As a group we have produced a film promotion package containing a film poster, film magazine cover and a film trailer. Each of these promotional tools serves its own function for advertising our film. When we first got together in groups we quickly decided what genre we wanted to film our trailer in. This was post-apocalyptic. We decided on this idea because we were all fond of other post-apocalyptic films and the culture that surrounded the genre. We also decided to pursue this genre because it has a very niche target audience and as a group we are all very different, all bringing a different skill to the table. With all of us being young we really wanted to put together a film promotion package that is aimed towards a young audience. Our ideal target audience is between 15-24, both male and female genders. Taking this into consideration we also had to research film classification. After reviewing the BBFC website we believe our film would fall under the “15” rating. This is because we to achieve the target audience we are after we would need to include some violence and perhaps strong language because our actors are teenagers. However we believe that our film isnt your typical “15” because we want our film to be based around the characters and their journey rather than being blood and gore from beginning to finish. After we decided what we wanted to do we had to figure out how we were going to do it.
In order for us to create a post-apocalyptic trailer we needed to research post- apocalyptic as a genre. We used websites such as www.wikipedia.com and www.post-apocalypse.com. After viewing these websites we soon learnt that Post-apocalypse is a sub genre of science fiction and sometimes other genres such as horror and thriller. Post-apocalypse put simply means the world after (post) disaster (apocalypse) so the genre as a whole focuses on very dark and sometimes depressing subjects such as isolation, starvation and death. However the genre is not to be confused with horror, although similar conventions are presented in both genres post apocalypse is more about the characters that have survived and their journey as they continue to battle against the elements. Popular disasters used in PA films include zombie invasion, alien invasion,and the up rise of technology. Disasters like World war 3 and virus breakouts tend to fall into the genre modern post-apocalyptic films. One of our initial ideas was to make a zombie invasion film but after reading http://www.post- apocalypse.co.uk/marshall.html we decided to change our idea, one because it would have been more hard to film (extra actors, make-up etc.) and we wanted to try and be original as we can. After some deep thought we decided to base our film on an outbreak of a virus in a college environment, this way we can include same or similar aged actors and appeal to a younger audience. Although our film is based around the idea of a virus outbreak we didnt want to showcase this too much in our trailer, we however wanted to try and build character depth. We achieved this by shooting many scenes with all our actors together to try and build the idea that they were close friends and that they were on a journey together.
Another convention we had to review was the characters within PA films. For example many PA films have a western type of character, a lone ranger as it were walking off into the sunset. This idea is presented really well in the film The Book of Eli where one of the main locations they use is a run down town with a saloon. Other films try to highlight a partnership between characters, a connection that bonds them together on their journey. For example in I am Legend the two main characters we are introduced to is a man and his dog. Because the dog is presented throughout the journey to the audience they begin to make emotional connections to that character and in the scene where the dog dies the audience is forced to feel sympathy for the man and sadness for the dog. Often in PA films characters begin to lose their identity, for example in Logans run each character is refereed to as a number and they wear uniforms to determine their power and status within a group.
Voice-overs are typically used in films to explain narrative and sometimes genre. We thought it was imperative to add a voice-over to our film. Not only would this allow us to explain the narrative better but it could also give us more character depth. Our voice-over is our main character speaking over the trailer, almost as if he was keeping a diary on his journey. The way in which Jack recorded the voice- over in the editing suite gives the audience the idea that the characters are in a bad way. The script we recorded was very brief. We recorded Jack performing the script as an audio file and then after we uploaded this to Adobe Première we cut the script into short snippets which we then placed into our piece according to footage and soundtrack. The tone of his voice is very sad reflecting the narrative as the trailer builds. We also used other audio in our piece that we obtained from www.incomputech.com and one piece of audio that we captured in the home room and edited. We had the idea of people talking in the background in our piece to try and create the effect of before and after. We set up the camera in the home room and filmed fellow students speaking for five minutes or so then captured the footage in the editing suite. After deleting the visual we slowed down the speed of the audio in the speed/duration tool to 80% rather than 100%. After this we reversed the audio (reversed speed) to create an eerie sound that builds up and then dies out to reflect the visuals on the screen.
