Archive for the ‘Ancillary Task’ Category

Here’s to the next twelve months…

Better late than never, I figured that I should be able to complete my film poster today. My film poster is relatively simple, and most of the connotations and effects I hoped to portray in it are present within the actual photograph itself. This means that largely the completion of my poster involved two tasks:

  1. Further editing the actual photograph itself in Photoshop. This way I can create light effects that I was not able to do with a camera alone
  2. Add the official information to the poster. For example: main title, billing block, release date, tagline and actor’s titles.

I thought that seeing as I am not particularly well-versed in the use of Photoshop, I would tackle the editing of the photograph first, as it would probably take me the longest to figure out how to do. The following is a list of the steps I went through in order to end up with the finished edited photograph:

1. I opened up the image in Photoshop. Despite my previous convictions, I decided to not go for the photo I had selected in my previous post regarding the Ancillary Task. I thought that firstly there would not be enough room at the bottom third of the poster for vital information such as the main title and the billing block. Secondly, I thought the photo was a little too dark. I figured it would be easier to darken a photo than lighten a photo. This is why I decided to work on the lighter twin brother of the photo I had originally chosen, which can be seen below:

My eventual choice of picture to edit.

2. I wanted to be sure that I could always come back to the photo in its original state, so I duplicated the background and worked on the duplicated layer, so I could return to the original when necessary.

Duplicating the background layer

3. I then added a ‘layer mask’, to give me a free palette upon which to edit. This mask could be revealed so that how the picture looks overall can be revealed.

The 'layer mask' tool

4. Originally,I attempted to use the ‘Colour Burn’ technique. This darkens whichever pat of the picture you select slightly, in a ‘burnt’ fashion. I originally applied this mostly to the left hand side (furthest away from the candle) and slightly along the bottom of the picture and a small part in the top left of the picture.

[Picture to be inserted]

5. I instead thought that I could get a better effect with the ‘Gradient’ tool. This would make the darkening of the edges more equal and proportionate, therefore making it look more real. On the layer mask, I applied the tool, with the gradient moving darker from the right to the left.

[Picture to be inserted]

6. I then applied a second gradient, moving from the bottom up. I was taking the candle as the main light source, so I therefore had to assume that the farther away from the candle any point of the picture was, the darker it had to be. The candle is roughly in the top right hand corner, meaning the bottom left hand should technically be the darkest part, hence the addition of this second gradient.

[Picture to be inserted]

7. I also felt that the faces of the girls in the pictures were extraordinarily light, and it contradicted the lighting of the overall picture. On another layer, I added a black-coloured spot over their faces and then weakened the contrast of this layer, so that only the spotted areas were darkened on the overall picture. After a few other minor tweakings, this is what the final picture looked like:

[Picture to be inserted]

Adding Titles

8. I thought the first title I would add would be the main title. I thought it would make a good judge as to whether the font and title style actually worked, as technically the main title should be the part of the poster which draws the most attention and is the most dominating feature. If it did not look good, then it would somewhat suggest that the style would work at all.

After importing the font, I split the title into three parts; ‘The Season’, ‘to be’ and ‘Jolly’. This was because I wanted the words ‘The’ ‘Season’ and ‘Jolly’ to be the largest and most noticeable. So I made these two parts the same size, but made the ‘to be’ smaller. I also wanted to be able to move the title about so it was not just on one line, but was relatively split up, just as in my original design.

My initial poster design in which the main title was yellow

Once I had gotten the sizes right, I coloured the titles. In my original plan, they had been a pale yellow. But once I had completed all the above stages, I simply did  not feel that this yellow would work, or that it would be bold enough to stand out. I tried the titles with the same red colouring as they had in the titles of my actual video production. This deep red stood out a lot more than the yellow, and also it allowed me to keep up continuity across all elements of the production. Furthermore, red has several connotations, from lust to danger, both of which could be argued to be present in my production. Just to be on the safe side, I added a slight shadow effect on the title, so they stood out more. Also, the shadows on the title reflect the ‘shadowy-ness’ of my poster overall.

9. I thought that constructing the rest of my titles would be a relatively similar process, so I decided to work on the only other title which would prove a challenge, the billing block. The first step I took was finding the correct font for the billing block. Under advice, I used one called ‘Tall Films’, which can be seen below. After this, I decided to find a billing block upon which to base my own. This can also be found below.

