Research Into Planning

I spent considerable time researching noir in order to create the most effective trailer as possible. This ranged from examining the trailers of existing noir films or creating my own poster as part of the practice ahead of making the poster of our film.

For example, the very first noir film I ever examined was the 1946 classic-noir ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ (Garnett). From examining parts of this film, I gained an insight into the stereotypical elements of what makes a noir film. This helped me shape the plot of the noir film with my other group members. This was developed further by watching the documentary on Film Noir and some of the thoughts of its notable directors. This also gave me a wider perspective on the patterns that appear when making a noir film. I conducted a similar exercise when viewing a video with interviews from Shane Black and Brian Helgeland who gave their thoughts on their inspirations of noir. This showed me the motivations of some of film noir’s more notable directors and I hoped this would influence our trailer by channelling the same thoughts and ideologies.

Once I had gained this basic understanding of the genre I began to look in more depth at singular film trailers. The first one that I examined was ‘The Long Goodbye’ (Atlman, 1973). This confirmed to me the existing semantic elements within noir. Some of these elements include; cigarette smoke, claustrophobic camera angles, low-key lighting and shadows across characters faces. By identifying these features, I could then ensure that I used them when producing our own noir trailer. We included the claustrophobic camera angles when Mark is hiding in the cupboard, which also included low-key lighting. I also conducted an exercise into examining the differences between a trailer and the actual film itself. By doing this I could then discern what features of the plot of our film needed to be included in our trailer.

It was at this point I began to take a more advanced look into some noir trailers. Within class, we have come to the realisation that trailers are formed of five key scenes, as otherwise, it makes the trailer feel more like a ‘best-of’ montage rather than an advert for the actual film. To refine my understanding, I looked at two more trailers; Nightcrawler (Gilroy, 2014) and Brick (Johnson, 2005). By examining Brick I took away some principals about the use of sound and editing within a trailer. Namely, that you do not have to have one continuous track throughout your trailer and you can use the transition (i.e.-silence) to create tension. I also discerned that you can use the audio of one scene over the top of another. This, in turn, will be used within our own trailer when the audio of Rosette saying “come back to bed, I’m sure it’s nothing” is used with the shot of Hans’ feet. Furthermore, the examination of Nightcrawler I discovered that it had a very similar opening shot to our own, which was of Lou during a job interview (of sorts).

Finally, once we had a detailed plan of our own film, I looked at the trailers for two more films in order to confirm to myself that we were heading in the right direction. One of the films was LA Confidential (Hanson, 1997). It was immediately eminent to me that this filmed had not aged very well. The voiceover used is nowadays seen as a cliche and the use of music was not particularly effective in my opinion either. Although it did show to me how to frame and dress a femme fatale, it was mostly an exercise of what I didn’t want our trailer to be. The second film I examined, Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994), was far more useful. Namely, its use of music was very effective. I would seamlessly use transitions to switch tracks and placed a lot of emphasis on the reveal of the title. I took this idea of the gunshots revealing the title of the film for our logo of ‘The Widow’s Web’.

Overall it is clear to see that over the course so far there has been a clear progression in my understanding of the noir genre. I hope what I have covered will positively impact my own trailer during the production stage.

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