Home > Uncategorized > WJEC GCSE Media Textual Analysis Coursework Assignment One

WJEC GCSE Media Textual Analysis Coursework Assignment One

Year 10 GCSE Media Studies

Textual Analysis Coursework Assignment One

(400-850 words)

Title [make sure you have typed it at the top of the page]:

‘Investigate how genre conventions are used in the film trailer for [insert you film title here]’

Your assignment should generally be written as continuous prose but you can add images, screen shots, tables, mind maps etc wherever you like.( They will not be included in the total word count)

• Make sure that you hand in the written assignment PLUS as many annotated copies of your images/screen shots as you need.

• Use tables if appropriate as they do not count towards the word limit.

Before you begin to write your essay fill in the following tables with as much as detail as you need:
Know The Basics:

Note the following basic facts and write them here:
Identify the studio:
Was it made by a major studio, a minor studio, or an independent? What does this suggest about the film’s budget?

Film’s title
At what point in the trailer are we told the name of the film? Why is this?
Year of release

Main stars/performers
When do their names appear? Why do you think that is?

Why are we told who is the director of the film? How is this information given to us?

When does the rating certification alert appear? What does the rating signify?

Running time of trailer

Decide on the film’s principal type, its genre, and sub-genre categories (such as science fiction, action, adventure, musical, comedy, etc.). If it’s a hybrid (a combination of two or more genres), what are they?

When does that appear? What are its connotations? How does the tagline create an enigma or draw in the audience?

Does the trailer use any of these accolades to attract its audience:
Nominations, awards , reviews from the press/film magazines etc

Type of trailer
Is it a teaser trailer or Main trailer?

Has your trailer used any subtle/less obvious techniques to similar themes to other films;
eg in the Terminator films you always see a motorbike chase in the films and trailers and same one always says ‘ I’ll be back’ or the trailers have the same theme music

Does the trailer include a website? Why?
What are the advantages of including a website for the Studio?

Essay Writing Frame:

Title: ‘Investigate how genre conventions are used in the film trailer for [insert you film title here]’

In this assignment you need to discuss, and concentrate on how the film trailer uses codes and conventions with examples from the following areas:

• Structure of trailer • editing
• lighting and colour • mise-en-scene
• sound, including dialogue used • use of camera
• legal/organisational issues

You can occasionally, and briefly, mention the other trailers we watched especially if your version does not include certain codes and conventions.

1. Watch your trailer at least two or three times

2. Each time you watch it think about and make notes on one code/convention of the analysis at a time. Answer the questions I have given you in the writing frame. Don’t worry about getting every detail!

3. Remember to get a High Grade ( B/A/A*) you will need to discuss why the code/convention has been used in the way it has. Eg. You could say:

• To establish genre
• To conform to legal requirements
• To entice the audience
• To create an enigma
• To create excitement and tension
• To highlight Star Appeal
• To create a specific mood or atmosphere

4. See if you can explain how elements combine to create an overall impression eg camera angles and sound may highlight the narrative or genre.

Make sure you use KEY WORDS from the sheet throughout

Begin your assignment by identifying the film and date of its release, explain what you will be discussing in the assignment. Show that you are aware of the codes and conventions of trailers by possibly listing them.

Remember that this in NOT an essay so you can include screen shots, annotated images, tables etc.

Then use the questions to analyse your trailer:


In the introduction explain which film trailer you are going to analyse and give the film’s release date, stars and director. Mention what you think are the main codes and conventions of film trailers, and Science fiction specific ones.

Identify which type of trailer it is:

Teaser Trailer
A teaser trailer or teaser is a short trailer used to advertise an upcoming movie, game or television series.
Teasers, unlike typical theatrical trailers, are usually very short in length (between 30–60 seconds) and usually contain little, if any, actual footage from the film. Sometimes, it is merely a shorter version of a main theatrical trailer.
They are usually released long in advance of the film they advertise. One of the reasons for the name “teaser” is because they are shown usually a long time (one or one and a half years) before the movie comes out, so as to “tease” the audience and they do not give a release date.
Main theatrical trailer
A main trailer is usually about 2 mins and 30 seconds in length and will include the typical code and conventions of trailers.