This was the billing block I selected at random from Google Images. I wanted to find a standard billing block, so as not to over-simplify or over-complicate my own billing block


The 'Tall Films' font

The biggest problem presented by a billing block was the layering of words in the same line. For example, in the above billing block, ‘Production Designer’, ‘Director of Photography’, ‘Executive Producers’ and so on are all displayed in two small lines even though they are on the same line. This meant that I had to split the words up into several layers, so that they could all be positioned differently to reflect this effect. I also attempted to replicate the shape of this billing block. Rather than being a standard square shape that is filled out with words, the lines are all of different lengths and are aligned differently from one another. I tried to replicate this best I could without it seeming too oddly shaped. It was not helped that I did  not have a smaller version of my logo to place within the billing block. This meant I had to alter the shape so it did not look too odd.
At the bottom of the billing block, I added a website. I figured it would be highly unlikely that a short such as this would have its own website, so I placed it as a subsection of the website of the fictional Redtree Pictures. So that this website would not be confused with the billing block and would attract the attention of my audience, I coloured it the same as the main title.
[Picture to be inserted]
10. Another missing feature from the billing block was the release date. I had always planned for this to simply be ‘Coming December’ and I saw no reason for this to change. It was suggested to me that perhaps I should mention that the film would only be ‘Coming’ to a television channel, as obviously a short film would not receive its own slot in a cinema. It thought it would be best to leave it as ‘Coming December’, so that the release date was not too much of a distracting feature. Furthermore, it is up to audience interpretation as to whether they think it would be premiered on television or not.
This title was constructed the same way as the main title, including font, colouring and shadow effect, with the only obvious difference being size. I made the sizes of ‘Coming’ and ‘December’ different for two reasons. Firstly, ‘December’ is the most important part of the message and is therefore worthy of emphasis. Secondly, having the word ‘December’ in the corner of the poster further emphasises the Christmas theme of the poster overall.
[Picture to be inserted]
11. The actor’s titles were the other obvious feature missing from my poster. They proved to be quite a problem. The actual construction of them was not particularly a problem. Once more, they had the same features as the main title and the release date. The only difference was size and I also lessened the darkness of the shadow and it’s positioning behind the titles, so that they were clearer.
The positioning of the actual titles itself was problematic. Below were some of the options I considered:
[Pictures to be inserted]
12. This  meant that the only remaining stage was to create a tagline. I figured it would make the most sense to in-keep with the theme of using popular sayings, such as ‘The Season to be Jolly’, even though this technically is from a song. I used several websites to try to inspire me to turn a Christmas sayings into a tagline. Even the one I found with the most sayings, did provide anything obvious. I therefore had to use something which would likely be said on Christmas, even if not necessarily a phrase. I came up with ‘Here’s to the next twelve months’. Although not exactly a standard Christmas phrase, I think this best represents the theme of reflection in my production, as the characters are always either looking forward to their hopes or looking back towards the events which are making these hopes more and more difficult, hence, ‘the next twelve months’.
Final Product
Below is the final product. I am actually very pleased with it, and believe it is of better quality than the film itself.
  • All themes of the film are reflected in the poster
  • Continuity is maintained
  • The picture has been successfully edited to effect
  • The titles, billing block included, look effective
  • The characters are clearly shown on the poster and all have equal focus
  • The poster is an improve,ment upon the original design


  • The title can become difficult to see from far away
  • The positioning of the actor titles still looks quite odd

I think that fact that the strengths outweight the weakness by quite a lot is proof that this poster is an overall success.

[Picture to be inserted]


Film Poster – The main shot

After collating all the poll results, I thought it would be best to make as quick a start as possible on the demands of my audience, especially as I have let my attention draft from the ancillary task somewhat. My audience decided that the poster design they liked the most was Design One, the design with the photo frames and Christmas decorations.

Below are some of the shots I was able to take. I’m very pleased with these shots. The main aspect of this shot would be the lighting, and as I was unsure what lighting effects I would be able to create with software like Photoshop, so I took the photo in a couple different lighting types. Whilst I have every faith in the software, I didn’t want to have to rely too heavily on effects.

