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AnalysisReportExample1 - ONE SNAPSHOT AT A TIME ANALYZING...

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Unformatted text preview: ONE SNAPSHOT AT A TIME ANALYZING CULTURAL CHARAC‘I'LRIS'I'ICS OI MOVIE POSTERS CAMERON CRADDOCK ENG 372 PRIL 22, 2010 s the houselights dim and smells of freshly buttered popcorn fill the air, moviegoers flood the theater anxiously awaiting the opening credits and to become spellbound by their favorite actors coming to life on screen. What was Lit that drove them to spend the $12.50 on a mere two hours of entertainment? Was it the action-packed trailer relentlessly replaying on the commercial break of their favorite TV show? Or perhaps it was the streaming banner along the top of their internet browser reminding them not to miss this “must see” flick. In a visually driven industry, film maker’s use a number of enticing tactics to hook and reel in their target audiences. A classic and long-lasting tactic, which has been around since the birth of movie-making, is the design of film posters both on screen and in print. Whether it is about a tantalizing tale of two star-crossed lovers, or a nightmarish narrative of a crazed killer on the loose, film posters are visual snapshots which use striking fonts and graphics to captivate and connect with consumers in an instant. Multiple poster variations for one movie are often created as a way to target a variety of different audiences, even if the result is mislead- ing. We will be exploring iconic film posters from the US and analyzing how they drasti- cally compare visually to their international counterparts to attract those from different cultural backgrounds, a strategy of rhetoric. CAPTIVATING CULTURES: ONE SNAPSHOT AT A TIME In her book A century of movie post— ers: from silent to art house, Emily King describes film posters as “the ongo— ing story of the link between cinema and mWWW“WWW society" (King). Movies have been a part mm=*~-“'rfih-Fw~v- -'~-4""- of societal and cultural lifestyles for cen— turies, and without the participation of the audience they would cease to exist. Movie posters are means to communicate to the masses about the film and have the power to persuade through effective visual means. While poster designers have the challenging task of “capturing the magic of a movie in a single graphic image”, this timeless tactic remains one of the most popular ways to entice onlookers to fill the plush stadium style seating of the theater (Nourmand). With just the right selection : of typography and graphics which comple— ment one another, these quick snapshots can capture the emotions of the film. Film posters strive to arouse the interest of their targeted audience, which the actual movies themselves rarely live up to. Typi— cal universal characteristics of a poster include the title of the movie, the director, featured actors/actresses, and often times a tag line teasing viewers to take a closer look. While certain characteristics of the typi— cal movie poster may be universal, the reception of films from culture to culture tends to vary as do their poster designs. The variation in international poster design has been described as a way to accurately reflect “the tastes and aspirations of the audiences they were designed to attract" (Nourmand). This is a way for movie poster designers to visually communicate to specific user groups. In an interview with Collectors Weekly, Sam Sarowitz an avid Vintage movie poster collector and author of Translating Hollywood, refers to the international variations of film posters as “radically different” and the differences are “about much more than language” LORDOFWAR u, 1!?.:2F"Ey*?~ .. .. wink-"Hr: m (Keane)- Images: www.movieposterdb.com CRADDOCK: ENG 372 “"5.” .;. -. _.:,.;_; .- “WM 71:: r: .l 9- mm .-ii'l-l -! '-.'.‘.E' :. -. u - . . . - . o n o a.)..y...AnniaIII?!|Ita1r-uhnnllooiof-Iiof n - 4 I . _ . . I. A BACK TO THE FUTURE FILM POSTER: I’OLAND < FILM POSTER: UNITED STATES TYPOG RAP I-IY hile some may overlook the im— portance of typography in a movie poster, it reflects both the personality and can create an identity for a film. Type- faces have been described as a way to “ “convey mood, communicate attitude, and set the tone". Each reflecting a dis— w tinct persona, typefaces have the ability to speak to the user and suggest whether the film is funny, serious, romantic, scary, etc. (Brumberger). Along with cultural dif— ferences come typographic preferences. In attempts to target and attract potential audiences, a film’s poster may use a cer— tain typeface for its distribution in the US and a drastically different one to attract its international counterpart. H FROM ILLUSTRATIONS TO ILLUSIONS 5 you stroll past the entrance of the theater you catch yourself in a star- struck gaze as you become lost in the eyes of the heroic hunk. While waiting at the bus stop you can’t help but wonder about the tale of the two lovers who are gazing into one another’s eyes as the 2-d poster pops off the page and springs to life. At first glance it is often the captivat- ing graphics that catch the eyes