2. WHAT IS GENRE?
Genre is a term used to categorise literature, speech, music, arts and
films. This can be fictional and non-fictional.
However the film industry describes genre as the method that is used to
construct films based on their similarities in the narrative elements.
Genre in film is categorised according to the setting of the film. Films
that have the same genre will contain similar characteristics with it e.g.
Horror will mostly include blood, haunted buildings, weapons, torture
and disfigurements etc. whereas Romantic films will have lust, love,
culture, bad boy/good girl etc.
Christine Gledhill notes that “differences between genres meant
different audiences could be identified and catered to...” this therefore
creates a link between the audience and their chosen genre e.g.
romantic films are usually aimed at women whereas horror films are
mostly seen by men.
3. WHAT ARE CONVENTIONS?
“A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally
accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often
taking the form of a custom.”
The familiar and predictable forms and techniques used by
the media to communicate certain ideas or to convey a
The widely recognised way of doing something within media
mainly concentrate around the content, style and form e.g. the
conventions of music video:
- They are the same length as the song (somewhere around 4
-They present the band/singer, who look as though they are
-They have lots of fast edits.
4. What is a trailer?
A trailer tells the story of the film, in an abbreviated format, without
giving away too much, and without showing the ending.
The trailer usually has a series of selected shots – the
funniest/scariest/best clips from the film. However, these are
abbreviated to avoid ruining the overall plot, and leaving enough for
the audience to want to go and seethe film.
Examples of trailers are:
Bad Neighbours - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-zMBXsVaM0&
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 -
What is a teaser trailer?
“A teaser trailer for an upcoming film, television program, video
game or similar, is usually released long in advance of the product,
so as to "tease" the audience.”
A teaser trailer is a lot shorter compared to a theatrical trailer.
Examples of teaser trailers are:
127 HOURS -
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2-
5. How have film trailers become more contemporary?
Compared to the trailer of The Great Gatsby (1974)
To it’s 2013 version: The Great Gatsby Official Trailer (2012)
There is an obvious technological difference between the two movie trailers. The old
Great Gatsby has clearly taken the narrative form of the whole film and portrayed it in
a chronological manner whereas the latest version has gone against the equilibrium
theory so that the different scenes of the movie are totally mixed up to leave the
audience confused. The idea of changing the trailer from the old one helps it to
become more modernised and attractive to the audience. As long as the plot stays
the same. The hedonistic world of drinking, wealth and partying is greatly represented
in both trailers however the camera work in the current version of the movie is
extremely sophisticated, everything seems defined and the you can clearly see the
mise-en-scence, locations and actors compared to the old version of the film. The
technology has advanced at such a great speed that you can easily express it in
format that guarantees that the audience will love it. I noticed the difference in camera
shots and editing effects to make the story come across as another. The non diegetic
sounds that was used was more intelligently done to try to make the audience feel
certain way so that they can relate to the trailer while still intrigued to watch the film
6. WHAT MAKES A GOOD MOVIE TRAILER?
Impressions: people are drawn to what they see and hear first, to make a good
trailer you need to be able to ‘wow’ the audience and make them feel a certain
way so that they are intrigued to watch the film when it comes out.
You need to be able to condense the whole movie into a 2 minute clip, for this
to happen you need to pick out the best parts of the film all in while
remembering not to give away any plot twits etc.
Editing: being able to edit a movie trailer you need to have the confidence that
you can do it sophistically. If you don’t have the knowledge on how to edit then
your trailer is bound to be not good therefore you cannot attract any audience.
The trailer has to be different, people do not want to see something familiar
otherwise they will start comparing it to other trailers. Your ideas has to be fresh
and new. Having a different soundtrack can play with the audiences emotions
therefore you can control how they feel about the movie, whether it is non-diegetic
or diegetic sound.
