The way that the combination of my film poster, the film magazine and the film trailer work together is important to gauge how successful my film trailer package appears to the target audience of teenagers, particularly female teenagers. I am pleased with the way my poster and magazine work together to advertise the film in such a way that the readers can clearly distinguish it on the magazine cover. This was done by the use of the 'Soul Switch' logo font which I used on both the poster and the magazine to make it more recognisable to the audience. There are other similarities which make the film trailer package clear for the audience to connect together. For example the use of costume on the characters is consistent throughout; rather than the magazine cover have them in casual wear, they are in their school uniform. This makes the characters easy to identify with in all aspects of the package - as the target teen audience can easily relate to what they are wearing and know what each character is like through their individual touches to their uniform.
In addition, the whole package makes the storyline of the film clear without giving too much away and in turn making the film less interesting; again through costume. The props on the poster; the glasses for Erica and the mirror and accessories for Samantha, help give clues as to their personalities and are also used in the trailer (to help indicate the 'body swap' more clearly) and on the magazine cover.
The fonts used, on the magazine and the poster other than the 'Soul Switch' title, are similar to the fonts used to help tell the story in the trailer. This is as they are all rather simple serif fonts to make the text clear to read and this again is a connection between the cross-media package.
However, it is clear that the different types of media products have differences between each other. Perhaps the most clear difference is the colours used on the print media; the magazine and the poster. The poster initially I designed as light purple like the magazine cover but I changed this as I added additional elements to it and thought the brighter colour would deter attention from the poster's information. The magazine I left lilac as I felt the layout allowed attention to still be focused on the important areas; like the image and the 'Soul Switch' headline, without being too drawn to the background colour which would be counter-productive. Despite this the two similar media products are still clearly linked (as shown before through the fonts and images) but some differences were necessary to reach the different conventions of their media types. For example, the poster caters only to the film itself, whereas a magazine needs to include other elements/stories about different films to interest the readers as much as possible.
The trailer uses a school location which can be linked again to the images; which originally were on school locations also (see above images) and this like the costumes gives the target audience something which they can identify with and relate to and make the whole package more successful. Laura Mulvey's theory of representation can also be linked to all three elements of my cross-media package as throughout Samantha is objectified. The camera-shots used in the trailer, for example the tilt up her body when she is first introduced, and her costume on all three products of the short skirt also makes use of objectification. It is clear that this provides voyeuristic pleasure for a male audience as the trailer, poster and magazine do not mention much of a main male character and so do not suggest a narcissistic pleasure for a male audience. As a female audience is attracted to the film as they can relate to the main female characters this helps to also appeal to a male audience and make the package more appealing to a wider audience.
All three products also relate to Levi-Strauss' concept of binary oppositions as the two main characters are completely different - which makes the storyline more interesting and amusing to follow. Plus the font colours used in the 'Soul Switch' title are contrasting in look and connotations; blue and pink. Which are stereotypically related to the genders and here I used them to relate to the characters contrasting personalities as one is much more feminine to the other. This also relates to the 'idealised norms' which Michel Foucault refers to in his social theory as the character who possesses the typically female traits is rewarded by being at the top of the social hierarchy whereas Erica is punished for not meeting the typical gender specific roles - as is shown in the trailer. Ultimately I think I effectively carried out enough links between the different media products so the audience can easily see the connections, without going too far and breaking the conventions relevant to each piece of media.
• 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.
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 in turn 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 me as I 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 and the text across the screen to help outline the story. The use of the make 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. The program we used to create our posters and magazines was Microsoft Publisher as it is best suited to what we need - 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.
After making our trailer we want to make sure our audience feels we have hit our target properly. To check this we carried out a questionnaire for our target audience and recorded the results, this would help us to measure how successful we were in capturing the romantic comedy film genre. Including with a copy of the questions asked is a copy of one of the completed questionnaires in a picture format.
Questionnaire 1. Which gender are you? Male Female 2. How old are you? 13 – 15 16 – 19 3. Our trailer was made for the Romantic Comedy genre. Would you be able to tell the genre of the film from the contents of the trailer ? Yes No 4. Do you think the music was suitable for the genre and related to the contents of the trailer? Yes No
5. Do you think the length of the trailer was the same as existing
Romantic Comedy trailers and was therefore conventional?
6. Do you think the voice-over was suitable to the trailer?
7. Did you think the costume of the actors was appropriate to the genre?
8. Do you feel the various locations used were suitable?
9. Did the trailer look as if it was aimed at males and females?
10. Do you feel the trailer would appeal to your age range and
would you be encouraged to go and see the film if it came out?
11. Do you think the name of the film is appropriate to the contents of the trailer?
11. Do you think the name of the film is appropriate to the contents of the trailer? Yes No 12. Do you think the credits and dates were necessary and should
be placed at the end of the trailer? Yes No 13. Do you feel the actors names were put in the right place within
the trailer and were necessary? Yes No 14. Do you think the storyline was conventional to existing Romantic Comedy trailers? Yes No 15. Was the storyline easy to follow? Yes No 16. Do you feel you were shown just the right amount about the film? There was too little given away It was just right There was too much given away 17. Do you think the edited red screens within the trailer were suitable
and helped you understand the storyline better? Yes No 18. Finally, is there anything you feel should be changed or improved in the trailer? (please state below) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* 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.
NOTE: The rest of the result graphs can be seen also on the blog in a separate post.
An institution which might have produced our product is Time Warner, this is because:
They have already produced similar films which relate to the romantic comedy genre; such as ‘A Cinderella Story’, which has several parallels with our film. For example the storyline of both films involves the main female character under-going a transformation; even if our transformation is more obvious physically and both films portray how the characters’ personalities affect their social standing in the hierarchy .
Time Warner might also be interested in our product as they make use of cross-media promotion, being a media conglomerate. This means their different companies within their conglomerate would allow them to create the film and the print media to advertise it all within the one company – making all the profits go in one place. Time Warner is made up of its subsidiaries which relate to film, print and internet media – an effective form of synergy which makes promoting products effective.
There are other similarities between existing Time Warner products and our product which makes it more likely that they would produce our package:
The poster for ‘A Cinderella Story’ uses a similar colour scheme, to my poster for ‘Soul Switch’, the simplicity of the white is used to make the text clear and the colours blue and pink connote the transformation of the character from tomboy to girly girl as is relevant to Soul Switch too.
The style of the trailer also relates to how we edited and filmed our trailer, the fast-paced editing, the school setting etc as was discovered in our research analysing existing products.