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Article – Tricks Of The Trade


Posted October 17, 2017 by

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Tricks Of The Trade

I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t like films. I mean, what’s not to like. There are films for every mood, every situation, every… okay I ran out there. But how do the production companies sell these films to you? You can’t like a film before you’ve even seen it, right?

I think it’s time for a Case Study!

  • Think of your favourite film from the past 5 years (or don’t, you can just follow along with mine if you want)

In my case, it must be The World’s End (Edgar Wright, 2013). Comedy, mystery, alcohol, aliens, weird blue stuff. All the components for a good film.

Tricks Of The Trade worlds end

  • Find out when it was released

The time of year when it is released can make or break a film. Why? The World’s End was released on 19th July, that’s a time in summer when kids are still in school, but college and university students, who are the main audience for the film, have finished.

You can find the release date through IMDb.

Here’s a list of key time periods for films:

January – Awards Season

February – Not many films out at this time so it’s easy to draw attention to one film e.g. The Lego Movie (Phil Lord & Chris Miller, 2014)

March – Half-term, kids are out of school (great time for kids’ movies)

April – Rainy Season, the cinema is a popular indoor activity

May – Easter Holidays

June – School time – a good time for parents and younger children to see films e.g. Minions (Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda, 2015)

July – College and University students have finished, films released for an older audience

August – Children are out of school

September – Children are back in school, older audiences go to see films

October – Rainy Season (again)

November – Run up to Christmas, great time for merchandising

December – Christmas, merchandising heaven e.g. the Star Wars franchise

  • Find out the BBFC rating

The World’s End was rated 15 by the BBFC for ‘very strong language and strong sex references’. Now, The World’s End could easily have been an 18 but to expand the audience and ultimately the box office returns. When a film is rated, the director and producer can decide to cut certain scenes in order to reach their preferred rating. For example, The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012) was originally rated 15 but was lowered to a 12 after some scenes were cut to attract a wider audience. Consider the target audience for your chosen film.

  • Check out the teaser poster

worlds end teaser poster

The teaser poster is an essential part of the advertising for a film. Unlike the main posters, teaser posters only include small amounts of information, hooking your interest.

As we can see, the teaser poster for The World’s End includes the director, the year of release, the actor’s names, and the title. There is no specific release date and no major narrative points are revealed yet.

  • Now take a look at the teaser trailer

Mine can be found here.

Fans of Edgar Wright’s work and people who enjoy comedy are going to be drawn to this. The trailer features comic characters and situations while also hinting at some darker underlying themes. Pegg and Frost are a well-known comic duo and some publicity had mentioned that they would be working together on this film as the final film in the Cornetto Trilogy. This increased ‘hype’ around the film, attracting fans of Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) and Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007).

As you can see, advertising is the most important stage of the film production process. Even if you have the best film in the world, you won’t get anyone to watch it if you don’t advertise correctly. At least half of the overall budget for a film is dedicated to promotion, without it the film would definitely fail. If used correctly, advertising can make you like the worst film and you wouldn’t even have a clue about it until you see it, and by then they already have your money.

So, I hope this has helped you understand the marketing techniques used in the film industry and how this affects a film’s success.


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Written by:

Paris Mayall
I, Paris Mayall – Blog
Freelance Contributor

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