Creating my film poster…

Posted: May 1, 2011 in Media

Photo-shoot for my poster…

Well, considering I did at first think, looking at my designs, that the ‘swing idea’ would be probably the best choice for my film poster, I decided to go and experiment with different photographs based on this design.

Ok it is of course developed a little from the initial design, but I thought that the first one was a little too basic/plain and thus tried more extreme close-ups and P.O.Vs from Jack also.

Here is a sample of some of the photographs I took on this photo-shoot. Grant you they aren’t very good quality but I quite like the way they turned out. I used the swing that featured int he original trailer to keep to continuity between trailer and poster constant and correct. I also used acrylic paint as blood on the actor’s hand to reinforce bloodshed and violence. I then, remembering that my film IS in black and white, transferred the images to black and white to reinforce this to the audience and attempt not to potentially mislead them into thinking my film would be in colour (when it’s not). I experimented a bit with some different angles of the photos too, in order to try to make the image a little more interesting and to keep my options open about which I would eventually choose too. I like the surrounding and background of the images as they appear quite isolated and surrounded by nature- reinforcing ideas alone that the character here is quite lonely/isolated and also suggesting ideas of innocence and purity. If I had the knowledge and of course, better programmes to make my film poster, I would have liked to had kept the red of the ‘blood’ on the character’s hands- as this would have made it obvious what is on the character’s hands to the audience and would also directly imply bloodshed and violence. But, unfortunately, I don’t have the skills or knowledge to do this. 

However, it is this image (above) that I liked the best of all from the photo shoot. This is because I feel it is looking through the eyes of the character (which is Jack) reinforcing how we may come to sympathize with this character within the film. It also directly shows the empty swing and makes the audience wonder what the prop’s significance is, why the character is seeming to look at it and what themes it may imply. The fact the shot is also specifically high angle, so that the audience is looking down at the swing also reinforces the character’s power as well as the fact the character feels distanced from this innocent child’s play thing- thus indicating he may have problems from his childhood that affect his present or even his future. Thus, if the audience gets any of these references, they will wonder why the character feels this way, what happened to him and more importantly how it affects his adult life- which is really what the whole film is all about.

Developing the images/ creating the poster… 

After transferring the image into black and white I then proceeded to add the other features the poster would require- such as the film title, release date, certificate etc. I added the title of the film first of all, using the same font I used in the trailer itself to keep it constant and recognizable (but differed it slightly by changing it to black when in the trailer it was white). I positioned the title in centre but at the bottom as I feel this is a convention of film posters and is where audiences would expect it to be- it is also quite large in size so that it is not overlooked or easily missed as it is one of the most important aspects of the poster after all. I then added the important (but not important for persuading the audience to see the film) information about those in and behind the film (such as the names of the actors, director, writer, producers etc) in smaller writing below the title of the film (as this is a convention in film posters also). I kept it small so as not to take up too much room on the poster and made it red so that it stood out and separated itself from the titel of the film itself- red was also useful for connoting bloodshed/violence within the film itself. After this I added the release date of the film (made up of course) which was also in red (to make it stand out) but was intentionally bigger and bolder than some of the other pieces of text to reinforce its importance and to make it stand out. I put the website of the film (again, made up) directly below the release date but in a smaller font- so it is easy to see but is clearly not as important as the release date itself. I also thought this could be useful as it also features at the end of my trailer and therefore gives a sense of continuity for the audience. I also added ‘A film by Hannah Bunten’ in small red letters above the first letter of the film’s title as I think some film posters do tend to do this- and it was directly influenced by the poster for ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ (though posters will undoubtedly do this because the names of the director’s are popular and well-known, whereas mine isn’t. So my choice in doing this may not be such a good idea after all…it may be something I therefore choose to get rid of when developing the poster). Releasing I would have to give my film an age rating- I judged it to be of an 18 certificate (if it were actually turned into a film). This is because the film would contain scenes of dr*g abuse/child abuse/extreme violence/su*cide/upsetting themes  and many other aspects I only think a film rated 18 can rightly contain. So, knowing which certificate I needed I copied an image from google and positioned it in the bottom left hand corner- so that it does not distract the audience from more important aspects but still remains easy to see and will not be overlooked (I also think this is quite a conventional place to put the rating and therefore audiences would already expect to find it there as this is where they also tend to feature on DVD covers). I think the certification of the film being shown on the film poster is a lot more important than many may think at first- as if it was not there, audiences may become annoyed if they have been mislead into thinking they are old enough to see it. It also reinforces what they can expect from the film itself (i.e. it’s probably not going to be a feel good film or a family film either…). Finally I added the tagline of the film poster, which is the one that got the most votes in the questionnaire I handed out previously‘His torment….will become their nightmare’. Again I used red to connote the violence and bloodshed within the film and also to make the tagline stand out well against the black and white image. I put the tagline in two different places, as if it were leading onto one another as I think the pause creates tension in the audience and also reinforces how in the film itself, there is a big gap between what happens to Jack (which happens in his childhood) and then his revenge (which occurs when he is a young adult).As you can see for all of the text I added to the poster I kept the font simple- as complicating it I think makes it look unprofessional and like it is trying too hard to get attention.

