Institutions and Distribution For Our Trailer & Linking To Ancillary Tasks

How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

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LINK: http://prezi.com/mfm8bcs3nfxv/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Here is a presentation that outlines how our choice of institutions and distribution companies affect the outcome and marketing of our trailer.

I also made a short video, in which I discuss how the different media texts we produced relate to their own individual industries.

One link between our magazine cover and the trailer is the urban setting. Our director, Andrew Wills is stood by some graffiti on the wall which links to the scenes in our trailer of Mark investigating the case in an urban setting.

Another link is the use of costuming. Our director, Andrew Wills is dressed to mimic a trench coat as seen with Mark Rivers in our trailer. This is a conventional costume that is used within the noir genre as worn by the fall guy during his investigation to uncover the corruption within the urban setting.

However, it is important to note that whilst our director dominates the majority of the cover, the tug at the bottom is focused on promoting other films and content in the magazine. Whereas the trailer’s sole purpose as a media text is to advertise our film- thus showing that the magazine cover has numerous purposes rather than our trailers single role.

There are also several intentional links between our poster and our trailer. The first being the use of smoke which can be seen in our trailer with the close-up profile shot of Rosette. Cigarette smoke is a common visual convention in noir and symbolises the mysterious and seductive elements of the femme fatale character.

Our poster plays heavily upon this idea of the femme fatale; using her mouth and the dark red lipstick to connote her sexuality and the danger that she possesses if a character is drawn in too close by her. This is also seen in our trailer through the use of costuming with her red dress and her demeanour towards Mark. Whereas the trailer is more focused on the character of Mark, as he is the one the audience see the perspective of the world from yet he is not seen on the poster. This demonstrates that the trailer is trying to sell the audience the narrative of the film whereas the poster is focused on promoting and selling the genre. This is because the genre is inferred through the cinematography of the trailer but there is only so much a poster can communicate as a single image. Therefore, instead, the poster has to rely on the use of semiotics where the imagery of the signifier acts to create a message in the audience’s head known as the signified.

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Thus, it is clear to me that the design of our magazine cover and poster are appropriate in the context of our trailer. These media texts serve a genuine purpose in advertising to the audience and acting as a symbiotic tool that is beneficial for both the production and distribution company.

Quantitative Feedback

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

Whilst producing our trailer, we also made a SurveyMonkey with some closed quantitative questions for audience members to answer. We asked 20 people at random, some of whom are in our target audience whereas others were not. Therefore, it is important to note that these people will have a limited understanding of the genre of noir (which is a more niche genre) and their understanding may be slightly less developed than my own. Here is what we found.

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Firstly, 70% of our respondents reported that they liked our trailer. This is always a good thing as the purpose of any trailer to advertise a film to an audience. Whilst six people did answer that they did not enjoy the trailer, further questions will perhaps demonstrate as to why they felt like that, but it was always very unlikely for it to please everyone.

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Again, an overwhelming majority of people reported that they understood our trailer. However, there is a danger here that they may have understood their own negotiated reading of the text, but this may not reflect the plot which we have created ourselves. However, if this conforms to the same results that we will attempt to uncover in our qualitative results then this will not matter so much.

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It is clear that our trailer has numerous different selling points to the audience. There was an almost even split amongst people as to what their favourite part of the trailer was. However, the plot came out just on top which is arguably the most important part of any film/trailer, as it could look appealing but if the story is not engaging, then no one will go and see it!

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There was more consensus when it came to what people believed we should work on. Here it was stated that the cinematography and music were the main key things to improve. In our qualitative feedback, we will be able to discern exact reasons as to how these could be improved.

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We also asked some sub-questions to gain an insight into the mindset of our audience. When asked what their favourite genre of film was, 35% answered comedy, with noir only receiving two votes. However, it is important to consider that noir is in itself a niche genre meaning that our film is targeted at this small 10%. If we can maintain a consistent understanding of the noir repertoire of elements along with some sub-elements of comedy and action films, then we can appeal to the widest audience.