The trailer has to be the question and the movie has to be the answer, the
trailer should not give away anything that will make the audience lose their
Large institutions are bound to have more money to make their trailer compared
to small institutions therefore this makes their trailers more sophisticated and
classy. This means that money has something to do with the outcome of the
7. INDEPENDENT AND CONGLOMERATE COMPANIES: 2
Media conglomeration is the idea of combing two different companies to create a
larger company to enable more success e.g. Time (a publishing company) and
Warner Bros. (a movie/television company) combine to form Time Warner. This is
also an example of Horizontal integration, having companies like this means that you
can spend more money on special effects, HD equipment, 3D, actors and actresses.
An example of a movie that required companies to synergise was Gravity -Warner
Bros and 20th Century Fox; which is known for its high quality films such as X-men,
Star Wars and Titanic. worked together to distribute the movie so that it can be more
successful. As the audience you are more likely to watch a trailer/film that has been
distributed by a company that you know hence why they make a lot more money.
8. INDEPENDENT AND CONGLOMERATE
Audiences will be much more interested in seeing the quality of a film trailer if they
are aware they have had a lot of money within their budget to spend on making
the movie. This is already a disadvantage for an independent company because
they lack the money to hire famous actors, equipment and to make good special
effects. An example of this is the film “Room 8”. This film was only dependent on
one production company hence why it wasn’t successful in other countries unlike
But, a smaller budget is harder to work with because they can not invest in
equipment that can make their true vision of the story this therefore effects the
originality of the film. It also presents the idea that their trailer was quite effective if
they were able to attract audiences to watch it even if the trailer was of a low
The film was overall successful due to the amount of awards that it won which
lead it to more people watching it.
By doing the research, I have discovered what is required to
make a movie trailer and as well as what is needs to be done
in a trailer. Looking at different areas within the film industry
has made it easier to choose what I want to do for my
course. I chose the genre horror because it was the most
fascinating for me and I would like to research more on it
however I would also like to study and understand other
genres so that I know why certain elements are used within a
trailer. To understand why some shots are used, mise-en-scene,
sound and other features to make the trailer more
appealing to watch. Looking at this will help me construct my
very own trailer because I will know how to structure and
11. WHY DO PEOPLE WATCH HORROR
MOVIES? Horror movies are watched as a form of escapism and to create an adrenaline rush in
the audience. However, the subject of this is connected strongly to the uses and
gratification theory which explains the reason why any audience is consumed by a
certain text. This theory explains that media is created in order to fulfil the audiences
needs and it is done because of:
Gender Socialisation- research has shown that more men enjoy scary films than
women, this may be due to the fact that men see themselves as brave and enjoy
Surveillance- this is the idea of where the audience feel safe that they aren't in the film
themselves. They will be feeling secure because they are behind the screen so that
they are not in the position of the person who is scared or hurt.
Personal identity- Some audience relate directly to the characters or even have
similar characteristics with the character/characters in the film.
Personal relationships- People go to the movies to associate with friends and family.
Its an activity that can easily bond people together. Its something to talk about in a
conversation and they can relate through the basis of the film.
Escapism- the audience will watch a horror movie in order to relax from their daily
problems and stress. It’s the idea of watching the film and not think about anything
except for what is being portrayed to you. Some audience even imagine themselves
as a character within the film itself.
12. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: LIGHTING
Low lighting in the film usually
represents the villain/the supernatural
creature however you wont be able to
see them clearly until they have been
revealed to you properly in a
High key lighting female lead
Generally dark lighting throughout
the whole movie so that a dark eerie
atmosphere can be created for the
Night vision is mainly used when the
characters within the film are viewing
a found footage that explains/gives
clues to what happened in the past.
At the scariest moment possible, the
lights usually goes out which creates a
13. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
LOCATION Within a horror movie, they mostly
have a secluded location where they
enjoy placing their characters in a
situation where there is no one
around to help them e.g.:
• Abandoned house in the middle of
• The woods
• An abandoned amusement park
This brings out the idea that when the
evil/supernatural things happen, no
one would save the character that is
about to be a victim. These places are
meant to be dangerous and
intimidating to the characters.
14. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
Equilibrium- at the beginning of the film
you have what we call the balance/peace
where everything is undisturbed where all the
characters are introduced etc.
