A cheeky Brit has agreeably decided that if the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is going to charge filmmakers to submit their work for certification, he's going to make the longest possible film of paint drying ever to hit the silver screen, and oblige the censors sit through every minute of it. Just how long the …
You can never win against the bureaucrats. For them, this is another ten hours of paid, pensioned employment, sitting in a warm, safe room. I'll wager that ten hours of paint drying would be no worse than anything by M. Night Shayalamam (and speaking personally, Life of Pi would be in the same category).
We can be sure that the salary of those doing the classification will be considerably higher than (eg) the outsourced toilet cleaners working for an investment bank in London. Which would you rather do: Scrape investment bankers' tank tracks off of a toilet for minimum wage, or be paid a comfortable salary to endure a bit of boredom?
Seems to me that Charlie Lyne and his backers don't understand that no matter how low your standards, there's always somebody can go lower.
"Seems to me that Charlie Lyne and his backers don't understand that no matter how low your standards, there's always somebody can go lower."
Don't be so sure. Even bureaucrats have standards. What if, at some random interval between 1 and 15 minutes prior to the end of the piece, something completely disgusting (blood, manure, vomit, whatever) occurs (that doesn't involve an illegal act, mind)? Sure, it will mean a Refused Classification (which it would probably get anyway for some other reason), but you'll have made their day. They try to kill a 10-hour snoozefest until, at the last minute, they lose their lunch.
Sure, it will mean a Refused Classification (which it would probably get anyway for some other reason), but you'll have made their day. They try to kill a 10-hour snoozefest until, at the last minute, they lose their lunch.
Give that man (or woman) a gold star! Excellent thinking, displaying qualities of forward planning, insight, vindictiveness and humour, all of which are to be applauded.
However, despite the high qualities of your plan, and its heroic ambition, I'm still not sure you can beat them, since they already have to sit through cinematic gorefests day in day out, Whilst only about 33 films were R18 (as opposed to 18) last year, about 540 videos were classified as R18, plus 379 18 rated videos, and 372 18 rated films.
In fact when I think about the mundane, the profoundly tedious, and the monumentally pointless sequels they have to sit through for general release, and then factor in the six 18/R18 films they have on average to sit through every single day, I start to admire the BBFC. I'm not sure what that whiney film maker is on about, the BBFC ought to be paid to sit through so much dross (and they ought to be able to charge penalty rates to film makers who submit shite).
"they already have to sit through cinematic gorefests day in day out,"
Maybe if the camera zooms into certain areas where, thanks to some careful undercoating, various slight colour changes occur in the shape of rudie bits, or sexual positions etc, things they need to watch for and classify. These "scenes" could occur at random intervals and be difficult to spot. That should stop them getting too bored and enforce a high level of concentration for the full length of the entire blockbuster.
"I'm still not sure you can beat them, since they already have to sit through cinematic gorefests day in day out,"
But most films that get Refused Classification do so because they're either too lewd or too violent. That's easy enough to understand, but that still leaves potential for grossing out, especially if one goes out of one's way to do it within the confines of the law. And you can even use surreal angles that don't have to necessarily conform to reality.
Make sure there's a reason for the film to be rejected and then submit for reconsideration within 42 days. Then they have to watch it again.
Make them really suffer, hours and hours of footage (more specifically the sound) of miscellaneous people chatting (to others or into their phones) on public transport will have the BBFC weeping for release. I especially recommend recording some of the rush hour users at Long Eaton train station for a truly awful conversation experience.
Videos which are primarily intended to "inform, educate or instruct" or are concerned with "sport, music or religion" are exempt from classification unless they contain a bunch of naughty things (the usual sex, violence, etc.). A video of a train is almost certainly considered a documentary and thus the BBFC are spared watching it.
Oooooh, there's hidden depth to this idea... Considering one man has basically f###all chance to acquire imagery of relevant diversity (random trees swaying in the wind and whatnot would not achieve the effect) and that otherwise collecting sufficient photographic variety could not possibly avoid paying astronomical royalties for licensed stock images, the only viable way to actually do that would seem to be a monumental crowd-sourced photo-project where a huge number of people agree to go out, shoot pictures and contribute them royalty-free as a frame of the movie. That, by definition, sounds like the biggest art project in motion picture history so it actually stops being a spoof and becomes a legitimate piece on its own!
