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Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African

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Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African  [#permalink]

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 414, Date: 26-Oct-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African Americans in the Hollywood films of the 1970s, the women of Delta Sigma Theta, an African American service sorority, embarked on an ambitious project to produce a feature film that would challenge these stereotypes. Filmmaker S. Torriano Berry recounts in his documentary on the sorority’s efforts how, unfortunately, what could have been a historic project with the power to transform the U.S. entertainment industry failed due to the sorority’s reliance on the major movie studios’ traditional marketing and distribution system.

Lillian Benbow, the president of Delta Sigma Theta, and the sorority’s Arts and Letters committee headed the effort to raise money for the production of the film, Countdown at Kusini, from donations. While most of the funds were contributed by the thousands of sorority members across the United States, African American entertainment luminaries not only supported the project financially but also donated their talent and expertise. However, after arriving on location in Nigeria, the producers found that lack of qualified technicians, editors, film crews, equipment, and cinematic support services within the country meant that unexpected costs quickly added up, drastically exceeding the initial budget.

Even with the cost overruns, the movie could have paid for itself and perhaps even turned a modest profit if the sorority’s initial marketing proposal had been followed. When preparing the budget, Delta Sigma Theta expected to use a four-wall marketing plan, in which the sorority’s extensive membership would rent local theaters across the country, then sell tickets to other members, friends, and family. Additional screenings would be held as demand warranted. As one of the oldest and most extensive service sororities, Delta Sigma Theta had enough members in enough cities to at least recoup production costs. However, a major Hollywood film company became aware of the project and approached the sorority with an offer to distribute the film. Buoyed by the interest of the mainstream media, the sorority believed that the film company’s expertise in marketing and distribution would lead to broader exposure and greater opportunities for success. Unfortunately, when the film was released through traditional channels, without any coordination with the local chapters of the sorority, it quickly failed.

Despite the film’s commercial failure, the project is remarkable for its prescience, providing an early example of crowdfunding and media activism. Delta Sigma Theta took active steps to counter the limited range of stereotypes of African Americans in Hollywood films, and it funded these efforts through numerous small contributions. Moreover, the film’s ultimate impact may not be only historical but also tangible in the modern Nigerian film industry, second in size only to that of India. When Countdown at Kusini was produced, there was no filmmaking infrastructure in Nigeria. While some of the production equipment was brought back to the United States, much was left behind, as well as the newly developed expertise of the local technicians, editors, actors, and production staff who were trained on the film. One of the most intriguing questions surrounding Countdown at Kusini may be that of its effect on the nascent Nigerian film industry.

Spoiler: :: OA
D

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) criticize Hollywood’s depictions of African Americans in the films of the 1970s
(B) compare and contrast the presentations of African Americans in Countdown at Kusini with those found in Hollywood films
(C) explain how Countdown at Kusini transformed the film industry, particularly in Nigeria
(D) chronicle the reasons for the production of Countdown at Kusini and the film’s significance
(E) describe the technical difficulties encountered in the production of Countdown at Kusini and how they were overcome


Spoiler: :: OA
C

2. The author’s reference to a “four-wall marketing plan” (Highlighted) serves primarily to

(A) explain the factors that contributed to the successful release of the film
(B) illustrate the characteristics of a traditional Hollywood film release
(C) contrast the original marketing strategy with the one that subsequently failed
(D) indicate the reasons the sorority’s plan proved to be unworkable
(E) demonstrate why the film was unlikely to recover its production costs


Spoiler: :: OA
C

3. According to the passage, the sorority agreed to the Hollywood film company’s marketing plan for which of the following reasons?

(A) The sorority believed that cost overruns in the production of the film demanded higher sales in order for the film to recover those costs.
(B) The sorority determined the four-wall marketing plan would not be feasible.
(C) The sorority thought that, since the Hollywood film company had more resources and experience, the film company’s plan would be more effective.
(D) The sorority members were not able to rent sufficient theaters to ensure the success of the four-wall marketing strategy.
(E) The sorority members were concentrated in a limited number of geographic locations and needed the broader distribution channels the company was able to provide.


Spoiler: :: OA
A

4. Which of the following best describes the purpose of the fourth paragraph of the passage?

(A) To explain several significant aspects of the film that indicate its historic importance
(B) To provide further evidence of the failure of the film’s marketing strategy
(C) To present a comprehensive analysis of the effects of the Hollywood film company’s marketing plan
(D) To contrast the commercial failure of the film with the exceptional effort of the producers
(E) To introduce facts that contradict S. Torriano Berry’s opinion of the film’s significance


Spoiler: :: OA
D

5. The passage suggests that many of the members of Delta Sigma Theta responded to the 1970s Hollywood films featuring African Americans in which of the following ways?

