Gallery: Images

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On the “Gallery” page of my website, I am going to show a display of 12 stills that include both key screenshots from the film as well as behind-the-scenes photos. First, I went through the entire film and took screen-grabs of any particularly striking shots of the different characters that don’t give away anything about the plot. Then, I went through all the photos that were taken on the days of filming and chose a few stills of the cast sitting around on set, getting makeup done, posing together, filming, etc. These are the kind of images that film websites typically display so I felt that it would be appropriate to showcase here.

Then, I went through the different Gallery templates available and chose the one that I felt most fitting. This template was both aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, so I decided to go with this one. I added my images to the template and adjusted the order. With that, I have finished the image gallery.

On this page, I still have yet to add the blooper reel. I also need to work on the background and the additional features (such as as social media links and options to pre-order the film) that I will need to add o every page.

Homepage: Starting work

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Today, I started work on the Homepage of my film website. It is not yet done, but the basic look is laid out. I chose this shot of Anamika (the protagonist) as my banner image because it was instantly striking. The photograph is bold and eye-catching, and has a poster-like quality to it. The fact that her face is positioned on one side of the frame allows ample room to place the title and other information on the other side without clutter. This provides a visual balance that is aesthetically pleasing. Also, from a design perspective, the eyes seem to direct the attention of the viewer towards the title so that the focus is at the right place.

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The only feature on the page that needs to be just as eye-catching as the image is the title logo. That’s why I chose to have it in a dark font in a large size and placed it right at the top. Underneath the title I want to have either a tagline or a review. I haven’t decided yet, but I will be adding that soon. Another very important feature on the homepage is the option to pre-order film either on Amazon or iTunes. The ultimate goal of any site is to promote the film so that the public will spend money and view it, so these options needs to be readily accessible and visible. The same is true of the social media links – the users should be encouraged to follow the film on social media as new media is a very important promotion tool. The social media links and pre-order options will also be present on every other page other than the homepage as users should be able to access these features at any time.

Since short films are released through film festivals and not theaters, it is important to highlight the festivals through nominations, selections, etc. That’s why I wanted to have some of the film festival recognitions that the film received on the home page. If the audience sees the film is critically acclaimed, they will be more inclined to watch it. First, I looked up some Indian film festivals that the film could theoretically be a part of and designed the film festival laurels using Adobe Photoshop CS6. I saved the designs as transparent images and transferred them onto the website.

At the very top, I added the menu-bar with tabs to other pages:

  • Synopsis
  • Cast & Crew
  • Gallery
  • Film Festivals

I may add more pages or change these pages if I see the need in the future.

The color scheme of my website is going to be largely blue and black in terms of buttons, text, etc. The blue relates to the film as all the scenes in Anamika’s bedroom are dominated by bluish hues and the banner image itself has blue undertones. The menu bar and the text “COMING SOON TO DIGITAL HD” are both in a navy blue that goes with the image. The colors work well against the backdrop and are not jarring as the image itself only comprises neutral colors such as black, grey, white, light brown, etc. The rest of the text (the title; the film festival laurels) and the buttons are all in black. This gives the page a sophisticated and serious look. Too many different colors will make the site appear too cheery and bright, and that will not work for the theme of my film.

Website builder: Wix

The website builder I have chosen for creating my short film website is wix.com. I chose this software because it is easy to navigate and offers a wide range of design options, allowing me room to work creatively and freely. The first thing I did upon choosing wix.com, was purchase my domain name  – http://www.split-short-film.com. Then, I proceeded to select one of the templates offered and start work. I chose a template that was associated with a documentary film because it would give me a solid starting point and a base to work off of. However, I quickly began re-structuring the page layouts and getting rid of the template format. I experimented with the different tools available and familiarized myself with how the site works. With this basic groundwork in place, I can begin working on the actual design of my short film website.

Website components

After having closely looked at and analyzed several film websites, I now feel I have a good understanding of all the different components that a good film website typically comprises. Therefore, with this information in mind I made a list of all the features that I should be sure to include when designing the website for “Split”:

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These are all the key elements that I need to have in my film website to make it effective, informative, efficient and interesting. This is everything I could think of at the moment, but if I feel the need to add more when actually working on the site, I will do so. Equipped with this list, now I can dive into creating the design, format and layout.

Website Review: ‘The Phone Call’

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‘The Phone Call’ (2013) is an Academy Award-winning short drama film directed by Mat Kirkby, starring Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent. The film websites I have reviewed until now have all been for full-length, Hollywood feature films, so I wanted to take a look at the website of an acclaimed short film to see how it differs. The website of a short film is bound to look a bit different from the website of a blockbuster in terms of the types of content offered, and kind of promotion. Looking at this website, one of the first things I noticed is the fact that it does not feature the option to “buy tickets” because short films are distributed through film festivals, not theaters. Therefore, while the marketing for feature films revolves around buying tickets and going to the theatre, the marketing for short films revolves around promoting film festivals.

