Evaluation of My film trailer and ancillary products By Kimberley Deller
In which was does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Mostly used mid-shots as we found out from our research were conventional for the romantic comedy genre of trailers. This allows the audience to see the emotions/expressions of the characters to help them to relate to them as well as showing them their costumes – which can also help them to identify with them and allow them to understand more as to what they are like. This relates to Michel Foucault’s theory of idealised norms as Samantha who fits in with the typical ‘gender roles’ is rewarded for being at the top of the social hierarchy, whereas Erica who relies more on her intelligence than her looks (which isn’t a typical role for a female character) is punished for being at the bottom of the social scale. This helps the audience to understand why Erica wants to change and be more like Samantha so much. • As was also in some of the romantic comedy trailers analysed, we used panning to help identify with some of the locations; for example as they walk passed Erica’s house as she is watching. This helps the audience to both associate with Erica (it is from her point of view) and identify with the scene.
• We used a voice-over in our trailer as we found in many existing trailers a voice-over is put in place to give the basic outline of the over all story. This allows the audience to understand the whole thing a lot more making it more interesting. Therefore finally making enough interest to see the film as a whole product. This makes use of Rick Altman’s genre theory as it helps the audience to understand the story and therefore its genre and in also influences the way they interpret what is shown. • The Mise-en-scene of our trailer consisted of a secondary school setting. We used classrooms, a dining hall and corridors within the building. This is similar to existing Romantic Comedy trailer such as ‘Freaky Friday’ as this is setting in a school also. The costumes we used were school uniform which complied with our location choice and would appeal to chosen target audience as they can relate to the types of characters shown. We chose to use casual clothing in the scenes of Erica’s home (the geek) as this would represent what teenagers at the time would wear. Erica’s overall costume shows her in a smart uniform (e.g. tie done up and glasses) or in a check shirt and other items which don’t match. This refers to her character as a geek. This can be compared with our choice of costume for Samantha (the popular girl) as she is dressed oppositely in fashionable clothes and a scruffier uniform to show her status within school clearly. The costume can be compared to existing film ‘Wild Child’ as this is set in England also. As is said by Levi-Strauss’ idea of Narrative theory of binary oppositions as the contrast between the two characters’ costumes and their personalities is so vast – and also represents their opposition in their social standing (one is at the top and popular whereas Erica is at the bottom).
The use of costume also follows Laura Mulvey’s theory of the representation of women, coupled with the camerawork (the tilt up Samantha’s body when she is first introduced) as it makes use of objectification. This relates to the way the ‘Plastics’ are filmed in Mean Girls as they walk along provides voyeuristic pleasure for an assumed male audience; ‘Male Gaze’. • The narrative behind our trailer also relates to the target audience and the research we conducted as all those we analysed show the main characters experiencing some sort of change. In a Cinderella Story, the main female character changes from a tomboy to a girlie girl and in Mean Girls, the main female character goes from the new girl to a popular girl. Although our change is more physically obvious, the end of the trailer shows how they change after they switch back. This would be something which particularly relates to our target audience of female teens who can identify with the problems our two main characters face. • The music used is generally up-beat which makes the trailer fast moving and exciting. However, the music we used also helps the audience to relate to what emotions the characters are experiencing; for example when Erica is upset that no one has turned up to her birthday party slow music is used – this music then increasing in tempo when she makes the wish to mark the start of the change. For the fight scene we used a more rocky-style music to relate to the aggression the characters feel. To create a link from the end of the fight scene and the end of the trailer (the insert of the holding hands) we used the same soundtrack to make the trailer be more connected.
