Trailer 1: The Appeal
The Appeal is a psychological Thriller based on the writing of the popular television series ‘Black Mirror’. When Prisoner 169 awakes to being a guest on a mysterious game show, she must answer the questions correctly in order to survive.
I new of this short film before i took on the job and responsibility of creating the trailer for the filmmaker. I wasn’t involved in the production side but I filled in for an actor, so the script was very familiar to me – I felt this gave me the advantage of already having a feel and idea of what I would do with the footage given to me and saved me some time while I studied and broke down the film before I started editing.
When meeting with the client I wrote down some notes while we sat and talked about what she wanted with the finished product. She was mostly desired for the trailer to focus mostly on suspense as the film itself concentrates on the increase of suspense as we follow the leading character through the story.
Once I had the finished edit of the trailer I send it straight to the client, there wasn’t a set date for the deadline however i wanted to make sure she was happy, and if she wanted any changes before I moved onto the next project. She was pleased and content with the completed project. With her past studying practice being in sound design she was particularly impressed with my use of sound effect and especially approves of the amount of work that went into covering the original music used in certain scenes of her finished film, as I only had the finished file of the film and only certain original clips to use.
Trailer 2: That Little Voice
Since a child Joseph has suffered with anxiety which has followed him to adolescence. As he tries to make friends and do well in school, he just can’t seem to get rid of that old but familiar voice.
When working on the trailer for “That Little Voice”, written and directed by film-maker Michael Howard, I had to take into consideration that this particular project was a very personal representation of his own experiences. The fourteen minute short Drama which follows a university student in his everyday life and troubles with work and social anxiety, with another young man who seems to be his only friend, as we discover this friend was also with him when he was a young child it is revealed he is merely a voice In his head. Michael had created this film to not only spread awareness that especially young adults going through a similar situation are not alone, but to share his own experience with social anxiety. Regardless of the story and characters being fictionally represented throughout the film, Michael made himself clear that with the cut version of a trailer, he wanted the story to be kept straight with the film, as it is exceedingly easy to create another story line in the editing room. I made sure to stick to the story and update him as I went to make sure I was on the right track to create a promotional cut that he correlated with.
Keeping this in mind, I thought it to be best to keep the cut as simple as possible. I went through the audio first and picked out the best lines of the inner voice that best represented the hard times the character was going through, this mixed with cuts of the character young and older being showed in a distressed situation. I found that keeping it as uncomplicated and artsy as possible really showed what the film was about. The use of the beautiful shots the Directer had shot throughout the film spoke for themselves and was enough to tease the viewer to want to watch the entire film.
Michael was happy with the finished trailer, especially the length. Too much of the dialogue that could have been added would have shown too much of the film and nobody likes a trailer that tell the whole story. Michael will be using this trailer to promote this film, being shared on his personal Vimeo account and shared on his verified Facebook page. He has also asked to cut an edit for his upcoming short film.
I believe that this project was the easiest to finish as the footage was effortless to play with and I had a lot of choice to use certain audio and visual files. However, if i had more time to create a the titles I would have added it to the end. I do plan on finishing this for the film maker very soon for him to use as a final cut.
Trailer 3: Betty (2106)
Infamous robbers Stephanie and Helen join forces with the talented but unreliable Murphy as they decide step up their game and rob the more favourable choice of riches. With their companion Betty the bat they can take on anything, yet when a dead body postpones their plans they realise they are too far out of their depth.
Betty was my Graduation film for my final year of my film course. I had written, directed an produced the film myself a lot like my clients. I’ve found it is always much more difficult taking on a personal project due to only having your own opinion of the work and having to break down something you have repeatedly watched while editing at the time of production. It would seem easier as you know the story and characters inside out, nevertheless on the contrary.
With this particular project I was the not only the editor but the client. I put myself into their shoes of knowing what I wanted from this publicity video. This was difficult as the genre of my film is Dark Comedy, and to get my jokes across, the scene needed to be unfolded just like the film, so choosing specific pieces to show was very difficult without giving away the whole story. I added backing music which I thought most suited the film atmosphere. Betty is set in an alternate universe, where the characters are living in the 50’s era with their clothes, hair, cars etc, however they are using modern technology, for example they use modern day mobile phones. In my final edit of the film, I had also used music from 50’s set the audience up in that time, so I presumed that using the same technique in the trailer would do the same. In a sense I feel I succeeded in doing this, however the difficulty I had choosing what scenes to use seemed to change my perspective.
The film was inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s writing, where a majority of his film are based around his characters having long conversations to set the scene and carry the story. With “Betty” mainly based on conversations, this was extremely difficult to cut down, I felt I was either using too much and it dragged with no peak, or not using enough to really pull in the audience.
I am happy to an extent with this trailer, however I put together another cut which was smaller and more of a ‘Teaser Trailer’.