This is why the home page features a list of the film festival awards that ‘The Phone Call’ has won. This conveys to the audience that the film was very critically acclaimed, making them more likely to be enticed into watching the film themselves. Usually, this is the biggest selling point because short films do not typically feature the kind of A-list stars the blockbusters do. Apart from this, there is even a separate tab called “Festivals”, which has a list of all the festivals that the movie has been a part of across the world. This is a very crucial part of the film’s promotion because the primary way the audience will get to see this film is at a film festival. Even when designing the website for my own short film, I will have to be sure to focus on promoting film festivals.

The homepage also features links to social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as to IMDB. This kind of free digital marketing is crucial, especially for short films, as they do not have a large budget and are usually tight on cash. This is true of my short film too, so I will also rely on interesting digital marketing techniques as opposed billboards and TV ads.

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When you scroll down on the homepage, it has a short film synopsis in order to acquaint audiences with the story, as well as “contact” and “news” information. The contact information allows anybody to directly reach out to the writers, directors, producer, etc. This is a level of accessibility that is not seen with people on major Hollywood blockbusters, but is important for people working on smaller projects to get new opportunities and get recognized. I should be sure to include contact information in my film website too.

The links to news articles are accompanied by short, personal, informal comments, so the whole thing reads like a blog. The problem with this is that the links seem to go on monotonously for a long time and the formatting is too plain and boring to really trigger any interest from the users. There are no vivid colors or images to make the page more visually appealing.

I also felt this way when looking through the “Press” page. Here too, the links are presented in a very plain, simplistic manner. I also think the choice of font adds to the dullness. There is nothing special or even particularly appealing about the font. I think a bolder, more eye-catching font would have made a world of difference.

On the whole, the film website is pretty conventional. The “About” page has a little information about the film and lists the names of all the crew members, along with a few photos. The “Trailer” page displays the film’s trailer, and the “Director” page has a short bio about the film’s director and a photo of him. I felt that the design could have been a lot better and more interesting, but the website gave me a good idea about the typical components of a short film website. I will definitely be able to apply this information when designing my own website.

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Website Review: ‘La La Land’

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‘La La Land’ (2016) is an American musical  written and directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. I decided to analyze the website for this film as it is both engaging and visually appealing. I feel that I can learn a lot from it before I go on to create my own film website. When I saw the first page, I immediately noticed the similarities between the cover page of this website and the cover page of the website for ‘Room’. Much like the ‘Room’ website, this front page has the film logo along with the awards and nominations that the film has received. Someone visiting the site without any background knowledge of the film can instantly see that it is critically acclaimed, and this will encourage them to watch the film.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have a lot of star power, so having their names and a photo of them on the first page will help catch the attention of fans. Keeping the large, HQ screenshot of the lead actors on one side and all the text on the other side, gives the page a clear visual structure. It doesn’t look cluttered or messy. This effect is also achieved by limiting the colors used to mainly black and sky blue. The page also has links to purchase the movie and get tickets. These links appear readily accessible. This makes it easy for customers who do not want to spend too much time on the site and are only interested in watching the film or listening to the music. Clicking on these links will take viewers directly to the relating pages within the film website:

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Upon clicking on “Enter Site”, users are taken to the homepage of the film website. The page has short clips from the movie running in the background along with the song ‘City of Stars’ from the soundtrack playing as background music (with the option to mute it). This makes the page feel active and alive, instead of just stagnant. The central focus of the page is the name of the film at the center, the line “NOW PLAYING EVERYWHERE”,  and positive reviews that keep changing. The page also has a link to get tickets and links to the movie’s social media handles on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The social media links encourage the audience to engage with the film and follow the film’s pages in order to gain access to exclusive content. This kind of promotion across digital media platforms has been proven to be very effective.

The homepage also has links to other pages in the top right corner. The categories are:

  • Home (the current page)
  • Videos
  • Synopsis
  • Cast & Filmmakers
  • Gallery
  • Music
  • Stickers
  • Gifs
  • Acclaim

Additionally, there are small moving images on the bottom left corner that also provide links to some of these pages. This helps to catch the viewer’s attention even more. Plus, every page has a link to get tickets as this is the ultimate goal of the website – to persuade members of the public to spend money on the film. Therefore, users should be able to readily access the “get tickets” option at any time, and this website ensures that.

