Function and Use of Press Kits for Films and TV Programmes.

Function and Use of Press Kits for Films and TV Programmes.

A press kit is a set of promotional materials, which is distributed to members of the media for promotional use. It also serves as a creative “resume” that gives insight into a film or television programme, and highlights the production’s best work. A press kit can also be a package of written materials designed to introduce a film to the media. Often these materials are contained in an attractive, eye-catching folder, although lately the electronic press kit design is becoming quite popular. The electronic press kit usually takes the form of a website, a CD, or a DVD. Press kits designed to promote film and television programmes have many uses and functions.

A press kit gives some upfront information as to why the journalists and other interested people should care about the film or television programme. This is the first impression, and it also plays a part in grabbing (but hopefully not losing), the audience's interest. This is done through the positive, persuasive writing of a cover letter. A cover letter, or a pitch letter, contains a summary, or brief description, of the contents of the press kit, including a table of contents of the items enclosed.

The press kit’s contents include the synopsis, which is a summary of the story of the film or television programme. A well-written synopsis acts as a teaser, and does not give out too much information. It can be classified into three types: the long synopsis, the medium, and the short. The main purpose of supplying the media or journalists with the three types of synopsis is to make it simple for them to write a review of the film or the television programme, and depending on what sort of space they have available to them, they can choose which length synopsis to base their review on.

The kit also informs the journalists and audience of the budget or finances involved in the media production, which is an appropriate platform for showcasing the investors involved. It also attracts other investors to participate in similar and future projects.

A press kit allows the journalists and audience to access information regarding the participants involved in creating a film or television programme. It includes profiles of the producer(s) and director, and discloses the ownership of the film or television programme. Also included are brief biographies of the key people working with the production. Actors' biographies should show previous film roles (if available), stage work, and awards they may have won in their acting careers. Key crew biographies, like the director of photography, production designer, editor, and composer, should detail other projects and productions they have worked on.

Previously written film or television programme reviews are included in the press kits. This helps journalists see what others are saying about the film or television programme, and gives them ideas for writing their own reviews. This is important to the journalists in terms of rating a production when writing their own reviews. Copies of recent news articles, press coverage, articles and publications on the film and television programme are included in the press kit. These are very important as they showcase the production positively.

Also contained in the kit are audio and video files of radio or television interviews, speeches, performances, and other media-covered events relating to the film or television programme, also referred to as an electronic press kit. This includes interviews with the key actors, director, producer, and other important crew members where appropriate. Television and Film production companies are now putting electronic audio clips in online media kits or social media. During a festival time, a central drop box with images, trailers, and other materials mainly in digital form is made available for access or even sent directly to journalists.

Information concerning frequently asked questions (FAQ) is also available in the press kits, which provide the journalists with ideas on what to write and even what to ask in case of an interview. Questions are listed and are answered briefly to give a summary, supplying information that will help guide journalists during interviews.

Photos, or screenshots, of the film or television programmes, are very useful when contained in press kits. Often included is the chosen image being used for the poster, in newspaper adverts, on video and DVD covers, on T-shirts, and everywhere a movie or TV programme is likely to be mentioned or showcased. Memorable images, for example, the eyes from The Blair Witch Project, cross into popular culture and are often mimicked and satirized by others in a way, that can boost popularity of the film or TV programme.

Other information, important in boosting the number of people following the production, may include information on upcoming promotions and events, mission objectives, and targets, in order to complete and finalize places or locations to view or order the productions.

“Press kits can be a complex compilation of many elements…in fact, the flexibility of the press kit is its primary advantage…, it can be seen as an asset of communications tools that helps youth media understand your organization and relay that understanding to its audience.” Kranz J (2011). The number one goal of presenting press kits is to get attention from both journalists and the audience.


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