ago and I remember, I was talking about product placem ents and locations kind of in one unit E: Mmhmm. I: and somebody kind of caught me and they were like, Why, you know, doesnt Universal pay the person because their bra nd is then in the film? A nd, you know, and it was just a matter of kind of thinking it through logically. E: Yeah, and its, and its, and it sounds just the same but its, it s not because of, um, yeah, just logistics. I: Uh huh. E: Because youre, youre taking, youre taking potential revenue for them. I: Uh huh, its interesting. So youve got to thin k of all those places in New York that are like constantly, like, you know, like Tavern on the Green E: Yeah, like, if youre using a ny kind of public area you have to ge t, you either have to pay the city or you have to get special permission from the city. I: Uh huh. E: You know, so its .its all the same. I: Okay. Um, so we talked a little bit about cost and the next question is how do cost effects, whether theyre positive, which you kind of talked about costs being positive because they can defer the cost of making the film, um, or negati ve, or neutral, how do t hose weigh in making the decision to include a product in a film? E: Um, it depends kind of on, it depends on the filmmaker and the producers. I: Uh huh. E: Um, its depending, it depends on, like, how far theyre willing to go on their own and how far they feel like they need someone elses help. I: Uh huh.

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95 E: Um, with, uh, on this level you ll see much more, uh, because it s, its actually feasible for someone to make a film under, you know, with less than $10,000. I: Uh huh. E: Um, youll find a lot more freedom I: Mmhmm. E: for people to say no. I: Okay. E: And its, because in that sense I think that th is is, this is the level where you get most artistic freedom. I: Uh huh. So its almost like the lower th e budget the more cont rol is maintained? E: Um, no, thats not true either. I: Okay. E: Because youre limited. I: Uh huh. E: Because your budgets low. I: Uh huh. See, because thats what I kind of thought when I first started exploring this, I thought, Well, independent filmmakers are looki ng to reduce costs, because they usually dont have a lot of financial backing to begin with. E: Yeah. I: So I would think they would be much more open to including products, but thats not always true. E: Yeah, its not always th e case because youll find that, um, well I find that a lot of independent filmmakers, they, they dont want to place specific products in their, in their films because, um, it kind of goes against the whole idea of independence. I: Right. E: Because then youve got basically, like a corporate, if you like see a corporate motto somewhere than its almost like that person has so ld out. Its kind of like the image in a sense. I: Uh huh, uh huh. No, thats what Im after, absolutely. E: Because its not, its not exactly true, because like, you kind of have to have a little give and take. I: Uh huh. E: But, um, it just depends on, you know, the pers on involved because you might have a staunch independent filmmaker whos lik e, Absolutely no corporate st uff and theyll only take, you know, um, like, uh, products from local busines ses and, and promote those. And sometimes theyll do that for free because they want to, they want to promote this specific local business, or they want to, and thats kind of like the purpose of the film. I: Uh huh. E: So itstheres so many different kinds of films that its kind of hard to answer that kind of question? I: Okay. Um, and then when youre talking abou t it depends on the produ cer, the director, could you just clarify quickly what your ro le typically is in filmmaking? E: Um I: Do you write at all? E: I do, yeah, I do. I dont like to write b ecause I dont feel like Im a strong writer. I: Uh huh. E: Um, I wrote my last film because I, I needed to do something and, um, more out of, um, impatience. (laughs)

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96 I: Oh, okay. (laughs) E: I kind of just wrote it. Because I had the idea, I didnt have anyone that I knew who would write it for me. I: Uh huh. E: Um, and so I just wrote out, wrote out somethi ng that I could do. Um, I prefer to just create the idea and have someone else write it for me, and like, kind of work on it together with them so that I can kind of mold the story where, where someone is there to fill in all the dialogue. I: Uh huh. So do you do producer, director more often? E: Um, more often yeah. I actually kind of prefer not to produce either because I dont really like the business aspect of it, like the whole, the whole thing like with product placement and stuff like that. I: Uh huh. E: Um, Id rather just be able to get in there, you know, put in there what I want to see, and then, you know.... I: So thats directing. E: Yeah. I: So do you have a, like, a writer that you often work with? E: No, actually I just recently found so meone whos willing to write for me. I: Okay. E: So we havent actually started a project. I: Uh huh. E: But, uh, our next project were going to star t writing probably in the next month or so. I: So in that case, you have an idea already and then you get w ith that person and you say, This is kind of what Im looking for but th en they flesh out all the dialogue. E: Yeah, yeah. I: Interesting. Um, okay, I think yo u kind of answered this. Um, is there an instance in which no cost benefit would merit the in clusion of a product? So, you we re talking about depending on the specific filmmaker. E: Mmhmm. I: Sometimes people would say, you know, You c ould give me a million dollars but Im not putting Coca-Cola, or Enron, or whatever, in my film. E: Yeah. I: Do you, is there some sort of line for you personally as a filmmaker? E: Um, I haveuh I: It doesnt have to necessarily be like a moral or ethical questi on. If its just like, you know, like I I dont like soda in my films or whatever. E: Probably, I.it would probably be about, anythi ng, pretty much like if they ever, uh, require that they, you know, that I need to place, that I need to have this much exposure with it. I: Uh huh. E: Or it needs to appear in this many scenes or.Its, um, having edited, like, Im in postproduction for my movie right now and its editin g all the sequences and everything and, um, I like the freedom of being able to just take shots and depending on, and not really having to worry about like, How many times is this in here?, or How many times is this person in here?. I: Right. E: Or, like, How many lines does this person ha ve?. And so, um, even with, with actors, if I ever get a contract for an actor where theyre like, This person has to have a minimum of 100 lines in this movie, like, I wouldnt do that.

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97 I: I didnt even know a contract said that. E: Yeah. I: Oh wow. E: Like, because, um, the more famous a person b ecomes, the more control that they have over, like, projects that theyre not even committed to yet. I: Uh huh, wow. E: Because they want to maintain a certain level of, um, stardom, I guess. I: Visibility. E: Yeah, visibility, so I: Thats interesting. E: Same thing with products, though like, if it comes down to that I would definitely have to say no because I dont, thats not something that I want to think of when Im putting together a piece. I: Okay, so again that kind of comes back to control. E: Yeah, controlling the film, yeah. I: Um, youve talked a little bit about this. Do you think product placem ent distracts the film audience from the story at hand? E: Um, it just depends on how its done. I: Mmhmm. E: Again, like if its always, like, in the forefront, like, you have a shot and it has to be like right up there in the front of the screen. Um, then, then yeah. I: Uh huh. So would you say if its done well, then its not distracting? E: Yeah. I: Okay. E: It all, all depe nds on how its done. I: And as a filmmaker you believe that it can be done well? E: Yeah. I: Kind of case-by-case? E: Yeah, it depends on, it depends on the filmmaker and how open they are to it. I: Uh huh. E: Like, I dont know that I woul d do it all that well, because I m not very open to it, Im not very open to, like, having someone tell me, Y ou have to have this, and, you know, and, You have to do it this way. I: Uh huh. E: Um, but, I find that some other filmmakers are, theyre more, uh, spontaneous, more creative on-the-spot. I: Uh huh. E: So that if theyre given something, like, its kind of lik e a jigsaw puzzle. I: Uh huh. E: Youre given a bunch of pieces to fit it all together well. I: Uh huh. E: So, it really just depends on who youve got on your team, too. Because sometimes even if the director cant do it, then, if they ha ve a strong team then they can do it. I: Fit it in there somehow. E: Mmhmm. I: Um, so you said you dont know of anybody w ho has specifically been paid for product placement? E: Mmhmm.

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98 I: Um, youve dealt with a little with locati ons. But do you know of anybody whos done more of like the bartering thing? Be cause Ive heard of, like, even ge tting food for the wrap party, or beer, or whatever. E: Um, there is this, Im not really quite sure how much of it, um, but theres this, uh, movie, The Essence of Irwin, you saw it. I: Oh yeah. E: I think that they did some bartering. Im not sure to what extent. But I, for some reason I remember, um, when I was on location someone was talking about th at, about exchanging services for something. I: Okay. Im going to talk to him too. E: Okay. I: And he said he has strong opinions about it, in that, he, um, kind of planned ahead so like if that film were to take off or be shown to larg er audiences, that he, almo st like developed his own built-in products. Like with the, um, water, the frozen ice thing. E: Yeah. I: So, I think, because my next question is, do you consider product placement every time you make a film? And I hear from a lot of people, No, its not even something I think about, you know, at this stage in the game. But I feel like somebody like him, is looking at it from a business angle, the whole time. E: Yeah, probably. I: Um, but how about for you? E: For me, no. I: Okay. E: Usually, um, its kind of drawn to my, its bro ught to my attention like as were filming, like you start putting things, and then so meones like, Hey, you cant see that name, so we have to, like, turn it around, or like, ta pe something over it. Umm I: And do you have to deal with that a lot? E: Yeah. I: Almost like product displacementor? E: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That gets, I deal with a lot of that more of ten than actual product placement. I: And does that kind of trip things up ever? E: Um, sometimes it does because, u h, the cover-up is really obvious. I: Uh huh. E: And so I kind of hope that its sma ll enough that its rea lly not noticeable. I: Right. E: Um, and then I: So I guess even when you do locations a nd things you have to think about that? E: Mmhmm. Yeah, yeah. Um, Ive had a, like wh ats kind of bothered me sometimes, and the whole thing it kind of bugs me, is that it affects the composition of a shot. I: Uh huh. E: Sometimes. Because like if theres a sign on the wall that I cant see, suddenly I have to change my shot, I cant have my scene come out the way I had scripted it. I: Uh huh. E: And, uh, or I had storyboarded the scene, so. I: So, its a lot like photography in that way, in that you, you see wh at the picture is supposed to be and then a lot of times br ands can interfere with that.

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99 E: Yeah, yeah I: Because I know when I was talking over the w eekend to, um, Shamrock and Mike, they were telling me they shot something recently and it was like an Aquafina m achine in the background and they had to, either in edit ing, or maybe they put some paper over it or something, but they said that they dealt with that machine, like over and over again. E: Yeah, yeah. He probably, he probably did that in editing because you can kind of just change things out. It just, it becomes a real problem trying to do it during editing, so we just try to notice those things dur ing the filming. I: Uh huh. E: The After Effects does a really good job, but its still like, you alwayswhen you look at the scene it always looks a little awkward. I: Right. E: You dont quite, you may not quite catch that theres something wrong. I: Uh huh. E: But I always feel like theres an odd feel to it. I: Right. Its almost like l ooking at a picture thats been Photoshopped and you can sense that E: Yeah. I: its not natural but you dont know why. E: Yeah, exactly. I: Okay, cool. Um.we talked about that. You, so, you, since you dont consider product placement every time you make a film, you dont seek out products to include in your film? E: No. I: Okay. Um, if you were to do that, like ma ybe youre working on a bigger budget film, or something that would, for some reason the person in charge of it wanted to do some product placement, what kind of products do you think you would ever look into? Or, I guess its almost like shopping around, like E: Yeah, um, just, um, mostly like generic goods. I: Uh huh. E: You know, um, probably something like Coke. I: Right. E: Because you know I: For like realism E: Yeah, because, um, it, oddly enough, it kind of lik e dates the generation, t oo. Just the look of the actual can or the bottle itself. I: Uh huh. E: And, then, um, I mean, theres alwa ys different types of clothing. I: Uh huh. E: They like, you see like, mottos all over clothing now, so that I: Uh huh. E: Um, Id try to stay away from those because it does date and part of, um, part of what I like about films is sometimes theyre just timeless. I: Right. E: And the styles, you can kind of tell from th e style of it, but then like, um, once you get immersed in the story its kind of timeless and so if you dont, if you dont see anything thats specifically, like, just bl ows out at you, ! I: Uh huh, yeah. (laughs)

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100 E: You know, then you can kind of just get wrapped up in the story more. I: Uh huh. So you almost feel like by not having specific brands and stuff it contributes to the timelessness of the film. E: Yeah, yeah. I: I think that thats a good point that nobodys really brought up before. But its true when you look at a film like Minority Report E: Mmhmm. I: That film was, like, chock-fu ll of brands, all different brands. E: Yeah. I: And it seemed cool and futuristic, and theyre li ke all in the future, at the time. But Im sure when we watch that in 10 or 15 years, you know, companies go under, or they become not as cool, and things like that. E: Yeah. I: So, it will date that film. E: Yeah. I: Okay, um, I think we went through all these questions. E: Okay. ### End of Interview

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101 Interview Transcription #5 James T. Henri, Gainesville Screenwriter, 29 Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007 12:15 p.m. In person at Millhopper Library, Gainesville, Florida I= Interviewer J= James First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon and signed. Next, recording begins. I: Andso youre James.Henri, Henri? J: Yeah, James T. Henri is what I go by. I: Um, okay. And you live in Gainesville? J: Mmhmm, yeah. I: Um, would you mind te lling me your age? J: Yeah, Im, uh, 29 I: Okay. J: Gonna be 30just around the corner! I: (laughs) Oh really. Um, and I guess to kind of put it into context, what your relationship with independent filmmaking is? Is it a professional pursuit of yours? J: Yes. I: Youre a screen writer I understand. J: Yeah, Imas pretty much I think a huge percen tage of the people are, Im constantly in the pursuit of breaking into something bigger. I: Like everybody Ive talked to, yeah. (laughs) J: Right, but, uh, but yeah. Mostly, most of th e work Ive done for the last 5 or 6 years was screenwriting. I: Okay. J: But in the last couple y ears Ive gotten more involve d in the actual production end. I: Okay. J: And I, Im interested in furthering that into directing and so forth. So, yes, its a big career direction, the only one I have. (laughs) I: Sothe only one? Do you have another occupation? J: Uh, occasionally. I: Occassionally? J: Its uh, you know, like, uh, temp jobs and thin gs like that, that might, uh, fill in the blanks. I: Okay, but filmmaki ng is your.full-time? J: Mmhmm. I: Okay, great. Um, and when you said that youve been breaking into a little more of the production, can you share with me exactly what that means? Like what have you done so far? Editing.or? J: Um, Ive worked on three different films here in town. I: Okay. J: Uh, on crew positions li ke script supervisor. I: Okay.

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102 J: And, uhI was a co-producer on one film, a nd I worked as a production manager. Theyre just different I: kind of roles. J: Yeah, because, you know, each one gives you kind of a new perspective on, on, uh. I: Right. And youve worked Esther, I understand? J: Yeah. I: Um, when I transcribe this do you mind if I use your name in the study? J: Sure. I: Okay, and, um, if you want to say the names of any of the films that youve worked on to get them in the study, thats fine. If you dont, that s fine. But if you do, at the end Im going to have to ask you to spell everything out because I dont like to mess up the names of peoples work. J: Okay, sure. I: Um, can you tell me your level of education? J: College. I: College grad or some college? J: I did four years, I did four y ears, but I, uh, did not get a degree. I: Okay, thats fine. J: Because of the film. (laughs) I: Oh, really? Because you found your realm? Its kind of hard! (laughs) Um, and you said youve been making films for 5 to 6 years? J: Uh, no, Ive just been writing 5 to 6 years. I: Writing, okay. J: Which are, you know, writing the screenplays wh ich would be the blueprint for the films. I: Uh huh. J: But none of my works have been produced at this point. I: Okay. Um, and how many films that ha ve been made have you worked on, three? J: Just three. I: We talked about thatand can you tell me a little bit about the film snow Im not so sure, uh, since youre writing and you have some differ ent roles, but if you know anything about the budgets of the films, if you had a sense of th at, like could you give me a ballpark number? J: Oh, low. Very low. I: Very low likea thousandor? J: Not quite that low. I: Because Ive talked to people like 500 or less than 10,000 and everybody calls that very low, but thats kind of a big range for me! J: Yeah, umI would, I would say they were all below 5,000. I: Okay, okay, great. Alright, so those are kind of the classification questions so when I talk about who you are it kind of puts it into contex t. Um, so my questi ons related to product placement; the first question is do you think that product placement has an affect on the finished films quality? And that can be positive, negative.neutral, anyt hing you think about it. J: Um, of.yes and no. I th ink, I think in a way its so rt of a polit ical thing. I: Okay. J: That its, its sort ofthe bigger the budget the film the more likely its going to partially owned by somebody like Pepsi, or somebody like that. I: Mmhmm.

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103 J: Whereas, on the low end, where were working thes e kinds of films thatwere more likely to be sued for accidentally putting in somebodys work. I: Right. Okay, and Ive heard that, yes. Okay. Um, so say you specifically put in a productPepsi comes to you for whatever and says to you that they want to. Um, if thats your work do you think that it enhances the qual ity or hurts the quality or, if you do it properly, maybe it has no effect? J: I, Im personally resistant to do that. I: Okay. J: You know, its worked in some films wher e, you know, like, uh, recently there was the Will Ferrell movie, Talladega Nights, about the race car driver I: Uh huh. J: And NASCAR is very much owned by all thos e companies, you know, they have the logos all over the cars and the only actual goo d point that I liked about the movie was that they made a point of over-accentuating the f act that theyre owned by that. I: Right. J: I think movies do th at in a lot of ways. I: That movies kind of spoof the idea of product placement. J: Right, right. It that I think is a positive. But I think its a negative when the movies not only about the art and the story a nd all of that, but it s also about, Here, go to McDonalds. I: Okay, thats what Im looking for, okay. Um not that theres right or wrong answers, but youre definitely on the same page as a lot pe ople Ive talked to. Ev en though people have, so far Im surprised at the spectrum of opinions Ive gotten because some people who are independent filmmakers have said, you know, that they would do whatever it takes really. Like if it helps their budget than theyre fine with incorporating it as long as they have some control over that. And then some people have said, The y could give me 5 million dollars, I dont want their product, you know, its my baby. J: Mmhmm. I: Um, in your experience or knowledge of othe rs experience, does product placement effect the cost of making a film? Basically, do you know of anybody whos ever been involved with it? J: Well most of the, most of the people I know are in the same general level, which, low budget independent movies go up quite a bit, like, Hollywood considers it, I think, below $100,000. I: Uh huh, yeah. J: Is sort of the range were in, after that you star t to get into moderate I: Big budget films, yeah. J: But, um, actually, at this level, no. I: Okay. J: Like, I personally see, um, any kind of work that, um, the filmmakers didnt create as being product placement. Like for example, music. I: Uh huh. J: You know, because that can help people s record sales and so on and so forth. I: Right. J: I have a friend out in Califor nia who had been in an independent film, very low budget, they went to the old 80s band Journey. I: Oh yeah, Journey. J: To get one of their songs, and, uh, they us ed it for the movie for like a hundred bucks. I: Really? Wow. J: Because it wasnt expect ed that pretty much anyone was going to see their movie.

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104 I: Uh huh. J: So it was like, Oh, you know, we havent go tten any money from anybody in a long time soeh, a hundred bucks. I: Uh huh. J: So I: And this was Journey saying this? J: Mmhmm. I: So the filmmaker paid for use? J: So, so, so at times being in su ch a low budget, it can be helpful. I: Uh huh. J: At least in that instance. I: You know I kind of feel like Im in that position as far as being a student and trying to talk to filmmakers, because, obviously if I was so me corporation focus group or something nobody would talk to me. But I have no money a nd since maybe nobody will see this, everybody will talk to me! (laughs) Um, okay, so you dont rea lly knowthe music is a good example, but the next question is how do these costs effect, uh, the decision about whethe r or not to include product placement. So, I guess this is more of a hypothetical question, but, um, is there, you know, if a brand came to you with a lot of money, would you consider placing their productever? Does it.what, wh at would you think about? J: Um, I, I think I woul d consider it, but its I: Like what does it depend on? The pr oduct, or the idea behind the product? J: Yeah, it definitely, it definitely depends on the product. Itsyou know, I, Ive been trying to get my sister-in-law to quit smoking so Im not down to go, you know, have Marlboro up there or something, but, um. I: Okay, okay. J: But yeah, I dont know if it goes with your previous questi on or this question, but I was thinking, um, theres the TV show Lost? I: Mmhmm. J: You know, big, big, they have a huge budget. I: Uh huh. J: But the thing Ive actually s een it a bit, and the thing I not ice about it is, theyve actually created a product for the show. I: Within their? J: They dont actually, yeah, they dont actually do product placement, yet.it looks like they. I: What product? J: Its, its this fake company that they have. I: Uh huh. J: Called the Dharma Institute. I: Oh yeah! J: That creates, like, all this food, and theyve created food and water bottle s and this that and the other. I: It was underground? Yeah. J: And that intrigues me because its like they dont actu ally have anybody elses product. They created their own, yet they have that big budget. I: Right. J: So it doesnt necessarily

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105 I: And its almost the opposite because now, if obviously a lot of people watch Lost and they could sell Dharma Institute, if it got to that J: Right. But I think TV is different because TV is about the advertisers that do the commercials, not necessarily what they play, so I: Right. Thats why TV there, yeah, at least thats what they tell us in advertising. Um, and thats an interesting example because one of the filmmakers that Im hoping to talk to is Darren McDaniels, he did The Essen ce of Irwin, which I think you were you there that day? J: Yes. I: And he said the same thing. When he was making his film, like, thei r condensed ice product, you know, at the end? J: Mmhmm. I: He went into thinking, you know, Im going to create a product, and place my own product, so that if it is widely released, I have a product al so, in addition to. So, some people are kind of taking it from all different angles I guess. Um, this ties right into what you were saying about the cigarettes, which; is there an instance in which no cost benef it would merit the inclusion of a product? So, like you said, you know, if a cigare tte company had tons of money, do you think based on maybe your personal opinion of cigarette s, or something like that, that there you wouldnt include it? J: Right. I: Okay. J: Like I said initially, I th ink its a very political thing. I: Uh huh. J: Like, you know, it when so much money comes into play it, its going to mess up peoples ideals. And my ideals say, you know, I dont want to be promoting smoking, or, you know, something of that nature. I: And, but some peoples ideals say they dont want to be promoting anything within their film? But youre saying youd be open to the right product? J: Well. I: Possibly? J: Its, its difficult because, right now, I have, you know, I have spent a lot of time trying to actually build a budget trying to get my own f ilms made and I hadnt even found that money, much less, advertiser money. I: Uh huh, right. J: So, I think being on this level seeing any ki nd of money, you tend to want to jump at it. I: Uh huh. J: But, um, no, I dont like the idea of product placement. I think it adds a lot of fake nature to movies. I: Uh huh. J: You know, they pick up their Coke and they just incidentally happen to have it turned just so you can read the full label. I: GoodUh huh. So, my next question; do you thi nk it distracts from th e storyline itself or from the essence of the film? And youre saying If the labels are all turned and people are drinking like that. J: Yeah, its, theres someth ing very unnatural about it. I: Okay, so it can definitely distract. J: Mmhmm.

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106 I: Um, would you consider product placement every time you make a film? So, maybe at this stage in the game if there were the o pportunity for it, you would consider it? J: Id consider it. I: But thats not a definite yes. J: Right. But, but even at this point just w ith the writing, I have to, quote, unquote, consider it because, you know, if I have somebody make reference to some company. I: Right. J: Then I have to get their permission to do that. I: Right. J: You know, so its, its got to it has to constantly be in your mind. I: Uh huh, okay. J: Like through the whole stage of it, exactly who can sue you. I: Right. J: For making your art. I: And thats what Im hearing. And, so, do you th ink thats more of the writers job to make sure that theres no, like, spoken word or obvi ously, like, I was talking to somebody and they were shooting something and it happened to be in front of an Aquafina machine so they had to, like, paper out the. J: Oh, yeah, that would be Mike. Yeah, I worked with him. I: Yeah, yeah.and his dad. I talked to them last week. J: Yeah, I was actually script supervisor on his movie. I: Oh really? Were you the one papering out the machine? J: I was the one making sure we werent putting anything on that I: So you were thinking about it! J: Right. I: Okay. J: But ordinarily on a bigger movi e, thats the lin e producers job. I: Okay. J: Who goes line by line of the scri pt and starts figuring out what that whole script is going to cost. I: Ohokay. J: Which would include all. I: All the references? J: Right. I: Ohokay. So, thats the line producer, but th at wouldnt include the ac tual locations, right? Or would they be written into the script, standing in front of an Aquafina machine? J: Well, theyright. I: Okay, okay. J: But you try to avoi d that kind of thing. I: Yeah, because you dont want to pay money for it. Okay. So, it seems to me, its kind of confusing because it seems to me that theres, like, the independent filmmaking youre more worried about getting sued or having to pay for the use of like a song or Aquafina, if you decide to do that. And then when you cross over into, like, this big budget commercial venture, then people is willing to give you more money. J: Its definitely true because the bigger the budg et, generally its a bigge r commodity for people. You know, youve got, a Tom Cruise or somebody like that, that you know, certain companies want to be associated with.

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107 I: Uh huh, right. J: You know, because but Tom Hanks is probably a better bet these days since Tom Cruise has gone sort ofoff the deep end. I: Ohyeah. J: Tom Hanks, you know, so many peopl e have seen his films and, a nd these days, hes sort of family. So its like, Ooh, what is a family company? I: Right. J: Youd associate that with a Tom Hanks movie. I: And then he becomes like an implied spokesperson. J: Right. I: Even though hes not, like, talking about it, he is associated with it. J: Right. I: So Im trying to understand. I guess since bi gger budgets are commerci al ventures anyway, you know, like, anything Steven Spielberg does.so at that point its lik e, why not throw in a million brands because people arent going in ther e looking for this artistic masterpiece a lot of times, they, theyre almost more accep ting to brands and things like that. J: Right. Although, to Spielbergs credit when he did product placement in E.T., which, which is really when I feel product placem ent really started taking off I: Thats what Ive learned, yeah, that thats, like, the point when. J: Was like the 80s? When Elliot tossed out thos e little Reeses Pieces on the ground, it fit the story, so there was something that felt a little bit more co mfortable about it. I: Really? J: Its, its sort of weird. I: So maybe youre saying there is a. J: Theres a fine line. I:a good and a bad between ? Okay. You got the st ory right too! A lot of people have told me, You know when they put skittles in E.T.? and Im like, Okay. J: laughs I: Um, so would you ever seek out products to in clude in your film? Mayb e if it fit the script? J: Yeah. I: Like with E.T., if you had something th at was totally fitting would you go after it? J: If it fit. I: Uh huh, as long as its not a distraction? J: Like, it would always be nice to try and stick with something local if that were possible. I: Yeah. J: Like, ok, lets say Im making my movie in Gainesville and Im like, I want to shoot my movie at Satchels to promote Satchel s so that its like a landmark now. I: Yeah. J: Its like, the place that was in, you know, X movie. I: Yeah. J: Its like, you know, the movie Mystic Pizza, that was in Mystic, Connecticut. I: Uh huh. J: Thats actually a pizza restaurant you can go to. I: Thats from the 80s, right? J: Yeah. I: With Julia Roberts? J: Yeah. You know, its always nice to have, you know, have a little discovery in your movie.

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108 I: Uh huh. J: Like, I think that would be better, if there was some way to have it not be, like, some big, massive company somebody already knew about. I: Right. J: Something that because of your movie they could discover th is product or this place or something like that. I: Thats cool. So, that would be a lot diffe rent thenobviously Satche ls wouldnt come to you and be like, Heres $500 if you J: Right. I: Its more like, you know you scratch my back, Ill scratch yours. J: Right. I: Like, let me shoot here and Ill give you a plug, basically. J: Right, which I think is almost the principle behind independent filmmaking. I: Yeah, no, thats what Ive learned because sometimes Im like, you know, maybe independent filmmakers are not my audience for this, as far as dealing with products. Because a lot of them are like, thats why Im an independent filmmaker, so I dont have to deal with brands and deal with, you know, face the Coca-Cola this way, or whatever. J: Right. But the thing with independent filmmakers is that almost across the board anybody who ever becomes successful as an indepe ndent, ends up making one of those movies. I: Mmhmm. This is what Im saying! Im like, if you want people to see your films, a lot of times you have to deal with these commercial ventur es in order to get it like even with getting it distributed dont you have to strike some deals? J: Right, but the thing with that is its not exactly product placem ent, but in a way having that little label on your DVD that sa ys, you know, Official Selection of Sundance Film Festival, you know because that is such a big name in film s. Or, Ebert and Roper give it two thumbs up, thats almost a product placement. I: Uh huh. J: So actually getting it seen a nd having that, that almost says something to people in the same way, I think. I: Uh huh. As far as that filmmaker be ing accepting ofthe game, or whatever? J: Yeah. I: Like once you start getting that kind of repr esentation, I think its sort of acceptance into the mainstream that includes Wendys and stuff like that. I: Uh huh. And so do you think that as an independent filmmaker there would be mixed reactions to crossing that? Be cause now you have to deal with, you know, different brands and more money issues. Like when youre tota lly independent, low-budget, kind of you can do whatever you want and usually if you say bra nds youre not going to get sued because, I dont know if anybody sits there and goes through them a ll or anything. But do you think that there is that what independent filmma kers are after, the wide distribution, all of them do you think? J: I think theres a big, wide range. I: Right. Okay, because seem to just be 100% to tally against the idea of even getting their films distributed. I dont know if Im interpreting it wrong. But like, with Shamrock with like, no brands, nothing, its commodity, once it becomes commodity its not art. J: Right. But the interesting th ing about that, because, Shamrock being Mikes dad and co-writer of the movie I worked on with them, th eir script was full of brand references. I: That you wrote? J: No, that they wrote.

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109 I: They wrote, okay. J: Yeah, it was full of brand references like Sn ickers, Doritos, and this, that, and the other. I: Uh huh. J: And that was always the thing that I kept telling them, Thats going to get us into trouble. Because, you know, we actually showed those products. I: Because it was about the public school system, right? J: Yeah. But we showed those products without I: Permission? J: Without permission. So it almost stalls any pos sibility of getting too far without having legal problems. I: Right, yeah. I feel like hes more like one to just kind of avoid that wholethose thoughts. You know, he has like what he wants to make and hes just going to make it. J: Yeah. I personally am more of a case-by-case basis as far as putting something in a movie. I: Doing it or not.yeah. Okay, okay, um so we talked about that. And if you were to include a product in your film, what type of product do you think that you would look for? Is there something that would it be based on obviously the story, but are there things that you would look to first, like beverages, or clothing, locations like you said? J: Personally, going back to the po litical thing I would have to ha ve I would want it to be like, almost regardless of beverage or whatnot if it fit into the st ory and it, it could be comfortably put in there, I woul d want it to be a company that I appreciate their practices. I: That you as a filmmaker believe in? J: Yeah. I: Okay. Okay, so it doesnt matter really what th eir commodity is, its what their values are. J: Right. I: Okay. Thats all my questions. J: Wow, okay. ### End of Interview

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110 Interview Transcription #6 D.A. Jackson, Gainesville Filmmaker, mid-30s Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007 9:30 a.m. In person at Gainesville, Fl Dojo I= Interviewer D= D.A. First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon and signed. Next, recording begins. I: Okay. First of all, um, what name do you want me to use for this? D. A. Jackson? Is that correct? D: Thats cool, yeah, D. A. I: Um, and can you tell me age? Or a range? D: Oh yeah, yeah. Mid thirties. I: Okay. And you live in Gainesville? D: Mmhmm. I: And is filmmaking your professional pursuit? D: Its one of them. I: Okay. And could you tell me some of your other occupations? D: I own a martial arts school. I: Okay. D: Im a professional illustrator. I: Oh, cool. D: I guess thats pretty much all.well illustra tion and graphic design go together, but primarily illustration. I: Okay. D: And, uh, those are the things I do I: Professionally. D: A professional. Like, so, making the movies, this stuff, and that. I: Okay. And, uh, could you share with me your level of education? D: Yeah. I.guess college. I: Some college? D: Yeah. I did like, uh, five years, finished my degree in graphic design at UF. And I stopped then, but Im going for a Ma sters in Theology soon. I: Oh wow. Youll have to do this then. D: Whats that? I: Youll have to do a thesis, probably. D: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Im familiar with it. I: Get ready. (laughs) Um, okay. And how many years have you been making films? D: Since 1998. I: Okay. D: Sohowever many that would be. Se ven plus two, nine years I guess. I: (laughs) Um, the number of films that youve made? D: As in directing, or been in? I: Um, I guess Id say that you take full ownership over, so

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111 D: Three. I: Three. D: Well, four if you count a short that I made. I: Okay. Weve been counting shorts. Um, a nd could you share with me your average films budget, or a range? D: A range? Would you count the short? So far its ranged, uh between, 2,000 5,000, sorry, 2,000 100,000. I: Two thousand to one hundred thousand? D: Two thousand to one hundred thousand. I: Okay. Okay. Um, and, may I use your name and the names of your films in this study when I type up my results? Or you can be anonym ous, Anonymous Filmmakerits your choice. D: AnonymousI dont know, wh at works best for you? I: Um, pretty much so far everybody else has let me use their names, but it really doesnt make a difference to me because Im going to classify you as a male, in his mid-thirties, making films for x number of years, so. D: Ill be anonymous for now. I: Okay, okay. D: It sounds mysterious. I: So, Im also going to x out th e names of your films then, too. D: Ooh. Okay. I: Um D: Do you need the names? I: Well, as they come up in conversation. D: Okay. I: Umokay. (door opens) Do you need to go? D: Nope. I: So, those were the classifica tion questions, just to kind of put it into context of who Im speaking to and what ki nd of experience you have. D: Mmhmm. I: And now I have questions related to produc t placement because Im pursuing a Master of Advertising and Im trying to gauge filmma kers opinions toward product placement. D: Okay. I: So, the first question is: do you think product placement has an affect on a finished films quality? D: No. Well, yes because they give you money. I: Uh huh. D: Aside from that, actually putti ng products in the movie, I dont think that affects it too badly. I: Okay. So you dont think it enhances or hurts the quality in any way? D: Wellif you look at something like Happy G ilmore where they had product placement very blatantly I: Like the Subway? D: Or a lot of those other earlier movies like Little Nicky where they had the chicken, like, Mmm, this chicken is so good, the commercial? I: Yeah. D: You kind of notice it becau se they make you notice it. I: Yeah.