I got a better idea. Use a synthetic music maker, then just to be particularly nasty, have the pitch slide slowly back and forth from about 1 semitone flat to one semitone sharp. Do it very slowly so it takes time to realize the music's going off-key. I consider it a musical variant on the Vetinari Clock.
The BBFC is a monumental racket, a relic of a Nanny State attitude which was designed by our Lords and Masters to stop the plebs from seeing anything which they thought we shouldn't be allowed to watch for fear that it would give us ideas beyond our station or encourage us to to bad things (since, of course, we are so morally spineless and ethically bankrupt that, were we to see naughty stuff, we would immediately go out and emulate it).
The result is that, if someone wants to produce and sell a niche video which is only an hour long, to do this legally, they'd have to fork out over £500 (which is probably more than the profit they'd make from the entire thing) for the BBFC to say either "ok, this is inoffensive" or "oh dear, no. This shows X and Y and Z which cannot be allowed, you'll have to cut those bits out before we give it our official stamp of approval" or even "nope, we're not going to let you publish this at all".
An example of the latter was China Hamilton's NF713 which was banned outright from publication in the UK by the BBFC, even though it's perfectly possible to get it from outside the UK *and* possess it legally *in* the UK since it doesn't contravene the Extreme Porn legislation!
It's time the BBFC was dissolved and the Nanny State stopped trying to tell us what is or isn't "safe" for us to see.
I quite like the idea of some measure of filtering of the stuff that goes into distribution.
Although I have to agree with you about them failing to actually do a reasonable job of protecting the public from a deluge of crap and filth, because I note that Ted 2 is coming out soon.
The flipside to that is how risibly simple it is to drive a coach and horses through the whole racket.
A classic example here was the way that David Cronenberg's "Crash" was released here, pretty much the only place in the world where it came out uncut(!) They got a temporary certificate to show it at a film festival on the South Bank, on the grounds there was no time to certify it before the event. After the festival they submitted it for certification. The BBFC went apeshit at the sight of the thing and wanted to cut the living shit out of it to get it into an 18 cert. The promoters pointed out that, since it had already been screened uncut, this was a bit silly. The censors saw, er, sense and we got the full version.
 Very good it is too. Cronenberg at his best and really disturbing.
 Oops. Sorry.
One point: 'relic of a Nanny State attitude'
I think the 'Nanny State' attitude is very much still prevalent in Britain today. The only reason the BBFC hasn't had a severe shake-up it needs is that the politicians want to extend it or replace it with something even more draconian.
since, of course, we are so morally spineless and ethically bankrupt that, were we to see naughty stuff, we would immediately go out and emulate it
To paraphrase Rich Hall: "You would not? So how come there's advertising?"
Joking aside, totally agree but there is quite a lot of that about (which means I'm now paraphrasing Spike Milligan, but that's always OK :) ) which is why I forwarded the link to this sterling effort to The Register news desk. There is such a monstrous pile of things that could be improved that it almost suggests that there is an opening for a wholly new platform. Zoning, age classification, and censorship done by people that I suspect to still write using parchment, ink and part of a bird's anatomy. I do see some value in age classification and censorship but I would expect those evaluating to lag at most a decade in attitudes, not a full century.
Anyway, good effort. I love people who find a way to use humour to highlight issues.
I'm probably going to send the guy a fiver, because that's an amusing way to troll the BBFC and make his point at the same time. I'm not sure that I actually agree with the point though; maybe some will argue against the need for an organisation like the BBFC at all, but if you accept the fact of its existence, then it seems reasonable to expect that film makers should contribute towards the cost of getting their films certified, because it does cost money to do. Maybe there should be some sort of tiny-budget exemption, e.g. if your film has a budget of less than £x and is going to be shown in less than y cinemas, then you get to self-certify or something?
