CODES AND CONVENTIONS
OF FILM POSTERS
By Chloe Allchin
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.