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Creating a Great Movie Poster

COSMOS Banner Poster



“This isn’t the film making business… it’s the film marketing business” – Dov Simens, Line Producer

As we all know poster art is incredibly important. As filmmakers we have one opportunity to grab the audience’s attention and make them want to watch our movie. Big Hollywood productions spend millions on P&A (Print & Advertising), releasing an endless barrage of teaser, trailers, TV spots, posters, character posters and more… and it’s easy to understand why.

As Dov Simens’ quote above clearly states, the marketing men in Hollywood know that no matter how amazing your movie is, no matter how strong the script is or how flawless the visuals are, that if people don’t know your film exists or they aren’t excited to see it… then you may as well have not made the movie in the first place.

It is the film industry after all, the whole point of the business is to “put bums on seats” and make money. Now whether you’re driven by the dollar or not, it’s still important to make money, because making money from your film means you get to make more films – investors/production companies focus on the bottom line. Do you have money making potential?

Your films could be personal character dramas, inspired spiritual journeys or action packed adventures, but I think we’re all in agreement that when we make a film… we want people to see it!

So join me as I explore the wonderful world of movie posters and in the process show you how we made ours!

We all know why it’s important to have a good poster. But what really makes a movie poster good? When you start to think about it, it’s actually hard to define. I’m no expert but my overall residing factor lies in a simple question:

“Do I want to find out more?”

When designing a poster, asking yourself simple questions like; “Would I want to watch this movie?” or “Do I want to find our more?”, will certainly help guide you. Nearly all posters are a visual treat – colourful and eye catching with interesting compositions that draw the eye across the image, but surface level visuals aren’t enough.

With any good piece of art comes consideration of composition, whether you’re lining up the next shot for you film or doing an oil painting, thinking about where the subjects are, where they are looking and how an audience will explore an image is a crucial step.  I’d strongly recommend doing some research on composition before starting your poster, here’s a great article that could prove useful : 10 Top Photography Composition Rules

In today’s filmmaking World, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd, especially for us independent filmmakers trying to attract some attention. That’s why I love this video from GoodBadFlicks – he points out how bland and unoriginal modern movie posters have become – a valuable video that helps flag up common poster cliches and will hopefully help you create more inspired, original work.


Most importantly of – find posters you love and steal from them. What is it that you like about them? Stand on the shoulders of giants and use their knowledge, understanding and talent to further your understanding of creating great poster art. As Picasso so eloquently put it:

“Good Artists copy but great Artists steal.”

You don’t need to be a fully fledged artist to make yourself a poster; most people these days know a thing or two about Photoshop and by utitlising some creative commons images and taking a few of your own you can collage photos together to great affect. That’s exactly what we’ve done for our poster.

Disclaimer – I don’t claim to be a poster artist, nor do I claim that our poster is particularly spectacular… we like it though and we hope you will too!… so without further ado here it is!


What do you reckon? Let us know in the comments.

Below are a few images that help show the development of our poster, I hope you will be inspired to have a go yourself and create something that not only interests others… but gives you a creative boost on your filmmaking journey!

The Satellite Dish, as we have discussed in our previous blog,

Creating a Teaser Trailer, was rendered in Blender (more info on Blender can be found here) and composited onto this great photo that we used with the kind permission of Alexander Van D Sar (a big thank you to him!)

Two of the silhouettes were taken from creative commons images and the central one was a quick pic I grabbed of Elliot. By cloning and moving some public domain star images and adding the title and lens flare, we arrived at something we felt was both intriguing and visually engaging.

Hopefully this shows that regardless of your artistic abilities you can do a lot with the tools available to you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief exploration into the world of film posters – now get out there, get inspired and make something awesome.

P.S. below is a video tutorial showing how I created the poster artwork for our other project, ENCOUNTER. You might find it handy.


Zand & Ell

Zand & Ell


Zander Weaver Director @CosmosMovie

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