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Film/Media: Coming Soon? How & Why The Film Trailer Took Over The World With Professor Keith M Johnston From University of East Anglia

March 11 @ 15:15 - 16:00

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In this Film/Media session, Keith M Johnston, Professor of Film & Television Studies, School of Art, Media and American Studies at University of East Anglia, will run an interactive talk for students on Coming Soon? How and Why the Film Trailer Took Over the World.

The film trailer has been at the heart of film marketing for over a hundred years. It remains the most important aspect of promotional campaigns; it has successfully transferred from film to television to home video to the internet to social media, with trailers (cumulatively) representing one of the most viewed media formats on YouTube and other video sharing platforms.

But what is a trailer, really?

  • Its dominant aesthetic and stylistic elements – most notably an emphasis on editing and sound – have now been adopted across multiple media texts
  • It claims to offer audiences a preview of coming attractions, yet viewers and commentators deride it for being both the source of spoilers (too accurate) and giving misleading information (not accurate enough)
  • It has to offer a compelling viewing experience on its own, yet be intrinsically related to the film (television show, video game, theatre performance, book) it is advertising
  • It is developed by a parallel production industry that is rarely discussed within the film industry.

From the introduction of sound in the 1920s to the 21st century Marvel Cinematic Universe, this session will explore the historic rise of the film trailer and its increased influence across the promotional media industries. We will consider how trailers developed, their structure and style, and what role audiences have played in that history: how the film industry imagines its audiences (domestic and global), and how audiences have used trailers to make decisions, make predictions, and (more recently) make their own trailer spoof and reaction videos.


Lecturer Profile: Professor Keith M Johnston


Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.


Suitable for: Year 12 & 13 students (and equivalent) studying, or with a possible interest in studying, Film, TV, Media and related disciplines. Student groups as well as students and teachers joining individually are very welcome.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Students may wish to consider the topic in advance and questions they have. Students can also think about questions about studying at university level.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Zoom and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:


Register here



March 11
15:15 - 16:00
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