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How Do Film Trailers Persuade Their Target Audience To Go And See The Film

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A trailer can play a major role in enticing audiences to go and view a film. It is made to attract the films target audience, that is the people who are most likely to want to see the film. A target audience can depend on age and gender and will contain sound and images that will appeal to that target audience. The footage shown in trailers has also become more and more technically advanced in recent years. Trailers are therefore an extremely important marketing tool, along with posters, as they encourage many people to watch or rent the film, therefore bringing in a great deal of money.

They play important roles, as without a trailer the public may not have been aware of the film’s existence. To attract audiences, a trailer must have many qualities. It must have a great amount of information in a short amount of time. The major job it does has to be done in around two minutes and in this two minutes it must encapsulate the film, attract the attention of its target audience and make the film stand out from all of the others on the market. A trailer works effectively as a marketing tool because so much is crammed into it, the audience therefore gets the full impact of the film.

It also has to contain every single aspect of the film ranging from action to romance to give the public a real feel for the film and to attract the different tastes of the public. However, often a trailer can simply contain the most exciting parts of the film to make it more appealing and to make it feel more action packed, therefore making it appear better than it actually is. It alerts the public of the genre, the main idea of the plot, the special effects, and the celebrities who have been involved in making the film ranging from famous actors and actresses to well known directors.

From looking at this information, the public can then decide if they like any certain aspects of the film and therefore if they would like to see it. However, trailers do not give away too much information about the film, as the public will consequently have to wait with anticipation for the release of the film. A great deal of publicity and curiosity is also created. A trailer is released before the actual film, as more and more people are made aware of the film so the audiences will be bigger and more profit will be made.

Often they are played at the cinema before another film of a similar genre and certificate. It will then work more effectively at attracting its target audience. On the television, trailers are usually played around the time when their target audiences are most likely to be watching. A film aimed at children will have a trailer played around the time that children arrive home from school or on a Saturday morning around the time when cartoons are playing.

In the same way, a film with a certificate eighteen will often be played after nine pm, after the watershed as it may contain footage, which is not suitable for young children. I have chosen to take a detailed look and the two trailers from the films of ‘Pearl Harbor’ and ‘The Hunch Back Of Notre Dame II’. The first trailer I looked at was the trailer to ‘Pearl Harbor’. The trailer alerts the audience of the many genres including romance, action, and history. These multiple genres give the film a huge target audience and therefore attract a vast amount of people.

The genre of romance stereotypically targets females. Action targets males and the historical side of the film is aimed at older people. Young, famous actors and actresses such as Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale are also used along with other types of sex appeal to attract young people and teenagers. However, the names of these actors along with the name of the film are not shown until the end of the trailer to make sure that the audience’s attention is kept throughout so making them watch the whole trailer; therefore all aspects of the film are shown.

This also leaves the audience with a reminder of the name of the film. The historical element is introduced with the use of black and white pictures and actual video footage relating back to the events of ‘Pearl Harbor’. The basic idea of the story line is first expressed using lighting effects as at first the trailer is quite light but the mood gradually changes when the lighting goes dark and gloomy. This expresses the devastation and heartache caused by the events of ‘Pearl Harbor’.

The lighting effect is not only used to express mood as it is also used to show glamour, this will target many people especially women as a love scene is shown; it is very smoky and the light is very dim producing an elegant effect. Colour is also used to depict the mood and as well as the genre; a deep blood red is used to merge the contrasting themes of romance and war. The use of splicing acts to present both the action of the fight scenes and the emotions and feelings of the characters.

Some scenes fade slowly into each other and are slightly distorted to express how dazed, disorientated, and shocked the characters are but extremely fast splicing is also used to depict the action. The visuals and camera shots are extremely important in this trailer as they are used to express emotions and situations. There are a number of big close-ups to present the huge emotions and distress of the characters, especially when it comes to despair as the audience empathises with the characters and want to watch the film to see why they are suffering so much.

The vulnerability of all of the people involved with the devastation of December 7th is expressed through the use of high-angle shots which look down on the characters from above making them look small and defenceless. The most effective use of a high-angle shot is when a camera follows a bomb heading down towards the people and the ships in ‘Pearl Harbor’, this makes everything below the bomb look weak and powerless. The action is expresses using a wide range of camera shots including dolly shots, zoom shots, crane shots, pan shots and steadicam shots.

