Codes and conventions of Film Posters


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Includes all the codes and conventions of film posters.

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Codes and conventions of Film Posters

  1. 1. Codes and Conventions of Film Posters
  2. 2. What are Film Posters? • Film posters are a form of promotion just like a film trailer. • Studios often print several posters that vary in size and content for various domestic and international markets. • They normally contain an image with text, today's posters often feature photographs of the main actors. • The text on film posters usually contains the film title in large lettering and often the names of the main actors. It may also include a tag line, the name of the director, names of characters, the release date, etc. • As a film poster is a physical piece of promotion, unlike a film trailer, the posters can promote the film in a lot of different places. For example: – Billboards – On the side of buses/Bus stops – In/outside the cinema – Shopping Centres – DVDS – Advertisements in newspapers/magazines • Because film posters area physical thing, there is no limit on where they can advertise films.
  3. 3. Actors and Directors Names: • Usually the main actor or director of the film is displayed on the film poster, especially if the director and actors are well known to the target audience and they are one of the main selling points of the film (e.g. directors like Steven Spielberg/Quentin Tarantino or actors like Tom Hanks/Will Smith). • If the actor is very well known there name will be one of the main features on the film poster. The actors names are placed either at the top or the bottom of the film poster, but normally just above the films name. This is because many of the target audience will go see the film if they like the main actor or if they have liked the films that they have been in already. • The directors names are different to the actors, instead of having there names they list there popular and successful films. e.g. for 127 hours it says from the director of the award winning Slumdog Millionaire. A reason for this is because the target audience may not know the name of the director but will recognise the films name.
  4. 4. Quotes, Recommendations and Ratings. • Before a film is released to the public, is it screened to film critics where they write a reviews about how well it worked and on the performances of the actors in the film. • Once the film has been screened to critics, the marketing team of the film can re-create the film posters to include the positive reviews, ratings, feedback and recommendations that have been said about the film from the film critics. • The marketing team would include reviews about the film from the magazines or celebrities that the target audience would be able to relate to. This is because if they included a quote from Teen Vogue on a film poster that’s target audience is 40-50, then they would think that the film is not suited to them and wont be attracted to go and see the film. • Film reviews normally include big, dramatic and powerful words to attract its target audience to go and watch the film. E.g. Masterpiece, Flawless Performance and Extraordinary. By putting these words on the film poster it will enhance not just the target audience but also other people.
  5. 5. Awards: • Similarly to quotes, recommendations and ratings, if a film is still being advertised during the awards season and a member of the cast/crew of a film has been nominated for awards, the trailers and posters will include the details of the nominations. • If a film has been nominated for an award, it means that is a well received film from the critics who are hard to please, so audiences would be more interested in seeing it. E.g. Nominated for Seven Golden Globes, Including Best Picture for The Kings Speech. • Likewise, if an actor in the film or a member of the production team that is involved with the film and has previously been nominated for a prestigious award or even won, this could be included in the promotion. E.g. Academy Award Nominee, Natalie Portman for Black Swan.
  6. 6. Taglines: • A tagline is a small amount of text on a movie poster which is designed with a form of dramatic effect. • The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable dramatic phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a audio/visual product, or to reinforce and strengthen the audience's memory of a literary product. • A well known tagline for a film is from The Dark Knight, with ‘Why so Serious?’. • They also hint to the target audience about what might happen in the film. • Sometimes the taglines for a film might be mentioned or repeated throughout the film.
  7. 7. Release Information: • Film posters needs to contain the release dates on them, this is so that audiences who see the posters know when the film has come out and when they can go and see it in the cinemas (or buy it on DVD if it is a DVD poster). • There are many different forms of dates that the posters can use, they can be precise and use the exact date, or put the month, season or use a simple ‘coming soon’ or ‘Summer’ if the film is still in production. • The dates of film depends on how well known the film is before it comes out and whether or not the promotion company will benefit from releasing the posters months prior to the film’s release or only a few weeks before. • Sometimes the film poster comes out when the film is still in post-production, (Teaser Film Poster) this means that the poster will not contain any release information, apart from the main character and the title, an example of this is Machete.
  8. 8. Film Titles: • Film posters always contain the films title on it, this is because if not, no one will know what the film is called and would be able to find out more information. • The name of a film text is key for promoting the media on different platforms, as the name will essentially become the recognisable brand of the film and potential film franchise. • Film posters typically place the title in the lower or upper third of the poster, as the text must not clash with the central image or any other information contained on the film poster. • The colour must contrast any background colours and the size must make it easy for a viewer to read from a distance, and thus it is very common for fonts to either be simple San Serif or custom typography to reflect the film style and genre and for the colour to be in bold to make it stand out from the background. • However there are a few expectations of this when it comes to teaser posters or because the film is so well known and it’s the final film in a sequel that it doesn’t need the title. • An example of this type of film poster is for the final Harry Potter film, which didn’t feature the film’s title just the tagline ‘It all ends’ followed by the date. It also contains the two most well known characters, this means that all fans will know the film without the title as it is so popular.
  9. 9. Image: • By far the most important element on any film poster is the central image. • Most film posters contains one main image that is placed there to catch the audiences, passer-bys and target audience attention when they walk past. • It captures the target audience attention through its technical construction; meaning mise-en-scene and cinematography. • The majority of the images used for film posters use direct mode of address, the pictures often contain images of one of the victims of the film looking directly at the audience. It is rare that an image of the antagonist of the film is used for direct mode of address within the poster. • These can be either be a scene still from the film (E.g. Avengers Assemble), an animated photo (E.g. Ghostbusters) or the main characters face (E.g. Les Miserables), however all images must contain some type of iconography to reveal the film’s genre and something about the film. • Images on the film posters portray the narrative of the film, so they have to be clear.
  10. 10. Similar Film Posters: • There are many film posters that are very similar to each other with the way that they are laid out, e.g. the main characters in the image are doing the same pose. This can be seen in all the images that have been created below. • We can see that many film posters use the same iconography, typically the eye image is used with horror/Sci-fi films and the image with the two main characters standing back-to-back are typically used in romantic comedy films. Finally the image with the main character facing tall buildings are used in action/Sci-fi/adventure films.