Hands up if as an Australian you cringe at the stereotype that still haunts us as “Throw another shrimp on the barbie.” Mullet sporting, thong wearing, beer loving and sports obsessed are just some of the stereotypes thrown at Australians from pop culture.
Watching it on film is just plain embarrassing, especially as the majority of Australians come from a wide variety of cultures that inhabit none of these things. No one wishes to see, let along pay, to see something that embarrasses them. Australian films tend to fall into either of two categories. Firstly, they play up on the stereotypes mentioned above to appeal to an international audience. Or secondly, they are far too arty and pretentious, which also seems to be in favour of international audiences. Also Australian films tend to not be in as many cinemas or for as long as a Hollywood film. This automatically reduces the possible audience base.
This national blushing of shame is the reason why I believe that Australian films bomb at the box office. Despite having a successful overseas reception, back home films tend to not really gather a large fan base. Australian music and television shows are booming with Australian audiences though.
In America 2014 is predicted to be the worst box office year since 2006. And it’s been 30 years since the previous year (2013) has out shone the next year. So if America is struggling in its Summer to get people to see it’s local content, really what hope can there be for the Australian film industry?
Now all these numbers are A. alarming and B. not very good for the future of the Australian film industry. Much like the American writers strike in 2007 to 2008, it would be very detrimental to the Australian media industry if film production ceased in Australia. I can’t really picture Baz Luhrmann as a builder.
So how does the Australian film industry solve their problem of a lack of an Australian audience, well I’m glad they asked me, as I obviously have all the answers.
Research, research, research the demographics they’re aiming towards. Australians, in fact everyone, likes to watch American movies because they take away from the usual life people live. Explosions, guns,people falling over. Audiences like to see three thing:
- Something amazing and not from their usual lives
- Something they can laugh at that isn’t themselves. Australians may very well be self deprecating, but having everyone lath at something that isn’t very true isn’t all that funny.
- And finally something that is easy to watch. There is a time and a place for serious films, but the Australian film industry is lacking light hearted content.
Also I have noted that a lot of Australian films are not advertised nearly as much as their American counterparts. So for stockholders in films wanting to make any possible profit, they should advertise more. Also anything related to the film such as games or possible product placements should be fully incorporated into the market strategy plan.
The last movie that I saw that contained some form of Australian stereotypes was The Inbetweeners 2. A British film about a group of moronic teenage boys managed to encapsulate every possible stereotype that could possibly be thought of for Australians to behave like.
For the Australian film industry to keep producing content that Australian audiences will go and see, they need to drop the stereotypes and take up some of the things international films use, as they are the successful types of movies in Australia.
And maybe then the great Australian dream won’t be known as if you’ve got enough beer and sausages in the fridge you’ll be happy, but if you’re willing to sit down and enjoy a great local film. Minus the thongs and mullets.