Why you should consider adopting and what you should know when adopting

Welcome back!

I have discussed why people should adopt, why people shouldn’t adopt and how the media has managed to influence dog buying decisions.

It only felt right that I end this blog trilogy with a kind of solution to my research question: Reasons why you should adopt BUT also what you should know if you are going to adopt.

I want to stress that these are not my own views and that all of these findings are from primary and secondary research, I will not impose any bias on this.

  • You would be making a surrendered dog so happy

If you were going to adopt a dog, you would be giving it a second chance at having a loving family. Not to say that the first family weren’t loving, but they weren’t its forever home and thats all that the dog wants. It wants to love a family forever!

  • You would make yourself so happy!

The feeling that you get when you have just bought/ adopted a new puppy is so fulfilling. When you find the dog that is the perfect fit for you, it can be like your heart has been filled.

  • You would be helping one dog not face the possibility of euthanasia

There was an estimate of 250,000 animals killed in Australian pounds each year (Diana, C Morton & J Rand, J 2017). This number isn’t solely dogs but other animals as well, but if you were to adopt you would help that little bit by reducing the rate of surrendered animals killed in Australia. 

  • BUT, make sure you do your research first

Adopting a dog is a big decision to make and a big commitment, it is highly recommended by the RSPCA and shelters. The last thing anyone wants you to go through is having to return a shelter dog.

These are only a couple of points to consider when thinking about adopting a dog, of course there are several points to consider but I’ll leave that to the professionals to tell you.

To conclude, it is evident that dog adoption is a reasonable option for all potential dog owners however, not suited for all dog owners. Researching is the best option in order to make the best choice for you and your family. Media may not influence all decisions and may not have influenced your decision to buy instead of adopt, but maybe give it the chance to give you the appropriate information.

Thank you.

References

Diana, C Morton, J & Rand, J 2017, ‘Surrendered and Stray Dogs in Australia—Estimation of Numbers Entering Municipal Pounds, Shelters and Rescue Groups and Their Outcomes’, Animals, vol.7, p.1-28

 

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Reasons people are not adopting their dogs

Hello everyone!

I last left you with a blog post essentially highlighting the big factors in dog adoption, why people say they prefer it yet don’t follow through and why people should at least consider adoption as a choice when looking for a new furry love.

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(Charley with our new dog, Balto)

I have read countless amounts of articles on dog adoption and all of them focus on the importance of clearing the shelters and how owners who buy from breeders should have thought twice. With this research project I wanted to be able to look at every perspective possible on the issue of dog adoption or lack there of.

I asked the same 30 respondents whether or not they googled any articles, reviews or anything related to dog adoption with 60% saying they viewed at least one item regarding dog adoption. With this information, it can be seen that  media had influenced their decision as they googled and searched for success stories on dog adoption and whether it would be the right fit for them. Granted, it isn’t the type of media I expected to influence respondents decisions, but it is the media I should have expected as it is stage two of the buyer decision process.

Erin Auerbach, an author for the Washington post discusses her own experiences with adopting dogs and how she loved all of her adopted dogs. However, the article is about how she will never adopt again. This of course isn’t due to them being ‘bad dogs’ and not ‘meshing well’ with her but to do with their health issues. Auerbach discusses in her article ‘Why I’d never adopt a shelter dog again’ about the health problems all her adopted dogs had. Stating that the benefit of buying from a breeder is that you are able to get every bit of information on the dog starting from its health to its bloodline, so that you don’t get any surprises.

Auerbach states that shelters have a lengthy adoption process; ‘They really want to match the animal with someone who is committed to sticking with them, no matter what.’ (Auerbach E, 2014). While I believe whole-heartedly that it is perfectly acceptable to buy from a breeder and adopt based on preference and situation, this perspective has developed my view on dog adoption tremendously.

Another perspective I have researched is the returning of dogs to their shelter if it isn’t a perfect match between owner and puppy. Organisation Hills Pet have written an article on the reason why people have returned dogs to the shelter and how to avoid having to do so. Reasons people return their newly adopted dogs include:

  • unexpected costs
  • aggression towards owner or other family members
  • disobedience
  • hyperactivity

This is just a few listed in this article. (Murphy, K 2013).

I personally do believe that some factors such as hyperactivity and disobedience can be overcome with patience and hard work. Of course in some cases this isn’t okay for some dog owners. There is no shame in returning a dog back to a shelter if the relationship doesn’t work, it just means that its forever family is coming next!

I’ve looked at multiple articles and social media posts about dog adoption including an interesting one about the RSPCA $29 adoption weekend held in Canberra the weekend of the 27th February 2018. It states that after the weekend just one dog was left at the shelter, 2 year old ‘Cooper’. Within the article it discusses that Cooper was the only dog left after the adoption weekend promotion. However, what struck me was that the Kennel Team Leader said that it is because Cooper is too picky when it came to the potential owners.Cooper was the only dog left after the RSPCA's weekend clearance sale. He's pictured with kennel team leader Vanessa Cundi.