Dolly shots and pivot shots are when a camera on wheels moves and when a camera pivots to follow the action, when used quickly these shots create a frenzied atmosphere. A zoom shot is when the camera lens zooms towards or away from something; it is used in the trailer very quickly to create drama. Crane shots are also widely used in the trailer to look down onto the bombing of the harbour and make everyone below seem helpless.

To really follow and empathise with characters, a steadicam shot is used, this is a hand held camera which moves with the action and gives a jerky feel to the scene, this is used to take the audience back to the actual events and to make them feel like they are actually there caught up in the panic. There are also amazing special effects in this trailer, this is obviously visible in the action scenes through the aeroplanes, battleships, and missiles. Costume and makeup also play an important role as they create a feeling of reality. Music and sound plays an extremely significant job in creating mood and atmosphere in the trailer.

Solemn, soft, flowing music is used to express the pain and sadness the people are going through but the music also crescendos towards the action. The exact speech of President Roosevelt is also used as a voice over, this is an original voice over from the film, this speech was very depressing, and sombre so further expresses the suffering. The speech also gives the exact date of the devastation, ‘December 7th 1941’, which adds to the historical aspect of the film. The speech starts with a rhetorical question; ‘How long is America going to pretend the world is not at War? ‘.

This instantly involves the audience and grabs their attention. The theme of war is repeated by constantly repeating the word ‘war’ along with others combative language such as ‘aggressive movement’, this targets men and sex appeal is also used to attract attention; ‘playboys’. The voice over lists a number of countries and nationalities which give a more realistic feel to the trailer and involving many of the countries of the world makes it into a film which will attract many audiences internationally, ‘Berlin’, ‘Rome’, ‘Tokyo’, ‘British’, ‘Russian’, ‘American’ and ‘Japanese’.

The sad tone in the President’s voice and the constant repetition of the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ let the audience feel the shock and devastation of the bombing of ‘Pearl Harbor’ as it makes them sympathise with the characters and feel like they are mixed up in the commotion and misery. The voice over also only concentrates on the actual events in the film so that the audience is not distracted by anything and their attention is kept on the content of the film. This is the one main voice in the trailer.

The main three characters hardly ever speak which shows just how helpless they are, further creating the feeling of empathy. The love and romance is expressed when the characters do speak, ‘I’m going to War… Just make sure you come back for the both of us, aright’. At the very end of the trailer, the music ends with church bells, which signifies death. It also ends with short and bold, dramatic sentences; ‘We are at War’. This last feeling of sadness and devastation makes the audience long to see the film and when the film is finally released, many people will flock to see it.

The second trailer I chose to watch was ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame II’. From the very start of this trailer is evident that this film had a completely different target audience to ‘Pearl Harbor’. This was immediately visible as this film was an animated feature whereas the last trailer actually contained real actors. This film was therefore most likely to be aimed at young children; this is in contrast to ‘Pearl Harbor’ as that film is aimed at adults, as it is more serious with a complicated storyline.

This trailer is very bright and colourful to attract children and the words shown on screen and in the voice over are very simple so it is easy for them to understand, children would not have been able to understand the complicated words in the ‘Pearl Harbor’ trailer such as ‘infamy’. Similar to ‘Pearl Harbor’, the trailer also contains dark colours to express negative things; in ‘Pearl Harbor’ darkness is used to show death and sadness and in this trailer darkness is used to show who the bad characters are.

For this reason colours are very important to children as good people are immediately associated with bright colours in the same way that evil people are associated with dark colours. Music is also used to distinguish between good and bad as soft, flowing music is played versus ominous, dark sounding music. The evil character in ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame II’ is called ‘Siroush’, as the film is aimed at children his name sounds like the ‘swoosh’ of his cape so it easy for children to connect the two together.