Trailer 4: Betty – Cut 2
With the first cut concentrating on the comedy side of the film, this second cut focuses more on the dramatic and dark side. Being a lot more simpler, I feel it gives less away of the story, and with the quicker, silent shots of the body and the characters reaction to this circumstance – it leaves the audience with cliffhanger.
These trailers are completely different, however many trailer cuts of motion picture films have done the same technique. Usually the shorter, more simpler trailer is released first to at least spread the word that there will be a film out soon of this genre and story, until it is nearer the time of release, and this is when the longer trailer is broadcast to draw in the bigger audience. Both of the cuts iI have created for “Betty” can be used to promote my film.
With limited time to work on these trailers, I feel with more time I would have been able to accomplish more on the ending title effects. I had spoken to a few students who specialise in this field alongside with several online tutorial on After Effects. Working on the Appeal, I had more time to experiment, however on the other trailers I had to specifically focus on the main edit. For future projects I intend to spend more time on the end titles as these trailers need a better, more rememberable ending. This will also make the whole trailer seem more professional.
My previous research into how to create a trailer helped a great deal, however working with shorter films, the amount of footage and story available to me was more slim. Despite asking the filmmaker for any uncut footage they may have to edit in when making sound effects, if I was making this trailer closer to the time of when the film was finished, a lot more would have been available to me to experiment further.
While creating a Business Plan for my editing company I feel once starting up, I will be in need of more creative minds.
When it comes to recruiting an editing crew, it will be a small group of editors who I know and trust to help me complete projects for clients. During this module I have worked solely by myself to simply work on my editing skills, from editing film to sound and creating titles.
However to have a possible crew at the start of a business, it would look something like this: (I have either worked with these talents or seen how they work on certain projects, they are reliable, time efficient, can follow instructions, creative and work to a high standard.)
Head Editor/Producer – Myself
Role: Taking on the role of Producer, this is very similar to a manager – where both responsibilities will come into effect, where the running of the business and it’s projects will be my responsibility. This includes, dealing with clients, sorting payments, being involved during the whole production of the advertising projects and signing off on every finished film.
Editor – Jake Walker
Role: As editor, Jake will be working alongside myself, taking a similar lead role during the Production of the Projects. Jake can also be involved in meetings with the clients from discussing ideas to updating them on the process of their film.
Sound Design – Rebecca Bell
Role: With a background in sound design, Becky will have the responsibility of making sure the audio levels are correct for each platform – includes using legalised music throughout our ads. Becky does not have to be so present when dealing with the clients.
Title Design & effects – Zoe White
Role: As well as having knowledge of Effects programmes, Zoe will not only have to create our titles but also design them – this means having a creative portfolio for each project to show our clients when discussing ideas.
Role: The main role for every client is communication. To get the most out of the service we provide and to have a successful result, the client has to announce when they either like or dislike an idea. Things can be changed mid way through production for their promotional video, however the price could fluctuate if they do not speak up in time. The client has to be as invested in the project as myself and my crew are.
When cutting a film trailer, i have discovered the best and worst advice through this practice:
Only use the best
When creating a trailer, you are cutting down a film to a fraction of what it is. Whether it’s cutting down a 100 minute film to a 2 minute trailer, or a 10 minute film to a 1 minute trailer, it is always best to use the absolute best footage available to you. Many independent film makers are hesitant to use the best shots and looking scenes in fear of giving away the story or major plot lines of their film, but in hindsight it is crucial to remember that the best footage will in fact draw the biggest audience.
Prioritise the first half of the film
Although you can certainly get away with using scenes from any part of your film, it is usually best to focus primarily on the first half. Act 1 and Act 2 in most films contain the best trailer material. The start of the film is the set up of the story and is the best way to ease the viewer into the story and what to expect when watching the whole film.
Moving onto Act 2, it typically focuses heavily on the premises of the film which can hook an audience. This gives enough away of the film that it accurately represents the story, but only enough that the audience doesn’t feel like they’ve seen the entire film in a few minutes, which has proven to result in a huge loss of interest.
Understand the Format
There is always room for flexibility when cutting a trailer as not all are equal. With the best way of keeping to the first of of the film and keeping the trailer a more traditional format, there is also room to be more versatile to get your vision across.
One example would be to take a single moment or scene from the film and it play out rather than showing variable cuts of what the film is about. Sometimes it’s the more simpler strategies that creates a mood or texture that teases the audience more without giving away many so much of the story.
Trailer editing is all about flow and rhythm, without it the whole cut will not sing and connect with the audience – it’s boring. Trailers build up excitement and anticipation, and a keen sense of rhythm heightens those sensations. for example, music plays a very important role in the basic construction – It literally sets the tone of the film. No matter what genre you are working with, without it there is no rhythm.