Not completely satisfied with my first design I created an alternative one…differing aspects slightly to see if it would improve the overall effect of the poster. Here I changed the colour of the film’s title back into white (which is how it is in the trailer itself) and I feel this looks a lot more effective than the black one I used previously. It also is better for reinforcing the ideas of loss, innocence and victims in the film itself, therefore giving audiences a better idea of what the film will be like. Before I felt that the title of the film was not close enough to the bottom of the poster itself- thus it created a kind of unprofessional ‘gap’ that made the poster look a bit messy and empty also. So I shortened the gap and made the information below it a lot smaller, as I feel before the information was in too big a font (as usually it isn’t on film posters). The only thing I don’t like on this poster about the information aspect is the fact that it doesn’t really fit properly- and looks a bit strange and sort of unprofessional really. Another thing I don’t really like about this alternative design is the fact I missed out the film’s website to make room for other aspects…which I feel could be a bad move as it gives audiences more opportunities to discover more about the film and thus allows me more opportunities to persuade them to see it (hypothetically). To mix and experiment with things a bit I also tried having the image of the 18 certificate of the right hand side which I personally don’t think works as well, as it’s not directly in the corner as usually expected and also the image is a little too small and has less quality than the one in the previous design. I also made the release date a bit smaller than it was before- I don’t know why though- as in this design I don’t think it is as easy to see- which could be a bad move also. One thing that does look better is the ‘A film by…’ text which before looked a bit cramped, where here, in one long sentence, seems to appear a lot more professional and is easier to read somewhat as it lines up nicely with the title of the film. Here I also took the opportunity to try out a different tagline to see whether the one audiences prefered (‘His torment…’) is the one which would work best on the poster after all.  Here I used one I liked quite a lot ‘Revenge isn’t always sweet’ – as it is much shorter, snappier and therefore could potentially have a more direct impact on audiences when they read it. Despite this I made it much smaller than previous tagline, which may be a bad move as the poster appears a little bear without the tagline to take up the space as it did on the previous design. Nevertheless I positioned the tagline just above the seat of the swing, which I think is effective as it directly links to the ideas of innocence and childhood in the film itself. despite this I prefer the previous tagline as it was much easier to read, clearer and helped fill out a bit of the space on the poster.

