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Vocational Survival: Expanding the Film Value Chain for the Independent Filmmaker

As a case-study in the occupational sociology of the creative industries, this thesis develops an argument for expanding the traditional FilmValue Chain model in order to address what it means to be an independent filmmaker. The research focuses specifically on the filmmaker’s journey or course of action, rather than on film aesthetics or artistry, and ultimately presents this as a structured series of stages. To reach an understanding of this structure, the research combines (auto)ethnography with Grounded Theory in order to develop a thick description that moves between practical experience and emergent concepts. The exposed structure of an independent’s filmmaking career progresses through four frameworks: exploration, focus, independence, and establishment. The exploration stage is dominated by a high level of simple autonomy-orientation. The focus stage is dominated by growing realisation that the simple autonomy-orientation is too simple and a different orientation is needed. The independence and establishment levels encompass a complex autonomy orientation. The presentation of the research draws heavily on both identity theory and the emerging research paradigm of performative ethnography, and one chapter takes the form of a screenplay which interacts creatively with the other chapters, the synthesis of which has produced a model of independent practices. By extending John Caldwell’s analysis of industrial “promotional surrounds” (IPS), which identifies the dominant corporate and labour practices and “logics” in relation to which independents necessarily define themselves, this thesis articulates the nature of an “independent promotional surround” with its distinctive actors and logics. Finally, it proposes that this IPS expresses a discourse of independence and that an expansion of the traditional Film Value Chain model will recognise the tensions around which this discourse organises itself.
Type of thesis
Jackson, F. (2018). Vocational Survival: Expanding the Film Value Chain for the Independent Filmmaker (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11663
The University of Waikato
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