Main Discussion

How does the trailer start?

• What are the first shots you see? Studio/Production company logo? Audience certification information?

• What is their purpose?


• What is the film’s genre?

• How do you know? Which genre specific codes and conventions have been used?

• Discuss any particular iconography in terms of setting, props, costumes, music etc

• Does the typography used in the trailer link to any codes and conventions?

• What part do SFX/Special effects play in the trailer in relation to establishing genre and narrative?


• How is text used to link together the narrative? Eg does the title font reflect the genre and/or narrative?

• Discuss the way titles may be superimposed over images to establish and lead the narrative

• When do titles appear? Why?

• Discuss how stars are highlighted – graphics, voice over, close ups etc?

Narrative and characters

Watch for a sense of story within the trailer and the details it provides you about the plot. Though very short, trailers still deliver a basic dramatic arc: who the characters are, the obstacles they face and their development between the start of the film and the end. After seeing a trailer, you should be able to briefly describe what the film is about and the overall tone it will set.
• What significant moments are shown in the trailer? Why do you think they were chosen?

• Which significant characters are shown? Why?

• How does the trailer use significant dialogue from key scenes and key characters to identify the narrative and character types?

• Does the narrative relate to Torodov, Barthes, Levi Struss, Propp or any of the other theories we have studied? Explain how, and give examples.

• Is the narrative in the trailer linear? (is it told in order- beginning, middle, end?)

• How is information about the plot and characters given?

The enigma

• What enigma is used to ensure that the audience is left with a puzzle to solve or unanswered questions which can only be answered by going to watch the film?

• What parts of the narrative/plot are left unanswered? What missing elements do you have to guess?

• Accolades/Reviews

• How are reviews and accolades used? Where are they from

• When and where do they appear, and are they accompanied by a voice over? If so, what affect do they have on you?

Editing and Camera Shots

It is a convention of trailers that they are fast moving, with quick editing and various camera angles. The information conveyed is very fast moving and requires the audience to focus completely on what they are watching and listening to.

• How is editing used to achieve action, drama and suspense? What type of edits/transitions are used?

• What camera angles and movements are used and why?

• How are the key characters highlighted?

• How is the action interspersed (mixed in with) the credits on screen

• How is light used? When does the trailer use high key and low key lightening.

• What colours are used? Are they symbolic or representative of the narrative, themes, genre?


Sound, especially music manipulates (influences) emotions and creates a specific atmosphere. Voiceover tends to be used to summarise aspects of the story and emphasise credit information, and to add anticipation and excitement.

• Discuss where, when and how sound bridges, parallel/contrapuntal, non-diagetic and diagetic sounds are used in the trailer.

• Explain how voiceovers are used eg to create enigmas, share the tagline, advertise aspects of the story and/or emphasis credit information

• How does the voiceover engage the audience? Mention the script, vocabulary; whether any words are repeated or alliterated: use of opposites

• How does the tagline engage and target the audience?

• Who does the voice-over – character from the film or a general narrator? What kind of impression does he make on you?

• What can you tell me about the music used in the trailer? Is it dramatic, fast, slow, steady, loud, linked to a previous film etc

And finally


• Finish with a conclusion which sums up your main points………………………………..

Codes and conventions of Film Trailers

Generate interest in the film
Star vehicles – Show off the stars of the film
Show the film to its best advantage
Create excitement
Tell people what the film is about, e.g. the genre and narrative
Not give too much of the plot away
Tease the audience by setting up narrative enigmas
Showcase some of the best bits of the film, including characters and scenes
Give details about the production team
Dramatic music/sound
Convey information very quickly
Fast editing
Genre iconography
Reviews/ Accolades
Special effects
Intersperse titles and footage

Key words

Technical codes Juxtaposition
Marketing and promotion
Camera angles
Production company/studio
British Board of Classification
Viral marketing

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