The disturbed peace is then disrupted by a
person/death/monster. This is the middle of
the film where everything starts to go wrong
Near to the end of the film, the problem is
established and the resume of normality
once again takes place.
Horror films are usually in a chronological
order unless there are flashbacks that helps
us understand the film
Sometimes the film includes love story
between the main character with someone.
A mystery horror creates a puzzle for the
audience which helps to intrigue them and
keep them focused
15. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: SOUND
Violent sound effects are presented
within a trailer, horror films are
extremely known for their dramatic
intense music which helps to portray the
characters fear or draw in the audience
even more into the film. Sound is
important because it helps to manipulate
the audience feelings in the way you want
them to feel. This will make the trailer a
lot better because sound is so powerful to
their feelings. These are some of the
ways that can help to create the
atmosphere you want for a horror movie:
Combination of loud and quiet
Sudden explosion of sound
16. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: MISE-EN-
SCENE Is a French term meaning what is put into a
scene or frame. It has five elements within it
(focusing on horror):
Make up- blood, special effects, stereotype
Props- killing weapon, blood (extreme
gore), Locked doors, Torch light, Abandoned
Costume- masks, aspects of genre, monster
(dark), victim (light)
Location- dark isolated, woods, graveyards
Set film-mixture of urban and rural, mostly
Mise-en-scene is known for enhancing the
fear in horror films. It helps control how the
audience feel and react to the film itself.
Horror films are known for their low key
lighting which creates suspension and the
audience an idea that something negative is
about to happen.
17. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: CAMERA
Low key light emphasises the
High angle mainly shows the
victims in horror films that lack in
power, they are seen as helpless and
week compared to low angle victims.
Pan and track is mainly used during
a chase scene. This allows the
audience to keep up with the
characters in the film.
Point of view shows empathy with
victim therefore it can easily be
relatable to the audience because
they are put in the shoes of the
Medium shots are usually shown in
distance with the monster.
18. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
CHARACTERS The most vulnerable characters in horror films are
usually females. This is because they are
stereotyped as the weaker sex, and make for the
easiest victims. Males are usually portrayed as the
stronger and more rational character, who has to
protect the female.
There is always a damsel in distress within horror
movies however its mostly the promiscuous girl
that gets punished for being sexually active.
Heroic failure and the heroic
Monster/killer- the killer is either a supernatural
species or an ordinary person who has suffered
some kind of great trauma, abuse or injustice in
their life. The killer is masked to console the
killers identity until the final scene.
The victims are never random, they are mostly
linked to the killers past.
Some characters have the obvious fate to die until
the heroic figure comes out with a plan to save
20. In the beginning of ‘The Conjuring’ trailer, they followed the typical convention of
most trailers by presenting all the institutions involved in the creation of the film.
Mentioning institutions, alerts the audience watching just what type of trailer it will.
Displaying who was part of the making of the film can allow any audience to know
about their reputation of quality of films/trailers as well as if they ever had a
complaint (about if the trailer was inappropriate to be shown the time or channel it
did) they would be able to go to ASA –’Advertising Standards Authority’- to which
they could complain about the film as well as the institution who helped make and
release it. The white, black and grey helps the audience to recognize the type of
trailer it I sand they should also expect what they are going to be watching.
21. This is when the whole feel of the trailer changes – the
music stops, and an eerie silence takes its place. We see
the first glimpse of the words that are slightly explaining
what is happening without giving anything away.
Slow motion was used when these shots where being
portrayed compared to the average speed in order to isolate
this scene specifically as an important part of the film which
is where everything that goes wrong beings. At this point of
the trailer there is a disruption of the equilibrium by some
action. In the middle of the shots there are different scenes
that relate to what is being said. This helps the audience to
understand what is happening.
22. THE CONJURING
The trailer then does something
typical which is common in a lot
of trailers which is introducing the
things that effect people the most,
the grave yard, the skull, cross
and the dead baby doll. This
emphasises on what the film is
associated with as well as what
the audience should expect.
