Video Tips & Tricks: Marketing and Merchandise

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    Movie Posters

    In the past, poster designs would begin as a series of sketches that are tweaked with each iteration until the composition is just right. The sketch of choice is then transferred onto full-sized paper and details are painted by hand. This type of labor could take weeks or even months.

    Photoshop has made this method somewhat obsolete. It is faster to use a computer to cheaply produce not only a main banner poster, but also a whole campaign of extra variations of promotional advertisements.

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    Modern Movie Posters

    A skilled graphic designer can crop out actors and have them arranged in several different poster compositions before dinner time. The designs will be reworked according to the feedback of executives before being sent on to the marketing team. In less than a month the images will be mass produced across billboards, product packaging, posters, the internet, and screens around the world.

    The extreme lengths studios go to advertise a product months before the release date has cut down the amount of time designers can spend crafting a poster. CEOs don’t have the incentive to extend deadlines just so the movie can have a nicer poster or work of art DVD cover; they just want lots of ads fast and for cheap. It shouldn’t be surprising then that most advertising tends to be somewhat monotonous and uninspiring.

    This isn’t to say modern designers are talentless, since there are still plenty of fresh and clever advertising campaigns. Unfortunately, the way corporate branding works generally doesn’t provide much credit to the designers responsible.

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    Billing concerns the order in which directors, producers, and actors names are listed in the credits and promotional materials. This is determined by contracts and agents.

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    Movie Trailers

    Trailers are usually released in waves. The first trailer is a brief teaser that doesn’t really provide a lot of context or information.

    Then the next few trailers will be released and usually spoil the plot of the entire movie.

    Trailers are typically created by an external marketing team without any input from the director of the film. According to market analysts, the presence of ominous bass music is an obligatory component for every trailer to be a success.

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    Special effects cost a lot of investment money, and the studio has to make all that money back with room for profit somehow. While DVD sales help bring in revenue over the long term, it’s merchandise from popular franchises that generates a significant boost to total sales. Toys, collectibles, and anything associated with a desirable brand will typically sell, no matter how outrageous the product.

    Merchandise can sometimes be a risky expenditure for a studio. Most manufacturing wraps up before a movie hits theaters, which means a product line can’t be cancelled if a movie looks like it will flop. Unpopular movies will have overstock left on shelves that has to be sold at bargain prices to offset losses.

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