of most onlookers and leave them wanting more. When defining successful illustrations and graphics of a movie poster it has been said they “must first catch the eye, and having caught it, hold the gaze, and invite further through brief inspection” (Price). Movie posters began as artistic illustrations of a film and have evolved in to mind-blowing and mystical displays, demonstrating the magic of Photoshop. Hand drawn illustra- tions are becoming more and more extinct with the development of the digital age, CAPTIVATING CULTURES: ONE SNAPSHOT AT A TIME as paint brushes are being replaced with Photoshop paint buckets. Drew Struzan has been described as one of the “last movie poster artists of our time", illustrating a number of iconic film posters such as the Star Wars trilogy, Hook, and the first Harry Potter film: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to name a few. He describes the art of movie poster illustrations being at its best when it “conveys a tangible sense of adventure” (Russo). Not seen as often today, these illustrations are expressions of the artist hired to represent the film and they must keep within the parameters set by the filmmakers. These artists then inter- pret the films in such way which will most successfully attract audiences by looking at the context of the culture in which they are intended for as seen in figures above. The overall goal is to entice and interest poten- tial moviegoers. A FILM POSTER: UNITED STATES Taking a closer look at these two more modern day movie posters for the film Couples Retreat. You can see the drastic differences in both text and textual color. The South Korean version reads more like a comic book, whereas the US version is more simple and reserved. FILM POSTER; SOUTH KOREA > CRADDOCK: ENG 372 Images: www.movieposterdb.com READING IN TO THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK he film posters we will be looking at more in depth were designed for the Steven Spielberg saga, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). This film is the first in a series which follow the adventures of professor and archaeologist Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, played by American actor Harrison Ford. With a pistol and whip in hand, Ford captured audi— ences all around the world in this iconic thriller. The film was so captivating it has been described as “transforming archeology" overnight “from a dim academic discipline into a profession that was as cool as they come" (Nourmand). Was it the influence of the film poster that brought so many different cultures to the theaters? You will be surprised at how posters for this one film visually communicate to users in three drastically different ways. We will dissect the visual differences of the US, Polish, and Japanese versions. Can you guess which is which? . .'p(|2u."5l: mum-i». Ami-{:01 iur'u' «J nearing“: _:--u_u[_-__.;i -—- lE-“Mk‘; --— “I'd—"4!. , I—Li. Hmbnnwu .. |.'n’vJ_’1J-uu.'. ..I-.i<:;:.L.'« . 4:. nun-.1. .... wan Mum __ .15.: a 91:1, _ m... ..- ,. - _ 933:".2: H " its-3.23:“ tag-mask”— .3; he image featured above is a l'iklllhin. ltlllll ‘ ' ‘ ' _ '- [JOStel' illustrated by artist Rich- | NM 53.3: ard Amsel, which was created for ".1Li.i\l:1\.l_'.l - ~ - ._ . - distribution in the US to promote .th — 3' g . ., I . _ . "" “x ' ‘ - " - " . .Ra'ders of mg Lost Ark' Target . against the muted tones of the illustration. . Lg“ . r . I ing the American culture who thrives on The use of negative Space frames the illus_ ‘ - _ " . .g I. - adventure and the sound of the phrase tration and highlights the bold, contrasting “lights, camera, action", this detailed il- lustration of Harrison Ford takes viewers on a journey of exploration and mystery in a mere snapshot. Harrison Ford is an iconic actor in the US and designers of this document use him as the front man to at- tract potential audiences. The infamous lettering which has an orange to yellow gradient reading “Raiders” is often identi- fied with the Indiana Jones series and this graphic style is kept consistent from the small poster to the big screen. The clear Images: www.movieposterdb-Com visual patterns created by the designers allow viewers to easily identify with the “Indiana Jones" trademark in items such as merchandise which is also sold in affili- ation with the film. This font boldly pops CAPTlVATING CULTURES: ONE SNAPSHOT AT A TlME CRADDOCK: ENG 372 tag line at the top “The Return of the Great Adventure”. Additional information about the movie such as the director's name, the production company, rating, and the names of featured actors can be seen in a small section at the bottom. The emphasis on text through the use of color and height shows the hierarchical of information in which the designer strategically planned to market the film. i-Hkklhnx‘ [swim 'J‘i" Fl U‘n'IIE ' " l’i "ism lx’ m u 7.1-. '-' “ 1v. .1 x it _i_\‘l;'.l ARHI nti'i'stam. s-revar. SPIi-iHEl-Ifl CAPTIVATING CULTURES: ONE SNAPSHOT AT A TIME his striking artist illustration to the left is the film’s poster created for the market in Poland. With a com- pletely different color scheme and poster