Whilst a took a lot of shots, the following six show the progression and changes I made whilst shooting and also show the best shots:

The original shot

This shot shows the original layout of my picture frames and decorations without any lighting effects. I think this makes a convincing Christmas display that you would find in one of the girl’s houses. Furthermore, the composition is fairly accurate, seeing as each girl takes up an equal amount of space on the poster. Unfortunately, I accidentally bought the third frame the wrong size, so Christy’s frame is slightly larger. However, this isn’t massively noticeable, and should worse to come to worse, it could be argued that due to her great prominence within the film, it is only right that she should get a larger frame.

Before the swap over...

This was one of the first shots I took with a lighting effect. After a few shots I immediately picked up on some problems. Firstly, the edges of the shot aren’t nearly shadowy enough for the darker themes of the film to come through. Secondly, having the candle in the foreground dominated the shot far too much, and would only become more dominating with lower lighting.

...and after

I swapped the candle and the miniature Christmas tree for this shot. I think this is a great improvement. The candle is more subtle and now that the Christmas tree is in the foreground, the overall ‘Christmassy’ feel of the shot is  emphasised. However, this shot is still not dark enough.

A closer shot

Another concern I had with the previous shot was the overall composition. I had to be aware that I needed a lot of space at the bottom for the main title, billing block and so on. This si why i made this shot a little tighter, so that the girl’s faces are clearer and there is more room at the bottom of the shot.

This shot was too dark

It took me a long time to get the light perfect. I had to play around with all the various light sources available to me, and I took shots whilst opening and closing curtains, turning lights on and off and moving lamps around. Above is an example of one of the more disastrous lighting shots, when I was attempting minimal lighting. Obviously this shot is too dark to use.

The final shot that I may use on my poster

After balancing the lighting just right, I was able to get a few shots similar to the one above. I think, if down to me, I would choose these shots above the others, for many reasons. Firstly, the lighting is just right. There is just enough shadow around the edge to emphasise the darker themes, yet the mellow yellows and oranges bring out the Christmas theme. These shadows are also cut hard across the shot in the form of the crevices in the bureau that the frames are stood on. Secondly, the composition is just right as well. Each character takes up an equal amount of space and there is plenty of room for the title and billing block. My greatest criticism of this shot is that the characters faces are a little unclear. However, there are similar shots with slightly clearer faces at the expense if unbalanced composition or lighting. I will simply have to decide which is more important to my poster.

Next Steps

I am unsure whether to put these shots up for audience opinion. The shots I intend to choose from are much of a muchness, and the only differences between them are significant to myself. This si why i am likely to choose the correct shot based on a balance of lighting, composition and clarity.

Titles and Poster Poll Results

I have decided to collate the results of both polls conducted last week now, so that there is plenty of time to organise how they will impact upon my production. I would like to get as much work which does not concern the actual footage done as possible, so that I have more time for the lengthy process of editing.

Poster Poll

The results of the poster poll

The results show that my audience much prefer Design One to Design Two of my poster ideas. Whilst looking over my designs, I was afraid that due to a lack of colour, Design Two was not clear enough, giving Design One an unfair advantage. Nevertheless, given the huge result that Design One received, it was unlikely that a small change in design would have made much difference. Now that design One has been chosen, my primary concern is making it look as sophisticated as possible, as well as achieving perfect lighting and composition.

Title Poll

The title poll results

There is a slight issue with this poll in that it received only nine votes, as opposed to the ten that the poster poll received. Unfortunately, as this is an anonymous poll, I cannot chase down the one person who did not vote on both polls. However, clearly the results show that even if this one person had voted, the results would stay relatively unchanged. I personally would have chosen the Santa’s Sleigh font, however, clearly my audience do not agree. I have decided that I’ll go with their choice, seeing as I have little reason to not to. Since deciding on this font, I have seen many other positives with it. I especially love the way that it perfectly reflects both the slightly ominous feeling as well as a traditional Christmas feeling.


Whilst I wait to hear back from the Scandinavia Coffee House, an aspect I have decided to focus upon is my titles. I figure that these are going to be the most important aspect of my intro and, as Maria von Trapp did once sing, the beginning is a very good place to start.


