Monday, March 27, 2017

Reviewing Our Production Work - Assignment 2

You have now created a film poster of your own with original photography and a storyboard for a trailer that is supposed to have synergy with your poster. 

In today's lesson, before we go on Easter holidays, I want you to create a new blog post entitled Reviewing My Production Work- Assignment 2.
Write a detailed paragraph for each question explaining how your film poster has matched the brief and how you researched and used conventions to make your finished product authentic and professional. 

You may use the below questions as a starting point to help you craft your paragraphs:
(Tip- use your media glossaries to get that media terminology in!)

1) What are the typical features (conventions) of a film poster that you have used? eg an age rating, institutional information, reviews, a central image. 
2) What is the genre of your film? How would your target audience know this from choices you have made? eg colour scheme, mise-en-scene (props, costume, character, setting)

3) What institutional information have you used to try and sell the film and how does this appeal to the audience? eg 'From the Producers of...' / Star power / Directors / Reviews. 
4) Where are there examples of synergy between your storyboard and trailer? (How are the two clearly linked?)

5) Extension: What Representations have you used in your film? (gender / race / age / character type)? Are these reinforcing or challenging stereotypes?

I have completed an example one using a poster and storyboard from one of last year's GCSE students:

1) When researching the conventions of a film poster, I noticed that most posters use a focal, central image to immediately catch the eye of the audience and interest them in the film. The central image dominates the poster and is usually related to the central characters or narrative plot. I have chosen to focus on my protagonist (the hero) and the antagonist (villain) characters. To show that they are opposing each other, I positioned them next to each other but back to back and I used fire and ice to demonstrate their powers. The plot of my film features two avenging angels so I used Photoshop to create wings behind my original photography to signify that they are angels. I used an indication of when the film would be released (‘Coming Soon’) to create anticipation and I name checked the stars of the film to interest people who might already be fans of their work. The title of the film is prominent and positioned directly underneath the image to link the two together. The tag line adds more information by summing up the film: You’ve Got Nothing to Fear…If You’ve Got Nothing to Hide. I also included an age rating – 15 because the BBFC would probably classify my film as suitable for audience members of 15 years old and older because there is violence in my narrative.

2)      The genre of my film is action thriller but there is also an element of the superhero/ supernatural genre because I am including angels who are from a different world. I have signified my genre using dark colours and a smoke effect as this looks eerie and supernatural. The position of the characters makes them look confrontational which suggests the action element of the film. The fire and ice props connote the special powers that the characters have and show the audience that there is going to be action and potential violence in the film. For my costume, I put my characters in modern, casual street clothes to show the urban setting and to suggest that it is set in modern day.

3)      Regarding institutional information, I have used the logos of Warner Brothers and Lionsgate, the two production companies that I would want to make my film. I have also included positive reviews to give the film credibility and I have included institutional information in a blurb at the bottom of the poster, as is conventional. This will encourage an audience to go and see this film if they have enjoyed other films by the same Director or made by the same institution. Lionsgate is an American, successful production company that has made films like ‘Hunger Games’ and the Divergent franchise so they will hint to the audience that my film might have similar appeal. Warner Brothers is one of the biggest production companies so the audience can tell this is going to be a mainstream blockbuster. I have name checked the stars of the film to endorse them.

4)      There is synergy between my poster and storyboard because the main characters from the central image in my poster also feature in my storyboard for my trailer. The trailer opens with the institutional information for Warner Brothers but I have incorporated fire and ice around the logo to link with my poster. The tagline is also included along with the title of the film so that the audience can link the trailer and the poster. My storyboard features close up shots of the angel’s wings and the fire/horns of the villain both of which are shown in the central image of my poster. This highlights the importance of these characters.

5)      I have represented two ethnic minority figures as my hero and villain. My hero is an Arab teenager and my villain is of Asian descent. This is subversive as most action films stereotype white characters as the protagonists and cast ethnic minorities as the villains. I wanted to give a positive representation of an Arab male teenager as a role model with angel wings signifying that he is a positive character. I have used two male characters because most action adventure storylines feature male characters in the dominant roles. The age of the two characters is supposed to be young adults so that my film appeals to a teenage audience. I wanted them to look like typical teenagers but the red eyes and wings suggest that there is something unique about them that makes them subvert our expectation of normal teenage boys.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Film poster: Steel tongs font

The institutional information at the bottom of a film poster is in a very distinctive font - you can't make a film poster look authentic without it...

