This video nicely demonstrates how a film poster is constructed in a very conscious way where every element in the piece is strategically chosen and positioned. The purpose for a film poster is to advertise a film and attract attention for a production which is achieved through a number of ways.
Described in the video as “the first line of attack” in getting people to see the film, film posters must give suggestions to answer two important questions about a production; what’s the mood of the film and what genre does it fall into? For example, if we look at The Silence Of The Lambs movie poster there is a sense of unease as an emotionless face stares back at us while a grotesque moth rests on the mouth of this person. It’s disturbing and sinister, and the dark atmosphere it communicates suggests the film its advertising is a horror or a thriller of some kind. It appears to be a serious looking film due to the lack of emotion and has a important quality of successful film posters; it’s eye-catching and memorable.
Posters can communicate cast. If we return to The Silence Of The Lambs movie poster we seen Jodie Foster who upon the release of the film was an established actress and a familiar face to many from both T.V. and cinema screens with such roles as Iris Steensma in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976). Although posters can feature no cast or an ensemble, featuring a member of cast who audiences will recognise will be rewarding for the production and increase interest. With our poster however, we only have amateur actors who, despite being brilliant, won’t ring bells when viewers see like as though they saw a Robert De Niro or a Tom Cruise perhaps. Having the cast on the poster is a great way to tell viewers what the film’s about and might also create attraction for the movie if they’re interested in the actors they see.
The composition of these characters amongst the poster is also very important and you can see this below when the annotated image I created.