23. THE CONJURING
• To present the location of situation, establishing
shots are used as well as long shots
• Handheld which makes the film/trailer appear more
realistic and making it more believable
• Tracking to follow a character
• Dolly- gives the illusion that the character is being
stalked or followed, usually shot from in front or
• Point of view shot – so the audience watching can
feel as if they are looking through the eyes of the
character the fact that we can see through a point
of view shot makes the audience’s fears come alive
whether it be elevators or claustrophobia which
may make it even more exciting to watch.
24. THE CONJURING
Within the conjuring
trailer, everything seems
to be calm, the family is
happy and there are no
disruptions until the
supernatural events start
The fact that the woman
is being pulled across the
room helps to create a
even bigger theme of
By showing snippets of
what is going to happen
in the film and giving out
a part of the monsters
face helps to raise
questions that can only
be answered I you watch
25. THE CONJURING
Before the clear sign that the
disruption has been
recognised, the trailer cleverly
presented a woman who is
being pulled away from her
own bed without the trailer
showing us what it is.
The intense non diegetic
music presents to us that
there is more to the film and
the next scene shows random
picture frames falling down.
These type of events helps to
raise the enigma code.
Using low key lighting during
the entire time, kept the
audience reminded that the
film is darker than it intends to
show and with the text on
screen which imitated a
process of thoughts, the
readers thoughts on the film
27. WHY DO PEOPLE WATCH ROMANTIC
The belief in “idealisation of partner.”
To learn about love and relationships were more likely to endorse
idealistic romantic beliefs than those who watch for other reasons.
To relate your own life to the perfect relationship on screen.
Idea of escapism- Seeing two people fall in love allows you to live
vicariously one of the great moments of the humans experience. The
audience will watch a romantic movie in order to relax from their daily
problems and stress. It’s the idea of watching the film and not think
about anything except for what is being portrayed to you. Some
audience even imagine themselves as a character within the film itself.
To distract people from their daily problems such as depression, anger
and other emotional pain.
Personal Identity- the idea of romantic films is to help someone
discover themselves towards what they like and don’t like. It allows
you to realise what you want/need in your own life.
28. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
Romantic films mainly introduce
their characters at different
settings. The different locations
mainly include schools, exotic
buildings, urban areas. This
helps by making the film a lot
more realistic and they happen to
be positive places. The settings
of the film usually gives away
what the plot of the film is like.
E.g. the beach represents care
free teenagers whereas if it is in
a city it shows that its going to be
a mature romantic films with
older people. This makes it
highly important to choose a
location that relates to your story
29. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: LOVE
Love is of course a major convention
when it comes to a romantic film. This
is the main purpose for the fil. The film
trailer expresses this genre by using
soft music, bright colours and the two
beautiful protagonists. There is
usually more characters within the film
e.g. family, friends and even pets that
helps to portray the love within the film
and therefore has a larger impact on
the audience. This is what the
audience want to see, whether it is
real or not.
30. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: MISE-EN-SCENE
Romantic trailers the props and
costumes involve clothing that are
brightly coloured- which often reflects
the personality of the character-. This
may also represent positive things
such as a meaningful charm bracelet
or precious love letters.
The props and costumes reflect on the
situation but mostly the personality of
the character. If it is a romantic film
including a 'bad boy' he may even
have a gun just to go against the
usual convention which either makes
the trailer even more exciting or may
even put some audiences off.
Romantic trailers will want to show
props an audience can relate to and
will like as well as ensuring that they
are modern enough and even 'on
trend'. This makes sure the right
audience is attracted and kept
There is always the typical things in a
romantic film like the lighting, music
31. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: SOUND
When it comes to sound within a
trailer, it is a key element in terms of
whether the audience feels they
have connected with the film and
therefore decide to watch it. Both
diegetic and non diegetic are
sounds as each other in terms of
making the audience feel a certain
way which will make them want to
watch the film. Though non diegetic
sound like music is important as it
can change emotion, diegetic
sounds like someone crying or
even a powerful sentence can bring
just the same effect.
