March 26, 2008
SCMS: Kevin Sandler on Production Studies and Censorship

At the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Philadelphia earlier this month, C3 Consulting Researcher Kevin Sandler presented the latest in his continuing work on censorship and managing concerns with regulatory powers, through a compelling project in which Kevin spent time looking at the negotiation between the creators and standards and practices.

From this presentation, my understanding is that Kevin is using this study of standards and practices to build on the work of others like Elana Levine to create a more robust body of work on what is being called "production studies," better understanding the ways in which these shows are being put together and the many creative and regulatory forces that are involved with the creative product.

Kevin has done a significant amount of work in the past on the development of particular ratings, for instance the status of the NC-17 rating. He has been working on research about violence an the PG-13 rating. He also spent a significant amount of time working with FX and Shawn Ryan of The Shield, along with colleague Danny Bernardi, spending between three and four weeks on the set talking with the cast and crew of the police drama in preparation for a book he's putting together on the series.

In short, Kevin said he adopted Leia Jacobs' approach for this work, looking at censorship in the media industries as self-regulation and as a negotiation among managers, artists, and performers rather than a prohibition.

This type of work is opening doors for ongoing research and publications that will help expand the understanding of how final media products are constructed through the creative influence and regulatory input of a variety of forces in a media conglomerate, and we look forward to sharing more information on Kevin's research here in the future on the Consortium's blog.