(Minney, K 2018) Cooper is pictured with Kennel leader Vanessa Cundi.

I hadn’t taken into consideration that it can be the dogs that aren’t fond of their potential owners and that it isn’t just the potential owner. Adopting a dog involves a big transition phase for both the owner and the dog with both needing time to adjust to the new situation.

This perspective on dog adoption I found rather interesting, many people don’t give dogs enough credit and that when it comes to dog owners looking for a new companion that it’s also the dogs needing to find the right fit for them. You could say that they’re scared to trust again due to not being successful with their first family. However, the reactions from dogs when they finally get adopted is incredibly rewarding. Even despite the fact that they are no longer puppies, they are still capable of providing dog owners with the ‘new puppy’ love and feel that make people want to get a dog in the first place. Here’s a video I found of Benny the dog getting adopted and how happy he was to have found his new family.

 

The notion that not everyone is suited for adopting a dog is definitely a credible one. Adopting a new pet and building a loving relationship to then find out that it has a lot of health issues. I can imagine how heart breaking this would be and to have this happen multiple times would take its toll. With the right resources and the appropriate information available, more people would be able to find pups suitable to their needs and wants.

Maybe a website that caters to displaying both credible breeders AND pet shelters?

Thank you for reading.

References

Auerbach, E 2014, ‘Why I’d never adopt a shelter dog again’, Washington Times, 17 July, viewed 23 May 2018, <https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/17/why-id-never-adopt-a-shelter-dog-again/?utm_term=.c16d4af633e3&gt;

Daily Picks and Flicks 2015, Dog excited to get adopted, YouTube video, 22 December, viewed 16 May 2018, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6mCChm_LRM&gt;

Groch, S 2018, ‘Just one dog left after RSPCA $29 adoption weekend and he’s looking for love’, Canberra Times, 27 February, viewed 18 May 2018, <https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/just-one-dog-left-after-rspca-29-adoption-weekend-and-hes-looking-for-love-20180227-h0wp9h.html&gt;

Murphy, K n.d., ‘Avoiding returning a dog to the animal shelter’, Hills Pet, n.d., viewed 14 May 2018, <https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/new-pet-parent/common-reasons-adopted-dogs-are-returned-to-shelters&gt;

Why should people adopt?

“What role does the media play in buying a purebred dog instead of adopting from a shelter?”

I have always been an incredibly optimistic person, I believe that all living things deserve love and nurturing and when it comes to searching for a new furry companion I am no different.

The media influences many daily decisions that we make, whether its what foundation girls buy that makes their skin ‘worth it’, encourages by Jennifer Aniston’s ‘because you’re worth it’ advertisement in 2015. Or whether it’s your favourite instagram star recommending the best places to go for a coffee in Melbourne. Even if we don’t think we are influenced to make all of our decisions, but is media one of the influences that effect our choices when buying or adopting a dog?

People have many different reasons as to whether or not they buy a dog or adopt. Both choices are acceptable, this isn’t a research project that is aiming to offend anyones decision on whether they buy or adopt dogs. One of these reasons includes wanting to own a purebred dog which can be difficult to find in local shelter. For example, my family have always owned Labradors, of which our current Labrador we bought from a credited breeder and we love him all the same.

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(Charley, my Labrador)

This research project aims to create awareness of dog adoption and the importance of clearing the shelters in Australia and overseas. An article written by the authors Emilie Plesset and Eric Jankiewicz of Clear the Shelters discuss the reasons why people should adopt instead of buy. This includes the pro of saving a life of an animal and also, adopting allows for the marketplace to be less prone to buying from puppy mills. Quoted from this article; “According to Kathleen Summers, director of outreach and research for the Puppy Mills Campaign, even looking to buy an animal from a pet store helps prop up the puppy mill industry, because pet stores separate “the consumer from the reality of where mass-produced puppies come from.” (Jankiewicz & Plesset, 2018).

In Australia, … Death Row Pets estimated 250,000 healthy but unwanted dogs and cats are killed in Australian municipal pounds each year. However, they did not report numbers separately for dogs and cats, and it is unknown what methods were used to estimate this.” (Diana, C Morton & J Rand, J 2017). It is this fact and ones like these that need to be more public and accessible to consumers to encourage them to consider adopting their future pup. 

I also wanted to see whether or not the media, specifically the RSPCA advertisements of their adoption days and their continuous posts about the importance of adoption on their Facebook and Instagram. This includes their ‘Adopt a bull’ promotion, which aids in influencing consumers decision in buying or adopting.

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(source.)