I think I agree.
Film classification is generally a good thing, but censorship is a bit iffy. As long as they aren't showing something *actually illegal*, why shouldn't it be shown? Maybe introduce another rating above an 18 or something? I dunno.
Is it not more the case anyway that they way it works is a film producer has a rating they want to achieve, say a 15, for a particular film. They go to the BBFC, and the BBFC say "Yeah, it's mostly OK, but you can't say c**t in that one scene and get a 15 rating. Lose that and you're fine, or we have to rate it an 18."
Charging per minute of footage takes this piss a bit though. Surely a flat fee of £500 or so is all that's needed? Or perhaps up the charge for the big feature films - where the change in cost from £1k to £2k wouldn't even be noticed as a rounding error on the budget - so that smaller niche films can be given a substantial discount if they are only to be shown on a limited number of screens or something?
"Film classification is generally a good thing, but censorship is a bit iffy."
Absolutely. The BBFC is not a bad idea in principle, but its job should be limited to what the name actually now says - classifying films, not censoring them. The absolute maximum rating a film should be able to have is "18 - fuck it, you're an adult now and can watch whatever you choose". Letting parents know that it might not be a great idea for their kids to watch certain things is not a bad thing. Saying that no-one can see Backdoor Sluts 10 because it contains slightly too many nipples is. The problem with the BBFC is that it currently does both, not that it exists at all.
>If there was the threat of a fine/ban/possibly legal action against you if you make a clearly inappropriate self-certification, I don't see why that wouldn't work.
Because it would make every film into a court case.
Group X doesn't like group Y so brings an action against any film that depicts doing group Y stuff claiming that it could harm children and you have to pay a QC 1000/day to defend yourself.
You are group Z and show yourself doing extreme stuff to another group Z and claim that it is your humane right you were allowed to classify it as U.
In principal I agree with self certing your film, but perhaps in light of how damaging some material might be to children's minds, perhaps the self cert should be SC18 only, regardless of its contents.
As an adult you would realise an SC18 film might lack titillation and violence, but to allow an SC12 that is nothing other than religious indoctrination, or other manifestation of how fucked up some people are, would be a grievous error.
£50 total, to keep the video versions of the (IMHO) mainly excellent "Richard Herrings Leicester Square Theatre Podcasts" coming (The one with Johnny Vegas was worth it alone !).
Pluses: Unedited, and no book/film/TV show plugging. Oh, and no BBFC involvement. And free on ther internet.
Minuses: Occasional low-energy guests.
At least I know where my money went. £50 for getting on for 50 hours of when-it-works ****ing brilliant comedy sounds a bargain.
I've also backed RHLSTP (RHLSTP!) on Kickstarter but I would not necessarily recommend YouTube as a general replacement for the BBFC for all video content. While YouTube have never (yet) blocked a Herring video due to the blue-ness of the language, they most probably would if he or his guests were ever to reveal a nipple. (The stuff of my dreams.)
Or if they said something anti-Google, or something anti a company that Google has a financial interest in that you don't know about, or something pro an organisation that some government doesn't like and Google needs to do a favour for...
At least with BBFC you know they are just nanny-ish, you don't need to assume a conspiracy.
That no-one is *forcing* you to buy.
Having lost 4 stone by the unheard of technique of eating less food I can tell you that you can easily reach your 2100 calories (1800 for women) a day without a bucket of popcorn.
A medium latte can have 150-200 calories (i.e close on 1/10th of your daily target). Add a cake, and you're probably at 500+ calories. Bet you don't leave a meal out to compensate.
It was more a comment on the prices at the cinema in general. I avoid the pop corn because of the lack of value for money (not the price, I hasten to add). £9.29 for a standard adult ticket?! £11.29 for a "premium seat". This has now exceeded the price of getting it on DVD. Might as well wait for the disk to come out. Does Vue's Premium Seat have a button on it to pause it whilst I nip to the loo (an all too often occurrence nowadays)? Although I note that Apple have maintained the price differential. £14.99 for e.g. Minions or Jurassic World on iTunes.
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