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(Meta) Commentary on my Fic Movie Posters

3rd April 2010 (15:44)

For those of you who missed my original post, it's here. I did graphics for half a dozen of my 'Buffy' fics, in the form of movie posters. In this meta, I'm going to talk a little bit more about each poster; why I did it that way, what choices I made, and what it's meant to represent.

For all the posters, I tried to capture the appropriate mood and visual style, from chickflick romcom to dystopian 80s SF. That included things like colours and fonts used, and deliberately paying homage to original posters where applicable (especially in the case of the crossover stories). I will say that some of the images look more like book covers than movie posters, but that's not a disadvantage in my eyes.

You may have noticed I put the appropriate BBFC rating symbol on each poster. British people will doubtless recognise these; others who've always wondered why I give my fics ratings like "12", "15" or "18R" instead of "PG", "R" and "NC-17" can see that I didn't just dream the system up out of nowhere. :-)

 


Hiywan's Story

I've already done a banner for this, featuring an image of the First Slayer from 'Restless' standing against a backdrop of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, and at first I thought I might just repeat that but do it in portrait format. However, I decided I wanted something more visually striking, and the image of the shadowcaster from 'Get It Done' on a black background seemed to fit the bill. Besides, Hiywan in my fic isn't yet the First Slayer; she's still a child, and showing a picture of her from years after the story ends seemed inappropriate.

The quote at the top is, of course, from 'Restless'; the one at the bottom is from my fic summary, but put in quotation marks to look like a reviewer's comment.
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Intrusion

I struggled a little with this one, since I had a very clear image in my head of how I wanted it to look, but sadly my artistic skills weren't up to the challenge. Ideally, the image of Willow in the mirror on the left hand side would have been a wireframe drawing, 1990s-computer-graphic style.

She's wearing mirrorshades, of course, given that this is a cyberpunk story. If you look closely, you'll see Kennedy is reflected in them. The cascading numbers at the bottom come straight out of 'The Matrix', and the font I used (OCR A) is the same font used in the 'Terminator' films for the robots' internal-perspective view. The description is from my fic summary, except I missed out the subtitles.
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Netherlands to Nepal

This poster is more explicit than the others, because so is the fic itself. Mind you, I did consider a few even more explicit ideas for the image, but I decided I wanted to show both protagonists' faces in the poster. ;-)

I took the relative sizes of Willow and Dawn from the image in the comic where Willow flies up to touch Dawn's cheek to comfort her. The image of Willow is a manip, of course; Willow's (/Alyson's) head on someone else's body, and yes, I had to edit the pubic hair to match her head hair. I also painted in a shadow on Dawn's neck behind her; the trickiest part was trying to get it to look as if Willow was actually sitting on Dawn's collarbone rather than just floating an inch or two in front of her.

The lettering on 'Netherlands' is expanded horizontally, the lettering on 'Nepal' is stretched vertically, to visually illustrate the idea behind the title. 'Size Doesn't Matter' doesn't appear anywhere in the fic itself; that was me playing the role of a movie advertising executive trying to come up with a strapline. ;-)
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The 'Kisses' Trilogy

These posters were, obviously, conceived of as a group. At first I even considered just doing a single image for all three (with the tequila bottle appearing three times, progressively more empty) but then decided to make it three linked posters in the same style.

'That Kiss' is just Willow and Buffy having a friendly conversation, but we can assume they're having it over a drink if we like. The bottle of tequila makes an actual appearance in 'That Other Kiss'. Alert viewers may notice that the bottle's cap is golden in the first picture, silver in the second two. There's a story behind that...

The original photo I used had two bottles of tequila side-by-side; for these images I used one for the first photo, one for the last, and for the middle one I superimposed the top half of one onto the bottom half of the other. I had to play with the label, since one bottle had a different one to the other. After doing this, I noticed that the cap colour was also different on each bottle... I thought about changing it too - a pretty easy cut-and-paste job - but decided not to bother. Think of it as a continuity error in the posters, the sort of thing that happens from time to time and then gets into internet trivia lists for ever more afterwards.

