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Lucy-Beth Pearl 1573- Codes&Conventions


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Lucy-Beth Pearl 1573- Codes&Conventions

  1. 1. Codes & Conventions Of Film Trailers Lucy-Beth Pearl 1573
  2. 2. Codes & Conventions of all Film Trailers Film trailers are the main way in which film producers can advertise their new film to a mass audience. A film trailer is a video usually between the duration of 1-5 minutes which takes the most eye-catching, dramatic and comedic scenes from the film compiled together to help give a brief, yet informative introduction to what the film will be about. From the trailer we will be able to tell the genre of the film, the audience to whom is being targeted, and most importantly the main narrative so as the audience can grasp what the film is about, however this will most likely be revealed in full in the full-long film. In the opening of the trailer it is conventional that we see a green screen with information listing that the following preview is approved for all audiences. This is referencing the viewing laws surrounding films viewing. When we buy films on DVD they inform us before we watch the film that it is for the buyer’s entertainment only. Therefore the certification that all can view the upcoming scenes, allows audiences who may come across the trailer on the internet that it is legal for them to watch the advertisement and also informs them that the trailer has been put together by the film association who produced the film and is not an unofficial film trailer like many we can find on video blogs and YouTube. An example for a film association who demonstrates this convention is the Motion Picture Association of America. It is also often that we see the production company logo appearing at the begging of a film trailer, a small moving animation is often used as advancement from the basic logo. Company’s such as 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Pixar are just some of the film production companies who show this.
  3. 3. It is successful in allowing the audience to associate the trailer with another film that they may be accustom to which has been produced by the same company, allowing audiences to feel that they should like this certain film because it has been produced by the same association. The film logo gives away more than just the film association; it is also representative of the films budget, as larger film companies belonging to America we understand to have multi million pound budgets for high profile films; however a British film company is likely to have a lower budget, therefore reach a smaller audience. It Is also common that along with the logo and green screen a certificate is displayed which states the age of the appropriate audience, deemed by the Board of Film Classification. This ranges from U (universal) to the certificate age rating of 18. This allows parents, teachers etc. to be warned of any text in the film which is said to be inappropriate for a certain age group. A certificate is given on the grounds of the presence of sexual references, drug use, violence and explicit language etc. The main aim of the trailer is to interest viewers into the film so as they go and watch the film. Therefore techniques are used within trailers to grab the viewers’ attention. A clear narrative is shown by a beginning, turning point and outcome structure. Usually in the first few seconds we as an audience understand the location, the genre and the main characters featured in the film. Then, a turning point is shown, by the pace of the editing, and often we hear a change in the soundtrack. This is where excitement is often given, and at this point audiences are drawn into the narrative. Nearing the end of the trailer we begin to see the narrative settle, however never is the plot given away. It is left to the film to deliver the outcome. Either at the beginning of the trailer or the end, to persuade us that the film is worthwhile, often we are shown on screen a quote of what a famous magazine or newspaper columnist has said about the film. Only positive feedback is shown which helps in the persuasion of a fulfilling film. As well as this the five star universal rating system is used to show us again what the film is rated by film analysts, conventionally nothing less than a 4 star is shown. Well known film stars are also listed on screen as loyal audiences may feel may be attracted to film because of the cast starred in the film.
  4. 4. Codes & Conventions of Teen Trailers Much like the conventions listed in the previous slide, teen trailers use very similar techniques to create an informative, persuasive and engaging trailer. The main differences are that obviously, the trailer is being put together for a younger audience, therefore the content will have been made appropriate for the under 18 category ,i.e. Appropriate language, minimal references to sexual content and no scenes including visual violence, however the trailer has to be engaging enough to capture the older teens who are beginning to explore these texts. To be able to connect with the younger audiences, the characters in the trailer have to be relatable to the target audience. Therefore narratives referring to school, the cliques which are formed, young relationships and bullying etc. are some of the likely scenarios which may be touched on during the trailer. The use of teenage cast members is one of the main conventions of teen trailers, to be able to relate with a character in a trailer, it is important that they go through similar situations. This makes stereotypes very important when the characters in the trailer are give a personality. For example in the film ‘Mean Girls’ (2004) everyone who goes through secondary school life would be able to identify characters who fitted each of the characters in the films stereotypes; the handsome boy who plays sport, the popular girls who everyone wants to be and the groups who try to be cool and fit in. An adult cast put in this situation would not be able to make a connection with the teen audience. The younger audience who are experiencing these situations when they watch the film are more likely to find the trailer engaging and something which may help them in their lives. If we use the ‘Mean Girls’ trailer example again, we can see that narration plays a key part in helping us to understand the characters and inform us on the narrative. The main character, ‘kady’ begins to narrate to us her first day of her new high school. The fact that this is narrated, helps us to make a connection with the character more than if we were just shown a selections of scenes.
  5. 5. The soundtrack also is very important in teen trailers. It is typical that in these trailers we hear modern music which teenagers at the time of the release of the trailer would have already heard, therefore would be able to identify with the film when they heard the song being played. In the film trailer ‘Kidulthood’ (2006) we hear a grime/rap soundtrack which is highly identifiable with young urban teenagers. We can see a contrast to film trailers which have a target audience of adults, the soundtrack used is often very different, classical music and early pop music is often featured as the soundtrack as this type of music is would be presumed to be more favourable and enjoyable for the older audience. Much like all other film trailers, the conventional narrative will show a clear, beginning turning point and end outcome, in teen trailers it is uncommon that the trailer will end on a cliff hanger, however will draw in attention by the audience being able to relate with the trailer, therefore want to watch the film on its release.
