Now to the poster: designs…

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Media

Before I could begin creating my film poster I thought it would be helpful to create a mind map- where I could therefore explore which character to have on my poster, where I wanted the title of the film, what messages I wanted to get across etc

The mind map helped me eliminate the idea of having Jack’s character on the poster, as I realised previously with the magazine cover, having his character featuring on the promotion for the film would give away the identity of the killer or ‘villain’ of the film (which would have made keeping his identity concealed in the trailer a bit of a waste of time if I just gave it away through another source). I also decided using Kitty’s character again for the poster’s image may appear a bit repetitive as I also used her for the magazine cover’s image. So I decided the best poster would feature either a close up of Jack, so as not to give away his identity, or Alice, the protagonist of the film, who is an important factor within the film itself, but didn’t feature on the cover of the magazine cover.

I then realised it may be good to work with something that specifically featured in the trailer I created- as this way the audience can get more information or clues about a subject or theme within the film itself- such as I thought about re-using the swing which features in the trailer (with Ray swinging on it and then at the very end, empty and still swinging) except have perhaps Jack’s character sitting on it, with a weapon in his hand and blood all around him. But obviously, a shot from behind him as this way his identity isn’t revealed and remains still a mystery to the audience (which of course, will make them intrigued to discover who the character is).

(By the way, I am aware that the photos aren’t entirely brilliant quality-wise… which is unfortunate, but I’ll hopefully be able to overcome this little problem by explaining them properly if the images are hard to make out…)

Design Idea 1…

My Thoughts…

 Well I quite like this idea, probably better than most of the others anyway. I think it’s quite simple but could be potentially just as effective as any other of the designs I have created that have more complex ideas/shots. Even though it’d only be an extreme close up, from Jack’s P.OV, of his bloody hands being washed in a sink, I think this altogether easily gets across a lot of ideas and also themes about my film that I ideally want to get across to the audience through my film poster. For example, the fact it would be an extreme close up means I keep Jack’s actual identity a secret from the audience as I did in my trailer and as I did in the magazine cover. So the audience still won’t know, even if they see the poster, magazine cover and trailer also, Jack’s identity before they go to see the actual film. And of course the growing mystery behind his character’s identity will make the audience intrigued to see the film itself. And the fact this a P.O.V shot conveys the idea that the audience will come to sympathize with Jack’s character in the end, and see things through his eyes and understand why he did what he did- even if they don’t to start off with. The blood Jack will be washing of his hands obviously conveys a sense of violence/bloodshed/gore/danger within the film and gives audience straight away a good sense of what the film will be like- so they are not mislead into thinking the film will just be wholly entertaining. It also adds to the mystery surrounding the poster- which of course will lead audiences to want to see the film and discover the truth of these mysteries- such as where the blood has come from, whether someone has been murdered, who, why etc (which also helpfully links to the theme of vengeance and thus the audience will want to know whether the character gets their revenge successfully or not). Overall I like it- I like the layout and I think it may be simple but is potentially very effective- giving the audience just the right amount of information about my film, but leaving most of it a mystery so that audiences’ will be more intrigued to actually see it.

I’d like to add also that this design was mostly inspired by the iconic poster for‘Schindler’s List’  as I personally think it is very effective- OK it may only be one adult’s hand clutching a child’s, but it really sums up what we can expect from the film- the idea of hope in mankind, in one another and the concept of how just one person can really make a difference. It also links to how Schindler, in the film, although he had saved so many lives, still felt he could have saved more. Leading him to say something like ‘I could have saved one more person. One more’ which is most likely to have been the girl in the red coat if he is specifically considering one more person he could have, or should have saved, as seeing her body is perhaps the pivotal moment of the film and it’s biggest turning point, as it makes Schindler realise she could have been saved. And he could have saved her.

Design Idea 2…

My Thoughts…

I did initially like this poster but I think, after looking over it again, it really doesn’t appear that special or particularly eye-catching at all. Of course, as with the previous design I discussed/explained, here I have chosen another extreme close up of Jack- but this time showing his hand and also a bit of his body as he carries a weapon- which is specifically intended to be a screwdriver. Again an extreme close up will keep Jack’s identity a secret from the audience, but I don’t think this looks like it could be as potentially effective as the previous design. This could also be seen as similar to the POV shot from the trailer- where Jack brandishes a screwdriver as he walks to the victim’s hiding place. This helpfully links the image on the poster to the trailer itself but I think it may be a little too similar to the shot in my trailer for it to work.  Of course there could also be blood splatters on his hand or his clothes to connote violence and bloodshed in the film, but it just seems a bit….dull? I think my main problem (beside from what to have in the background of the poster that won’t distract the audience from the main image itself) is the choice to have the tagline in big letters so it is superimposed over the top of the image which I think may take away from the image itself and the impact it has upon the audience.

