Close Reading

Film trailers are a form of advertising that is structured to encourage as many people as possible to see the film at the cinema. This activity gives you a chance to collect together everything you have learned about trailers and to use this information to construct a detailed analysis.

Distribution companies often cut more than one trailer for a film. These interview clips with Dan Skinner explain the features of different types of trailers.

In order to analyse how trailers encourage people to see a film, you need to ‘read’ them very closely. You will need to watch them more than once whilst looking and listening to as many details as possible.

Features to look out for include:

This downloadable chart will help you collect together your ideas as you make notes on a selection of trailers from this site, all of which are hosted on the homepage.

For more tips about analysing moving images, you can use these information sheets outlining important
film language and shot types.

After having presented your ideas to your class, you can use your notes as a basis for a structured piece of writing. Use one of the following ideas to frame your writing:

  1. Investigate how narrative is constructed in your chosen trailer. Think about the extent to which it challenges or conforms to narrative conventions.
  2. Consider how gender, ethnicity, age, place, events or issues are represented in your chosen trailer. Think about the extent to which the representation challenges or reinforces conventional points of view.
  3. Look at out how trailer conventions are used to generate interest in a new film, and what features are used to achieve this.