Luckily, we have downloaded the font on to school computers - it is called Steel Tongs. The way the font works is that CAPITAL letters work normally while lower case letters each correspond to one of the movie credits ('Directed By...' 'Written By...' etc.)

You may want to look at a Steel Tongs guide to see which letter you need for each credit - there are plenty online, here's an example:

Image result for steel tongs font guide

Note: we have an older version of the Steel Tongs font so not every credit is possible - if you can't find the one you need, just change the credit. It won't cost you any marks!

Assignment 2: Making your film poster

Assignment 2 Film poster

Open a new document in Photoshop and call it Film Poster.
Remember that your poster can be portrait or landscape.
See examples from last year below:

Remember to revisit your conventions to use as a check-list for your own poster and use your sketch to see what you have planned for placement of the conventions.

Steel tongs font

The institutional information at the bottom of a film poster is in a very distinctive font - you can't make a film poster look authentic without it...

Luckily, we have downloaded the font on to school computers - it is called Steel Tongs. The way the font works is that CAPITAL letters work normally while lower case letters each correspond to one of the movie credits ('Directed By...' 'Written By...' etc.)
You need to use the Steel Tongs guide to see which letter you need for each credit - there are plenty online, this link has one website you can use.

Note: we have an older version of the Steel Tongs font so not every credit is possible - if you can't find the one you need, just change the credit. It won't cost you any marks!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Assignment 2: Writing a film pitch

Our production task for Assignment 2 involves coming up with our own film promotion for an original movie that we have created.

But before we create the film poster and trailer, we need to come up with a brilliant original idea for a new movie.

Work through the following tasks to develop your film pitch. Remember, it must be original and individual to you - this is NOT a group task.

Task 1: top tips
Read these top tips for coming up with your own idea:

1) Think carefully about setting and genre – make sure it's something that will appeal to an audience and will work for your photoshoot.
2) Avoid major stars – you’ll need an original image for the film poster and unless you know Brad Pitt that will be a difficult photoshoot to arrange. 
3) Make sure the film’s narrative is easy to understand and follow – you only have a 30 second trailer to play with. If you can't tell the basic story in one sentence you need to simplify it.

Task 2: the key details
Come up with the basic idea for your film - title, genre, storyline, characterssetting etc. Discuss it with someone else and make sure you can tell the story clearly and easily. You may want to start by simply brainstorming different genres and ideas.

Task 3: writing the film pitch
You now need to start building your film pitch for your idea. This is the chance to sell your film idea using just one side of A4. Use this template to build your film pitch - this will be handed in and marked as part of your Assignment 2 Production work.

Film pitch planning
1) The first part of a film pitch is the title and tagline - basically a slogan for your movie. E.g. Alien - In space no one can hear you scream. The Shawshank Redemption - Fear can hold you prisoner, hope can set you free.

2) Next, you need a 'log line’ – a one sentence summary that will immediately grab the attention of a film studio or your audience.

Example log line - from Pirates of the Caribbean: "A 17th Century tale of adventure on the Caribbean Sea where the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with a young blacksmith in a gallant attempt to rescue the Governor of England's daughter and reclaim his ship."

The rest of the pitch needs to cover genre, narrative, character and target audience. Follow the template and you will cover all the aspects you need.

Use this example we've written for the Hunger Games to help you if you're stuck.

Task 4: planning and sketching
When you have completed your film pitch - and it may take some time because you want a very good, original idea - you need to start planning your film poster and trailer. First, plan your photoshoot and work out who will be in your film poster and when you will shoot the picture. Then, sketch a draft of the film poster and start writing the text that will go on it. Remember: a film poster can be either portrait or landscape.

Help! Online resources
There are many resources online to help with writing a film pitch. Try these ten top tips for selling your script to Hollywood and the BBC Writer's Room for help.

Extension task
When you have finished your film pitch, planning and sketching, ask another student to look over your plans and suggest ways to improve them. Make sure you can tell the story of your film in one clear sentence - that's how you would sell the idea to a film studio in the first place.

If you have completed everything, you can start sketching a potential storyboard for the trailer of your film.

