A selection of key art, on-set BTS and concept sketches from Carnival Studio.

Often an audience’s first introduction to a film or TV show is via its poster, and equally, it can be a project’s most enduring image.

That is to say, key art may be regarded as a project’s public face. If it’s strong and eye-catching, it should pique interest and communicate to an audience what it is about.

Yet so often on Australian productions, planning for key art concepts and marketing starts not at the beginning of the pre-production process, but well after a project has wrapped.

By that time, there may be little budget left over for a proper shoot, with key art left to be put together via the unit photography. Even if a shoot may be arranged, actors may have changed their physical appearance and no longer look like their characters – or are simply not available.

That’s according to Carnival Studio, a boutique creative agency currently drafting a best practice guide to achieving strong key art, the aim of which is to assist producers to achieve the best marketing campaigns possible.

Carnival Studio creative director Demi Hopkins believes the best result is typically achieved when all parties – producers, filmmakers, distributors, creative agencies and photographers – work together from the project’s initial stages.

“Quite often we’ll receive hard drives to do a poster and people say, ‘Well, you’ve got 10,000 images here. Surely you can come up with something?’ It misses the point that if there’s some ideas at the start and the photographers know what to capture, it’s always a much stronger result than chancing something coming out of the unit stills,” he tells IF.

However, Hopkins recognises even a carefully planned concept can go awry if there isn’t buy-in from all parties.

Schedule and budget constraints often impact on the ability to consider and capture collateral, and there is often a lack of clarity among parties over who is ultimately responsible for marketing assets.

To that end, he is currently seeking input from producers to best their understand their issues, attitudes and needs when it comes to marketing.

This feedback will help inform the guide, so that the document will ultimately assist all people involved in marketing and delivery, from the unit photographer, producer, key art and trailer agency, and social media strategists.

Carnival is also consulting industry colleagues, photographers, publicists, distributors/studios and Screen Australia.

To have your say in the survey, which takes approximately 2 minutes to complete, go here.

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1 Comment

  1. You could replace “key art” in this article with “title sequence”.
    Importantly though, title designers can make great key art – but key art designers very rarely make good title sequences, though increasingly they’re trying to bundle this in to bring in work.

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