The use of a wide shot portrays the unity of
the four girls and shows how happy they are.
The fact that the camera is positioned in front
of the bikes, as if they were driving towards it,
suggests that they are coming towards the
story. In order words they are driving into the
Here, a tracking shot/wide shot is used to show
the characters in a speed boat. A wide shot is
effective here because it shows the audience the
characters’ surroundings and enables them to
feel part of the action, it also emphasises the
horizon and the sky line of the shot. The tracking
shot is used not only to let the audience feel like
they are part of the scene, but also to represent
the freedom the characters now have. Since the
shot is taken from behind, we can see a much
broader view of the landscape and where the
characters are heading. This contrasts to the
previous wide shot used, since it represents the
girls ‘heading into the danger’ they are about to
face, as a pose to escaping it.
There is a technique used to describe the eye contact made with an actor and the
camera, this is called ‘breaking the fourth wall’. This gives the effect that the
characters are looking at us, as an audience, and therefore breaking through the
screen (fourth wall) by communicating with the audience. Here are some
This is taken from a subliminal shot,
however the audience can still catch onto
what the shots contain. The aggression
on the actors face could make the
audience feel tense, like they were in
danger, since it looks the this aggressive
character is pointing the gun at them.
This aerial shot appears at the end of
the trailer, where the audience can
clearly see what the shot contains.
Around them, we can see money,
suggesting criminal activity resulting
in wealth, as well as limited clothing,
which connotes promiscuity and
This filter would’ve been
placed onto the clip during
post production. It is effective
because the blurred focus,
enhanced colours and grainy
image creates quite a warped
perspective, which is
associated with drug use. This
suggests the characters have
taken drugs but also makes
the audience feel like they
have too, making them feel
involved in the film and able to
relate to the characters.
Throughout the trailer, various clips
involve the technique of fast paced cross
cutting. Here is one example. The first
image shows a still from a clip of a man
spitting out blood while he is getting beat
up (by the male protagonist), and the
second image, a clip shown immediately
after the first, shows the female
protagonist spitting out water, messing
This also shows the contrast
between the male and the female
characters, since the male influenced the
females to become associated with drugs,
this cross cutting can suggest the contrast
between the two genders. It suggests the
male portrays the most aggression in the
film, which is conventional, whereas the
females still hold some forms of
innocence, and are able to have fun.
Another contrasting fast paced cross
cutting clip shows one of the female
protagonists at a church, this
connotes very positive symbols such
as obedience, innocence, youth, and
kind-heartedness. However, the
second clip is shown straight after,
and shows she has met the male
protagonist and has been introduced
to violence. The clip shows her
distressed and being manipulated by
the male. This shows the contrast
between the two different times and
how the female has changed. This
also suggests to the audience that
something has happened to her
which is still unclear, but generates
curiosity as to what has upset her.
These shots are used together to
compare the contrast between the
protagonists and the rest of the
characters. The normal characters,
shown in high key lighting, which
connotes positivity, are partying
on the beach, these are the ones
who fit the conventions of a typical
teenage girl. They are at Spring
Break which is where the main
characters were meant to be.
However, the contrasting clip
shows the main characters in low
key lighting, holding prop guns,
shooting at someone. This shows
the journey the main characters
have taken since they were
partying on the beach, and how
they have progressed from the
stereotypical teenager, to being
FAST PACED EDITING/FLASH CUTTING
Here I have shown the 24 individual shots used in 15 seconds of the trailer. This is to emphasise how fast
paced editing is used in order to fit a vast number of shots in a small amount of time. This is conventional for a
trailer since the short clips only hint to the audience about certain events, which generates curiosity. Using
longer shots would bore the audience and also give too much information away, meaning they would be less
likely to watch the film and find out what happens. These clips are not in chronological order from the film
which is also conventional. The use of the titles enables the fast pace of the trailer to be broken up, so the
audience can still take in some information, most of the clips were less than a second long, however the text
was around 1.5 seconds which makes the pace more comfortable, yet still straight to the point.
Subliminal cuts are used to portray a
message or subtle hint to the audience
without them being fully aware of it,
usually because the clip happens so fast it
is barely noticeable. This subliminal cut,
shown to the left, is placed in the first third
of the trailer, before the suggestion of the
girls being arrested and getting into hard
violence. The cut is 1 second long,
however contains 12 different shots, this
works out as a shot shown less than every
0.1 seconds. The shots show the main
male character shooting at the camera,
(also breaking the fourth wall which
connects the character to the audience as
if in real life) posing with an extremely
aggressive facial expression. This hints to
the audience that there will be aggression,
violence, crime (possibly murders)
involved with the film, without completely
giving it away. This is a conventional
element for a trailer to have.
