Frank Baker (Copyright, 2012)

This activity has two parts: first, analyzing existing film posters; and secondly, creating posters.

How to locate film posters online:
1. Go to the Internet Movie Database,
search for any film, then go to the bottom of the page and look for the link to POSTERS under the PHOTOS & VIDEO category.

2. Or using the Google search engine,  enter the title of your film in quotes (e.g. “the bourne legacy”) and the plus symbol (+)  and the word “poster” in the search engine,
For example: ” the bourne legacy” + “poster”
Then click the IMAGES option at the top of the page or in the left hand column.
Note: many of the results may be too small to be studied.

Place your cursor on top of any image and look for the phrase “MORE SIZES.” Click that phrase. The returned results will provide you with many options. You should choose the option that returns the largest file size.  This can be copied and pasted and inserted into a Powerpoint (or similar program) in order to be projected on a screen.

3. Analyzing and deconstructing the movie poster.

Questions to consider:

  1. Is the movie title prominently featured? Is the text easy to read?
  2. Are the main actors shown? If so, which ones? What do their appearances and expressions convey about the movie?
  3. What is the design of the movie poster? Does it accurately reflect the mood and tone of the film?
  4. What other images are included? What do you notice about the framing of the images?
  5. What text is shown on the poster? Is there a catchy slogan? If so, what does it tell you about the movie’s story?
  6. 6.Is there any other important information included on the poster?
  7. Why do/don’t you think this movie poster is persuasive?

Terms defined
The positioning of objects, actors, and text within the frame of a poster to achieve a particular effect. For example, a movie poster for an action film might feature the main actor framed in such a way as to make him seem attractive, strong, and invincible.

The feeling created for a viewer by the director’s use of details, music, and cinematography.

A catchy and memorable phrase or sentence on a movie poster. An effective slogan should convey the mood, tone, and main idea of the film without giving too much away.
It should capture viewers’ attention and make them interested in the story.

The filmmaker’s attitude as reflected in the movie—ironic, serious, and so forth


Creating The Film Poster

Now that participants (teachers or students) have analyzed an existing movie poster, they’re now ready to create one from scratch.

One of the newest, and easiest to use poster creation software is Glogster.  Educators can register so that all students have access.  Go to:
Student produced posters (called glogs) reside online and in addition to conventional features of a poster, these can include audio and/or video elements.

Examples of glogs can be found on the site.

Students can work independently or in groups to create a poster for a film

One suggestion:  print out plots of famous films on index cards (without giving away the title of the film). Students have to first figure out what film is being described, after which they brainstorm which quintessential elements must be included in the poster.

Video:  Designing A Movie Poster is a great video which takes viewers through a complete analysis of one of the “Star Wars” posters. The video is intended as a tutorial for those learning PhotoShop, but you don’t have to know PhotoShop to appreciate everything explained in the video.

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