In Week 5, #BCM240 went off to the movies, or didn’t, having a think about what practical constraints are affecting the viability of the movie theatre business. Quite a few livetweeted their way through the social minefield of seating arrangements and phone etiquette:
— Britt Andrews (@BrittA2211) August 28, 2015
Sitting in the middle of the middle in front of only other person in the cinema Lighting up the darkness to share this moment w you #bcm240
— Susan Michelle سوزان (@Susan_Michelle_) August 28, 2015
— Angus Baillie (@angusuow) August 28, 2015
— Isabel Napier (@IsabelNapier) August 27, 2015
This week’s bloggers have made great use of Hägerstrand, so if you’re still to do this task, take a look at what they’ve done. I’ve always had a hunch that Hägerstrand is useful for thinking systematically about the cinema going experience, even though he never wrote about it himself. Remember, this is a thing you can always do as a writer: figure out how to bring in a new perspective or theory or just idea and see what happens. Have a go.
This week I’m kicking off with Megan Gillman, who was one of those who didn’t make it to the movies. This is very important data for the industry that no one is really collecting: who doesn’t go? why not? For Megan, the issues of time and cost rule it out, but she also raises the question of whether our homes are now changing to compensate for these constraints:
Our homes are becoming our own personal cinema. Our televisions are getting bigger, sound technology is better, and the ability to stream Netflix movies onto our televisions basically makes for home theatre.
Andy Patrinos also questioned whether changes to the home cinema distribution model are making cinemas “a thing of the past”. Citing Bulbeck, she noted this:
Netflix signed up over 400,000 households in two months—reaching 1 million consumers. This itself proves the immediate effect of Netflix on cinemas. So this new idea and concept of a cinema, in my opinion has changed to become something less apparent. It is more often that we see or hear our friends or associates downloading, streaming or even contributing to the “Netflix and chill” culture.
Andrew Wurf didn’t make it either, and has a great list of reasons why not in his post To Movie Or Not To Movie.
But it’s not over for the cinema business. Read Jen’s fantastic post about going to see Amy with her husband at the Newtown cinemas, wrestling with time, family, parking, queuing and more queuing constraints of all kinds, until this moment:
The first sound of shocked muttering during a sad scene early on seemed to be a green light for everyone else to respond in kind. Even though I’ve never met these other people and we’re not even making eye contact let alone conversation, I’m still connecting and bonding with them on this momentary shared journey. We’re all completely immersed to the very end.
Ivan also went with a friend, thinks that movie going will survive like vinyl, but he asks: were cinemas always this empty? He brings in his perspective from Malaysia, where cinemas are open all day and there are always people in there, unlike his movie-going experience where there were so few in the cinema that they were all uncomfortably aware of each other.
Isabel used this week’s task to try something new, and went to the movies alone for the first time. This really interests me as it brings up something Hagerstrand doesn’t cover: social authorisation. This is something to think more about. What are the constraints that we impose on each other in public space? How do we use personal and mobile devices to manage them?
Jade Loughnan was one of a few who spoke to a family informant about cinema memories, in this case a lovely story about shared experiences of seeing The Sound of Music. (For another story on The Sound of Music in a specific family context, read Will Littlefield on Cine-Mum.) I’m increasingly interested to see what we learn when we talk to the same person about different media space experience: cinema, television, dial-up internet, and the NBN. Does a person develop something like a media user style?
Rachel shared a mix of her own childhood memories with a conversation with her mum about something she remembers about going to the movies in Goulburn: her mum falling asleep in the movie theatre. Looking back, Rachel says, an hour’s drive and “the struggle of wrestling three youngsters into the car, all of whom desperately needed to sit in the front,” was a price her mum paid with a quiet nap in the dark. This is a risk for Giverny’s mum too, and was a factor in their decision to head along to the Gala Cinema at 10am, with only two other people in there. I’ve never seen research done on this before, and I’d love to. Who sleeps at the movies?
If you haven’t been to the movies (or not) yet, browse these first for really good models, and also check out the #BCM240 hashtag where there are still more. It’s been a great week.