Their Facebook cover photo even tugging at the heart strings of curious dog owners:

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This specific promotion aimed to improve the reputation of dogs such as staffies, bull terriers and bull mastiffs. In this #AdoptABull campaign it was relatively successful, whilst there was no results posted there was a Facebook post made about one of their mastiff’s being adopted after 143 days in RSPCA’s care. This can be considered a success even if this was the only dog adopted in this campaign, as it encouraged the dog owners to go and adopt this mastiff. This is one of the many promotions that the RSPCA have conducted over the years which have aimed in encouraging people to adopt their pets instead of buying.

According to the survey I conducted among 30 respondents, 55% of respondents have always wanted to own a specific breed of dog. This also applies to my own family who have always owned terriers or labradors. Below is an infographic that I made which displays the results:
Dog Adoption vs. Buying

At the end of my survey I added a section for respondents to tell me their thoughts on adopting dogs from shelters. One respondent said “Adopting is a great option if you don’t have a specific breed in mind”, which lead me to believe that some dog owners just want a companion and aren’t fussed on the breed. They don’t focus on preconceived ideas solicited by social media on some breeds being ‘dangerous’ such as pit bulls and mastiffs. All dogs want a home and are capable of being loving companions and the RSPCA consistently post on instagram their dogs that are available for adoption:

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One issue I found within my survey responses is that many of the responses said that they would adopt from the RSPCA but none of them had actually adopted. Some had also said that they wanted to adopt but didn’t because they wanted puppies or they weren’t comfortable in adopting. I find this bizarre as respondents were aware of the option but didn’t fully investigate the option when looking for a dog.

Comprehensive data of the amount of dogs entering municipal pounds and RSPCAs are not available in Australia so it would be difficult to bring to attention to the public the amount of dogs that get euthanised due to overcrowding. However, In a 2010 conducted in the UK, 121,693 dogs (1.9 per 1000 residents) were admitted to animal welfare organisations, and 10.4% were euthanised. (Stavisky, J Brennan, M.L. Downes, M Dean, R 2010).

Judging by the findings of the survey I conducted among a small portion of dog owners, I plan to cater this research into hopefully changing the perceptions of shelter dogs and adopting older dogs and provide people with a deeper understanding of it.

Thanks! 🙂

 

References

  1. Diana, C Morton, J & Rand, J 2017, ‘Surrendered and Stray Dogs in Australia—Estimation of Numbers Entering Municipal Pounds, Shelters and Rescue Groups and Their Outcomes’, Animals, vol.7, p.1-28
  2. Jankiewicz, E & Plesset, E. 2018, ”Why you should adopt a shelter dog”, Clear the Shelters, blog post, n.d., viewed 23 May 2018,  <http://www.cleartheshelters.com/Clear-the-Shelters-Reasons-to-Adopt-Shelter-Pet-386982871.html
  3. RSPCA 2018, Facebook Page, viewed 10 May 2018, <https://www.facebook.com/RSPCANewSouthWales/?ref=br_tf&gt;
  4. RSPCA 2018, Instagram, viewed 9 May 2018, <https://www.instagram.com/rspcansw/&gt;
  5. Stavisky, J Brennan, M.L Downes, M Dean, R. ‘Demographics and economic burden of un-owned cats and dogs in the UK: Results of a 2010 census.’ BMC Vet. Res. 2012, vol. 8, pp.163.

Be patient, Better days are coming for the marketing of Australian content

Is it time to give up on Australian content?

When I first began this course, I said that I didn’t actually ‘trust’ Australian content and I would more often than not, search for reviews of an Australian film before I even considered watching it. Now, I’ve opened my mind to the development of Australian content, as it is obvious that we have come a long way from our ‘Boom & Bust’ period (Burns, A & Eltham, B 2010) of Crocodile Dundee and low budget ‘ocker sex comedies’ (Middlemost, R 2017). Australia produces not only impeccable actors but incredible writers as well, the production of our content is looking bright, it’s our distribution techniques and reaching the audience that we need to worry about.

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‘Just Keep Swimming!’ (Finding Nemo, 2003). Maybe Australian content producers should listen to Dory?

This session has completely flipped my preconcieved ideas of Australian content, now of which I greet with open arms. Personally, I believe that the minds of domestic viewers would be changed in regards to Australian content if it were more accessible to viewers. It’s no secret that viewers are moving their way onto streaming services such as Netflix and Stan. ‘More and more, Australians are either complementing or replacing their consumption of live broadcast TV with streamed content.’ (Roy Morgan Research, 2013).

Home grown Australian films aren’t distributed onto as many screens as their international counterparts. If you wanted to view The Babadook in 2014, you would have had to find one of the 13 art house screens that were blessed with the psychological thriller. The reality of one of the 13 screens being within a reasonable distance is ridiculous, we as a nation need to have more faith in our home grown content.

As stated by Screen Australia in 2011, ’79 per cent of people agreed (32 per cent strongly) that Australian stories are vital for contributing to our sense of Australian national identity; while 75 per cent agreed (35 per cent strongly) that they would miss the Australian film and television industry if it ceased to exist.’ Granted it has been 7 years since this was written, however I would like to believe its true.