By putting the scene of Tom (Geek) and Samantha after the film title we are also following convention as the trailers we analysed all contained a funny clip at the end of them. This is because it makes it more memorable and appeals to the target audience as romantic comedies essentially need funny light-hearted elements. • The length of the trailer is typically longer than the conventional romantic comedy film trailer. However, not by too much, this is as we didn’t want the trailer to exceed the conventional two and half minutes as it would be too long for the audience to take in. Despite this, our trailer is slightly longer as it gave us more chance to put across the storyline and would make the audience understand the storyline more clearly – and therefore increase its appeal. • The editing used was overall conventional as it was typically fast paced which would keep the audience interested through its upbeat style. We also used shot-reverse-shot for conversations which is conventional as it makes it clear to the audience who is talking and show reactions/expressions; which helps them to relate to the characters. In addition, at the end we used an insert to highlight the connection between the two characters who are so different in personality and would emphasis its comedic value.
We used titles across the screen to help tell the story which would help audiences to understand what it is about. The colours used were red as this relates to the romantic side of the genre; connoting love and passion, we used a white font purely to make the text clear to read. • Sound was used to draw attention to some elements of the trailer. For example to emphasise the screams, the music was stopped to make it more dramatic. This makes the change obvious and shows their shock. This is evident in the She’s the Man trailer where the sound also stops to emphasis certain parts; as is the case when Viola is speaking to Duke and trying to come across as more manly which is comical for the audience and therefore makes it more appealing. • As with the trailers we looked at we included the names of the main actors in the background as this is something which may increase interest in the film, if it is someone they recognise and like. They were positioned in places which made them clear to read and clear as to who they were naming – when there are mid shots of the two characters screaming. • Another editing technique we used was slow-motion; which we also saw used in the trailers we looked at in our research (She’s the Man). This helps the readers to identify with Erica as it emphasises the longing to be more like Samantha. • The age of the actors also would appeal to the audience as they relate to their characters and the age of our target audience.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
A pink and white theme links my products and our main film together. I used pink and white together in my products as i feel both of them colours fit my genre well and it would automatically give a clear idea to the audience as what the genre was. Also using the same colour scheme would make all my products fit together a lot better and show consistency. The pictures i used in both of my products are the two girls in the school uniform, we took the pictures of the girls in their school uniform as it would give a clearer idea of their age, and the social setting between the two. It is a lot easier to convey the message of one being a geek and one being popular in their school uniform. Also as our trailer is set in a school i wanted this to come across in my poster and magazine. Both of my pictures on the magazine and poster show the clear binary oppositions between them too of them and this is also shown throughout our trailer.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
To get audience feedback for our trailer we made a questionnaire to ask whether our product did as we intended it to, create interest, and get across the genre and narrative. We asked 20 people, 10 boys and 10 girls. 10 of the people asked were in the age range of 13-15 and the other 10 people were in the age range of 16-19. When asked if you would be able to tell what the genre was from the trailer 17 out of 20 people said they would be able to. This shows that our narrative was clear enough to convey our story and genre easily. When asked was the music suitable 15 out 20 people agreed that it was. This shows that our music fitted in with the genre and trailer reasonably well and that our audience could relate the music to the story. 20 people felt that the voice over was suitable. This is probably because a voice over is a key convention of a romantic comedy trailer. Therefore we added it and all of our audience felt it was appropriate. All 20 people also felt that the trailer was conventional in its length. Only one person disagreed that the costume we used in the trailer wasn’t appropriate. Again all 20 people felt the location of the trailer was appropriate. We set most of our trailer in a school setting. We did this as it’s aimed at teenagers and they would be able to relate most to this setting.
When asked if they felt it was aimed at both males and females only 14 people agreed with this. The reason behind this is probably that the overall genre of the film is stereotypically aimed at females rather than males. Again all 20 of the people felt that the trailer was aimed at their age group. This is good as it means if it was to go to cinema the whole film will appeal to the group we wanted it to. All of the 20 people we asked said our film’s title was appropriate. We chose to use this title as we followed the titles of other Romantic Comedies such as ‘Freaky Friday’. This is a catchy title and we wanted to make ours catchy too so we chose ‘Soul Switch’ which follows a similar storyline to ‘Freaky Friday’ and has an alliterated title. Therefore, due the audience’s feedback, we found that our chosen title worked well with our film and they could obviously see why we chose ‘Soul Switch’ as the name of our film. All of the 20 people we asked said our credits and dates were necessary and were placed correctly. This shows we have followed conventions from existing trailers as the audience know where they should be placed, making our trailer more professional and realistic.
