This I Believe – English 102 Review

Looking back at the “This I Believe discussion” back in Week 2 of this class, I think I have grown as a writer. However, I still largely take the same stance on things such as stating the facts and trying to have an unbiased opinion in my writing.

In English 102, I have written far more interesting content than back in English 101, at least in my view. By writing about “The Science Of Shopping,” I learned that stores are made to make us buy things even more than we thought. They have observed us so much, that stores even know that most of us go to the right side of a store when buying things.

I also analyzed the HBO TV show “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.” While I already did enjoy the show beforehand, I think that my appreciation for the show has grown because I analyzed it. When you look at something from a different angle, whether it is a TV show or a video game. I think this analyzation is what made me especially love this week’s main piece.

Last, but certainly not least, I wrote about the ethics of leaked movie trailers and why they can actually be a good thing, despite studio’s opinions. Even though studios may argue that it hurts their product since it can’t be marketed when they want it to be, it helps. Because the 1st trailer for Age Of Ultron was leaked, expectations for the movie were very high and resulted in the movie making a profit of $1.3 billion, becoming the 6th highest-grossing movie of all time (when not adjusted for inflation). This is especially the case with Deadpool, because of the test footage had not leaked online, it’s highly unlikely that the movie would not exist at all.

I think I still have kept my integrity intact, even when talking about my opinion on leaked movie trailers. I still look at all the facts I can get before working on a blog post (or any homework for this class). Because of the lessons I have learned this semester, I believe I will also be able to improve my professional writing, which is found at The Droid Guy. That is one of the best benefits of this class, and I am grateful for it.

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Why Leaked Movie Trailers Can Be Good

Most of us are probably familiar with movie trailers. We see them on the Internet, before a movie in theaters themselves, and sometimes even on TV. However, sometimes we see them before we are supposed to. While the studio may be unhappy about not showing any trailers on their time, this can actually be beneficial.

In order to understand why leaked trailers are a good thing, we must first understand the history of movie trailers. When movies first became viewable to the public, there were no trailers. Someone would simply read about a new movie in a newspaper, or even not at all. However, that changed around the mid 1910’s. Studios began to see that marketing their movie beforehand, even if it was just basic text with information such as the cast, could be viable and lead to more people paying for a finished product. Eventually, studios began using actual film from the movie, much like today.

Once the age of blockbusters began with Jaws and Star Wars in the 1970’s, trailers became much more modern, with sound, some plot reveals, and even fight scenes, if they were in a movie. Now, movie trailers are released on the Internet sometimes days before you can see a trailer in a movie theater. Even some movies feature clips beforehand of upcoming films, such as when Jurassic World IMAX showings had a preview of the film Ant Man.

Of course, the Internet changed everything. One of the earliest movie trailers was for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. This was in the late 1990’s, so it was on dial-up connection speeds, meaning fans of the upcoming movie would have to wait a long time and watch the trailer in low quality once the connection succeeded. There was no viable way you could watch a trailer instantly like today, especially not in HD. Technology simply wasn’t there yet. While we today can go to a site like YouTube and watch trailers for Star Wars, James Bond, and other films, there was no one central location back then.

Movie Trailers

 

Naturally, the Internet played a hand in other processes of filmmaking too. Now fans of movies can possibly get early scripts of upcoming films, such as with the upcoming James Bond: Spectre film due to the Sony hack of 2014. Set photos can be seen early, such as with drone shots of Star Wars: Episode 7 and fans filming what would become scenes in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. But recently, another phenomenon started to occur more often. Movie trailers would get leaked before the official release date set by the studio.

This has happened quite a bit last year. The first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was supposed to air on its companion T.V. show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But someone who was working on the trailer at Marvel Studios leaked the trailer to the Internet one week early. The Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice trailer was leaked to the Internet nearly a week early as well. But the leaking of test footage for a Deadpool movie was leaked in mid-2014 is what really kicked it into high gear.

The footage was a scene the studio had made years earlier in order to see if they could make an actual movie, and was never designed to be seen anywhere but to people in charge of 20th Century Fox. Somehow, the footage made its way to the Internet and even though Fox wanted the footage offline, it wouldn’t go away. Eventually, due to fan demands, Fox decided to make an actual film, the trailer of which can be seen online now, three weeks after it was, again, leaked.

The single fact that leaked footage created an official movie is powerful. Even though the test footage to Deadpool was never meant to be seen by the public, 20th Century Fox’s response to fan’s loving of the footage made the film official and it is now in production to be released in February 2016. If no footage had been leaked to the Internet, it’s highly unlikely that a Deadpool film would be in production at all. While there are millions of Deadpool fans across the globe, it’s unlikely 20th Century Fox would want to invest time and money into making a film that might not be desired at all. If a studio chooses to make a movie and it is not well-received with fans, such as the new Fantastic Four reboot by Fox, that can drastically hurt any profits a studio seeks to gain.

