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Conventions

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Conventions

  1. 1. Conventions of a film trailer • All trailers will begin with a slide typically 5 seconds long which contains the films age ratings by an authorised body. This is an essential convention and film trailers are legally not allowed to be shown without it. • The production company’s name/logo is usually shown immediately after to commence the film however sometimes it’s shown after a couple of cuts which would briefly introduce setting or the genre of the film. Screenshots opposite, are the trailers for American Gangster (AG) and Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (GR) which show the respective logos being displayed after the introduction whereas for Public Enemies (PE) the logo is shown straight away. AG & PE (Universal) and GR (Paramount) were all made by high budget Hollywood studios therefore inclusion of their logo/name is compulsory to illustrate who made the film but to also generate as much awareness as possible to the audience that their film will be high budget (and in some of the audience’s eyes, therefore worthwhile watching). • In the introduction for AG & GR the setting is clearly shown (both have New York based plots) and The Queensboro Bridge and the skyline are both scenes the audience will associate with New York. The setting has to be made explicit! The rest of the introduction, which is also very explicit, highlights the theme of the film: both AG & GR have a scene depicting violence and both have a scene which shows the main character however in GR this is made less obvious with multiple characters being introduced.
  2. 2. • It’s common for trailers to be 1-2 minutes long; any longer would either give the plot away or potentially make the viewer loose interest. PE is an exception clocking in at nearly 3 minutes however all three trailers still follow the convention of fast cuts. In order to create more excitement fast cuts have been used which combined together may show intertwined or the same scene creating a more action packed experience as a result. At the same time the production company are also able to show the main parts of the film to encourage a wider audience however they never reveal the ending. • There is no convention regarding the sequence and assortment of scenes shown in the trailer having said this it’s unlikely that a trailer will ever be created chronologically as this would reveal too much of the film. Some trailers may begin with the ending or finish with the start etc. to again eradicate any prediction of the outcome of the plot. • Another key convention of film trailers is the title of the film along with the release date being shown at the very end. This is vital information which holds arguably the most importance throughout the trailer. Unlike other onscreen text, the title will not be displayed simultaneously with the trailer scenes rather on its own, usually with a black background. The title will have its own unique style and font and will be the consistent title used throughout the campaign for all medias. The release date of the film may appear under the title in a smaller font or may following the title with the next cut. The presentation of the release date varies. It may be on a plain background or a unique background/scene created specifically for the trailer. The release date depending on the stage of the trailers release will either specify a date, month or say ‘coming soon’. • During the course of the trailer the directors/makers name will be shown clearly usually in the form of: ‘from the maker of...’ which highlights their past successes to the audience hopefully increasing their encouragement to watch the film. Like actors, the audience will also have their preferred or favourite directors; it’s essential to make sure they know who the film is made by.
  3. 3. • All trailers will include the actor names clearly to again encourage those who will only watch the film due to actor preference rather than the plot. With this in mind the convention of actor names means that the producers will either display their names early on in the beginning of the trailer or right at the end to resonate and leave a lasting impression on the audience. • On screen text may also expand past actor/director names and serve as additions to important details within the plot of the film. In biographical films it’s likely that ‘based on a true story’ will appear briefly through the trailer. The text usually relates to a character or background information regarding them but is also aesthetically pleasing and helps link separate cuts of scenes together. With this in mind, to increase effectiveness there will be limited text. • There is always talking throughout the trailer whether its a voiceover or character dialogue. The voiceover will be very clear and slow so that it’s easy to digest for everybody. The dialogue from characters is taken from lines in the actual film. Character dialogue will only appear from the most important characters and the content of their dialogue will be precise in setting the background and future for the character and plot. • One of the most obvious conventions in a film trailer is music. The music can be a song specifically recorded, an instrumental which is unique to the film or a song selected from a soundtrack. The type of music will suggest the genre, style and plot of the film. It’s usually a brief part of the song which commences in the second half of the trailer however there may be snippets of other songs earlier on in the trailer. The music is either accompanied by text or character dialogue which brings all the elements of the trailer together to culminate in the finale of the trailer which is commonly the main character engaging in an action scene or clever dialogue. Despite all three films being of the gangster genre AG, PE and GR all have very different music. AG has a song sampled from the funk era (AG set in the 70s), PE has a fast paced swing song (PE set in the 30s) and GR has 50 Cent’s own hit song which reflects the ‘new’ gangster of the modern era in comparison to the more classic portrayal in the others.
  4. 4. Conventions of the ‘gangster’ genre (Common themes) • All three trailers have multiple scenes depicting violence and associations of the gangster lifestyle such as drugs, money and women. • The clothes worn all pertain to the gangster genre however due to the era in which the films are set the clothes vary. In PE the actors are all in waistcoats and hats whereas in AG the characters are wearing suits and in GR baggy clothes and hooded jumpers. • The opening scenes indicate the genre: AG/GR are both set in New York whereas PE is set in Chicago. Both are huge cities with reputations for crime making them ideal for the genre
  5. 5. American Gangster
  6. 6. Public Enemies
  7. 7. Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

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