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Videos – This page features several music videos from the film. The videos serve as teasers or mini-trailers and entice viewers to watch the film. Even in my case, it was the music video for ‘City of Stars’ that won me over and made me buy a ticket. The interesting thing about this website is that it not only lets you watch the videos, but also make gifs of certain videos that you can share on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There are options to share the video itself on various social media websites. By doing this, the film promoters are getting the fans themselves to advertise the film without even knowing it.

Synopsis, Cast & Filmmakers – These two pages are pretty standard in terms of content and layout. The ‘synopsis’ page just has a short summary about the movie that conveys the key information such as the story, the director, actors and production company. The next page simply features a list of the cast and filmmakers. The only thing I felt about this page was that the writing on top of the image is rather difficult to read, and could have been made more legible. The writing on both pages is short and concise because viewers are not likely to read lengthy paragraphs. They would just get disinterested and bored.

Gallery – The gallery page features 9 photographs which include both stills from the movie and behind-the-scenes shots. The page also has 7 posters (movie posters and album art) that viewers can click through at their leisure. Having a variety of posters in different styles was something I found very interesting as most movies just have one poster.

Music – This link that takes users to a separate website: http://www.lalalandsoundtrack.com . Here, there are different options to buy the soundtrack as a CD, Vinyl, or digital album, and also to buy the score separately. The music plays such a big role in the promotion of this film because it’s musical. This will not be the case with my short film, so I will have to find a different selling point.

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Stickers – This page is link opens iTunes in a new tab, where users can download an app to access ‘La La Land’ stickers that they can use in text messages. This very creative and effective marketing because every time someone uses the sticker, they will inadvertently be promoting the movie. This has opened my eyes to start thinking of such possibilities for my own short film as well.

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Gifs – This is perhaps the part of the website that impressed me the most because it so innovative, creative and fun. The website allows viewers to create gifs from the promotional videos that they can share on social media. I tried it out myself and the process is easy and enjoyable. By taking the current ‘gif’ trend on the internet, and using it to help market the film, they are ensuring that word about the film is reaching a wide, global audience. The gifs come stamped with the film’s name and acclaim, which make them active promotional tools.

Acclaim – This page has a very neat, simple structure with only rows of squares filling the space. Each square either lists an award that the film has won or has a link to a positive review. The viewers can scroll through and click on whatever they please. The purpose of this page is supposedly to impress the audience enough that they become curious about the film and want to go watch it themselves. Critical acclaim generally goes a long way with the public.

From looking at this website in close detail, I can gather that the main reason this site works so well is because it uses a lot of eye-catching visuals and has creative elements for the audience interact with, such as the gif-making activity. A lot of blacks and blues are used for the text, in keeping with the theme of the film. Against these more neutral backdrops, the colorful scenes from the film stand out prominently, looking bright and stunning.  The one flaw I found is that some of the text is difficult to read, and I will try to avoid making this mistake when designing my own website.

 

Website Review: ‘Room’

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‘Room’ is a 2015 award-winning Canadian-Irish independent drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Brie Larson and Jacob Trembley. I found the website for this film to be very well-designed and effective, therefore I decided to study its features prior to creating my own film website. The very first page features the title (logo) of the film and the major awards its won in a large, eye-catching font and color. The yellow lettering stands out against the duller, blue background in a very striking manner.

The first page also features options for the viewers to immediately purchase the film on Amazon and iTunes. By clicking on the “Buy on Blu-Ray” and “Buy on Digital HD” tabs the consumers are redirected to the websites to buy the film. This is very convenient. Having these options on the very first page is crucial because the ultimate goal of any website or promotion is to get the audience to spend money on the film and so this must be made as easy as possible. The poster image is also prominently featured on this page in very high quality. The image is very sweet, capturing the tone of the film. It helps draw the audience in because the characters look endearing.

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-5_fotoUpon clicking “Enter site”, the users are taken into the second page of the film website. This page is full of movement, and is therefore much more eye-catching and engaging than a purely static page. The review quotes in large letters at the top of the page are constantly changing and the background shows the little boy running and the mom walking slowly behind him. This short video plays on a loop, creating a very active backdrop that is poignant and visually interesting. There are more film festival awards mentioned in the bottom left-hand corner.

The film logo and the line “Now available on digital HD and blu-ray” are placed at the very center of the page. According to the rule of thirds, this is the focus of the page, and the place where the eye of the viewer is first drawn. Therefore, it is fitting that the title be placed here. Also, music from the film’s score plays in the background of this page with the option to mute it or keep it on. The music helps immerse viewers in the world of the film even more and  creates an added dimension.