Fantastic Four

This is why leaked trailer and footage can be a good thing. Without the leaked footage of Deadpool, fans might not be seeing that film. Because of the leak, the Age of Ultron trailer became one of the highest-viewed of 2014, even though it was released in late October. While a trailer might make studios unhappy, it could make them very profitable in the long run.

Sources

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – Analysis

This week, I watched HBO’s TV show, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”  This show is both political and comedy.  If I were watching this TV show 20 years from now, I would be able to tell that it was from the first decade of the 21st century easily. There are numerous references to current (as of this post) President Obama and Federal Justice Antonin Scalia. There are also references to other TV shows such as 24 and information about issues happening currently. This program connects to current political events because this week the main story was about torture, something that is being widely debated currently over what happened during the Iraq War.

Viewers most likely to watch this program are most likely liberal Democrats, as this show caters to them on issues like torture, the death penalty, and many more. The writers aim for both saying accurate information and comedy, such as with the Kiefer Sutherland clips. Because this is an HBO TV show, there are no ads, and instead, John Oliver takes a swipe at the Bud Light Lime alcoholic drink.

This show airs weekly on Sunday nights at 11 PM. Starting this upcoming week, a new show airs before Last Week Tonight, called “The Brink” starring Jack Black. That airs at 10:30 PM, with Last Week Tonight following that, and then the second season of “True Detective,” starring Colin Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. Last Week Tonight is now being used in order to elevate the other shows so people notice them. If someone watches Last Week Tonight, then they might watch the beginning of True Detective’s second season and decide to watch it. There is no flow between the three shows currently. This program may appeal to the same viewers, but as “The Brink” is a new show and “True Detective” is now in its second, it is hard to tell without knowledge of either of those shows or a track record for the former.

The first thing that happens in the show is John Oliver talking about smaller stories, which this week were Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijan’s involvement in the European games and record with interactions for the press, and a Canadian Senate scandal. Then came a special segment about “Newscasters trying not to swear,” full of clips from news reports over the last week of reports trying to avoid swearing.

The main part was John Oliver talking about Torture (embedded above), his special discussion of the week. The second-to-last part of the show was a continuing part of the earlier joke in the show, “Newscasters not trying not to swear.” John Oliver then ended his show with information about a running news segment about the Fifa Corruption scandal and former Fifa executive Jack Warner. The narrative is easy to understand and is consistent with most Last Week Tonight episodes, as they always feature a few smaller stories at the beginning, followed by the big story, and then occasionally a smaller one, time depending. The effect is that people are brought in with (sometimes) funny lighter stories, learn a big one in the middle, and get something really funny at the end.

The program is set in a studio in New York. It is very well-lit by many lights. The program is always pleasing to the eye. The colors are just the background of New York, along with John Oliver’s own wardrobe. The mood is set to be light, even though heavy topics are usually being discussed.

The music used in the show is almost always the show’s own, depending on if there is a musical guest or not or for a special occasion, such as with the Jack Warner segment this week. In the background of the show, there is no music, unless it was playing on a clip John Oliver shows to his audience.

The only characters in this show are John Oliver himself, a rare guest, or people who were on other TV shows that John Oliver is showing clips of. There are no actors, as John Oliver is just himself.

This week’s episode relates to the topic of violence, as the main part of the show is a segment on Torture methods used by the US Government during the Iraq War. It tells us that we shouldn’t torture people to get information, as it doesn’t even work.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Torture (HBO). (2015, June 14). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmeF2rzsZSU

The Science Of Shopping

Apple Store

These days, shopping habits are carefully monitored by retailers trying to make a profit. Shoppers are analyzed from the products they buy, where they go inside the store, and even how they enter the store. The Apple Store is no exception. Apple, through careful planning, succeeds in following many of Gladwell’s principles in their retail stores.

Apple has carefully picked where they are in many locations across the world. In some cities, they are in malls and in other cities they are right on the street. In Chandler, Arizona, Apple is inside of the Chandler Mall. Apple is right in the middle of the various storefronts, preventing consumers from missing it. The entire front of the Store is made of glass, allowing potential customers to look inside. There is no barrier to entry, as customers can walk right in between the panes of glass to get inside. And to the sides of the door, Apple proudly displays their newest product to consumers. In the book, it is stated that, “Ever wonder why the season’s hottest new styles at stores like the Gap are usually displayed on the right at least fifteen paces in from the front entrance? It’s because that’s where shoppers are most likely to see them as they enter the store.” (97)

Apple follows this strategy by putting their best-selling product, the iPhone, both just behind the door and to the right of the entrance. Apple also follows the strategy of making sure that customers with an “impeded view of the store window—can see the display from at least twenty-five feet away.” (97) Once inside the Store, Apple also has other ways to make sure consumers buy their products.

