Codes and conventions of a film poster

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  • 1. CODES AND CONVENTIONS OF FILM POSTERS By Chloe Allchin
  • 2. WHAT ARE THEY? • They are another form of promotion for the film, just like the film trailer • Posters can promote the film in various of places as they are an image, for example: billboards, bus stops, on buses, train stations, on buildings. • The posters are also shown around the cinemas for when they will be released to target the „cinema-goers‟ • The poster Is used to catch people‟s eye and to make them want to go and see the film by intriguing them into the narrative.
  • 3. TITLE • If there was no film title then the audience would not be able to find out more information about the film or see the film. • Almost all trailers contain a film title, however, the large, well known sequel films often do not as they already have a fan base who will recognise the film from the actors. The harry potter films are an example of film posters that do not include titles. The only text on the posters is „IT ALL ENDS‟ with the date of the release. All the characters used the film posters are all main characters who can be easily recognised by the fan base.
  • 4. DIRECTORS, PRODUCERS AND ACTORS • It is common for the director and producer of the film to be named, especially if they are well known and have many successful film released in the past. • For example, Steven Spielberg, he is often the main selling point of the film as he has a fan base who will want to see his creations and can be used as the advertising of the film. • This is similar for the actors, if the cast consists of big actors with large numbers of fans then the can also be used as the main selling point by have their names in large bold fonts. If the cast is not that well known, they will often not be placed on the poster or in a smaller font. Steven Spielberg is a very well know director of horror/thriller films. He would already have an acquired fan base, who when they see his name on a film poster, they would be more intrigued into watching his creation.
  • 5. IMAGE • The image on the film poster is always the main aspect which attracts the audience to see the film or make the film poster eye catching. The image can often be a still shot from the film itself or it can a new image of the character or iconography to reveal the films genre. • The image portrays the genre of the film whilst providing the audience with an idea of who the main character(s) will be and which actor will be playing the role. The black swan poster shows the audience that it is Natalie Portman playing the main character in this film who could be relating to the role the „Black Swan‟ in terms of ballet. The crack in the characters face reveals that the narrative could incorporate some sense of corrupt fate.
  • 6. QUOTES, RECOMMENDATIONS AND RATINGS • The promotion team of a film can used positive feedback to promote the viewings of the film, if the audience see that there are many positive recommendations then this will make the audience want to see the film. The quote is from a prestigious UK film magazine, Empire. As it is well known it would be seen as a reliable form of criticism which will sell the film more by targeting more film lovers. The quote suggests that the film is worth watching and the language used in the quote is very passionate which relates to the quality of the film.
  • 7. AWARDS • If the film or actors are being nominated for awards, these can also be used to entice audiences into watching the film in a similar way to positive ratings. An award winning film would suggest to the target audience that it is worth watching and would be more interested into watching the film. • This is similar to if the actor is nominated for an award as the audience would be more interested into watching their performance in the film. This posters shows that the film has been nominated for multiple awards which would suggest that the film is very worthy and well made and would encourage more and more people to see it.
  • 8. TAGLINES • Film trailers and posters often contain a tagline as it provides a hint to the narrative and storyline of the film to the audience to entice them into watching it. • Taglines are expected to be memorable so when they think of the tagline, they think of the film, or vice versa. The tagline “THE DREAM IS REAL” relates to the narrative of the film whilst being quite vague but interesting, this would intrigue people seeing the poster to watch the film whilst remembering the film INCEPTION from this tagline.
  • 9. FILM THEORIES AND FILM POSTERS • Roland Barthes Code Theory – describes a text as: “a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifiers; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one; the codes it mobilizes extend as far as the eye can spread, they are indeterminable…the systems of meaning can take over this absolutely plural text, but their number is never closed, based as it is on the infinity of language…” (S/Z – 1974 translation) • These means that a text is like a tangled ball of threads in which once it is untangled, the audience experiences a range of meanings and representations; this can be related to a films narrative. • 1 of the 5 codes is the Enigma Code; which pushes audiences to ask questions about the film‟s plot, which they can do from seeking sneak previews of the film through either a film trailer or film poster.