When I initially condsidered my titles, I thought that choosing a Christmas theme would be a blessing, as it meant I would be able to easily narrow my searches and focus on fonts and designs with a ‘Christmassy’ theme. However, the more that I considered it, the more I realised that on the whole, most Christmas film producers do not choose an obviously ‘Christmassy’ themed font for the titles of their films, and that this is in fact a very old choice. Some example are displayed below.

The titles for 'The Holiday' are spectacularly un-Christmassy. They are simple, black and serif, which leads them to be open to representing a variety of themes

Other than the gold and green colouring, the titles for 'Bad Santa' are even more simplistic than 'The Holiday', with it's sans serif design adn slight curved effect being it's only other notable features.

The same applies to 'The Polar Express'. Without the snowy background, these titles are not obviously from a Christmas film. Take away the gold colouirng and they become completely generic.

The general consensus seems to be that Christmas film titles should be neither obviously nor outrageaously ‘Christmassy’. Rather, the title should reflect the wider theems associted with the film. For example, The Holiday‘s titles reflect Christmas and sophistication.

Impact upon Production

This means that wehn it comes to selecting soem fonts to put up for audience opinion, I think I may try to choose some fonts which reflect the wider themes of my film. For example, because my film explores he darker elements of Christmas, perhaps a more serious serif font is in order. On the other hand, I may want to lure my audience into thinking that my film is a typical, happy Christmas film, and may therefore try to choose a softer font. Below are some of the options I am considering.  I have sourced the fonts from, a website offering free downloads of fonts.  

These fonts are sourced from

Santa’s Sleigh font 

This is personally my favourite font, and the one I would choose if I were making this production on my own views alone. The main reason for this is that I feel it has a good combination of the ‘Christmassy’ themes as well as not being too overbearing. It is open to other themes, and whilst it does not directly apply to the themes of female sociability and isolation, it doesn’t oppose these ideas, therefore making it suitable:

The Santa's Sleigh font

St. Nicholas font

This is my second favourite font, for the same reasons as before. It is ‘Christmassy’ enough to be appropriate but is open to other themes. I also like that it’s not too overbearing, unlike other Christmas fonts. My largest criticism is that it is quite old-fashioned, meaning it would be more appropriate for a film featuring traditional Christmas themes, such as A Christmas Carol. Given that my film is supposed to be  modern, I’m not sure that this font would be the best choice. Nevertheless, it is still suitable for the aforementioned reasons.

The St. Nicholas font

Handwriting Dakota font

This font is not particularly ‘Christmassy’, but I think it could be described as seasonal. I was using this font when I was editing my rough footage as replacement for the undecided font, however, I then decided that I actually quite like it and thought it was quite suitable. I think it is open to all my themes and can therefore be applied. This font is also suitable for my target audience

The Handwriting Dakota font

Next Steps

These fonts will have to be put up for audience criticism in order to choose the most suitable option.

Initial Film Poster Designs

Amongst the fun and games of pre-prodution must not be forgotten the other aspect of this coursework specification, the ancillary tasks. So far, he only work I have done on the first ancillary task (film poster production) is some basic research on posters with similar genres and themes to myown film. I feel that this research has given me enough knowledge and ideas to begin creating my own poster ideas. Obviously these will have to be subsequently put up for audience criticism and changed as such. Below are the initial designs for my posters.

Design One

Design One

 Shot Types and Composition

This design consist of only one main shots, which takes up the entire poster allowing no room for a background. This main shot would consist of the three main characters’ pictures in their own photo frame on a surface like a counter or mantel, surrounded by Cgristmas decorations. The im[pression I am attemtping to give is that this photo has been taken in the house of one of the characters at Christmas, where their photo frames are surrounded by Christmas decorations. What I didn’t present on the poster, mostly because I thought it would dominate the poster and look odd was that this poster would eb mostly dark, and the objects above would be lit by a light from below, giving a laragely shadowy appearance. This should tell the audience everything about the film that they need to know; the film is Christmas-related, heavily focussed upon the main characters and explores some of the darker themes related to Christmas.

Each character’s photo takes up an equal third of the shot, implying equal focus upon all characters, as well as implying that they are all separate characters and people within their own right, who need to be carefully observed by the audience.

