Detailed Research


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Detailed Research

  1. 1. Detailed Research of 3 Film Trailers Yasmin Watkins
  2. 2. Identify the institution and the embedded codes employed by the trailer FilmNation Entertainment (plus Relativity Media)  In ‘HATES’ the FilmNation institution code appears at 0:23, while in Mud, another FilmNation Entertainment company, it is shown in a much smaller logo at the end of the trailer.  This could be because there were many more production companies involved in the making of the film, compared to the high-profile HATES featuring Jennifer Laurence.
  3. 3. What are the key selling points of this trailer?  This trailer focuses on time; it uses frames-in-reverse, close ups of a clock and inter-titles for connote this theme.  It subsequently narrates to the audience that the protagonist, along with the viewers, will have to go back to the origins of the antagonists to find out the hidden secret.  Furthermore, Jennifer Laurence had received acclaimed fame from her previous role in Hunger Games, which helped increase the interest in this film with her acquired fan base.
  4. 4. How does this trailer establish genre, mood and expectation of the film?  It uses fast-paced editing which establishes the thriller genre of the film, while the fades to black transitions and intertitles connote the horror.  The erratic speed of the narrative would cause the audience to expect the film to be suspenseful.  Isn’t constructed in the same way a horror film is, in terms of predominantly showcasing the blood and gore of the film, which subsequently highlights the thriller genre.  The use of beginning the trailer with an action sequence, leaves the audience to expect a fast-paced narrative in the final film
  5. 5. Is this trailer more or less successful for you. Identify which elements work and which do not work for you?  By beginning the trailer with an action sequence, it leaves little time to establish an equilibrium for the audience to see disrupted.  However, this can be argued to attract the audience straight away, and includes enigma codes, for the audience to question what has happened to the protagonist  The use of reversal shots are slightly unnecessary, but have been used to tie in with the trailer’s concept of ‘going back to the beginning’ of the story to find out what’s happened.  Focusing on close-ups of the character’s facial expressions gives away the what has happened without the need for dialogue, which is also effective.
  6. 6. What appears to be the target audience for this film? The target audience for House at the End of the Street can be argued to be:  Fans of Jennifer Lawrence ~this includes a female audience, where viewers may identify with Jennifer Lawrence’s character through personal identity in Blumler and Katz’s Uses and Gratifications theory, as well as the male audience, through Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory. This is highlighted by frames of her womanly curves being shown in the trailer.  Fans of psychological thriller –would appeal to a young adult market as the protagonists are not stereotypically young teenagers, and are in much more mature surroundings. This may include viewers with a daring/ curious personality, who will want to interact with the film’s mystery elements.
  7. 7. Identify the institution and the embedded codes employed by the trailer Paramount Pictures (plus Phoenix Pictures, Sikelia Productions and Appian Way)  In Shutter Island’s trailer, the Paramount institution appeared at 0:06, while in Anchorman, it appeared towards the end again at 1:41.  As a well-known company, this possibly means that they do not have to worry about where their logo is placed, as the audience recognises the institution code through media saturation.
  8. 8. What are the key selling points of this trailer?  The main protagonist is trying to find someone that is missing from this unknown community, adding a key selling point of mystery, as the audience interacts with the film by investigating the situation through the eyes of the protagonist.  Leonardo DiCaprio is a widely-known actor, thus, a key selling point for this trailer, as he’s the only actor highlighted in the inter-titles. Furthermore, the audience will feel emotionally invested in his character.  The inter-title ‘A Martin Scorsese picture’ which is shown at the beginning, will attract those who know of his previous films
  9. 9. How does this trailer establish genre, mood and expectation of the film?  This trailer focuses on the themes of secrets, not following the strict rules set out and isolation by being set on an island. This establishes the genre and mood of the film, as the characters are not in a stable, familiar surrounding.  The widely-known production company ‘Paramount Pictures’ would be able to ‘inject’ its audience (hypodermic needle theory) with the initial impression of a high expectation for the film.  The soundtrack and dialogue provide enigma codes, along with the expectation of a lot tension, thus establishing the thriller genre of the film
  10. 10. Is this trailer more or less successful for you. Identify which elements work and which do not work for you?  I find this trailer more or less quite successful because it gives a number of scenes in different locations in a non-linear order –giving the audience a lot of information to take in at once, while simultaneously not giving too much away.  Instead, it allows the target audience to want to answer the questions that are embedded as enigma codes (through dialogue) and the implied disrupted equilibrium (through imagery) through basic human nature.  However, it can be argued that too much is possibly given away, even in the short clips in the fast-paced editing, as it gives the audience an idea of what may be going on.  I think that this trailer works well as a theatrical one, but could be made even more effective if scenes were cut out to create a teaser trailer, which would give the audience just an inkling into what the film will be about, without showing too many scenes from the climax of the film’s premise.
