Monday, 16 December 2019

What's in a "One Sheet"?

Jelly Cars by MA student Lee Caller
Our Student Animators at Bucks don't just learn animation, they also learn the art and craft of film-making, creating new and original stories for entry into film festivals.

Part of the process of making short animated films at Bucks involves putting together a "One Sheet" to help promote the 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?

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.

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 strapline.

Take a look at the Scooby-Doo poster to the 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 strapline: "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 strapline: "Meet the little voices inside your head".

How big should a One Sheet be?
A One Sheet is usually 27 by 40 inches (69 cm × 102 cm.  But most likely you don't need a huge resolution, because you're not likely to be printing copies for your local multiplex.

A One Sheet is usually portrait size, though studios will often cut landscape versions as well. Portrait is best - it fits much better at Film Freeway and IMDB.

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.

To see more, read this useful article at Wikipedia.

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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