By having Movie Posters designed around the celebrity and not the story, the branding of the film, the dialogue about the film orbits the Star. The Oscars nomination process has been criticized recently for a belief in prioritizing one type of experience over another and the general perception that they are seen as an arbiter of taste, able to dictate what stories the average person would see. If you see stories featuring only one group of people, presented in this mythological, iconic manner, your exposure becomes your reality.
This is a classic dilemma that the arts face, beyond the movie poster, is what stories get told and how visible are those stories. When you have the dominant mode of the industry selling movies based on WHO is in it versus the story itself, you will continue to face these issues. Look at the safe example of the "official" Hitchcock poster framed as Hitch, himself, sheperding your though this scaaaaaary story of birds with a "fascinating new personality" of Tippi Hendren. The type is bouncy and retro tv-like and everything comes together to be this cautious, "it's all right, folks" poster of a movie about freaking birds attacking! Compare that to the Polish poster which is primarily type and stark and overall feels sinister. These Polish designers (and anyone outside the traditional Hollywood system) don't have access to the set photography, the actors and actresses, the studio machinery, so they don't have to rely on them and can create something that's much more than just the "here's the cast" kind of approach.
Movie Posters are a device in which see images shaped by text framing a story. We've familiar with the form of the movie poster, that we can play with our expectation and understanding of the movie poster. It's like an algebraic formula for dreams where A + B = Mystery. But the danger is in merely seeing it as a simplifed formula with bare variables. By treating the Movie Poster as a medium, much like we would say he or she works with oil on canvas, a modern day illustrator/designer gets to work with a symbiotic relationship between image and text an audience is already primed to transform into a narrative. So any tweaks to the structure of the Movie Poster will create new "movies" borrowing from my photo montage work, portraiture, and my illustration experiments combined with my poetry, as shown in my series of posters based on the places in which I have lived.
The filmmaker and poet Jean Cocteau said "Film will only become an art when the materials are inexpensive as pencil and paper." I believe he meant this in the sense people open source software, or make content free for people. Giving them the tools to either make their own movies, or the stories presented in such a manner to make "movies in their heads," new generations of makers and storytellers are empowered to make their voice heard in, not only a way to combat the closed enviroment of the Oscars, but in the closed feedback loops of the sharing/like Internet.
Official Deadpool Movie Poster vs. My "Polish Movie Poster" version
I use the movie poster as a medium to concurrently work with image and text, rather than just focusing on one other other, as a way of finding the story between the two. This utilizes my interests with portraiture and mythology, illustration and typography, and connecting the history of inspirations such as old circus and magician posters with a means to create identity that stands apart in a rootless, shifting world.
So by bringing this assignment to the classroom, it has given students a chance to create work outside only one set of tools, to use rubber rats (yes, they're fake) in addition to digital manipulation to understand the heart of a story in a branding sense beyond relying on a celebrity endorsements. This also leads the way for a student to understand not just a multimedia conception of information and art, but responsibly and creatively think around the issues that our technological, informational, and entertainment-based society will increasingly ask us to do.