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112 D: But if you look at something like, uh, Minor ity Report where they might have like an advertisement for a BMW or a cell phone in the background. I guess it helps to make the movie seem like its really the world that youre living in, but a lot of tim es its just subconsciously, so it doesntif they had some company I didnt know about back there, it would be about the same, you know? I: Okay. D: (inaudible) I: So do you think that product placement is a distra cter at all for an audien ce, if there are brands that are recognizable? D: No. I: Okay. Um, how about: In your experience, or maybe knowledge of other filmmakers experiences, does product placement eff ect the cost of making a film? D: How do you mean? I: Well I mean do you know of anybody whos ever placed a product? And if so, were they paid for it? Did it help their bottom line? D: Yes, it does. I: Okay. D: As incompanies often donate stuff. Like Apple will often donate computers. I: Oh, okay. D: To the production. So if you look at Mission Impossible, the first one? I: Uh huh. D: Youll see a lot of Apple logos all over the pla ce because they gave them that. A lot of times car dealers, or car companies like, uh, GMor like the Minis that showed up in The Italian Job I: Right, yeah. D: They give them to you for the use of that because it promotes the car or it promotes that articles that theyre using. So, uh, yeah it makes things a lot cheaper. I: Okay. And so in that sense that more of a barter, because they provide the product. D: Right. I: Instead of sometimes a company will pay money. D: Right, sometimes theyll do that depending on how big the film is. Once you have a little bit of clout, like a Tom Cruise or something like that yeah, you can easily kind of get them to want to buy into the film and act ually act as investors. I: Okay. D: But, if youre not Tom Cruise, you usually just try to get free stuff to fill it out. I: So its kind of levels ofthat bartering? D: Mmhmm. I: Um, so how do you think these cost benefits I guess well call them benefits, since youve already said that, weigh in maki ng decisions to include a product in a film? So, is a filmmaker more likely to include a product if theyre paid for it or if theres a barter? D: Theyll almost definitely put it in if theyre paid for it. If theyre bartering then it comes down to what company has the best deal, like giving them more or I: Or maybe like the value of th e product? Like giving a car? D: Sometimes. I: Or a computer? D: Well, yeah sometimes.

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113 I: Okay. Um, so would there be an instance in wh ich no cost benefit would merit the inclusion of a product for you as a filmmaker? D: Which means? I: Which means, um, maybe youre against smoking and if Marlboro offered you $100,000 to fund, you know, part of your film to include their brand of cigarettes, you know, is there, is there kind of a line as far as incl uding products in your films? D: Depends on the content of the film really. I: Okay. D: I mean if the film is like a film noir type deal and people are going to be smoking then, yeah, itd be alright. But if the ch aracters dont have a cigarette an d it doesnt really revolve around anything I: Uh huh. D: Then theres no purpose in putting it in even if the person, even if they really wanted you to throw this in. I: Okay. So for you its the story itself that dictates what products can be incorporated. D: Exactly. I: Okay, and its not your personal values outside the film that w ould dictate what you would put in? D: No, noIno. I: Okay. Okay. Um, have you ever sought out products to include in a film? D: No. I: And have you ever included products D: Yeah. I: Like branded products without permission? D: With and without. I: Okay, with and without. D: Mmhmm. As in, smaller proj ects it doesnt really matter. In bigger products that are going commercial it does. I: Uh huh. D: So it comes down to that. I: Could you share with me the process of getting permission? D: Usually its just, you call up the company. I: And you say, Im making a film ? D: And you say, I have this film. They normally want to review it to s ee if their product is, uh, is held in a bad light. I: Right. D: So, like, we have a, one of the scenes in one of our films we have a John Deere hat that one of the characters is wearing. Very difficult to cut the scene out. I: Uh huh. D: And this is how a lot of film makers will end up with these thi ngs, as in their actors may come in dressed in character, and may really su it it, and you may knowingly or unknowingly allow something, you know, a FUBU sign, or something to do with something. I: Right. D: So you have to get clearance before you can actually sell it. Because if you dont get that then its out, yeah.

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114 I: Do companies ever ask for compensation from you as a filmmaker? Like would John Deere ever say, Sure, you can use our logo, but it wi ll cost you a hundred bucks, or whatever? D: Ive heard about that before. But usually its just getting permission. I: Okay, so for you personally you havent had to pay for a brand? D: Right. I: Okay. Um, so do you consider product placement or brands every time you make a film? For instance, you said, actors can show up with brands already on. Is that something that youre kind of aware of? D: You have to be. I: Yeah. D: Because you, because it comes into play when the sale of the movie happens. I: Right. D: So if you dont have clearance, again, it stifle s the distribution process because you have to go and get it, or you have to cut your movie again. I: Okay. D: So, or you have to try to blur it out, or something. I: Right, and well talk about th at. So, um, when your movie gets distributed, is that something that is kind of a technicality of the deal? That they say, We cant distribute this until everything is? D: Is cleared. Like you have to clearance of, of course waivers, everyone has to have those. You have to have a location form saying that you ha ve permission to have that, then you have to have the clearances if you need them. Like most of the time well try to have our movies as clean of all that. I: Uh huh. D: So well use like no name caps, or if there s a cap on somebody well we ar t-shirts that we own the rights to. Or, or just dont really have anything on them. I: Uh huh. D: We try to stay as simple as possible. Its not really too har d. Most people dont notice it. If you have a name of a liquor, you turn the bottle a li ttle bit no one can read it. If you cant read the label then its alright. I: Oh, okay. Is that the rule? D: Basically, yeah. If you can read it, then its bad. Like a lot of times if you watch bigger budget movies that couldnt get clearance youll see like a bottle that l ooks like Coca-Cola or Pepsi in color, and in design, but you wont act ually see the full logo a nd you wont see the full name. I: Right. D: And therefore they can get away without saying, you know, without asking for it or without paying for it or anything else. I: So I think I remember in your film there wa s Jack Daniels, or maybe it was Jack Danielslooking? D: Looking. It was, it was Jack Da niels but it was always turned. I: You made sure that it was notadvertising? D: Exactly. So we made sure th at his hand was on it or something. I: So thats definitely something you had to th ink about when you were orchestrating the scene, like, cover the name, and, uh. D: Mmhmm.

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115 I: Um, and my last question is: what kind of pr oducts have you sought out for inclusion in your films? Um, so we talked about Jack Daniels, even though you didnt include it specifically as a product placement. D: Mmhmm. I: Um, and you talked about clothes a lot of times Is there anything that, say you could have any product in your film with the br and showing, and you could get thei r permission or whatever. Is there something that you would really want to include? Or maybe something that is, because a lot of people have been telling me, you know, I just want like C oke, or a generic good, something that is likely to appear in my scenes anyway, and that way I dont have to hide the label. D: Its probablylittle things lik e that would be nice. But that s not things I would seek out because you can fake that pretty easy and no one cares. I: Right. Okay. D: Id much rather get, li ke, a Mercedes and blow it up. I: Yeah. D: (laughs) Or, uh, or get some co mputers from Apple or somethi ng like that. Like things on the level that, I guess on a little bit higher level of budget to where you can afford to make them expendable. I: Uh huh. D: Because, uh, like on the lower level, like on lower budget films you dont have expendable things. You have to either get, like, broken th ings which is often still what you do on those, but, but you cant really, you dont ha ve the same kind of freedom. I: Uh huh. Right. D: So if you can get permission from BMW to ge t three of them, of the same car, and blow up one. Or, you know, gut it, and then bl ow it up, but at least have the she ll of it. Its a lot easier, a lot more fun. I: Yeah, okay. Well I guess last Id say, do you have any other thoughts on product placement in general that youd like to share with me? D: No, I think all that stuff is pretty. I: Okay, did you have an opinion abou t it, like, before I talked to you? Because I talked to some people who, you know, Id start the interview and they already had 100%, like, an anti, I dont, or they were totally open to it and th ey were like, Based on the offer, I would consider it. So for you.? D: Ive come fromfrom the position that Im at with the few films that Ive done and gotten distribution through I: Uh huh. D: Its kind of, it really just comes down to the artistic vision. I: Uh huh. D: Like if I was approached by a company and th ey wanted to put it in, as long as theyre not, like, killing people in Somalia, or some thing crazy, Im kind of okay with them. I: Okay. D: Uh, on the other end, if it doesn t seem appropriate, then Im not going to just toss it in there unless, unless again, if the mission of th e film itself kind of, uh, trumped it. I: Okay. D: Saying like theyre giving a whole, like if were working through a studio, and the studio is getting part of the funds from a certain comp any and they just want, you know, a cereal box there or something, Ill throw it in, no problem.

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116 I: Okay, okay. D: As long as it doesnt distract away from what youre trying to do. I: Okay, great. Alright, well, that s pretty much it, short and sweet. D: Okay. I dont have to be a nonymous if you dont want me to be. I: Its totally up to you. D: NoI dont have to be anonymous, if nobody else is anonymous then. I: (laughs) Okay. D: It seems strange then I: I dont want to pe er pressure you.(laughs) D: I can be normal. I: Alright! ### End of Interview

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117 Interview Transcription #7 Deanna Russo, Venice, CA Filmmaker, 27, Actress Friday, Jan. 26, 5 p.m. Phone interview I= Interviewer D=Deanna First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins. I: Okay, first Im just going to go through some classification questions so that when I write about this, I can either use your name if I have your permission to use your name, or I can, you know, female, filmmaker, blah, blah, blah. D: Okay. I: Um, so, can you tell me first your age? Or you can give me a range of ages. D: Im 27. I: Seven? 27? D: Yeah. I: Okay. And city that you live in? D: I live in Venice Beach. I: Okay. And is filmmaking your profession? I know you also act. D: Yeah, uh, acting is my main profession. Um Im actually, the film you saw was my first project. I: Okay. Um so do you D: As far as directing and producing. I: Okay. Um, then could you share with me the budget of that film? D: The what of that film? I: The budget. D: (laughs) There really wasnt! I: Really! D: Yeah, (inaudible)a lot of fr iends that all kind of didnt mi nd not getting paid. We owe each other favors and so this movie was made basically entirely on favors. I: Okay. D: I think I spent, I dont know, um, maybe $50 making up duplicates and another $80 converting it to vista beta, but, um, yeah, everythi ng else was just kind of done by favors. Even actual cassettes that it was film ed on, was, you know, gifts. (laughs) I: Oh, okay, great, thats awesome. I really liked it by the way. D: Oh, thanks. I: I saw it in Gainesville at the Florida Art Film Festival. D: Uh huh. I: And it was hilarious, like, everybo dy really seemed to love it, so. D: Oh thats cool! Thanks. It just got accepted fo r competition at the Florida Film Festival so Ill be back, Ill be in Orlando I think the end of March, so. I: Good, congratulations. D: Yeah, thanks!

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118 I: Um, so youve made one film and I have a question how many years have you been making films, so did you make it within the last year, or? D: Yeah, I completed it in, uh, in August. I: Okay. D: Um, yeah. But Ive been involved with filmma king, you know, in front of the camera since, uh, 2000. I: Okay. Um, and could you share wi th me your level of education? D: Yeah, I completed my B.A. in Psychology at Rollins College. I: Okay. Did you say at Rollins? D: Yeah. I: Oh! In Orlando, or near Orlando! D: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, its in Winter Park. I: Cool. Um, and do you mind if I name you in this study? D: Uh, no, I dont. I: Okay. Okay, great, so those are the classi fication questions and Im just going to go through some of the product placement questions with you quickly. D: Okay. I: Um, first question is: Do you th ink that product placement has an affect on a finished films quality? D: Do I think product placement has an affect on.say that again? I: On quality of a film. D: Quality of a film. Um, definitely, I think, we ll, product placement is distracting because its very obvious when you see a label. I: Okay. D: Um, and its pretty obvious when you hear characters talking about a product thats not necessarily part of an actual conversation. I mean, it is natural for a character, its natural for people in real life to discuss products or, you know, advertising to your friends. I mean, I catch myself all the time tell ing my sister about beauty products for example, you know, or whatever, and it feels like were in a commercial but, um, but if youre in film it gets tricky, and you kind of feel like youve been dupe d when youre watching it. I: Okay. D: However, you know, you need to have that budget somehow. I: Right. D: So even though its kind of like I mean, it im proves the quality of the film because you get to throw some extra dough at it. I: Uh huh. D: But at the same time it kind of diminishes the quality because you have to slap a Yoo-hoo sticker or something, you know, right across a train set in the opening scene of The Sopranos, for example. I: Okay, right, exactly. Um, so do you know anybody whos dealt with product placement directly, um, filmmakers or maybe act ors whove had to deal with it? D: Um, yeah, Ive worked on pictures all the time where its an issue. I: Okay. D: None of the films that Ive be en a part of have been major budget films, so weve been lucky because we get to kind of fly underneath the radar for product placement. I: Right.

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119 D: Although, actually, my friend, um, uh, worked on the film The Breakup, and, uh, this one guy tried so hard to write in a line about Effen vodka, because I guess they go to a bar and he wanted Vince Vaughn to order Effen vodka and Red Bull. I: Yeah. D: Effen, E-F-F-E-N, yeah thats it, thats how they spell it. I: Yeah. D: This is before it had come out and Effen vod ka, the company was willing to spend this crazy amount of money just to ha ve Vince Vaughn say it once. I: Uh huh. D: Um, Surprisingly enough to me, the director decided against it. A nd also with Vince Vaughn, he had a great deal of say with that, with the fina l outcome of that movie, he also disagreed with that. I: Really, wow! D: Yeah. I: Um, so that brings me to my next question which is: Do you think that the cost effects weigh in the decision to include it? So, in that example, even though th ey were heavily considering it, based on, you said, this huge amount of money they were going to throw at the film, they still were able to turn it down based onthe merit of the filmor it just didnt fit? D: (laughs) Sorry! Uh ha ve you seen The Breakup?! I: (laughs) Yeah, I did. D: Im sorry, thats really mean to say because a lot of people work ed really hard on that film. Based on the merit of the film is kind of a joke. I: Yeah. D: Its kind of funny. It is a big feature, um with some big budget studio, was it Universal who, lets seewho did that? I forget, but, um, they spent a ton of money on it and studios, studios are greedy, you know. So Im if the studio ever found out about it they might have laid some pressure on, um, on the director and low level pro ducers to say that name. Um, personally I just think Vince Vaughn is stubborn and hes got, um, a very set way of doing things, and, um, so I think he just didnt want to be someone elses commercial is what I think it came down to. I: Uh huh. D: That particular situation I dont think had a lo t to do with, um, with the money. Because they clearly didnt need it. I: Right. D: And, um, yeah, does that answer your question? I: No it does. So, so it was more like actor preference which was his preference overruled that amount of money that would have been thrown. D: Right. When youre at the level that Vi nce Vaughn is at and you ve proved yourself to beyou know, the big hitter that he is, like sometimes youre working on setnobody really stands up to him. Kind of like, what he says goes, and I dont think he wanted to sound like an idiot, basically. I: Right. Right, okay. Um, so then, I guess you ve made one film, and the question is: Do you consider product placement every time you ma ke a film? I guess maybe for you it would be: Would you consider product pla cement in future filmmaking? D: Hmmm. Would I consider product placement? Tricky, tricky because, as much as you want to as a filmmaker you want to consider yourself an artist. I: Uh huh. D: And at the same time youre trying to be erect.

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120 I: Uh huh. D: So its an even balance of making the film thats in your head without compromising any of the shots. I: Right. D: Um, and product placement is one big compromise. I: Uh huh. D: So, I dont know. I would consider it if it could, um, bolster part of the film like it did in E.T., Reeses Pieces. That candy was so embraced in that show, and how successful was that for that candy company? I: Right. D: Everybody Even still to this day the whole r eason why I crave Reeses Pieces is because of that film! I: (laughs) Its because of E.T.? D: Yeah, because of that scene. You know, I hear d a rumor that they originally wanted M&Ms? I: Yeah. Thats true. D: Is that true? I: Yeah, thats what I at least in academic research thats true, yeah. D: I wonder, I wonder because it was a new candy at the time. I guess it was their way to kind of promote something that no one had ever heard of, is that true? I: Um, I think, yeah, the way the story went as far as I know it is that Spielberg wanted M&Ms and they didnt really, you know, know what he wanted to do with it or why he would put specifically M&Ms, so they just sa id no. So he went to Reeses Pi eces and they said yes because they were new so they kind of really didnt have that much stock in the success of their candy. D: Thats crazy! Oh my god! I: Yeah. D: I guess, I mean, Steven Spielberg was already a pretty amazingly, um, established director at that point so its kind of f unny that they didnt trust him with their #1, you know, product, I guess was M&Ms. I: Right. D: Its so funny because I can im agine the pitch! Okay, so ther es this alien, and the only way you can lure him into the house is with the candy! I: (laughs) Yeah. Id buy into it! D: I dont knowI guess can kind of understand where theyre coming from! I: Yeah. D: Its actually really interesting because you see the kind of evolution of product placement over, over the decades because even in shows like Rosanne, I remember, they only ever had and they still do it, I just remember seeing, um, generic name brands, you know, Corn Flakes as opposed to Kelloggs. I: Right. D: And now with TiVo, you have to have, um, if a show, if a network wants to increase their revenues through advertising theyll have to put some pressure on television shows to incorporate product placement because everyone s fast-forwarding through commercials now. I: Right. D: So, its kind of, um, I dont know, Im totally going off the original question, but its interesting how, even in, I remember in The S opranos, I think it was the opening episode of the last season they did, there were three different product placements they did that were really obvious. One was the Porsche Cayenne, sh e would not shut up about this car!

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121 I: Really? D: Yeah, that Tony had, um, swindled for his wife. I: Uh huh. D: And she went around bragging about it, brag ging about it, and dropping I mean she must have said the name of th at car at least a dozen ti mes in that one episode. I: Wow. D: And they show her driving around every once in a while in other episodes, but it was heavily pushed in that one episode. I: Yeah. D: Um, there was also, like, I dont know if it was Yoo-hoo, but there was some kind of like, it was some kind of I remember it was a yellow labe l, um, on a train set. As this one actor is playing with a train set, and its really obvious because the act ors in the background behind it, and suddenly it back focuses to the train set in the foreground and it even kind of follows a little bit of the movement of that one car. I: Yeah. D: Of that one sticker, of that one advertisemen t on it. It was so bizarre! It really takes you out of it. I: Yeah. D: And it was only 30 seconds, youre watching it and youre, Oh my go d, HBO, where are you going?!. I: Yeah. D: Because they dont have those kind of things in their films or in their projects. The other, the other show that it was rea lly noticeable in is The Office. I: Oh yeah! D: Theyll do an entire.theyll spend an entire episode about going to Chilis. I: Yes! D: And, you know, what kind of drinks you get and Ch ilis and all that stuff, as well as, um, the last episode this season they did they were throwing some sort of party for the office. I: Uh huh. D: And there was some kind of frozen food but the way that they announced the frozen food it was oh my god! Staples! Staples was all over that! I: I saw that, when Dwight got fired and he had to go work at Staples. D: Yeah, yeah! And there was another, I mean, there was a lot of them to where I explainedum, gosh, I forget what the big guys name is in it but he starts shredding documents and its blatant, theres a blatant labe l of Staples right the pa per shredder that hes using. I: Yes, I remember that too. D: Yeah. I: Um, I think D: But thats the thing, like, when its that obvious when youre watching it. Maybe something that could be used in casual conversation as when.um, um, what the actors name who plays the lead character? Uh I: Steve Carell? D: Thank you! I: Yeah. (laughs)

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122 D: Um, a good example of using product placement is when Steve Carell suggests to the party planning committee to buy this certain kind of ch imi-chongas, or whatever from the frozen food section of the supermarket. I: Right. D: Because thats something that you could imag ine a boss saying and certainly his character. I: Right. D: And a bad example of product placem ent is, is uh, like a Staples label. I: Right. D: Where youre kind of forced to set up a shot because what, what the layman, what the average viewer doesnt know watching any fi lm or any television is that no shot is an accident. Everything is completely planned out, I mean, the crew, the lighting. I mea n, every shot takes at least one hour to two hours to set up if not more dependi ng on how complicated it is. I: Right. D: So its so much effort to set up a shot, but if you have a Staples l ogo within, you know, in the context of one two-second shot, because they pu t it there, that somebody like me or you is going to pick up on that and kind of roll their eyes and think Oh my god, they sold out. Whereas, other people everywhere else is going to go, Oh, Staples! I guess they make good paper shredders!. I: Right, right. D: See the difference? So, thats what I would ha ve to consider as a filmmaker is how it would incorporate into it. Just li ke how I would, I would compare product placement to sex scenes. Would a sex scene, you know, increase the market ability of my film? Or, you know, is it really going to add to the artistic integrit y of my message as a filmmaker? I: Uh huh. And thats a good comparison. Nobodys come up with that on e yet in talking to filmmakers, but that is definitely true. Its lik e, do you jam something in there just to, you know, make it more or less appealing, whatever. D: Yeah. I: Or do you stick with, you know, your pla n, your vision as the filmmaker. Um D: Exactly. Yeah that actually happened in a film, one of the last films I ju st did as an actor. Um, the director was Dan Myrick, w ho did The Blair Witch Project. I: Uh huh. D: And originally there was a love scene between me and another character. And then we went to film it that day but the scene leading up to it was so passionate with just a kiss that we decided, after the director decided, that it was su ch a beautiful intimate scene that a love scene afterwards would, um, discount th e connection and chemistry that we had in the scene prior. I: Right. D: So the decision was to not even shoot the love scene. So four months later Warner Brothers is knocking on the door saying, you know, We si gned on to a picture with a love scenesoheres some money, go re-shoot it. I: Wow. D: And so the other day, actually Tuesday of th is week, I had to go back in and do the love scene. I: Uh huh. D: And they asked me what I was comfortable with and the studio want ed frontal, top frontal nudity. And I said, No, no, no. I: Yeah.

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123 D: I said no because it made me feel uncomfortab le first of all because it had nothing to do with the script, nothing to do with the contex t, with the storyline of the film. I: Uh huh. D: Also, its a low-budget feature. I: Right. D: So, Im going to need some if Im going to be selling out my breasts, Im going to need to make at least six figures! I mean, come one, Im not going to do this for peanuts! I: (laughs) Yeah. Right. D: Its like, its a balance between being an arti st and keeping some type of integrity and also knowing your price tag. I: Yeah. D: Because everybody has got their price tag. I: Right. D: Mine just happens to be a lot more than what they were offering. I: Yeah. D: (laughs) I: Well, and good for you D: Go ahead. I: I was just going to say, you know, I apprecia te you, like, making that statement that everybody has their price tag, because I f eel like, you know, some of the ot her filmmakers, which are on a very local level, but some of the other filmmake rs I spoke to have told me things like, you know, I would never, ever place a product, no matte r what. You know, and Im kind of thinking, well, if it gives you a budget and it helps get your film distributed. D: Right. If thats the difference between an 800 theater release and, and, you know, a massive release then, oh my god, I think those people woul d change their minds ve ry quickly. And maybe thats the difference between working in a city like L.A. as opposed to Florida. I: Right. D: Because you see that stuff a lot more. Um, a lo t of my friends work for, um, one of the most famous agencies in town. I dont wa nt to say it and you write it down! I: Okay, good. D: Well, no, actually, its fine because its a bus iness and Im not saying anything bad, so Ill tell you, its CAA. A lot of my friends work for CAA. I: Okay. D: And, um, they, they package a lot of movies together because they represent everyone across the board from filmmakers to writers to talent, etcetera. I: Uh huh. D: And when they put together a movie they sa y its an equation. And they look to see how much The Rock could bring in monetarily. They look to see if they paired up The Rock with Sean William Scott, how much that draws, and th en when they add in Christopher Walken, they have themselves a good list. So, its kind of, its great that theres these local filmmakers that swear that they would never sell out. I: Right. D: But its a different circumstance when you get to a city like L.A., which is the film capital of the world, and you I: Uh huh. D: Well, L.A. is not the film capital of the world, I think somewhere else ha s that job, I take that back!

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124 I: (laughs) Okay. D: But, um, what Im trying to say is, you want to make your ideal film, you want to play with the big boys, everyone has to compromise along the way somehow. Its a lot like politics, by the time youre running for President, y ou had to kiss so much ass to ge t there, thats its amazing if you even know what you stand for and that is a lo t like, its comparable to the entertainment industry, business. It really is a business, its show business. I: Right. D: And, and, I dont know, just to go off on a ta ngent, I think thats th e reason why all these celebrities are off their rockers, because I: (laughs) D: Not only did they have to work really hard to get where they are most of the time, by the time they get to where they are, everyones drawn to them, and ther e telling them the things that they want to hear as opposed to the things that they should hear. I: Right. D: And another kind of side note about that that Ive personally noticed; when you work in L.A. theres so many unions that control ev ery aspect of every shot on set. I: Right. D: That its a way to kind of protect people from, um, its a way to protect people from doing each others jobs because thats how it used to be. Before unions everyone kind of pitched in and helped with, um, each others jobs and ever yone kind of crossed boundaries, um, because the studio would let them because they wouldnt have to pay for jobs that they were doing for each other. I: Right. D: So to go to a country like Bu lgaria, where its all non-union. I: Yeah. D: And, because I just had to do a film in Bulgaria and it was such a treat because I was able to pick up my chair and move it closer to the heater. And, its just, if I had done that in L.A. there would have been producers on my ass! I: Yeah? Are you serious? D: Just to pick up a chair and move it to the heater or wherever I want it. I cant even I have to tell them where I want it. I cant touch my own microphone, I cant touch my clothes, I cant do my own makeup, because its someone elses job! When I start doing that job, Im taking work away from a perfectly capable person. I: Right D: So its really great, on one hand, on the other hand, it takes three times as long to get anything done! Why I wasnt talking about that? I was talking about it for a reasonoh, I know, I was just saying how, you know, can you imagine that bei ng your life all the time; not being able to, you know, adjust your clothes, or take o ff your mic, or pick out your own food. I: Right. D: Little things like th at. I mean, its huge. Ive only been out in L.A. for five years now, and Im definitely a different person than when I first moved here and I swore up and down that I would never do a soap opera! I: Uh huh. D: When I first moved here I said, Eww, gro ss, Im a better actor than that, but now Im thinking, Yeah, I would not have to go on a job interview for a really long time!. I: Yeah.

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125 D: I would have to move to New York? Grea t! That sounds like fun! You know, its amazing how, yeah, how things change. Like, what kind of future do you want to support? Do you have a family to support? Do you have, uh, do you want a steady job? Then its easier to incorporate things like product placement, as a filmmaker in to your work because it depends; do you want to provide money for you and your family and sell out to the thing? Or w ould you rather forfeit future jobs, and maybe have to sell your house, you know, because, you know, because you wont put a product label in one shot. I: Right. D: Its an intense, I dont know everybodys got their everybody ha s their own priorities, so it really depends. Its interesting that you sa id a local filmmaker that most people youve interviewed come from a low-budget but have you interviewed anybody else from Los Angeles or Hollywood? I: Ummno, Id say New York is probably the ne xt biggest. And they were by far the most open to the idea. Well well, yeah. Pretty much everyone Ive talked to who has had their film distributed was more open to the idea. And th e people who are, you know, still kind of breaking into it, or who have other full-time jobs, and th is is more their profe ssional-slash-hobby, theyre the ones who are really more closed off to it. D: Wow, thats beautiful! Thats actually I ll have to tell my friends that. I think its also indicative of I have friends who are actors here I am I moved to L.A., and my friends are still doing theater, I mean, real theater roles that I prob ably realistically never, ever, ever get to act. I: Uh huh. D: Because 90% of what I do is based on how I look and not based on my talent. I: Uh huh. D: And 90% of what they do is based on their ta lent and not on how they look, so, I dont know. And I admire that, I definitely admire that, I dont know, I dont know if I could, I dont know if I could do that. Its a ll about, its all about your personality I guess. I: Yeah, and D: You either have a personality for business or you personality for the art. I: Exactly, and I feel like thos e that are more successful kind of strike balance between the understanding that to get your f ilm in front of peoples eyes you might have to get a bigger budget or compromise, you know, in some way. D: Or, a lot of those people already come fr om rich families, or have rich friends. I: Yeah? D: Who will cough up the dough and not interfere with the vision. I: With the vision. D: And thats why I think some of those pe ople who do independent and foreign films come from. I: Right. D: Is, its, yeah. I: Yeah, theres people like that, and then th eres people who are tota lly starving artists. I mean Ive definitely crossed both. D: Yeah. I: And last question is: If you coul d include any product in your film and this doesnt have to be a brand, you can say, Oh I wish I could incl ude, you know, sodas, or clothing labels, or whatever. What would you like the oppor tunity to include in your film? D: Hmm.

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126 I: So a lot of people have told me, Id like to just be able to not worry about hiding labels and just do, like, generic goods, like computers, or notebooks, or whatever. And other people have specific things that theyve wanted. D: (laughs) I: Like one guy said, I really wi sh I could have Mercedes in my film, and I was like, Okay! Dont we all wish Mercedes were in our film! D: (laughs) Yeah, exactly! No, I th ink, I think, let me think.(laughs) I cant think of an answer. I dont know, I guess since I dont exactly know wh at my next project is going to be as a director, its kind of hard. Well, no, I don t know, Im sorry, what were you saying? I: Well, in that case, maybe your answer would be It would be a product th at would fit into my next role as a director. So, maybe just products that fit into the scenes, or whatever? It is a tricky question! D: Yeah. ### End of Interview

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127 Interview Transcription #8 Darren McDaniel, Orlando Filmmaker, 37, Entrepreneur Sunday, Jan. 28, 3 p.m. Phone interview I= Interviewer D=Darren First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins. I: The first questions that I have are some classification questions, um D: Okay. I: Youll have the opportunity to be named, you know, as male filmmake r or I can use your first and last name, its up to you. D: It doesnt matter, my name is fine. I: Oh, okay. Um, and you live in Orlando is that correct? D: Yes. I: Okay. And would you mind sharing your age or a range, an age range in which you fall? D: Um, 37. I: Okay, and is filmmaking your professional pursuit? D: Um, it is, yes, amongst a few others right now. I: Okay. Uh, will the next question is what is your occupation, so if you dont mind sharing what some of the other things you do are. D: Sure. Um, I guess, Im president of my pr oduction company, but I guess Im kind of like an entrepreneur too. Its just, the thing that give s me my money right now is an Internet start-up that I put together after we fini shed post-production on the film I got the idea for it so thats my main project. I: Okay, great. And now is that Inte rnet, is that up and running yet? D: Uhnot yet. Its any, could be any week now It wont be live for another couple months, but I: Oh, okay. Yeah, because I think I visited your website right afte r I met you at the film festival and it said coming soon, yeah. D: Yeah, thats all it is. I: Um, okay, oh and also could you share your level of education? D: Um, yes, Ive got a bachelors in film. I: Okay. D: And a masters in Southern Studies and a masters in Sociology and I guess you.I have a designation is Sociology. If I would have stayed another year I would ha ve had my dissertation, but I stopped. I: Oh, wow. Dont tell me that! Because Ive got to finish this thesis! (laughs) D: (laughs) Yeah. I: Um, so you said you have a masters in Sociol ogy, and a masters in.wh at was the other one, Im sorry? D: Southern Studies. I: Southern Studies, okay, cool. Um and, how many films have you made? D: Only the one feature film. I: Okay.

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128 D: Ive made some shorts and Ive made a comme rcial and things like that. But only one feature film. I: Okay. Um, and how many years have you been making films? D: Well, its hard to say. Ive made shorts and freelanced, you know, in the last couple years of my undergraduate education and then like, some years after that. I: Mmhmm. D: And then I went back into the graduate school world for, uh, oh I dont know, seven, eight, nine years. I: Mmhmm. D: And then 2001, I guess, is when I turned my attention, you know, full throttle back into filmmaking stuff, so. I: Okay. So well say since 2001 for D: Yeah you can say since 2000, thats fine. I: Okay. Um, now, youve made the one feature le ngth film which I did see. And I enjoyed by the way! Um, would you mind sharing with me the films budget? D: Um, yeah, I dont mind, I dont mind sharing it. I mean if theres a way of not being specific in print Id appreciate it, but I: Yeah, thats fine. If you even want to gi ve me a range, or some people even say, you know, less than $2000 or whatever. D: Well, yeah. I mean the way we did it is, it s a different way. So me do like deferrals or whatever, but the cash budget wa s in the neighborhood of, like, $200,000. I: Okay. Okay, good. Well then the next questions that I have are specific to product placement. And, like I said in my emails to you, I found myself in my other intervie ws kind of referring to our future interview because I know that youve created some brands and kind of placed them within your film so Im really interested to hear what you have to say about that. Because, I mean, before even talking to you specifically ab out this, you seem like a filmmaker who really thinks about the idea of product pl acement when hes making the film. D: Yeah, I felt that way. I: Um, so, I guess my first question would be do you consider product placement every time you make a film? So, youve made the one film and you considered it, correct? D: Um, yes. I: And do you think that that would be th e case for making future films as well? D: I do. Although, its a, as we talked before its kind of a two.I dont know, there are two roads that diverge here. One of them is, you know, like taking corporate the products that exist out there and putting, and pulli ng them into your film. I: Right. D: And the other one is maki ng, you know, your own products, or what I did was putting scenes for, you know, dozens of different product possib ilities, um, in my film. So, uh, yeah, Id consider it and as far as the former one, um, you know, its more fun to me to think of different ways to, you know, maximizing the pot ential or having fun with th ings that would actually be my own product placements. But, uh, Id consid er the other just for, uh, you know, for budget. If it was a way to make, so you dont have to raise as much money basically. I: Uh huh. Um, so, I have a question which youve already pretty much answered which is: does product placement effect the cost of making the film? So you say, Yes, absolutely? D: Um, yes. What I learned was, and I dont know how theyve changed things now I: Uh huh.