Screen Australia, 2015, Australian audiences are watching online

According to this infograph from Screen Australia, it displays that one of the main ‘traditional methods’ that viewers use to discover new content is ‘word of mouth’. This could be detrimental to Australian production as the preconcieved views of Australian content is isn’t good, which is more than likely what would be discussed.

It isn’t the Australian content that is ‘broken’ per say, its the way in which we distribute and market our content. ‘As producers seek new ways to reach the sought-after youth audience in particular, some have seized upon mobile phones as offering a renewed possibility of delivering product for the ‘on the go’ market.'(de Roeper, J & Luckman, S 2009, pp.8). Taking this into consideration, Australian producers know how to market to their target market and at a reduced cost, they just aren’t giving marketing and distribution the time for it to work efficiently with the audiences.

Overall, we’ll still have the classic first date at the cinema and my family will still gather around the television to watch My Kitchen Rules. It isn’t that we should give up on Australian content, it’s that we need to be patient with the development of distribution and marketing in order for Australian films to reach their full potential, both in the box office and with audiences.

References

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

Screen Australia, 2015, Australian audiences are watching online, Screen Australia, viewed 29th January 2018 <https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/infographics/australian-audiences-are-watching-online&gt;

 

Who needs culture when we have can have JOBS!!!

With new innovations and new technologies, jobs are being created everyday. With this however, comes the demolishing of ‘old’ jobs. Newspapers are slowly creeping their way onto only digital, if it weren’t for the fact I work in a hotel where newspapers are delivered daily I would think they were already only digital. But with this, are we losing our culture amongst the new ways of the first world?

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Laurence D, 2013 (source)

Australian content production is at a high, with the television show Wentworth that gained its popularity after being first aired on Foxtel to Australian audiences May 1st 2013, and since has been picked up by Netflix for international viewing. But when it comes to the Australian production, is that more important than projecting our culture onto the media?

Australia is part of several ‘Co-Production treaties’ with countries including: Canada, China, Singapore and the United Kingdom (Screen Australia). With a co-production agreement between two countries, it opens up a greater pool of resources – by automatically accessing two markets in terms of creativity, finance and audience reach (Middlemost R, 2018), which in turn, creates more economic revenue for Australia. The basic requirement of each Arrangement is that each co-producer must bring a minimum percentage of the financial and creative contribution to the project, and further, these two elements need to be ‘reasonably in proportion'(Middlemost, R 2018), meaning there has to be content related to each country within the film. These co-productions are valuable to the Australian media production and give Australia a voice amongst all of the Hollywood blockbusters constantly taking the headlines.

Movies such as The Great Gatsby (2013) and Babe (1995) are both co-productions with the United States. Whilst Australia doesn’t explicitly have a co-production treaty with the United States it doesn’t mean that they cannot produce with them. However, when you think of these two films, they don’t exactly shout ‘Australianness’ at you, do they? Have we become far too involved in the economic gain of media production that we are losing our national pride in ridding the ‘Australianness’ within our content?

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The Great Gatsby film (2013)

‘Another site where globalising processes are recalibrating Australian content is the
increasingly affiliation of independent Australian production companies with their
global counterparts.’ (O’Regan T, Potter A, 2013, pp.10)

Domestic production companies are being encouraged to morph their view of Australian content of which they believe would appeal to the international market. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop encouraged the filming of Thor: Ragnarok to be filmed on Australian soil, whilst it does involves Australian actors and actresses (namely Chris Hemsworth and Cate Blanchett) it doesn’t exactly justify ‘Australian creativity’ when it is a U.S. production. In her speech that given at the launch of the film she is quoted saying ‘Let’s hope we can find our way clear to continue to support blockbusters of this type being filmed here in Australia.’ (Bishop, J 2017). Is being the landscape of Hollywood blockbusters now more important than projecting our own culture through film and television?

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Julie Bishop at the premiere of Thor: Ragnarok (source)

Ms Bishop was also quoted at the premiere saying ‘It does add a great deal to the Australian economy and it will raise our profile overseas as a sophisticated, creative nation’. A sophisticated, creative nation who is the backdrop for other countries creative exports?

Sure, filming Thor: Ragnarok brought jobs for aspiring producers and media students for a short time and perhaps the production of Aquaman will bring jobs for a short term as well. Bring jobs and bring tourism, we however cannot lose ourselves in the creativity of another nation.

References

Middlemost, R 2018, ‘Cross national casting, transnational co-productions, location incentives and runaway productions’, PowerPoint slides, BCM330, University of Wollongong, viewed 31 January 2018

O’Regan, T & Potter, A 2013, ‘Globalisation from within? The De-Nationalising of Australian film and television production’, Media Internation Australia, no. 149, pp. 5-14

Screen Australia, 2017, Upcoming Production Report, Screen Australia, viewed 1 February 2018 <https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/2e4a1e52-4466-48b7-aad8-ca05e207f8a9/upcoming_productions_report_features.pdf&gt;

 

 

“The way we watch favours global cultural diversity over Australian content”. 