Now this final alternate design is most possibly my favourite one…for reasons I will now explain. I used the white title of the film again as I felt it worked much better than the initial black one, and again positioned it closer to the bottom of the poster. I then also, feeling I hadn’t got the release date quite right yet, used a more conventional ‘Coming Soon’ instead of date itself- which I feel may not give a lot of specific information away to audiences but as it is more mysterious it obviously will gain more audience attention and will require them to be more ‘active’ audiences (rather than passive). What I changed probably most of all was the information at the bottom- making it situate itself around the release date rather than being totally separate from it- which I think didn’t really work and looks a bit ‘messy’ if I’m completely honest. Nevertheless I think it looked a lot better in white than in red- as this way audiences will find it easier to spot the information and separate from the other pieces of text that are red (avoiding possible confusion and ultimately them being mislead by the poster itself). Feeling it looked a bit strange putting the certificate of the film on the right hand side, I moved it back to the left again- but still, the image is quite bad quality and I feel it’d work a lot better in the direct corner rather than just ‘hovering’ almost by the information at the bottom. Feeling that the previous tagline ‘Revenge isn’t always sweet’ didn’t quite work, I went back to the ‘His torment…’ tagline I used in the first design as I felt it worked a lot better overall. This time though I took the opportunity to differ the position of the tagline slightly, having ‘His Torment…’ quite close to the top and near Jack’s hand, and then ‘…will become their nightmare’ near the bottom of the poster and next tot he image of the swing. This I feel helps to give a good sense of what the film is all about – THIS character’s torment, and the nightmare he inflicts on others because of it. However, I believe the main reason I prefer this design is the fact that, unlike the previous ones, it contains snippets of ‘critical’ reviews about the film itself. Inspired primarily by ‘The Hurt Locker’s poster, I created my own ‘fake’ reviews by ‘fake’ people (as the film doesn’t actually exist) and placed them at the top of the poster- which I feel takes up some of the space of the poster (as before it looked a little empty most of the time)  and specifically helps to convey what the film will be like through keywords such as ‘revenge’ (indicating my big theme of revenge) and ‘dark’ (conveying my film will be, well, dark- it will have upsetting/dramatic scenes some audiences may not enjoy for example). Although I usually don’t like review snippets such as these on posters, as I feel they take away from the film itself, here I think as the image is quite confusing/bear, the review snippets are probably vital for directly giving the audience information about the film. The thing I like most about this is the colourcode- as it sticks to the rest of the text on the poster- with the red/white text helping to separate different reviews and the size of the text helping to separate the ‘reviewer’/’critic’ from the ‘review’ itself and avoids confusion. 

Another photo-shoot/new ideas…

Well, although I had already started to make what could have been my final poster, I wasn’t entirely happy with it to be honest. I just felt it was ‘gritty’ enough and didn’t really capture the true feeling of my film or what I’d intend audiences to feel if they watched my film. So, feeling I wasn’t satisfied with the ‘swing’ images I created some more (of which you can see above). This was a very simple process- all that was required was the character of Jack’s hands for the extreme close-ups, some red acrylic paint and a bathroom (specifically a sink and a mirror). As I did with the first set of photos, I kept Jack’s identity a secret- as this was something I felt really needed to be concealed (for the sake of the trailer if anything). I used the paint for blood as I did before, which may look quite unconvincing in colour shots (red food colouring would have been ideal but I didn’t have any…) I looked over this aspect, reminding myself that the final image would be in black and white (as the film is in black and white) and therefore it wouldn’t matter as long as the audience could get the idea that it was blood. The biggest difference was the meaning behind the images- I felt before the ‘swing’ idea was a little too complicated with audience foreknowledge about my film- thus I wanted a visual portrayal of something being ‘Tainted’ to really get across the ideas behind my film to the audience through a simple yet effective image. So I experimented with drops of ‘blood’ in water-so the water is literally being tainted by the blood- giving out messages of something innocent turning into something bad/nasty, which really conveys the whole character of Jack if I’m honest. But I feel these didn’t work as well in black and white, thus I probably won’t use them for the final design.  Experimenting a  little, I did some photos of the Jack attempting to try to wash away the blood down the sink- and failing- reinforcing ideas that once you taint/spoil something you can’t take that away or redeem what you did ( which again, is like the whole idea of why Jack gets revenge in the first place, giving the audience a much better idea of what my film will be like in terms of theme and narrative also).

Overall, there were a lot of hit and misses- some worked very well, some just didn’t. Some worked well in colour, then didn’t when transferred to black and white or vice versa. But I think it was a helpful experience, as it was easy to do and create and allowed me to experiment with a lot of ideas and different shot types…

Moving away a little from the previous photos/ideas, I experimented with the mirror above the sink I was using initially- leading to what I call my ‘bloody hand print’ idea…

I liked this idea as the mirror is seen/used in the trailer with Jack’s haunting message of ‘do it for me?’ written across it in pen. Thus this connects directly to the trailer and either to Kitty’s madness (which is why it was used in the trailer, as it was from Kitty’s P.O.V), Jack’s torment or even both of these things. To add to the gory effect of the image I flicked paint on the mirror as well as the hand print itself as I felt this directly conveyed the idea to audiences that there may be some quite sinister scenes within the film- (such as murders, extreme violence etc) which some audiences may wish to be told about BEFORE they go to see the film…to avoid being mislead (as not all audiences can be expected to enjoy a bit of extreme violence in their films…). I think I even like the idea MORE when transferred to black and white- as the hand print and background really contrast to one another and it makes the bloody hand stand out very well. Overall I think it is a simple image- but this is what makes it effective- as it is not too complicated and therefore doesn’t have the danger of confusing audiences and potentially putting them off seeing the film itself.