  6. 6. Codes & Conventions of Genre Specific Trailers (Teen Drama) The Mise en scene used in teen drama trailers is successful in depicting a realistic environment with realistic characters. Drama trailers mostly focus on exaggerated and stereotyped characters to help the drama become entertaining and attract audiences. If the drama shown in the trailer was what the average person was going through then it would be boring to watch. Drama films and trailers have to be relatable, yet dramatic and exciting enough to want to watch the film. Teen dramas often focus on school life, friendship groups and relationships, however the narrative often brings something new to the table which we as an audience would not have expected. This leads to suspense being made and often the most dramatic and revealing sections of the film are used within the trailer to make the trailer exciting and help to move the narrative on. Along with this, the soundtrack within a teen drama trailer is very important. If at any point a trailer includes an emotional scene where the produces want the audience to sympathise, and empathise, slow, sometimes classical music is used to create tension and to highlight the mood and atmosphere. The editing of the scenes as they transition is also very important within a teen drama trailer. It is conventional that if a sad or emotional scene is transitioning, then fading to black and fading scenes in and out is a common way of slowing the tempo of the soundtrack down, and also showing an anti climax within the narrative. Contrasting this if key action is taking place within select scenes, then lots of cuts and a fast tempo soundtrack would be used. Drama trailers in general aim to represent and symbolise certain people and things in society, therefore again, stereotypical characters, and realistic locations must be used to show a realistic perspective of the trailer and the film. In teen dramas it would be most likely that the producers cast a young looking set of cast members who would be suitable to represent the teenage audience. Again, including all genres of trailers it is conventional that we see at the end of the trailer positive review quotes from critics and a 4 or 5 star animation advertising to the audience that the film is successful and worth while.
  7. 7. Codes & Conventions of Film Poster (Ancillary Task) After having conducted my similar text analyses I can now identify the codes and conventions which are present in film posters. The most conventional feature is a large title which is often situated on the bottom half of the poster to allow the for a tagline or critics review to stand out at the top of the page without covering up too much of the main image. The title on a film poster is conventionally always in a large bold typeface which allows it to stand out against the image and be big enough to spot when the poster is on bulletin boards around towns. Often, like we can see in this film poster, the title helps to create the posters colour scheme – other text on the page remains the same colour. Another conventional feature are the credits on the bottom half of the poster. The credits include the directors name, the cast, the producers etc. They are in a very small type face so as to leave room on the page for the more interesting text, and images. At the bottom of the credits are company logos. On many film posters a critics review with a star rating appears on the poster. Either at the top of the page or at the bottom as this will mean that the title will be more prominent. The ratings used to appear on the poster will always be positive so as to persuade and attract people to watch the film if others have liked it. On a film poster there is always an image which will resemble the film being advertised. Often if there is conflict or friction between characters the protagonist/s and antagonist/s may be shown. This is effective because it captures the characters role in the film in one picture and may have audiences questioning the picture. If this is not present then a main character, symbolic location or feature will appear on the poster to gain audiences interest. The use of body language and facial expressions are important in defining the character. Another convention used to gain audiences attention is the use of taglines which often gives an insight into the film. These often appear just above of below the title or at the top of the page. Often the tagline may be an open question which may spark the audiences interest and curiosity. For the poster to engage with as many viewers as possible the lead actors/actresses are frequently used to increase the popularity of the film. Having the well known actors/actresses named on the poster may create conversation starters about the film, consequently the film gaining more views. It is also conventional that the colour scheme on a film poster will mirror the genre of the film. We can see in this poster that the poster is in grey scale, which depicts the crime thriller and mystery present in the film. Therefore the darkness may be representative of mystery etc. The release date is also present on most film posters. It is mostly situated below the credits or directly on top.
  8. 8. Codes & Conventions of Film Magazines (Ancillary Task) I can identify after looking at film magazines that a masthead is, without fail always included on the top half of the page. It is conventionally in a large bold type face and creates the house style of the magazine, it also acts as a form of continuity throughout each issue of magazine. As we can see on the magazine on this slide, the masthead has been layered over the main image, which is common in many other film magazines, as it allows the masthead to stand out most over everything else. Like in this film magazine, the masthead as been used to create the colour scheme on the cover which aims to make the page as most aesthetically pleasing as possible. A strap line is another convention which is mostly always used on magazine covers. On the magazine on this page it appears above the masthead. Straplines act to engage the audience and entice readers to want to read the magazine. It is one of the main devices in which editors will use to catch the readers attention. The most prominent convention on all film magazines is the main image. Sometimes more than one main image is featured on the cover, however it is most common that we have one main image which is used to attract the audience and displayed in full size over the entire page. This is because most people will be attracted to the image before they read the headlines, so the image must be eye catching. It is without doubt that the image on the cover will relate to an article being featured within the magazine. As we can see on this cover, puffs are also a convention within many film magazines. A small animation or sticker like feature is layered over all other text and image to urge the customer to buy the magazine. The example on this cover are the buzz words ‘World Exclusive’. A title will again always be a constant convention seen on magazines. For film magazines this will most generally be the name of the film which is being Featured. It informs the audience on what much of the content in the magazine will be featured on. The title would conventionally compliment the main image. Conventionally all magazines will include the issue number or date in a small type face on the bottom of the cover near the barcode, of at the top of the page near the masthead. Along with this we will see the price and barcode which are often situated on the right or left hand corner of the page. A website address for readers to refer to may also be featured on the top or bottom of the page in a small type face to allow the most important information to stand out.