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129 D: But when we did some investigation into th e possibility of doing so me product placement in films that were not original idea things I: Uh huh. D: The companies generally said, I think what th ey said was, like, if youre, if youre under $20 million, I think it was under $20 million, then we wont, you know, we dont even consider talking to you. I: Okay. D: Now, and so, it pretty much closed the door on that type of. There we re like two or three different ones that we talked to that, uh, that were, that just w ouldnt consider small budget films basically. I: And is, is that D: I dont know if youve found othe r filmmakers, if things have ch anged in the last four years, but back then thats what we found. I: Well, I was going to say, I talked to a lot of smaller budgets. I mean definitely smaller than $200,000 and the interpretation of product placement changes, I think a lot. So some people would talk about, you know, kind of bartering or using a location for free and showing that location as kind of the exchange, um, or even just getting items for their wrap party or whatever, um, and putting that in the film somewhere. Um, you know, whereas putting, um, Coca-Cola or something like that would probably be at that $20 m illion mark or whatever it is that they said to you then, um, I think theres a lot of different ways to interpret it based on the level and the budget that youre working with. D: Yeah, there are a lot of, I mean, we did, we di d a huge special thanks list, that doesnt quite, you know, I dont think that quite addresses what youre talking about, but, um, people would provide meals for us or locations. I: Uh huh. D: You know, our agreement with them was that, wa s that there would be a special thanks credit. I: Right. D: But we, we didnt reallylike anything that had to do with Fl orida, we were making the film in Florida but setting it in Texas, so we pretty much had to mask any, any references to actual Florida businesses and things. I: Right. Um, and I just opened th e attachment that you sent to me. D: Mmhmm. I: So, all these brands, are any of those real or are they all created, created for the film? D: No, theyre all created for the film. I: Wow. D: So we basically what, it wasnt like, you know, Im going to set out to see where I can market in the end, basically it was a way of in a busine ss plan thinking, Okay, we ll, if you just make a film youre putting all your eggs in one basket and if you mercha ndise things then any one of those little quirky things coul d take off on its own. Like weve got this, you knowwhat ultimately happened in the film was we cut out about thirty minutes of stuff and so some of those brandings got lost on the cutting room floor, but there were all these references to this woman and her fish seasoning packet. Which is ju st, you know, this pre posterous thing, but I: Uh huh. D: Itd be a shame to make a film and have th at be our big product that were going to put out there, is packages of fish s easoning, but uh, but that was one of things that, again, we developed, we developed as a brand and, uh, if, if the movie would have would have taken off to the point that we needed it to then people w ould be able to access all this stu ff that was in the film. I mean

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130 the whole thing about Irwin was, you know, its ki nd of the mightiness of the small mentality and the underdog idea and so what I was trying to was to make, you know, the small town stuff hip in a way. I: Right. D: Not just to, you know, cosmopolitan youth necessarily. I: Uh huh. D: But something that would be neat. You know theres a, um, an athletic, people wear, you know, athletic attire or whatever. I: Uh huh. D: And so, and so I thought, Well, okay instead of having Nike logos on everything well just have, you know, uh, Millies Diner, uh, softball jerseys. I: Uh huh. D: You know, nobody knows what it is or where it cam e from or anything but theres fun in the quirkiness of the obscure, I guess. I: I mean from an advertis ing standpoint, I love it! D: Oh! I: I think thats awesome because when you think about it sometimes those things happen. Like I remember when of course Forrest Gump was a, like, you know, very popular movie, but then there was like, the Bubba Gump Shrimp hats, and the, you know, just the little brands that were in there took off and kind of had a life of their own. D: Right. I: So, so I guess D: And if we had had one thing like that that just took off, pe ople wonder what that is. And, I, you know, I also still think that wi ll happen in a strange way, Im not exactly sure how all of this is going to work. I: Uh huh. D: You know, I think initially comi ng out the gate we didnt get the type of success with the film Id hoped that we would. I: Uh huh. D: And Ive had to, you know, focus on other proj ects, but I do think that when, you know, this current project launches that that s going to give me some nati onal exposure and thats going to help the film. I: Right, and some leverage. Uh, yeah, Im into that. Um, so in general as a filmmaker do you think that product placement has an a ffect on a finished films quality? D: Um, well, Ill tell you, I mean its, wh en I, when I watch some other films I: Uh huh. D: Especially big studio films. I: Right. D: To me it breaks the story when I see them. I mean, I can tell when Im being manipulated. I: Yeah. D: Its not a bad thing, I dont think necessa rily, sometimes it is, but, you know depending on how overt it is. I mean one of the things I can remember is, like, the, uh, Project Greenlight show that they had on HBO. I: Uh huh. D: Um, you know, they, they would always have Starbucks cups on the desk. I: Yeah.

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131 D: And you just know that someone had place them in an effective that they really were conscious of making sure that they were there. I: Right. D: And so things like that, when youre, when youre watching a film and you see something like that it just sort of stands out as okay, it just breaks the experience of being locked in a film, you know. Its reminder that theres a crew doi ng this and producers making decisions and, well, I dont know if thats the case for ever ybody, I dont know how you feel or anybody else. I: And I do another question th at I have is: do you think that product placement distracts the film audience from the story at hand? And it sounds like youre sa ying it definitely can depending on how D: It does, it does for me. I mean, but, uh, but I dont know if thats always going to be the case, but yes, it definitely can. I: Uh huh. Um, I also ask the question: do you think that product placement enhances or hurts the quality of the film? And it sounds like depending on because in your case, your products, even though theyre not outside products, I would think, definitely enha nce the quality of the film because it creates this whole, you know, sense of this world, like you feel like you are allencompassed. D: Right. Thats why I set up the brands. I: Right. But if they had been outside brands, then maybe that could have hurt the quality because it would be a distracter. Um, how do you, what do you feel about that? Would you ever consider using outside brands? D: If it seemed natural. And thats a part of th at whole thing. I had mayb e six or seven mentions of Cracker Barrel in the script originally. I: Uh huh. D: And there might still be one or two left in there. But it was this running joke that, that, uh, you know, the town council had distra cted attention from an issue by saying they might build a Cracker Barrel in town. I: (laughs) Uh huh. D: So all these people kept asking and it was like, Oh I cant wait until we get our Cracker Barrel. I: Uh huh. D: Theres only like two thousand people. I: Yeah. D: So theres like no chance, really. I: Yeah. D: But what happens with things like that is, you know, its not necessarily like a placement, it is a product placement in a way in that youre re inforcing the brand of Cracker Barrel and everything that that means. I: Right. D: So what happens then is that, you know, th eres recourse because you have got to get clearance for each reference that you make, and every time a Coca-Cola, you know, you cant show a can of Coca-Cola. We had, like we had a, uh, Budweiser beer bottle in one the shots and we had to, uh, mark it up so you couldnt see that it was Budw eiser and all that. I: Uh huh. D: So thats a whole other, you know, angle on it especially when youre independent and low budget. I: Right.

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132 D: It costs a lot to get those clearances. I: Right. Um, that, that D: If that answers your question. I: It does. I mean, thats what Ive heard form a lot of the other indie filmmakers, is that, when I ask if they consider product placement each time they make a film, they typically say, I dont consider as something I could do, I consider it, you know, when Im having to hide brands, or mark them out, like you said. D: I think thats a, I think thats a really good point. And if you consider it as something you could do, then often, the mountain of paperwork a nd dealing with larger companies, especially when you are a small fry, you know, youre really not going to get any money for it, and certainly youre really going to run into a lo t of hassles. So I think a lot of independent filmmakers try to write that stu ff, you know, out of their scripts. I: So, my next question is how do the cost effect s, which could be positive, or negative, as you were just speaking about, um, of product placement weigh in th e decision to include product placement? But, like, what you were just explaining to me that it is so expensive to use a brand, even if its just spoken word, that a lot of times that hassle outwei ghs the want or need to include it in your story. Is that correct? D: It might not be in expense of money, it might just be in expense of hassle of getting legal clearance and all that stuff, so, but yes. I: Okay. Now, my next question is, kind of a hypothetical, but: is there an instance in which no cost benefit would merit the in clusion of a product? So, if, yo u know, Brand X came to you with whatever their product was and offered you as much money as you needed, is there something are there certain products that you absolutely w ould never include in you r film? Is it based maybe on the storyline or the content of the m ovie or your personal values, anything like that? D: Um, have you seen the film State and Main? I: I havent, but somebody else wa s talking to me about it in an interview so I had to look it up on, on the Internet Movie Database. But they do D: Theres a funny thing that they do in that, and thats, uh, one of thei r sponsors is a website, and its a historical film so, theyre maki ng a historical film in this small town. I: Uh huh. D: So they have to find a way to sort of creativel y, um, include a dot com site, a web site in this historical setting. And its I dont know, your question made me think of that. I: Right, no exactly. And that would be a cas e where those filmmakers should say no cost benefit would merit the in clusion of that! Yeah. D: It just makes a mockery of I: Of the whole film. I have to see that I think, because I was reading the synopsis online and I was like, this sounds pretty entertaining actually! D: Yeah, its a, its a good film. It was one of those of I coul d see just ten films, well, Id probably say the Irwin film would be one of them. I: Yeah. D: Um, but to answer your quest ion, I think yeah. Well, I cant re ally think off the top of my head what specific products there would be th at I would say absolutely no I wouldntbut you know there would certainly be, you know, political reasons, or, you know just not thinking that companies are very good. Like, I dont know that I would really high light a Wal-Mart, say. I: Right. But I see you have your Frugal-Mart here. D: Right! (laughs)

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133 I: Um, okay well if you could include any type of product or any name pr oduct in one of your films, do you have a preference of what you would wa nt to include if there was not that barrier of legal hassles and things like that? Is there some thing that you wish you could just put in without worry? D: Um, Im trying to think. Im trying to decide on what film Im making in the future. It nothing comes to mind, no. I: Okay. Um, alright well I kind of wanted to get through my specific product placement questions so that you can talk to me about what you did specifical ly with The Essence of Irwin. D: Sure. I: Um, so we talked about the fish seasoning. Wh at, just, kind of, if you dont mind sharing your thought process, how you came up with the differe nt things, why you chose to, you know, to do the Millies t-shirts, and stuff like that. D: Okay. Um, well, one thing that I tried to do wa s basically put something verbal in there. And it wasnt like I was forcing into it, it was just kind of how it worked out. Like theres a metal band at the end. I: Right. D: And Cymbalix has nothing with anything for small town America. I: Uh huh. D: Still, by making that band, th at segment of the audience, y ou know, who thinks that that music is good and that Irwin is funny, will have something to attach to. You know, and also if that took off we could make a CD from Cymbalix and have a we bsite, you know the plan at the beginning with them, all these things are websites So irwintexas.com is a website for the town so we kind of made a town in some way. I: Uh huh. D: We had in development and never quite finished was a website for the high school. I: Uh huh, they were the Eagles, is that right? D: Yeah, the Skyhawks. I: The Skyhawks, yeah. That was, I remember that mascot. D: And they all had, uh, their different, you know, like the jerseys and the helmets and things like that. The athletic set that a high school or an athletic department would have. I: Uh huh. D: And, like, uh, I though, okay, Im going to have to have like a Beanie Baby line and well have Beanie Babies of the, uh, logo woman in the walking Texas costume. I: Oh, um, yeah. I really liked that character by the way. The ha ir, the graduation hair was my favorite! D: Uh, yeah. She actually, she did graduate, sh e went through the Sociology department at Vanderbilt with me and she did ge t her Ph.D. about a year ago. I: Really? D: Yeah, so she finally earned the hair! But, uh, yeah, her husbands character, you know we had to cut back a lot, but um, he was a, um, he had a super hero fetish with this creature that we made. I: Mmhmm. D: So we would hit all that on the comic book side of things. Just like Irwin had their mascot, you know, Pinkerton, the rival town had their bull ma scot. So we would have had Beanie Babies and also all the, uh, athl etic rival type of stu ff for both those schools. I: Uh huh. D: Uhh, they

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134 I: Well, is there I cannot thi nk of another movie or instance where Ive ever really seen anybody, like, creating specific brands. Maybe that happens all the time, but Ive never seen anyone take it all the way through. You know, Im just kind of it seems like such a great idea I wonder why more filmmakers don t do that, because all these ma rketing opport unities are built into your film. D: Yeah, its, I think that people like, I mean, I l ook at it, its similar to a Disney movie, because thats what Disney did. I: Uh huh. D: Thats what they were supposed to do to make peopleyou know, theyd plant all those things, like, you know, like Toy Story, or whatever comes out. I: Right. D: You know theyre looking at a ll the toys and all the things that can come out of it. I: Right. D: And it wasnt that.I think really I woul dnt have done that had I done another film. I: Uh huh. D: It just so happened that this this film, was, you know, like wa s trying to guess what about this town some advertising camp aign would want to market. I: Uh huh. D: So we planted all these seeds hoping that you know, maybe its the guy with the used car part art or whatever. I: Uh huh. D: So each one of those things you think about how goofy it would be if it actually was a real viable product. And so that kind of appeals to my humor side of pushing it a little bit further, maybe it is a real thing, a viable product. I: Uh huh. D: Yeah, but I dont, I think, you know, like Ive said Ive written several other scripts and a few of them I plan to make into films and I dont se e any, theres no like plot-driven need to do that type of thing. I: Right. So then the, you would never, like you say, try to force brands in, its based on the storyline and in this case the story happened to be so full of these different characters and different opportunities that it just kind of these brands were born out of the story. D: Thats, thats what I would like to think. I: Okay, okay. D: I believe thats true and I hope thats true. I: Oh yeah. For me, I already had to ask you know if any of the brands we re real because its convincing, you know, you think that is a real pla ce in Texasof course hopefully people like that arent all in one town! D: Right. I: But, yeah, I mean its definitely convincing an d I can totally see, you know, the t-shirts at Hot Topic. You know, how they sell the Napoleon Dynamite chap sticks. D: Exactly. I: And these little things that ar e kind of spun out of the film, I can see your brands fitting right into that, that kind of plan, so. D: Yeah, Napoleon Dynamite was a film that really gave me hope that, I mean, again, I recognize that theres some editing and tweaking th at Id like to do to the film to make it stronger. I: Uh huh.

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135 D: But that, you know, that being said, theres a chance that, you know, that it could have caught fire or maybe can still catch fi re if its a cult film, like what I saw with Napoleon Dynamite. I: Uh huh. D: You know, yeah, thats kind of what my plan. I: Right, exactly. Um, okay, well youve answered all my specific questions, I think I might have to email you some other specific questions. D: Okay. ### End of Interview

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136 Interview Transcription #9 Ralph Clemente, Orlando Filmmaker, Unspecifi ed age, Director of Film School at VCC Tuesday, Feb. 6, 10:30 a.m. Phone interview I= Interviewer R=Respondent First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins. I: First then, I have some classification questions so that when I write up my results, um, I can kind of put it into context. So, um, first what city do you reside in, is that Orlando? R: It is, yes. I: Okay, um, would you mind sharing your age or a range of ages that you fall into? R: Yeah, 64. I: Okay. And your occupation is Director of Film School, is that the correct.? R: Well, Im the, Im the Chair of the Film Pr oduction Technology at Va lencia and Im also a member of the Directors Guild of America. I: Okay, so then filmmaking is a professional pursuit of yours? R: Yes. I: Okay. Um, and would you mind sh aring your level of education? R: I do mind. I: You do mind? Okay. Um, and could you give me a range of, like, an average film that you have worked on, the budget? Or you could say. R: Well, I mean, Ive worked on some very big pi ctures. Here at the college the average may be, I dont know, maybe a half milli on dollars, something like that. I: Okay. Wow. R: But I mean, at the college, yeah, its somewh ere in there. You know, things are changing a bit nowadays, a lot of people shooting digitall y, so its getting a little bit cheaper. I: Okay. R: Here we typically, we do films up to 1.2 million dollars. I: Okay. Up toalright. And, how many films have you made that you take ownership over? R: You need to, like, Google me or something. I: I did, I mean, I could do the research, but Id like to answer. R: Its hard to say. Ive produced and or directed thirty some feature films. I: Wow, okay. And its been for how many years that youve been making films. R: Four generations. I: Okay. R: Im a fifth generationjust leaving work on National Treasure 2, its all over the world. (Interviewer note according to IMBD.com Clemen tes film career largel y began in acting in 1967.) I: Okay, wow. And do you mind if I use your name in this study, or you may be anonymous. R: Say what? I: Um, may I use your name when I write up this study? R: Oh, yeah, yeah. No problem.

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137 I: Okay great. So those are th e classification questions, and no w I have a few quick questions about your opinion about product placement. Th e first question is: do you think that product placement has an affect on a finished films quality? R: Well, it has an affect on a finished films quality in a couple of ways. I mean, first of all, Im an independent filmmaker. I: Mmhmm. R: Any time that you can get some kind of donati on of goods, services, and in some instances money, usually not on our level money. I: Mmhmm. R: Um, with that money that youre saving from having to buy, pay for those goods, services and put it up on the screen, it has a good effect on a film. And the other thing is, you know, not everyone is making road runner pictures, not all th e products can be named Acme, I mean, we live in a world full of products and brands, and, uh, people are branded very early in life and, you know, hit with all this advertis ing stuff, so we all know that they have Fords and Chevys and Dodges, um, and all that. So I think its very un realistic when you have to change the name of something, you know, I think product placement to be able to use the real names of the products is just part of the reality we try to br ing to the big screen or little screen. I: Okay, so in that way it sounds like product pl acement can enhance the quality of the film by making it more realistic. Do you th ink that product placement can ev er hurt the qual ity of a film? R: Um, its all in the way, in the art, its all in the way that you pursue your art. I: Mmhmm. R: And Ive seen films where it almost looks like you are watching a series of commercials. I: Right. R: Um, and I even saw one, I mean, you know, so it gets a little bizarre You know, its not every time you pick up a soda its a Coca-Col a facing perfectly towards the camera. I: Right. R: Or do you have the dew drops that show th e coldness of the product. You know what Im saying, sometimes it gets ridiculous. I: Mmhmm, mhmm. R: If a product is used correctly, I dont think it can hur t the quality of a film Its when they over do it. I mean, Ive seen it even where, uh, I forget the name of the picture, it wasnt a very good one, but they had like on the screen, they had like a plane driving a banner with one of their product placements things which I think was some kind of a sunscreen product that was throughout that film, you know, one of those beach pictures. I: Right. R: And I think it gets ridiculous and I thi nk people start being offended by it as well. I: Right, okay. R: You know there are all kinds of studies about the illegality of sublimin al advertising. You know, theres been all kinds of studies along those lines and the effects of that if you put in the middle of the desert, in some kind of hot scen e, in one frame, Coca-Cola or some kind of refreshing product I: Mmhmm. R: Within minutes half the theater is up in the lobby buying that product. I: Uh huh. R: So thats a single frame, thats 1/24th of a second. I: Uh huh.

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138 R: So it is, that kind of stuff it has a big impact, and it, it has to be done well, it has to be done and incorporated into the story and not make a bi g issue of it and have it look like, look like a commercial. I: Okay. Um, then have you ever dealt with produ ct placement, or maybe I guess, more of this placement bartering kind of thing personally? R: Well, you know, the films that we do, uh, we ll theres usually, ther es a bunch of product placement companies that, inits not just one person represents Pepsi-Cola, its a bunch of companies that represent Pepsi-Cola amongst a long lis t of clients. Its like advertising agencies, you know. I: Right. R: So in our case, the size films we make theres really no barter ing, theres like no money changing hands its just like, uh, we get free products, you know. I: Okay. R: Even that case itd be a little bit more diffi cult. They want to see whos in your film, they want to know whats your distribution, uh, who s distributing your film, and when youre doing an independent film, thats what makes it independent is that you dont have a deal. I: Right, okay. Um, so in that case is there an instance in which no, uh, cost benefit or no amount of product that they would give you would me rit including their pr oduct? I mean, you still maintain the option of saying no, correct? R: Oh, no, we always, we try to honor our commitment s and we deal here at the college just as if it were a $100 million dollar picture and you have a commitment to show off their product. Now, what you have no control over is the final edit of the film. I: Right. R: So if that scene where that product lives gets cut, you know, then theres really nothing you can do about that. I: Right. R: Uh, I mean all you can do is you can identify when you read the script, you find the places, and its usually the prop master who does that, and he or she will try and place where different products would, could be integrat ed and utilized, and then we approach those companies, uh. But, you know, again a lot of it has to do with, its not as easy to get as it once was. I: Okay. R: But theres some products that you have to pu sh, like, obviously cigarettes and stuff that are illegal to advertise, you know, but now theres a big movement in Hollywood to try to get away from cigarettes all together in films. I: Okay. R: So, uh, theres all kinds of stuff out there, but theres some products th at are anxious to get anyway to get exposure theyll take it, you know In our case often times our product placement is not really product placement, people give us, like, Entenmanns gives us, like some of those, sticky, high sugar content, their pr oducts. But they give us cases of that stuff. Depending on what were doing. We did a film for a gi rl who wanted to star in a film who was, it was for the Make a Wish Foundation, her wish was to star in a f ilm, and something like that everyones throwing stuff at you, you know. I: Right. R: When we asked for soft drinks, they sai d, you know, how about ten palates, and, and, we thought ten cases or something, it was ten of those huge woode n things. We had, I had two rooms full of soda! I: Wow.

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139 R: Because obviously everybody wants to be a part of something like that. This little girl benefited greatly, shes still alive an d apparently her cancer went into I: Remission? R: Right now its non-existent. I: Okay. R: But, in any case, it depends to us what were doing and what the product is for, but, our films, you know, the last time we had some bigger products was at the University of Miami. We had made a film starring Don Johnson just before he got up to Miami Vice called Cease Fire. I: Mmhmm. R: The picture made it on to seve ral top ten picture of the year lists. Well, that film, while we were making it, because we had to convince pe ople, they thought they knew Don Johnson, we had Lisa Blount who starred in An Officer and a Gentleman. I: Uh huh. R: A few of these kind of people, like that pict ure was very hot at the time, An Officer and a Gentleman. I: Uh huh. R: So, you know, Bacardi, we had a couple of bar scenes and Bacardi gave us cases of their product. I: Okay. R: Don Johnson played an alcoholic Vietnam vet and drank a lot of beer, so, we got a lot of free beer. I: Okay. R: There came a time though, lets say in his case with Don Johnson. I: Uh huh. R: He had made a deal with, uh, I forg et, it was Coors, or, a beer product. I: Uh huh. R: After the first day of shooting he was, you know, Im doing this party scene, and hes going around to this barbeque and he keeps popping a beer, you know. I: Mmhmm. R: At the end of the day, of that particular da y, he said, Listen, Im not going to it unless they pay me money. I feel like Im in a bad Coors comm ercial. It may have been Bud Light, I forget which, it was one of the two. I: Uh huh. R: So, uh, so he said he wont do it anymore, right? I: Right. R: Well as fate would have it, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons that scene was completely cut from the movie picture and we had no footage of him with that product. I: Right. R: But, there was a scene where his sidekick sh ows up to his house to meet his family and he jumps out of the car and hes got a six pack of Coors under his ar m, so we were covered, legally. I: Uh huh. R: But again, you dont really have control over some of those elements. I: Right. R: Don Johnson and his character, you know, it s like, for instance he you know, theres a Marlboro whatever they jumped quickly on board. Don Johnson, he wasnt going to, you know, he thought, like, he smoked Bandits whic h was a lower tar nicotine cigarette. I: Uh huh.

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140 R: So what we did is, we took the Marlboro Re d boxes and we put the ci garettes in there. I: Oh. R: Because they have the same filter. And that kind of stuff you do and it makes everybody happy. He thought it would work better for his ch aracter, more macho for him to be smoking Marlboro Red. I: Right. So, it sounds like, I mean, you have so much experience with this, that every time you make a film you really are thinking about produc t placement. Whether its to show the brand R: I dont think about it as much as Im just traveling the planet a nd I know Im surrounded by stuff, you know. I: Uh huh. R: I dont put a lot of thought in to it, its really a prop master who puts the thought into it. I: Okay. R: Because she or he, uh, you know, anytime you look good and they can give you some free goodies or sometimes money. I mean, some of th e big pictures with Superman flying through a Coca-Cola sign, the Coca-Cola sign, to cras h through it, they got a million dollars. I: Yeah, wow. Um, so would you ever seek out a product to include? Or, I guess that would be the prop masters job, is there ever? R: And he may, or she may bounce it off of you, I mean, they give you a list of stuff. I: Uh huh. R: But they go through and they write it right into the script. And then what you do is you send those particular scenes to th e product placement companies and tell them what your thoughts are and they either give you stuff or they dont. I: So, and what kind of products ar e those usually? Is it generally, like, beer, soda, cigarettes that sort of thing? Is it ever bigger ticket things like co mputers or cars? R: Well, for the big pictures its computer and cars. I: Uh huh. R: Like what weve gotten as far as a car placem ent weve gotten free, um, use of cars during the productions for the cast and crew by utilizing, uh, theres a comp any in Orlando that is set up next to Universal Florida and th ats all they do is pi cture cars. So if you include them in your film theyll hook you up with some free transpor tation for your out-of-towners, you know. So it works. Like I said, at our level theres very li ttle, theres no, never any question of getting any money, theres no money, theres just product. I: Right. R: For us the products are im portant, you know. Theres bagels. I: Uh huh. R: And usually theres Entenmanns local ones of Entenmanns they hook us up. I: Right. R: And that kind of stuff, stuff that help s you feed your crew, that helps save money. I: Yeah. R: In feeding your crew, and thats money you can use in other ways. So thats the kind of stuff we get typically on the size pictures that we do. Weve gotten toothpaste. I: Wow. R: Cases and cases of toothpaste. We did a thing where the whol e thing took place at Woodstock. I: Wow. R: And there was a scene, a guy brushing hi s teeth, so we had, it was bubblegum flavor toothpaste.

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141 I: Oh, thats funny. So when you get, like, food fo r your crew from Entenmanns, they expect to be shown in the film then, is that right? R: Oh yeah. We try to somehow incorporate them. If somebody walks in the kitchen, you know, its like, like one film we did in Miami, when I was down at the University of Miami, and, it was like, some kids going on spring break from up north. I: Uh huh. R: The first time, uh, the first time we put the Entenmanns product we had it just sitting on top of this refrigerator in the police station. And when the woman called me from Entenmanns and wanted to see her scene, you know I ran into the editing room and I looked up in the script where that was identified as playing. I: Uh huh. R: And no matter how I many times I viewed th e scene, I couldnt s ee the product at all. I: Oohh. R: So, even when I projected the film. And finally I found it, it was just in the wide shot on top of this refrigerator. I: Uh huh. R: I just let her know her scene ha dnt been shot yet and then we, in one of the travel sequences we had the Entenmanns box sitting on the dashboard semi-subtly. I: Yeah. R: And so she was elated. She must have hooked us up with a hundred million calories. I: (laughs) And so in that case with that stor y do you think that having the box on the dashboard, do you think that product placement ever distracts th e audience from the story? Like you said R: Again, we dont make it look pretty. Its like half torn, and, you know, its people traveling across country. It wasnt sitting there perfectly framed or anyt hing. You know, its just sort of hanging out. You know, like something that we sp end a lot of money on in making films is Polaroid film because, you know, they can really give you the camera for free because they get you with the film. Its basi cally a dollar a picture. I: Right. Okay, so it really depends on how its done then. Like, if you guys make it flow then its not a distracter. R: Right, I mean. A Polaroid, Ive gotten twice photographic stuff. And a Polaroid, is we had the girls that are crossing the Welc ome to North Carolina, theyre taking a picture out of the convertible, and it happened to be a Polaroid pi cture. And so we got free Polaroid film for the whole shoot and it probably saved us $10,000. I: Uh huh. R: We one time made a film in the Cayman Isla nds and, uh, theres like a pi rate kind of thing and this statues town, and this stat ue, its all in ghosts a nd theres this scene wh ere the ghost leaves the statue and, but in that case, theres these tourists that come by and they look up and they see the statue smile or something, right? I: Uh huh. R: But they take a picture with a Browni e, a Kodak Brownie camera. Well Kodak, through Kodak Cayman, gave us like 20,000 feet of film which was a considerable donation. It really didnt hurt anybody. I: Yeah. R: The most product placement Im aware of is a film called Days of Thunder. I: Uh huh.

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142 R: Have you seen that picture? I: I know that it has Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman from the s, right? R: Right, thats where they met, on that picture. I: Uh huh. R: So, but, first of all. Its like the Grand Prix, its like NASCAR racing, right? I: Uh huh. R: So these are all like 200 mile an hour bill boards anyway. Theyre all paint, all those cars are painted full of ads, right? I: Right. R: And, uh, the uniforms of the drivers are full of ads. And wherever they can get ads, there are ads, right. So they had huge, huge payback. I had seen stories where the opening day of that film there were like $12 million dollars in cash payments from some of these advertisers. I: Wow. Its interesting you bring that up too because a coupl e other people Ive interviewed have talked to me about Talladega Nights, the Will Ferrell movie. R: Right. I: Which had the same idea because it was NASCAR and it was full of that anyway. R: Right. So, youd look sillythats what Im sayi ng in that case itd look stupid if you didnt have stuff on there. I: Right. It keeps it real. R: But then, sometimes it works two ways. Sometimes the client of these big pictures, they will advertise your film as pa rt of their commercials. I: Uh huh. R: Like, for instance, in Days of Thunder they had, I have two sons and they were little people then. I: Uh huh. R: And so, they got to have all these little plas tic cars and stuff. And so Hardees, which was one of the cars had a Hardees sponsorship on the hoo d, um, they utilized, you know they showed a clip from the film and then they cut to so me pimple-faced window burger-slinger and you see a whoosh, and they put on a fan and hi s hair goes and you hear a, brr, brr, brrr of the car and he is selling his product and then they have these li ttle plastic cars, these NASCAR cars at the same time. I: Uh huh. R: But they got millions of dollars of free advert ising for their film through one of their tie-ins. So there they got money and free advertising. And you see that that kind of stuff, that cross over happens a lot on these big pictures. I: Right. R: The best I ever saw, because one of my UM students we did two feature films with, including Don Johnson, he, his family manufactured the little pink, which, you know, which is the Sweetn-Low. I: Oh yeah, yeah. R: The best scene, theres no scene that was bigg er or more effective on screen than Tom Cruise, uh, shows Nicole Kidman, after they get to know each other a little bit more in the biblical sense, hes showing her on her upper th igh, passing maneuvers. And he ha s two big packets of Sweet-nLow that are moving up her thigh. I: Yeah. R: Thats the best, maybe over the top kind of scen e in product placement. I: It definitely burns it into your mind, yeah.

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143 R: The product flew off the shelves! I: Yeah. R: In E.T., uh, Reeses Pieces, th ey, they tripled their sales. I: Uh huh. R: He ate Reeses Pieces. I: Thats what Ive read, yeah. Thats like, pretty much where it all started I hear. R: It didnt start there, but that was ever ybodys, uh, the one they all pointed to, you know. I: Right. R: Its like all of us indies, we all always now point to The Blair Witc h Project, look what they did, a $25,000 picture brought in $250 million dollars, you know. I: Right. R: They made all this money. Well, everybody used the Reeses Pieces trying to convince other products that that was a good way to go. I: Uh huh. R: You have to look at the film, and the ki ds, and the kids a skateboarder, and you know, you have to look at those kinds of things and whats the essence of the story and how can you incorporate some of those products, obviously you wouldnt look toward s Marlboro in that picture. I: Right. R: But some kids fashion things, jacket, sh irts, skateboards, all that kind of stuff. I: So would you say that thats your general opinion then, that product placement can enhance the budget of a film or the bottom line and youre w illing to work it in as long as its not a big, you know, commercial it doesnt hurt your film? Is that right? R: Incorporate it. Then it helps your film it ma kes your film look better and more realistic and it will give you something to play with as far as the product placement items and or money. I: Okay, great. Well thats pretty much all the questions I have for you, Ralph. R: Okay. I: Thank you so much for your time. R: Youre most welcome. ### End of Interview

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144 Interview Transcription #10 Paul Sirmons, Tallahassee Filmmaker, 52, Film Commissioner of the State of Florida Wednesday, Feb. 7, 9:30 a.m. Phone interview I= Interviewer P=Paul First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins. I: The first classification que stion, uh, so you live in Tall ahassee, is that correct? P: I do now, thats correct. I: And we know that filmmaking is a professional pursuit of yours. P: Yes it is. Currently Im th e State Film Commissioner. I: Right. P: So Im not filmmaking at this moment, but I have been an independent filmmaker for the last nine, or ten years and for twenty years before that I was an assistant director and production manager in the Directors Guild, so. You know, Id do dramatic one hour television series and the like. I: Okay. Um, and, I did read a lot of this on th e internet, but I do have to ask these questions. Sometimes people say, you know, d idnt you look me up?. I did look you up, but I do have to formally ask the questions. P: Okay. I: Um, would you share with me, and again all these questions are opt ional, but, do you feel comfortable sharing with me your level of education? P: Oh yeah. I attended the Universi ty of Florida and graduated, I mean, I went to St. Pete Junior College and I went to the Univer sity of Florida and I got a de gree in Broadcast Journalism and minored in Film through the English departme nt and, uh, thats the end of my education. I: Okay. And thats how you know Dr. Babanikos, I assume? P: Uh, no. No, I didnt meet Dr. Babanikos until I came back to the college more recently. I graduated in 1976, so. I: Uh huh. I thought he might have gone ther e too, but I guess not. Um, and would you mind sharing with me your age or a range of ages within which you fall? P: Yes, Im 52. I: Okay. And in your nine years of your i ndependent filmmaking, how many films have you made that you take ownership over? P: Um, well, I dont take owners hip over any, I dont really. I: Okay. P: I produced, I directed and produced one film called The First of May. And I produced for other directors, three other films. I: Okay. P: And by producing, I was the pr oducer, not just a title, you know, often youll here people say they produced something when maybe they invest ed a little money into it or they brought a friend thats an actor to the project, or somethi ng like that and theyll get some sort of producing title. But all my producing credits are actually the hands-on producer.