I think this was influenced mainly by a very effective ‘character’ poster for the film ‘No Country for Old Men’ wherein the villain of the film, Anton Chigurh, stands with his weapon and the tagline (specifically associated with his character and his role in the film) is plastered over the top. Similar to how my character has an unconventional weapon of a screwdriver, Chigurh has a shot-gun with a silencer, leading audiences to become interested because the character seems unconventional and therefore more unique. Unlike my poster design though I think Chigurh’s weapon is  a lot more interesting and unconventional and also, I don’t have the same amount of technology to pull of the whole ‘superimposing letters over images’ thing. So mine may end up looking unprofessional and amateur if I do decide to go down this route after all. 

Design Idea 3…

My Thoughts…

Well I actually don’t like this design at all….but I’ll explain why I created in the first place. I just simply thought the poster could help reinforce the idea that Kitty is the victim of the film- as she will look distressed through this mid shot- a convention in film posters- while holding a sign saying ‘help me’. This directs the idea that the character is tormented and upset- crying out for help to the audience- which of course makes them sympathize with and connect to the character- as they’ll want to help her and find out what is really wrong with her. Although it links extremely well to the trailer – as Kitty is often seen in distress within in it and the first words are in fact ‘You have to help me Alice’ (spoken by Kitty herself). As well as the magazine cover- where the main image is of Kitty looking distressed, with the words ‘I can’t do this anymore!’ giving the idea that she is in turmoil to the audience and therefore it makes them more likely to want to know why and if she is helped in the film or not (and by whom). But, regardless of how well this design idea all links in, I think it is  a tad misleading. After all, if I made my film Kitty would be the character first to die, thus having her feature in the trailer, magazine cover and film poster could potentially make her appear more important a character than what she really is int he film. Afterall, the protagonists are Alice and Jack, not Kitty or the other youth club owners or even Ray. Thus I think it’d be best to put either Alice or Jack on the poster or a combination of the two, rather than characters who are not as important. Furthermore, this image appears too like the magazine cover itself and therefore makes me seem as if I am uncreative or just a little lazy…

Somewhat, I think this idea was mostly influenced by the film poster for ‘Invasion’ where the poster is mainly just a note from a character, similar to the ‘help me’  sign Kitty is holding up in my own design. It’s effective for giving a very blunt and verbal message- but not helpful for me I think as I wish to be creative in my poster’s design and also may need to give away a bit more information than this one requires.

Design Idea 4…

My Thoughts…

Well I don’t really like this idea as I find it to be a little too similar to others I’ve previously explained. As again it is an extreme close up of Jack, concealing his identity, with the screwdriver in his hand, connoting violence and breaking normal conventions of thrillers. Again this links well to the trailer, as the weapon is featured in the trailer and therefore audiences will be able to recognize it if they have seen the trailer beforehand (which is likely). It gets across the simple idea of conflict and violence (which is useful as my film would contain a lot of it) but I think, as with some of my other designs, doesn’t get enough information and hints about the content of my film through the image alone and therefore would have to rely on the tagline, which I don’t think is a very wise choice. As of course the image is the most important part of the film poster and therefore should be the aspect used to get through the most information to the audience. And with an image such as this one alone, I don’t think the poster, if produced would be very effective or successful.

Overall I believe this idea was mostly inspired by the poster for ‘Inglorious Basterds’– as here the main image is a hand clutching a bloody blade. Which I think looked simple yet very effective- getting across to the audience that the film would be gory/violent in an easy and simple way. But, the case is almost certainly that in the other promotions for the film ‘Inglorious Basterds’ there was probably more information portrayed to audiences- such as in the trailer, whereas my trailer tends to be quite mysterious and only hints- not giving a lot away. Thus, my audience will not, even if they have watched the trailer, know a lot about my film, so my film poster must offer them some new information to reel them in and make them want to see it. I also think that the poster here cleverly has the blade cutting through a swastika, therefore instantly revealing a  lot about the film itself- that it will be set in World War 2 (at the time of the Nazi party) and will revolve around this war and this group in particular. Whereas my poster design may fail if I produce it as it only gives an image audiences have potentially already seen- thus they may become bored and uninterested in seeing the film overall.

Design Idea 5…

My Thoughts…

However, despite my mostly negative comments on my designs for my poster, I do quite like this idea. I thought the swing would be a useful prop to bring into the process of the poster as I would be taking something from the trailer and developing it for the poster- thus giving audiences more, new information on the film itself (thus sustaining their interest in the film). So, the swing used to introduce Ray’s character briefly in the trailer and is also at the very end, empty and still swinging, I thought could be used with Jack’s character instead. It would be a shot from behind Jack, with his hood up perhaps to continue to conceal his identity from the audience. Already this will capture the audience’s attention as they will curious at who the character is and why he is on the swing. The shot would also be a long one so as to convey the distance and loneliness of the character- thus revealing to the audience more about Jack’s character, which would then make them question why he was lonely and whether this changes within the film. A long shot would also allow me to use the background of the photo to my advantage. As I know the swing is in a very isolated area, filled with trees, this will further heighten the character’s isolation and loneliness. The swing of course helping to represent the theme of innocence and how Jack’s revenge is all about the loss of it- and how it was stolen from him by the youth club owners. As I would have the background to play around with also, I would consider putting one of Jack’s various weapons at his feet perhaps (like the syringe or the screwdriver, which are both featured in the trailer, thus the audience could recognize them if they’d seen the trailer beforehand) and maybe even some blood splatters to connote bloodshed/violence/danger. This would of course help convey what genre of film is being promoted as well as gaining the interest of the audience even more so- as they’d wonder what had happened, who had been murdered, why etc and would then obviously want to go and see the film to find out.