Romantic films mostly have slow
dramatic but soft music. This
depends on the scene however it
has a large impact because the
sound manipulates the audiences
32. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
The characters are usually in
the form of a man and a
woman, these characters are
always introduced at the start of
the trailer/film since they are the
main focus. The woman is
mostly the damsel in distress
whereas the man is the hero.
Within a romantic film it is
mainly 2 main characters/love
interests. The rest of the
characters are either the family
or the friends of the lovers. The
woman is seen as the eye
beholder of the man, she is the
one that usually saves him from
falling to the bad side. This is
presented in the trailer for
every romantic film however
with a twist to it.
33. P.S. I LOVE YOU
34. P.S. I LOVE YOU
As the trailer begins, it is seen that it
does not follow the same method as
a horror film would, though it begins
with the approval from the Motion
Picture Association of America
because the film is American, it
does not introduce all the
institutions involved except for the
main one, it straight away gets to
the beginning of the trailer. Being a
romantic film it traditionally begins
by introducing the main characters-often
only two- and tells their
‘situation’ up until they meet their
potential ‘partner’. Starting with a
blank screen allows all the focus on
the film and nothing about the. The
lighting of the film started to set the
mood straight after this shot.
35. P.S. I LOVE YOU
The shot presented is a wide
establishing shot that defines
where it is and the time of the
This is seen as quite
conventional for a romantic film
in the case that the film is set
in city as well as at the time of
a happy festival (Christmas).
This also shows that this type
of romantic film is going to be
based around two adults who
live within the city. Also shows
the time of the year that most
people would want to stay in
the house and watch romantic
movies with your partner.
36. P.S. I LOVE YOU
Trailer then introduces their
institution with positive non
diegetic music , giving the
trailer a lighter tone and
changing the low key lighting
to something much more
bright as well as his shown
setting too. This presents
another side to the character
with this two person shot. The
red outfit shows the woman
who is our main protagonist.
37. P.S. I LOVE YOU
Romantic trailers are commonly known
for presented intimate, loving or sexual
scenes. this way the audience are
aware of the level of appropriateness it
is as well as they type of romance you
will see- whether it be erotic or simply
modest. modest. A side close up shot is
effective as it presents love, comfort
and privacy through the use of a dim
lighting that has a bright background. it
displays the fact that she is alone and
together, but the audience is able to put
themselves in that position too because
of how private it is and at the fact they
are looking in on it.
The idea o the country side shows the
quiet romantic side that will eventually
bring people together.
38. P.S. I LOVE YOU
A medium close up in order to present
emotion as well as show the true
friendship of how women share
everything. This is extremely popular
within horror films.
The idea of the letters shows that that
is the main point of the entire film and
everything is going to be based on it.
40. WHY DO PEOPLE WATCH THRILLER
The aim of the thriller genre is to create suspense and excitement for
The tension that builds up in the movie makes the audience raise
the enigma code, they start wondering questions like "what would I
do if I were in their situation?" “Would I run or would I hide?”. You
tend to place myself in the movie and sometimes criticise what the
character does in the movie.
To gain an adrenaline rush while the gory and horrible things are happening
to the characters. It’s the way of the audience to fantasise themselves as the
character and to also relate to what they would do in that situation.
The main idea of a thriller film is to manipulate the audiences feelings by
making them feel unsafe, have anxiety and to be in a nerve wracking
‘The genre thriller and other suspense films are virtually synonymous
and interchangeable categorizations, with similar characteristics and
41. TYPES OF THRILLERS
Plots of thrillers usually involve
characters which come into battle with
each other or with outside forces - the
threat is sometimes abstract or sinister.
Romantic comedy thrillers
Action or adventure thrillers
42. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
Shadows are closely related with low
key lighting and are used as a
convention of a thriller film
Black and white is another of the
conventions of a thriller, because it
accentuates the use of shadows, and
can often appear quite eerie and
Within thriller films mirrors are used to
portray the reflections of a persons
soul and their inner self. Mirrors can
also foreshadow the darkness within
certain characters expressing inside
emotions they may not want to reveal.
43. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
Thriller films are known for
their busy streets and
environment of an urban area.