When I watch films, I like to watch content that takes me away to another world or place. For a girl who has grown up in semi-rural Australia, visiting the streets of New York in When Harry met Sally and outer space in Star Wars is a journey for me. So if you were to ask me ‘Do you watch Australian content?’ it more than likely would’ve been a firm no. When it comes to this media content, how have we become far too involved in ‘the way of the Americans’ that we prefer to watch ANOTHER Adam Sandler film as opposed to a new film containing significant Australian content?

I personally believe we are a diverse culture with numerous stems of interests, morals and beliefs, this is not projected onto our screens however. If I was to ask ‘What is your Australian film?’ A typical response would be something like Crocodile Dundee or The Sapphires, many however do not realise that films like The Great Gatsby and Happy Feet are actually Australian written or produced films. This is of course not the audiences fault, the marketing and portraying in these films are that of ‘American’ persona. Happy Feet is tricky as it involves many different accents within the film, the dominant one being American.

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Australia isn’t opposed to broadcasting its content internationally, however marketing and distribution somehow takes a backseat when it comes to new content in the domestic and international market.

‘The ‘failure’ of Australian films is often attributed to deficiencies in the creative processes of development and production, or the funding strategies of government film agencies (Eltham, 2009; Kaufman, 2009; Schembri, 2008; Charlton, 2005); however, these discourses are limited by their tendency to overlook the significance of distribution and exhibition in shaping the reception of Australian films.’ (Aveyard, K 2011, pp. 36)

Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are designed to reduce the barriers between two or more countries for purposes of trade, which are in place to help protect local markets and industries (Middlemost, R 2018). These are aimed to be beneficial to customers as it enables each country to place more products on shelves which in turn creates more revenue for each country. Yet ANOTHER tactic that the government uses for economic gain.

When thinking about the benefits of FTAs, one is the extended reach of our content to more countries. The Babadook (2014) is an Australian film and only aired on 13 screens in Australia, a miniscule number compared to the 147 screens in opened with in the U.K. It’s a shame that The Babadook wasn’t given the opportunity to perform well nationally. Again, not the Australian audiences fault, we just don’t realise that our Aussie films are going abroad before we know that they exist. Producer Kristina Ceyton is quoted by the Guardian “The kind of film that we made, it’s kind of an art house film and a psychological thriller slash horror. These don’t traditionally do that well in Australia”.

babadook

The Babadook film (2014)

Is it that this genre of film doesn’t perform well in Australia, or that Australian content as a whole doesn’t perform well? Despite the lack of ‘Australianness’??

In future, I aim to challenge this notion and will ideally search for Australian content in cinemas in order to develop my own opinion instead of reading an grammatically incorrect iMDb review.

References

Aveyard, K 2011 ‘Australian films at the cinema: rethinking the role of distribution and exhibition’, Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, no. 138, pp. 36-45

 

 

Is any attention good attention for Australian films?

There will always be a spotlight on Australian film and television, whether it be on what Hugh Jackman is doing now or when the new season of My Kitchen Rules is, something is always happening. But is any attention good attention?

When it comes to us representing our country on film and television, we sway a lot towards either the outback or the suburbs. All of what we portray on screen we aim to greet tourists by the masses after the film piece is aired. Uluru almost always making a cameo appearance and ‘the local pub’ squeezing its way into a scene, we certainly know how to depict our values on screen. This could be because the Australian film industry are embracing our history and heritage of the land or because we are ‘the sunburnt country’. For example, The first scene of Australia is a shot of the sunrise in the Australian outback and Uluru makes an international appearance in The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, a scene where the drag queens are shot climbing the heart of the outback, depicted in a rather triumphant way. When this first aired, it brought crowds upon crowds of tourists to the outback to do the same. However now to climb Uluru is disrespectful to the sacred land and is not a tourist activity anymore.

GAC_Priscilla1

(source)

Due to the strict guidelines in using Indigenous land in media content, this photo may now be viewed as disrespectful to the indigenous land of which wasn’t viewed that way in the past. The Australian landscape is a precious entity to the Indigenous Australians who founded this land, and some may view this photo as Screen Australia has devised an ‘Indigenous Assessment’ in their report on ‘Pathways & Protocols’ for any producers wanting to use indigenous content in their film projects. Section 2.1. being titled ‘Respect for Indigenous culture and heritage’ (Screen Australia), with this guide it allows Australian filmmakers respect the Australian landscape and indigenous content without being derogatory or racist (historic films not included). But now as a nation, we want to save the Great Barrier Reef and we want to be as respectful to indigenous land as possible. But to Australians, there is something humerous about being portrayed as an ‘ocker, true blue’ Australian in films of which we don’t want to end.

