Psychological
Thriller Trailer
Conventions

{
Genre
The main conventions of the genre are revealed within the themes and
narrative of the films. They often feature eith...
Form
In order to promote the film to the target audience, trailers follow a
frequently similar structure that make it conv...
Camerawork
General camerawork conventions are often relevant in psychological
thrillers as well, yet some that are used ef...
Editing
Official products such as the Shutter Island trailer used techniques
such as fast-paced editing and cross-cutting ...
Mise-en-Scene
Official psychological thriller film’s conventionally use mise-en-scene to great
effect through:
• Costume t...
Sound
The soundtrack in psychological thriller trailers will always support the
dark themes and nature of the film. In the...
Poster Layout and Image
The layout is conventional and unconventional in different regards.
The film title is positioned i...
Poster Font and Colour
The colour theme on the poster generally has a
minimalistic approach consisting of white and grey. ...
Magazine Layout and Font
The layout and image on my magazine cover strongly follow the conventions of film magazine
covers...
Magazine Image and Colour
The image on the magazine is a slightly
low angled mid-shot of the antagonist from
the film. The...
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Conventions

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Conventions

  1. 1. Psychological Thriller Trailer Conventions {
  2. 2. Genre The main conventions of the genre are revealed within the themes and narrative of the films. They often feature either a central character who has psychological issues or who is tested psychologically through the film. I studies several well known films for research and found that these are among the recurring themes within the genre: • Death and mourning. • Psychological illness. • Intense action/ violence • Merging of reality and imagination • Social commentary The plot of our film incorporates many of these conventions into it such as the psychological state the protagonist is in and the conspiracy through the government’s use of mind control on the public.
  3. 3. Form In order to promote the film to the target audience, trailers follow a frequently similar structure that make it conventional. I researched a range of trailers for psychological thriller films and applied a similar style in my own production work. In comparison to the Shutter Island trailer it is clear to see how I have incorporated a range of conventions applied to an official trailer. Both trailers begin with establishing shots or events and proceed to use dialogue from the film through voiceover to introduce plot elements to the audience. It is after this introduction that both trailers proceed to highlighting interesting and vital points in the film while escalating the tension which relates back to the genre. After the fast-paced conflict from the film, both trailers then slow down the pace in the final shot in order to reveal one final plot element to the audience and leaving then in suspense before the title is shown. My trailer has also used on-screen text to further reveal the narrative and to encourage an audience reaction to what they are seeing through asking questions.
  4. 4. Camerawork General camerawork conventions are often relevant in psychological thrillers as well, yet some that are used effectively in the Shutter Island trailer along with ones that we additionally used in our trailer include: • Low angle shots to assert dominance of menacing characters. • High angle shots revealing the vulnerable state of the protagonist. • Establishing/ wide shots to reveal the isolation and pressure mounting in on characters. • Close-ups to convey the extreme emotions of the characters (fear, depression, anger etc.) • Point of view shots allowing the audience to relate to a characters experiences.
  5. 5. Editing Official products such as the Shutter Island trailer used techniques such as fast-paced editing and cross-cutting simultaneously to reveal possible premonitions or flashbacks from the protagonist’s mind which heavily relates to the genre. This inspired my own work where I showed several different perspectives of the protagonist walking down the street in quick succession emphasising his psychological state.
  6. 6. Mise-en-Scene Official psychological thriller film’s conventionally use mise-en-scene to great effect through: • Costume to signify contrast in rank and authority. • Props such as weapons to establish the power of a certain character or entity; and in my trailer, the use of the pill pot to represent the driving theme of the film. • Low key lighting to create a sense of dark and suspenseful atmosphere. • Settings that connote a sense of menace or isolation for the protagonist.
  7. 7. Sound The soundtrack in psychological thriller trailers will always support the dark themes and nature of the film. In the Shutter Island trailer, the music picked up in pace, volume and intensity as the tension in the trailer increased. In our trailer, the intensity of the music similarly increased as the trailer progressed as it is one of the most conventional and recognisable signifiers of conflict. Other recognisable sound that are conventional in official products include: • Voiceovers from characters helping reveal key elements of the complex plot. • Recurring diegetic sounds that represent a particular event or motif