Homework: film poster photoshoot costume
The photoshoot for your film poster will be in the week after half-term: that means you will need to bring props and costume in!

IMPORTANT: Do NOT bring in anything resembling a weapon of any kind for the photoshoot. If you need a weapon for your genre you can add it digitally using Google Images and Photoshop.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Assignment 2: Film posters and trailers

Both our Assignment 2 analytical and production tasks require us to be experts on film posters and trailers. 

This means we need to study the key conventions and design features in real depth and analyse the key messages being communicated to the audience. We also need to look for specific institutional details such as stars, directors or other films created by the same film studio.

Film posters: key conventions
  • Central image
  • Secondary images
  • Title
  • Tagline (like a slogan)
  • Release date
  • Stars
  • Critic reviews
  • Social media hashtags / website details
  • Production blurb
  • Iconography of the film’s genre

Film trailers: key conventions
  • Institutional details – film studio, actors, director etc.
  • Clear opening laying out setting, characters and narrative
  • Short clips of key moments in film 
  • Fast paced editing to suggest drama and excitement
  • On-screen text (replaces tradition of voiceover)
  • Stars – usually early on and often with text-on-screen
  • Title and release date – always at END of trailer
  • Critic reviews / quotes
  • Social media hashtags / website details
  • Production blurb (usually final shot of trailer)
  • Sound that communicates genre and ‘feel’ of film

Film trailer: structure

Always look for the typical structure of a trailer:

O = Opening
B = Build up
P = Problems
E = Events

Film language notes

Sound in film includes:
  • Dialogue
  • Sound effects
  • Music
  • Voiceover

Diegetic and non-diegetic sound

Diegetic: sound that is coming from within the sphere of the film. Remember: the characters can hear it. Example: dialogue.

Non-diegetic: sound that is NOT within the sphere of the film – only the audience can hear it. Example: soundtrack/music/score.


Mise en scène literally translates from French as ‘putting on stage’. 

We use it in film studies to describe everything that appears in front of the camera.

When we analyse mise en scène, we need to look at the following:
  • Actors (placement, movement, expression)
  • Costume and make-up
  • Setting and props
  • Lighting and colour

Film posters and trailers: blog task

You are currently working on a case study for the film you have chosen from our list of 10. Now you need to complete the following tasks on your blog:
  1. Create a new blogpost called ‘Film trailer and poster analysis of [your chosen film]’
  2. Find the poster on Google Images and the trailer on YouTube for your chosen film
  3. Embed them in your blogpost (you may need to save a small version of the poster to ensure it displays correctly)
  4. List all the film poster key conventions you can find. How do these attract a potential audience?
  5. List all the film trailer key conventions you can find. How do these attract a potential audience?
  6. In your opinion, do the poster and trailer successfully promote the film you have chosen to investigate? Why?
Take it further...

Thinking back to your lesson on institution and the film industry, can you find any good examples of film marketing in the trailer or poster? 

Can you find any institutional details that link to your case study research (director, stars etc.)?

If not finished during the lesson, complete for homework - due next Thursday

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Assignment 2: Film case study institution research

For your Assignment 2 coursework, you need to research key institutional information about a film and use this to inform your essay. 

We are giving you a choice of ten different films to choose and you need to work through the questions below to learn everything you can about your one chosen film.

Research the institutional details behind ONE of the following films:
  1. Taken
  2. Suffragette
  3. Spectre
  4. Juno
  5. Frozen
  6. Captain America: Civil War
  7. Django Unchained
  8. Precious
  9. Moana
  10. The Hunger Games
Use, and any other relevant websites you can access to find out the following information about the film you have chosen...

Your chosen movie
1) What film have you chosen? 

2) Why did you choose this film in particular? 

Institutional background
Use IMDB to find out the institutions behind your chosen film. Find your film, click on Company Credits and then look for the production company and UK distributor.

1) What was the film studio or production company behind your chosen film? E.g. Warner Brothers, Paramount etc.

2) Who was the distributor for the theatrical release of the film in the UK?

No brand loyalty
1) What genre does your chosen film fit into?

2) How can you tell it fits that genre? Be specific with reference to the trailer.

3) Does your chosen film have any stars or a director that are known for that particular genre?

It’s all a matter of timing
1) What was the UK release date for your chosen film?