When Siroush enters, the colours immediately darken and the music changes, however, the mood is always returned to being more bright and happy so that parents know that their children will not be scared. Parents are made aware that the film is not all negative, ‘friendship’, and that there is a moral to the story, ‘Real treasure is found within’. In addition, large subtitles are put on screen displayed in gold lettering with a black background which adds a touch of class. They read ‘Believe in yourself… Miracles do happen… Dreams can come true’ and as the film is targeted at children, these words are also read in case they cannot read.

This also makes parents feel that their children could learn something from watching the film, ‘Why must we always steal’, and like ‘Pearl Harbor’, this targets the audience as it makes them feel involved with the story. The sound is also important in this film trailer as it is in ‘Pearl Harbor’. However, unlike in the last trailer where music and sound is used to express emotions, this trailer uses simple language and sound to connect with the audience, as many of the target audience will not be able to read or understand complicated vocabulary.

The voice over uses words to the film’s advantage in this trailer as it includes a lot of persuasive, influential language. As the film contains no famous actors or actresses like ‘Pearl Harbor’, the maker of the film; ‘Disney’, is repeated as it is extremely famous and the films are recognisably worth a look at. ‘Proudly presents’ and ‘master piece’ illustrate how the film is of a high standard and ‘proudly presents’ is also a form of alliteration which children are extremely susceptible to.

Both of these help to draw in a greater audience. Parallel to ‘Pearl Harbor’, this trailer also makes the audience feel involved by using the repetition of ‘you’ and ‘we’. However, this trailer also makes the audience feel in touch with the film as unlike ‘Pearl Harbor’, it is a sequel to ‘The Hunch Back Of Notre Dame’. This means that anybody who has watched the first film will be targeted as if they enjoyed the last film; they will automatically be attracted to this film too.

For people who have not seen the previous film, they are informed that the last film was a hit as this sequel is a ‘Return to all the majesty of Disney’s original masterpiece’ and includes ‘all of your favourite characters’; again connecting with the audience. However, the film is clearly not a repeat of the last film as ‘the story continues’ and there are ‘some new friends’. The public therefore knew that they would not be bored as this has a completely different storyline, as there are obviously more things going to happen.

Towards the end of the trailer, there are also chimes of bells similar to ‘Pearl Harbor’ but in the trailer to ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame II’, the bells do not signify death and funerals but more likely love and weddings. This allows both parents and children to know that there will be a happy conclusion. Also as in ‘Pearl Harbor’, this trailer ends with a sharp, bold voice over and subtitles but where as ‘Pearl Harbor’ concludes by attracting the audience by using famous celebrities, this trailer again reminds the audience that is an ‘all new movie’ and that it is ‘only available on video and Disney DVD, 2001’.

This makes the audience feel that they had better go and rent or buy it soon. Therefore, both films give last attempts to draw the audience in and in both cases, it works successfully. The first obvious main difference between these two trailers is that one is a motion picture whereas one is a cartoon. The genres are consequently extremely different as while ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame II’ is aimed at children, ‘Pearl Harbor’ has a much broader target audience of both men and women ranging from teenagers to pensioners.

Pearl Harbour’ therefore possibly would be able to bring in a greater amount of money. I feel that both trailers to an adequate job enticing their target audiences. I believe this as the ‘Pearl Harbor’ trailer encapsulates every single aspect and genre of the film, as a result attracting the concentration of many different sorts of people. ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame II’ also does this as the trailer makes an effort to ensure that parents know that the film will be suitable for their children to watch as the moral of the story is clearly expressed.

However, I feel that the trailer to ‘Pearl Harbor’ is more effective as I feel it will attract a wider range of people and therefore has to incorporate a huge amount of qualities and techniques. This is quite a difficult task and I think it has been fulfilled successfully. I prefer the style of the trailer and I love the special effects and the music. I feel that the sound is very noticeably striking, this contributes to the change in mood and atmosphere making the audience feel drawn into the reality of the storyline.

The audience therefore feel like they are caught up in the action and are aware of all of the emotions stirred up at the time. They are consequently able to feel the despair and heartache of the characters and then feel great empathy for them. I feel that this along with the ominous end to the trailer leaves the audience waiting for the release of the actual film with anticipation. I think this is because the audience will want the cause of all the sorrow and misery to be explained to them in more depth and will want to feel what the characters are going through further.

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