Congratulations on finishing your short film! The hours spent drafting your plot, shooting scenes, and editing together an actual movie are finally over. However, you’re not done with your work yet.
When you enter your film into a contest, you usually need a short film poster along with it. Competitions don’t require posters just to give filmmakers more work. Instead, a movie’s poster is an extension of the film itself.
It tells people what they can expect from the movie and the kind of world they may spend an hour or two in. It invites people to share in the vision you spent so long toiling over. A film poster is one of the most important parts of the whole movies because it’s what people see before actually watching it.
Luckily, it’s easy to put together an effective poster with only basic Photoshop skills. With only a few images from the movie and a few extra photo shoots, you can tell a whole new story that will bring people into the theater!
Keep reading below to learn how to prepare a poster for your short film and start attracting viewers!
Start with a Color
When you first open Photoshop, you should have a blank layer. You can do anything you want with this layer, but first, you should make a crucial decision. Before adding any images, you need to decide what color to fill the first layer with.
This color will set the tone for the entire poster and should reflect the film’s tone. If you created a dark, noir-style film, then you should probably fill the first layer with black. If your film is a happier sort of comedy, then select a light color like light blue.
Focus on Your Focal Point
After you fill your initial blank layer, it’s time to pull in your poster’s focal point. The focal point is the largest part of the poster and should cover the top two thirds. This usually features your protagonist in the midst of something major.
Your protagonist should visibly be undergoing something and should be expressive. It’s best to take your actor out on a quick photo shoot to capture the right moment to use for the poster. It should reflect the film as a whole, and pulling a scene from the film to use as the focal point may not do that.
Add a Little Logo
Underneath your focal point, it’s best to add a logo. With a basic logo, your film will be more recognizable and may encourage people to talk about it more after viewing it. Just make sure to keep it simple, but also appropriate.
The Batman symbol was used in the Batman films because it matches the tone of the films perfectly. It’s also simple to remember and replicate. People know about Batman through his logo. They can know about your movie just as well with the right logo.
Your Text Creates the Mood
Hopefully, after producing your film and putting it together, you gave it a title. That title should be featured either along with the logo or at the very top of the poster. That way, people will be naturally drawn to read it after the focal point catches their gaze.
And don’t forget to design the typography. Just like how your focal point and your logo tells a story about the movie, so does the style of your text. For example, if you made an action movie, be sure to use large, bold typography. However, less intense dramas and comedies should use a more fluid font.
A Short Film Poster Is Reviewed Like the Film
If nothing else reels people in to see your movie, reviews will. The quotes and awards accompanying major movie posters aren’t there just for design purposes. They catch critics’ eyes and signal to the average moviegoer that the film is probably worth seeing.
So be sure to leave a little room down at the bottom of the poster to fit in all your reviews. After your first few screenings, you’re bound to end up being reviewed by someone. Be ready to snag a quote from them, or to even show off a few awards, down below your logo.
Show Off a Scene, Don’t Depend on It
It’s a common practice to pull a scene from your film and have it accompany your focal point in the foreground or background. That way, the film appears to have more depth and people can become invested in the story early on. By pulling an image of a scene onto the poster, you can directly tell people what to expect from the film.
However, you also shouldn’t let the image be the main focus of the poster. It should help boost the material you get from separate photoshoots, not the other way around. Layer it so that it fades underneath your focal point. Otherwise, you miss out on your chance to add more to the movie’s overall impact.
Experiment with Your Colors
When designing your poster, you may not be confident in breaking away from tutorials or templates. Just like any creative project though, your short film’s poster is about experimenting with many different parts to see what works. You should play around with your poster and not be afraid to experiment with it.
The easiest thing to experiment with is your colors. You can oversaturate your poster to make it pop out from the rest if you want to. Or, you can take the color away entirely and make a black and white poster, harkening to old cinema.
The poster is the first brush people have with your unique brand of creativity. Make sure they understand your creative style before ever sitting down in the theater.
A Short Film Poster Should Entice People
Your short film poster is about pulling people into the theater. For some people, that may feel restrictive; it can feel like it stifles their creativity. Yet, even though it is marketing, it’s no less creative.
All you need to do to make a poster as good as your short film is brush up on your Photoshop skills. It’s a powerful tool that gives creators the power to make almost anything they could ever want. At the same time, beginners usually find it tough to use.
If you need a quick crash course on photoshop before making your poster, read our blog here. In our articles, we guide you on how to do anything with the tool that can do anything. That way, you can start bringing people into the theater to watch your film!