formatting, the only thing kept consistent is Harrison Ford. Poles are known to have a profound interest and love for the arts and a very lively cultural scene (Poland for Visitors). This explains why Ford is depicted in a more abstract and artistic light in comparison to the US posters. Pol- ish film poster design has been de— scribed as very “avant—garde”, and rather than visually suggesting the actual film itself, the designers of these documents strive to “evoke ‘ the thematic feeling of the movie" (Atkinson). While this poster may seem to lose the action and adven- ture of the actual film, it is projecting a different pathos for their intended audience which is the Polish market and appealing to their cultural pref- erences. The title of the film Raid— ers of the Lost Ark is hard to spot as it seemingly gets lost in the body of the rest of the text. While the US 3:" poster is top and bottom heavy with varying text styles, the Polish poster aligns all important textual informa- . tion on the left. The color palette is dark with pops of color, emphasizing the designer's artistic interpretation. Some might say this is misleading in a sense it does not truly reflect the film, however it is the strategy of rhetoric. Lastly we will look at the Japanese version of the Raiders of the Lost Ark film poster. While this poster circulated in Japan prior to the release of the film, many in the westernized world would be left wondering what movie this is for. Much like the US version, the document designers chose to maintain a visual pat- tern to the big screen through the use of the iconic orange to yellow text reading “Raiders”. However, a strikingly notice- able difference is the photograph of direc- tors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas featured on the poster. The use of iconic figures is important to capture the at- tention of potential audiences and during this time Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were big names in Hollywood and _' . IN I. ,. If. ‘82!- “law rya—mt- ' I.” . '29—-¢x—mya—9~i .. - tantalum” __ i. " overseas, as they still remain today. Rather than using the fresh face of Har- rison Ford, the designers chose to take a different approach in which would appeal to their target audience. Rarely, if ever, do you see images of the directors them- selves featured within the design of the poster, but this is what appealed to this user group, at this particular time. The bright orange header contrasts against the stark black and white image, not only creating visual interest but allowing the blue text to pop of the page. Snapshots from the film itself are featured along the right side of the print as a way to arouse viewer’s interest and capture the sense of adventure within the film. JAPANESE VERSION .,.:.-. 1 '. '1. CRADDOCK: ENG 372 Images: www.movieposterdb.com iving in a society which is influenced and captivated by the magic of the movies, film posters surround us and entice us on a daily bases. Just as filmmakers use actors to capture audiences on the big screen, movie poster designers use these visual snapshots to create an experience and evoke the interest of viewers on e s reet. Variations in poster designs have been and always will be a pawn in the game of film industry. These visual means of communication have the power to persuade po— tential audiences. By using strategic design tactics and strategies to adhere to different cultural characteristics and preferences, film posters play a key role in attracting and targeting multiple audiences from around the world. “A POSTER SHOULD SEIZE A MOMENT...EXPLOIT A SITUATION ‘WITH ONE DARING SW’EEP OF THE PENCIL OR BRUSH. THE POSTER IS NOT A PORTRAIT. NOR A STUDY...IT IS AN IMPRESSION...A FLASH OF LINE. A SW’EEP OF COLOR ALL THAT CAN BE TOLD OF A TALE [N THE PASSING OF AN INSTANT. IT IS DRAMATIC AND IMAGINATIVE. YET IT 18 SALIENTLY SINCERE.” —HAMILTON KING AMERICAN POSTER DESIGNER CAPTIVATING CULTURES: ONE SNAPSHOT AT A TIME 'WORKS CITED Atkinson, Michael. "Polish Movie Posters." The Believer (April 2009). Brumberger, Eva R. "The rhetoric of typography: The persona of typeface and text." May 2003. Keane, Maribeth. "An Interview with Vintage Movie Poster Collector San Sarowitz." Col- lectors Weekly 15 April 2009. King, Emily. A Century of Movie Posters: From Silent to Art House. Barrons Educational Series Inc, 2003. Nourmand, Tony. Film Posters of the 805: The Essential Movies of the Decade. Ever green, 2005. Poland for Visitors. Polish Culture and Life Style. n.d. <www.polandforvisitors.com>. Price, Charles Matlack. Poster design; a critical study of the development of the poster in continental Europe, England and America. New York City: G.W. Bricka, 1922. Russo, Tom. "Blockbusters' poster boy." Los Angeles Times 22 May 2008. Sayar, Vecdi. Movie Poster: An Attempt to Visualize a Visual Text. September 1987. The Internet Movie Poster DataBase. 2004-2009. <www.movieposterdb.com>. CRADDOCK: ENG 372 ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2011 for the course ENG 372 taught by Professor Haynes during the Fall '10 term at ASU.

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