Part of our specification for this Media Studies unit is to create a film poster for our production. This is why I intend to research film posters for films similar to my own, in the hope that I can pick up some ideas to improve my own poster.
The first film poster I thought I’d analyse was that of One Day (2011, Scherfig). I have mentioned this film before, as it is the main inspiration for my own concept. One Day follows the lives of two people over twenty years, visiting them on 15th July from 1988 to 2008, as their semi-platonic love for one another grows and changes. It is this main aspect/theme which I plan to focus in on. Furthermore, One Day can be classified in the genres of romance, drama and comedy, all of which I hope to incorporate into my own production to different extents. Below is the One Day film poster:
Shot Types and Composition
Only one shot is used on the poster, showing the protagonist couple kissing. This is a long shot, showing both characters in their entirety. This is reflective of how the characters are presented in the film; nothing about them is hidden as we are following their lives. The two are also locked in a passionate embrace, highlighting the genre of the film.
As far as composition is concerned, the shot is quite simplistic. For example, in the rule of thirds, both characters are occupying the middle vertical third. The audience’s attention is drawn to the top middle third, as this is where the character’s faces (and therefore, their expressions) and hands can be found. The characters are the only subjects that can be found in the foreground, causing more audience attention to be drawn there. There is nothing distracting in the background, and this keeps audience focus.
The most obvious effect used in the main shot is that of sepia-tone colouring. This adds a slightly retro look, and tells the audience that this is not the typical processed RomCom from Hollywood. It is more traditional and focuses upon the romance. This traditional image is supported by the characters actions, as they are stood kissing á la a romance film from the 1930s or 40s.
Perhaps the most interesting effect used on the photo is the way it is divided, to give the impression of twenty (one for each year covered) small photographs, compiled to make a large one. This informs the audience of the general concept of the film, as well as adding a unique and memorable twist to the main shot.
Another obvious effect is that of blurring, used in the background of the main shot so as not to distract from the foreground action.
The film poster is arranged in a landscape format, with the main shot occupying the left, and the official information (title, credits, billing box, and so on) occupying the right. In most cultures, it is most typical for people to read a poster from the left to the right, just like lines in a book. The above composition forces the audience to look at the main shot first, and process all the messages and implications it gives, before reading any information that can confirm these messages.
On the right side, information is presented quite spaciously. Indeed, in the rule of thirds, nothing is occupying the middle right third. Again, this adds to the retro effect of the poster overall, and gives it an old fashioned feel. This is complimented by the cream background which occupies a majority of the poster itself.
Titles and Font
All titles (other than the billing box) are presented in the same serif font, similar to that of Times New Roman, only a little softer. Obviously the biggest title is the title of the film itself. Other than the main shot, this is the most attention attracting feature. This is for good reason, as obviously the main shot and title are the most important and basic aspects of film posters.
The second largest titles are that of the actor’s names. This is quite common in film posters, as often if a film does not appeal to a certain audience, this audience could be drawn in based simply on the actors used. This could be the case here, given Hathaway’s fairly extensive past works.
The next largest title is the release date. This had been placed at the bottom right hand corner of the poster for different reasons. For example, logically, this is the last place the human eye will be drawn to, an the release date is often the last thing that needs to be presented to the audience; they need to be convinced to see the film first, and a release date does not make a good persuasive tool. Furthermore, it’s colour draws the eye across the whole poster. If it were placed above the billing box, the entire bottom right corner would be likely ignored.
The final titles are the tag-line and incentives ‘Based on the International #1 Bestseller‘ and ‘From the director of ‘An Education”. Tag-lines are typically small on film posters as they tend to be quite vague; they don’t tell enough information to act as a persuasive tool. The incentives work to the same effect as the actor’s names; if the actual film does not appeal to you, having read the book or seen other films by the same director may do.
An important aspect of the titles is the colouring. There are only two colours used, reflective of the number of protagonists. There doesn’t seem to be any particular prioritisation of the colouring; one particular colour does not represent more important information, for example. This again, could be reflective of the characters; there is an equal balance of their use. Also, the colours are neither bold nor garish, and add to the retro appeal.
Impact upon my production
I have rough ideas in my head for a film poster, and most of them are in the landscape format, which is why I chose the landscape version of this poster. The idea of photos within the shot to present he characters is quite appealing. I like the way it adds another layer between the relationship of the audience and the characters. Furthermore, it ‘humanises’ the characters more; they seem more realistic if photos of them exist.
I also love the way the font is reflective of the genre and themes of the film. I would love to be able to incorporate that into my own film.