(A) They appreciated the employment opportunities offered by the introduction of major films with primarily African American actors.
(B) They accepted the limited portrayal of African American characters as a first step toward broader media exposure.
(C) They organized campaigns across the country protesting the limited range of stereotypical depictions of African American life in Hollywood films.
(D) They mobilized their financial resources and organizational skills in an effort to present an alternative image of African Americans.
(E) They became aware of the many advantages of mainstream media exposure to challenge negative stereotypes.


Spoiler: :: OA
E

6. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following is one of the reasons S. Torriano Berry considers Countdown at Kusini a historic African American film?

(A) Countdown at Kusini is the first recorded instance of crowdfunding.
(B) Countdown at Kusini introduced Hollywood studios to the marketing of privately produced films.
(C) Countdown at Kusini was the first successful film to present a more realistic portrayal of African Americans.
(D) Countdown at Kusini was successful as an educational film despite its commercial failure.
(E) Countdown at Kusini may have been instrumental in the establishment of the Nigerian film industry.



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Re: Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2019, 00:22
All correct except Q6 in 11 mins, including 5 mins to read.
Para 1- Delta Sigma Theta's(DST) venture to produce a feature film that would challenge one-dimensional representation of African Americans in the Hollywood films; Berry's documentary
Para 2- funding for production; African American entertainment luminaries not only supported the project financially but also donated their talent and expertise;
cost escalations in Nigeria
Para 3- DST's four-wall marketing plan; Hollywood film Co failed to market
Para 4- Non-financial significances- early example of crowdfunding and media activism; impact one nigerian film industry


1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
(D) chronicle the reasons for the production of Countdown at Kusini and the film’s significance- Correct

2. The author’s reference to a “four-wall marketing plan” (Highlighted) serves primarily to
(C) contrast the original marketing strategy with the one that subsequently failed
Even with the cost overruns, the movie could have paid for itself and perhaps even turned a modest profit if the sorority’s initial marketing proposal had been followed.

3. According to the passage, the sorority agreed to the Hollywood film company’s marketing plan for which of the following reasons?
(C) The sorority thought that, since the Hollywood film company had more resources and experience, the film company’s plan would be more effective.
Buoyed by the interest of the mainstream media, the sorority believed that the film company’s expertise in marketing and distribution would lead to broader exposure and greater opportunities for success.

4. Which of the following best describes the purpose of the fourth paragraph of the passage?
(A) To explain several significant aspects of the film that indicate its historic importance
Despite the film’s commercial failure, the project is remarkable for its prescience, providing an early example of crowdfunding and media activism; tangible in the modern Nigerian film industry

5. The passage suggests that many of the members of Delta Sigma Theta responded to the 1970s Hollywood films featuring African Americans in which of the following ways?
(D) They mobilized their financial resources and organizational skills in an effort to present an alternative image of African Americans.
While most of the funds were contributed by the thousands of sorority members across the United States, African American entertainment luminaries not only supported the project financially but also donated their talent and expertise.

6. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following is one of the reasons S. Torriano Berry considers Countdown at Kusini a historic African American film?

(A) Countdown at Kusini is the first recorded instance of crowdfunding.
(B) Countdown at Kusini introduced Hollywood studios to the marketing of privately produced films.
(C) Countdown at Kusini was the first successful film to present a more realistic portrayal of African Americans.
(D) Countdown at Kusini was successful as an educational film despite its commercial failure.
(E) Countdown at Kusini may have been instrumental in the establishment of the Nigerian film industry.

Filmmaker S. Torriano Berry recounts in his documentary on the sorority’s efforts how, unfortunately, what could have been a historic project with the power to transform the U.S. entertainment industry failed due to the sorority’s reliance on the major movie studios’ traditional marketing and distribution system.

Moreover, the film’s ultimate impact may not be only historical but also tangible in the modern Nigerian film industry, second in size only to that of India. When Countdown at Kusini was produced, there was no filmmaking infrastructure in Nigeria.

The OA for Q6 is E. But in my opinion, I felt that option E is author's opinion. I am unable to link that to S. Torriano Berry.

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , MagooshExpert , GMATGuruNY , VeritasPrepBrian , MartyTargetTestPrep , DmitryFarber , VeritasKarishma , generis , other experts - please enlighten
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Re: Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2019, 19:03
What is the difficulty level of this passage?

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Re: Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2019, 21:12
ashita5678 wrote:
What is the difficulty level of this passage?

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This is a moderate 600 Level Passage.

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Re: Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 03:28
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Re: Responding to the negative, one-dimensional representation of African   [#permalink] 03 Dec 2019, 03:28
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