Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Analysing Film Posters - repost (film marketing)

Click on this film poster to enlarge
One of the things you NEED to do for your FS2 case studies is analsye various types of trailers and film posters. Here's some advice and a checklist for analysing your film posters. Remember that representation in posters can vary in different countries as the audiences and cultural preferences are taken into account.

Analysing Movie Posters

Posters occupy a space between art and advertising. They have a clear commercial purpose - to promote an event or product - but they also have artistic value. People buy them and hang them on their walls. Museums have whole galleries devoted to poster art. When analysing a poster it is important that you evaluate both how well it fulfils its purpose (ie promotion) as well as its aesthetic value. ("aesthetic value" means their value as artistic creations.)

First Steps when analysing a poster

you should consider the following broad questions before you start to focus on the details:
  • What are the main colours used in the poster and what do they connote?
  • What symbols are used in the poster?
  • Do you need audience foreknowledge to decode the symbols?
  • What are the main figures/objects/background of the poster? Are they represented photographically, graphically, or illustratively?
  • Are the messages in the poster primarily visual, verbal, or both?
  • Who do you think is the intended audience for the poster?
  • Given that all movie posters have the same purpose - to get audiences to go see a movie - what persuasive techniques are used by the poster?
  • Which genre conventions are referred to?
  • Is a star used as a USP (unique selling point)? Where is the star in its mise-en-scene? Why?
  • Are "expert witnesses" (ie critics) quoted?
  • What pleasures (gratifications) are promised by the poster?
  • How is attention gained (humour, shock, surprise)?
  • How does the tagline work? (humour, pun, alliteration etc?)

Production Constraints

The poster can also give you important information about the production context of the movie:

  1. how much does the poster tell you about the institutional context of the movie's production?

  2. how important is this information on the poster (think about information hierarchies)?

  3. how important a part of the whole marketing campaign is the poster?

  4. Where is the poster placed?

  5. How expensive was this poster to produce?

Critical Evaluation
Finally, you have to pass judgement on the poster.

  • Is it an effective poster? Why?

  • Does it communicate effectively with the audience?

  • Are there any alternative readings which might harm the message of the marketing campaign?

  • Is the poster offensive in any way?

    Some of the information here was taken in part from the Mediaknowall website and other web sources to form this post.

Question spotting for the FS2 exam

Check to see which types of areas usually get questions and make sure that your case studies (for Hollywood and British films) help you answer them.

2006 Questions
How important are film reviews in determining whether or not people choose to see a film?

What different kinds of attraction are offered to audiences by ‘home cinema’ compared with seeing a film at the cinema?

What is the significance of a large film company like Warner Bros being part of an even larger media empire (stimulus – chart)

How important is it for the British film industry to have internationally recognised stars? (The stimulus were film posters of Kiera Knightley)

January 2006

What is the importance for audiences of the images used in movie posters and dvd covers? (posters)

What do you find interesting in the pattern of cinema-going by age group in the UK today? (British cinema ) (stimulus – chart)

What is the value to the film industry of having stories about the private lives of stars presented in the media? (Stimulus – articles)

Do you think it is a good idea to require UK television companies to put money into the financing of UK films? (Stimulus – articles) British Films


How are audiences attracted to different kinds of films? (stimulus – film posters)

How far does your experience of watching films depend upon the technology used to view them? (stimulus – user reviews of blue ray disc of “Black Hawk Down”)

(How far does the power of stars influence which films are made in Hollywood? (stimulus – comments on George Clooney and Tom Cruise on how George managed to get his films made and how Tom chose his films.)

What strategies do you think can be used to create a successful British Film Industry?

Stars - research task for next week

Research task for discussion next week.

Stars to produce a case study on how a star is presented in different ways in the media. Make these studies valuable.

Performance – what kinds of films are they associated with and what types of roles do they fill? What is their relationship with Hollywood or the British film industry?

Who are the key stars in contemporary Hollywood? Why?

(Include a range of promotional/press pictures and film posters to aid your discussion.)

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A revision time-table that you can fill in and print off

Do you need a where you can type in your revision periods to cover your topics? This is as good as it gets.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Narrative - variations on the three part structure

Narrative - Freytag's Triangle

Freytag's triangle is a simple yet effective means of establishing the narrative structure in films.

Narrative in films - the three act structure

This is useful for understanding the classic structure of Hollywood films. If you are commenting on a film or creating a storyboard or screenplay for your own film for coursework, aim to establish where you are in Syd Field's three part structure. By clicking on the links for each part of the structure you can find out more.

Narrative Innovations in Film Noir

The following link should prove useful for anyone writing a macro essay on a film noir movie.

A great link for essays and articles on film noir

Saturday, 12 April 2008

A montage on the films of John Powell

Here's a well put together montage on the films in which John Powell composed the music. It's an excellent example of the creative use of montage to show the body of the man's work.