  11. 11. What appears to be the target audience for this film?  The partial gore seen in the trailer would suggest that this film would receive a 12A or 15 age rating by the BBFC.  The predominant male cast of the film would suggest that the film is more targeted at male viewers, creating more of a 60:40 ratio of the target audience.  However, the mystery features of the film would attract both female and male viewers, while the psychological elements may attract a more female audience, who stereotypically are more concerned with how people think/ feel.
  12. 12. Identify the institution and the embedded codes employed by the trailer  Hammer Film Productions In the Woman In Black film trailer, the logo for Hammer’s film production company I seen at 0:03; in ‘Let Me In’s horror trailer, it’s shown at 0:08.  This suggested that the institution codes were replicated in the same way in their trailers, so I researched another of Hammer’s credited horror film trailers with ‘The Resident’, which was also at 0:08.  This implies that Hammer assumes its target audience knows that the company produce films under the horror genre, reaffirming their relationship with the audience.
  13. 13. What are the key selling points of each trailer?  The trailer captures the essence of community seen in the film, which isolates the protagonist.  Daniel Radcliffe is a key selling point in the trailer, because of his popularity and ability to attract his previous audiences from the highprofile Harry Potter franchise and his films since.  This film was able to target the audience’s of the original book and theatre adaptation of the story, as they would have been interested in viewing the film adaptation of the story.  The embedded enigma codes introduce the questions of the secrets briefly seen in the film and how the isolation will affect the protagonist.
  14. 14. How does this trailer establish genre, mood and expectation of the film? The trailer establishes genre, mood and expectation of the film predominantly through the mise-en-scene.  This is depicted through the use of conventional horror imagery, such as: an isolated setting, an old house, close ups of dolls and innocent children, before the protagonist if finally seen at 0:43.  The ‘fade to black’ transitions also helps to establish the audience’s expectation of the film, as they are typically used in this genre.  These establish a mood for the audience, to change their state of mind as the trailer increases its pace.
  15. 15. Is this trailer more or less successful for you? Identify which elements work and which do not work for you.  The first initial shots of the archaic toys work well with their diegetic sound counterparts, by establishing a slow pace along with the premise for the film, along with the non-diegetic initial soundtrack that simulates the sound of the wind. This creates a build-up that the audience are aware of and expect the editing and sound to shift.  The focus on children, along with the child narrator of the trailer, may cause an older demographic of the audience to become emotionally involved with the characters. The brief stop to her narration coincides with the film’s shift in tone, where the pace increases and more horrific imagery is shown.  It leaves enough enigma codes for the audience to become intrigued to parts of the equilibrium, and disruption without giving away the main parts of the plot. This is done well by focusing the shots on the protagonist who the audience need to become aware of and find the answers to the questions through his eyes.
  16. 16. What appears to be the target audience for this film and how are they explicitly targeted?  Fans of Daniel Radcliffe –as he is the protagonist  Fans of the original book and stage adaption of ‘The Woman In Black’, which would be widely known among a much older audience.  The demographic of those aged 15-25, who are conventionally the main audience for horror films and have a disposable income.  Those with an adventurous personality and are thrill-seekers –as portrayed by the film’s quick pace; implying ‘jumps and scares’.
  17. 17. Is there an identifiable format in these trailers? Does this apply for other trailers? Is it successful?  These trailers predominantly follow Todorov’s narrative theory, as the simplified: Equilibrium Disruption, with the exception of The House At The End of the Street, which used this in reverse structure, which was still successful to a large extent. His narrative structure is: 1. A state of equilibrium (all is as it should be) 2. A disruption of that order by an event 3. A recognition of the disorder has occurred 4. An attempt to repair the damage of the disruption 5. A return or restoration of a new equilibrium
  18. 18.  This can be applied to the Shutter Island and The Woman In Black’s trailers, as they follow Todorov’s narrative structure, with the exception of the ‘new equilibrium’. Shutter Island 1. Arrives at the island for the criminally insane with a job to do 2. A patient has escaped 3. Protagonist realises that there’s something else going on 4. He is seen sneaking around and trying to work out what is going on The Woman In Black 1. Arrives at the village with a job to do 2. There’s a curse surrounding the ‘woman in black’ 3. Protagonist witnesses the curse first-hand and believes 4. Delves deeper into her story, tries to reunite her spirit with her son’s  This is because it is the largest enigma code that trailers have to use in order to attract their audience.
  19. 19. Why are trailers constructed in this way?  The trailers are typically constructed in this way because of media conventions of its similar products –HATES’ reversal of this structure can be argued to break conventions.  By showing shots from the beginning of the film as well as the disruption, the audience is able to briefly connect to the protagonists. The lack of answers to the questions suggested in the trailer causes the audience to want to answer these questions – resulting in them paying to watch the final product.  This highlights how significant enigma codes are in trailers, as they can be interpreted by the audience in different ways, which can result in them interacting with the film online or in other media products –such as the magazine front cover and film poster I aim to create as my ancillary tasks.