Plus, the main pages have the image of a room corner as an added layer on top of the background image. The walls, which can be faintly seen, convey the sense of being “boxed in” or “stuck”, driving home the central theme the room in ‘Room’. This is a small but valuable detail in having the website accurately reflect the tone, mood, and subject of the film.

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When the cursor is moved over the “Menu” option on the left-side of the page, the following links open up:

  • Home
  • About the film
  • Cast
  • Videos
  • Acclaim
  • Emma’s corner

Home – This is the main page seen above.

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About the film – This page has a short paragraph on the synopsis, as well as a little information about the directer and writer of the film. This introduces the film to audiences who are hearing about it for the first time and gives them some background information as well.

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Cast – This page gives short biographies on all the main actors in the film, in order to familiarize viewers with the people in the film.

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Videos – This page simply features the two trailers for the film. The viewers can watch the trailers and decide if they would like to watch the film.

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Acclaim – This page features a series of positive reviews about the film. The intention behind this is that the audience will read this glowing praise and get convinced to watch the film themselves.

Emma’s corner – This link redirects viewers to the writer, Emma Donaghue’s, blog site that opens in a new tab. This page has a lot of content about the process of making the film from the writer’s perspective as well as her storytelling journey. It is a personal, interesting chronicle of the journey of making ‘Room’ and is a great source of information for avid fans. This got me thinking about whether I should put a link to my WordPress blog on my film website.

In the bottom right-hand corner, the options to buy the film of Blu-Ray and Digital HD are again mentioned. Again, because the ultimate purpose of all this is to get the audience to buy the film, it is fitting that the option to do so is readily accessible on every page.On the top left-hand corner is the option to follow the film’s official pages on Facebook and Twitter. When the cursor is moved over the word “follow” the logos for the two social media websites show up. Having links to social media platforms is important because it helps promote the film even more on a variety of different digital platforms. By having this option on every page, viewers can easily choose to follow the film’s social media handles at any point during their time spent on the website.

In addition, the film’s logo is also present on every single page. This important because you want viewers to really remember and register the name of the film and cultivate a brand awareness. Also, on each page, the background image changes to a different high-quality screen grab from the film. This keeps the website from looking dull or repetitive. Also, the background images slightly move around so that the pages don’t appear stagnant and boring.

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What I’ve learned by analyzing this website is that it is important to have a consistent color scheme, font and format throughout that reflect the tone of the film and tie the entire website together. Faded blues, yellows and dull oranges and browns are used most prominently in this website. The blue and yellow play off each other beautifully and create a stunning visual contrast. The dull, faded colors convey a sense of gloom and sadness that is very much present in the film. Also, a lot of squares are used in the design of the website, which gives it a clear structure and look. In the logo, the film title is surrounded by a rectangle and similar rectangles and squares are used for the different tabs and links. The makes the website aesthetically pleasing and visually logical.

Overall, all of these features make this film website one that is extremely well designed. A lot of creativity has been used, but efficiency is not lost. It is easy to navigate the pages and find whatever you are looking for. In the end, this is the most important thing.

Film Websites

Film websites are used for promotional purposes to attract wide, international audiences and actively engage them. To this effect, the websites are designed to look eye-catching and to feature interesting content that would attract the attention of the general public. Also, the websites provide essential information about the film such as release dates, viewing platforms, ratings, cast, plot, etc.

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Film websites are designed to reflect the genre of the film they are promoting, with the colors, fonts, and images matching the tone and mise en scene. For example, websites for comedy and rom-com movies tend to use bright, vibrant colors that convey a sense of joy and light-heartedness, whereas, websites for drama, thriller or horror movies tend to use darker, more subdued colors that convey a sense of aggression or seriousness. Thus, looking at the site, the audience can immediately get an idea of what the film will look and feel like.

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A lot of websites have short sequences or images from the film running in the background of the home page in order to engage the viewers and give them a small sneak-peak that will hopefully entice them to watch the film. Often, positive reviews are also splashed across the home page so that people will read them get convinced to go watch the film.

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Then, there are navigation options to things that people would want to know or see regarding the film such as links to the trailers, cast, photo gallery, synopsis, ticket sales, digital download platforms, and other featured content. In the case of short films, usually there will also be information about the festivals where the film is playing. The websites also have links to other social media platforms so that people will go follow those pages, and get even more involved with the film. All these different components have to be presented in a manner that is aesthetically and visually appealing to the viewers, and in such a way that it will be easy for them to navigate the website and find what they want. The website should be created in a manner that optimizes efficiency. To this effect, the tabs and links are most usually featured across the top of the page as that is where the eye is drawn first.

Continue reading “Film Websites”