Apple sells many products, including the iPhone, iPad, Macs, iPods, the Apple TV, and the Apple Watch. To help sell their products, Apple has special tables dedicated to each product, spread throughout the entirety of the store. All the products are completely functional and ready for customers to try out. Some stores have products that are fake and do not power on, but Apple has live demos.

When a potential customer approaches a product table and begins playing with said product, an Apple Store employee approaches the customer and asks if they need help with anything. If a customer declines, the Store employee leaves and lets the customer continue to use the product uninterrupted. However, if a customer does need help, the employee then proceeds to ask what the customer is looking for and why. If a customer says they need an iPad, for example, the employee will tell the customer about features the iPad has, and the different colors and sizes it comes in. A customer will then reply with a question about why the product is better than the competitor’s product, to which the Store employee appropriately responds. Apple Store employees do not make commission, so they are not pressured into selling products as much as someone at Fry’s is.

While none of their products are focused specifically on men or women, Apple follows Gladwell’s advice in that products that require “extensive examination should never be placed in a narrow aisle.” (99) All spaces that are used by customers for moving around are accessible to everyone and provide the least opportunities for customers to bump into each other, making sure that they are never distracted from using the product they may potentially buy. If a customer is actively using a product and something distracts them, that takes the customer out of the moment and they may not buy that product, resulting in a lost sale.

If a customer does indeed decide to purchase something that Apple sells, there are a number of unique ways that this can be done. There are no cash registers in the Apple Store. All purchases can be done almost anywhere in the store, as they are done on iPhones or iPads with special software that are carried by store employees at all times. When a customer decides to purchase a product such as an iPad, the employee tells the customer to wait where they are, unless that area is busy. If it is busy with other potential customers, they are moved somewhere to spur more sales with other potential buyers.

The employee then goes to an area where only employees are allowed to go and gets the box for the product, whether it be a MacBook or an iPhone. Once that is acquired, Apple proceeds through a normal experience, as the iPhones the employees have are capable of credit card purchases and using payments through new technology such as Apple Pay. There is no paper involved in the entire process, as the customer signs on the iPhone screen with their finger and can have their receipt emailed with them.

Once the product is purchased, Apple has optional special tables in the store to help users set up their newly purchased devices with employees who are trained for that process. That employee helps the customer set up an Apple ID, Location Services settings, and anything else that the device may be capable of. Once that is completed, the employee asks if the customer then wants to purchase another product, such as a spare charging cable or a case. Many times they are successful.

Apple has a special process for customers only interested in accessories such as spare charging cables, cases, Apple’s own brand of routers, headphones, or other products. If a customer has the Apple Store app installed on their iPhone, it uses Location Services to determine when a customer is at an Apple Store and offers special features. When a customer is ready to purchase something such as the charging cables, the Apple Store app has a feature called “EasyPay.” The customer scans the barcode on the bottom of the product case with the camera on their own personal iPhone. The item is in Apple’s database and is scanned correctly to that specific product. Once at that screen, the customer can purchase the item on their own, with no involvement from any retail employee. The item can be purchased with the manual entering of a credit card or, on select devices, with Apple Pay, a transaction process that is more secure than manually entering the numbers.

Apple Pay stores the user’s credit card information inside a special secure element inside of the main CPU on the device. When the user either uses it with a compatible terminal at a retail store or inside a compatible app, the actual numbers of the credit card are not transmitted. Instead, it uses tokenization. Put simply, this generates a random code that is used for that transaction and none in the future. If Apple (or any company that has this service available) is hacked, the user will not have to worry about their credit card information stolen, as it was not their actual credit card.

This helps both the customer not have to get a new credit card and helps Apple’s appearance in the media with knowing that the customer’s data is safe. When a customer purchases the accessory, they are free to walk out of the store with no questions asked by any employee. To prevent abuse of this process, Apple has security cameras hidden in the store, along with several plainclothes special security employees. This whole process makes for a very good experience for the customer and makes them more likely to come back.

Apple is unique in the retail space, even though they still follow many of Gladwell’s ideas. By putting their best-selling products on the right of the store, Apple is able to generate more sales of those items. The Store is very open, preventing customers from being distracted by being bumped or otherwise. Many of the displays are visible from less than 20 feet away, enticing potential customers to go inside and take a look. With the checkout process being so easy, customers walk out quickly, allowing for more to come in. With the entire experience being a very good one, Apple makes it more likely that those customers will come back and buy more of their products. As the company with some of the highest quarters of revenue in history, they have a bright future ahead of them.

References

  • Gladwell, M. (2012). Consuming Passions: The Culture Of American Consumption. In Signs of Life in the USA (7th ed., p. 97,99). Boston, Massachusetts: Bedford/St. Martin’s.