The costumes shown throughout the trailer maintain a very consistent and unique style of
This still shows the first preview of the clothes the characters are wearing:
Each one of them appears to be wearing hot pants/shorts, which reveals their legs. This is
combined with their very casual t-shirts and hoodies which shows they are very carefree and
laid back about their appearance, and not making much effort, which is conventional for a
teenage girl. The lack of clothing offers a slight sexual portrayal of the girls, and would be
used to entice the male audience into watching the film, since it would be mostly females
interested in it. This relates to the theory called ‘Male Gaze’ proposed by Laura Mulvey,
Here the girls are shown wearing nothing but their bikinis, this represents their confidence and
carelessness, and also reflects on the warm setting in which the film takes place.
The bikinis are very colourful which also portrays their extreme personalities.
In the second and third photograph, the girls are shown sporting their bright bikinis both
leaning on a police car and standing in a court room. They are surrounded by contrasting
characters and a contrasting setting, which do not fit the main themes of the story (e.g
partying, going crazy, being a thug). The contrast between the careless youths, and the
adults/setting which are representing the law, show the differentiation between the girls
and the rest of society.
However it's not just the main characters that wear this costume, almost every
one featured in the trailer is wearing some form of swim wear like a bikini, and
is revealing a lot of their bodies. This suggests to the film that will contain a lot
of nudity which is sexually appealing, this can be related to Laura Mulvey's
theory of 'male gaze'. This also represents how every one will be portrayed
as a 'party animal'
Both male and female characters in the trailer wear sunglasses which shows they
are in a sunny setting, reflecting on the title of the film 'spring break', which is
a nationally celebrated time of the year in summer. Summer itself is a
universally celebrated season, known by the target audience to be a time for
partying, drinking, and forgetting their inhibitions. This strongly suggests the
types of activities and themes that will appear in the trailer, making it
appealing to the audience.
At the beginning of the trailer when the girls rob
the store, they are shown in self-made plain
black balaclavas, clearly made just to
disguise themselves. This reflects their
extreme behaviour and suggests some
violence will be included in the film, which
would be appealing to the target audience.
However, as the trailer progresses, we see the girls wearing pink, custom-made
balaclavas, which suggests they are still involved in criminal activity, but since their
balaclavas are more suited to them and clearly custom made, it suggests they are
enjoying the lifestyle more, have progressed with criminal activity, and have more
luxuries because of it. The pink also portrays their girly and quirky personalities
combined with their bad-ass attitude, which would be very attractive for a teenage girl in
the target audience to look up to.
Each of the main characters are not completely covered in make up, their make
up is done so that they still look quite natural and is kept to a bare minimal.
This may be to show how the girls still need to look attractive to their target
audience, so that young females can look up to them and they can uphold
their attractive reputation. It also suggests that they do not care as much for
their appearance in this film since they still look relatively natural, possibly
wearing only foundation, to make their skin look more flawless, and a little
eye make up, this reflects their careless personalities.
The main male character in the film
is portrayed to be extremely
'gangster'. This is portrayed
through this braided hair, tattoos,
and scruffy looking facial hair.
This very distinct tattoo of a dollar sign suggests that the character likes
money, this portrays the stereotype of a gangster which reflects on
some of his actions throughout the film. This is shown in the trailer since
it hints at the persona of this character and adds mystery as to what he
could be doing with the girls.
He is also shown with metal teeth,
which is a luxury typically only sported
by people with a lot of money, and is
stereotypically related to 'gangsters'.
At the beginning of the trailer, a wide shot establishes the scene where three of the four
protagonists are shown sitting in a classroom. This immediately shows the audience the
collective identity of the characters: students. The pink screens also hint that they are
female. These match the identity of the target audience which makes it relatable and
Here the girls are shown in another wide shot, the low key lighting connotes negativity and
suggests they're about to do something bad, this factor, combined with the fact it is raining
shows they are also careless about the whether which is unconventional for a typical
These shots make it clear the girls are
in some kind of educational
environment, such as college. The fact
it is so empty portrays some negative
connotations, and poses questions to
the audience such as; ‘Where is every
one else?’, ‘Why are they alone?’ and
‘Where are they?’
