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This unit develops the knowledge and skills acquired at AS and as such contributes to synoptic assessment. In particular, it is designed to demonstrate the importance of research in informing media production and to develop the skills acquired in MS2.


Candidates are required to produce three pieces of linked work:

• a research investigation (1400 – 1800 words)

• a production (informed by the investigation)

• a brief evaluation (500 – 750 words).


Possible Research Titles:

• An investigation into how genre conventions are used to raise audience expectations in

film trailers.

• An analysis of the narrative structure of three contrasting trailers.

• A study of the representation of heroes and villains in three trailers


• A trailer for a new film.


This is a small extract from a fascinating paper on Re Cut trailers to be found  HERE .

I have highlighted areas that clearly relate to our research concerns as well as offering a clear synoptic overview of our investigative and production tasks

The limited scholarship available situates the trailer as a promotional tool and a “brief film text” (Kernan 1),

which is a “limited sample of the product” of the feature film (Kerr and Flynn 103),

one that directly markets to demographics in order to draw an audience to see the feature.

The traditional distribution methods for the trailer – as pre-packaged coming attractions in a cinema, and as television advertisements – work by building a desire to see a film in the future.

For the trailer to be commercially successful within this framework, there is an imperative to differentiate itself from other trailers through creating an appeal to

stars, genre or narrative (Kernan 14),

or to be recognised as a trailer in amongst the stream of other advertisements on television.

As new media forms have emerged, the trailer’s spatial and temporal bounds have shifted:

the trailer is now included as a special feature on DVD packages, is sent to mobile devices on demand, and is viewed on video-sharing websites such as YouTube.

In this move from the communal, collective and directed consumption of the trailer in the public sphere to the

individualised, domesticated and on-demand consumption in the private sphere – the trailer has shown itself to be a successful

“cross-media text” (Johnston 145).

While choosing to watch a trailer – potentially long after the theatrical release of the film it promotes – suggests a growing “interactive relationship between film studio and audience” (Johnston 145), it also marks the beginning of increasing interactivity between the trailer and the audience, a relationship that has altered the function and purpose of the trailer beyond the studio’s control.

Yet, the form of the trailer as it was traditionally distributed has been retained for recut trailers in order to parody and strip the trailer of its original meaning and purpose, and removes any commercial capital attached to it.

Rather than simply being released at the control of a studio, the trailer is now actively shared, appropriated and altered.

Demand for the trailer has not diminished since the introduction of new media, suggesting that there is an enthusiasm not only for coming feature films, but also for the act of watching, producing and altering trailers that may not translate into box office takings.

The feature which enables the user to “favourite” a video, add it to their playlist and embed it in another site, demonstrates that the trailer is considered as its own cohesive form, subject to scrutiny and favoured or dismissed.

Constant statistics reflecting its popularity reinforce the success of a recut trailer, and popularity will generally lead to the trailer becoming more accessible. Hilderbrand argues that YouTube has nutured a “new temporality of immediate gratification for audiences” which has in turn contributed to the “culture of the clip” (49), which the trailer seems to exemplify – and in the absence of feature films being legally readily accessible on sites such as YouTube, the trailer seeks to fill the void for immediate gratification.

Brokeback Mountain Recut Trailers

Five Keys to Understanding Online Film Trailer Performance

Over the past several years, Internet video has become an integral part of the online experience for movie-going audiences. Cinema buffs and casual movie-goers alike have instant access not only to movie trailers, but also to cast interviews, behind-the-scenes clips, audience video reviews, and more. While the film industry has acknowledged that this data is crucial for gauging a film's online buzz and audience interest, it has lacked a consistent, coherent way to measure, quantify, and compare the performance and impact of its online promotional efforts.

And so we created the Variety/Visible Measures Weekly Top Ten Online Film Trailers Chart. The chart features the most-watched online film trailers each week, aggregating data from over 150 online video-sharing destinations – including YouTube, MySpace, Yahoo!, DailyMotion, and others. To help you interpret the results on each week's chart, we’ve compiled the following Five Keys to Understanding Online Film Trailer Performance.