Design Idea 6…

And then, the same idea, but developed…

My Thoughts…

At first I did really like this idea, but guess what, not so much now…Anyway, considering what I said earlier about not involving Kitty on the poster (as her character is in a lot of the trailer and also features on the magazine cover) and having more of Alice and Jack I felt was a very important thing to make sure of, and thus I came up with this idea. Feeling like I wanted to be a little more creative or illustrative, I thought I could take shots of both Alice and Jack and stick them in the centre of the poster, and then create a blood type background to conceal a lot of them and drip over the top of them almost to give it a more interesting look. The image of Jack is very similar to those already drawn- an extreme close up shot (concealing his identity) with the syringe in his hand (connoting violence and threat- and also his extreme and unconventional methods for getting his revenge) which also has the advantage of already being introduced as important in the trailer and so it will appear even more so if carried on in the poster also. The image of Alice will be a mid shot, quite conventional for posters I’ve found, and will also be a reaction shot (revealing her fear and making audiences interested to know what she is looking at/reacting to). I liked the positioning of the characters in this design as I felt having Jack and Alice’s images very close together could signify how in the film, Alice does end up sympathizing with Jack, though she does not at first, and their lives become very intertwined despite their differences and conflicts. Having them close also makes the audience naturally wonder how the characters are connected, who is good, who is bad, etc. I also intended for Jack’s image to go over the top of Alice’s a little to make her seem pushed in the background- reinforcing the idea that Jack is a more powerful and dominating character and making Alice seem vulnerable and innocent. Which of course will make the audience ask whether these roles may reverse or whether Alice will be able to become a stronger character by the end of the film (suggesting she may be the protagonist of the film). The constant use of red of course connotes bloodshed/violence/danger/threat etc which gives the audience a good idea of what kind of film they can expect this one to be (especially genre-wise). Although I do think this has the potential to look good, I don’t think it is as effective as some of my other designs. I also think it is a little overcomplicated- looking as if I am trying too hard to persuade audiences to see my film- which would put them off seeing it altogether. And, as it is quite a complex design (well…compared to my others) I think it could therefore be very hard to create and even if I did manage it, it undoubtedly wouldn’t look professional, considering the limited resources I have within my reach. Also, I don’t think it overall manages to say a lot about my film really, considering how much time it would take to make and how other, simpler ideas, appear to reveal a lot more about my film.

Design Idea 7…

My Thoughts…

This design idea is, like many of my others, an extreme close up shot. But this time, of one of my protagonist’s, Alice (instead of Jack, who has been the main point of focus on most of my designs). I thought this would be useful for getting across the idea that Alice plays quite an important and vital role in the film itself, and although my trailer I think does imply this, my poster can do no harm in reinforcing the idea further. Thus the extreme close up could be used to properly get across Alice’s feelings- which here would be sadness- as I would have her crying and looking generally quite frightened (ah yes, it’d also be a reaction shot, forgot to mention that earlier). Therefore not only would the poster convey how important Alice’s character is, but it would also make audience ask why she is crying, what she is reacting to, what will happen to her character and whether she will be strong enough to get through it etc. It also (for once) rightfully gets the audience on side with a character who deserves it (when before I liked to mislead the audience in my trailer and magazine cover by conveying Kitty as a victim) as seeing this character upset is most likely to make audiences’ sympathize with her and therefore they will connect to the hero (or rather heroine) of the film before they have even seen it. But, regardless of this, I don’t think this would make a great poster. Why? Well, it just seems too simple…I know that I’ve stated that I prefer posters that ARE simple but there’s simple and straightforward…and then there’s just laziness. Thus, I feel that this poster isn’t really saying anything and i don’t think it’d catch audiences eyes at all- as it isn’t eye-catching in the slightest…

Conclusion??…

Well I appear to be a bit undecided on which design I want to carry on with, as I like the first (the extreme close up Jack’s hands) but I also like the swing idea quite a lot also…the rest I think, after evaluating them, are going to be left undeveloped as I have stated why I don’t like them and why I don’t think they’d work. And plus a lot of them are awful ideas anyway. So, I’ll use the two designs I actually like, develop them, have some photo shoots and then hopefully I’ll be able to produce my poster…

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