One part of the proof of market demand documentation evaluates the potential non-theatrical market for the project in terms of what competing or analogous products are available in the market on the same subject as your project.
In this section, the producer should research what projects on the same topic already exist, how your project differs from them and why there is a need for your production. For example, your project may take a completely different approach, or it may be a more current update of the topic.
An example of research done on competing and analogous products follows below. The CIFVF would like to thank Lynn Booth of Make Believe Media Inc. in Vancouver who has graciously allowed us to use the competing and analogous research from her application for the project “Corporations in the Classroom” which was funded by the CIFVF in 2006.
You will note the list of the sources consulted that Ms. Booth used in compiling the research. The list of sources consulted is divided into sections: subject specialists and end users; organizations and activists; the Internet- online video catalogues, librarians and distributors. It is important to include this information with your research and even better if you can organize the sources consulted into groups such as Ms. Booth has done here.
Please note that the CIFVF is interested in only audio-visual competing and analogous products and not books.
Competing or Analogous Products
At present, there are no long form documentaries that explore the relationship between corporations and Canadian public schools. A mere handful of American documentaries are starting to look at these issues, but most of the material looks at "marketing" or "advertising" rather than corporate / school partnerships.
Most recently, an American program entitled "Public Schools, Inc." was produced for PBS's FRONTLINE in 2004, but its main focus was on self-described "edupreneur" Chris Whittle, whose corporate-owned Edison Schools are attempting to revolutionize public education. While American news organizations have certainly explored different aspects of this complex issue, they have mainly relegated it to short segments on such programs as CBS' 60 Minutes ("Privatizing Public Education" November 14, 1999) and CNN's Tough Call ("Should Public Schools Cash in on Corporate Ad Dollars?" May 22, 2002). Of course, those segments concentrated only on how the issue relates to the American public school system.
A one-hour PBS documentary called "The Merchants Of Cool" looked into the "tween" and teen demographic as a marketing phenomenon. Although this docu didn't directly address the link between corporations and schools, it did demonstrate corporate America's obsessive focus on today's school children; a subject that was made even more pointed in the 17 minute "Commercials in the Classroom: Resource or Revenue Stream" from 1998, which concentrated on Channel One. Channel One is a kids' news network beamed directly into classrooms every morning accompanied by two minutes of corporate advertising. Another similar documentary - and the one that comes closest to broaching the same subject as "Corporations in the Classroom" - is "Captive Audience: Advertising Invades the Classroom" (2003), but it examines only how marketing has invaded American public schools.
In Canadian media, the 11- part series "Staff Room" explored pressing issues in education as the 90's drew to a close. Although episode 2 of that series touched on the corporate presence in the classroom it was produced in 1999 and the information has subsequently been rendered outdated. Also, the episodes of "Staff Room" were only 22 minutes in length, so there was little opportunity for an in-depth investigation into the issue.
Another 22 minute piece, "Public Education: Not for Sale!" was produced in 2002 by the British Columbia Teachers' Federation. It was simply an impromptu document of a BCTF conference filmed by Capilano College students.
"Corporations in the Classroom" will be Canada's first in-depth investigation into the corporate presence in North American classrooms. The present situation in the United States, as outlined in the aforementioned documentaries, will be used as a cautionary tale for our own country, which is currently still in the very early stages of this philosophical battle.
Research, Resources and Source Material
Teachers, Teachers' Federations & School Boards
Anita Chapman, Curriculum Expert, BCTF Staff Member Alex Molnar, Professor, Education Policy Studies Laboratory, College of Education, Donna Sheehan, The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (OFTP) Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Arizona State University
Heather-jane Robertson, Canadian Teacher Federation & Author John Young, Victoria School Board Trustee
Kit Krieger, President, West Vancouver Teachers' Federation
Larry Kuehn, Director, Research and Technology Division, B.C. Teacher's Federation
Melissa Pflanz and Louise Manelia, teachers, Guildford Park Secondary School
Michael Cohen, English Montreal School Board (EMSB)
Patricia McCadie, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario Paul Shaker, Dean Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University Rachel Cloues, fourth grade teacher, San Francisco, California Sean Cook, English Teacher, Coquitlam Centennial Secondary School Sieglinde Stieda, elementary school teacher, Pitt Meadows, BC
Fiona Graham, Burnaby school teacher and Finance Committee Member Cathy Hart, elementary school teacher, on-leave
Organizations & Activists
Bill Bigalow, Portland Social Justice, Rethinking Schools Carolyn Wilson, The Association for Media Literacy (Ontario) Colleen Sondermann, Events Coordinator, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils Dr. John Moss, Executive Director, Charter for Public Education
Erika Shaker, Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Education Project Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
Jacques Brodeur, The Action Coalition for Media Education Jim Metrock, President, Obligation Inc.
Josh Golin, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood
Kevin Millsap, Check Your Head: The Youth Global Education Network Michael Hay, former highschool activist
Peter Clayton, President, Public Education Research Centre, Charter for Public Education Steve Coffin, Founder, School Ads Alert
Susan Linn, co-founder of the coalition Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Sara Leverette, The Northwest Earth Institute
Selected Market Research, Online Video Catalogues, & Distributors Consulted
Annenberg Media – Learner.org
BuzzTaxi Bullfrog Films British Columbia Teachers' Federation Videotape Database eLibrary Plus
Filmoption International Libraryvideo.com
Media Education Foundation
Media Library Collections - various school districts (Delta, Vancouver, Burnaby) Moving Images Distribution
Vancouver Public Library - librarians in Business & Social Sciences Zeitgeist Films Ltd.
MAKE BELIEVE MEDIA INC.
A DOCUMENTARY FILM COMPANY