Step 1

Convenience is King

The majority of online audiences visit major video-sharing destinations to consume video content of all shapes and sizes, including film trailers and related content. In fact, movie trailers are consistently among the most popular clips on the Web (and make up more than 15% of Visible Measures’ 100 Million Views Club).

Step 2

In the World of Online Video, the Audience Gets Involved

As with all social video, clicking the “play” button is just the beginning of a viewer's interaction with a trailer, and, potentially, a film. Viewers can then rate the trailer, comment on it, share the link via e-mail or instant messaging, embed the clip in their social networking profile(s) or blog, and even pull the stream down to remix or recreate it, and then re-upload the final product to any number of video-sharing sites.

Step 3

To Measure Interest and Impact, You Need to See the Big Picture

For the most comprehensive view of a film’s online reception, you should look at every interaction with every video related to the film, whether the video was created and uploaded by the movie studio or by an enthusiastic member of the viewing audience.

This approach is based on True Reach™, a measurement that encompasses views generated by studio-syndicated clips (the trailers and cast interviews uploaded by the studios or their agencies) as well as audience-generated content (video reviews, user tributes, and reposts). Accurate assessments of online interest in a film can only occur with such an expansive approach.

Step 4

Use Overall Category Trends to Benchmark Relative Performance

When analyzing the films on the chart, consider that an analysis of 25 recent online video film campaigns revealed that the average film experiences a dramatic increase in views during the week prior to launch, generating daily view counts approximately 300% higher than those just a month before release.

To understand how a film is performing online, and to assess what these results might mean for box office potential, compare this film against others in the same genre as well as those that open at the same time. This analysis will be more fruitful and illuminating than judging success based on the performance of a single film.

Step 5

The Bottom Line

While it's still too early to equate online video views with box office dollars, the reception of an online film campaign can serve as a key indicator of the film’s eventual box office performance.

For instance, online video content for Summit’s Twilight amassed more than 100 million views by the time the film launched last November. Twilight had 1,800% more views than the “average” film in the week prior to launch, and subsequently delivered a robust $70 million opening weekend.

Get the Latest Online Film Trailer Performance Figures Every Week

You can find the Weekly Top Ten Online Film Trailers Chart every Friday on Variety.com and in the print edition, Daily Variety. Check back for our analysis of the most-watched movie trailers and industry trends. And, as always, for a more detailed analysis of the performance metrics for your Internet video campaign, please contact our client team.

Visible Measures is the independent third-party measurement firm for Internet video publishers, advertisers, and viral marketers and as such their site is very valuable for media students.

I print their guidelines to Trailer effectiveness on line below.

There are many ways to measure a trailer's quality, from the persuasiveness of its salesmanship to the cleverness of its copywriting. Ultimately, we decided that the best trailers are those that most effectively combine art and commerce, and that sell and entertain with equal skill. Some of the previews on our list are for classic films, but many are for mediocrities. Some are for absolutely bombs. That speaks to the magic of the trailers. You could argue that these clips play to our basest instincts in order to convince us to see movies that aren't always good. But considered from another perspective, trailers provide a version of cinema that's essentially utopian, in which every film is perfect, if only for two and a half minutes.

25. Real Life (1979)

24. Schindler's List (1993)

23. Red Eye (2005)

22. Sin City (2005)

21. Strange Days (1995)

20. She's Gotta Have It (1986)

19. Unbreakable (2000)

18. Sleeper (1973)

17. Charade (1963)

16. GoldenEye (1995)

15. Pulp Fiction (1994)

14. Garden State (2005)

13. Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

12. Independence Day (1996)

11. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

10. The Shining (1980)

9. Mission: Impossible (1996)

8. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

7. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

6. Citizen Kane (1941)

5. Comedian (2002)

4. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

3. Cloverfield (2008)

2. Psycho (1960)

1. Alien (1979)

The full list with links is available HERE

For those who need to

get anaraky

The Top Ten Online Film Trailers Chart

A useful source of 
Trailer information