- 4-6 pages (1400-2100 words), 1” margins, 12 pt. Times New Roman (or similar) font, double-spaced, with no extra spaces between paragraphs)
- PLUS a bibliography that must include at least five references (bibliography doesn’t count toward the 4-6 pages).
- APA, MLA or Chicago Style are acceptable so long as one of them is used consistently throughout. Include a title for your paper.
Drawing on popular and industrial sources, examine the marketing campaign for a recent or current film release and draw some conclusions about how the marketing campaign contributed to the relative success or failure of the film to connect with audiences (and make money). In your essay be sure to spend at least 1 paragraph focusing on one of the marketing materials from the film (a poster, trailer, etc) and to use five sources from outside of course readings. Elaborations and clarifications below:
Selecting a film:
- Do not write about The Farewell as we discussed that film’s marketing in class.
- For our purposes, “recent” = a film released in theaters in the U.S. in the last 10 years (2011 and after). A slightly earlier film might be allowable with Prof. Hill’s or Nikki’s approval.
- You may want to research films first (at some of the trade sites below) to see how much information is available about the film’s marketing and production history; bigger budget films, films that become big hits, highly awarded films and controversial or hotly anticipated films will be easier to research than obscure titles.
- You might also search for marketing materials online (trailers, appearances by stars, key art, etc) to see which film might give you the most to talk about or which marketing campaign most interests you.
Researching the film:
Research your film in trade and other film-related publications. To find sources, you can use the library’s article databases to search for pertinent articles in industry periodicals or major news outlets. The most important for this paper will likely be the industry trades:
- The Hollywood Reporter
- Deadline Hollywood
- Media Week
- Broadcasting and Cable
- Advertising Age
- (lexisnexis periodicals searches can also help find more of this types of coverage)
You may also find some relevant analysis in more mainstream news outlets – look for substantive articles about the film or its production, rather than stubs or glowing reviews that may be more promotional. The most likely to have relevant coverage are:
- The New York Times
- The Los Angeles Times
- Vanity Fair
- The Atlantic
- (and similar)
You may also find scholarly books and periodicals about certain films, types of films, filmmakers or technologies in:
- Project Muse
- (and similar)
You may also cite marketing materials for the film. You may cite as many as you like, but only ONE will count toward your 5 sources (mostly the sources should be trade articles)
Preparing to Write
After reviewing trade reporting, marketing materials, and other available info from before and during the film’s release, consider the following questions. As always, depending on the film you choose, some of these questions will be more important and applicable than others, so consider all of them, but if the marketing budget for your film is not publicly available, for example, you will set that aside:
- How do you think the film was positioned and for which audiences? How did this positioning dictate/affect the overall marketing strategy?
- How important was the domestic versus international audience?
- Were outside firms working on the selling of the film? If so, what were their roles in the film’s marketing.
- If it’s possible to determine (and it may not be, or there may be partial information available), how much was spent on marketing the film and where was it spent?
- How were new and social media used (or not used, if that’s the case)?
- If the film faced negative press on social media or due to a breaking scandal, you may also consider how that worked for/against the film.
Writing the Paper
Once you’ve considered these questions, write your essay on the forms marketing took for this particular film and whether/how you think that contributed to the film’s relative success or failure in connecting with an audience (box office or ratings, critical reception, general audience reception may all be considered here as evidence). Include in your discussion textual analyses of at least one of the forms of advertising. For example, you might analyze the film’s trailer, poster or billboard campaign and what those images and words communicate about the film, key players, or the studio.
- Acceptable sources elaborated above
- Unacceptable sources:
- wikipedia, tcm, imdb (you may cite IMDB for relevant info on the film but none of the articles published in IMBD are significant enough to count as a required source)
- While I won’t rule out more mainstream movie publications outright, be wary of publications aimed chiefly at fans and at hyping movies via spoilers, gossip, or listicles. Look for sources reporting what was actually done or intended in the production and marketing of the film.