Overall Composition

I haven’t attempted anything outrageous as far as overall composition. Whilst I am aware that I have made great focus upon the rule of thirds in my previous film poster analyses, this is simply because I believe it is the most effective tehnique film poster technique and have thus applied to my own. The three thirds of my own poster are actor titles, main shot and title. I’ve split the various types of title across the poster, to draw audience attention across it. The main shot is sandwiched between the various titles meaning the main aspects of the poster should receive acknowledgement.

I have made a slight odd move by merging the billing block and the main title within the same space. This was for two reasons. Firstly, I believed that there simply was not enough room for  the billing block to be placed underneath the titles, without taking away space from other important features such as the main shot. Also, this way, all official information, such as the release date, production company and the billing block itself ae all on in the same eyeline, making the poster more formulaic and structured.

Titles, Font and Colouring

I personally believe the most important aspect of my titles is their colouring. I tried to keep the colouring bright as possible. Firstly, to i-keep with the Christmas theme. Secondly, I thought a completely darkened, shadowy poster would give off the wrong impression in terms of genre and theme. The bright title colouring should counter this imbalance.

The same very much applies to the font. I wanted something which was not outwardly ‘Christmassy’ but enough so to brighten the poster and not distract from the darker themes. The font I have attempted to replicate above can be found below.

The intended main title font

Despite my drawings, I have not yet made an official decision reagrding the font of the actors titles and release date. I had originally planned to make them the same as the main title to in-keep with continuity, however, this font becomes quite unclear at small sizes so I didn’t think it would be effective. Seeing as I have not actually decided upon this as my poster, I don’t think this a pressing issue. However, should I chose this design, I would leave these font choices down to my audience.

Design Two

Design Two

Overall Composition

I believe that composition is the most important feature of this design. It is loosely based on the design for the poster for The Holiday. I hoped to emmulate the sophistication of this poster. As far as composition is concerned, the things I have replicated are the white panels containing information. I use more panels than the original, as I wanted to spread information across all areas of the poster. An element of Design One can be found in this design, in that each character also receives their own block for their picture. Overall, there are eleven blocks or panels for information. This desgn means that the audience has to sopend a longer amount of time looking at the poster to understand it’s message. It’s message would obviously be the same as the first design, namely, Christmas, characters and darker themes. To take myself out of my comfort zone, this design does not particularly conform to the rule of thirds.

Shot Types and Composition

The idea with this design is that the panels would be covering one central image in the background that would sum up the film. The only problem with this is, is that I am struggling to think what this image could be. Should this design be chosen, this would be decided by my audience. This design incorporate three other shots. These would be one each of the characters, which would be placed in the blank blocks in the above picture. The expressions of the characters would eb varied in order to match their characterisation and the themes of the film, otherwise, these do not come through very clear. For example, Louise could look upset whilst Ellen looks concerned.

Titles, Font and Colouring

The titles are another aspect which would be inspired by The Holiday film poster. Thyey would be as similar as possible, as I believe these titles really express the sophisitication I am looking for. These titles can be found below. Serif fonts are a stereotype of Christmas media, as it is reflective of it’s traditional, Victorian roots. Depending on interpretation, these titles also have a quite serious and sombre look to them. ombined with the black lettering, this could emphasise the darker themes within my production.  Black is also the most dominating colour, meaning the human eye will be drawn all across the poster.

The Holiday titles

As with design one, the font of the other titles is undecided, as I am unsure whether to keep up continuity or break it for effect. Once more, should this design be chosen, the font of th other titles would be chsoen byu my audience.

I thought this poster could act as the more sophisticated design as opposed to design one, which is quite young. The sophistication of this poster would come across in the largely dominant white colouring, serif font and the expressions of the characters, which I imagine would be varied.

Next Steps

Although at the back of my mind, the ancillary task is not my primary concern at the moment. Once filming is complete, I will have a short space of time before editing begins to focus briefly on audience opinion of my posters.

Film Poster: Sex and the City

I was struggling to think of a suitable third film poster to analyse which would be associated with my own production. I’d already covered the conecpt of setting a narrative over many years, as well as the theme of Christmas. The only other dominant theme or aspect in my film which I could think to focus on was that of female sociability.

Whilst I’m aware that I may have let Sex and the City (King, 2008) sway my production too much as it is (given the parallel of the Miranda characters), I thought that it’s film poster would be suitable for analysis given the general parallels between it’s characters, for example, middle class, professional women who have been friends for a long time and regularly see each other and discuss aspects of their lives such as jobs and romance.