  8. 8. Poster Layout and Image The layout is conventional and unconventional in different regards. The film title is positioned in the top right hand corner of the page, connoting it’s importance over the list of credits shown across the bottom . It will be the first text that the audience will read from the product which is a conventional method of making the audience aware of and remember the title of the film. Although the reviews being placed below the title is also a conventional trait, it is unconventional that all the text is positioned on the right hand side of the poster with the left being empty of text, however this is effective and conventional for the genre as it creates a sense of isolation around the protagonist , emphasising the negative psychological state he is in. The image is featured on the left hand side of the poster which, according to the principle of thirds will be the first thing the audience see. This is effective and conventional as the image is what gives the audience a preview of the content of the film and therefore is what sells it most. The main focus of the image is the pill pot with the characters in the background which is unconventional as posters often use characters as the central focus in order to allow the target audience to relate to them. However, the obscure representation in my image would allow the poster to stand out as unusual and therefore be more memorable. The focused foreground with the blurred background further detaches the audience from the protagonist which is conventional of the psychological thriller genre as it reflects the psychological state of the character. The 3D effect this creates shows effective use of technology in creating a professional looking image. It is also a low angle shot looking up on the antagonist while the protagonist is in the floor which not only allows the audience to relate to the threat the main character is in but also connotes the villain’s power and authority which are conventional representations for the genre. The image replicates an exert from the film trailer which is conventional for a poster image as it previews the film to its audience.
  9. 9. Poster Font and Colour The colour theme on the poster generally has a minimalistic approach consisting of white and grey. This is conventional of the psychological thriller genre as it connotes the dark and sinister moods that occur within the films. The general background of the poster is in a grey shade with the points of importance such as the characters, the pill pot and the film title emphasised in white which helps my poster achieve the conventional aim of standing out to the target audience. The bright colour of the pill pot in particular stands out against it’s background which conventionally links it to it’s portrayal in both the magazine cover and the film trailer. The one item on the page that breaks the colour code is the text of the film reviews which are in a vivid red. This makes them stand out as important which is conventional of a poster as the reviews are a key item in promoting the film and assuring its level of quality. Conventionally of film posters, the largest and most significant font in the page is that of the film title which is bold and sans-serif. This connotes the bold and aggressive nature of the film and genre. Another use of font that marks poster conventions is that of the credits at the bottom of the page; this sansserif font connotes class and style and is similar to ones used on real film posters, giving my poster a professional look.
  10. 10. Magazine Layout and Font The layout and image on my magazine cover strongly follow the conventions of film magazine covers. As you can see in the comparison between mine and a professionally published cover, both follow the traditional route of the eye layout with the title across the top of the page (signifying the importance of the brand) with the image (the main selling point) in a central position (to make it stand out to the audience) with coverlines on either side and the cover story in a central location below the image which shows it links to the image and encourages the audience to read further into the topic. The font I used for the masthead is a bold sans-serif one which helps emphasise the brand identity of the magazine. All other fonts on the page are in a similarly styled font that makes the text more acknowledgeable to the audience and creates a sense of importance about the topics they are discussing. The font for the film title has a distorted style to it which is conventional of the psychological thriller genre and represents the mood of the film.
  11. 11. Magazine Image and Colour The image on the magazine is a slightly low angled mid-shot of the antagonist from the film. The low angle represents his authority and enables the audience to see his brutal and ruthless facial expression which conventionally represents him as a villain. The mise-en-scene such as his shirt also helps represent his authority. Another conventional trait is the prop of the pill pot which relates the image to one of the major themes in the film. This is a conventional way that magazine covers promote the film. The colour theme on the cover mainly consists of red and white which, after studying many film magazine covers, I have found out to be conventional and effective mix of colours to represent a recurring identity within the magazine.

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