Movie Trailers: The Right Way and The Wrong Way
Let’s start of by asking what the purpose of a movie trailer is. A trailer for a film is created to give people a glimpse of what to expect in terms of what the expected film will look/feel like. A trailer can successfully generate hype for the film it is trying to promote, and will make people want to buy tickets. Over the recent past I’ve seen that in the case of some big film franchises, some studios make crazy mistakes when they put out trailers to promote their films. The biggest problem I’ve seen in recent times is the heart-on-a-sleeve syndrome, where trailers completely spoil the entire plot of the film. Probably the biggest offender of this is the trailer for Terminator: Genisys, which you can see here. Trailers are supposed to make me want to watch the film in its entirety; Having seen that trailer, I have no need or intention to go watch the film (which I have not seen, but based on the word out there, is pretty atrocious). In my opinion, a good trailer is one that informs me of the themes that the film purports to deal with, the look and feel (vibe is the best word) of the film and leaves enough ambiguity for me to think to myself “What happens after that? Man, I’ve got to see that film!).
Some good examples of successful trailers, given my own guidelines above, are the Man of Steel teaser, which totally blew me away with that perfectly timed cut to black, Russel Crowe’s Jor-El voiceover and the tone it set, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” had more than one good trailer, which you’ve probably seen given how Disney has spent around $100 million to market. I appreciate “The Force Awakens” trailers even more now, having seen the film, because they didn’t reveal major sequences or spoilers from the film itself. More recently, “The Revenant” had an amazing trailer which totally took me into the world it was trying to create. Beyond just my expectations for the film, which I am yet to see, I’m already thinking,
“Just give DiCaprio the goddamn Oscar already! Can’t you see how damn hard he’s trying!”
So my point is, when making a trailer, you should aim to give audiences a reason to expect good things from the film its promoting, give them the vibe of the film and don’t spoil the damn movie!