A quote by Tara Brabazon discusses the malleability if Australian cinema ‘During its moments of ‘revival’, Australian cinema has been reflexively (and at times embarrassingly) nationalist. Working against British codes of behaviour, Australian films like The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie (1972) and Gallipoli present a unified national ideology, rather than a contradictory analgam of discrepancy and historical discrepancies grounded in a recognisably national geography’ (Brabazon 2012, p. 151). What I take from this quote? Australian cinema can go from serious, real life events to comedic relief in a heart beat, which in my opinion depicts Australians VERY well.

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Crocodile Dundee (n.d..)

The way in which ‘Australia’ is projected to the world and the way that ‘Australians’ are depicted are very different takes in film and media. Australia is depicted as the country with a beautiful landscape, being able to offer surf and snow and having the hidden treasures scattered across the country.

 

References

Babrazon, T 2001, ‘A pig in space? Babe and the problem of landscape’, in I Craven (ed.), Australian Cinema in the 1990’s, F. Cass, London, pp. 149-158.

Ozploitation & The 10BA Tax rebate

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When it comes to Australian film making, a lot of producers need the extra kick in order to get their films made or even propose them. Australian director Bruce Beresford states in interview with The Australian  that he went to Hollywood to propose his films during casting that it was a “nightmare” and that when he tried to cast actors and actresses before they ‘got big’ they wouldn’t give him a second look.

However, the indecisive ‘pickiness’ with casting and scripts wasn’t the case for the aspiring producers and actors from 1970-80. In 1973, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam created the Australia Council, a national funding body for the arts, of which was modelled on English and Canadian institutions (Gardiner-Garden J, 1994, pp. 105). And in 1975, the Australian Film Comission was established. This meant that subsidies from this national screen funding agency began the national policy of direct public subsidies for Australian creative production. Following this national scheme were amendments made in 1978 and then again in 1981 which allowed producers to claim a ‘Producer offset’ subsidy (Screen Australia 2010). Sections of this amendmant were classified as ‘10B’ and ‘10BA’, and these tax subsidies became methods for attracting  film financing for domestic production in Australia (Middlemost R, 2017).

This new form of funding saw the ‘Boom or Bust’ period for the Australian film and television industry (Stratton, 1990). This period for filming saw ‘Boom’ films with great ratings such as ‘Man from Snowy River’ (1982) and ‘Crocodile Dundee’ (1986). Both these films were successful in their own ways and either depicted the Australian lifestyle and values that we maintain. A ‘Super reviewer’ of the website ‘Rotten tomatoes’ called Aj V says he thought Crocodile Dundee’ was ‘A fun cross-cultural comedy/adventure movie… if you like Australian themed movies of the 80s, you’ll like it too.’

These 10BA tax subsidies also saw less successful or ‘Bust’ films, which included ‘The Cars that ate Paris‘ (1974) and The Office Picnic‘ (1972) both of which had poor ratings from websites such as IMDb. Films from this era that were lacking in material and creativity are examples of people wanting to abuse the 10BA tax subsidies which saw a fall in production quality in some of these films made. Becayse of this period of filmaking, is it possible that this is the reason that the Australian audience doesn’t trust Australian produced content?

Director Mark Hartley who is behind the documentary ‘Not Quite Hollywood’ (2008), addresses the period of film in Australia. He uses the term ‘Ozploitation’ which is defined as ‘the exploitation of Australian films and filmmakers taking advantage of the 10BA tax rebate. Typically, genre films such as Horror, Thrillers, corny Romance and Actions films that were made on a low budget with R18+ ratings’. It discusses the abuse of the 10BA tax subsidies which produced low budget films with 3 distinct categories: sex comedies, ocker films, low budget horror films. This period also saw Australia’s fair share of creature features and action films (Middlemost R, 2017).

Since this era of films and television, Australian media has seen a change in what direction the government is taking in the production of Australian media content. As written in the Sydney Morning Herald by journalist Andrew Hornery that “Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to various government agencies crowing about what a coup it is to have such a big, international, all-star movie being made in Australia, with studios lured here by generous tax rebates and incentives offered by both federal and state governments”. Taking this into consideration, Are the Australian government taking its faith out of Australian made content and fuelling it into the beautiful landscape?

To finish this blog post, I leave you with a quote from Mad Max; “They say people don’t believe in heroes anymore. Well damn them! You and me, Max, we’re gonna give them back their heroes!”

Future Australian filmmakers will be our heroes.

References

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

Gardiner-Garden J, 1994, ‘Arts Policy in Australia: A History of Commonwealth Involvement’, Australian Parliamentary Library, Canberra Australia

Not Quite Hollywood, 2008, Documentary, Mark Hartley, Australia

Middlemost R, 2017, ‘Funding and Policy: A History of Market Failure’ PowerPoint slides, BCM330, University of Wollongong, viewed 12 December 2017

Screen Australia, 2010, ‘10BA: The Operation of 10BA’, Screen Australia <www.screenaustralia.gov.au/gtp/mpallemployment.html.>

 

Why do we have such strong assumptions on Australian media

What are the key assumptions surrounding the production of Australian content?

