I need to set up a to-read list to put order into my research materials and ease the pain connected to future writing endavours. Since my project on TV trailer production ambitiously brings together issues from different fields of research, I thought I’d better group my materials into categories of interests. So here goes the schema for a possible categorization of available articles and books that I have so far collected:

1.production studies

2. monographies on trailers

3.TV studies

4.hyperaesthetics//digital aesthetic

5.moving image theory

6.affect theory

7.media marketing

8.media events (though maybe this one goes under hyperaesthetics??)

9.miscellany (collecting assorted stuff relating to case studies)

I’d like to stick with this categorization and post my future notes accordingly.

Right now, I am at page 62 of Lisa Kernan, Coming Attractions: Reading American Movie Trailers (U. of Texas Press, 2004). This is the classical text on trailers, replete with detailed information on what a trailer is, how it is produced and what kind of relations are fostered by its circulation. There also exists a documentary (available online, somewhere) inspired by this book. It is a good venue to collect general knowledge on the topic, though it is of little use if you are, like me, interested in analyzing trailers as a source of production, rather than as outcomes of a process of production. What you get from the documentary is a lot of interesting visual material on period trailers and interviews with some of the best known scholars in the fields. In Vinzenz Hediger’s case this is particularly useful seeing how his work on the topic has never been translated in English (he is a German-speaking Swiss).

As regards my research, Kernan’s volume is proving inspirational, concerned, as it is, with “contribut[ing] to a social history of desire” (2). It employs rhetorical analysis as a methodological tool to understand Hollywood’s assumptions about the cinema audience, in the mean time conceptualizing Hollywood as a historical and cultural-specific “ecosystem” stirred by “persuasion,” “anticipation,” “expectation,” “hype” etc. Although I am still ambivalent about approaching trailers as textual units as Kernan does, an ecological view of the movie industry is exactly where I place my research, emphasizing the role that exchange, affect and experience play in establishing, and regulating, different kinds of commodity relations. In the following quote, for example, desire (which Kernan refers to as hope) is evoked as a property of moving images. It is the element that pulls and aggregates, inviting forms of relationality (Kernan’s “anticipatory potentiality”) that emerge across the cinema screen as an experience involving both the spectator and the promotional images.

[T]he hopeful dimension of trailers often lies in the spaces between the montage of promotional images (the ideal film we create out of the trailer’s fragments), thus belonging not so much to the texts as to an often amorphous anticipatory potentiality available in the trailer spectatorship experience. (25)

I will have to mull over the implications of this quote so I’ll leave this post at this.