The fact a wide shot is used
also emphasises how empty the place
is as it shows more of the space,
compared to a mid shot or a close up
which would not be as effective.
This wide shot of the truck driving down an
empty road shows the girls are in a quiet
setting, with not many people about, again,
suggesting they have been left behind or
are missing out on something. The low key
lighting has negative connotations to it and
suggests the girls/location is miserable or
that something bad is about to happen.
This use of high key lighting which is later
shown when the girls successfully manage
to get to Spring Break, connotes the
positivity of moving away from their home
setting for a while, the bright skies,
sunshine and busy road contrasts against
the dark, empty street the girls were
driving down on their own.
While they are at Spring Break, the setting represents a warm, holiday environment
with beaches and swimming pools available. It is set in summer since it is a
universally celebrated season and many typical teenagers (the target audience) see
it as a season to have fun, party and get drunk, much like what is being represented
in the trailer.
Here two of the girls are shown in quite a
domestic setting. There action show they are
throwing money around and in the foreground of
the image there are knives hanging on the wall.
The setting looks quite luxurious which suggests
to the audience that the girls have come across a
dangerous situation involving violence and illegal
money, which reflects on the story line well.
A different setting is used here to show one of
the antagonists. The low key lighting combined
with the luminous colours in the background
suggests he is in a nightclub or bar. This shows
there is alcohol/partying involved and would
appeal to the target audience.
Alcohol is a key theme in Spring Breakers,
but is not particularly conventional in action
films. However, the use of the alcohol
enables the audience to determine the
types of characters which will be in the film
and what interests they have. It shows the
characters are young and carefree, hints at
the types of scenarios which will occur in
the story line and also puts the film into
This will also entice the audience since
they are similar to the characters and have
the same interests, therefore they are
easily relatable which will make the film
more appealing to the target audience.
Money is one of the most conventional factors in any action/crime/thriller film.
It represents power, and suggests to the audience that the money is more
than likely to have been stolen or earned in an illegal way, hinting at what the
film could include.
Throughout the trailer there are many clips
which show the use of weapons, in
particular guns. There are a wide variety of
different guns shown, which suggests the
owner of them has a criminal history. It is
conventional for any action/crime/thriller to
contain weapons, however guns are usually
related to films with a theme relating to
‘gangsters’. This gives the audience an
impression of what to expect in the film. For
example; fighting, shooting, murders, etc.
Here the male character is shown holding a
microphone performing at a Spring Break
party, this suggests he is very popular and
has made something of him self involving a
music career. This also generates curiosity
with the target audience as he is
conventionally attractive to the teenage
Throughout the trailer the character is seen with a selection of props which all connote
things such as violence, danger, wealth and crime. In the first still he is seen holding a
cigar, which are commonly associated with male characters in action films, in particular the
more dominant ones. This reflects on his manipulation over the protagonists. Cigars are
also known to be very expensive, which relates to how wealth and dominance are both
conventional elements for the male antagonist to convey in action/crime/thriller films. This
also applies to the second still, the fact he is driving a convertible car shows he has money
to afford such luxuries, and the fact he is driving the car and the female is in the passenger
seat represents how he is in control.
Other props he is seen with throughout
the trailer are guns. Guns are an
extremely conventional prop used in the
majority of action/crime/thriller films since
they portray danger, violence and the
‘thug’ stereotype. By using shots of this
character with the gun in the trailer, it tells
the audience there will be chance to see
some dangerous fighting or threats taking
place, which will generate curiosity and
excitement amongst the target audience.
Low key lighting is used when they’re at
home to connote a negative feel. This
suggests that they are perhaps
somewhere they don’t want to be.
However, when they are on the coach
on the way to spring break, the
colours are very bright and there is
high key lighting used, this connotes
positivity and suggests they are in a
These specific shots stand out from the trailer,
particularly because of the low key lighting combined
with the fluorescent light.
Compared to the beginning of the trailer
and during the flashbacks of before the girls came to
spring break and met the male character, low key
lighting is used to connote negative thoughts and
emotions, as well as when they are breaking the law
and causing trouble. The high key lighting is used
during their happiest moments when they are
partying at Spring Break.
However, these shots are when the girls
have experienced a lot of criminal activity and have
learned a lot from the male character that they meet.
Now the low key lighting, still connoting the crime
and negativity, is combined with the high key lighting
(which is shown through the luminous colours),
representing their youth and party spirit.
