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  • 1. Find / create a dreamy background

    This can be a production still – usually one with a vast, high sky – or another pic you filter to the oblivion. It can also be just a color background, maybe with a subtle surface texture or pattern. Soft tones and faded pastels are very popular. The empty space is often as important as the actual imagery.

    The background we used is from our indie poster template (available for subscribers) – a Chicago aerial shot (from Pixabay.com) covered in numerous filters.

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  • 2. Bring in the foreground

    It’s time to add the thing (main character(s), hero prop, graphic element) you want to use as an attention grabber and find a layout that works.

    Consider the symbolism. The young boy in this fake film is meant to be somewhat of an antihero, so he is placed in the lower half of the poster with the title overhead – implying that he needs to grow up.

    If nothing seems to work, try sideways or upside down. It’s all been done before.

tipQUICK TIP

When using both the background and the foreground of the same pic, create a copy of the layer and mask out the background. This way, you can edit background and foreground separately, which makes it a lot easier to control the color scheme and what is in focus.

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  • 3. Add your title and tagline

    Indie drama films tend to favor the sans serif fonts, often with increased letter spacing, or other gimmick ultra light or narrow cuts that may reduce readability.

    There is certain beauty to the ultra simplistic style, but it is still a film poster. Make sure your title and preferably also your tagline are readable from a few feet away, without squinting or tilting one’s head.

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    Open source fonts you can download at Google Fonts

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  • 4. Add small print

    Almost done! Now it’s time to add the awards, credits, movie website info and others necessities. If you don’t have awards (yet!), but do have cast members with a bit of clout, use their names.

    Try to limit all unnecessary blabber. Never use more than one tagline. If the movie is based on a critically acclaimed novel or a true story, that may be worth a mention. Itching to use a possessory / vanity credit (i.e. “A Film by So-and-so” or “A So-and-So Film”)? Consider whether this will really help with marketing. With a well known director, it might. But even many well known directors don’t take one, arguing that it doesn’t reflect the collaborative process of filmmaking.

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  • Create Your Movie Poster Using a Filmsourcing Template

    Whether you’re a Photoshop pro or a beginner, you can save hours and skip the boring setup work by using a poster template.

    The Indie Poster Template, web and print size poster templates and 70+ other filmmaking resources are available for Filmsourcing subscribers. Join now!

    Get PSD TemplateWatch Video Tutorial

BONUS: When you don’t have good production stills

ONE SHEET size poster with a minimum print resolution of 150dpi requires high quality still photos that are much larger than regular HD screenshots. If you don’t have proper production stills, i.e. high resolution pics of your cast in studio and/or on location, don’t despair. Here are few things you can try.

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  • Take a Pic

    The film shoot is over and you can’t get into the same locations? Just take a good camera and have your star pose against a wall. Choose a wall that suits the style and color scheme of your film.

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  • Go Graphic

    Draw vector silhouettes out of your film’s footage and use them to create the scene. Or ask an artist to create drawings of your protagonists.

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  • Go with tiny people

    Use your HD footage in a clever way – find full body screenshots of your main actors and cut them out to use as tiny little characters on a solid color background. The result is often quirky.

    Alternatively, find a screenshot with an easily extendable background – like a clear blue sky – and extend it with the help of some hires images from Pixabay.com, Freeimages.com etc. If you’re clever, some shots can even be extended sideways. And the vast sky creates an easy background for the poster.

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  • Slice & Dice

    If you shot higher resolution than HD, but not quite high enough, make a collage of your best screenshots. This works especially well for films with a larger cast and it’s a nice way of showcasing your actors.

    We have a handy collage poster template for Filmsourcing subscribers. Just drop in your own images, update the text and send off to the printer!