Being an Australian, we are always compared to the televised streotypes that impinge on our culture and it seems that our culture is the most exaggerated. Movies such as Crocodile Dundee, while a comedy film, has not stopped foreign people asking questions (to myself)  like ‘Do you ride kangaroos to school?’ and statements like ‘Throw a shrimp on the barbie!’

 

While kangaroos are spotted regularly in many Australian suburbs and country towns, and the majority of Australians do refer to barbeques as ‘barbie’, it’s these stereotypes that have resulted in the Australian audience to somewhat fear Australian content. It’s well known that Australian produced content doesn’t produce as much revenue as the Hollywood blockbusters do, but what’s shocking is that it’s Australian’s who are the least supportive audience of Australian content than other cultures. Screen Australia state that Australian films and Co-Produced films had a 1.9% total in the Australian box office in 2016. (Buena Vista films taking in 26.3% market share in 2016)

According to an article written by Karl Quinn (2014) of the Sydney Morning Heraldhomegrown, Australian films accounted for less than 3% in the domestic box office in 2014. However, with our country producing more rising stars such as Margot Robbie and the Hemsworth brothers, Australian films and becoming more appealing to audiences both domestic and international, with a 2.7% increase in Australian box office and admissions in 2016 according to Screen AustraliaWith this being said, the Australian film industry is renowned for its ‘boom or bust’ mentality. Many Australians’ feel that Australian produced films are far more serious than their American or English counterparts. Australian films are either very serious in the way that they are portraying Australian history such as the film ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ (2002) or provide light-hearted comedy and strongly influence the stereotypes that Australians’ have grown to dislike, such as the television series ‘Housos’ (2011-2013). Both of these examples were popular in their own way and managed to attract a different audience from the Australian public.

One of the main assumptions is that Australian content just ‘isn’t good’ and it is stated by Mark Ryan (2014) that ‘Australian audience are inclined to watch films in a way that has almost no relationship to the national agenda or the general quest for a national cultural identity in the cinema.’ In relation to this quote, I believe that it is this mindset instilled in the Australian audiences minds that made films such as Peter Pan (2003) which was filmed on the Gold Coast, Queensland and Lion (2016) so successful among the Australian audience. However, not many know that these are Australian produced films.

To conclude this post, I’ll leave with my own thoughts and assumptions on Australian produced media. Personally, I believe that I give foreign films and television more of a chance than I do Australia media content of which after researching, I want to give more of a chance.

References

Quinn K, 2014, ‘Why wont we watch Australian films?,’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 26th October, viewedDecemer 18th 2017, <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/why-wont-we-watch-australian-films-20141024-11bhia.ht ml>

Ryan M, 2014, A Silver Bullet for Australian Cinema? Genre Movies and the Audience Debate, Studies in Australasian Cinema, vol.6, iss. 2, pp.141-157

Screen Australia (2016), Cinema Industry Trends Gross Box Office and Admissions, Screen Australia, viewed December 12th 2017, <https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/cinema/industry-trends/box-office&gt;

 

 

 

Opinion on Australian Media content and the 10BA tax rebate

Television was introduced in Australia on the 5th of November 1956, just in time for Australians to watch the Melbourne 1956 Summer Olympics from home. Ever since then, film and television have been the dominant form of media cultural consumption in Australia (Burns & Eltham, 2010). With smart phones creseeping up the ladder the start of 2010, film and television still hold a position in the hearts of Australians’. In the early 2000s, at least 90 per cent of Australian movie ticket sales (Screen Australia, 2010a). However, 90 per cent of these sales were foreign-movie sales. With this knowledge forever begs the question, why do Australians dislike Australian-made content?

Over the past decades, Australian media content is known to experience a ‘boom or bust’ persona of which the content that we have been producing, whether it be a film or television show, is either very successful or is a major flop in the box office. The Australian government has always been supportive of the Australian Screen Industry, and has defended its institutional legitimacy by stating that ‘Australian films have performed relatively well given their release strategies’ (Screen Australia, 2009). The 10BA period for Australian films resulted in one of the well known ‘boom’ times for Australian film and television. This 10BA period started in the late 1970s and ended in the late 1980s. The 10BA era is thanks to the Fraser government amending Australian tax law (the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936) to enable screen producers to claim a tax deduction for eligible film production of which these tax subsidies became a method in attracting film financing for Australian film production. This era was to encourage the production of Australian media for Australian audiences. This boom era produced internationally recognised films such as ‘Crocodile Dundee’ (1986) and ‘Mad Max’ (1979) of which still get quoted and referenced today. However, within this 10BA period, there were many producers and film enthusiasts who used and abused these subsidies for their own gain, not exactly for public entertainment. This is referred to as ‘Ozploitation’ and the term was coined by Australian film maker Mark Hartley in his documentary, Not Quite Hollywood (2008). This documentary reveals that the late 1970’s and early 1980’s witnessed the production of a number of Australian genre films now labelled as Ozploitation films such as the film Patrick (1978). Many audience members would consider that some films produced in the 10BA period were a success and met their budget in the box office whilst others did not. An “improved financial infrastructure for screen production [could’ve lead to a] high risk and low profitability of Australian screen production” (Burns and Eltham, 2010). This encourages the fact that due to the tax subsidies provided for the Australian film industry that many people were deciding to join in and therefore creating low budget and lesser quality films.