Use of Music & Sound
When it comes to cutting down a film, it may not seem like a whole lot of time, however the context can make the trailer seem like a lifetime. Once deciding on what visuals to show, the next step is not only backing music but music ques – especially when building suspense, to achieve this the best way is to accommodate the intense visuals with multiple music cues to bridge together each beat.
The best way triumph in this is too use two or three cues to tastefully help guide the different beats in the trailer, however make sure not to go overboard as too many will just make the whole build up a disaster and over crowded.
Using royalty free music is a great way to use music freely in not only a trailer but the film itself with sites such as, premiumbeat.com.(https://www.premiumbeat.com/royalty_free_music/search/trailer/classical/ns)
This will not only make the projects aspects legal, but when uploaded onto the internet to promote, many sites such as Youtube.com will mute or even remove the film due to copyright.
Chris Jones is a a London Based filmmaker who created the company, Living Spirit Pictures, festival runner and editor who runs a blog giving advice on all things film. While researching ‘trailer making’ i stumbled across one of his published pieces giving guidance and information on how to construct the perfect trailer for most genres in film:
“Here are some basic tips for creating this, these are fairly generic and I feel are pretty common for most genres:
- Choose the story through line and stick to it.
- Don’t introduce too many motifs or characters choose whose journey it is – if you’re fortunate to have a known performer, albeit in a minor role, utilise that fact.
- Don’t name check people who nobody knows.
- Know the end, the theme and feeling you want to leave the viewer with.
- The trailer doesn’t have to be as linear as the film – often better if it isn’t.
- Don’t have random moments that come out of nowhere – sounds contradictory to the above point but you can put scenes in any order as long a the through story is being followed, don’t be afraid of mixing it up.
- Writing copy (the voice over or captions) is tough, unless you have a way with words, don’t try and be too smart, serve the film rather than attempting to be clever with you words. The copy should encapsulate your through line story and can be helpful to skip through this. However, if you don’t need copy, don’t use it. If the film is strong enough let it do the talking.
- Stick with simple graphic captions – often the best way if you’re not graphically skilled.
- Voice over is not a must, and bad VO can alienate the viewer (don’t cheapen it with a fake American accent, if you’re a Brit and can read the lines, be a Brit, just be confident. Failing that, stick with captions)
- Don’t let shots and moments out stay their welcome. The perfectly constructed moment you created in your film CAN be trimmed right down in the trailer, don’t worry it doesn’t ruin your film. It will always be perfect in the film.
- Say something once, for example you may have two characters saying pretty much the same point in two different ways, cut one out you don’t need the other. Move on.”
(info from: http://www.chrisjonesblog.com/2012/02/how-to-edit-a-trailer-for-your-movie%E2%80%A6-but-the-guy-who-cuts-trailers-for-movies.html – viewed: 26/04/2017)
Breaking down & analysing successful movie Trailers
Comedy: The hangover (2009)
‘The Hangover’ Trilogy is one of the most successful comedy films around, with fast paced and humorous scenes that keep getting more and more ridiculous and entertaining. The trailer for the first film imitates this rhythm perfectly to give the audience a great example of the full film.
We begin by immediately being thrown into what the story is about – friends going to Vegas for a bachelor party, by simply being told by the characters in certain scenes from the beginning of the film. We then get thrown into what in a nutshell is the entire films story with little teasers of what happens to this group of friends, but still the audience is intrigued to know more and to hear more of the humour the film has to offer. With modern music used as backing with very little sound effects, this sets the tone of the movie directly, aiming at an audience who wants pure comedy and nothing else.
Drama: American Sniper (2104)
‘American Sniper’ is the definition of a drama, and the way this trailer has been cut has impacted my work a great deal throughout my practical. We start off with, in my opinion, one of the most suspenseful scenes in the whole film. The editor has chosen this specific scene and showing us nothing but, however as the scene moves on and the audience registers what is happening to this character and in this setting, we are faced with quick cuts of the film to fill in the blanks of what could happen and what this character could lose if he makes the wrong decision – this of course conflicting with a simple but dramatic sound effect which builds up till the end, making it that little bit more theatrical until we are left with the suspense of the cliffhanger of what happens next. This being made into a very successful trailer of the simplest way.
Horror: IT (2017)
If you are not familiar with the film or the novel, this trailer starts by showing us the very beginning of the story as we see how a little boy disappears. This is a slow build as the characters do not yet know what we know, however we know the familiarity of the horror genre. As the trailer moves on, we get our first music cue, this builds as a character is explaining more of the story and from here on the music cues only get more intense as the cuts get faster, giving the audience the suspense of how terrifying the film will be. The cut of this trailer still manages to tease these scary scenes without giving the entire scene away, the jump visual is collaborated with the intense music cues, resulting in giving the audience the fright but not the entire fright that they will get when watching the film.