I decided not to go for the UK/US official poster for Sex and the City, given that there is not a lot to analyse in the way of female sociability. The UK/US poster has a heavy infulence on the title, and largely plays on using the Sex and the City name and franchise as an incentive:

The UK/US poster for Sex and the City does not appropriately express themes of female sociability

In a quirky twist, I’ve decided I will analyse the German poster for the film, simply because I believe it is more useful to me:

The German poster for Sex and the City

Shot Types and Composition

The poster only consists of one shot, which is of the four protagonists on what is presumably a night out. I beleieve this shot is extremely successful as it implies all the main themes associated with this film including fashion, friendship and romance .

The shot type used is a wide shot, which just about squeezes all four women into the portrait format. This makes the poster quite unique; rarely does a film poster consist almost entirely of a simple wide shot showing the characters doing something as mundane as walking down the street. Once more, the producers are relying on Sex and the City’s pop culture status. They rely on the idea that their target audience will be able to gather all necessary information simply from seeing the four women on a night out. Although there is of course the possibility that this is a teaser poster, hence the lack of information revealed instantaneously.

The composition of the characters is also very important. For example, Carrie Bradshaw can be found in front of the other women, whilst the others walk behind her in order of dominance within the film. This again adds to the idea of the shot acting as an incentive. Carrie is the main feature of the Tv Series, book and film and therefore must be the main feature of the poster.  

Carrie is often presented in front of the other characters, showing her importance within the series.

Overall Composition

This poster has a very simplistic layout in terms of composition. It has only four main features: the main shot, the titles, billing box and the release date. This means it differs greatly from the posters I have already analysed, where the use of a background was incorporated as well as a main shot. This is because the poster is trying to put emphasis on the relationship between the characters rather than the plot of the film.

The titles can be found at the bottom of the poster at an angle. There are several reasons for this. A simple one for example may be that by putting them at an angle, they take up more space and the audience’s eye is more drawn towards them, especially given their bright colouring. Furthermore, the lack of action in the main shot must be compensated for and this can be done by angling the titles without compromising the sophistication of the poster overall.

As far as the rule of thirds is concerned, this poster is quite effective. The human eye is naturally drawn towards the middle horizontal third. However, clearly there is little in this third other than the women’s bodies. This means that the brain must search the rest of the poster to find more features it can gain information from. In this case, the women’s facial expressions and the titles, which are placed in the remaining thirds, meaning all sections of the poster gain audience attention. The target audience also comes into play here. The women’s figures as well as their clothes would be considered important aspects of the characters and film respectively. Given that these are important to the target audience, they are placed in the first place they will look.

The middle third, usually the most occupied, is in fact quite plain

Titles, font and colouring 

Throughout it’s time on television, Sex and the City kept the same logo, which can be found below. However, for the film, a new logo was created, using a new font and new positioning of the words. This new logo can be found both on the poster, and in its usual form below. This new logo is used as the title on the poster. Given it’s new design, as well as the colouring, the target audience would be very quickly attracted to this. The new colouring in particular would attract those not in the target audience given that it is extremely bright and borderline garish.

The traditional logo for Sex and the City...

... being replaced with the new one for the movie

The new logo/title also incorporates a ‘glittering’ effect, which compliments many aspects of the characters, for example, the amount of money the women have, the fact that they are part of the New York glitterati. It also takes on the style of a handbag, shoe or other accessory, common props throughout he film and series.

The only other title which appears in pink is the release date. This is because it is the only information that the audience is not aware of, and is therefore just as important as the main title, hence the similar colouring. The actors names are in white, and do not show up particularly well. This is because they too are an important part of the franchise; anyone who knows Sex and the City is likely to know the actors names. Furthermore, the actors names are presented in the same order as they appear in the series opening titles, in-keeping with continuity. The billing box is also presented in white, given that the information it gives will not have immediate impact on the audiences.

The tilted title takes up more space on the poster

Impact upon production 

What I like most about this poster is the large focus it has upon the sociability of the characters, and how it uses this as the main feature of the poster. Although I would love to do this, I don’t think it would be possible for my own poster, given that I don’t have a well-known name or characters that my audience will instantly recognise. I do however hope to incorporate into my own poster the friendship of the characters, something which is easily and obviously expressed in the above poster.