When filming our piece the initial footage we tried to use as many camera shots that are typically used in PA films as we physically could. One idea we had was to mimic the famous shot of The statue of Liberty in The planet of the apes by shooting our characters on Brighton beach on a quiet day. This shot is known as an establishing shot, by showing an iconic setting the audience begin to understand where the film is set and in which period it is set. One of the shots we had that didnt make the cut to our final trailer was our characters walking along the beach and in the background the west pier could be seen. The west pier was perfect for the effect we were trying to achieve, being an already burnt down pier and looking very grungy to begin with. Unfortunately the shot was badly filmed by myself and on review in the editing suite we decided to scrap it. Another idea we had was to use ECU (extreme close up) shots in our piece. Many PA films feature ECUs because their focus is on the character and by using this shot the emotions of the character can be portrayed much better than shooting them from a wide shot. We used our ECUs in a montage towards the end of our trailer to imprint the idea of character development into the audiences mind. Just as the tension is building with the soundtrack the audience are shown quick ECUs of our characters looking very sad/depressed. This suggests to the audience that our film really is a PA film because when the action is building they are reminded that the film is actually all about the characters, their emotions and their journey. One idea we also had was to use handheld cameras from the characters POV (point of view). We experimented with this idea, at one point letting jack film himself as if he were doing a diary. We also used this technique in a running scene with our characters. The idea behind this was so that the audience almost feel like they are running with our characters really putting the audience into the film. The inspiration for this idea is mainly taken from horror films such as The Blair witch project and Cloverfield.
In our pre-production planning we began looking at other trailers to PA films to see how they were filmed and how the trailer allows the audience to identify the genre by just watching two minutes of footage. Some of our biggest inspirations that were spurred from watching their trailers include I am legend, The road, and personally Attack the block. A lot of post-apocalyptic films are produced in Hollywood with very big budgets. A big budget allows filming to take place in an empty New York City (I am Legend) and creates stunning visuals but as mentioned above we dont quite have the funds to rent out Brighton for the day which is a shame but life goes on (post-apocalyptic joke). However after seeing the trailers to I am Legend and The road we quickly realised that we wouldnt be able to shoot the same scenes that they have used. This allowed us to re-evaluate what we were going to film quickly and help us realise that to create the genre we were after we would have to be clever about it. This meant early mornings and desolate locations. We decided on a few locations and times that we knew would work around the problem of having too many people about whilst filming. Some of these locations includes Shoreham harbour and local parks in Brighton. By focusing on a trailer like Attack the block, an independent film produced in Britain with a very low budget compared to its Hollywood rivals we were able to extract ideas about locations that we could film in and the way in which we could film our scenes to create an ideas of desolation and destruction. Attack the block was also a big inspiration to us because its main characters in the film are young adults or teenagers. When deciding on actors to feature in our trailer we decided to use actors of a same or similar age to us.
Our promotional package had to reflect conventions that would attract our target audience. As mentioned above our target audience is both genders but mostly male between the age of 15-24. After looking at readership figures we soon discovered that Post-Apocalyptic films are viewed more by a male audience rather than a female. To achieve our goal we had to take certain things into consideration throughout the production and distribution of our film promotional package. We all thought it would be a good idea to include young actors in our trailer because it was easier to organise within a short time period but more importantly by using a young cast our target audience could relate to the characters on the screen. One initial idea we had to build on this idea was the use of our characters costume. Some ideas thrown up was to dress our characters in „trackies‟ and „hoodies‟ but we decided against this after looking into other PA films and noticing how they dressed their characters. We decided to stick to the script with costumes, dressing our characters in survival coats and bags to convey the idea they are carrying all their possessions with them on their journey. Although we decided against the costume idea to portray youth we decided to play about with the characters personas instead. Rather like „The Breakfast Club‟ we decided that our characters could be a mix of personalities and styles. For example Steph represents the „Goth‟ of the group, Seb the „Army cadette‟ and Jack the „group leader‟. In certain scenes we see Jack take the lead and the others tend to follow after him. Although this idea is very subtly suggested in our trailer it allows the narrative to grow even further. Our target audience is also a very niche audience so by using certain stereotypes such as „the Goth‟ it encourages similar people of that culture or lifestyle to see the film, therefore broadening our target audience.
