On Tuesday, March 5th 2019, I attended a lecture presented by J.D. Connor, a professor visiting from USC. Connor began by discussing his two books, The Studios after The Studios: Neoclassical Hollywood 1970-2010 and Hollywood Math and Aftermath: The Economic Image and the Digital Recession which theorize about the end of the neoclassical Hollywood era in 2008. J.D. Connor went on to discuss transmedial and global production framed by the case study of Snowpiercer. Firstly, he gave Bong Joon-Ho auteur status, as a centralizing factor in the creation of this work, similar to the relationship between an author and a novel. He then discussed Snowpiercer beginning from the origin story to post-production.
Snowpiercer began as a French graphic novel, written by Jacques Lob and illustrated by Jean-Marc Rochette. This effectively exemplifies a transmedial narrative as the original idea is presented in the medium of film and in the medium of graphic novel. Bong Joon-Ho, a Korean director, recruited American, British and Korean actors for this film. The script was translated between Korean and English, and edited many times between Bong and others which allowed a very efficient, digital and a result heavily influenced by Bong. The film was shot in Prague, sound effects were done in New Zealand and the final cut was produced at Paramount in Hollywood. Connor’s inclusion of these details were to emphasize the incredible global crew and cast needed to complete this film.
Connor proposes that a central moral theme in the movie revolves around authority, in this case a group of climate engineers wondering if they could distribute cooling agent CW7, to prevent global warming, into the atmosphere and never stopping to think if they should do it. The most interesting part of J.D. Connor’s lecture was when he discussed Bong’s next movie, Okja in which Bong had complete creative control. Connor emphasized the allegorical elements behind the super pig and Netflix, comparing the release of the super pigs to Netflix same-day release of content in multiple countries. During the Q&A at the end of the talk, Netflix rating system was brought up and J.D. Connor explained to the audience that the subscription metrics, specifically churn, how many people stop subscribing, are more important than individual ratings of content due to the unique subscription form instead of traditional cable.