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145 I: Okay. Um, and could you share with me, this is kind of a tricky one because you do have so much experience, but um, the question is the av erage, your average films budget? Maybe for the First of May film, kind of what range that falls in? P: Yeah. The First of May was made for, on a $500,000 cash budget. I: Okay. P: And, uh, it had deferrals, oh I think of about $350,000. I: Okay. P: And the other three films were all in the, all from $400,000 to $850,000. I: Okay. And, may I use your name when I write up the results of this study? P: Im sorry? I: May I use your name, in print, when I write up the results of my study? P: Sure. I: Okay, great. Okay, thats the classification questions so well move right into the product placement questions. The first question I have is: do you think that product placement has an effect on a finished films quality? P: Um, it can, yes. I: Okay. P: It can because, um, product placement, at l east from the independent filmmakers point of view, can save you money. I: Okay. P: Okay, because it can provide you things that that you dont have to buy, therefore you can use that money to make your picture better. I: Okay. So in that case you would say that it can enhance the quality of a film. Do you think that product placement can ever hur t the quality of a film? P: Um, yes, I think it can if it becomes an overriding distr action in a scene. I: Okay. P: Even I, of course Im a filmmaker, so Im not the average public, bu t I do notice and Ive had lay people tell me when Ive been in theaters w ith them, theyll notice in a scene when most actors are drinking a Pepsi-Cola, and, you know, and its sitting on a they set it down on a table with the label facing the camera. Its it can be obvious if its done wrong. I: Okay. P: So that kind of product placement can get in the way. I mean, Ive, you know, used product placement even in my small films, but you never let it get in the way of telling the story or overriding the purpose of the scene or the dramatic impact of the scene. I: Okay. Um, so youve talked about that pr oduct placement can save money in making a film. Can it affect the bottom line in other ways? For instance, bartering, trading sodas for the cast for a placement in the film. Have you ev er dealt with anything like that? P: Oh yeah, I mean, especially if its a lo w level, we do that all the time, I mean. I: Okay. P: The low budget level, I mean, one of the things, one of the most expensive items, is your kraft service for your cr ew and your cast. I: Right. P: So you will often, basically do a deal with a water company. Waters something, bottled water is something that you really need because youre, es pecially in Florida, it gets very hot during the summer months when youre filming. I: Okay.

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146 P: And you want to have water on hand for your cr ew so they dont dehydra te and it can be very expensive if you go through cases and cases of wate r a day. So we will often try to make a deal with a water company that we will feature thei r water, you know, in the movie, somewhere, somebody will be drinking their water or youll see it. I: Uh huh. P: You know, on a table in a scene or something lik e that. And in return th eyll supply the water, you know, a certain amount of water that you can use for other reasons and youll do the same thing for a soft drink company and for a, perh aps a chip company, and for, a snacks company, that sort of thing. I: Okay. So in that case you say that you can feat ure the water, or at leas t have it in a scene. My next question is: is there an instance in which no cost benefit would me rit the inclusion of a product? So, is there maybe a certain company or certain type of product that you would just never put in one of your films? Or is it a really a case-by-case basis? P: Well, its always a case-by-case basis. You have to look at your film and what its about, I mean, it has to make sense to be in there. I: Uh huh. P: Um, I know on The First of May we did a deal, and I believe it was with Old Navy for wardrobe for the actors. I: Uh huh. P: And that saved us. Not only saved us a good amount of money, but, which allowed us to put in other areas to make the movie better. I: Uh huh. P: But it was a great look for the character in the film, for the boy in the film to be wearing these products, that it was a very simple wear, and th at was his character and like that. But certainly The First of May is a family film, so obviously there are products you would not, you know, that are associated with adults, or, you know. I: Like cigarettes, or something like that? P: Exactly. Well I would never put cigare ttes as a placement in a film anyway. I: Oh okay. P: Because thats just a personal th ing that, to me, cigarettes kill. I: Okay. P: So, if their smoking in a film that I would make, they should be dying. I: Okay, so in that case your personal beliefs outside of being a filmma ker would influence what you do as a filmmaker, correct? P: It can in those extreme areas. And also, you know if youre making a family film that does have certain values to it then the products that you use should reflect those values. I: Mmhmm. So for the example, the Old Na vy example, did you, um, you had to feature the clothes on the character, but did you have to call the brand to a ttention, ever, or show an Old Navy label or bag? Or was it just.? P: No, it was just that they wore the clothes. I: Okay. P: And we didnt get, like, extra clothes. I didn t end up with an Old Na vy wardrobe or anything, just the clothes that were used in the movie. And we provided photos to them. I: Oh, okay. P: Afterwards to show it. Either photos or a c opy of the movie, I forget which, to verify that. Because the product placement company will always want to verify that their item was visibly seen in the movie with an actor.

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147 I: Uh huh. So do you consider product placement ev ery time you make a film? Is that something thats always in the back of your head as a filmmaker? P: Yes. I mean, its not, its not on your top ten things you think about. I: Sure. P: It is on your check list as, Okay, who can we i nvolve to help us. Agai n, especially in the low budget world where youre, youre trying to save money, you want every dollar you can on the screen. So if you can get something for less money or nothing because you feature it and it doesnt hurt the story than it just makes good sense to use that and then take that money and use it somewhere else to make a better movie. I: So, in that case, since you are kind of thinking about it, do you go out, or, I guess maybe send somebody else out to seek out specific products, you said bottled water is one that youre always looking for? P: Yeah, I mean, each of your department head s kind of, you know, has done that before too. In other words, I didnt say, wha t can we do for wardrobe, it wa s actually the wardrobe, Beverly Sapphire, our wardrobe supervisor, or costume designer, came to me and said, you know, I think I can do a deal for Old Na vy, heres their wardrobe and I th ink it would be perfect for the character and I believe that we can do a product placement deal with them. I: Uh huh. P: Thats how that came about. It wasnt just like, what can we do on wardrobe? She actually came to me and said, what about this? I: Okay. P: But there are, but you do at some point sit down and say, Okay, is there anything that can help trim our budget so we can use it elsewhere? I: Okay. So as an independent filmmaker, be cause Im hearing from you that product placement is one of those things that as an indie filmmaker you are so co ncerned with budget that you really have to turn to it, Ive heard from some ot her people that maybe thats why theyre an independent filmmaker because they dont want to have to deal with brands or deal with advertising. Um, so, just to clarify, your stance is that its a good thing if it enhances your budget and it doesnt interfer e with the story at hand, is that correct? P: Um, yes exactly. I can certainly see the other side in the opinion you just expressed, but, you know, and frankly if a product placement, you k now, demands something that I feel would negatively impact the story or the film, then no, I would never, never, I would never choose the money over making the film better. I: Okay. P: I would never choose saving money over making the film better and in the independent world theres never money exchanged for that product placement. I: Right. P: Ive never had that situation and I doubt it wo uld come up. In other words, where a company would actually pay you money to put their product in a film. I: Okay. Its the barter syst em that we talked about. P: Right. I: Okay. P: Now, I know in the, or I believe, I dont know because I dont make high budget films, but I believe in the high budget world th at that does happen. That a Coke or a Pepsi will pay a certain fee. I remember hearing a story way back, I think it was Cannonball Run, 1 or 2, when, uh, Dom DeLuise runs into a store, and comes, in the s cene he comes out singing, Im a Pepper, youre a Pepper!, you know, the Dr. Pepper song that was so popular back in the s or whenever.

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148 I: Oh yeah, thats one I hadnt heard a bout in the history of product placement. P: And he made that up on the spot. And if the st ory I heard is true that I heard, you know I cant vouch for it because I wasnt there. I: Sure. P: But if the story is true, the company that wasn t in the script, he just Dom DeLuise is just a comedic genius and he came out on the spur of the moment craziness a nd just started singing that. I: Uh huh. P: And the producers printed it, that scene, a nd sent it to the Dr.P epper company, you know, and said, would you be willing to pay to have this remain in the movie? And apparently Dr. Pepper did pay a certain amount of money a nd that scene was in the movie. I: Okay. P: Now, I dont know if that story is just urban legend or if thats true, but I: It definitely sounds like a possibility. Ive learned, you know, that theres a lot of different ways that product placement can kind of come to fr uition, and one of them is kind of the actor ad lib, you know, the spoken word placem ent. Thats very interesting. P: Right, right. And then that can remain there a nd it can be offered for sale. And then of course youre always going to shoot it without it because if the company says, no, we dont want to be associated with that movie, than you bette r have an alternative take to go with. I: Right. Um, okay well Ive pretty much gone through all my questions for you so that I dont take up too much of your morning. P: Oh, thats okay. I love talking about our business. I: Yeah, its so interesting, lik e I said youre my eleventh film maker that Ive interviewed and my final interview and I really have gotten a spec trum of opinions on product placement as far as how independent filmmakers feel. A nd also Ive talked to all differe nt levels of experience, so I think that makes a difference too. Um, but, yea h, unless you have any other specific instances like the Old Navy example in The First of May to share with me, thats pretty much all my questions. P: Okay. Well, theres one that might be of interest because this is a little different angle and the independent world of course the hardest thing to do is rais e money for a film. I: Okay. P: And youre always looking for ways of doing th at, but, we were, in The First of May one of the things the character deals wi th is, makes in the film, is ha lva, which is Turkish candy, its also halava, a Jewish candy. I: Uh huh. P: Same sort of thing, its crushed sesame seeds and honey. I: Uh huh. P: And we didnt know how it was made, it we were flying up to New York to meet with Julie Harris who was going to star in the picture. And we found a company, theres only like two companies in America that make it. And there wa s this halva company in, I believe it was New Jersey or New York. And so we called the honey and said, were doing th is little independent film and could we come by and see how you make halva because its feat ured in our script? And he was like, Youre kidding! Oh, sure! Come on by! I: Uh huh. P: And so we went over and met with the owne r and he took us through his factory and showed us how its made, this very simple process it goe s through. And he said, now tell me about this

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149 movie and we told him about wh at we were doing and that so rt of thing and he ended up investing in the film! I: Oh really, wow. P: Yeah. Because his product was going to be in it, or his end result, not his particular product, but halva itself was featured in it. He ended up investing, not a lot, but, nonetheless, everything is a lot to an independent filmmaker. I: Sure. P: You know? So, you know, it even, the idea of pr oduct placement, we didnt go to him and say, gee, we want to put your brand because in our script its homemade halva, not a company brand. I: Right. P: It wasnt like we said, hey well put your halva in here. I: And thats the way it stayed even after he invested, his brand was never shown in the film? P: Uh, well, we ended up putting some of his prod uct in the film, but his halva brand was never shown, thats correct. I: Okay. P: Although everything they eat in the film is his halva! I: Oh, okay. But basically. P: He provided the halva to us because we werent going to have them eat what they made. I: Yeah. P: So it was actually his halva that they were eating, but it wa s portrayed in the movie as homemade halva. I: Homemade, okay. P: And, uh, but it is his halva that theyre eating, and of course he gets the screen credit at the end, um, you know, that states the company and th at sort of thing. So the product placement may come in the film, but it can also come in the end credits. I: Okay, okay. Yeah and listening to that ex ample I thought it was l eading up to you ended up showing his brand, in which case that would be a paid product placement. But I guess, um, its a form of it, but not quite the bigger budget placem ents that we see in Hollywood where its like, heres money, show my brand. P: Yeah, exactly, exactly. This is quite the opposite and I think we actually took some of his other product and put it on a shel f in the background in a scene. I: Uh huh. P: You know, but it was not featured so much, but, uh, we were so grateful. But that was never part of the deal, there was never a, Ill invest in your film, bu t you need to show my brand. I: Right. P: He just saw the value of just getting people aware of halva. I: Right. Well, cool, thats a really good example. P: Because there are only a few brands of halv a that people could try if the film, you know, broke out, so. I: Right, yeah. So in a way he had a vested in terest because there werent that many brands. P: Right. I: Um, okay, well I guess thats it. Thank you so much for your time and your very thorough answers. P: Sure thing, happy to help. ### End of Interview

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150 REFERENCES Avery, R. J., & Ferraro, R. (2000). Verisimilitude or advertising? Brand appearances on primetime television. Journal of Consumer Affairs 34 217-245. Baerns, B. (2003). Separating advertising from programme content: The principle and its relevance in communications practice. Journal of Communication Management 8 101112. Balasubramanian, S. K. (1994). Beyond advertis ing and publicity: Hybrid messages and public policy issues. Journal of Advertising 23 29 47. The Blair Witch Project. (2007) Retrieved March 8, 2007, from http://www.imdb.com /title/tt0185937/trivia Cardona, M. M., Chura, H., Fine, J., & Sanders, L. (2002). Big guns predict smaller ad roles. Communication & Mass Media Complete, 73 1-2. Cuneo, A. Z., (September, 2002). Ae ropostle ad: Latest mini-film. Advertising Age, 73, 4-29. Darlin, D. (November, 1995). Junior Mints, Im gonna make you a star. Forbes 156 90-94. Deery, J. (2004). Reality TV as advertainment. Popular Communication ; 2 1-20. Demolition Man. (2006). Retrieved September 4, 2006, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106697/ Ebenkamp, B. (September, 1997). Dockers calls action with indies. Brandweek, 38, 4. Entertainment and Resources Mark eting Association (Home Page). (2006). Retrieved September 4, 2006, from http://erma.org Evans, R. (2002). Practical DV filmmaking: A pratical workbook for beginning filmmakers Oxford, England: Focal Press, 165. Filmventure (2006). Retrieved September 24, 2006, from http://www.filmventure.com/fv/partners.asp Freeman, L. (November, 2000). If the pr oduct fits a series, TNT wants it. Electronic Media 19 12. Funding for independent films. (200 6). Retrieved September 24, 2006, from http://www.northernv isions.org/funding.htm George, L. (February, 2005). Is Kiefer Sutherland trying to sell you something? MacLeans, 118 30-35.

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152 Lindenmuth, K. J. (1998). Making movies on your own: prac tical talk from independent filmmakers pp. 3-4, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFa rland & Company, Inc. Publishers Lindstrom, M. (January, 2005). Get a jump -start on playing a brand new game. Media Asia 21. Marks, J. (February, 1996). Looking for reel money. U.S. News and World Report, 120 52. Meenaghan, J. A. (1983) Commercial sponsorship. European Journal of Marketing, 17, 5-74. Mckechnie, S. A., & Thou, J. (2003). Product pla cement in movies: a comparison of Chinese and American consumers' attitudes. International Journal of Advertising 22 349-375. Moltenbrey, K. (Februar y, 2004). A growing trend. Computer Graphics World, 27, 28-30. Morton, C. R., & Friedman, M. (2002). I saw it in the movies: Exploring the link between product placement beliefs and reported usage behavior. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising 24 33-40. Motion Picture Patent Company. (2007). Britannica Student Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article-9330658 Nebenzahl, I. D., & Secunda, E. (1993). Consum ers attitudes toward product placement in movies. International Journal of Advertising 12 1-11. Nelson, M. R. (2002). Recall of brand placements in computer/video games. Journal of Advertising Research, 42 80-93. Nitins, T. (2005). Are we selling out our cult ure? The influence of product placement in filmmaking. Australian Screen Educations, 40, 44-49. Roush, W. (July, 2005). Forward: Internet: your ad here. Technology Review, 21-22. Rusco, F. W. & Walls, D. W. (2003). Independent film finance, pre-sale agreements, and the distribution of film earning. Economics of the Arts and Culture 4. Russell, C. A., & Belch, M. (2005). A ma nagerial investigat ion into the product placement industry. Journal of Advertising Research 45 73-92. Schneider, L. & Cornwell, T. B. (2005). Cashi ng in on cashes via brand placement in computer crashes. International Journal of Advertising, 24 321-343. Segrave, K. (2004). Product placement in Hollywood films: a history Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers. Shields, T. (May, 2005). 4As lega l counsel defends product placement. Media Week, 15, 4.

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153 Stacks, D. W. (2002). Primer of public relations research New York: Guilford Publications, Inc. Subway buys a role on Will & Grace. (2005, September 30) Wall Street Journal B4. Tell the FCC: Stop covert commercials on TV! (2006). Retrieved August 20, 2006 from http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organi zations/commercialalert/campaign.jsp?cam paign_KEY=775 Tiwsakul, R., Hackley, C., & Szmigin, I. (2005). Explicit, non-integrated product placement in British television programmes. International Journal of Advertising 24 95-112. Tucker, R. (May, 2004). Sears: Coming soon to a screen near you? Fortune, 149 44. Turcotte, S. (1995). Gimme a Bud! The feature film product placement industry. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas, Austin. What is independent film? (n.d.). Indepe ndent film. Retrieved September 23, 2006, from http://www.independentfilms.org/ Yow, V. R. (2005). Recording oral history: a guide for the humanities and social sciences Oxford, England: AltaMira Press.

PAGE 154

154 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Karen Fenton was raised in Massachusetts and Florida. She graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University in 2004 with a Bach elor of Arts in Advertising and a minor in Art History. She completed her Master of Advertisin g graduate work in 2007 at the University of Florida. She plans to pursue a ca reer in advertising and marketing.


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PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN INDEPENDENT FILM: A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF
ATTITUDES OF ASPIRING AND EXISTING INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS




















By

KAREN FENTON


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ADVERTISING

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007



































2007 Karen Fenton





























To Mom, Dad, Christina, Concetta, James and Duncan.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my committee chairperson, Dr. Cynthia Morton, and my committee members,

Dr. Marilyn Roberts, Dr. James Babanikos, and Professor Elaine Wagner. Dr. Morton's interest

and knowledge of product placement encouraged my own interest in the topic, an interest that

grew exponentially as my research unfolded. I am grateful to Professor Wagner, who encouraged

my interest in creativity and art and to Dr. Babanikos for his knowledge of the world of

independent film, and for his relationships with independent filmmakers, some of whom served

as my respondents. I also thank Dr. Roberts for stepping onto my committee when another

member was away for sabbatical, and for her constant encouragement, support and practical

advice. I thank Jody Hedge, Program Assistant to the Division of Graduate Studies and

Research, who answered countless questions and provided ongoing encouragement. I thank

Esther Biggs, a co-worker without whom I would not have had the array of filmmaker

respondents which I did. I am also eternally grateful to each filmmaker who lent their time,

expertise, and often humor to my interviews and for their candor and openness during the

interview process. These filmmakers are: Deanna Russo, Chris Zara, Fred Zara, Paul Sirmons,

Ralph Clemente, James T. Henri, Shamrock McShane, Mike McShane, Darren McDaniel, and

D.A. Jackson. And finally, I am appreciative of my boyfriend, James, who supported me

throughout my research and writing and shared my joy when my results were complete.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ................................................................. ........... ............. .....

L IS T O F T A B L E S .............................................................................. ............... 7

ABSTRAC T ..........................................................................................

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... ............................ .................................9

P ro du ct P lacem ent ........................................................... ................ .. 9
Independent Film s ....................................................... ............... ............... .11
Exploratory Question.......... ...... .... ..................................13
O organization of this T hesis ........................................................................... .......... .......... 13

2 L ITE R A TU R E R E V IE W ........................................................................ .. ....................... 14

W hat Is P product P lacem ent? .................................................................... .........................14
Product Placem ent versus Sponsorship ................................... ..................................... 16
The H history of Product Placem ent ............................................................................ ...16
Product Placement in M ovies vs. Television ...................................... ............... 19
The Relationships of Product Placement..................................................................... 20
The A ppeal of Product Placem ent............................................................................. ...22
P lacem ent w without a P rice ....................................................................... ..................23
The B business of Product Placem ent .................................................................... ...... 24
Identification of Product Placem ent ...................................................... ..... .......... 25
Product Placem ent W orldw ide .............................................. ............................. 26
The Future of Product Placem ent ........................................................................ .. .... 27
W hat is an Independent F ilm ? ...................................................................... ....................28
Funding an Independent Film ............................................................................ ... .... 30
M making an Independent Film .......................................................... ............... 30
The Future of Independent Film ...................................................................................31

3 METHODOLOGY ............................. ...................... ........33

Interview Procedure .................. ................................................... ...... ....... 33
R e se arch V ariab le s ........................................................................................................... 3 4
S a m p le .............. ...... .............................................................3 5

4 R E SU L T S .............. ... ................................................................ 38

Them es That Em erged from Interview s ........................................ ........................... 40
Response Them e M oney/Cost ..........................................................................41
R response T hem e C ontrol............................................................................. ............... 44









Response Theme Experience Level .......................................... ............................... 46
Response Theme Filmmaker Interest in Product Placement .................... ....... ............49
Response Theme Artistic Integrity/Art versus Business ............................................. 50

5 D ISCU SSIO N & C O N CLU SIO N ............................................................... .....................54

Implications for Product Placement in Independent Film............................................... 54
L im itatio n s ..........................................................................................5 6
Suggestions for Future R research .................................................. .............................. 57
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................5...................8..........

APPENDIX

A IN F O R M E D C O N SE N T ......................................................................... .. .......................59

B INFORMED CONSENT PHONE SCRIPT........................................ ....................... 62

C INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ............................................................ .................... 64

D INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS ............................................... ............................ 66

Interview T transcription # 1 .......................................................................... .....................67
Interview T transcription #2 .......................................................................... .....................74
Interview T transcription #3 .......................................................................... .....................82
Interview T transcription #4 .......................................................................... .....................89
Interview T transcription #5 ......................................................................... ....................10 1
Interview T transcription #6 .................................................................. ......... ..................110
Interview T transcription #7 .................................................................. ....... ....................117
Interview T transcription #8 ......................................................................... ....................127
Interview T transcription #9 ......................................................................... ....................136
Interview T transcription # 10 ........................................................................ ...................144

R E F E R E N C E S .........................................................................150

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ......................................................................... ... ..................... 154

















6









LIST OF TABLES

Table page

3-1 D im tensions of attitude defined ....................................................................... ..................35

4-1 Filmmaker respondent characteristics .............................................................................39









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Advertising

PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN INDEPENDENT FILM: A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF
ATTITUDES OF ASPIRING AND EXISTING INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS

By

Karen Fenton

May 2007

Chair: Cynthia Morton
Major: Advertising

Product placement is the placement of brands in a film or other media in order to gain

exposure for the brand. This practice is often done for a fee or trade arrangement. Previous

research on the topic of product placement in film focused on audience perceptions of the

practice. My study sought to learn how independent filmmakers felt about product placement. I

questioned aspiring and existing independent filmmakers about their attitudes toward product

placement in film. My study was a qualitative study consisting often in-depth interviews of

eleven aspiring and existing independent filmmaker respondents. I explored the attitudes toward

the practice, the interest in the practice of product placement in general, and the filmmakers'

opinions on topics including audience distraction by product placement, artistic integrity and

product placement, and cost of film production and product placement.

A major finding of my study was that product placement arrangements in the independent

film world differ greatly from those in the world of Hollywood feature films. Another important

finding was that though initially resistant to the idea of product placement, most independent

filmmakers reported that they would be open to the practice if it helped the bottom line of their

film, as long as they could maintain a certain level of control and artistic integrity. Implications

for product placement practitioners and suggestions for future research are discussed.











CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

A consumer's day is flooded with commercial messages from start to finish. From

morning radio and billboards during the commute to work, to sit-coms jammed with commercial

breaks at night, it is seemingly impossible to find a single moment of solace from the constant

onslaught of advertising messages. To a consumer, it may seem that advertising has reached its

maximum potential in touching nearly every part of his life, but to an advertiser this is far from

the truth. Consumers are constantly evolving and growing weary of traditional advertising

techniques, but as fast as consumers are learning ways to avoid commercial messages,

advertisers are seeking to place messages into untapped regions of the consumer's life.

Product Placement

Product placement, and specifically product placement in film, is one solution that

advertisers have utilized to place brand images in front of consumers without taking the hard-sell

approach toward which consumers have grown so jaded. Product placement, sometimes referred

to as brand placement, is the practice of placing brands within an entertainment medium, such as

a television show, video game, or movie, in exchange for some fee, be it money or actual traded

product. Product placement has been defined as, "a paid product message aimed at influencing

movie or television audiences via the planned and unobtrusive entry of a branded product into a

movie or TV program" (Balasubramanian, 1994), or as "paid commercial insertions within a

particular media program intended to heighten the visibility of brand, type of product or service"

(LaPastina, 2001).

Product placement in film has existed in some form since the start of cinema, but this

technique really broke through as a significant method of mass communication in the 1982









Steven Spielberg classic E. T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. This film featured the star character leaving

a trail of Reese's Pieces candy to lure his alien friend. At the time of the film's release Reese's

Pieces was a new candy to the market and its feature role in the film increased sales of the

product a reported 70 % (Segrave, 2004).

With the true start of product placement in film in the early 1980s, the academic study of

this advertising technique wasn't far behind. The study of product placement in television, video

games, and particularly film, has been a widely growing area of study in advertising research.

The mid-1990s and through the following decade gave way to a variety of studies about product

placement in film. Researchers analyzed how consumers felt about product placement (Gupta,

Balasubramanian & Klassen, 2000), how they are influenced to buy by product placements

(Morton & Friedman, 2002), and what products are best fits for movie and television placements

(Freeman, 2000). During the year 2000 and beyond interest in the practice of product placement

grew rapidly and studies of this technique increased significantly.

Though several studies analyze the consumers' attitudes and perceptions toward product

placement, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the attitudes and perceptions of product

placement from those assembling the product message: the filmmakers. In researching this

specific product placement topic I found only a handful of articles exploring anything

specifically related to the attitudes or opinions of this group of people, and none directly related

to the study of product placement in independent film (Nitins, 2005; Turcotte, 1995). My

exploration is particularly timely in its contribution to product placement research for reasons to

be discussed in more detail below.

Research reveals the persuasive nature of product placement. Product placement has

grown in number and obviousness since its inception nearly 30 years ago. What started as a









single brand placement in 1982 has exploded into seven instances of real brand placements in 22

minutes of sit-com television in a mid-1990s episode of the NBC hit Seinfeld (Karrh, 1998) and

15 featured placed brands in Steven Spielberg's 2002 Minority Report (Segrave, 2004). What

may be even more striking than the number of brand placements in Seinfeld (where brand

placements were referenced an average of one every three minutes), is that the writers of Seinfeld

even altered the dialogue in some places in order to emphasize the brand references (Darlin,

1995). It is this alteration of the vehicle which delivers a placement, or the even more intense

practice of altering a vehicle around products, that sparked my interest in what filmmakers

thought of product placement.

Independent Films

In the world of independent film there are a variety of genres. Most generally these can

be divided into documentary and narrative films. Documentary implies a non-fiction telling of

events, though not necessarily an unbiased one, while the narrative genre tells of a story, based

on real or fictitious events (Evans, 2002).

An independent (or "indie") film is a film produced without the financial or distribution

backing of a major film studio (What is "independent film", 2006). Independent films began in

the early 1900s as a result of filmmakers' want for independence from the constraints of the

Motion Pictures Patents Company an organization of patent holders in the early 1900s who

were highly restrictive in their control of patents related to raw film which ultimately drove

filmmakers away from the MPPC's watchful eye on the east coast to a west coast home base

(Motion Picture Patents Company, 2007). Independent films are not distributed in the manner as

large studio films, their usual venue is through a film festival or through a distribution

arrangement that the filmmaker has located personally. In 1996 it was estimated that the business

of independent filmmaking totaled around $300 million and with the growing popularity of indie









films, it can be assumed that currently this amount is significantly more (Marks, 1996). The

mid-1990s gave rise to a new wave of popularity for the indie world and in the early to mid-

2000s this popularity has continued to grow. Independent filmmaking has moved away from its

rebellious roots to the forefront of applauded cinema. In 2003 independent films like Frida, My

Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Bowlingfor Columbine dominated the awards season (Holmlund,

2005). The 2007 Oscars also boded well for independent films with nominations for Half Nelson,

and a Best Picture nomination for Little Miss Sunshine.

The rise in Internet DVD rentals, satellite TV, and specialized cable film channels has

also increased audience exposure to independent films. As indie films find more and more

vehicles for distribution their popularity moves upward. While the popularity of independent

film and the use of product placement in film are on the rise, there is little research on how these

two practices interact.

The purpose of my study was to explore aspiring and existing independent filmmakers'

attitudes toward the practice of product placement, particularly as it influences their decisions

about production budgets, artistic integrity, and audience receptivity to their films. My thesis will

not only shed light on the opinions of the crafters of the product placement message for

researchers, but also give advertisers some insight about how product placement is currently

being employed within the indie world so that they might discover possible avenues for further

exploration. The contribution of my study is in offering practical insights into how product

placement is used, and how this practice can be further improved, to create a more meaningful

brand-viewing experience for the consumer, and maintain a meaningful and artistic filmmaking

experience for the filmmaker.









Exploratory Question

Though research on the practice of product placement in general has grown in recent

years, research specific to this practice as related to independent film still presents a void. My

study seeks to explore the link between product placement and independent film. The research

question is: What are the attitudes of aspiring and existing independent filmmakers toward the

practice of product placement?

Organization of this Thesis

Chapter 2 presents a review of the literature and provides a general overview of the current

knowledge on the practice of product placement, with specific focus on the practice of product

placement in film. Chapter 3 details the methodology, including the research design and

procedure used for recruiting and interviewing research respondents. Chapter 4 reports my

study's findings and Chapter 5 presents the conclusions, limitations, and recommendations for

future research.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW


The literature review is broken into two sections: the first on the topic of product

placement in film, and the second, a brief introduction to the topic of independent filmmaking.

The review addresses the history, trends, cultural implications, media comparisons, and business

relationships involved with product placement in film. Though the focus of this research will be

on product placement in films, in order to fully understand the background of this practice and to

more thoroughly gauge the implications of product placement in film, product placement in other

forms such as in television and video games will also be addressed.

What Is Product Placement?

Product placement has been defined as "a paid product message aimed at influencing

movie or television audiences via the planned and unobtrusive entry of a branded product into a

movie or TV program" (Balasubramanian, 1994). Product placements are also defined as "paid

commercial insertions within a particular media program intended to heighten the visibility of

brand, type of product or service" (LaPastina, 2001).

This 'hybrid' advertising technique, as coined by Balasubramanian, is called 'hybrid'

because it represents a marriage of paid advertising and non-paid publicity. It has come into use

recently as consumers have become more product-savvy and more jaded about the thousands of

product messages aimed at them each day (Balasubramanian, 1994). Because product placement

involves the merging of advertising and entertainment, this technique has also been coined

'advertainment' (Deery, 2004).

Product placement is often considered a more under-the-radar way to put a brand

message in front of consumers. "When a brand is integrated into a show [or movie], it's not

perceived as a commercial, and it's very powerful" (Tucker, 2004). Product placement has









emerged as the solution to 'zipping' (the process of skipping past commercials by fast

forwarding) and 'zapping' (the process of skipping past commercials by changing the channel)

(Hoyer & MacInnis, 2001). Product placement has also gained popularity in response to the

clutter of other advertising avenues, such as the increased number of commercials per 30 minute

television slot, and the decreased length of commercials, from 60 seconds to 30 and now 15

second spots (Russell & Belch, 2005). As product sponsors realize that consumers are making

an active effort to avoid their messages, they are forced to come up with new and creative ways

to keep their brands and messages in front of the consumer. Product placement is one solution to

this advertising dilemma.

To further expand on the definition, Tiwsakul, Hackley, & Szmigin (2005) suggest that

there are three distinct categories of product placement: 1) implicit product placement (the

placement of a product without any formal recognition of the product such as when a Coca-

Cola sits on a table where two characters are seated), 2) integrated explicit product placement

(involves a formal expression of the product and the product plays an active role in the script -

when the same Coca-Cola is picked up by one of the characters and commented on), and 3) non-

integrated explicit product placement (a product is explicitly recognized in connection to a

show/movie, but not featured in it such as if a Coca-Cola were mentioned throughout a story,

but the product itself was never actually shown).

Turcotte (1995) recognizes three different types of product placement, though parts of his

organization overlap with Tiwsakal et al. definitions. Turcotte suggests that product placement

may be visually placed on a set but never specifically referred to, that it may be spoken about in

dialogue but not necessarily shown, or it may be featured visually and in the action or dialogue.









Product Placement versus Sponsorship

There is some overlap in the definitions of product placement and sponsorship. While

researchers have still not settled on where to draw a clear line between the two, it is nonetheless

important to define each.

Product placement has been defined to be "unobtrusive" and inserted into "paid media"

(Balasubramanian, 1994; LaPastina, 2001). Sponsorship may not be initially placed in a medium,

but may be broadcast through one anyway, such as with a banner at a sports event that is

televised. Sponsorship has been defined as "the provision of assistance either financial or in kind

to an activity by a commercial organization for the purpose of achieving organizational

objectives" (Meenaghan, 1983).

Schneider and Cornwell (2005) draw the distinction between product placement and

sponsorship in that product placement involves the placement of a brand name within a scripted

media, while sponsorship approaches event inclusion under the guise of philanthropy, and views

media exposure as a secondary benefit to this.