In conclusion, the use of high key and low key
colours represent positivity and negativity and
combining the two together is effective is suggesting
how the girls might change.
The luminous colours and low key lighting combination appears in a range
of different shots. These shots show two male characters (rivals in the film),
who appear to be in a club setting. This suggests that there is a lot of
alcohol involved in the film. The low key lighting could also signify sketchy
behaviour, such as secret drug dealing or an on going feud between the two
characters. This is also representative of the characters having dark and
possibly evil personalities, since they are portrayed through low key lighting.
The fluorescent colours is an on-going theme
throughout the trailer, and in fact general advertising
products relating to the film.
This text is broken up into individual sections
and placed between every dozen clips. This is a
conventional element of a trailer as it keeps the
audience hooked and interested in what the sentence
will say. In this case, each section is shown in a different
These colours are suggestive of a variety of
things all relating to ‘partying’, for example; glow sticks,
neon paint, UV lights, disco balls etc, which also relate
back to youth, carelessness, and acting wild. They are
also feminine colours which again reflects on the female
dominated story line.
Even the industry logo’s are portrayed to fit the
Much of the acting in the trailer reflects very
sexual-orientated, promiscuous themes. This is
shown in a variety of different ways. For example;
to the left is a still of two of the characters
seductively blowing smoke into each others
mouths. This not only connotes an extremely
intimate relationship, but also the use of drugs,
reflecting their extremely wild personalities..
The most suggestively erotic clip contains the
male with two females. They are acting with
extreme sexual intent, this is also a
conventional theme for the action genre, and
shows how the females are dominated by the
A large part of the acting in the trailer involves
‘partying’. There are many clips which show a
large number of characters, including the four
main girls, under the influence of drugs and
Despite the actors playing a role of
certain characters, the behaviour is actually
stereotypical for a teenager, and would
appeal to the target audience to a great
extent, because they can relate to the
different experiences and feel more
connected to the characters.
When first watching this trailer, my initial thoughts were that the
film was not entirely conventional for an action/crime/thriller. This
was due to the fact the main characters consisted of four,
seemingly vulnerable, yet wild, teenage girls. Whereas a
conventional character for a film of this genre would possibly be
a middle aged, relatively experienced man, stereotypically
appealing to a female audience both visually and through their
strong minded personalities.
However, when I analysed the trailer further, I was able to
easily recognise different features that are highly conventional
throughout any film of this genre. I have selected the most
common conventions to explain…
There are many shots of drug use
throughout the trailer, at the very
beginning the girls are shown in their
(assumed) college accommodation taking
hits from a bong together and taking
cocaine. This represents their girls
personalities and emphasise the contrast
between them and the dull, academic
environment they are living in. It is also
shown during the parties at Spring Break,
and is represented through post
production editing on certain clips.
Drug use is continuous throughout the trailer, and
moves to a larger scale after the introduction of the
male characters. This offers another convention in that
males are more dominant in the action genre, with the
fact there drug use is more extreme, shows they are
more experienced in that area.
Alcohol is often used in action films,
but more conventionally through
drinks such as whisky and brandy,
more commonly associated with
older men. However, in Spring
Breakers, the alcohol usage is more
revolved around the partying,
behaving wild and reflecting a
teenager. This means that the
alcohol use is both conventional and
Almost every action film contains weapons; they
are one of the most conventional elements of any
genre. In Spring Breakers, there are a range of
different clips which show the use of weapons, in
particular guns. There are a variety of different
guns which are used to carry out different crimes,
such as raiding a wedding, robbing a shop, but
also just using them as an accessory. The fact
there is such a wide variety shows that the male
characters are experienced with these sorts of
weapons. However, the female characters tend to
treat the guns
However, the female characters tend to treat the guns more like accessories to
make themselves look good, and seem like they are gangsters. This is
apparent since they are rarely seen causing any harm to any one during the
times they are seen committing crimes, instead, they are often seen holding the
gun while they talk, or using it to seem intimidating and threatening.
Not only is there guns, but a knife
is also shown being held by one
of the female characters. She is
just holding it while observing it,
suggesting she doesn’t intend to
use it, she is just holding it to feel
powerful and intimidating.
CRIMINAL ACTIVITY/BREAKING THE LAW
At the beginning of the trailer, before the girls have met the
male character, there are clips to suggest the use of drugs,
which is illegal, yet not particularly considered major criminal
activity in an action film.