However…to burst my own bubble, I think this image is a little TOO simple. And personally I don’t think it is complex enough to work as a film poster itself as it doesn’t really say anything about my film that audience’s can understand without any knowledge of my film being in their minds beforehand. Also, it seems to convey more of a horror film than a thriller, which could potentially mislead audiences a little and this is something I aim not to do.

Developing ideas/ creating the film poster…

Above is the original image which I think produced the best effect and looked well, the best to be quite honest. It is simply an extreme close up of Jack’s hand, adding to mystery and concealing the identity of the character, covered in blood, connoting violence and bloodshed (and the character carrying out his revenge if we’re talking specifically). The sink is also covered in flicks of blood and half of a hand print to further connote violence and bloodshed in the film itself, reinforcing it will play a large and also important part in the film itself. The purpose I think of actually using a sink is that, with water, audiences can get the idea that the character is trying to wash away the blood, this taint of his past, which is what Jack’s revenge is a ll about really- getting rid of the darkness of his past. I also like this image as it is very though-provoking, eye-catching and yet remains mysterious- for example audiences will wonder whose blood it is, why it is everywhere, what it signifies, whose hand it is etc and will therefore be more likely to want to watch the film to find out the answers of these questions.

So, keeping to the image itself, I tried to keep things simple. I like this initial one I created- as I feel the title of the film is in the right place- roughly in the centre and close to the bottom also- and works much better in black (as it ties in with the poster better- I tried white but it made the film’s title lose its boldness). I intend to keep the certification of the film exactly where it is whatever I do to the other aspects of the poster as there I feel it is out-of-the-way, easy to see and doesn’t interfere with the more persuasive aspects of the poster. I used my favourite tagline ‘His torment…’ again, and I found it very hard to position it, as it was hard not to make it overlap the ‘blood’ in the sink (because if it did it became hard to read and therefore would have lost its overall effect on the audience). I also used a technique I hadn’t before, which was making the word ‘nightmare’ in the tagline slightly larger than the rest of the text. This I think is effect for emphasizing it’s importance and adding to its effect on the audience. The only problem I have with this design at all is the bottom…as I feel it is overall too cramped and not very easy to read. The website may be of a different colour to separate it from other pieces of information but it is still too close tot he film’s title/release date and looks simply ‘crammed’ in. I also forgot to change the colour of the information and therefore it mixes up with the release date and makes the whole area a bit, well, ‘messy’ looking…

As you can see here I tried to sort out the information at the bottom- but for some reason it still didn’t look right…the information needed to be either below or above the release date to make it look a bit more professional- the website’s position also didn’t work well simply on the side, as it looked a bit out-of-place…(as you can see I kept everything else the same though, as I was happy with the other aspects and felt they didn’t really need changing)…

Here I think the information looks a lot better- as the release date is bigger, showing it to be more important, and is separated from the information (being above it rather than in the middle of it) which makes it look a lot neater and more professional. However the website for the film still needs to be in different place…as it is a bit ‘off centre’ and needs to be in alignment with the other aspects of the poster for it to really work. 

I also took the opportunity here to use a different tagline- seeing if it would work better than the previous one or not. Although I do like the tagline ‘Cherish the innocence…destroy the darkness’ here I don’t think it’s in a very good position as it’s half constricted somewhat by the ‘blood’ on the main image. I also think I agree on the audience’s choice of the ‘His torment…’ tagline being more effective also.


This one is annoying, as although I feel everything looks great, the tagline is still constricted by the blood on the image and  needs to be moved to prevent it being potentially misread by audiences. Which would obviously lead them to miss the point of the film/what I’m trying to convey on my poster completely. I think the information at the bottom has finally gotten much neater and more professional looking though (at last)…


After much experimenting/developing I believe this is the final poster for my film ‘Tainted’. I think it looks much ‘neater’ than it did beforehand and thankfully the tagline (which is important for conveying information about the film) is not constricted by blood anymore. But obviously just me being happy with the poster I’ve produced is not enough, and I’ll be creating a questionnaire for audience feedback on this final design shortly to make sure I’ve made my poster the best it possibly can be.


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