The bra is, of course, added in separately. I had to do an image search for 'dangling bra' or 'draped bra' and ignore the millions of images that came up of bras being worn until I found one at the right angle... (The sacrifices we make for art.) Then I spent a while editing the straps to make it look as if it's hooked over the top of the bottle - you can see that where the straps are going behind the bottle, I made them semi-transparent so it looks like we're seeing them through the glass. I'm not sure if the scale is entirely correct; it's either a very small bra or a huge bottle of tequila, but I suppose the second can quite easily be true. And for the record, we decided in the comments to the original post that it's Willow's bra we're seeing there.
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We Just Declared War

This is a direct copy of the movie poster for 'Aliens', right down to the fonts used. I changed the original line 'This Time It's War' to 'We Just Declared War', which is the title of the fic and also, of course, a quote from 'Bring On The Night' ("We just became an army. We just declared war. From now on we won't just face our worst fears, we will seek them out.") Likewise, the byline of the 'Aliens' poster was 'There are some places in the universe you don't go alone', which I changed to  better suit the Buffyverse.

I had fun with the cast list at the bottom, especially describing Ellen Ripley as 'a stevedore' (It's true! That's her actual job role at the start of the film!), the Alien Queen as 'a really REALLY Big Bad', and the Cast of Thousands.
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A Storm Coming In

I feel like I'm cheating here, since I'm using the gorgeous SMG and Summer Glau to advertise a fic which is entirely textual and the actresses don't have anything to do with it. :-) In fact, I was searching for suitable images of Summer/Cameron and looking at the actual Fox posters for the Sarah Connor Chronicles, saw this one, and recognised the pose as being identical to the Buffy pose that I already use in my LJ header banner; so I combined the two. They're back-to-back because they're not necessarily on the same side in the fic.

The font used is the 'Terminator' font, and the colour scheme I used is taken straight from the T:SCC advertising. The fic title is, as I'm sure many of you know, taken from the last lines of the original 'Terminator' film. ("He said there's a storm coming in." "I know.")
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Comments

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 3rd April 2010 16:28 (UTC)

Was "Stevedore" Ripley's job title, or just what Buffy heard her mum thought she was like?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd April 2010 17:14 (UTC)
giles-notconvinced

I don't think we were ever told in words what Ripley's job was in 'Aliens' after she lost her starship licence, but she was employed to load goods on and off ships. That's a stevedore. Any other resemblance between Ripley and Ripper is left unspoken. :-)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 3rd April 2010 20:38 (UTC)

Alert viewers may notice that the bottle's cap is golden in the first picture, silver in the second two. There's a story behind that...

...which is?

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 4th April 2010 01:15 (UTC)

I believe the next paragraph is what explains it:

The original photo I used had two bottles of tequila side-by-side; for these images I used one for the first photo, one for the last, and for the middle one I superimposed the top half of one onto the bottom half of the other. I had to play with the label, since one bottle had a different one to the other. After doing this, I noticed that the cap colour was also different on each bottle... I thought about changing it too - a pretty easy cut-and-paste job - but decided not to bother. Think of it as a continuity error in the posters, the sort of thing that happens from time to time and then gets into internet trivia lists for ever more afterwards.

Emphasis mine. :)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 4th April 2010 03:27 (UTC)

Okay, so I'm blind...

:)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th April 2010 11:34 (UTC)

Hey, I never said it was an *interesting* story. ;-)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 3rd April 2010 23:48 (UTC)

Just out of curiosity, which fonts did you use for the Aliens one?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th April 2010 11:33 (UTC)

The main one is called 'Alien League', found by Googling for 'aliens font' then comparing it against the movie posters to make sure it was the same. I'm pretty sure it's fan-created. The other font is just Arial Narrow.

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 4th April 2010 01:16 (UTC)

I actually had noticed the cap color, and for some reason assumed it was because 'That Kiss' is less raunchy than the other two, and it was symbolic. I don't know where I get these things. :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th April 2010 11:33 (UTC)

That's actually more clever than I am. :-)

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