Friday, 13 December 2019

Why Animators Need One Sheets

Adam & Eve Mk II One Sheet
As our Second Year Student Animators put the finishing touches on their VFX projects, they are now putting together "One Sheets" to help promote their finished films.

A One Sheet is a movie poster, a single image that encapsulates what the film is all about and entices the audience to want to go and see the film.

Think of the posters you see on the wall as you leave your movie theatre. You walk down a hallway, past a wall of posters, and you think: "that movie looks cool, I might just go and see that".

So what's in a One Sheet? And how do our students go about making one?

About "One Sheets"
Marketing departments at big studios spend a lot of time thinking about One Sheets, because people will decide whether or not to go and see a movie based on how good the poster looks.

And the audience will make that decision very quickly, generally in just a few seconds, as they walk past, momentarily distracted by the poster. If the poster doesn't look interesting, the audience won't go and see the movie.

The key thing is to have a single image you can upload to websites such as, to help promote your film.

After all, people want to know what they are going to get, before they invest time and energy in watching your film. A one sheet is your chance to sell them your idea.

Elements of a One Sheet
A good One Sheet has two key elements: a simple, clear image that encapsulates the essence of the film, and a clever tagline.

Take a look at the Scooby-Doo poster above and right - one of my favourite One Sheets.  It wasn't a great movie (arguably), but it had a great poster.  The image tells you everything you need to know about the movie. It also has a simple and funny tagline: "Be afraid, be kind of afraid".

Pixar, as you'd expect, are very good at one sheets. The poster for Inside Out shows the idea of the movie very clearly, and has a simple and clear tagline: "Meet the little voices inside your head".

Write a Witty Tagline
Your One Sheet should have a good tagline.  Consider some famous movie taglines:

  • "One man's struggle to take it easy" Ferris Bueller's Day Off:  
  • "In Space, no-one can hear you scream" Alien
  • "The Happiest Sound in All the World." The Sound of Music
  • "Who you gonna call?" Ghostbusters 
  • "Protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe!"
  • "An adventure 65 million years in the making"

Adam & Eve MkII by Sebastian Kuder
Your tagline should be something that helps to encapsulate what your story is about. Make a list of ideas, and pick the one you like the best.

One Sheet Dimensions
A One Sheet is usually a specific size, typically 27 x 40 inches or 69 cm × 102 cm.  However, short films generally don't need such a big resolution, because you're not likely to be printing A1 framed copies for your local multiplex.

Portrait Please, Not Landscape
Your main One Sheet should be portrait (ie, taller than it is wide), as this fits most online platforms such as Filmfreeway and IMDB). That said, it's fine to cut a landscape version as well, but your main One Sheet will be Portrait. 

To see more, read this useful article at Wikipedia.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link. To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here. For the next 12 week animation course, click here

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