The History of Product Placement

The history of product placement finds its roots in early cinema and dates back to the

start of cinema in the 1920s. At its inception product placement did not involve meetings with

studios, brand managers, and the like as it does today: rather, it was a naive, casual, and person-

to-person arrangement. Products were handed off to celebrities, often for a small gratis fee paid

to the celebrity personally (Segrave, 2004). It is reported that these barter-style agreements were

the norm for product placements until around 1970 (Mckechnie & Thou, 2003).

Product placement began in radio in the 1930s, when products would often be central to a

radio show's narrative. The term 'soap opera' refers to the on-air dramas of early radio that were

fully and unabashedly sponsored by one specific brand of soap, and later, other household









products (Russell & Belch, 2005). Product placement began in television in the 1940s, when

advertisers would purchase entire time slots for branded shows such as The Texaco Star Theater

(George, 2005).

During the 1930s and 1940s product placement made occasional appearances in film.

For example, in the 1948 film Mildred Pierce Joan Crawford drank branded Jack Daniels liquor

(Nebenzahl & Secunda, 1993). However, the practice of product placement from the 1920s until

1970s was not consistent, nor was it considered profitable. Film was not a totally ignored

medium, but advertising occurred through this period first as ad reels shown before films, then as

ad trailers in the 1960s and 1970s. In the mid-1970s it was stated that, "for 40 years ads in

theaters have been standard practice nearly everywhere except the U.S. and Canada" (Segrave,

2004). Advertising in theaters just hadn't caught on in the United States. as advertisers failed to

acknowledge its potential for bringing a brand to a mass audience and filmmakers failed to

realize the financial gain that could come from this practice.

Nineteen seventy-seven was the year that this opinion and practice changed, and the year

that really set advertisers and filmmakers up for the marriage of film and advertising that was to

occur in the 1980s. In 1977 a Frenchman named Roger Hatchuel ran an experiment to disarm

the fears that many advertisers had about the placement of advertising messages in the theater

atmosphere. Hatchuel ran three minutes of advertising for nationally distributed products like

Chrysler and Seiko and surveyed the audiences after viewing the commercials to determine

whether or not the presentation of advertising in the film atmosphere elicited any negative

reactions. The audience had no strong negative reaction, as many had expected they might, so

Hatchuel moved forward with the placement of regular advertising trailers before films (Segrave,









2004). Shortly after, the rest of America followed this practice, and advertising accompanying

films is a practice that continues in similar manner today.

Product placement started in the form that it is most commonly recognized in 1982,

when Steven Spielberg, the director ofE. T. the Extra-Terrestrial approached Mars, the makers

of M&Ms, with an idea to include this candy in his film. Mars, unfamiliar with the exact idea

and implications of involving its already-successful product in a Hollywood film, declined the

offer, so Spielberg next approached Hershey, the makers of Reese's Pieces candy. Hershey

wisely agreed and the placement of the candy reportedly caused sales to skyrocket 70 percent

(Segrave, 2004). The mass success of the Reese's Pieces placement spawned a new way for

communicators to get their messages in front of audiences: placing their products in the films

that consumers were already willing to pay to go see.

Jump forward 20 years in Spielberg's career from his initial product placement success,

and this director may be found again reaping the benefits of this growing communication tool.

Spielberg's 2002 Minority Report featured 15 maj or placed brands, including the likes of Gap,

American Express, USA Today, and Pepsi (Segrave, 2004). These placed brands were not in the

least subtle to the paying viewer. At a price tag of a combined 25 million dollars, these

corporations made sure that their names were seen and hopefully remembered.

The popularity of product placement has extended to modern television as well, and

although that success is not the focus of this literature review, it is certainly noteworthy. Today

consumers are now quite used to seeing well-known brands incorporated throughout television

storylines and backdrops in order to give the show a more realistic appeal (George, 2005). As

marketers and advertisers look for what's next in innovative advertising, more and more are

turning their attention to product placement as a unique way to keep their brands in front of









consumers and work around consumer avoidance of advertising messages (Cardona, Chura, Fine

& Sanders, 2002).

Product Placement in Movies vs. Television

It is reported that a larger audience views television than movies, and it is estimated that

the average American household's TV set is on for 7.2 hours a day (Avery & Ferraro, 2000). In

terms of selective exposure opportunity, a consumer specifically chooses to go see a movie, and

which movie to see, so he presumably has more power over viewing or avoiding product

placements in movies. Yet, in opposition to this claim, it could also be argued that a consumer

has control over which channels he views (Avery & Ferraro, 2000). Moreover, since a viewer

typically views the same television shows over a longer period of time, versus visiting the

characters once in a movie theater, he is more apt to become involved with the program and its

characters, and by extension of that, more influenced by the placed products that character uses

(Avery & Ferraro, 2000).

Avery and Ferraro (2000) also examine the amount of placement content in television

versus movies and found that commercial movies re-run on television contained more product

placement than regular scripted television shows. These researchers also found that these movies

also contained more persuasive product placements that is, placements that were visually

prominent and positively portrayed than those in television shows. Another study by PQ Media

found that in 2005 television actually accounted for over half of all product placements relative

to movies and a category of 'other' placements (J. E., 2005).

Though larger audiences are exposed to television shows nationally, it is important to

note that many Hollywood movies are released worldwide, and therefore movies can also reach

as wide an audience as television, if not wider (Mckechnie & Thou, 2003). Worldwide movie

distribution can also dictate which brands are placed in film, whereas a brand featured in









television may be more geographically localized and therefore inappropriate for worldwide

distribution. An example of this is the 1993 film Demolition Man which made reference to Taco

Bell foods, and was edited to refer to Pizza Hut foods for release in Australia and other countries

as Pizza Hut was more geographically relevant to these other areas ("Demolition Man", 2006).

Nonetheless both media film and television can experience a long shelf life via syndication or

video/DVD release (Morton & Friedman, 2002).

The Relationships of Product Placement

Product placement is said to have a symbiotic relationship between a filmmaker who can

choose which products to feature and a product sponsor who is constantly attempting to place his

products in front of consumers (Balasubramanian, 1994). Balasubramanian expands on this

relationship stating:

To efficiently locate product placement opportunities, the product sponsor usually hires a
specialist firm to act as a liaison with movie studios and secure story scripts far in
advance of movie production. These scripts are carefully reviewed to locate desirable
story contexts for placing a specific product (Salmans 1981); when these contexts (and
the consideration terms accompanying them) are acceptable to both the moviemaker and
the product sponsor, a product placement results (Newsweek 1989). For example, Alaska
Airlines, Apple computers, Bounty paper towels, and Ore-Ida Frozen French fries were
an integral part of the movie Short Circuit (Tucker 1989). Similarly, Gerber products
(e.g., baby food, strollers, and high chairs) were successfully placed in several television
series, including thil i)yv\inluriig and Our House (Cain 1988). (1994).


The relationship between television producers and product sponsors is evident in the

editing of The Real World, a reality show on MTV, which claims to simply document the real

lives of seven young strangers, yet is so emphatic about product placement relationships that

"they systematically blur out logos for companies that aren't under contract, a practice that one

could argue reduces the environment's realism by creating a more artificially selective display of

brands than is generally found in real life" (Deery, 2004).









Product placement also involves a relationship between the brand and the viewer.

Product placement, in its very essence is a way to reach potential consumers in a smarter, subtler,

and at times more credible way than the typical 30-second commercial. However, this is often

compromised as product placements move from the natural backgrounds and TV settings; for

example, Jerry Seinfeld's favorite cereal strategically placed on his counter, to the foreground of

storylines and reality television; for example, brand names as central to the storyline of shows

like Survivor and The Apprentice (Deery, 2004).

Product placement not only involves managing the relationship between movie studios

and product sponsors, but also managing commercial media buys that occur after a product has

been placed. Product placement, though obviously a force in its own right, is often buttressed by

other strategic media buys, such as commercials at the start of the commercial block immediately

following the scene the product was featured in, or other sponsorship arrangements. This was

the case recently for Subway restaurants which "worked with its media-buying firm, WPP

Group's MediaCom, and General Electric's NBC on an ad package (centered around the sit-com

Will & Grace) that involved both the product placement and a 30-second commercial to run

during the episode" ("Subway", 2005). This strategic media planning, which can involve

commercials, sponsorships, and product placements, all centered around a single television

episode provides an example of product placement taken to the next level. In these cases product

placement is the nucleus of a media buy, the product is not only advertised during a show, but

also featured within the show itself to ensure a much greater audience reach.

Another example of how product placement can be built into lucrative media packages

and acting as the catalyst for other traditional advertising is in the package deal for Heineken and

the film Be Cool, starring John Travolta. In this arrangement, Travolta, as the film's main









character, was featured drinking Heineken in the film. The movie took Travolta's character's tie

to the brand a step further by featuring him in the Heineken television commercials as well. This

campaign was further buttressed with Heineken/Be Cool point of purchase displays, movie ticket

giveaways, radio promotions, and even a "Live the Cool Life" Heineken promotional

sweepstakes which offered V.I.P. treatment to popular nightclubs as another way to tie the movie

and the beer together (Hargrave-Silk, 2005).

The Appeal of Product Placement

Product placement has a unique appeal as a marketing and advertising tool for brand

managers and producers. According to Ted Wirth, creative-services manager for Subway

restaurants, "Product placement helps us connect with our consumer and it puts our products in a

more tangible scenario. That can't often be done in commercials" ("Subway", 2005).

Research has found that positive portrayals of a product in movies can result in a positive

intent to purchase the product featured in film, while negative portrayals can be a reason for

discontinuing use of a product (Morton & Friedman, 2002). Findings like these are what

motivate product sponsors to continue to grow this area of communication.

Product placement involves the creative pursuit of brand placement in a variety of media.

The main point of placement is to get the brand in front of the consumer, hopefully in a context

within which the placement seems unobtrusive and natural. The placement seeks to enhance the

media that it is placed in, rather than dominate it. One creative product placement deal involved

Timex watches and the author Tom Clancy, in which Timex was approached with a $1.3 million

proposition to be highly incorporated into a Clancy novel, CD-ROM, movie, and Internet game

(Nelson, 2002).

Product placement is developing in other media as it gains popularity. Two such media

are computer games and video games, both of which are estimated to be equally if not more









popular with younger audiences than the television medium. One difference between gaming

and watching television is that consumers are actively involved with the game and are compelled

to pay much closer attention to the screen. Time spent in front of a computer or video game

screen is quality time, while time spent in front of the television or at the movies usually do not

involve comparable levels of media engagement. For this reason, such outlets hold extreme

appeal and are important areas for growth in product placement as time goes on (Lindstrom,

2005).

Placement without a Price

Product placement, though often viewed as a lucrative business opportunity, can also

occur without an explicit exchange of money. The start of this review touched on the roots of

product placement and noted that in its very early days placement usually occurred as a barter

arrangement.

Today, products are sometimes chosen simply because they are the best fit for a

television or movie scene, or because the television or movie studio wish to use a product's

established brand character to represent some characteristic of the show/film's characters. This

was the case on Seinfeld, which placed Drakes Cakes coffee cakes as central to a particular

storyline because the product added to the show's East Coast flavor (Jensen, 1997). "The snack

cakes, which have been a staple in Northeastern grocery stores for decades, have become the

prop of choice for Hollywood studios seeking to create a hip East Coast look for their TV

shows" (Jensen, 1997). "Drake's says it didn't solicit -- or pay for -- any of the product

placements, but the company couldn't have gotten the attention at a better time. It had already

decided to expand beyond the Northeast and Florida when TV viewers started phoning to ask

where they could find the snacks" (Jensen, 1997).









The Business of Product Placement

Though a product may be fortunate enough to be placed in television or movie for free

based on some characteristic or meaning the product holds, more often than not product

placement comes at a price. As mentioned previously, in the 20 years since he started placing

products in E. T., product placement has blossomed into a lucrative business opportunity for

Steven Spielberg, who grossed 25 million in product placement deals alone for Minority Report

(Segrave, 2004).

Research indicates that product placement can enter a film in four ways: 1) a brand can

solicit a film and offer to pay a fee for placement in a film it believes reaches its target audience;

2) studios can approach brands for placement and a fee when they believe they have a fit; 3)

studios can simply place a brand in a film at no cost and without the explicit permission of a

brand; or 4) placement deals can be specified and arranged by independent product placement

firms (Gupta, Balasubramanian & Klassen, 2000; Entertainment Resources and Marketing

Association, 2006).

Product placement is viewed as both a means to keep up the momentum of an already

successful product, as well as a solution for businesses and brands that are facing declining sales.

Such was the case for Sears department store that turned to Norm Marshall & Associates, the

same product placement specialists that placed USA Today newspaper in Spielberg's Minority

Report (Tucker, 2004). Sears was "looking at nontraditional means of promoting the brand and,

in part, responding to the changing landscape and the media mix" (Tucker, 2004).

Marketers that use product placement are becoming more proactive in the dealings of

product placement in order to have a more hands-on control of when and how their products are

featured in film and television. Coca-Cola, Ford, and BMW have even taken on the role of









program producer in certain cases in order to exert their influence and control (Karrh, McKee &

Pardun, 2003).

Identification of Product Placement

While product placement is enjoying massive popularity in modem television and film,

there is growing concern that the very idea of product placement is a violation of the laws for the

separation of editorial content and advertising (Baerns, 2003). Though there are laws in place

that product sponsors must be clearly identified, and advertising pitches clearly distinguished

from editorial content, it seems that the loophole that advertisers are aggressively pursuing in

order to reach savvy consumers in a more subtle way is the same loophole that many academics

and researchers fear is being exploited. This discrepancy results in a confusing gray area

regarding where the entertainment ends and advertising begins is developing (Baems, 2003).

Product placement is also garnering increasing attention from consumer advocates who

have suggested that brands be identified in the opening credits of a film in order to clarify which

part of the film is story and which is advertising (Gupta, Balasubramanian & Klassen, 2000).

Gupta et al (2000) also note that consumer advocates have suggested allowing for ticket price

reductions based on the number of placements in a film, requiring refunds to consumers upset by

product placements, and an overall limit to the amount of product placements in a film in order

to preserve the creative integrity of the movie-going experience. A more recent comment on this

issue came in May 2005 when a member of the Federal Communications Commission called for

stricter regulation of product placement, stating that there is nothing wrong with product

placement as long as it was properly disclosed as required by law. There is no specific law

regarding product placement at this time, but as product placement grows in frequency and

popularity there is no doubt that this issue will at some point be brought up in the court law in

order for these legal boundaries to be clarified (Shields, 2005). The Commissioner, Jonathan









Adelstein, noted that product placement was particularly worrisome when it appeared in "news"

broadcasts, and urged lawmakers to make "clear and prominent" disclosures for all commercial

messages ("Tell the FCC", 2006).

The issues surrounding product placement become even harder to define when one

considers non-traditional media taken in context with the fact that there are no specific credits

typically attached to the message in which product placement is being conveyed. A recent

example of this is with online blogging. Blogging (i.e., web logging) or keeping a web diary,

started and is widely represented as the author's personal thoughts and opinions posted on the

Internet for the world to read. However, in December 2004 the line between editorial and

advertising content became blurred when a software company announced that it would pay select

key bloggers to endorse its products in their online blogs for a fee (Roush, 2005).

Product Placement Worldwide

Though extremely popular in the United States, product placement is a technique that is

also reaching audiences worldwide. For example, in Brazil where the practice called

'merchandising', product placements are often central to the narrative of prime time telenovelas

(soap operas). Furthermore branded placements are growing even more relevant to the themes

and narratives of the dramas as time goes on (LaPastina, 2001). The United Kingdom also has

its share of product placement, specifically in British soap operas and mini-series (Tiwsakul,

Hackley & Szmigin, 2005). Though recent articles point to the use of product placement in U.K.

television, there had been a 50-year ban on product placement in this region (Hall, 2005). The

U.K. has previously been strict about product placement in order to protect the integrity of its

programming and prevent any detrimental effects that it may have on its audiences, but is now

leaning toward the liberalization of product placement restrictions as this form of advertising

gains steam.









Studies of China in relation to product placement have revealed that when compared to

the United States, Chinese audiences were generally less accepting of product placement in

movies as a form of reaching consumers (Mckechnie & Thou, 2003).

Another topic of study regarding product placement around the world is one that

considers the placement within movies that are released worldwide. Gould, Gupta & Grabner-

Krauter (2000) note that not all products will be regarded with the same acceptance across

different nationalities and that product sponsors, when negotiating to place a product in a film,

should be aware of this potential issue and not overpay to place their product. As mentioned

previously, while the localization of product placement can be very effective via television (i.e.

Brazil), movie product placement is a different matter as products and product recognition can

vary across nations.

The Future of Product Placement

The future of product placement is not certain, and as the media landscape continuously

changes product placement may gain or lose favor. In the three year period from 1990 to 1993

that Advertising Age commissioned a study of the number of incidences of product placement on

major network television stations (studies conducted by Hume, 1990 and Fawcett, 1993) product

placement increased by almost 11 percent (Avery & Ferraro, 2000). Product placement is

currently booming and is featured in television sit-coms, reality shows, competitions, and movies

alike. Recent product placements have appeared on everything from The Apprentice and Queer

Eye for the Straight Guy to AllMy Children and Scrubs (George, 2005). Ford even had the hit

show 24 create entire storylines incorporating their Ford vehicles (George, 2005). Statistics

published in Broadcast & Cable suggest that television product placement may be the wave of

the future, noting that while traditional advertising avenues grew by only 7% from 2004 to 2005

television product placement grew by 30.5% during this same time period (J. E., 2005). Les









Moonves, the chairman of CBS, predicts that within three or four TV seasons (from 2005), up to

75 percent of all scripted, prime-time network shows will feature products or services paid for by

advertisers (George, 2005).

As discussed throughout this literature review, product placement has extended beyond

film and television to various outlets such as computer games, video games, and even books

(Nelson, 2002). The beauty of product placement, and a key reason for its momentous growth, is

the mutually beneficial relationship it instills between advertiser and producer, consumer and

media. A brand placed in a film or game gains brand exposure, the film or game producer gains

financial resources to produce their film or game, and consumers gain a more realistic

atmosphere to their media consumption experiences. Today, product placement is a $3.4 billion

industry (J. E., 2005). With this kind of money and the increasingly creative forms it is taking, it

seems that product placement may be here to stay

What is an Independent Film?

In order to fully understand the context of this study a reader must be equipped not only

with knowledge of the practice of product placement, but also a general understanding of the

world of independent film. An independent or "indie" film is a film produced without the

backing, either financial or in the process of distribution, of a major film studio (What is

"independent film?", 2006). Independent films began in the early 1900s as a result of

filmmakers' desire for independence from the constraints of the Motion Pictures Patents

Company. Despite the birth of independent film in the 1900s films remained largely produced by

major studios until the late 1950s and early 1960s when advancements in the technology of film

were made. In the 1980s the accessibility of low cost computing equipment reduced the cost of

producing a film considerably, serving as another step forward in the history of independent film

(Rusco & Walls, 2003).









Within the world of independent film there are a variety of genres and most generally these

can be divided into documentary and narrative films. A documentary implies a non-fiction telling

of events, though not necessarily an unbiased one, and a narrative is most often defined as the

telling of a story, be it based on real events or not (Evans, 2002). Since independent films are not

largely distributed in the manner that large studio films are, the venue in which an independent

film usually gains an audience and popularity is the film festival or through distribution which

the filmmaker arranged personally.

Though it seems that advertisers' interest in placing products and filmmakers' need for

financing independent films may be a natural fit, there is a limited body of knowledge on this

relationship. Though product placement is not a specific area of research in connection with

independent film, advertisers are attempting to align their products with the world of independent

filmmaking in other ways, such as sponsoring traveling indie film festivals, like the one

sponsored by Levi's Dockers brand in 1997 (Ebenkamp, 1997). Similarly, the automaker Audi

and Turning Leaf wine sponsored the 17th annual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards film

festival and awards show (Greenberg, 2002). Other brands attempt to reach the indie film

audience by creating indie films themselves, as was the case for BMW and Aeropostle, who each

produced shorts featuring their products (Cuneo, 2002).

It seems advertisers may be utilizing these methods of association with independent films

because the very nature of indie films is a spirit of rebellion and resistance to commercial

influence and control. "True independent film production is about financing films from sources

that have no control over your story, your vision, your creative ideas. You are free to make the

film you want to make ..." (Funding, 2006).









While product placement may alleviate costs of making a film for the filmmaker,

advertisers are showing increasing interest in indie films as a forum for placing their brand

messages. One website even offers financing for filmmakers and product placement for the

sponsors who pitch into the pool of money from which films are made (Filmventure, 2006).

Funding an Independent Film

In 1996 it was estimated that the business of independent filmmaking totaled around

$300 million (Marks, 1996). Today, it can be assumed that this amount is significantly more.

However, it is important to put these costs into perspective because as the popularity of indie

filmmaking rises, in many cases, the cost of producing an independent film has fallen, making

this world even more enticing and accessible than it once was.

Many would-be filmmakers are lured into the world of indie filmmaking based on the

myths of indie successes that have become legends (Marks, 1996). For example, the 1999 film

The Blair Witch Project was produced for $22,000 and went on to $240.5 million ("The Blair

Witch Project", 2007). These legends are few and far between due in part to the fact that a film

produced for a few thousand dollars (or even less if shot digitally) very rarely gets any kind of

distribution. Frequently, by the time the film is transferred to the proper quality film for

distribution, the sound is remixed and all the deferments paid ('deferments' are when an actor or

crew member works on "credit" and will be paid only if the film itself is successful), and the film

promoted, the filmmaker rarely takes home a profit (Marks, 1996). Further, many indie films are

funded not only by outside investors, but on the filmmaker's own credit, a move that can follow

him for years to come (Marks, 1996).

Making an Independent Film

The process of making an independent film often relies heavily on the equipment and

software available to the public. Since independent film by its very nature is free of the guidance,









regulations, and the pocketbook of a large film studio, independent filmmaking is often a second

job for the filmmakers done with home video cameras, digital cameras, and personal computers

using programs such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere (now

discontinued), and Apple's Final Cut Pro (Moltenbrey, 2004).

Of course there is much more to making a film than just the equipment used to make it.

There is the matter of actors, writers, directors, producers, lighting, script supervisors, prop

masters, costume designers, and so on. The cast and crew of an indie production depends on the

size budget of the production, and can be on a very small (one or two) people to very large

(100+) scale.

Once a film is shot, it must be edited, and then a way to reach audiences must be

identified. While in the past the actual filmmaking was the biggest challenge, with an indie

"boom" in the mid-to-late 1990s, combined with the evolving trends in film equipment, the

challenge has moved from the actual making of the film to getting the completed film distributed

(Goald & Munson, 2002).

The Future of Independent Film

The creation of an independent film, no matter how ambitious the filmmaker, is often a

struggle due to budgetary constraints. However, today the landscape of the world of independent

filmmaking is changing quickly. Whereas a filmmaker in the past would have to raise a

significant amount of capital in order to even shoot his first scene, digital filmmaking makes the

world of filmmaking entirely more accessible and affordable to the novice filmmaker (Kennedy,

2005). According to Kennedy (2005), in the very near future film will no longer actually be part

of"filmmaking"; this process will go completely digital. While this concept has a significant

impact on the actual process of filmmaking, it will also have an impact on the preservation of









films once they are complete. A film will no longer be a physical entity that eventually succumbs

to corrosion and disintegration, rather it will be stored and preserved digitally.

The mid-1990s showed a dramatic increase in popularity for the indie films. During early

to mid-2000s the popularity and critical acclaim of independents films continued to grow.

Independent films also became more common during this time period due to a rise in Internet

DVD rentals, satellite TV, and specialized cable film channels.

The popularity of independent film and the use of product placement in film are both on

the rise today, and there is little research connecting the two. This study seeks to explore the

attitudes of independent filmmakers toward the practice of product placement and the next

chapter presents a detailed discussion of the research design used to further investigate the

research question.









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

The purpose of this study is to explore aspiring and existing independent filmmakers'

attitudes toward the practice of product placement in order to shed light on this unexplored area

of advertising research. The current body of knowledge on product placement presents a primary

focus on the study of consumers' attitudes and reactions to the method of product placement.

However, there is a lack of research specific to filmmakers' opinions about product placement.

Based on this void the nature of this study will be qualitative and highly exploratory and will be

conducted as an in-depth qualitative analysis of filmmakers' attitudes toward the practice of

product placement. Though exploratory research can be conducted through other methods, such

as focus groups, the specific qualifications and scarcity of qualified respondents (local aspiring

and existing independent filmmakers) made the sample pool small enough that in-depth

interviews could be conducted personally with each filmmaker respondent.

The in-depth interview has been likened to "a conversation with a purpose" (Legard,

Keegan & Ward, 2003). According to Legard, Keegan, & Ward (2003), a good in-depth

interview should feel natural to the respondent, but should adhere to the purposes of the

interviewer. The in-depth interview is used to answer questions of value, definition, and policy.

According to Stacks (2002), advantages of the in-depth interview include the rich detail that can

be drawn from a one-on-one session with a respondent, and the fact that the interviewer can

gather detail about the topic at hand as well as about the respondent himself in order to best

qualify the information gathered.

Interview Procedure

The interviews were semi-structured, in-depth and held at the convenience of the

interviewee. The interviews ranged from 25 60 minutes in length depending on how much









feedback the participant had. An interview guide consisting of nine questions that examined four

specific dimensions of filmmakers' attitudes toward product placement was used as the basis of

the interview. This outline was followed to keep the interview on track and avoid straying from

the topic at hand, as well as to thoroughly explore the identified dimensions of attitudes. A

sample of the protocol can be found in Appendix C. Nine classifying questions were also

included as part of the interview guide. The purpose of the questions related to dimension of

attitude was to gauge filmmakers' reactions by bringing up topics related to the identified

dimensions. For example, "Do you think product placement has an effect on the finished film's

quality?" was asked to address the dimension of "artistic integrity of the film". "Does product

placement affect the cost of making the film?" was asked to address the dimension of "cost of

producing the film". The purpose of the classifying questions was to put the filmmaker

responses into context of age, gender, years of experience, education and so on. The interviews

were audio taped and afterwards transcribed verbatim. These steps were completed for every

participant before the qualitative analysis took place.

Research Variables

Four variables were examined in this study to explore aspiring and existing independent

filmmakers' attitudes toward product placement. These four dimensions included: "artistic

integrity of the film", "cost of producing the film", "audience distraction by placed products",

and "filmmaker interest in general topic of product placement". "Artistic integrity of the film"

was used to explore the filmmakers' perception of how closely the completed film adhered to the

filmmakers' original vision for the film. "Cost of producing the film" was used to investigate the

filmmakers' perception of budget and how the use of product placement affected the bottom line.

The dimension "audience distraction by placed products" was used to explore the filmmakers'

perception of how placed products influenced that audience's focus on the film's storyline, and









"filmmaker interest in the general topic of product placement" was used to discover the

filmmakers' personal interest in product placement. These variables were measured by the

author's interpretation of the responses to each question that was assigned to one of the four

noted dimensions. The author measured dimensions abstractly by identifying themes in the

filmmaker responses. Table 3-1 presents these dimensions and their corresponding definitions.

Table 3-1. Dimensions of attitude defined
Dimension of attitude Study definition
Artistic integrity of the film The filmmaker's perception of how closely the film
adheres to his original vision and refers to the intactness,
intention and purity of the end result film.

Cost of producing the film The filmmaker's perception of the budget and how the use
of product placement affects the film's budget.

Audience distraction by The filmmaker's perception of how placed products affect
placed products the audience's focus on the film itself, meaning the main
plot, characters, scenery, and all placements that do not
carry an intended brand message.

Filmmaker interest in The filmmaker's level of personal and professional
general topic of product interest in the topic of product placement.
placement


Sample

Independent filmmakers served as the respondents to this study, and thus a basic

understanding of who these people are is necessary to understand the context from which the

study's results are derived. The respondents to this study all considered themselves professional

independent filmmakers because their filmmaking was not a hobby, rather it was done for profit.

In this study most of the filmmakers interviewed had other "day jobs", and many had daytime

careers that tied directly into their independent filmmaking ventures, such as teaching film,

writing and editing, visual designing, or engaging in entrepreneurial ventures. This holding of a









day job while being an independent filmmaker seemed to be the norm for at least the most basic

level of independent filmmakers.

Though an absolute snapshot of the "average" independent filmmaker is impossible to

compile, it seems that most independent filmmakers share at least a few common qualities,

including; a creative desire to make a film that adheres to his or her vision as a filmmaker, an

entrepreneurial spirit to be able to raise money to shoot an independent film, and a desire to share

his or her creative vision with an audience. According to Lindenmuth (1998), independent

filmmakers make the films that they want to see and that aren't being made by large studios.

The type of sample used to recruit participants was a snowball sample. Aspiring and

existing independent filmmakers were located through the author's academic and professional

contacts and a snowball referral technique was employed to increase the sample. The sample

frame required that all respondents be independent filmmakers who make films for profit not

leisure and therefore who consider themselves professional filmmakers. The filmmakers were

also chosen based on the type of film they make, which was independent ("indie") and non-

documentary. Documentary filmmakers were not conducive to the purposes in this study in that

products that appear in their films are not 'placed' per se. In addition these filmmakers do not

have specific scripts and dialogue which may be affected by product placement.

The interviews took place over the period of November 2006 February 2007. All the

participants received written and oral information about the study previous to their participation

in it. A participant's willingness to participant was first secured via personal conversation,

telephone or email. The author personally conducted each interview, which were held

separately, with the exception of one father-son duo, who preferred to be interviewed in a joint









session. The interviews were conducted in person when the filmmaker was local, or over the

phone for filmmakers from out of town.

The next chapter will detail the research findings of this study and relate specific

filmmaker quotes from the one-on-one interviews to the researched dimensions of attitude.









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The aspiring and existing filmmakers ranged in age from early 20s to mid 60s and ranged

in years of filmmaking experience from one year to over 40 years. It is this vast range of years

of filmmaking experience within the respondent pool that leads to the classification as "aspiring

and existing filmmakers." The respondent pool was composed of two female and nine male

aspiring and existing filmmakers. The filmmakers were of various racial and ethnic backgrounds,

including African American, Asian American and Caucasian. The filmmakers ranged in level of

education from the completion of some college to the completion of multiple Master's degrees.

Most of the filmmakers interviewed had other "day jobs" that were not filmmaking,

though all considered themselves professional filmmakers. Many had daytime jobs that tied

directly into their independent filmmaking ventures, such acting as Director of a film program at

a Florida community college or acting as the Film Commissioner of the State of Florida. Others

utilized filmmaking skills, such as screenwriting or designing to hold related jobs such as

English school teacher, magazine editor, graphic designer, or entrepreneur. Still others made

films for profit, but held day jobs unrelated to their filmmaking pursuits.

The respondent pool was composed of: two brothers and independent filmmakers for six

years, an office administrator and filmmaker for four years, a father and son duo and filmmakers

for two years, an Orlando filmmaker and entrepreneur, a Hollywood actress and independent

filmmaker for one year, an artist and filmmaker for nine years, a screenwriter for five years, the

Director of the film program at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fl and the Film

Commissioner of the State of Florida and filmmaker for ten years. A more specific breakdown of

the characteristics of each respondent is illustrated in Table 4-1.









Geographically the filmmakers largely hailed from Florida, specifically from Gainesville

or Orlando, as this was the group most accessible to the author. The remaining filmmakers

resided in Venice Beach, California; Tallahassee, Florida; and New York, New York.

Table 4-1. Filmmaker respondent characteristics
Filmmaker Years Age Gender Location Occupation
Experience


Gainesville, FL

Gainesville, FL

Orlando, FL

Venice Beach, CA
Gainesville, FL

Gainesville, FL
Gainesville, FL
Orlando, FL

Tallahassee, FL
Orlando, FL
New York, NY


Office administrative
manager
Entrepreneur/graphic
designer
Entrepreneur/web site
owner
Actress
Middle school English
teacher
Student/filmmaker
Screenwriter
Director of college film
program
State film commissioner
Filmmaker/graphic artist
Filmmaker/writer/editor


The respondents were recruited by snowball sampling. Aspiring and existing independent

filmmakers were located through the author's academic and professional contacts and a snowball

referral technique was employed to increase the sample. The sample frame required that all

respondents be existing or aspiring independent filmmakers who make films for profit not leisure

and therefore who consider themselves professional filmmakers. In order to recruit participants

the author first spoke to a personal contact who was an aspiring filmmaker who suggested the

author could meet other aspiring and existing filmmakers by attending a small Gainesville film

festival. At this event the author made contact with a number of other filmmakers of various

levels of experience, most of whom were used in this study. Besides the aspiring and existing


<5 years

5-10 years

<5 years

<5 years
<5 years

<5 years
<5 years
20+ years

20+ years
5-10 years
5-10 years


32

30s

37

27
55

20
29
50s

52
34
36









filmmakers that the author met personally at the film festival, the remaining filmmakers were

referred either by the author's professors or through other filmmakers that were interviewed.

The respondent pool of filmmakers completed as few as one to as many as over 30 films

during their respective film careers and worked with budgets as low as zero (with some minor

out-of-pocket costs, but largely on a barter or "favor" system) to as large as $1.2 million.

Themes That Emerged from Interviews

Five prominent themes emerged from the interviews conducted, many of which were

interconnected with other themes, or served as umbrellas over more specific reactions. The major

themes that emerged from the interviews were "money", "control", "experience", "interest in

product placement" and "art versus business".

