INVESTIGATING THE GENRE CONVENTIONS OF INSPIRING FILM TRAILERS
THE CONVENTIONS OF A FILM TRAILER A film trailer will attract an audience into watching the whole film. It sets the genre of the film and creates a feeling for the setting, by using genre conventions, which suggests the storyline. It introduces some of the main characters and draws interest to the audience with attention grabbing footage. The trailer usually builds slowly from the beginning to an exiting end. It also includes textual elements such as the film title, credits, actor names and opening dates to convey key information about the film.
THE CODING OF A FILM TRAILER Media coding is a communication system used in different forms of media that encompasses meaning. There are 3 codes of media, that convey meaningful messages within it: Technical codes camera techniques, framing, depth of field, juxtaposing light and exposure Symbolic codes Objects, setting, body language, clothing, colour Written codes Headlines, Captions, speech bubbles, language
WHAT IS A GENRE CONVENTION? The genre of my film is a action/mystery thriller, therefore I have chosen to investigate 3 favourite films that are of the same genre. I will analyse the way they code the genre convention into their trailer and it can help inspire me with ideas on how I can attract the audience, with the teaser trailer “countdown.” A genre convention is a typical or standard trope of plot, character, setting, icon, theme, or effect in a genre story. For instance, in a Western film it is conventional to have the heroes wear white hats and the villains wear black hats (icon convention) Or in the superhero genre, it is a convention to have the characters wear costumes (icon convention). WHAT IS THE GENRE OF MY FILM?
Director - Christopher Nolan
Writer - Christopher Nolan
Stars - Leonardo dicaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt
Release date – 16 July 2010
Genre – Action/Mystery/Sci-fi thriller
Tagline - Your mind is the scene of the crime
PLOT- Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.
For legal reasons, the trailer starts with a film rating, stating the audience it is appropriate for. In this case, Inception has been approved for appropriate audiences.
The opening shot begins with the production and company logos on a black screen associated with background music.
The shot cuts into the opening shot of the trailer. The music persists with a slow tempo beat and occasional thud sounds to convey a calm feeling, alongside a serious tone of thud noises to infer mystery and action is about to escalade.
An extreme close up shot of a male protagonist on the floor in the rain, depicts an image of weakness which is typical of an action thriller. It gives a theme of hopelessness as the male protagonist is usually being plotted against/in danger.
A voice over, of the leading character is used as he looks directly at the camera. His tone of voice is serious and concise as he narrates in first person. It directly emphasises his perspective with the viewer.
Fade in and out shots are numerously used to keep the slow tempo of the music in line with durated film shots. The film shots are situated at daylight, and vary from different location settings such as the streets, public restaurants and inside buildings. Dialogue scenes from the film is also combined in the trailer, to preview scenes from the film.
These scenes differ from characters and location, the type of film shots such as panning shots of cars, over the shoulder shots of characters and extreme close up shots of objects and people.
During the fade out shots of film scenes, the thud sound from the background music is combined with a zoom out heading , of key information such as starring characters eg Leonardo Dicaprio. This grabs the viewers attention with key information and impactful music.
During the trailer a light is shone into the main characters face, the shot then cuts into an establishing overview shot of mountains and the music escalades into a louder volume, faster tempo and beated music. This signifies the climax of the trailer as the plotline prevails and insinuates a theme of terror.
There is also a thematic dress code of the males in the trailer, they appear to be wearing black suits which can convey a working class that are part of a business or possibly a gang. It secludes further mystery and objects such as a guns are shown in full view shots in the trailer which insinuates plotted murders and a chase evoking.
Paranormal shots such as objects twisting and turning adds to the theme of mystery, as the dramatic music and film scenes are combined to infer action. Drowning horn sounds associates with the film titles at the end of the trailer, including the release date and film title. The trailer immediately cuts off after the horn sound, which leaves an impactful end after the burst of drama and action from the climax of the trailer.
SCREEN GRABS Film ratings Technical coding – Medium shot, Daylight scenes, in public locations Symbolic coding – flying objects, men in black suits Fading shots of film titles (written coding) with dramatic music
INSPIRATIONS AND GENRE CONVENTIONS I PLAN TO USE
Inception is an action/mystery thriller. The slow tempo beated music with thud sounds helps to increase tension and suspense as it combines with scenes from the film. Every time there is a thud sound, there is a film caption or an action scene escalading in the trailer. During the trailer the music heightens and more action scenes are revealed to elicit the climax point. I find this an effective combination and would also like to use an impacting soundtrack in my trailer, so it grabs the viewers attention and encloses you into the trailer.