If you ask many Australian citizens and ask what their thoughts are on ‘Crocodile Dundee’ or even ‘Gallipoli’, many will either say that it is ‘stereotypical of the Australian culture and does not depict an accurate representation’ or that it is ‘too serious of a film and lacks the comedic relief that many Australians take pride in’ of their culture. However, both these films were one of the biggest successes from Australian production during the 10BA period when it comes to their box office returns. I believe that many Australians in the modern-day era are more welcoming to Australian produced television over Australian produced films. For example, the hit television show ‘Neighbours’ which aired its first episode the 18th of March 1985 has seen continuous success of the last few decades and will more than likely see continuing success in the future.  I believe that ‘Neighbours’ is successful in the same way that the series ‘Kath & Kim’ was successful in that it was a show that many people related to. As stated by ‘the Conversation’ ‘Neighbours’ stories tend to work through issues to regain a state of balance and happiness.’ And ‘A key factor is always telling stories emotionally and within character. I think this is one of the things that makes the show endure: a loyalty to character, plus a sense of hope.’ This statement supports my argument in that ‘Neighbours’ is popular for its relatability to the audience. Furthermore, this statement demonstrates that Australians are more inclined to watch Australian television as opposed to films because the audience is able to connect with the characters over a period of time.

Australian film commission defined Australian content as those productions under Australian creative control. If you are needing to gain funding for a creative project, Screen Australia will grant funding for your piece, it must contain significant Australian content. This is Screen Australia’s way in protecting Australian content. Alex Storer of AWS Productions (2015) states that ‘Australian Cinema needs something else to interweave with these smaller scale productions, we need films that will appeal more broadly and with quality writing, clever marketing, and most importantly – essential storytelling driving by memorable characters.’ Furthermore, I believe that for the Australian content is to reach another ‘boom’ era that Australian producers and writers should stray from hosting extravagant films, unrecognized as Australian due to foreign directors and producers such as ‘Thor’ and use their creative intellect in producing simple Australian films based on the reality that is living in Australia and simply being Australian.

Australian produced media content is far more popular with international viewers as opposed to domestic. Some producers produced creative pieces that is far from the Australian culture which “reflects an American perspective of Australia”, which therefore inhibits the classic ‘Aussie stereotype’ that many foreigners love. This however, marketed Australia to others as a tourist destination instead of accurately reflecting Australia’s culture. It is that of “mateship” and “the freedom of opinion and speech” that Australians provide themselves on. International viewers from countries such as the United States and the U.K. love the satirical and comedic feature film that is “Crocodile Dundee”, however when compared to the Australian culture, it is far from reality which is why I think that many Australians are not a fan of the film. The strong, muscular persona of Australian men that is portrayed in the stereotypical manner in this film is lacking truth of the Australian values as mentioned before. Whilst this film did perform well in the box office dur to the 10BA period’s tax rebate, I do not believe that it accurately reflects Australian culture.

Overall, I believe that the Australian film and television industry has not been successful in the market. It has not been as successful as Hollywood films however I do not believe that these two industry’s should be compared. The 10BA tax rebate didn’t help the Australian film and television industry however I do believe that without the incentive we wouldn’t have seen the successful films like ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and ‘Gallipoli’ reach the cinema. It is because of this that I have faith in the Australian film industry that they can produce quality films, it is however with incentive and drive that they can make it happen.

 

References

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

Cinema industry trends, Gross box office and Admissions, Screen Australia, March 2016, viewed 12th December 2017 <https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/cinema/industry-trends/box-office&gt;

The Conversation, ‘After 30 years, can Neighbours and Australians become good friends?’ The Conversation, 17th March 2015, viewed 10th December 2017 < http://theconversation.com/after-30-years-can-neighbours-and-australians-become-good-friends-38779>

George, S 2017, ‘Local Content: Policy, Pressure Points, Options, Impacts’, Screen Australia, 8th September 2017, viewed 11th December 2017 < https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/sa/screen-news/2017/09-08-local-content-policy-pressure-points-options&gt;

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

Storer, A 2015, ‘What’s wrong with the Australian Film Industry?’, AWS Productions, weblog post, 13th April 2015, viewed 11th December 2017 < http://www.videoproductioncompany.com.au/whats-wrong-with-the-australian-film-industry/>