The first theme that will be discussed is that of money. When money was discussed it

was not in relation to a product placed in exchange for direct cash but rather a barter arrangement

for goods or services, which served to decrease the bottom line of the film. A second theme that

emerged is the idea of control. This theme was defined as the filmmaker's ability to control the

content and artistic vision of the resulting final film. A third theme that emerged was that of

experience. This deals with both the number of years that a respondent had been involved in

filmmaking and also his or her personal experience with product placement. Another theme was

that of the filmmaker's interest in the topic of product placement. This theme addresses the

respondents' reported personal and professional interest in the topic of product placement. The

final theme that emerged was the question of art versus business for the filmmaker. This theme

deals with the idea of balancing business and artistic vision and touches on the topic of artistic

integrity of the film. The following discussion explains the themes in greater detail and provides

illustration for each using respondent verbatims.









Response Theme Money/Cost

The theme of money or cost was a major aspect of the filmmaker responses related to

product placement. This theme is defined as the financial effect that product placement causes in

an independent film. This is discussed by respondents as a barter arrangement for goods or

service which lower the cost of filmmaking. This is the factor that was discussed most

consistently across interviews, and it has many aspects to it. Some filmmakers expressed a

willingness to be flexible to the brand's demands if it ultimately benefited the bottom line and, as

a result, the film as a whole. Others expressed a complete unwillingness to incorporate product

placement in any way and a resistance to the idea of money all together. This latter group of

filmmakers talked about their desire to stay true to what independent filmmaking is really about

and not to compromise their script, vision, or film in any way just to lower costs. One such

filmmaker commented on this stating:

You'll find that, um, well I find that a lot of independent filmmakers, they, they don't
want to place specific products in their, in their films because, it kind of goes against the
whole idea of independence. Because then you've got basically, like a corporate, if you
like see a corporate motto somewhere than it's almost like that person has sold out. It's
kind of like the image in a sense.

However, more often filmmakers talked about the positive effects product placement may

have on a film. One filmmaker who held this opinion stated:

Any time that you can get some kind of donation of goods, services, and in some
instances money, usually not on our level money. With that money that you're saving
from having to buy, pay for those goods, services and put it up on the screen, it has a
good effect on a film. And the other thing is, you know, not everyone is making "road
runner" pictures, not all the products can be named "Acme," I mean, we live in a world
full of products and brands, and, uh, people are branded very early in life and, you know,
hit with all this advertising stuff, so we all know that they have Fords and Chevys and
Dodges and all that.


Another filmmaker talked about his willingness to compromise with the studio that was

funding his film saying, "Like if we're working through a studio, and the studio is getting part of









the funds from a certain company and they just want, you know, a cereal box there or something,

I'll throw it in, no problem."

A different filmmaker discussed the benefit of product placement stating, "product

placement, at least from the independent filmmaker's point of view, can save you money because

it can provide you things that, that you don't have to buy, therefore you can use that money to

make your picture better." This same filmmaker later stated:

Especially in the low budget world where you're trying to save money, you want every
dollar you can on the screen, so if you can get something for less money or nothing
because you feature it and it doesn't hurt the story than it just makes good sense to use
that and then take that money and use it somewhere else to make a better movie.


Another filmmaker repeated this idea stating, "(Product placement) improves the quality

of the film because you get to throw some extra dough at it." This same filmmaker furthered her

view by placing emphasis on her willingness to approach the idea of incorporating products into

a film realistically stating that success in film is all about, "knowing your price tag....because

everybody has got their price tag."

On the other side of this issue were the filmmakers who expressed the negative effects

that money could have on an independent film. The same filmmaker who commented on the

benefit of throwing "extra dough" at a film also commented, "But at the same time it kind of

diminishes the quality because you have to slap a Yoo-Hoo sticker or something, you know,

right across a train set in the opening scene of The Sopranos, for example."

Other filmmakers talked about the implications of trading quality for money, "I mean,

what good is money if it's going to ruin the story?" And an inexperienced filmmaker talked

about the temptation to compromise for money stating:

It's difficult because, right now, I have, you know, I have spent a lot of time trying to
actually build a budget trying to get my own films made and I hadn't even found that









money, much less, advertiser money. So, I think being on this level seeing any kind of
money, you tend to want to jump at it.

In general, filmmakers seemed to have mixed opinions about the idea of money in

connection with product placement. Most overwhelmingly the filmmakers interviewed reported

that cash in exchange for a product placement was never really a possibility for them as their

films were too low budget or apt to be distributed too narrowly, if at all. The way money came

into play then was most often through a barter arrangement in which the brand provided goods or

services (most often goods) in exchange for an appearance in the film. The exact arrangements

for this were often very casual and did not usually require a written contract. Depending on the

film the appearance could come in the form of a spot in the background of a frame or as a

product worn or used by one of the film's characters.

One filmmaker commented on how he decreased his bottom line without featuring goods.

He stated, "We did a huge special thanks list... (for the) people (that) would provide meals for us

or locations. You know, our agreement with them was that, was that there would be a special

thanks credit."

Another filmmaker spoke on incorporating a bakery brand into a film in exchange for

baked goods for his cast and crew's meals. He said:

In one of the travel sequences we had the Entenmann's box sitting on the dashboard
semi-subtly. And so she (the person providing the goods) was elated. She must have
hooked us up with a hundred million calories. We don't make it look pretty. It's like half
torn, and, you know, it's people traveling across country. It wasn't sitting there perfectly
framed or anything. You know, it's just sort of hanging out.

This same filmmaker spoke about incorporating another brand into one of his films:

Something that we spend a lot of money on in making films is Polaroid film
because, you know, they can really give you the camera for free because they
get you with the film. It's basically a dollar a picture. Right, I mean. A
Polaroid, I've gotten twice photographic stuff. And a Polaroid, is we had the
girls that are crossing the Welcome to North Carolina, they're taking a picture









out of the convertible, and it happened to be a Polaroid picture. And so we got
free Polaroid film for the whole shoot and it probably saved us $10,000.


While filmmaker's specific experiences with product placement film seem to have a

strong connection with their feelings about money in relation to product placement, the spectrum

of attitudes was still impressive. The filmmakers interviewed varied from placing high value on

any money (in the form of goods or services) that could be devoted toward improving their film,

to resenting money and viewing it as corrupting their work.

Response Theme Control

The theme of control was closely tied into independent filmmakers' responses about their

attitudes toward product placement. This theme deals with filmmaker's ability to fully influence

the content and artistic vision of the final film. This theme ties closely into the idea of artistic

integrity, but was also brought up in conversations related to money, audience distraction, and a

variety of other topics. Thus, it is important to view the theme of "control" as a unique result.

When the filmmakers were asked if they believed that product placement enhanced or

hurt the quality of a finished film, often responses came in mixed forms, and centered around

how the placement was done and how much control the filmmaker had over the placement. One

filmmaker stated, "I think the ideal would be all in the contract, I guess, that we sign with the

company." This filmmaker went on to state, "to make sure that we had those freedoms the

freedom just to keep it (the product placement) tasteful in the movie. But I certainly wouldn't

rule it out." Another filmmaker echoed this opinion stating:

There would have to be some specifics for that, that if the product was used in a
particular scene, and they were paying some money towards it, there would have to be
some specifics in the contract that I use it to my, you know, to the best of my abilities, I
use it with my discretion. And if it needs to get cut out of the film because the scene
itself isn't working, I also have the discretion to do that.









This theme of control also ties into the idea that product placement can be done tastefully

or obnoxiously, a point that many of the respondents commented on. One respondent stated, "In

general, I don't really have a problem with it, if it's done, if it's done tastefully and it's not

overdone, and it's not, like, in your face." While another filmmaker stated:

I've seen films where it almost looks like you are watching a series of commercials, you
know, so it gets a little bizarre. You know, it's not every time you pick up a soda it's a
Coca-Cola facing perfectly towards the camera.

Yet another filmmaker commented:

It's weird trying to make the story about the product. Then it, it becomes more of an
advertisement. And so then it's no longer about the story, it's no longer about, um,
filmmaking or the art of filmmaking, it's just an advertisement, a commercial.

Some respondents commented that they chose to be independent filmmakers based on the

level of control it allowed them. One filmmaker reported, "It's, because in that sense I think that

this is, this is the level where you get most artistic freedom." This same filmmaker repeated this

idea stating, "I like the freedom of being able to just take shots and depending on, and not really

having to worry about like, 'How many times is this in here'?"

For the most part filmmakers expressed the amount of control the filmmaker retained as

directly proportional to how well the placement could potentially be done. The filmmakers

expressed a distaste for deals in which "too much" control is handed over to the brand, be it in

mandating how the brand should appear, the number of scenes in which the brand must appear,

or any alteration of the script. Largely filmmakers seemed to agree that the most natural product

placements were the most successful placements as far as not appearing obnoxious or over the

top and that an acceptable product placement is most likely one that is born out of the script, not

vice versa.









Response Theme Experience Level

Another key theme that emerged from the filmmaker interviews was that of experience

level of the filmmaker. This addresses both the number of years that a respondent had been

involved in filmmaking and also his or her personal experience with product placement. Though

filmmakers were not specifically questioned about their ideas on level of experience as related to

their attitudes toward product placement, it became apparent throughout the interviews that most

often those filmmakers who were most accepting and open to the practice of product placement

were the filmmakers who had the most filmmaking experience. While this was not an absolute

for every interview conducted it seemed that there was a direct relationship between those who

had made enough films to come into contact with some sort of product placement in their film

career and those who accepted the practice of product placement.

It seemed that the filmmakers with the lesser amount of filmmaking experience still held

fast to preconceived notions of the practice, but did not have personal experiences to discuss in

relation to these notions. It seemed that filmmakers with little experience had invested less

money into their films over time than those who had made multiple films. This lack of personal

investment seemed to keep these less experienced filmmakers resistant to the idea of product

placement. To them placing products represented another hand in their film. Because they had

not "been around the block" enough to recognize some of the financial benefits, so were not yet

at the stage of compromise in their filmmaking. Those filmmakers who had been in the business

for a number of years, however, were much more open to the idea of product placement in

exchange for goods or services because they had personally experienced a benefit from product

placement and had seen first hand how product placement could improve the bottom line of their

film.









For instance, one filmmaker who had made films for approximately two years and had

not had direct contact with a product placement arrangement in his film career stated, "No, I

don't think we'd want to identify ourselves with a particular commodity." He further stated that

he looks at product placement in general as, "a universal as being it's a bad situation."

Another independent filmmaker who had completed one feature film was open to the idea

of creating his own brands to place, but not necessarily to placing the brands of others. He stated:

It was a way of in a business plan thinking, "Okay, well, if you just make a film you're
putting all your eggs in one basket" and if you merchandise things (within your film) then
any one of those little quirky things could take off on its own.

This same filmmaker also commented on how overwhelming the idea of product

placement can be to an inexperienced filmmaker, stating:

If you consider it as something you could do, then often, the mountain of paperwork and
dealing with larger companies, especially when you are a small fry, you know, you're
really not going to get any money for it, and certainly you're really going to run into a lot
of hassles. So I think a lot of independent filmmakers try to write that stuff, you know,
out of their scripts.

Another filmmaker with limited hands-on experience stated, "I think in a way it's sort of

a political thing....I'm personally resistant to do that." He later stated, "I don't like the idea of

product placement. I think it adds a lot of fake nature to movies".

On the other side, the filmmakers with the most experience (e.g. 10 to 30 years)

approached product placement from a more complacent angle. While filmmakers at this level

also expressed their desire for control over the placements and their resistance to compromising

an entire scene for a placement, they largely stated that product placement could have its

function in the world of an indie filmmaker in that it brought goods and services that could

improve the bottom line and improve the film overall.









One filmmaker of 30 years stated, "If a product is used correctly, I don't think it can hurt

the quality of a film. It's when they overdo it (that it hurts the quality)." A second experienced

filmmaker stated, "I mean, I've used product placement even in my small films, but you never let

it get in the way of telling the story or overriding the purpose of the scene or the dramatic impact

of the scene." He went on to say:

On The First of May we did a deal, and I believe it was with Old Navy for wardrobe for
the actors and that saved us. Not only saved us a good amount of money, but, which
allowed us to put in other areas to make the movie better, but it was a great look for the
character in the film, for the boy in the film to be wearing these products, that it was a
very simple wear, and that was his character.


A final quote that supports this theme came from a filmmaker who was new to indie

filmmaking, but had years of experience in the film industry as an actress. In this case, her

experience in the industry played out to yield an opinion similar to those filmmakers who had

years of filmmaking experience. She stated her opinion toward product placement use:

If that's the difference between an 800 theater release and, and, you know, a massive
release then, oh my god, I think those people would change their minds very quickly.
And maybe that's the difference between working in a city like L.A. as opposed to
Florida.


This filmmaker pointed out a similar theme that was brought up by the indie filmmakers

themselves; that is, working at a lower budget level and in a city like Gainesville or Orlando

keeps filmmakers relatively separate from the practice of compromising their visions for

financial gain. Whether filmmakers keep their art pure because they choose to and avoiding

product placement is part of that choice, or because they have no choice not to because product

placement is not readily available at their level, remains a debate.









In general this theme emerged as one that was of mention, but was not as

overwhelmingly present as the other themes. Nonetheless, that the theme emerged as a trend

among a small pool of respondents brings up interesting ideas and may merit future study.

Response Theme Filmmaker Interest in Product Placement

A dimension of attitude that was set out to be studied initially was that of the level of

filmmaker interest in general topic of product placement. This theme addresses the respondents'

reported personal and professional interest in the topic of product placement. This dimension

emerged as a theme of the interviews, but did not seem to have a direct correlation with the

intensity of a filmmaker's attitude toward product placement, as even those filmmakers who

reported having little to no interest in the topic in general still expressed strong attitudes about it

during their interviews.

When asked if he considered product placement every time he made a film, one

filmmaker responded:

I don't think about it as much as I'm just traveling the planet and I know I'm surrounded
by stuff, you know. I don't put a lot of thought into it, it's really a prop master who puts
the thought into it.

Another filmmaker responded to the same question in a somewhat similar manner stating, "It

becomes pervasive that you have to be aware of it."

Another common response came from those who reported that product placement is in

the back of their heads, but not a top consideration when making a film. When asked if he

considered product placement each time he made a film, one filmmaker reported:

You have to be because you, because it comes into play when the sale of the movie
happens. So if you don't have clearance, again, it stifles the distribution process because
you have to go and get it, or you have to cut your movie again.









Another filmmaker echoed this response stating, "It's not, it's not on your top ten things you

think about. It is on your check list as, 'Okay, who can we involve to help us'."

Another response to the question of how much one considers product placement came in

the form of a "product displacement". Some filmmakers reported that the only reason they really

consider brands when shooting and editing their films is because they are aware that they cannot

show brands due to clearance issues. One filmmaker commented on this stating:

Usually, um, it's kind of drawn to my, it's brought to my attention like as we're filming,
like you start putting things, and then someone's like, "Hey, you can't see that name", so
we have to, like, turn it around, or like, tape something over it....I deal with a lot of that
more often than actual product placement.


A second filmmaker also discussed this point stating:

Our practical concern, and it was eye-opening for me when we were on the set and, um,
our script continuity man and our cinematographer went to great extremes to cover-up the
Aquafina machine that was dispensing soft drinks and anything that might be construed
as a product that could appear in the movie, because we hadn't of course been granted
any permission to use their products in the movie...so they went to great lengths to cover
everything up.


In general filmmakers reported noticing product placement, but only to the degree that

was necessary to get their films completed. That is, filmmakers noticed products in order to edit

them out of films to avoid future legal implications, or placed products in a scene most often for

realism and authenticity, and rarely for branding or money purposes.

Response Theme Artistic Integrity/Art versus Business

The final theme that was discussed across interviews was the idea of artistic integrity or

weighing the interest in one's business against the dedication to one's art. This theme deals with

the idea of balancing business and artistic vision and touches on the topic of artistic integrity of

the film. This topic was identified during the inception of the study as a point of interest and

therefore specific questions were derived to gauge the respondent's feelings about artistic









integrity in relation to the practice of product placement. Filmmaker responses to this dimension

of attitude were strong, and did not vary overwhelmingly. Instead, nearly every filmmaker

reported a loyalty to their story and considered vision as more important than any benefit that

could be gained from placing a product in their film. Yet, with that said, most were open to

evaluating the benefits on a case-by-case basis. What did vary was the intensity with which

respondents expressed this view.

Some filmmakers reported very strong feelings toward the idea of product placement.

One filmmaker reported, "It would be compromising your artistic integrity and certainly the

kinds of movies that we want to make are not designed simply to entertain or simply to make

money." This same filmmaker reported:

To look at the big picture, it hurts it as much as it possibly could. It corrupts it and turns
things into their opposites. For artists to function in a society they should lead, not follow.
And product placement puts the commodity ahead of human beings and it's contrary, it's
the opposite of art.


While other filmmakers mirrored this general opinion, most did not express their feelings

quite as strongly, and viewed product placement as more of a case-by-case decision. One

filmmaker reported, "It's an even balance of making the film that's in your head without

compromising any of the shots....and product placement is one big compromise." This

filmmaker also reported, "...everyone has to compromise along the way somehow." This

filmmaker further commented on the idea of compromising art for business by stating that

produce placement involved some questions to the filmmaker:

Like, what kind of future do you want to support? Do you have a family to support? Do
you have, do you want a steady job? Then it's easier to incorporate things like product
placement, as a filmmaker into your work because it depends. Do you want to provide
money for you and your family and sell out to the thing? Or would you rather forfeit
future jobs, and maybe have to sell your house, you know, because, you know, because
you won't put a product label in one shot.










This filmmaker furthered the idea of striking a balance between her vision as an artist and

her best interest financially by commenting, "It's a balance between being an artist and keeping

some type of integrity and also knowing your price tag." This filmmaker also commented on

how product placement as a marketing or business decision must be weighed against the integrity

of the film. She said:

I would have to consider as a filmmaker is how it would incorporate into it. Just like how
I would, I would compare product placement to sex scenes. Would a sex scene, you
know, increase the marketability of my film? Or, you know, is it really going to add to
the artistic integrity of my message as a filmmaker?


Another filmmaker commented on the incorporation of product placement into a film

stating, "It's all in the way, in the art, it's all in the way that you pursue your art." Another

filmmaker echoed this opinion by stating, "It's kind of, it really just comes down to the artistic

vision."

One filmmaker discussed her belief in the idea of making product placement work on a

case-by-case basis stating:

I can see a product placement sometimes working out that way, like if, if that product had
something to do with the storyline, and then all of the sudden it's like, "Oh, you know, it
adds, it adds to, like, the, um, it adds to the pacing, it adds to the motion of the film", then
it's not so bad. But more often than not I see that it's, it's a little intrusive.


The findings of these interviews centered around five major themes: "money", "control",

"experience", "interest in product placement" and "art versus business". In general filmmakers

reported that they would consider product placement depending on how it fit into their particular

script, but none reported that they would ever allow product placement to outweigh their original

vision or planned scripted scenes. Filmmakers seemed generally open to compromise to a









degree, but all were comfortable exercising their filmmaker control and ultimate product

placement veto.

A major finding of my study was that product placement arrangements in the independent

film world differ greatly from those in the world of Hollywood feature films. Another important

finding was that though initially resistant to the idea of product placement, most independent

filmmakers reported that they would be open to the practice if it helped the bottom line of their

film, as long as they could maintain a certain level of control and artistic integrity. Implications

for product placement practitioners and suggestions for future research are discussed.

The final chapter of this thesis will discuss the conclusions and limitations of my study.

This section will also make suggestions for future research and comment on the themes that

resulted from the study.









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION

This study initially set out to study aspiring and existing filmmakers' attitudes toward the

practice of product placement in film. Though opinions about the practice of product placement

in general were revealed, an unexpected world of product placement was discovered through this

study that differed from the initial concepts of product placement recounted in the review of

literature the world of product placement in independent film.

Implications for Product Placement in Independent Film

I sought out filmmakers' opinions toward product placement. Product placement was

initially defined as, "a paid product message aimed at influencing movie or television audiences

via the planned and unobtrusive entry of a branded product into a movie or TV program"

(Balasubramanian, 1994). However, it soon became evident that for independent filmmakers

perhaps a more appropriate definition of this practice may be "a barter arrangement for goods or

services in order to decrease the bottom line of an independent film." It seems when defined this

way product placement is acceptable in the world of independent film. The results of this study

highlight a largely unexplored opportunity for product placement in independent films. Though

somewhat resistant to the idea of product placement, the independent filmmakers interviewed for

this study were for the most part open to placing products in exchange for goods or services if it

would decrease the bottom line of their film's production.

The practice of placing products in independent films has benefits and risks to both

parties involved in the placement. For the filmmakers benefits include the receipt of goods or

services that save the film money and ultimately decrease the cost of the film overall. Also,

depending on the good or service donated, the specific product may enhance the realism or

credibility of the film.









A disadvantage to the filmmaker is the potential loss of full control over his or her film.

The filmmaker may have to make some compromises including placing the product in at least

one scene and making sure that the product is visible and identifiable. Another potential

disadvantage may be that product placement adds artificiality to the film depending on how the

placement is executed.

For the product marketer this arrangement has the potential benefit of reaching an

untapped independent film-viewing audience. Products may gain credibility or be viewed as

cool, unique, or in support of the arts for appearing in indie versus commercial feature films.

Also, product placement at this level comes at a very small cost and is usually a casual barter

arrangement in which marketers donate some small amount of their goods to the film's cast and

crew for use throughout the making of the film.

A disadvantage to the marketer is the risk that the film may not be distributed widely, if

at all. Often independent films have limited release at film festivals and other events, and are

thus seen by a very limited audience. Additionally marketers run the risk of turning their product

placement over fully to the filmmaker to use at his discretion. Based on this arrangement the

placement may be either too overt and offend the viewing audience an audience which may

frown upon product placement at the start or be too subtle and not be noticed at all.

All in all it seems that the most overwhelming response from filmmakers and the most

notable guideline that emerged from this study is that product placement in independent film

should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It was revealed that, in the opinion of filmmakers,

the placements that are born out of a script are the most natural, unobtrusive, non-offensive

placements. Those placements that are fitted into a script or scene often appear, awkward,

obnoxious, and unnecessary.









For advertisers, product placement in independent film is a viable, largely unexplored

option for reaching audiences that may be resistant to traditional advertising methods. The

investment to appear in an independent film is often minimal, and the rewards may be great.

Filmmakers, too, should continue to explore their options for placing products in their films in

order to enhance their film's budget. The filmmakers that were interviewed for this study who

experienced the most success and longevity were the ones who approached their filmmaking

both with artistic vision and business sense, a combination that served to increase their film

budgets and in turn increase the success of their films.

Limitations

One-on-one interviews have a number of advantages including the rich detail that can be

drawn from a one-on-one session with a respondent and the fact that the interviewer can gather

detail about the topic at hand as well as about the respondent himself in order to best qualify the

information gathered (Stacks, 2002). Despite these advantages it is important to note the

limitations associated with the method of this study. First, qualitative in-depth interviewing can

be challenged by the presence of an audio recorder which may affect the openness of the

respondent (Yow, 2005). Also the qualitative in-depth interview method that was employed was

appropriate for this subject matter, but is not generalizable to a larger population (Stacks, 2002).

Therefore the results from this particular study must be viewed in the context of the respondents,

and each respondent's attitudes are drawn from his or her own unique set of experiences with

product placement. Additionally, the high cost in both time and money, as well as the difficulty

in gaining access to each individual interviewee created hurdles for this method of research

(Stacks, 2002). In-depth interviews require a large amount of research before the first interview

is conducted in order to identify the most appropriate respondents, set up interview times and

locations, and develop questions that properly explore the topic of study (Stacks, 2002). Time,









location, and scheduling presented challenges to this study. While many filmmakers were

agreeable to participate when initially contacted, actually pinning down a time and place to

conduct the interview was more challenging. Also, while filmmakers local to the author were

easily visited and interviewed in person, a large portion of the interviews (six out of the eleven

conducted) were held over the phone. Phone interviews presented issues in recording interviews

that were clear enough to transcribe, and conducting interviews at a speed that would keep the

respondent interested enough to stay on the phone and not lose interest. Lastly, at times it was a

challenge to keep the interviews on track. While most often filmmakers seemed to open up and

discussed their films and filmmaking experiences with candor, at times it was trying to strike a

balance between obtaining short, sparse answers and overly wordy, off-topic responses.

Suggestions for Future Research

This study set out to gain insight on how filmmakers actually feel about the practice of

product placement in film. While independent filmmakers were chosen as respondents based on

their accessibility to the author, the indie filmmaking world now presents a whole new angle

from which the practice of product placement may be researched.

Specifically, effectiveness of product placements in independent films is a suggested area

of future research. Though indie filmmakers are initially resistant to the idea of product

placement, this study revealed that when approached as a benefit to a film's bottom line, product

placement is actually quite accepted in the indie world. A study of how indie film viewers feel

about seeing products placed in indie films would be an appropriate follow up to this study.

Another suggested area of study is that of Hollywood filmmakers' attitudes toward

product placement in film. While some preliminary research exists on this topic (Turcotte, 1995),

a qualitative interview with feature filmmakers who have had repeated hands-on experience with

paid product placements in film would no doubt yield fascinating results.









Another suggested area for future research would be a quantitative survey on the topics

explored in this research. Now that specific themes have been identified, a quantitative study

which could provide generalizable results may be in order. Themes to be studied quantitatively

may include questions related to the aspects of"control", "money", "filmmaker experience",

"general interest in product placement" and "artistic integrity" which emerged from this study.

A final topic that may be addressed is that of audience created films for the Internet such

as those available on YouTube.com and whether or not brands are placed in these films. The rise

in online user-generated content in recent months has exposed a new area for academic study

that is largely unexplored. As the technology to create online videos becomes more accessible a

new venue for brand placements may be coming to light. Studies of this topic may include an

exploration into the number of instances in which a brand has paid or bartered to be included in

such a film or the effect of brands included in these films.

Conclusion

The knowledge gained from this research can be used by advertisers, researchers and

filmmakers alike to gain a snapshot of independent filmmakers' attitudes toward the practice of

product placement in film. Advertisers may utilize this data to uncover new opportunities for

relaying their brand message to the jaded potential consumer. Researchers may utilize these

results to base future studies on the effectiveness of brands placed within independent films and

filmmakers may utilize these results to learn about how product placement is currently being

employed within the indie world and to discover possible avenues for decreasing filmmaking

costs.

















APPENDIX A
INFORMED CONSENT











Informed Consent
Protocol Title: Thesis on Independent Filmmakers' Attitudes toward Product Placement in Film

My name is Karen Fenton and I am a student at the University of Florida writing my thesis on
filmmakers' opinions toward product placement. Please listen to/read this consent before you
decide to participate in this study. A copy of this consent has been emailed to you, so you do not
need to copy down the contact information that we will go over.

Purpose of the research study:

The purpose of this study is to learn the attitudes of independent filmmakers toward product
placement in film.

What you will be asked to do in the study:

You will be asked to answer open-ended questions related to product placement. This will take
place during a scheduled phone interview or during a scheduled face-to-face meeting at an
agreed upon location. The entire interview will be audio recorded for future transcription.
Additionally, you will be asked some general classification questions at the conclusion of the
interview.

Time required:

45 minutes (One phone conversation/face-to-face interview)

Risks and Benefits:

There are no risks or benefits associated with participation in this research.

Compensation:

There is no monetary compensation for participation in this study.

Confidentiality:

You have the right to confidentiality to the extent provided by the law. If you choose to
participate and would not like your name associated with your responses, this is acceptable. If
you choose to participate and would like to be named, this is appropriate as well. Personal
information such as your phone number and email address will not be included in the final
results, nor will it be given out to any third party. Only I, my professor, and the educational
parties necessary will see your full information.

The interview will be audio recorded. This recording will be used solely for the purpose of this
study and will not be listened to by or distributed to anyone outside of this study. For the









duration of the research and writing of this study the audio recordings will be stored in the
locked home office of the principal investigator. At the conclusion of this study, the audio
recording will be destroyed.

Voluntary participation:

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not
participating.

Right to withdraw from study:

You have the right to withdraw from the study at anytime without consequence.

Whom to contact if you have questions about the study:

Principal Investigator: Karen Fenton, Advertising Graduate Student, Department of Advertising,
2084 Weimer Hall, (352) 870-0354

Supervisor: Cynthia Morton, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Advertising, 2084 Weimer Hall,
(352) 392-8841


Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study:

UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250, ph. 352-392-
0433.

Agreement:

I have read/listened to the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the
procedure and I have received a copy of this description.

Participant: Date:

Principal Investigator: Date:














APPENDIX B
INFORMED CONSENT PHONE SCRIPT










Informed Consent Phone Script (Audio Recording Permission)


Protocol Title: Thesis on Independent Filmmakers' Attitudes toward Product Placement in Film

To be read over the phone before "Informed Consent" is read. This is to be clear that the
conversation will be audio recorded and that the respondent is in agreement i// this process.

My name is Karen Fenton and I am a student at the University of Florida writing my thesis on
filmmakers' opinions toward product placement. During this interview you will be asked to
answer some questions about your attitude toward product placement, as well as some general
information about yourself. With your permission, this interview will be audio recorded, so that
I can transcribe it after we talk, in order to capture everything you say to me to be used for my
study. If at any time you are uncomfortable with being recorded or interviewed, you may choose
to end the interview and I will dispose of the recording if this is your preference. If the interview
runs its full length (an anticipated 25-45 minutes) I will end the audio recording at the conclusion
of our interview. Once I am done transcribing the audio recording, this material will be disposed
of. May I have your permission to audio record this interview?

Ifyes, begin recording and read Informed Consent form to obtain consent.

If no, end interview.















APPENDIX C
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS









Interview Questions
Dimensions ofAttitude Questions:

1. Do you think product placement has an effect on the finished film's quality?

2. Do you feel product placement enhances or hurts the quality of the film?

3. In your experience (or knowledge of other's experience) does product placement affect the
cost of making a film?

4. How do these cost affects (whether positive, negative or neutral) weigh in making the decision
to include product placement in a film?

5. Is there an instance in which no cost benefit would merit the inclusion of a product?

6. Do you think product placement distracts the film audience from the story at hand?

7. Do you consider product placement every time you make a film?

8. Do you seek out products to include in your films?

9. What kind of products have you/do you seek out for inclusion in your film?

Classification Questions:

1. Note gender:

2. What is your age?

3. What city do you reside in?

4. Is filmmaking a professional pursuit?

5. What is your occupation?

6. What is your average film's budget?

7. What is your level of education?

8. How many years have you been making films?

9. How many films have you made?

10. Would you like to be named in the study?

11. Can you refer me to another filmmaker who you think may be willing to participate in this
study?














APPENDIX D
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS









Interview Transcription #1


Chris Zara, New York Filmmaker, 36, Writer, Editor
Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2:30 p.m. Phone interview

I= Interviewer
R=Respondent

First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins.

I: So you're a journalist, and I talked to your brother, and he is a director?
R: Yes, and I essentially write the screenplays and he does everything else.
I: Okay.
R: We're sort of a team. But my role is mainly through writing and story development. We
develop stories together and then I live in New York and I send the stories down here and he
does everything else down here, he films it, he hires the actors, he does all the auditioning and all
that stuff. He's most of the film. I'm really just kind of the writer and story guy.
I: Well I think writers are pretty key though as far as product placement because a lot of times
that's where, you know...
R: Yeah, and I can certainly give you some of, you know, in the past, especially in my early days
as a writer I would naively write specific products into the story because they exist in the real
world and you want to give the story a real feel.
I: Right.
R: But as I got older, you know, and more experienced I realized that that kind of stuff you end
up changing anyway.
I: Right
R: Because, like, for example you can't get Coca-Cola's approval, or whatever so you go with
something else or you just go with what you have.
I: Right.
R: But, um, you know in the beginning you kind of think it's cute to use real products, you
know, especially to make jokes about them, because, you know...
I: That will get you in trouble... (laughs)
R: People of our generation sort of appreciate pop culture references and products are a big part
of our pop culture, so, you know, it's something that I do try to write into a story when I can.
I: Right. I think, I mean, I'm studying advertising and product placement so I'm hyper-sensitive
to whenever I see a product placement, but I think that, you know, generally as a culture, we're
becoming, well Americans, so much more comfortable that it gets spoofed and made fun of a
lot more. You know, whereas before you could maybe slip it in, or a company could maybe
place a product, now I feel like people are almost, a lot of times audiences are on to them or
offended by it.
R: I think so. I think that you see a lot of that. And I think in that new movie with Will Ferrell,
Talladega Nights, where they have the Wonderbread all over the place...
I: Yeah, I didn't see it but...
R: No, I haven't seen it either, but the trailer, I mean you could see...they're kind of really being
a little blatant about it and I think they're trying to be funny. The fact that, like, Wonderbread
was like everywhere...
I: Right.









R: And it's kind of obnoxious, but it's supposed to be.
I: So they were tongue in cheek.
R: I think when it's done tastefully, I think it can be done okay and maybe the audience member
wouldn't even notice.
I: Uh huh. But then you get films like, um, with Tom Cruise Minority Report where there were
like fifty brands in a scene, and you know...
R: Right, right. Again, I think again they were trying to be a little spoofy because it was the
future, they were trying to show you how bad it's going to be in the future.
I: Right.
R: Like "if you think things are bad now, just wait until the future" and just imagine how you're
just bombarded with products.
I: Right.
R: You walk into a store and, um... Okay, and what else?
I: Okay, so you write the screenplays, is this your profession? Do you have a different
profession?
R: No, my profession is, uh, my day job is I am an editor for an entertainment newspaper.
I: Okay.
R: So filmmaking is not something that we actually make a living off of.
I: But you would classify yourself as a professional filmmaker? I mean, Fred told me that it's a
pursuit, you know, and you guys put it out there even though it's not your one hundred percent
full-time, it's a profession.
R: Well, yes. Ideally yeah. I mean, we certainly, I certainly would not consider myself an
amateur.
I: Right, it's not a hobby, basically.
R: Yeah, it's not a hobby, and it's directly related to what I do. Because the paper that I work for
is an entertainment paper so I feel like the two are not mutually exclusive.
I: Mmmhm.
R: What I'm doing at the newspaper and then what I do with a films I write stories at the
newspaper and I write stories, um, with Fred. So, yeah, I guess basically you could call me a
professional storyteller.
I: Um, I guess I'll just go through some of the more basic questions first, such as and you
know, just answer these as best you can since Fred answered a lot these too but the, your film's
average budget? What would you say...?
R: Um, that's a good question. Definitely under five thousand.
I: Okay.
R: Um, typically in the two to three thousand dollar range. And they're short films, so keep in
mind that the average length of one of our movies is fifteen minutes, but still, you know, I think
even three grand for a fifteen minute film is exceedingly low budget. We do everything we can
- we get away with as much as we can without having to pay for... We don't pay the actors,
which I'm sure Fred has explained to you that we'd like to start paying the actors, that's actually
something that...
I: Right
R: We're kind of tired of, like, borrowing people's time and not really compensating them, uh...
I: Well, you said it kind of works as a trade off though because then they have something for
their resume or, you know, a reel to take.
R: Yeah. Certainly, but eventually you come to a point where you realize, "ok, this is hard work
and people really deserve to get paid".









