As Sundance 2013 begins, I’ve spent some time contemplating the challenges of new entrants into the industry. Producers, directors, writers, and all the key players of these lower budget movies are surely under the gun when it comes to mass-market appeal and public credibility Dramacool. It is amazing to me how much the marketing and publicity of a movie determines whether it makes the A or B list in Hollywood. A well-financed movie with big backers and big names tends to do well as long as it has a lot of money for marketing and publicity pushing up behind it.
Interestingly enough, the movies that we recommend to our friends are usually the popular movies, the big box office movies, and thus, the winners of the game. No one wants to recommend a movie which bombed out at the box office, even if that movie was incredible, artistically perfect, and completely notable. But if only the big well-financed movies which make the A-list get high ratings then what does it say for the new players, all those young kids with incredible talent and genius coming out of film school, do they even have a chance, a chance do dance, in the sun or should they pack their bags a run?
While they are in their mental prime they may have the ability to produce incredible movies, and even if they don’t have the experience, they make up for it with that creative genius. But if no one sees their movie, and if they don’t get the money they need to do it right, it will never have the chance to make the A-list, or even have the synergy it needs to make a big. Sure, many of the movies from the Sundance Festival in 2013 will go viral, and they will get some publicity. However only a few of the movies coming out of the Sundance will get the recognition, awards, and credibility they need to jump the gap, or even have a chance at making the A-list.
Not long ago I was listening to an audio cassette program “Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry – Film and Television Financing, Production, and Distribution” and one of the speakers was explaining how critics determine which movies they would watch to rate, how they would rate them, and even the award bias seen within the industry itself; Oscars, Emmys, and Academy Awards. It can take months of hard work to produce a film and edit it for release. When a movie becomes successful, it is generally the directors and star actors who take all of the credit. However, without promoting a film on a large scale, it is unlikely to become a blockbuster. Marketing techniques are used to draw attention to the fact that a high-profile film is due for release. Modern advertising methods such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming popular for marketing films to the public, but historically, movie posters have been, and still are, the most common way to promote and drum up interest in it.
Most film studios have their own art and marketing division to create suitable movie posters. However, sometimes a film studio will hire a film poster design agency to come up with many compelling movie poster designs. Because of this, the industry can be quite competitive, especially if more than one design agency is hired by the film studio. The reason for hiring multiple poster agencies is to get many different styles of movie posters. Generally, multiple designs are requested because a film may need to be targeted towards many different sections of the market. The film studio can then choose the movie poster or posters that are likely to capture the public interest. For film poster design agencies, this can create added pressure because their poster designs may not be chosen by the film studio. On the positive side, the going rates for movie posters are quite high, so missing out on having a design chosen for a couple of movies does not do too much long-term damage to the design agency.
As a complication, a movie poster design agency may be contracted to come up with a poster design before production starts or a few weeks before the film is due to be released. This can make design planning difficult at both ends of the spectrum, as the film poster needs to correlate to the film itself. Another obstacle is that film posters need to go through a process of approval that can take some time. This often throws up sharp deadlines, particularly when a poster design agency only has a few short weeks to come up with a variety of different designs.
Although movie poster design agencies are encouraged to show a little bit of imagination with their designs, most film posters contain many of the same ingredients. For example, almost every movie poster has a shot of the lead character as the main focus of the poster. The reason for this is simple: Moviegoers are likely to want to go to see a movie if they already like an actor or actress who stars in the film. Additionally, some text displaying the film’s title is likely to be displayed along the top of the poster in large lettering. The name of a film is an important part of any film poster because it helps moviegoers to remember the title and then link that to the lead character. Other features that are common on the majority of film posters are a tag line, the name of the director and some major characters, and the release date. Of these, the release date is perhaps the most significant because people do want to know when a movie will be released to the general public.
One recent development in the movie poster industry is to release a teaser poster well in advance of the release date of a film. The purpose of this is to perk up the interest of moviegoers and make them want to see the film when it comes out. It may often be the case that production for a film has not even begun when a teaser poster is released. Teasers are not meant to divulge into any details about the plot or even when the film will be shown in theaters.