Codes and conventions of film trailers


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This is my presentation on the Codes and Conventions of film trailers. This research will help me when it comes to making my own film trailer.

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Codes and conventions of film trailers

  1. 1. Codes and Conventions of Film Trailers
  2. 2. There are many codes and conventions of trailers, although all trailers are different, they stick to a general list of rules because they have been tried and tested and equal a successful trailer if followed. However over the years trailers have changed and evolved, as have their films and audiences.
  3. 3. Film production logos Usually within the first part of the trailer, the film production logo will be shown. The production company's reputation can benefit the film trailer, for example if people have seen and enjoyed another FilmFour film, then they may see the logo on a new trailer and decide to watch it because they enjoyed the last film they created. ● It also creates an idea of the type of film the trailer is trying to sell. For example people will see a DreamWorks logo and know that it will have a big budget, and they have a reputation of making family friendly films.
  4. 4. Film Title The film title is in every trailer, so you know which film it is you want to watch and it is generally at the end of the trailer, so that you see if after you are already interested in the film and you are more likely to remember it. The font, colouring and back drop are also usually a good clue as to the genre of the film. For example Kick Ass and We're The Millers look more comedic and light hearted because of their bright colours and friendly font, whereas The Conjuring is evidently a horror, shown by its dark back ground and ominous white font.
  5. 5. BBFC Age Certification Any film released in the UK is awarded an age certification by the British Board of Film Classification, and the age is shown towards the end of a film trailer. This provides a guideline for the target audience age, for example if the film is awarded a U certificate, its a family friendly film, and therefore you will get many children going to watch it. It also means that people younger than the age certificate won't be lead onto think they can go watch the film in the cinema. Film certification is also very important because it can hint at the content of the film. If a film has a 15 certificate, the audience can guess that there may be moderate to higher levels of violence, sexual scenes and bad language, so if the audience member doesn't enjoy that type of film, they won't go to watch it, and vice versa they might enjoy that type of film.
  6. 6. Social Media A new convention of film trailers is to add website URLs, twitter 'hashtags' or accounts to follow, or instructions to 'like' their Facebook page. This encourages the audience to find out more about the film and also if many people are talking about the film on social networking sites word-of-mouth can become an effective advertising campaign. The popularity of Twitter means that millions of people across the world can tweet about a new film coming out, spreading the word and gaining the interest of millions of other people. ● This is a screen shot from The Conjuring trailer beginning showing the Twitter hashtag and a Facebook link, which stays on the screen throughout the trailer.
  7. 7. Character Introductions An important feature of film trailers is character introductions, whether they have big Hollywood actors or not. This is essential because an audience get pleasure from films by connecting and relating to the characters, by their individual similarities, for example if there is a prominent young female character, people from the target audience who are young and or female connect to the character and are more likely to go watch the film. Also if the film has famous actors and or actress', and the audience have enjoyed some of their previous films, or are fans, they might go watch the new film because they know that they enjoy the actor's work. If the actors are famous then they will often be accompanied by a caption with their name, so their reputation benefits the film.
  8. 8. Music and Voice overs Music is a key feature, and can make or break the film trailers. They show the pace of film, genre and often the budget, for example a film may ask an artist to specially make a soundtrack for their film, the bigger the film budget, the bigger the artists on the soundtrack. And people may think that a bigger budget means a better film. Voice overs are important to guide the audience through the film plot and characters. A voice over can either be an external voice which is added on top of the footage, or the voice over can be sections of dialogue from the actual film.
  9. 9. Name Captions In every trailer there will be name captions, these can be actor's names, director's names or producer's names. This is important because an audience can see a director or producer which they are either fans of, or weren't. Directors like Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton have particular filming styles, and having their name on the trailer allows the audience to decide if they like the style of the new film, and whether they will watch it. However often on a trailers, the captions can be deceiving, by saying things like endorsed by QEUNTIN TARANTINO, and people will see his name and flock to the cinema to see the new Tarantino film, when in actual fact, he has just agreed to have his name mentioned in the trailer because he enjoyed the film. This technique is a clever way of attracting a large audience, when it may not star big Hollywood names or have a famous director of their own to brag about.
  10. 10. Time Length Usually a film will have more than one trailer made, with different sections of the film edited together. There is always an official full trailer which lasts sometime between 1.30 -2 minutes, but often you will find, especially in horror, action or thriller films, they have shorter 10 second trailers which help build hype and will just have a short clip which may or may not have the film title shown.
  11. 11. Release date This is essential for attracting a large audience to the opening night of a film release. The release date is shown on trailers a couple of weeks before the film is released, giving time for a wide audience to have seen it, but close enough to the date that people can plan to see it soon, rather than forgetting about it by the time the date comes around. The release date is usually shown at the end of the trailer, like the film title, so that the trailer grabs the audience's attention then gives them the information they need to go see it.