I: Yeah.
R: And, uh, I think we've just come to that point in our lives...but, uh, but up until this point
we've cut corners wherever we can so our movies are exceedingly low budget. I don't know if
you've seen any of them...
I: I actually saw A Tale of Two Megans in Gainesville which is how I found out about you guys.
I copied your website down and found you on the Internet.
R: Ok, good. Ok, I think it yeah we played recently at the Florida ART Festival.
I: Yeah, and he (Fred Zara) told me the budget for that when you take out the equipment and
stuff like that which he owns was like five hundred dollars? Which just blew my mind, I
mean, I don't know a whole lot about independent filmmaking but that's amazing to do
something like that for five hundred dollars.
R: You know, I'm glad to hear that because that means we did our job.
I: Yeah, I mean -
R: If you believe we spend a lot more money on it...then...
I: That's what he said "that's the goal!".
R: But you can get away with a lot for very little...
I: Yeah, um, and you guys have been making films for how many years?
R: Um...we started in late 2000.
I: Okay.
R: In this venture. We actually, we grew up together we used to make home movies in the early
eighties too (laughs).
I: Okay.
R: So, uh, we've really been doing this for a long time, just on a fun level.
I: Uh huh.
R: But late 2000 is when we formed the company.
I: Okay. And with the company you've made? He said about six or seven films?
R: Uh, yeah, yeah, I'd say about that. A Tale of Two Megans was about number six, I think.
I: Okay. And that's your latest film, right, the one that I saw?
R: Right, we do have something in development now. I don't know if he told you but...
I: Oh really? You have to send it to Gainesville then.
R: What we have in development now is out of our hands. We've written a screenplay and we
sort of optioned it to this company.
I: Oh?
R: And they've basically taken over, so we really have no control over that.
I: That's cool, though. Um, can I ask you your level of education?
R: Yes. I am a college I guess you would call me a college drop-out. I got kicked out of high
school and never really finished college, but I've been taking, uh, you know, and I took some
college courses, on screenwriting and filmmaking, but I never finished, so...
I: Uh huh. Okay. So some college, and you're a professional now.
R: Yeah.
I: Um, and here's another weird one, can I ask your age? Or you can give me an age range if
you're not comfortable.
R: I'm 36.
I: Okay. Sorry, that's all for like setting up when I talk about the results, so I can say "my
candidates were..."
R: You, you actually, you're doing fine. When I interview people I always ask, "do you mind if
I ask you..." You know, because some people, they don't want to give you their age.









I: Well, that's what I thought.
R: But I find most people don't mind.
I: Yeah.
R: Um, I've never really had anyone say, "I'd prefer not to give my age".
I: Yeah, and I thought it'd be easier to just kind of ask outright instead of saying, "Is your age:
18-35, 36-..."
R: Yeah, well, you want to be real specific because I don't know if you're writing this like an
article, but you really want to, I mean, readers like specifics. So if you said, like, "a
thirtysomething filmmaker" the first thing a reader is going to think is "Well, thirty what?" 31
and 39 are two different things.
I: Yes.
R: So, uh, yeah, I'm 36.
I: Um, you're the older brother...
R: I am the older brother.
I: Um, okay. I'm just going to go through the questions. A lot of these you've pretty much
already covered so you can short-answer them, but, um. We talked about, "do you think that
product placement has an affect on the finished film's quality?" You said a little bit about it
might add realism. Do you think it ever detracts?
R: It really is a case-by-case basis. I think it can detract if it's obnoxious.
I: Uh huh.
R: And not in an intentional way. Like, I think the Talladega Nights situation might be
intentionally obnoxious because it's funny. Or the Wayne's World, well, I don't know if you've
seen Wayne's World where they're all talking about the different products that he says, "I'll
never sell out to them" but in the course of not selling out he is actually selling out. It's
supposed to be funny.
I: Right. I remember seeing that a long time ago. Do they do Burger King?
R: They do Pizza Hut -
I: Pizza Hut! That's it!
R: And they actually do like an aspirin commercial in the course of it and they actually do it just
like the commercial it's supposed to be funny and it is funny.
I: Yeah, yeah.
R: But, in a situation where it's not supposed to be funny and it's obnoxious like, for example
the label is intentionally turned toward the screen in a way that it wouldn't be in the real world,
um, I think it does detract a little bit from the quality, um, and pulls you out of the movie a little
bit.
I: Right.
R: I'm thinking of a situation, there's a new show on TBS called My Girls (author note: show
referred to is titled My Boys) and it's a sit-com. Uh, and I know that the show was sponsored by
Match.com.
I: Uh huh.
R: Match.com. And there's a scene where the girl says, "Well I'm going to go on Match.com
and find a new boyfriend". And you can just tell that they threw that in there.
I: And you can just feel it, yeah.
R: It's so, it's so artificial. And, uh, it pulls you out of it a little bit and it just makes you roll
your eyes a little bit.
I: Yeah.
R: Um..









I: That's really what I'm after. (laughs) You know, things like that. Who feels one way or
another.
R: Well and there's so many examples and it really is hard to tell if it's going to work or not.
I: Mmmhm.
R: Um, I think like in Back to the Future the sequel where they're in the future -
I: Uh huh.
R: And there's like Pepsi everywhere. I think that's kind of funny, because, like, they're using
real products like Pepsi, but it's like a futuristic Pepsi or something. And like that's kind of
funny when they do it that way.
I: Don't they do Pizza Hut too? With like the tiny pizzas?
R: Yeah, he pulls out like a tiny pizza. Right, it's like products everywhere!
I: Yeah.
R: They're in the future and it's supposed to be funny. Um, but then other times I don't know,
there's times when it's not quite as tasteful or like...
I: Mmhmm.
R: Well, there's that other movie with Sylvester Stallone where they go in the future and all the
fast food restaurants are Taco Bell.
I: Demolition Man, (laughs) I yeah.
R: Demolition Man? And I think what's obnoxious and humorous works, but uh, I think there's
examples like the one I told you with Match.com where it's not supposed to be funny and it's
just kind of obnoxious.
I: Right. What about how product placement affects the cost? Fred told me that you guys
haven't necessarily dealt with necessarily being compensated by a brand to include it, but, just
your general opinion on it. Like if a brand comes up with money how would you feel about
putting it in your film?
R: As a filmmaker I guess we would do it but it would depend on the situation.
I: So as long as... a lot of what I've been hearing... I guess I would say the bottom line that I got
from your brother was that really, you know, 'movie first, and then maybe the brands of the
money second'. Like, as long as it, as long as he still had control and he didn't have to face
labels a certain way or write around it in the script or whatever. You know, then sure, money is
nice but as soon as it you know, somebody else had a hand in your project then, he said,
pretty much no amount of money is worth that to him.
R: I think the ideal would be, um, all in the contract, I guess, that we sign with the company.
I: Right.
R: Yeah, and to make sure that we had those freedoms the freedom just to keep it tasteful in the
movie. But I certainly wouldn't rule it out.
I: Right.
R: And if it's going to help us pay for our movie, um, you know, I would do it. As long as, yeah,
I think like Fred said, as long as we had control over, you know, of usage.
I: So, to answer the question "is there ever an instance in which no monetary benefit could, you
know, include a product placement" you would say the answer is "control". Is that, that's the
bottom line for you?
R: Um, yeah, if I felt like it really wasn't appropriate.
I: Uh huh, okay.
R: I mean, what good is the money if it's going to ruin the story?
I: Right.









R: I guess another question could be what if we couldn't make the movie otherwise, what if we
didn't have the money or that was the only way. But I can't imagine a situation where you're
relying entirely on one advertising entity to pay for your movie, so...
I: Uh huh. Well I would guess at that point -
R: In answer to your question, yeah there is a point where I just wouldn't do it. If it's
inappropriate for the story, you should turn it down I think.
I: Okay. Um, I have a question "do you consider product placement every time you make a
film"? And it sounds like you guys probably don't specifically think about it.
R: Um, no we don't. Um, the last few that we did it wasn't really an issue. We wrote a story
early on called Laugh Track with the lead character gets turned into a sit-com and there's a lot of
pop culture references that we really didn't have the rights to and that if we had shopped that
movies beyond film festivals we really would have had to get all the rights to the sit-com
characters. And in that case, yeah I did think about it, because we did think about it one time
maybe making this a feature length movie or something. And those are the situations where you
have to think about it because you may need Coca-cola to make the scene work for whatever
reason.
I: Uh huh.
R: Or you may need McDonald's or whatever else, you know, whatever else comes up in your
story.
I: Um, when you do think about product placement do you does your mind automatically go to
certain things. Like as far as writing a screenplay is it always about soda or clothing or maybe
even a location? Just kind of what are your thoughts on what you think of when you're writing a
screenplay and brands.
R: It's almost always for the sake of, um, a pop culture reference that's somehow funny.
I: Okay.
R: I wrote a screenplay and (in it) a guy eats his friend's peppermint patty. And he says, "You
know that felt good. I felt the sensation of being in the Artic tundra". And he says it just like the
commercial and it's supposed to be, you know, he's kind of making fun of the commercial.
I: Uh huh.
R: In a situation like that if I had ever gotten that movie made, I'd want to go out and solicit
peppermint patties and ask them if we could really use the product because it makes the scene so
much more authentic.
I: Right.
R: Even though they're kind of making fun of it a little bit. Hopefully they'd be good sports
about it and let us do it and maybe even give us a little bit of money.
I: Well that's what I was saying. I mean it sounds like in that case you would go out to the
company and ask, "Can I use this candy?" but from what I'm reading, like, you could go out to
them and say "Hey, I'm making this film and if you want your candy in it give me a certain
amount of money".
R: It's good for you, it's good for me.
I: Yeah.
R: I think in E.T. they did that.
I: That's how it all started, yeah.
R: I think from the story they initially wanted to use M&M's and M&M's said, "No, we don't
want this stupid alien eating M&M's" not realizing that the movie was going to be a big hit of
course.
I: Right.









R: And went with Reese's Pieces instead, and of course Reese's Pieces made probably a ton of
money using E.T.'s image all over the place after that movie came out.
I: Right. And something like that, I mean, even though that's such a legend as far as product
placement it's so hit or miss, you know?
R: The movie could have tanked.
I: It could have been horrible. It could have been like 'what is this thing??', but, I mean, it's
Steven Spielberg, it worked out, so...
R: Right.
I: Um, okay well you've pretty much answered all my questions about product placement. I just
want to know if I can use your name when I write up the results?
R: Yeah, you're absolutely free to use anything I told you. Yeah, my name, my age, whatever.
I: Ok, great.

End of Interview
End of Interview











Interview Transcription #2


Fred Zara, Orlando Filmmaker, 34, Graphic Artist
Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2 p.m. Phone interview

I= Interviewer
R=Respondent

First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon. Next, recording begins.

I: So, Fred, where do you live, Orlando?
R: Yes, I live in Orlando.
I: And your brother lives somewhere else but he's visiting you, is that right?
R: Uh, yeah, he lives in New York City but he's here right now.
I: Ok, cool. As you know I am studying for my Master's of Advertising.
R: Okay.
I: And the topic that I'm studying is product placement in film, and pretty much everything that's
out there that I've found is about kind of more what the consumer or the audience, the receiving
end of product placement, how they feel about it and their attitudes towards it. I'm really just
interested in kind of what the filmmakers feel about it. If they feel, you know, positive, negative,
anything about the artistic integrity of their film and things like that. So I really just want to hear
about your experiences with product placement...
R: Uh, well I haven't had any personal experience with product placement, and I certainly can't
speak for filmmakers as a whole, but...
I: Right
R: In general, I don't really have a problem with it, if it's done, if it's done tastefully and it's not
overdone, and it's not, like, in your face.
I: Okay
R: Because, you know, particular products, I mean any kind of name product is part of real life,
and you're making a film to, you know, replicate real life, then some of those products are going
to show up from time to time...but, I mean, if it's a scene that, that warrants somebody drinking
a Coca-Cola, then fine, but,
I: Uh-huh.
R: But if it's a scene about two couples, like a couple having a conversation, and their
conversation starts turning towards how good the Coca-Cola is, I mean, that would be, that
would be, overdone and that would be annoying.
I: Mmmhm, right.
R: I mean, it can be, it can be done overdone, and it can be in your face and take you out of the
film, which I think is obnoxious, um, but in general it doesn't really bother me and it makes
people money on the side and there's nothing wrong with it.
I: Well, that was actually my next question, um, if you said you haven't dealt with it personally,
but any filmmakers you know of, or just your knowledge of the industry or filmmaking in
general how product placement effects cost? Do you have any comments about that?
R: Um, no, not anything in particular, I mean...
I: Okay.









R: It could probably, from what I understand, it can help offset some costs, because there's the,
uh, companies that are paying to have their product in certain productions. I mean, that can help
to go toward production costs and keep production costs down.
I: Mmhm.
R: And have that money go toward something else, and then that can, that, that's not always a
bad thing, especially on low budget productions, where....We actually, I was working on a
feature film, um, development on a feature film a couple of years ago, and that's one avenue we
were, we were experimenting with to try and get funding for the film. We were approaching
companies and seeing if they'd be interested in, you know, helping fund the product helping
fund the production if they had, like, a small spot, um, tastefully done in the film.
I: Right
R: We had, we had some, some alcohol companies that were somewhat interested, but it never
really, never really went anywhere. Um...
I: Okay. That kind of leads me into the next question, um, with your mention of possibly alcohol
companies being included. Uh, would you say that would be an instance in which, I mean
obviously, sometimes product placement can be pretty lucrative, especially in bigger budget
films, but do you think there would ever be an option of absolutely not including a product, you
know, perhaps if it distracted from the scene?
R: Basically um, for me personally yeah, I mean, that's why I -
I: Okay.
R: that's why I live in Orlando and I consider myself an independent.
I: Right.
R: Because I, I there's, there's a lot of things that I just, I won't do, for the integrity of the film.
And then, you know, if I'm um, not that I'm necessarily, like for instance against the porn
industry, but if I'm making a film that has nothing to do with the porn industry and they, they
want to throw a lot of money at me to plug, like, a porn website or something on somebody's t-
shirt...
I: Uh huh.
R: I would probably tell them, that's not a good idea. It doesn't, it doesn't, say they want to put it
on one of my characters that wouldn't wear that t-shirt.
I: Right.
R: I would, I would just tell them no, I mean I'm fine with turning down money with, for,
something that's just not, you know, good for the product the product, the project. I mean, if I
was totally interested in just making money I would move out to L.A. and I would try and build
my ranks out there.
I: Right, and so in your example about the porn t-shirt, it wouldn't be the actual content of the
placement or the industry that it was coming from, it's just the fact that it didn't fit with that
scene or that script, correct?
R: That, for me personally, yeah, I mean.
I: Okay.
R: I would, I would only really allow it if it worked toward a particular scene or for the particular
film as a whole.
I: Mmmhm.
R: It really doesn't have anything to do with me wanting to boycott well, I might want to
boycott like a Wal-Mart, or something like that, but in, in general, I, I wouldn't really want to
boycott any particular company just because I don't like them.
I: Uh huh.








R: Um, and if it works for the scene then more power to them, let him wear, let him wear a porn
shirt if that's the kind of guy he is.
I: Right, right.
R: It's not that I'm worried about that kind of thing. It's just that, uh, if it was an obvious plug,
and they (the company placing the product) came on set and they asked me to make sure the
label was facing the camera at all times, I wouldn't want that, I wouldn't want that to be an issue.
And I would just, the money part wouldn't be, wouldn't be, wouldn't make my decisions for me.
I: So for you, it is a lot more and you typically are a director, correct?
R: Uh, yes, yeah.
I: Um, so for you, it's, it's more about, you wouldn't trade the control to set up the scene the way
you wanted to and for the money of having somebody there. Like, oftentimes, I understand
they'll send a brand manager to, like, turn all the labels one way like you said or things like that.
And, you're saying for you it's just not worth the trade off
R: That's not really worth the tradeoff, no.
I: Right.
R: It would, there would have to be some specifics. I mean, there's always going to be
exceptions made...
I: Right.
R: But there would have to some specifics that, that if the product was used in a particular scene,
um, and they were paying some money towards it, there would have to be some specifics in the
contract that I use it to my, you know, um, to the best of my abilities, I use it with my discretion.
And if it needs to get cut out of the film because the scene itself isn't working, I also have the
discretion to do that.
I: Mmmhm.
R: You know what I mean? Because, I mean sometimes you shoot a scene, and it just doesn't
work in the context of the movie as a whole, and I wouldn't want, you know, these money
people to come knocking on my door telling me I have to leave that scene in.
I: Uh huh
R: If they put money into the film and their product is in that scene. I mean, those kinds of
specifics would have to be in the contract, or, it just wouldn't be worth it because then the end
product that has my name on it, which is this film, is out there that's something that, that I'm
not happy with it's something that I didn't really put together.
I: Absolutely.
R: So...
I: Okay. Um, yeah, because I'm actually doing my research, I read about a couple different
cases, and one of them was like with Jerry Maguire, the feature film obviously, where they were
supposed to include a brand, Reebok or Nike, and they didn't and it turned into this whole thing.
And, I mean, so I'm very interested in understanding, as a filmmaker, because, to be honest with
you, I've talked to some people who are like, "Oh yeah absolutely it's worth the money I'll do
whatever they want" So...I really value the fact that I'm kind of hearing the other side of that
from you.
R: Well, that's good. Did you, you did talk to people for this piece that felt that way?
I: Mmhmm.
R: Well, I mean, there's certainly people out there and you bring up the Jerry Maguire thing. I
mean, that whole crew is that's on a whole different level.
I: Uh huh.
R: I mean, they almost don't even make movies (laughs)...
I: (laughs) It's pretty much a commercial, right?









R: A lot, yeah, a lot of times they don't even make movies for the content in the script, or the
story they, they make it on the commercial value of it.
I: Uh huh.
R: And if product placement is part of that commercial value, and they can cash in, well then,
they're going to go with that. But I mean, guys like us, I mean, we want to tell our stories the
way we want to tell our stories.
I: Uh huh.
R: And if their product doesn't mesh with our story, then, it just doesn't get in there.
I: Right.
R: Money's not really the issue.
I: Right.
R: Um, okay, well then I have a few...kind of classification questions related to that. And just
let me know if you don't want to ask um, answer any of these. Things that I'm asking are like,
what is your average film's budget? I understand you've worked on a lot of different films, so
this probably varies, correct?
R: Um, it, it varies, but they're all pretty low, I mean they're all within the, you know, the
thousand ($1,000) range to fifteen hundred ($1,500). Uh, you know, really in the thousand dollar
or so range.
I: Oh, okay.
R: Um...I mean, it can...I mean, I've worked on other films that have budgets.
I: Uh huh.
R: But in terms of the films that I've produced.
I: That you Like, what about, Tale of Two Megans, that I saw?
R: (laughs) Uh, A Tale of Two Megans, uh, it, it's interesting, A Tale of Two Megans, if you
want to put our fixed costs as far as, um, my computer software, and uh, the cameras that we use.
A lot of those things are called expenses but between me and my director of photography, um,
we own all that equipment.
I: Right.
R: So, I don't necessarily figure all that into the budget.
I: Right.
R: Um, so if I'm just talking about the budget for that particular piece, we're probably talking
about five hundred dollars.
I: Are you serious?
R: Yeah, I mean...
I: Wow...
R: It was a three day shoot, I had five actors. And I basically had to feed the actors for three
days.
I: Uh huh.
R: Um, there was, there was minimal props, uh, we shot on set so there, you know we didn't
have to build any sets.
I: Uh huh.
R: Uh, and and like I said we owned all the equipment.
I: Wow...
R: There really wasn't a lot of cost that went into it. And, um, my, um, my music composer is a
good friend of mine. He's a professional composer in Seattle, Washington.
I: Uh huh.









R: Um, a guy by the name of Ron Leonardi, and he, um, he worked for me for free because
we've, we've, you know, helped each other out on so many different products or, uh, projects
in the past.
I: Right.
R: So I didn't have to, have to pay him. And he added, I mean, he added so much with the score
to make it seem that much more professional.
I: Right, I'm so impressed.
R: My lighting guys were as professional as they come, but, again, friends of mine that are
willing to just work for me because they like me and my ideas so -
I: And with the actors?
R: So, we keep it cheap. Um, with the actors, I didn't pay, other than, other than, uh, I, you
know, I paid for their food and I gave them, you know, nice copies and credits of the film.
I: Uh huh.
R: But I, I didn't actually give them day rates. John, John Hill who played the lead.
I: Right.
R: Um, I worked with him several times in the past and I do some stuff for him on the side I
edit some, like, demo reels for him.
I: Uh huh.
R: So I do some stuff for him, he does some stuff for me, we kind of- 'You scratch my back, I
scratch yours' And I when we wrote the script for A Tale of Two Megans I had him in mind
for it.
I: Uh huh.
R: But I asked him, I mean, he's a professional actor as well, and gets paid well to do it.
I: Uh huh.
R: You know, I I, one thing that I try to do for my actors if I'm not going to pay them, um, is
that I try to keep shooting schedule, as, as short as possible, because, they're, they're great actors
and they do a great job. Um, I can't really afford to pay them on some of these, some of these
films, so the least I can do is not take up too much of their time.
I: Right.
R: That they can be making money elsewhere.
I: Right.
R: Um, and I think that's a good tradeoff, that I'll try and deliver them a nice product from my
end if they work for me for basically no money.
I: Mmhm.
R: Um, and in return, it will only cost them about three or four days of their time.
I: Mmmhm.
R: And it's usually a pretty good tradeoff for people who are, who are trying to build a resume.
And as far as John, who already has a resume, well he's, he's just a friend of mine, we just get
along and so we do each other favors.
I: Wow, yeah, this is uh, you know largely my first, like, foray into independent films and I had
no idea that something, you know, I felt like the films that I saw here in Gainesville were very
professional looking, for the most part, and, I mean, especially that one, I can't believe you did
that for five hundred dollars. And all the tradeoffs and things like that, but that's just amazing to
me.
R: Well, well thank you. I mean, we really appreciate that, because we try to um, if you've
actually chronicled our films from the past five years since we kind of got started,
I: Mmhm.








R: Uh, you'll definitely see, um, I hope you'll definitely see the progression in the production
value even though our budgets haven't really changed, you know, none of us really have any
money,
I: Right.
R: You don't really make money in this kind of field until you get to another level.
I: Uh huh.
R: Um, though our production budgets haven't really changed, I spent less on A Tale of Two
Megans than I have on my two previous films.
I: Uh huh.
R: Um, we've just gotten better at disguising the fact that we're not really spending money.
We've gotten, between me and our director of photography and our writing and the way I can
direct some actors, um, we've gotten better at making it seem like there's more money behind it
than there really is.
I: Uh huh.
R: But I appreciate that you thought that it was done for a little bit more.
I: Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, so you went to film school, correct?
R: Uh, I didn't, I didn't graduate film school.
I: Oh, but you studied at...?
R: But I did go to, I did go to, but I don't know if you would even necessarily classify it as a film
school I went to Valencia Community College for a couple semesters.
I: Well, actually one of the people that I'm going to interview is Ralph Clemente, do you know
him?
R: I do know Ralph, yeah.
I: Yeah, he's one of the people that I've talked to before, actually. I haven't done the official
interview, but I just kind of have been talking to a couple people to feel out what sorts of
questions I would want to ask, and things like that...and, uh...
R: Ralph Clemente, yeah.
I: Yeah, he had a lot to say actually. Like, I called to ask him one quick question and we were on
the phone for like an hour. I was just like, "Okay!"
R: He's an informative guy. I don't I guess he would remember me. We, uh, we were going to
produce a film program two years ago.
I: Mmhm.
R: Um, and our funding, we weren't coming through with our funding, so instead we, uh,
optioned our script to a production company.
I: Uh huh.
R: So, but I did have several meetings with Ralph, meetings that I thought would pretty much be
scheduled for fifteen, twenty minutes and we were there for two hours.
I: Yeah.
R: And I was just kind of rapping with him about all the different things that he's done and...
I: Yeah.
R: Uh, he's an informative guy, and he's a nice guy, and from what I understand the people that
have actually, have been on set with him, he's a good guy to have on set. He gets down to
business and he can get serious when need be.
I: Mmhmm.
R: Yeah, Ralph's a, Ralph's a good source to have for what you're doing.
I: Good, yeah, I'm supposed to call him, in a little bit here. Um, so, you are, your occupation is
professional filmmaker, this is your full time job?
R: No, that is not correct.









I: Oh really? Can I ask what your occupation is?
R: Certainly. Uh, I do some different things.
I: Okay.
R: But professionally I do, I guess consider myself professional for that fact that I have been paid

I: Mmhmm.
R: To write a script.
I: Okay.
R: Um, I have been paid on occasion to edit.
I: Uh huh.
R: So I guess that makes me a professional, but I also hold a job as a graphic artist.
I: Oh, okay.
R: I do headshots and re-touching for actors, and uh...
I: Okay.
R: It's all industry-related, but...
I: Right, well, just when I write up the results and talk about the pool of respondents, you know, I
have to say "males and females, eighteen to whatever, let's say fifty, primarily composed of',
you know, "professional filmmakers" which you would fall into and also graphic artists -
you know, so I can name out everything to kind of set up...
R: I I guess you could really just say 'industry professional' because everything I do is
industry-related, but
I: Okay.
R: But, like, in our town, here in Orlando, we kind of wear a lot of different hats.
I: Right, right. Um, do you mind telling me your age, or you can give me an age range?
R: I'm 34.
I: (laughs) It's kind of a weird question to ask. And you said you've been making films for five
years?
R: Um, we've been seriously attempting to make films since around late 2000, 2001.
I: Okay.
R: So it's been about five or six years.
I: And, the number of films that you've made? I've been to your website and I see you have a
link for 'student films' also, so what...?
R: Yeah, I don't know that I would necessarily classify those as films.
I: Okay.
R: So whatever the other films are. I guess there's six or them, seven of them.
I: Okay, okay. Um, that's pretty much what I had to ask you. I think you, uh, I mean it was
really helpful to talk to you because I feel like you had a clear stance on the issue and you had a
lot to say.
R: Yes, I'm sure I'm giving you more than you're actually going to use or need.
I: But that's better, more is better than less. (laughs)
R: It's a good experience for me as well because I've done a couple of interviews here and there,
but I'm not necessarily somebody that talks to a lot of people. I mean, I've done some of these
film festivals and panels and stuff like that...
I: Right.
R: But I'm not generally all that comfortable with talking to a lot of people. But I need to be
more comfortable...









I: Well, I was going to say, I'm a good place to start then, because this is an academic study and
you know you can work your way up to being published in magazines and stuff, for now you'll
just be in the library (laughs).
R: Well, yeah...when Wired magazine calls next week I'll...
I: You'll be all set! Uh, I have one more question for you Fred, do you want me to use your name
in the study?
R: Certainly, yes.
I: Okay, and I can say the names of your films and everything?
R: You can say anything you want.
I: Okay, fabulous. Okay, thank you so much.
R: You're welcome. I'll talk to you later.
I: Okay, you too.
R: Bye.

End of Interview
End of Interview









Interview Transcription #3


Shamrock McShane, Gainesville Screenwriter/School Teacher, 55
Mike McShane, Gainesville Director/Student, 20
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007 10 a.m. In person at Millhopper Library, Gainesville, Florida

I= Interviewer
S= Shamrock
M= Mike

First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon and signed. Next, recording
begins.

I: First, I guess I need to know a little bit about how you consider yourselves independent
filmmakers. What context you said director, writer. Um, if you can just give me a little insight
into what actual experience you've had, how many films you've worked on, things like that.
S: Okay, well, most recently we completed a feature length narrative film called The Votive Pit,
I: Okay.
S: 88 minutes in length.
I: Okay.
S: Uh, it took us a year of shooting.
I: Okay.
S: Um, Michael was the director.
I: Okay.
S: I was the screenwriter and the movie was based on a play I wrote.
I: Okay.
S: Um, so our, our involvement with film comes out of the theater. I've been in the theater since
the 1970's.
I: Okay.
S: Michael has made two feature length films. He, uh, previously made a documentary film.
How long was that movie?
M: It was, uh, 90 minutes.
S: 90 minutes, called It's All Good.
I: Okay.
S: And, uh, Michael has been more directly involved with the making of films. I've been
involved only as an actor and a screenwriter.
I: And a screenwriter.
S: But not just on our films, also on a feature length narrative film called Silent Warrior -
I: Okay.
S: Made by a local filmmaker Georg Koszulinski.
I: Oh, I'm going to talk to him also. Alright.
S: Mmhmm and Substream Films. Um, I worked on The Hawk is Dying with Paul Giomatti as a
professor, an extra in one of the party scenes.
I: Okay.
S: And, uh, a number of other local films here. And Mike's made a number of short films, if you
want to talk your credentials.









I: Absolutely and I was going to say at the end of this you have the option of me using your
names and the titles of your films so if you want to pepper the interview with the titles of your
films, I encourage you to do so.
S: Certainly, and we'll back it up with some email.
I: Okay, good. Okay great. Okay.
M: Yeah, I've been working over the past, I think it's now two years, with the Acrosstown
Repertory Theatre and the Gainesville Association for the Creative Arts with their teen programs
making short films based on their, what they've worked off of either Shakespeare or their own
life stories into short films. So I've been working on that.
I: Mmhmm. Okay. Um, would you consider filmmaking then your professional pursuit? Is this
full-time?
S: It's certainly Michael's professional pursuit at this time. I'm a full time public school teacher.
I: Okay.
S: And chairperson of the Language Arts department at Westwood Middle School.
I: Okay.
S: But I've been a man of the theater, as I say, since the 1970s. I was previously the playwright
in residence at the Acrosstown and we have our own production company. So it's more than just
a hobby.
I: Does your production company have a website?
S: Yes, it does.
I: Can you provide that to me?
S: Yes.
I: Um, alright. You both live in Gainesville?
S: Yes.
I: Okay. And may I ask your ages?
S: I am 55.
M: I am 20.
I: Okay. And level of education?
S: I have my Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Florida.
I: Okay.
M: I am pursuing a B.A. in English and a minor in Technical Theater at UF.
I: Okay. And you say that you've been in theater since the 1970s but you've been making films
for how many years?
S: Um, gosh I guess the last five years.
I: Okay, and is that the same for you?
M: Yeah.
I: Five years. And do you mind if I name you in this study?
S: Oh, please do.
I: Okay. Well, um. I'm studying product placement. I'm trying to pursue my Master of
Advertising hopefully to finish up this spring. Um, so I'm interested... .more...pretty much
everything I've read on product placement so far is about how consumers or how audiences
perceive it and I'm interested in what filmmakers think about it if they feel that it possibly
compromises artistic integrity, if they feel that, I've talked to some people that say, you know,
it's great for a budget especially for an independent film and they'd be happy to work in a
product in whatever manner possible. So I have a couple questions related to that, just about
nine. Um, and certainly touch on your own experiences, experiences of others that you know of,
anything that you feel is relevant. Okay?









S: Okay.
I: Okay, um, do you think that product placement has an effect on a finished film's quality?
S: Well, our practical concern, and it was eye-opening for me when we were on the set and, um,
our script continuity man and our cinematographer went to great extremes to cover-up the
Aquafina machine that was dispensing soft drinks and anything that might be construed as a
product that could appear in the movie...
I: Okay.
S:...because we hadn't of course been granted any permission to use their products in the movie.
I: Uh huh.
S: And we live in a world of commodity. That's what our world is made out of. Um, so they
went to great lengths to cover everything up, and I can see the moral question that might be
presented to a filmmaker if you could finance your film in part by placing products within view
of the audience then it would become I guess the matter of the particular commodity and what its
intentions were, and what benefit, or how it's consumed.
I: Okay.
S: You know, if people are going to smoking cigarettes in your movie, if people are going to be
drinking drinks in your movie, can it be construed as if you are condoning those activities, or....
I: And do you think as a screenwriter would you ever change a script to fit in a brand? If perhaps
maybe the director or producer said, you know, this is a good opportunity for money to finance
the film? Or do you feel that that's a total distraction?
S: Um, I would like to think no, no I would not. Uh, and that it would be compromising your
artistic integrity and certainly the kinds of movies that we want to make are not designed simply
to entertain or simply to make money.
I: Uh huh.
S: So it doesn't operate on a bottom line like that. And no I don't think we'd want to identify
ourselves with a particular commodity.
I: Okay. And what about you?
M: With also on our last project that it was even to the point of in editing I handed it over to a
second editor and as much as possible they would cut out even the spoken words of any,
anything that came out like Mountain Dew or M&Ms, they tried to cut that out as much as
possible.
I: Mmhmm.
S: Particular references.
M: Right, particular references.
S: ...to specific commodities.
I: Now, is that because of your fear that perhaps this film would get bigger and then Mountain
Dew would...
S: That's exactly it. That's exactly it. And I had never even thought about that before. And the
logic behind it from the people that are warning us about those kinds of things was, "you don't
have to worry about anything.... UNLESS...you ever make a nickel".
I: Right, exactly. So it's not, just to clarify, it's not the specific reference, like, pop culture -
incorporating that, that's not your worry. It's will they come after you for money?
S: Mmhmm.
I: Okay, um, I'll pose this question. I feel like I've kind of gotten an answer but maybe you can
clarify. Do you feel that product placement enhances or hurts the quality of a film? Or maybe
it's situational.