18 out of the 20 people we asked said the actors names were put in the right place and were necessary. This shows that the majority thought they were essential to a trailer and needed to be used in order for an audience to know who’s in the film before they chose to watch it, as this might influence them more. It also shows we clearly thought out where we were going to put the names so they would look best on our trailer. 16 out of 20 of the people we asked said our storyline was conventional to existing Romantic Comedy trailers. This means that the storyline would appeal to our age group and that we researched the correct trailers in the first place to get our ideas. This also shows that the audience would be able to tell which genre the trailer was for straight away as the storyline was so clear. 19 out of the 20 people we asked said our storyline was easy to follow. This again shows that it would appeal to our audience as they would be engaged in what was going on to be able to understand it. Also, they would be able to tell which genre the trailer was for clearly. It means our editing, sound, camerawork and mise-en-scene were all suitable in order for our audience to be able to understand it. 14 out of the 20 people we asked said they thought they were shown just the right amount about the story to our film. This shows we used just the right amount of footage and followed the length of other Romantic Comedy trailers correctly in order to not give too much away. This also shows that the audience we left wondering what was going to happen in the film, a key feature to any existing and successful trailer. A small amount of people said they thought they were either shown too much or too little but this was a small minority and did not effect the overall view.
All of the people we asked said our edited red screens were suitable and helped them gain a better understanding of what was going on. We got this idea from existing Romantic Comedy trailers and we ourselves found this helped us understand. Together with voice over, the audience clearly found our editing successful and thought they were an essential part to a trailer. We received no negative comments for this question from our audience. An example, of one of the comments we received (as shown in the example of a completed questionnaire) was: “no, it was of professional quality and clear to understand.” This proves our trailer to be realistic and conventional overall and that it appealed to our audience as we’d hoped.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Research + Planning
To look at existing media products; trailers for the Romantic Comedy genre, we used YouTube. Which was a fast way to access the information we would need to make our trailer relevant to the conventions and therefore more successful. This meant that we could view each trailer quickly and be able to make notes on areas that we would like to follow - i.e. the conventions like the use of fast-paced editing and mainly mid-shots in the trailers. To get an idea for the locations and costumes as well as images for the magazine and poster, we used a digital camera to capture pictures of the two main characters in costume and in the right locations. This enabled us to also think about where we would like to film our actual trailer and therefore make filming more time-efficient and the sets more relevant.
Development of the Products
Perhaps the main use of media technology in the actual production of our trailer was the use of a Mac to edit our footage and a digital HD camera to create it. The use of this camera made our footage high quality and therefore made it seem more realistic to the audience - and wouldn't interfere with the storyline. The Mac was something new to us as we hadn't used one before but felt that we managed to pick up the necessary techniques pretty fast and enable us to cut the clips down to the appropriate size and delete any unwanted elements. The iMovie program also allowed us to add in additional effects - such as the slow-motion as Erica blows out the candles to emphasise her longing to change and the text across the screen to help outline the story. The use of the Mac also made us be able to alter the order of the clips easily to make the film more effective, for example we altered the way the clips are shown when Erica and Samantha walk in so that the shots of the feet are side-by-side in order to emphasise the contrast between the two characters clearly. The Mac also made the use of the voice-over much easier to capture as it had features which could record it straight over the film in the places it was needed. The program we used to create our posters and magazines was Microsoft Publisher as it is best suited to what we needed - as we could easily adapt the layout/fonts/colours to make our products more successful as we could easily cater to the results of our questionnaire and the conventions found out from our research.