The bold silver coloured titles used, interprets solidity and vibrance which evokes action and adventure in the trailer.
There is a first person narration as the voice over. He describes the plot line using a slow, concise, serious tone of voice, from the male protagonists perspective. This is effective as it brings the viewer into close attention, on his dilemma. I plan to use a voice over, but in third person narration as the villain in my film will be the omniscient narrator. It produces an effect of storytelling and is useful in trailers because you have a limited amount of time to explain the brief plot line.
Fade in and out shots are numerously used to keep the slow tempo of the music in line with durated film shots. It produces a flash effect where film scenes are selectively being shown and summarises clips from the film. This is an effective way of selling the film as effective shots can be shown to attract the viewer. I plan to use this effect in my trailer as I believe it will attract the viewer by showing them a variety of clips.
The symbolic coding of black suits and guns infers suspense, terror and action involved in the film, this links to the action genre and presumes there are villains in the film. My trailer involves focus on the male protagonist only, but using black clothing will elude secrecy and mystery because of its darkness and help insinuate that it a a genre convention of a action thriller.
Director – Joel Schumacher
Writer – Larry Cohen
Stars – Collin Farrell, Keith Sunderland and forest Whitaker
Release date – 18 April 2003
Genre – Mystery thriller
Tagline – Your life is on the line
Plot: Plot - Stu is an agent for people wanting to get famous in New York city . You see him and think he's all high and mighty, like he is the greatest person on earth, but truth be told, his life isn't so glamorous. He enters a phone booth to call one of his clients - who he is using to cheat on his wife with - and they flirt a bit. Then, as Stu gets out of the phone booth, it rings. Stu of course answers it and is stuck in the game of an insane sniper. A ringing phone has to be answered, doesn't it?
For legal reasons, the trailer starts with a film rating, stating the audience it is appropriate for. In this case, Phone booth has been approved for everyone but advises viewing for under 17 year olds with parental supervision.
The trailer begins with an overview shot of New York city at daytime with background sounds of the city streets. It is also combined with contemporary bass and drum beats as the background music. This shot establishes the location of the film using camera shots and sound effects.
A deep, concise voiced narrator reads aloud the captions inserted into the trailer. The titles are mediated as moving titles that are vibrating with radio signals around it so it links to vibrating phone signals. The titles then cut into medium shots of the leading character talking on his phone as he walking forward in the streets. His dialogue is included in the trailer. The shot converts into a split screen technique where he is talking to another character in the film. The concept of the phone has been used symbolically and links to the movie title.
The leading character is dressed in a formal black suit, this infers he is of working class and infers mystery because men in suits are usually targeted or are part of a group in action thriller films.
There is an extreme close up shot of the phone booth where the background is blurred and the phone is ringing. This immediately adds focus on the film and proceeds to the plot line.
As he enters the phone booth the bass and drum beats silence and he is faced with the villains voice on the phone. It is the same voice of the omniscient narrator. This conveys the villains perspective controls the film and adds more suspense and terror to the man in the phone booth.
An extreme close up shot of Stuarts face on the phone full of fear, expresses his mood. This emphasizes his reaction to the voice over.
A effect of a bullet target being targeted in a point of view shot at the phone booth, depicts he is in danger and can not escape.
A gun shot is heard and the screen shot blackens, to elude mystery and shock.
The background music heightens with its bass and drum beats to convey the climax of the plot line has escaladed.
Immediate cut shots of people in the streets looking terrorised, police and guns eludes the effect of this evil villain in control.
As the film shots become fast with cut edits, a combination of the voice over and screaming people elicits terror. The trailer then ends with a caption of the film title and has an evil laugh of the villainous narrator to build fear and mystery to this action thriller.
SCREEN GRABS Film ratings Moving captions with radio signals around it Split screen technique Establishing shot Symbolic coding – Gun target Set in daylight, dress code – Formal suits
INSPIRATIONS AND GENRE CONVENTIONS I PLAN TO USE
The Phone Booth has been inspirational because my trailer is also based on a male protagonist who will receive an anonymous phone call that will endanger him. The trailer has significantly emphasised on the symbolism of a mobile phone using extreme close up shots of the phone booth, handheld phones and split screen techniques to depict phone conversations. In my trailer I aim to symbolically code the importance of the phone to insinuate the impact it will have on the leading character using similar types of shots.
