How am I seen and represented? What parts of me are visible in traditional media? Respond to these questions by making your own movie poster!
Reflect & Plan
Start by reflecting on the power of representation in media. Take a few minutes to free-write or make a list responding about following questions:
- Think about the movies (or shows) you like or you see advertised around you. You may even want to google some posters for popular movies. What kind of identities are visible? What kind of identities do you not see?
- What are some social identities that are important to you, but you don’t often see in mainstream movies? Decide which identities from your list you would like to focus on for this project.
Choose your story
Before you begin working on your poster, it is important that you have an idea of what your movie will be about.
- What story do you want to tell in this film?
- Who are the main characters?
- What genre is it?
- When is it set?
- Where is it set?
“Produce” your film
Who is starring in your movie? You can cast yourself, people you know, or popular actors and actresses, or you can “discover” someone online. Reflecting on what you learned about media industries in the this lesson, think carefully about how you use your power as “producer” in this project to expand representation.
What is the title of your film?
Many posters include a tagline that reinforces the mood of the story, tells you a bit more about the main characters, or hints at a major conflict or plot point of the film. Have a look at some examples, then draft a tagline of your own that reinforces what you want to achieve in this project.
Gather your inspiration
Collect reference images for your film. What is the setting? Is it a specific country or city? The countryside? A home? And when is it set? Collect images that give you an idea of what colors, fashion, and mood are representative of that era. You can save these in a folder or file, or use a free program like Moodboard to gather and view your images together.
Design your poster
Movie posters seem deceptively simple – after all, they’re just a couple of images and a little bit of text! But those limited elements can have a very powerful impact when they’re used thoughtfully and strategically to create a sense of mood and story. The challenge with this project is to really focus in on the details to make every piece count, so carefully consider the following design elements. You can review the Project Video for more tips and examples.
Carefully choose the images to include in your poster. These can be photos or images of your own, or images that you find online. Each one should serve a purpose. Consider whether and how you will combine pictures of the cast with other images about the setting, plot/story, or other elements of the film. Consider what visual symbols (e.g. a cowboy hat for a Western) will help to convey the kind of story you want to tell.
Think about how to position the elements in your poster. Which elements will be central, and which will be more in the background? How does playing with the size and proportion of different elements change their impact and meaning? How will the text and images be positioned in relation to each other?
In the Project Video you saw examples of how movie posters use a limited palette of colors to create a mood. What color scheme will you use in your poster? For example, will it be bold and bright, or soft and subdued? In color or black and white? You will probably need to adjust the color of the images you are using to suit your design.
Text & Font
What kind of font will you use for your title and tagline? Will it be all caps, italicized, or bolded? How will the text be positioned on the poster?
There are plenty of free image editing programs available online. Here are some options you can try
- Photopea (this guide walks you through basics that will be useful for this project)
Tip: The free version of Canva doesn’t have a tool to remove the background from images, but you can use a site like PhotoScissors for that.