To accompany our trailer we also constructed a film poster and researched magazines to see which one would best to advertise our film on their front cover. We all constructed our own film posters after researching other PA film posters. We all noticed that a majority of PA film posters focused on the idea of characters as their USP (unique selling point). For example in The Book Of Eli the audience is presented with Mila Kunis, an actress in the film, on a white background with the title of the film. This is a clever technique used by the production company, almost name-dropping the actors they have into conversation to persuade audiences to go and see the film due to that actor/actresss performance in previous films. Other PA posters include setting or scenery to convey genre, for example in Attack the blocks poster they use a council estate building in the background, letting the audience know that the film is set in a council estate. The poster also uses costume to convey character depth, for example rather than dressing their characters in survival wear, typical of PA films (bag, coat etc.) they have dressed them in very youth related clothing suggesting to the audience that the film is based around young people. For our film poster we decided to use a different image to our magazine cover so that we would seem more diverse. In our poster we used our characters but tried to convey setting to add to the narrative like Attack the block by using an image of our characters walking towards an abandoned, grungy looking building.
My job was to research Little white lies magazine and after some pulling on the other twos leg I managed to convince Jack and Emma that LWL was the best magazine for us to promote our film with. We discussed many points before deciding however with Emma mentioning that most PA films have big budgets therefore are advertised on big brand magazines (Total Film, Empire etc.). After some in depth conversation I told the group about how LWL was a much more independent magazine and is targeted towards to a similar age group as our film is than its big branded rivals. Also we researched other PA films that have been featured on the cover of LWL and we soon found that The road and more importantly Attack the block had made LWLs cover. Looking at the covers of LWL the reader can identify that the magazine is very artistic and very in the know, taking an image of the film it features and adapting it into an art form. This interested me because post- apocalypse as a genre has inspired great works of art and visions. I decided to use a mid shot of jack as our brand image because its a common technique used in PA film posters but also the copies of LWL featuring The road and Attack the block have used the same idea, taking an image of the main character and transforming it.
When asked how we would promote our product we all sat down as a group and discussed different ways in which our trailer could be advertised. As well as producing a trailer we also produced a magazine cover and a film poster. Taking all of this into consideration we believed that the best way to advertise and promote our film was through the use of social networking sites. The impact of Web 2.0 has made the lives of film distributors a lot easier, allowing sites the power to integrate technologies. If we take www.facebook.com for example, this site allows you to upload, share and like content between you and your friends. Every time you interact with a text on Facebook this is documented so all your friends can see what you‟ve „liked‟ and they can check it out for themselves. This allows texts to be quickly shared between like minded people quicker than ever. We decided that it would be a good idea to upload our trailer to www.youtube.com. This site allows its audience to view a wide archive of videos in a matter of seconds. Web 2.O and sites like Youtube allow anybody to upload their footage and receive feedback from people they may be interested in what they have produced. Youtube also allows „tags‟ to be placed on videos, this means that when you type something into the search bar any video that has the same tag as what you have typed will be found and sent to you. When we uploaded our trailer to Youtube we used tags such as „Post-apocalyptic‟ „media students‟ and so on so that people who would be interested in our chosen genre or students could access our video. We also used Facebook and Youtube to receive audience feedback on our rough cut. After uploading our rough cut to both sites we took away any comments that people had left and analyzed them. Some of the comments from our rough cut included „the narrative is hard to follow‟ and „perhaps you could work on the costumes of the characters‟. After seeing these comments we where then able to re-film and with these comments fresh in our mind we were able to improve on both factors when producing our final trailer.
Even though we believed that social networking sites were the best way to promote our film we realised that there were other ways to try and reach our target audience. This is the reason we produced a film poster. Film posters are an imperative tool to advertising a film because they can be used in many different places like bus stops and billboards for instance. The film poster can be seen as a visual aid, if someone has seen our trailer and then they see our poster it refresh‟s some of the emotions of thoughts that they might of had when first viewing our trailer.
