PCEC quizzed on their Hollywood movie knowledge

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PCEC members were quizzed on their Hollywood movie knowledge at their weekly meeting. “Go ahead. Make my day!” Do you recognize that line? Do you remember who said it and which movie it was from? This was one of the questions in the movie quizzes that the Commander wove into his presentation at the Sunday, January 10, meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. His topic was “At the Movies” and provided an overview of the Hollywood movie industry. (Oh! the answer is Clint Eastwood in the movie “Dirty Harry.”)

The “Commander”, his chosen “nom de guerre”, is a PCEC member who is a writer, producer and film distributor, as well as a working member of the international press. He is also an expert on the iPhone and all things Apple as many PCEC members who have attended his iPhone special interest group meetings can attest. With this being the awards season for the film industry, he felt that it was an appropriate time to acquaint his fellow members with how movies are made. The presentation was filled with several pop quizzes to test the audience’s movie knowledge, mostly revolving around music, themes, pop songs and, of course, famous movie lines.

The Commander explains to his PCEC audience the importance of a good soundtrack to the success of a movie and demonstrated by playing an audio from the soundtrack for the movies shown on the screen.

Some of the other famous movie lines the Commander quoted were: “You don’t understand. I could have been a contender.” (Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront”); “You talking to me?” (Robert de Niro in “Taxi Driver”); “Bond. James Bond.” (Pick any Bond movie); “Rosebud.” (Orson Welles in “Citizen Kane”); and “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” (Clark Gable in “Gone with the Wind”).

The Commander said that the simplest explanation of how movies are made is as follows: (1) find a story; (2) create a script; (3) create a budget; (4) secure financing; and (5) green light the project.

For this movie quiz, the Commander first presented an audio of the soundtrack asking the audience to identify the film then displaying the results. Here he displays the final slide showing the results for each of the soundtracks he used.

Finding a writer who can create that perfect script is a critical part of the process. So is choosing a director. It is the director that picks the actors who will play the lead roles. Many writers and actors have directors that they prefer to work with.

A shooting schedule has to be drawn up. The schedule covers when the shooting will take place as well as who is involved. Often a film is shot in more than one location. All of the scenes for a given location are usually shot during the same period of time, he explained, even though the movie scenes themselves will go back and forth between and among locations.

Here the Commander shows a list of the top 10 box office hits. Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens is shown at number 8, it is still in release and expected to climb to the top.

The Commander listed the components of a production company and briefly described their function – the executive producer (the one with the money); the producer; associate or co-producers; the line producer or unit production manager; the legal department; accounting; and all other staff. He also explained that the actual shooting of the movie was only a portion of the production.

Once all the scenes have been shot, the film goes through a pre-pre-production, pre-production, production, post production, and finally, distribution. He mentioned that sound effects and music is usually added to the film after it has been shot. He also distinguished between theme songs and background music and explained their importance to a film.

PCEC Treasurer Judith Edmonds presents a coupon for free full breakfast buffet to the club member winner of this month’s lucky draw to be redeemed at the next meeting.

Lining up a distributor is also very important, the Commander said. The distributor sells the film. There are three main markets each year for selling films. It’s a little bit like the film festivals, but the markets and the festivals are not the same thing.

The Commander explained how a film budget is created and how a film’s profit and loss are calculated. He also provided a list of the top ten hits and top ten flops based on total sales. “Avatar”, “Titanic” and “Jurassic World” headed the top 10 hits list. Not surprisingly, the top ten flops list features films most of us have never heard of. However, some people may remember “The Lone Ranger” or “Sahara.” The Commander said that less than 5% of films make money. Further that about 7,000 movies get made every year but only about 350 get a theatrical release.

At the conclusion of the presentation, MC Roy Albiston brought everyone up to date on Club and other events and called on Judith Edmonds to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org.