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The response to the previous question is largely backed up by our following question with 68% of people never having heard of noir before. This is likely due to its obscure nature as a genre, although audience members may have seen a noir film before but just not have realised it.

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We were also able to determine that many of our audience will go to the cinema either once a week or once a month (on the whole), this therefore would mean that our film would have a good chance of succeeding at the box office if it were to go on a mainstream release.

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We were also able to discern that a significant number of the public will go and see a film based on its trailer. Therefore, this means that our film is likely to succeed if we can produce the trailer to a high enough quality.

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We then asked for people to rate the trailer out of five. We received an average 3.8 rating, which is probably a number that could be improved further. Thankfully, no one thought our trailer was worse than 3* and some did give it 5* showing a range of mostly positive opinions.

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We then looked to see how much appetite was generated by this trailer to see the full film, i.e if it did its job correctly. A considerable number of audience members chose to be rather tentative at this stage. This could be due to the fact that we didn’t directly target our primary audience of 25+. If we were to do this again, hopefully, the results would be more weighted towards ‘very likely’.

 

Therefore, from this exercise, we have obtained feedback on what areas need to be improved for our trailer and how it would be received on a mainstream release. We will now go about conducting some qualitative feedback to link back to these original findings.

How Our Magazine Cover Conforms To Generic Conventions

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

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As seen from the above selection of Sight & Sound covers, it is clear that our cover conforms to many typical elements of both the genre and the house style. Firstly, we have used the same masthead and barcode style as the typical publication. However, one thing that we have no included is the white border around the image as demonstrated by the other covers. Although, our image somewhat conforms to the typical house style. We have correctly identified that the vast majority of publications include the director on them, although there are exceptions to this rule such as The Revenant or The Neon Demon. However, we felt that as it was a niche film for a niche magazine, it would be more appropriate to market the director than the main star of the film such as a publication such as Empire would. Stylistically, we have met these covers somewhere in the middle. The covers range from black and white chiaroscuro lighting to bright and vibrant (such as the Charlie Kaufman cover). Therefore, we have shown an understanding of the visual conventions of these magazines and have slightly challenged them by using a colour splash against the graffiti.

We have also used the same colour and formatting for the tug and splash including the font. Whilst some editions such as Orson Wells or del Toro do differ from this consistent style- we chose that for a less mainstream film, Sight & Sound would choose to give us the standard sans font.

Whilst The Revenant issue did use a puff, on the whole, this is not the case for Sight & Sound, so we chose not to include one. Finally, the yellow box surrounding the text ‘Exclusive Interview’ in our splash is consistent with editions such as The Neon Demon,  thus demonstrating our attention to detail of the house style and conforming to its conventions.

Therefore, as previously discussed in this blog post, our poster has mostly met the conventions of the Sight and Sound house style and effectively plays homage to the semantic and syntactic elements of the noir genre.

The Widow’s Web: Focus Groups

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

This was the first focus group that we conducted and used the very first version of our trailer. Our ‘test subject’ correctly identified that the film was a noir and some of the key character types such as the femme fatale. This is significant because it shows that our job of communicating the repertoire of elements that the noir genre has to offer was done effectively. There were a few slight errors in her understanding such as the idea that Mark was framed for Hans’ suicide- which is not strictly correct but adds to the narrative enigma of the film so it is not an issue in my opinion. Her main pointers to improve were to improve the sound of the trailer and make the narrative ever so slightly clearer (so they didn’t think Mark was framed for murder).

We then worked on this as a group to dub our audio and add some new shots with Hans and Rosette to make the narrative even clearer to the audience. This is reflected in our progression through the piece which can be found in a blog post here.

In this video, we asked two separate focus groups for their thoughts on our trailer. From this, we were able to establish that the narrative and genre of our film were very clear, perhaps too clear and that to improve we should refine the pacing and music. This was a useful exercise to get direct feedback on our trailer.

Here is another focus group that we conducted as a group (feedback starts at 2:12). We learnt that the way in which we had constructed the narrative was effective with the wide array of shots. To improve further, we should change the mise-en-scene of the bedroom scene.