With the name ‘IT’ being used in the script, we know what the film is before the titles are even shown, we do not get to see the whole of the villain straight away until the very end, with a quick cut of what i assume to be a jump scare scene and simple mini-scene of the IT’s full face in the last seconds of the trailer. With ‘IT’ having a huge following from it’s original Stephen King Novel and 1990 film, the build up of this remake and how the ‘IT’ clown demon has been modernised had certainly been all the talk. With only one promotional poster that had been released before the release of the trailer, the development and slow increase of seeing the demon throughout this trailer, made it more a lot more suspenseful.
Marketing a Movie
Whether a movie is a small independent production or a Hollywood blockbuster movie, when it comes to promotion, the advertising strategies that can be used are very similar, despite the difference in budget. A promotions department is responsible for creating an effective, cohesive advertising campaign across several different media platforms, including movie trailers, newspapers, magazines, television and the internetW
The movie trailer is often the first chance to promote a movie to its target audience. Starting up to a year before the release of a major studio movie, distributors run movie trailers that are meticulously edited and audience-tested. The idea is to give moviegoers a taste of the laughs, special effects and plot twists of the upcoming release, the the goal of leaving them wanting more.
What goes into marketing a movie?
Timing is incredibly important, once the film has completed production it is crucial to build up as much hype in the short space of time leading up to the release. There are many ways of doing this and if it’s in the budge it could be what the film needs to give it potential of attracting the audience.
Seth Godin, one of the brightest minds in the marketing world, summed it up perfectly when he said, “by definition, remarkable things get remarked upon”. I am a strong believer that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. If you want to leverage viral marketing of any sorts, you must begin by doing something worth talking about.
Depending on the budget, pulling a publicity stunt, even if it’s just in the town centre could help boost interest in the film to a high level. A small performance including the characters and story with handouts of when and where the film is going to be shown will undeniably get the attention of the public.
For example when Game of Thrones marketed their latest series in the UK, they constructed a bus-sized dragon’s head, appearing to have been washed up on a Dorset beach. With those not familiar with the ever-growing television series, all public needed to do was google the occurrence. This simple creation brought an assembly of people to not only gather around said publicity stunt but also made it go viral to spark a larger online presence.
With the internet being so vast in present times, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it’s users, which is the world. With sources like Facebook and Twitter, it has made it so easy to set up a page for your project and simply ask people to like and follow it – this being similar to word of mouth, but online with the many ‘sharing’ options we have.
With an interactive Facebook page you can allow people to write reviews and share the photos/posters and clips that can be uploaded of the project. You can also create adverts that show up throughout the site for a small price. In this case, every little bit of promotion counts especially with a small budget.
With social media being so popular it is one of the best choices. However, there are other alternatives such as IMDB.com where you can create a profile for not only your project but for yourself. IMDB is a search engine, and much like Google or YouTube, their algorithm is driven largely by relevance and popularity, so you’ll want to make sure that your film page contains as much information as possible, and is well linked throughout the site. With millions of people visiting IMDB on a daily basis in search of new films and TV shows to watch, this site is perfect to include in your film’s digital marketing strategy.
With spending Module 101 focusing on just one genre I wish to develop my research into a wide range of genres, with my practical piece being a self-made promo – I will taking already made films and turning them into their own promotional trailers, using motion pictures and independent films, which will require the help from other filmmakers.
Once requiring permission from these filmmakers to produce a trailer for their projects, they will have the choice to use what I have created for them, if not, then it will simply be an exercise for me to achieve a higher skillset in trailer making.
With already made contacts with my many years at the college as a Film student, I anticipate that requiring clients will be seemingly effortless. Additionally I have worked with many clients before, whether it has been a wedding project or a dancer’s promotion video, giving me experience in dealing with the needs and requirements of the client to give the a satisfactory final piece for the promotion of their beloved film.
I few methods and procedures I have used in the past – for example, meetings with the client, mid-project showings and a considerable amount of back and forth contact, I wish to develop on, in some such way to give me more confidence when working to someone’s requirements and to work to deadlines, whether given to me by the client or set by myself.
My work will include researching articles, interviews etc with leading Entrepreneurs in my chosen business route. I will be looking at independent companies such as Wild Card, who are behind the trailers for Unbroken, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Maleficent, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Great Gatsby and many others, where I will not only be examining their projects and how they work and what makes their trailers so successful in pulling in an audience, but what the studio’s overall movie marketing strategy is, and what makes a prosperous business.
My research will also include the best ways to cut down a story of footage of ten minutes to two hours, into a one/two minute interesting and intense trailer. By the end of the module I expect to have various practical marketing projects from a diverse set of films from various backgrounds of filmmakers and genres.