The trailer begins with an overview establishing shot of New York, which is effective in establishing where the rest of the action will take place. I aim to begin my thriller with busy shots of Liverpool street to create the same effect as action will take place there.
” Stuart” from the phone booth, is dressed in a formal suit, and is situated in New York city during daytime. The busy working location links to the location of my trailer, “Liverpool street.” His clothes insinuates he is of working class and an average member of the population.
An omniscient narration in a deep concise voice story tells the captions f the trailer. As Stuart enters the phone booth, the caller appears to be the same voice. This conveys the trailer is being told by the villains perspective. In “countdown,” the character will also receive a phone call and a voice over of the villain. By using the villain as the narrator adds more suspense to the thriller as he is in control of the action and mystery.
An extreme close up of Stuarts face shows fear, where the film shot is durated to emphasize this. From this point, the music heightens and the climax of the police, gun shot sounds and screaming voices are inserted. I like the intense and sudden rush of danger which is implemented after his sudden fear and has given me ideas on making my trailer build from a slow beginning to an exiting end for a thrilling feeling.
There is also gun target shot on Stuart from the phone booth which I find has an effective symbolism of violence and danger for the character. In the trailer I will use “red tinted shot” of the character to imply he is being targeted by the villain.
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN
Director – F. Gray Gray
Writer – Kurt Wimmer
Stars – Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx and Leslie Bibb
Release date – 27 November 2009
Genre – Action/Crime/Drama thriller
Tagline - Your mind is the scene of the crime
Plot: Plot: The plot focuses on a man who, ten years after his wife and daughter are brutally murdered, returns to extract justice from the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case against their killers. His vengeance threatens not only the man who allowed mercy to supersede justice, but also the system and the city that made it so.
For legal reasons, the trailer starts with a film rating, stating the audience it is appropriate for. In this case, Law abiding citizens has been approved for appropriate audiences.
The trailer begins with a panning shot of a mysterious man in black clothing on top of a roof in a busy city location. The non-diagetic sound of mellow piano music and diagetic sound of other characters are combined into the shot.
Fade in shots are used to go into the next scene. This lengthens the shots and consists with the slow mellow music and creates an intense feeling of suspicion. It foreshadows the build up of intense action that will evoke in the trailer.
A soaring sound effect is used as the man is hit with a bat in his home by a supposedly villain dressed in black clothing. The music changes with more beats to change the pace of the shots. This shot then cuts into movie scenes from the film, with establishing shots of the city in-between, as the film is based on law, court cases and working locations.
The music begins to escalade after a few film scenes, with thudding sounds in-between and electric guitar sounds for a rugged, rock music effect to infer the film has become rough.
The scenes eventually change from simple dialogue scenes to shots of the Police, helicopters, guns, fire explosions and running shots of the police. It appears that the police are seized under threat and the symbolism of these objects and characters depict danger, terror and suspense as the leading character appears to be the villain who is manipulating them.
There are no voice over's but only the diagetic sounds of characters speaking from the film. This allows focus for the viewer to imply what the film is about by listening to the characters and their body language from the film scenes. It creates a feeling you are already watching the film.
The intense music and action shots then fade out into captions of the company credits and film title.
SCREEN GRABS Establishing scenes at daytime and at night of the city Explosions implies danger Dark black clothing
INSPIRATIONS AND GENRE CONVENTIONS I PLAN TO USE
Even if the leading character in the film is a villain or not a villain, I have learnt organisations such as the police are still dressed in black. It is a formal colour and adds a detective style to the film because it eludes mystery and suspense. This assures me that the protagonist in my trailer would be most appropriate with black clothing as it suits the genre convention of an action/mystery thriller.
I have also found the common build up of slow tempo music fading into a rough, rock effect soundtrack. It combines with the film scenes as it fades into action scenes of Police and guns to convey a climax in the trailer. This creates a thrilling feeling and I find this combination effective in establishing the genre conventions of this type of film. My group will also aim to use this technique.
The film uses frequent shots of the city locations, which is essential in my trailer as it is also set in a working location and reminds you where the action shall take place. The scenes are situated at daytime and also night. This may be because the film is involved with crime scenes and uses the night for dark events to take place. My trailer doesn’t consist of any crime scenes however it is more mysterious to film the trailer at night to seclude the darkness, and evil actions that will take place for it to depict an action and mystery thriller at the same time.