Film Poster: The Holiday

The second film poster I thought I’d analyse was that of The Holiday (Meyers, 2006). The most important themes of this film to me are, again, that of romance and comedy. Also however, this is a Christmas film, and I was interested to see how this theme would impact upon the poster, being unsure how ‘Christmassy’ to make my own poster. The Holiday is a romantic comedy film, in which two women (one from the UK and one from the USA) swap homes for Christmas, and how they subsequently fall in love. This therefore means that the idea of Christmas sociability is common in the film, as it would be in my own, and I was interested to see the extent to which this affects the poster. Below is the poster for The Holiday:

Shot Types and Composition

Unlike One Day, this film poster has two main shots. They are both largely similar, and unlike One Day, both are close ups rather than a long shot. The close ups emphasise the expressions of the protagonists, which are important for expressing the genre to the audience. Clearly, these shots are the two most dominant features of this poster, so the genre comes across quickly and efficiently. Other than this, the shot types are very simplistic. For example, there is nothing distracting in the background, whilst there is a brighter, clearer foreground to focus audience attention.

The characters in the shots are compositioned based on gender and nationality. For example, the American woman is cross-sectioned with the British woman and vice versa with the males. The are also compositioned vertically, for example, the British characters occupy the left hand side and the American the right. This allows for audience attention to be spread evenly across the poster.

The contents of the topmost main shot also contains a slight reference to Christmas, in terms of the character’s scarves.

The character composition cross-section of this poster

Overall Composition

The main shots are placed in the topmost and bottom most thirds, allowing the middle third to be occupied by titles and such. The human eye is naturally drawn to the middle third anyway, however its isolation due to the shots emphasises it more. 

The main feature of the composition is that there is a strong equal focus on the four protagonists, and their relationships. This represented by the fact that the faces of the characters take up an equal amount of space on the poster and are by far the most dominant feature.

The background colour chosen is white. Usually used to represent innocence, in this case it more likely used to represent Christmas Admittedly, white is not the most ‘Christmassy’ colour, but it is more subtle. It also makes the black lettering of the title stand out more.

Titles and Fonts

Just like One Day, the font chosen for this poster is serif, similar to the font Georgia. Serif fonts are usually used for several reasons. For example, in formal letters. In this case, it is used in a similar fashion to One Day, in that it is used to represent the romance of the film. 

Again, the biggest title is obviously the title, for the same reason as One Day; the instant information that the audience needs to see is the title and the main messages that can be deciphered from the main shots.

The middle section, containing the titles

The second largest titles are the actor’s names. As well as being typical of film posters, again this acts as an incentive, even more so than One Day, given the extensive works of all four main actors. Interestingly, both females names (Diaz and Winslet) are presented before the males (Law and Black). This is because they are the protagonists, whereas Law and Black better fill the roles of the heroes.

The next largest title is the director’s name. This is interesting because in One Day, Scherfig’s name is only mentioned in the billing box. This shows that Meyers is perhaps better known. This further backed up with the ‘from the diretor of’ line, which mentions two films, emphasising her filmmaking career; audiences are more liekly to want to see a film from a well-known, more experienced director.

The release date is a slight anomalie. Not only is it a different colour than the rest of the titles, but it is not included in the middle section, where the rest of the titles are. This is for several reasons. Firstly, similarly to One Day, it draws the audience’s attention across the whole poster. Furthermore, the release date is simply ‘December’, implying that this is possibly a teaser poster; this would certainly explain it’s simplicity. The word ‘December’ also has the obvious connotation of Christmas.

The billing box and release date title have a different coloured font, to coincide with the above white theme

As far as letter colouirng is concerned, nothing daring has been tried. There is simple white on black for the main titles, whereas the billing box and release date are white overlaying one of the main shots. A lack of bright, overbearing colours implies that the target audience for the film is adults. This would certainly be true, given its theme.

Impact upon my production

I think the main idea I am hoping to take away from this poster is its focus upon the characters. Obviously the lives and interactions between the characters are pretty much the main feature of my production, and I want this to come across in my film poster. I will definitely consider making simply the faces and expressions of my characters the main focus of my poster.

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