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100 years of the trailer

Event information

START DATE 24 January 2017
START TIME 03:00pm

CG51, College Building, Middlesex University,  the Burroughs, London, NW4 4BT

END DATE 24 January 2017
END TIME 05:00pm

From mini-epics to spoiler alerts: 100 years of trailer discourse and the future of trailer studies - a research seminar with Keith M. Johnson

The Promotional Cultures Research Group and the Film and TV Research Group in the Media Department at Middlesex University are pleased to welcome Dr Keith M. Johnson to discuss the findings of two recent projects on film trailers.

The film trailer is approximately 100 years old, and has been described as everything from a ‘mini-epic’ (The Guardian) and a ‘pumped up bully’ (Andy Medhurst) to the more recent, and familiar, claims of ‘spoiler’ text.

The academic study of the trailer is harder to date, but has seen a more concerted focus over the last 10-12 years.

Across that work – which has featured textual and industrial studies from a variety of perspectives, including approaches around the ephemeral or paratextual nature of the trailer – there has been little consideration of the discourses surrounding the trailer, despite the apparently dominant view that the trailer is simply too loud, too misleading, and reveals too much.

In this presentation, Keith will present some initial findings from two related projects – one on a current trailer audience research project, the second on a broader survey of historical discourses surrounding trailer reception – to consider the range of discursive patterns that are revealed when people ‘talk’ about trailers.

From there, he'll suggest a possible future for trailer studies that embraces those results and posit how we might place the trailer within a wider analytical framework that is alert to recent industrial and discursive shifts.

Biography - Dr Keith M. Johnston

Dr Keith M. Johnston is Reader in Film & Television at the University of East Anglia. His research explores different aspects of promotional materials with a particular focus on the history, aesthetics, and cross-media expansion of trailers. He is the author of Coming Soon: Film Trailers and the Selling of Hollywood Technology (McFarland 2009), has published on trailers in Participations, Convergence, Media History, Arts & the Market, Music, Sound & the Moving Image, and Frames Cinema Journal, and is a regular contribution to trailer-related stories for popular media sites Wired, BBC News Online, The Verge, The Wrap, The Atlantic and The Dissolve.

To book a place at this free event please email Dr James Graham.

Location will be confirmed before the event.

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