S: Um, well, to look at the big picture, it hurts it as much as it possibly could. It corrupts it and
turns things into their opposites.
I: Okay.
S: Um, for artists to function in a society they should lead, not follow.
I: Uh huh.
S: And product placement puts the commodity ahead of human beings and it's contrary, it's the
opposite of art. So I think, and that's the only way you can look at it in the abstract, unless you
wanted to talk about Coca-Cola came to us and offered us X number of dollars to have the
people drink Coke instead of Pepsi.
I: Okay. Um, I think we'll get to that in the next questions....where we talk about money. Um,
do you share that opinion?
M: Yeah. From what I've dealt with at UF that there have been, you know, stories of even in
E.T. and stuff where they had to compromise. They couldn't get the rights to use M&Ms to
disperse for the alien so they had to use Skittles, and, you know, absurd little qualms over little
product placement things which I think should not affect a film. You just should do whatever
your initial goal was to make your film.
I: Uh huh. And that there shouldn't be this issue with rights and brands and that is what you're
saying?
S: Yes. Property. It becomes a matter of property.
I: Okay. Um, so how do you think these costs affect the decision whether or not to include
product placement? You would say even if there's a cost benefit to the filmmaker, it doesn't
justify inclusion?
S: No, no. It's a limitation. It's a it constricts.
I: Well, you have a consistent opinion and that's good.
M: Right. Even in the humor in State and Main of, you know, he hands over this ad that they're
supposed to put in the film for Bazoomercom in the middle of this 1890s film and the humor of
that, when you get to the end of the film you pan past the window and it's the shot of
Bazoomercom.
I: Uh-huh. It's funny that you bring up E.T. also because from my end of it, from studying
advertising that's like heralded as the birth of product placement.
S: Oh yeah.
I: The fact that they couldn't get M&Ms to agree and that they had to go with Reese's Pieces,
and Reese's Pieces sales, like, quadrupled, it was something totally ridiculous.
S: Yes, yes.
I: And in advertising everybody was like "Yes! This is what we want!". You know, I think there
also might be some division in the world of independent filmmaking versus, I mean Steven
Spielberg and E.T., that was already a commercial venture to begin with, so perhaps he didn't
have the same... quandary. Um, so do you consider product placement every time you make a
film? So, maybe not in placing a product, but in editing it out. Is it always kind of in the back of
your mind?
S: Oh yeah. I think it becomes...
I: Okay.
S:...pervasive that you have to be aware of it.
I: Okay. And that's to avoid brands coming after you?
S: Yeah. Yeah. Legal complications.
I: And you would never seek out a product to include in your film? I mean, is there ever....?
S: I would. I would. The Mead corporation,









I: (laughs) Okay.
S: That produces the Mead composition book. If I could make an ad for the Mead corporation, I
would. (laughs)
I: (laughs) Um, so there's never...I guess the type of screenplays that you write you would never
want pop culture references in it? Or there's never a time when you think we need to say Coca-
Cola?
S: Well, no. That-that, I think is the real crux of the argument here. Um, corporations who
produce these commodities, which are pervasive, they're all throughout the world. How can you
present an accurate picture of the world without depicting Coca-Cola?
I: Right.
S: A world in which no one says "Coca-Cola", they say "soda pop".
I: Uh huh.
S: It's not it becomes inaccurate. So, that, to me, is the crux of the argument. They produce
the commodity, do they then own that piece of reality in the world?
I: Uh huh.
S: Or does an artist have a right to use that?
I: So, I'm kind of getting from you that you think that the commodities and the brand names
should be fluid; there should not be rights to that -
S: Exactly.
I: And that just because -
S: When they sell their commodities they get a profit.
I: That's when they make their profit. Okay. Every, every brand? I mean, don't you think that -
I think Coca-Cola's probably a bad example because it is so pervasive -
S: For example -
I: But if I spent my life's work creating such-and-such a product, you know, Kleenex another
bad example, but I have then no rights to people can use it in any context that they want
because it's part of reality? Is that?
S: I would as, as an artist? Yeah.
I: Okay, okay.
S: Yeah. I mean if it turns out Mona Lisa is wearing Gucci shoes...and now they want...
I: Some rights to that. You say no. And do you agree with that?
M: Yeah ...(inaudible).
I: So do you think you would use brands if there weren't this rights issue? If you knew that
nobody could every come after you? If it was fluid?
S: Oh certainly. Yeah.
I: And would you incorporate them a lot into everything, you would just not worry about...?
S: Here's the particular example from the movie that we made. We made a movie about public
schools -
I: Mmhmm.
S: And the issues that affect public schools. For example, the vending machines that are in
schools.
I: Mmhmm. Mmhmm.
S: And the access that students have to junk food throughout the day.
I: Uh huh.
S: In fact one of the mottos that keeps being repeated throughout the movie is, "Don't go 'round
hungry".
I: Uh huh.









S: Which is the motto that appears on the Tom's machine, the vending machine that circles
around and around and around.
I: Ooh... okay.
S: And we made particular references to the kinds of junk food that kids ate throughout the day.
I: Uh huh.
S: Doritos, M&Ms, Milky Way, umm....
M: Snickers.
S: Snickers.
I: Uh huh.
S: And that was definitely part of the statement that we were trying to make.
I: Uh huh.
S: Now, once the movie becomes popular, um, have we in any way, uh, damaged the reputation
or the profitability of these products? I hope so!
I: Uh huh.
S: (laughs)
I: That was your purpose.
S: Yeah.
I: So, I guess, this is really my first taste of independent filmmaking, but I'm thinking of that
Fast Food Nation movie?
S: Oh yeah.
I: So obviously McDonald's did not give them rights to do that. But is there a difference
between a documentary and a narrative? I mean, because this public school film that you made
was a documentary, correct?
S: No, it was not. It was not.
I: Okay.
S: And that was one of the reasons that we made it a feature, a narrative, a work of fiction, rather
than a documentary.
I: So but you still used the real Tom's brand and their motto, slogan?
S: Mmhmm.
I: So, in that case, if that film were to be released to larger audiences and become popular they
would absolutely have a right, Tom's, to come after you? Right?
S: Well that's what we're going to find out. (laughs)
I: (laughs) Okay. Because I don't know myself, you know, from an advertising standpoint, from
you know, as far as I know everyone wants their money of course. But I feel like if it were a
documentary wouldn't they have no right to it because you're only reporting... something...but
there's still an angle....
S: Yeah.
I: Okay, something for me to look into. Um, so I already talked a little about....the next question
is what kind of product have you, or do you seek out for inclusion in your films? We know that
you don't specifically seek out prod certain products, but if you, again if there were none of
this rights issue, would there be any certain thing that you'd love to be able to just show the
brand name? Or does it not really make a difference?
S: No, no. Just as it exists in the culture and to depict it.
I: Okay. So maybe, just the most common everyday things you would show.
S: Mmhmm.









M: Right, instead of having to specifically figure out, "oh, we can't film here because there's the
big sign of whatever item, or thing out there in the world that would cause any lawsuit or issue to
be shown".
I: Uh huh. Okay. What about locations? Is that also an issue that you think about if you're going
to shoot something outside of Harry's Seafood downtown, McDonalds?
S: Oh yeah, yeah.
I: Do you, I mean, what's the process for that, just out of curiosity?
S: Well, as, as I recall from when we're setting up the shot -
I: Uh huh.
S: that becomes what's going to be in the frame?
I: Uh huh.
S: And if you can avoid reference to any commodity.
I: So the first part of that is to avoid it?
S: Yeah.
I: And what if it's unavoidable? Do you then go into that establishment and ask permission, or
do you just go about your...?
S: Um, it depends on the case. Yeah.
I: Okay, okay. Um, that's pretty much of all my questions, unless you guys want to share any
specific, like, anecdotal experiences that you've had.
S: Just the ones that we've mentioned. And, uh, no, we haven't had occasion certainly no
one's offered us a ship load of money to to put their name on it.
I: Uh huh. And even if they did, you feel that it's not worth it, right? That's really what I'm
getting from you.
S: Yeah, yeah.
I: Okay, okay. Unless for some reason perhaps it fit seamlessly into your script without a lot...
S: Well, the only way that it would be possible would be for us to agree that, uh, they were
giving us money to actually sell their product down the river.
I: Uh huh. (laughs)
S: (laughs) And if they were cool with that then...
M: (laughs)
I: And I say good luck ever finding that situation. (laughs) Okay, you know it's just interesting
to me because I've talked to a couple of other filmmakers so far, and you have by far one of the
strongest opinions. A lot of people said "case by case", "situational", you know, "we'd think
about it", etc. So, I feel like both of you share this kind of one-sided artistic integrity opinion.
S: Oh, and, and of looking at as a universal as being it's a bad situation.
I: Right, right. Absolutely. Okay. Okay, um, let me just make sure I went over all the
classifications... and I, I think that's it. That was much shorter.
S: Well that's good! That's good, because you know I said I told some people we were going
to be interviewing with you and I said, "Well, I'm not sure what we think of product
placement!", so I guess we'll find out...
I: Through the questions.
S: When we talk about it.
M: It's good to know.
I: Okay.

End of Interview
End of Interview









Interview Transcription #4


Esther Biggs, 32, Sales Administration Supervisor at Naylor, LLC
Monday, Jan. 8, 2007 11:45 a.m. In person at Naylor, LLC

I= Interviewer
E= Esther

First audio and informed consent are reviewed and agreed upon and signed. Next, recording
begins.

I: Okay, um, first I have some classification questions for when I write this up and if you're
comfortable telling me your age?
E: I'm 32.
I: And you live in Gainesville?
E: Yes.
I: And you are, what's your title here at Naylor?
E: Um, Sales Administrator Supervisor.
I: Supervisor, okay. And you are also a professional filmmaker?
E: Mmhmm.
I: Um, and, I guess next I'd say, how many films have you made?
E: Um, to completion, um, I'd say, one of, one film that I worked on is actually completed.
I: Okay.
E: Um, two are in post.
I: Post-production?
E: Mmhmm. Um, actually there's a short film that I worked on that is completed, so I guess that
would be two completed.
I: Okay.
E: One feature and one short. Um, and then another feature that I worked on, just kind of, uh, it's
too long to still be in post, so I'm guessing that that one's never going to be done.
I: (laughs) Oh okay. Okay, fair enough. Um, and how many years have you been making films?
E: Um.... I don't know. (laughs) When did I start? Um, I would say, at least, at least four years.
I: Okay.
E: Um, because I started working in theater about six or seven years ago...and I started working
on films a couple years after. So I'd say probably four years ago.
I: Okay. So did you study film or theater?
E: No.
I: You just got into it....kind of as your interest?
E: No, I just kind of got into it. Um, I... just, uh, the basics I learned from television production
in high school.
I: Okay.
E: And then, um, from there's its just hands-on experience.
I: Okay. So how did that really start if you don't mind my asking?
E: Um...
I: Did you have friends that were doing it, or...?
E: No, well, somewhat, um, it's something that I'd wanted to get into when I was younger, but,
um, just, other, other factors kind of persuaded me to study something else when I was in school.









I: Uh huh.
E: And then, um, an ex-boyfriend of mine actually was studying, uh...
I: Film.
E: Film. In, in school, like film studies and stuff like that. He majored in, um, Journalism, like
something, Telecommunications.
I: Uh huh.
E: But, um, like he primarily studied that just so he could get some work done, like more in film.
I: Uh huh.
E: The film industry. So when, um, he started getting into it more, he finally found a job that I
could do, and like, just as a volunteer, and that's kind of how I got more and more involved in it.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, but that was like after I started my theater company with the intention of trying to, um, to
get into film soon, soon after. I just wanted to get some experience with the actors and get some
experience with like production design...
I: Uh huh.
E:... and just the basics because there's a lot, a lot of shared, um, uh, requirements that you have
for both.
I: Okay.
E: Yeah, so...
I: And your theater company is called?
E: It's Thursday Afternoon Productions.
I: Okay, and they perform at the Acrosstown?
E: Mmhmm, yeah. It's primarily there, like, we started out perf, uh, performing all over the
place.
I: Okay.
E: Like all over like different bars, and um, wherever we could find a place basically.
I: Okay, okay cool. Um... so out of these, you did one feature length and one short, um, I ask
what the average film's budget is for you, so if you can give me a range?
E: Um, I'd say, less than $10,000. Um, I'd say between $5,000 to $10,000.
I: Okay. Even for a short?
E: For a short, though, um, Ijust, no. For a feature probably $5,000 to $10,000. Um, for the
short though, I, I can't say because I've worked as the script supervisor, so I don't really know
the budget at all.
I: Okay.
E: Um, but there were a lot of people who were, who were around me that seemed like they did
it, and they did their job for a living.
I: Uh huh.
E: And I know that they -
I: So you assume that they were being paid?
E: Yeah, I assume that they it was all deferred, but, I'm assuming that they were being paid a
decent amount, so even that short could have been $5,000 to $10,000.
I: Okay. Um, from talking to the other, some of the other filmmakers I learned that sometimes,
like, actors don't get paid necessarily.
E: Mmhmm.
I: It's more like for their portfolio or their resume.
E: Yeah.
I: So when you say $5,000 to $10,000, that's including paying, who? Actors....?









E: Actors, yeah.
I: And production people, and lighting, and make-up, like everyone?
E: For everything, yeah.
I: And the food, it's all included in that?
E: Mmhmm.
I: Okay. Just to kind of clarify that because when I, you know, write this all up, I want
everything to kind of be relative so that we know what I'm talking about.
E: Okay.
I: Um, and I can name you in this study?
E: Sure, sure.
I: Okay. And any films that you name, I'm just going to make sure that I write them down
because I've found that so far in transcribing that's been one of my biggest issues is making sure
that I get the film names right.
E: Okay, yeah.
I: Um, we went through all... oh, could you tell me your level of education? You said you did
some college...?
E: Some college, yeah.
I: Okay, some college. Okay. So for my product placement questions; my first question is do
you think that product placement has an affect on a finished film's quality?
E: Um.... it depends. And, uh, yes and no. Because it depends on, like, how much of the product
has to be in the forefront.
I: Uh huh.
E: Like what the requirements are. Like if it's there just because it has to be there, like, if we
need a can of soda, doesn't matter what kind, but let's say we had, um, Coke actually sponsor us.
I: Okay.
E: Um, just as long as I don't have to put it in the front of the screen.
I: Uh huh.
E: Like if it's scripted that it's supposed to be there as just part of the background, no, it doesn't.
I: Uh huh.
E: But when they start putting in, like, requirements of "it has to be in a minimum of this many
shots" or, you know, "it has to have this kind of visibility", then, yes.
I: Okay. And so you're saying, uh, almost like lowering the filmmaker's level of control...
E: Yeah.
I: .. is negatively affecting the quality of the, of the finished film?
E: Um, more often than not, yes.
I: Okay.
E: It is, yeah, more often than not, yes.
I: That's what I've heard. I've gotten, you know, some mixed responses so far, but I feel like
"control" is kind of a key word.
E: It is. And the thing is, like, sometimes there's a happy it's like, when, um, we're working
on a scene and I've scripted a scene, I've storyboarded the scene, and then the actors improve
something that's... perfect.
I: Uh huh.
E: And, I can see a product placement sometimes working out that way, like if, if that product
had something to do with the storyline, and then all of the sudden it's like, "Oh, you know, it
adds, it adds to, like, the, um, it adds to the pacing, it adds to the motion of the film", then it's not
so bad. But more often than not I see that it's, it's a little intrusive.









I: Okay. That makes sense. So maybe, to clarify, if the product, if the placement is born out of
the script, and not vice versa, like...
E: Yeah.
I: Because one of the things I was kind of interested in, and the ideas that I'm really exploring,
which I've talked to you about, are like artistic integrity, and kind of the purity of what, you
know, the project you're working on, if the final result is really what you intended as a
filmmaker..
E: Mmhmm.
I: ...or if it is intruded upon, like you said, by specific placements. So, um, what do you think
about when a placement kind of, a script has to work around a placement?
E: Um, that's, I feel like that's definitely a negative....
I: Uh huh.
E: ...against the final product, the film, because, um, to me it's, it's the story, and then, um, the
creation of the story itself and how it's all put together and how it's all just this collaborative
effort.
I: Uh huh.
E: But it's weird trying to make the story about the product.
I: Uh huh.
E: Then it, it becomes more of an advertisement.
I: Right.
E: And so then it's no longer about the story, it's no longer about, um, filmmaking or the art of
filmmaking, it's just an advertisement, a commercial.
I: Uh huh. Just out of curiosity and this isn't one of my official questions, but I think it helps get
us on the same page, can you think of a, a time when you've seen a placement in a film that has
been done well?
E: Um... hmmm...
I: Because I It's almost a tricky question I feel, because a lot of times if you see a placement
then maybe it's too obvious.
E: Yeah.
I: But...
E: That's because it, it works best when you don't even notice that it's there.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um..........I don't, no I can't think of anything specific where I thought it was done well.
I: Okay.
E: Where it wasn't....it just kind of complimented a scene rather than taking away from it.
I: Uh huh. So, I guess in that case it would probably be not something you walk out of the film
really remembering.
E: Yeah.
I: Because it was kind of seamless.
E: Yeah.
I: Um, okay. Um, in your experience, and maybe if you haven't dealt with this personally, but
knowledge of others' experiences, does product placement affect the cost of making a film?
E: Um, yeah, because, um, usually it helps reduce the cost of making the film.
I: Right, okay. Um, so do you know anybody's specific experiences?
E: No, I don't...
I: Do you know any filmmakers who have gotten compensated?
E: No, not yet, not yet.









I: Okay.
E: On this level though it's, it's rare that you ever see that.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, although, in, uh, in a sense though where sometimes locations are a product, if you
consider a location a product, then, at this level it's pretty high.
I: Uh huh.
E: Because, um, even for, like, my film, like using specific locations to, um, to promote a
specific business.
I: Mmhmm.
E: And you use their location for free.
I: Uh huh. So you're saying instead of the business paying you, it's the fact that they're not
charging you?
E: Exactly.
I: That's the -
E: And that reduces the cost of production, yeah.
I: the compensation. So, normally in independent film, do you often pay location fees? Or do
people ask that of you and maybe you'll get...?
E: Um, it depends. It depends on, um, it depends on where you are, because if you're in a city
like, like Gainesville where there are not a lot of films made...
I: Uh huh.
E: .. more people are willing to, to open up their location because they don't it's not something
that they're required of a lot.
I: Uh huh.
E: It's probably like maybe once in a lifetime for some people.
I: Right. So they're almost excited.
E: So, yeah, so they're kind of excited to participate. But if you go to some place like Orlando,
or Miami, or out in L.A., or New York...
I: Or New York, yeah.
E: ... everyone expects to be paid.
I: Okay.
E: It's just, unless you actually know them, you have a, like, personal history with them.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, and they're rare, from what I've heard it's rare that there's an actual location that just
kind of, you know, um, will just do it for free if you don't know them, if you don't know them
on a personal basis.
I: So locations, because that's something that I talked to you first before I developed my
questions or anything -
E: Mmhmm.
I: and it's kind of confusing because locations are almost, like, the opposite, financially, of a
product placement because, say you're shooting something, you know, in front of, like,
Universal Studios in Orlando. You know, you would a typical product placement, the way that
I've learned it, is "a paid product insertion".
E: Mmhmm.
I: So, in that case you would expect Universal to pay you to show their location almost like built-
in, free advertising, even though they're paying.
E: Yeah, yeah.
I: But locations really don't work that way, locations typically require a fee of the filmmaker.









E: Mmhmm.
I: It why do you think that is, just because you're using....?
E: Um, because, it's primarily because of, um, from what I gather, it's because you're using up
their space.
I: So it's more involved...
E: So it's more intrusive of them.
I: Uh huh.
E: Whereas if I have, like, a product, like, this tape recorder here.
I: Uh huh.
E: And I'm, you know, I'm going to give it to you for you to use, it does, it takes nothing from
me.
I: Uh huh. Okay.
E: Whereas, like, if we're shooting out in front of Universal, you know, we're going to have to
block off a certain amount of space.
I: Uh huh.
E: That means that there's, since they're an entertainment, uh, business, where they require
people to come in and actually see them on a daily basis.
I: Uh huh.
E: If we're blocking off their entrance, that's, those are all, where clients come in...
I: So same with a restaurant or a bar.
E: Same with a restaurant, exactly, we're taking up space where it's part of their, their income,
its part of their revenue, and so that's why we're required to pay them.
I: That makes sense now. I just, I was giving a presentation on this a couple semesters ago and I
remember, I was talking about product placements and locations kind of in one unit...
E: Mmhmm.
I: ...and somebody kind of caught me and they were like, "Why, you know, doesn't Universal
pay the person because their brand is then in the film?" And, you know, and it was just a matter
of kind of thinking it through logically.
E: Yeah, and it's, and it's, and it sounds just the same but it's, it's not because of, um, yeah, just
logistics.
I: Uh huh.
E: Because you're, you're taking, you're taking potential revenue for them.
I: Uh huh, it's interesting. So you've got to think of all those places in New York that are like
constantly, like, you know, like Tavern on the Green...
E: Yeah, like, if you're using any kind of public area you have to get, you either have to pay the
city or you have to get special permission from the city.
I: Uh huh.
E: You know, so it's....it's all the same.
I: Okay. Um, so we talked a little bit about cost, and the next question is, how do cost effects,
whether they're positive, which you kind of talked about costs being positive because they can
defer the cost of making the film, um, or negative, or neutral, how do those weigh in making the
decision to include a product in a film?
E: Um, it depends kind of on, it depends on the filmmaker and the producers.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, it's depending, it depends on, like, how far they're willing to go on their own and how
far they feel like they need someone else's help.
I: Uh huh.









E: Um, with, uh, on this level you'll see much more, uh, because it's, it's actually feasible for
someone to make a film under, you know, with less than $10,000.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, you'll find a lot more freedom...
I: Mmhmm.
E: ...for people to say no.
I: Okay.
E: And it's, because in that sense I think that this is, this is the level where you get most artistic
freedom.
I: Uh huh. So it's almost like the lower the budget the more control is maintained?
E: Um, no, that's not true either.
I: Okay.
E: Because you're limited.
I: Uh huh.
E: Because your budget's low.
I: Uh huh. See, because that's what I kind of thought when I first started exploring this, I
thought, "Well, independent filmmakers are looking to reduce costs", because they usually don't
have a lot of financial backing to begin with.
E: Yeah.
I: So I would think they would be much more open to including products, but that's not always
true.
E: Yeah, it's not always the case because you'll find that, um, well I find that a lot of
independent filmmakers, they, they don't want to place specific products in their, in their films
because, um, it kind of goes against the whole idea of independence.
I: Right.
E: Because then you've got basically, like a corporate, if you like see a corporate motto
somewhere than it's almost like that person has sold out. It's kind of like the image in a sense.
I: Uh huh, uh huh. No, that's what I'm after, absolutely.
E: Because it's not, it's not exactly true, because like, you kind of have to have a little give and
take.
I: Uh huh.
E: But, um, it just depends on, you know, the person involved because you might have a staunch
independent filmmaker who's like, "Absolutely no corporate stuff' and they'll only take, you
know, um, like, uh, products from local businesses and, and promote those. And sometimes
they'll do that for free because they want to, they want to promote this specific local business, or
they want to, and that's kind of like the purpose of the film.
I: Uh huh.
E: So it's...there's so many different kinds of films that it's kind of hard to answer that kind of
question?
I: Okay. Um, and then when you're talking about it depends on the producer, the director, could
you just clarify quickly what your role typically is in filmmaking?
E: Um...
I: Do you write at all?
E: I do, yeah, I do. I don't like to write because I don't feel like I'm a strong writer.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, I wrote my last film because I, I needed to do something and, um, more out of, um,
impatience. (laughs)









I: Oh, okay. (laughs)
E: I kind of just wrote it. Because I had the idea, I didn't have anyone that I knew who would
write it for me.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, and so I just wrote out, wrote out something that I could do. Um, I prefer to just create
the idea and have someone else write it for me, and like, kind of work on it together with them so
that I can kind of mold the story where, where someone is there to fill in all the dialogue.
I: Uh huh. So do you do producer, director more often?
E: Um, more often yeah. I actually kind of prefer not to produce either because I don't really
like the business aspect of it, like the whole, the whole thing like with product placement and
stuff like that.
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, I'd rather just be able to get in there, you know, put in there what I want to see, and then,
you know....
I: So that's directing.
E: Yeah.
I: So do you have a, like, a writer that you often work with?
E: No, actually I just recently found someone who's willing to write for me.
I: Okay.
E: So we haven't actually started a project.
I: Uh huh.
E: But, uh, our next project we're going to start writing probably in the next month or so.
I: So in that case, you have an idea already and then you get with that person and you say, "This
is kind of what I'm looking for" but then they flesh out all the dialogue.
E: Yeah, yeah.
I: Interesting. Um, okay, I think you kind of answered this. Um, is there an instance in which no
cost benefit would merit the inclusion of a product? So, you were talking about depending on
the specific filmmaker.
E: Mmhmm.
I: Sometimes people would say, you know, "You could give me a million dollars but I'm not
putting Coca-Cola, or Enron, or whatever, in my film".
E: Yeah.
I: Do you, is there some sort of line for you personally as a filmmaker?
E: Um, I have...uh...
I: It doesn't have to necessarily be like a moral or ethical question. If it's just like, you know,
like "I I don't like soda in my films" or whatever.
E: Probably, I....it would probably be about, anything, pretty much like if they ever, uh, require
that they, you know, that I need to place, that I need to have this much exposure with it.
I: Uh huh.
E: Or it needs to appear in this many scenes or....It's, um, having edited, like, I'm in post-
production for my movie right now and it's editing all the sequences and everything and, um, I
like the freedom of being able to just take shots and depending on, and not really having to worry
about like, "How many times is this in here?", or "How many times is this person in here?".
I: Right.
E: Or, like, "How many lines does this person have?". And so, um, even with, with actors, if I
ever get a contract for an actor where they're like, "This person has to have a minimum of 100
lines in this movie", like, I wouldn't do that.









I: I didn't even know a contract said that.
E: Yeah.
I: Oh wow.
E: Like, because, um, the more famous a person becomes, the more control that they have over,
like, projects that they're not even committed to yet.
I: Uh huh, wow.
E: Because they want to maintain a certain level of, um, stardom, I guess.
I: Visibility.
E: Yeah, visibility, so...
I: That's interesting.
E: Same thing with products, though, like, if it comes down to that I would definitely have to say
no because I don't, that's not something that I want to think of when I'm putting together a piece.
I: Okay, so again that kind of comes back to control.
E: Yeah, controlling the film, yeah.
I: Um, you've talked a little bit about this. Do you think product placement distracts the film
audience from the story at hand?
E: Um, it just depends on how it's done.
I: Mmhmm.
E: Again, like if it's always, like, in the forefront, like, you have a shot and it has to be like right
up there in the front of the screen. Um, then, then yeah.
I: Uh huh. So would you say if it's done well, then it's not distracting?
E: Yeah.
I: Okay.
E: It all, all depends on how it's done.
I: And as a filmmaker you believe that it can be done well?
E: Yeah.
I: Kind of case-by-case?
E: Yeah, it depends on, it depends on the filmmaker and how open they are to it.
I: Uh huh.
E: Like, I don't know that I would do it all that well, because I'm not very open to it, I'm not
very open to, like, having someone tell me, "You have to have this", and, you know, and, "You
have to do it this way".
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, but, I find that some other filmmakers are, they're more, uh, spontaneous, more creative
on-the-spot.
I: Uh huh.
E: So that if they're given something, like, it's kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.
I: Uh huh.
E: You're given a bunch of pieces to fit it all together well.
I: Uh huh.
E: So, it really just depends on who you've got on your team, too. Because sometimes even if
the director can't do it, then, if they have a strong team then they can do it.
I: Fit it in there somehow.
E: Mmhmm.
I: Um, so you said you don't know of anybody who has specifically been paid for product
placement?
E: Mmhmm.









I: Um, you've dealt with a little with locations. But do you know of anybody who's done more
of like the bartering thing? Because I've heard of, like, even getting food for the wrap party, or
beer, or whatever.
E: Um, there is this, I'm not really quite sure how much of it, um, but there's this, uh, movie,
The Essence of Irwin, you saw it.
I: Oh yeah.
E: I think that they did some bartering. I'm not sure to what extent. But I, for some reason I
remember, um, when I was on location someone was talking about that, about exchanging
services for something.
I: Okay. I'm going to talk to him too.
E: Okay.
I: And he said he has strong opinions about it, in that, he, um, kind of planned ahead so like if
that film were to take off or be shown to larger audiences, that he, almost like developed his own
built-in products. Like with the, um, water, the frozen ice thing.
E: Yeah.
I: So, I think, because my next question is, do you consider product placement every time you
make a film? And I hear from a lot of people, "No, it's not even something I think about", you
know, at this stage in the game. But I feel like somebody like him, is looking at it from a
business angle, the whole time.
E: Yeah, probably.
I: Um, but how about for you?
E: For me, no.
I: Okay.
E: Usually, um, it's kind of drawn to my, it's brought to my attention like as we're filming, like
you start putting things, and then someone's like, "Hey, you can't see that name", so we have to,
like, turn it around, or like, tape something over it. Umm...
I: And do you have to deal with that a lot?
E: Yeah.
I: Almost like product displacement... or...?
E: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That gets, I deal with a lot of that more often than actual product
placement.
I: And does that kind of trip things up ever?
E: Um, sometimes it does because, uh, the cover-up is really obvious.
I: Uh huh.
E: And so I kind of hope that it's small enough that it's really not noticeable.
I: Right.
E: Um, and then...
I: So I guess even when you do locations and things you have to think about that?
E: Mmhmm. Yeah, yeah. Um, I've had a, like what's kind of bothered me sometimes, and the
whole thing it kind of bugs me, is that it affects the composition of a shot.
I: Uh huh.
E: Sometimes. Because like if there's a sign on the wall that I can't see, suddenly I have to
change my shot, I can't have my scene come out the way I had scripted it.
I: Uh huh.
E: And, uh, or I had storyboarded the scene, so.
I: So, it's a lot like photography in that way, in that you, you see what the picture is supposed to
be and then a lot of times brands can interfere with that.









E: Yeah, yeah...
I: Because I know when I was talking over the weekend to, um, Shamrock and Mike, they were
telling me they shot something recently and it was like an Aquafina machine in the background
and they had to, either in editing, or maybe they put some paper over it or something, but they
said that they dealt with that machine, like over and over again.
E: Yeah, yeah. He probably, he probably did that in editing because you can kind of just change
things out. It just, it becomes a real problem trying to do it during editing, so we just try to
notice those things during the filming.
I: Uh huh.
E: The After Effects does a really good job, but it's still like, you always...when you look at the
scene it always looks a little awkward.
I: Right.
E: You don't quite, you may not quite catch that there's something wrong.
I: Uh huh.
E: But I always feel like there's an odd feel to it.
I: Right. It's almost like looking at a picture that's been "Photoshopped" and you can sense
that...
E: Yeah.
I: ...it's not natural but you don't know why.
E: Yeah, exactly.
I: Okay, cool. Um.... we talked about that. You, so, you, since you don't consider product
placement every time you make a film, you don't seek out products to include in your film?
E: No.
I: Okay. Um, if you were to do that, like maybe you're working on a bigger budget film, or
something that would, for some reason the person in charge of it wanted to do some product
placement, what kind of products do you think you would ever look into? Or, I guess it's almost
like shopping around, like...
E: Yeah, um, just, um, mostly like generic goods....
I: Uh huh.
E: You know, um, probably something like Coke.
I: Right.
E: Because you know...
I: For like realism...
E: Yeah, because, um, it, oddly enough, it kind of like dates the generation, too. Just the look of
the actual can or the bottle itself.
I: Uh huh.
E: And, then, um, I mean, there's always different types of clothing.
I: Uh huh.
E: They like, you see like, mottos all over clothing now, so that...
I: Uh huh.
E: Um, I'd try to stay away from those because it does date and part of, um, part of what I like
about films is sometimes they're just timeless.
I: Right.
E: And the styles, you can kind of tell from the style of it, but then like, um, once you get
immersed in the story it's kind of timeless and so if you don't, if you don't see anything that's
specifically, like, just blows out at you, "1989!"...
I: Uh huh, yeah. (laughs)









E: You know, then you can kind of just get wrapped up in the story more.
I: Uh huh. So you almost feel like by not having specific brands and stuff it contributes to the
timelessness of the film.
E: Yeah, yeah.
I: I think that that's a good point that nobody's really brought up before. But it's true when you
look at a film like Minority Report...
E: Mmhmm.
I: That film was, like, chock-full of brands, all different brands.
E: Yeah.
I: And it seemed cool and futuristic, and they're like all in the future, at the time. But I'm sure
when we watch that in 10 or 15 years, you know, companies go under, or they become not as
cool, and things like that.
E: Yeah.
I: So, it will date that film.
E: Yeah.
I: Okay, um, I think we went through all these questions.
E: Okay.



End of Interview
End of Interview