2) When did the first trailer appear on YouTube for your movie? Find the earliest example you can and embed it in your blog.

3) What other examples of marketing (teaser trailers, main trailers, newspaper or TV interviews etc.) can you find for your chosen film from before the film’s release date?

It’s a social thing
1) What was the word-of-mouth like for your chosen film? If you can’t find tweets (probably blocked) use the IMDB user review rating or the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating to judge whether the public have given the movie a good review.

2) Find three quotes (no more than 25 words each) from user reviews of your movie to create a picture of what the public reaction to the film has been. Post them on your blog.

Risky business
Use IMDB to find out the box office records for your chosen film. Find your film, click on Company Credits and then Box Office/Business. You may want to use the excellent website Box Office Mojo to find out the budget and box office success for the film.

1) What was the original budget for your chosen film?

2) How much money did the film make in the opening weekend?

3) How much money has the film made in total? (Look for the subheading ‘Gross’ which has the total box-office earnings listed).

4) For a film to be considered a box office success, it needs to make at least two-and-a-half times the budget in box office takings. Using this method, was the film you have chosen a success? (Or, if it's a recent release, do you expect it to be a box office success?)

Stars in their eyes
Research the stars and director for your chosen film.

1) What films has the director previously directed? Are they in the same or similar genres?

2) Who is the main star in the film?

3) What other films has the main star appeared in? Are any of the films similar to the one you are researching?

4) Are the stars or the director or writer mentioned in the trailer for the film?

Take it further...

If you've finished the questions above, work through the following tasks to take your case study to another level:

Newspaper reviews
A more traditional starting point for word-of-mouth is press reviews of the film. Almost all national newspapers carry film reviews of the big releases and positive review quotes are often used on the film's marketing material.

Read three newspaper reviews of your chosen film and select five quotes from each review that tell you what the reviewer thought of the film. You can look at the Guardian film website, the Telegraph film website and other reviews in magazines such as Empire.

Additional promotion
Look back 'It's all a matter of timing' question 3... What other examples of promotion can you find for your chosen film? TV chat show appearances (e.g. Graham Norton, the One Show etc.) Radio interviews? Make notes and embed any clips in your blog. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Assignment 2: Introduction to Film Genre

Assignment 2 is on Film Promotion - which means we need to understand film, genre, trailers and the institutions behind the movies.

Key notes from the lesson:


One of the key details a film production company uses to market a film is genre.

A film genre is made up of a repertoire of elements. That repertoire could include particular iconography, lighting, sound, or actors and directors associated with the genre. This list of features is known as a ‘repertoire’ because any given film within a genre may not use all of the possible elements, but it will use some.


A useful acronym to remember what you need to look for when analysing the genre of a film is NCIS:

N = narrative (storyline)
C = character (people/character types)
I = iconography (what we can see)
S = setting (where it takes place)

These four aspects will provide enough evidence to identify the genre (or a hybrid of genres if the film fits more than one category).

Blog task / Homework

Your blog task today is as follows:
  1. Make sure your blog is up-to-date with your finished Assignment 1 magazine cover.
  2. Choose three film trailers, embed the clips from YouTube and write an analysis of what genre each film belongs in and why. Use NCIS to help you. Note: if the YouTube video is not embedding, post a link to the trailer instead.


Taken (2008)


The storyline is clearly shown to be a father willing to go to any lengths to rescue his kidnapped daughter. This is a tense, dramatic narrative that fits the thriller genre well.

The characters are typical of a Hollywood thriller - the main hero: strong, brave and willing to do anything to rescue his daughter. The daughter is a classic 'damsel in distress', a female character requiring saving by a male hero. There are stereotypical villains - in this case Albanian, another typical aspect of a Hollywood thriller.

There is plenty of iconography typical of the thriller genre: a car chase, gunshots, violence, technology, running and jumping from a bridge, explosions and smashing glass. All of these are typical of the action or thriller genres - in connection with the narrative, we can confidently say this is a thriller.

Although the trailer is only two minutes long, it has a safe American location for the daughter's birthday party and then a glamorous foreign location (Paris) for the rest of the narrative. Within Paris, there are clearly action sequences on roads, off bridges and in other settings that suggest action and drama.

Anything you don't finish in the lesson is homework.