However, the first time we see the girls acting in a way that
could be considered criminal, is when they pose as robbers
wearing balaclavas, holding (fake) guns and hammers, and
stealing money from a shop owner. They then laugh about
the situation and act extremely proud of themselves.
This is conventional because it involves action and
excitement, is seen in almost every action film, and also
suggests the girls have no remorse for robbing the shop,
which is the way any criminal would act after successfully
The girls’ behaviour becomes progressively worse
when they escape to Spring Break, this could suggest
there new found freedom has enabled them to behave
in a way they have never had the chance to, and so
they are embracing it, or perhaps they have always
been like this, but know they can get away with it now.
They are arrested, the reason being is not made clear
in the trailer but it is suggestive that it is due to the use
of drugs, however they are then bailed out of jail by the
main male character, which is when their crimes
become extensively worse.
The trailer shows the girls raiding a wedding,
and holding members at gun point, wrecking the cake
and decorations, and showing no remorse, like a
Cars are a very common theme in the genre. In fact
there are some action movies that are entirely based
on them, for example; The Wraith, Fast and Furious,
and The Transporter.
Cars are more commonly seen in actions
films based around gangsters, drugs, pimps, money
etc, rather than films purely revolving around crime.
This is to represent the materialistic and moneymotivated personalities of the characters found in
these types of films.
This particular shot interests me because it is the only time in the trailer, and
film for that matter, that you see this red car. And only for a brief moment, too.
The fact that the two main female characters are driving can suggest a lot of
For example; the colour red connotes danger – this could mean the girls are
driving to, or from, a dangerous situation. However the colour also connotes
love and lust, which is also a conventions. This suggests that there could’ve
been a dangerous incident involving the male character, who lusts over both of
the females and vice versa.
The fact that this is the only time we see this clip, and the car, could
also be used to portray the dominance of the females. This suggests that the
roles have switched, because conventionally the male is dominant, and makes
the audience wonder why the male would’ve suddenly become weak, and the
females able to drive off his car.
Money is an extremely conventional theme for
an action film. The trailer suggests that it is also
earned in a conventional way too – through
illegal drug dealing and other criminal activity.
The characters are often seen
surrounding themselves with the money;
holding it with delight and indulging themselves
with it. The happiness that they get from the
money suggests that it’s something they want
more of, which offers the idea that there may be
a task or mission in the film that must be
achieved in order to earn some more money.
It is suggested from the trailer that there are two
groups of ‘gangsters’ in the film. One containing the
mail male character, and the other a less recognised
man. This is not the main theme of the film which is
why it is unclear about the relationship between the
two groups from just the trailer. However, the fact that
the rivalry between the two gangs exists, is
conventional for any film of this genre.
As a stereotypical teenager, there are many
different thoughts regarding sexual
references which is reflected in the trailer.
In particular at Spring Break, there are clips
of some of the less dominant characters
revealing their bodies and making sexual
remarks. It is suggestive that the crude
gestures are mainly due to the influence of
alcohol and drugs. This would be a
relatable subject for the most of the target
audience, since they would have
experienced similar situations.
This is conventional because the use of the
female body is exploited in many action
films, these subjects are never the
dominant characters, just used as extras to
entice extra audiences.
There is also an element of a softer romance
between the male and the female characters,
which does not come across as crude as the
previous clips. The fact the more romantic side
of it revolves around the main characters
suggests an on going relationship between the
characters which builds up. The audience would
notice this increasing chemistry throughout the
trailer and would make them want to watch the
film to discover what the relationship entails.
This differs from using purely sexual images,
since romance generates curiosity, and hooks
the audience. whereas sex just catches their
The romance between the three main
characters is effectively placed throughout
the trailer. The intimate relationships not
only exist between two characters, but all
three at the same time, including the two
This is not conventional, since it is
unlikely that an action film would pursue
such a romantic/sexual relationship and
make it such an important theme in the film
(or the trailer suggests so), since the genre
usually focuses on missions or crimes that
need to be solved for the greater good.
This shows how a trailer is made with the
consideration of an extremely intense range of
background information to take into account.
For example, choosing the right camera angle
to portray a certain shot correctly, or placing a
character in the most appropriate clothing that
represents their personalities, the colours,
settings, lighting, props, acting, and many
more. While at the same time considering what
conventions of the action/crime/thriller genre to
conform to, and which ones to break, in order
for it to be the most effective trailer.