These type of locations allows
the audience to think about
how this can happen anyway.
The idea of a location is to set
the atmosphere of the help to
also construct the
characteristics of the
Places like the police building,
psychiatric hospital and
abandoned buildings are
expected within a thriller film.
44. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: MISE-EN-SCENE
The location is important for the film
because it help the audience establish
Costumes- antagonist will be in dark
clothes if you see them. Protagonist will
be in ordinary everyday clothes
Film stoke (Black & White, or colour,
Fine-grain or grainy)
Thriller trailers tend to reveal the working
of a particular institutions such as the
police or even the government.
Props and costumes like: knives, suites,
guns, secret files and badges are
expected to be seen in this genre, this
gives the effect of professionalism for
trailers and helps the audience to
visualise themselves in the same
45. CODES AND CONVENTIONS: CAMERA
There will be a lot of close ups and
extreme close ups of the protagonist
character, this is often to show their
emotions, also it can be used to focus
on props to aid the narrative.
The shots of the antagonistic character
will be cut quickly and will aim to hide
their identity, e.g. A shot of the back of
them, a low key shot, the silhouette, or
shadow of the character
The camera angles are there to show
different facial expressions and body
language. By using a wide range of
camera angles this can help capture
every emotion present within a film,
making the audience feel like they are
observing alongside during the duration
of the film
46. CODES AND CONVENTIONS:
The protagonist is often a brave male
who seeks to restore the equilibrium
The antagonist will have a hidden
identity that the audience will uncover
as the film progresses. Often the
antagonist goes out for revenge from
a past event.
The careless teenagers who often get
Authority figures, such as police
The hero of a thriller film is usually the
only one who can solve the enigma
and reveal the truth, the villain is
usually more violent because the idea
of a thriller is to include a psychotic
side in order to be able to make the
film more interesting.
48. THE DEPARTED
I have noticed that serious types of genres like horror
and thriller, tend to add a lot of blank screens within
their trailers to create a more dramatic effect of
suspense which leaves the audience watching the
trailer wanted more. It also gives time for the non
diegetic to be the main focus and keep the audience
steady in the emotion they feel as they watch it.
The trailer instantly begins with both exaggerated
diegetic sound and non diegetic sound of
someone taking. The music used is intense, and
daunting as if they are stepping into something
they shouldn’t be. The lighting is quite low in
order to display that something is going to get
wrong. As the trailer goes on, with almost the
diegetic sound of the man talking turning into a
voice over, a medium wide shot of the main
character is shown in order to introduce him
49. THE DEPARTED
Using a close up shot on
the police man is
extremely effective as
most of the attention is on
him. The fact that you can
see every emotion of the
character makes it so
much more powerful and
realistic to watch.
The lighting has remained the same which does
set the tone of the film already through the trailer.
The typical codes and conventions of a thriller are
then shown in the trailer i.e. the guns, police
office and detective and the police man.
50. Lighting is extremely important within serious
genres films/trailers as it sets a tone which the
audience tends to remember and hold on to. If
also tells the audience that is it a serious
situation and that they should then feel a certain
way. As well as this, darkness is a key factor in
hiding something 'evil' or even putting fear in the
audience because they themselves don't know
what is there. this in all enlarges the sense of
mystery within a thriller trailer.
51. With a flash, in introduces
the many distributing
company, signifying that
they are the main institution
involved all while adding
intense loud bangs when
appears on screen.
Throughout the trailer we
witness the different text
that makes us raise
questions that can only be
answered in the film. This
helps to keep the audience
fascinated to what they are
By conducting research about the codes and
conventions of a horror, romance and thriller genres I
have learnt that they play a key part within the films.
They help to create tensions and are capable of
manipulating the audience feelings in different ways.
This helps to keep audience engaged throughout the
films. Codes and conventions are also what makes a
film so mesmerizing, keeping audiences at the edge of
their seat constantly waiting for something to happen
due to whatever codes and conventions are present
within that film. The location, characters, lighting and
the other aspects of the codes and conventions help to
set the mood and they all play a different role to make
one master piece.