We gathered most of our feedback from social networking sites such as Facebook and Youtube. All of us uploaded our rough cut to our Facebook wall‟s so that we could receive feedback from a vast amount of people. Emma had the best responses on her post with her friends leaving more helpful and constructive comments. Some of these comments are as followed: “I like the effect of the people fading away” “The music is slightly repetitive, perhaps you could work on that” “I like the handheld camera running scene, very unusual but nice”
After receiving feedback on our piece we were able to go away and improve on certain areas of our trailer. In our initial feedback we were glad that most of our viewers could identify the genre although some said they thought our trailer was a thriller or horror. We believe we‟ve used some conventions of both of these genres within our piece as PA is a sub genre it-self so we saw this as more of a positive than a negative.
One issue we had to work on was narrative. In our rough cut our narrative was very faded and hard to follow. Our audience feedback agreed with this. After collecting our audience feedback we hit the editing suite to try and improve on what we already had. This included re-filming and shifting clips around as well as using our soundtrack in a way which complimented the visuals on screen. In general we were very happy with the feedback we received and happy that we could change our rough cut to improve on certain points that we had missed out first time around.
We couldn‟t of attempted to even begin this course if it wasn‟t for new media technologies. One of the most simple yet imperative tools we used was the internet. Through the use of the internet we were able to gather all of the data and research we needed. We were able to use Youtube and web 2.0 to view other PA trailers and see what they had created and view comments on certain videos to see what people liked the most about the trailers. This helped us loads in the construction of our trailer and treatment.
As well as this we were able to view sites that were strictly all about post-apocalyptic films. www.post- apocalypse.com was a good example of this sort of site, allowing us to identify other PA films, hear news about when the next PA films were coming out and also to share thoughts about the conventions of PA films with other members in the site in their forum section. When completing my timeline in my initial research PowerPoint I enlisted the help of www.wikipedia.com. Wikipedia is a site that allows its readers to input their own knowledge onto the site and is a community of people sharing and growing as one. Wikipedia is a perfect example of web 2.0.
As a group we also had our blog that we used to express our ideas that we had in our group meetings, upload pre-production work such as the treatment and storyboard and also to show reel our initial research into post-apocalypse as a genre. I liked working on the blogs because it feels much more creative than writing everything down and also allows us to simply re-produce work if it is lost.
When it came to filming the use of new media technologies that our group used was of course the handheld camera and kit. Having a handheld camera was ideal for our group because it allowed us to move from location to location quickly and proficiently. By using a handheld camera we were also able to create effects in our trailer that normally we wouldn‟t of been able to produce or that would of been harder to produce. For example the POV running scene in our piece ended up being the best clip we had to separate the ending of our trailer into a montage. Without this shot our montage would look very basic. Handheld cameras are also very simple and easy to use. This allows everyone in the group to have a go at directing and calling the shots so no-one is left out. When filming we did take with us the sound equipment and microphone but on most days we were filming the weather was to bad to use them and we were normally outside making things harder to record. We instead recorded our voiceover in the editing suite and then laced this over our visuals.
When we were in the editing suite we used a programme called „Adobe Premier Pro‟. This programme allowed us to turn rough cut footage into some of the ideas we had when first meeting together on day one. In Adobe Premier Pro we were able to capture the footage we had, cut end edit the clips we wanted/didn‟t want and add titles and music to are visuals. Adobe Photoshop was used in the construction of our film poster and magazine cover. With our magazine cover we were given a template for Little white lies magazine. We added our own image and played around with the layers, adding filters and experimenting with ideas until we thought we had the perfect magazine cover. The way in which we made our film poster is very similar to our magazine covers.
As mentioned above when receiving feedback from our rough cut we used social networking sites to achieve this information. Websites such as Facebook and Youtube are examples of new media technologies and without them we would be lost in the distribution of our trailer. Now that our trailer is complete we can go back to these sites with the finished trailer and re- upload them and try and create a buzz.