I took a break from editing yesterday to (guess what) edit together a trailer for The Brother Code. I feel that the overall finished product looks good and is a teaser for the content of the film. I would have liked to add more into it, perhaps some more dialogue or interesting snippets to tease what the film is about, however currently the voiceover from Richard provides enough exposition for the trailer and anymore would probably detract from visuals I’ve added into the paced second half of the cut.
My main focus when editing the trailer was not to fall into the same trap everyone else does. Trailers actually let you know what a film is, Visual reels are a collaboration of lots of shots. A lot of trailers I’ve watched from student productions fall into the trap of just putting pretty shots together and think that’s enough, but a trailer needs to establish the narrative in some form and create a hook for the audience. You can’t hook an audience with some pretty shots, eventually there needs to be some substance for them to bite otherwise the payoff will be low and they’ll shirk your product. So cutting together, I was very aware of putting something that, yes did have lots of aesthetically good looking shots, told some form of narrative and attracted a potential audience to find out more.
An example of this ‘trap’ would be Convolution, below, one of last year’s films which always has the trailer shown in the ET plasma screens. It looks visually nice, but there’s no hook, there’s no words or substance in the trailer to relate across the narrative and give the audience an impression of the content of the film. I feel a trailer should compress the narrative into a few paced moments and ‘give’ that impression to the audience, so once the trailer is finished you at least have some information of the content of the film and what it’s about, and be able to have an informed opinion on wanting to watch it, instead of just thinking “well it looks nice, even though I have no clue about the story, so I suppose I can watch it”. Another example is the trailer below by Dickens, there is some narrative in it and you instantly get an impression of the narrative, however I still feel there isn’t enough of a ‘story’ behind it to hook the audience. I like the subtleness of the trailer however the constant ‘titles’ that come up on screen are more of a shoddy get out clause than an example of your film. I feel there are both good parts and bad parts to this trailer I can take into account, good parts being the slight relation of the narrative to the viewer, bad parts being constant reliance on black screens and text which gives the impression there isn’t ‘a lot’ to the film or not enough clips to make a full trailer.
Compared to the student trailers above, I’ve been inspired by the film trailer for Blumenthal. Yes I realise it is a feature trailer, however it is the first film by a director and was shot in the same indie style by an independent as my FMP has been, so I feel both projects share similarities. This trailer has a lot I can learn from and share, such as the overall cinematic quality and instantly creating that atmosphere of ‘cost’ and ‘cinematic feel’. It also sets a good pace throughout so the audience doesn’t lose concentration and the narrative is interesting enough to give details about the film, teasing the viewer with more to get them to watch the finished product. These are all elements I like from Blumenthal and feel can be borrowed for my own trailer above, adding enough of a ‘narrative hook’ into the piece to garner interest whilst still retaining some element of mystery.
I think the biggest restriction in the terms of the trailer is the actual FMP assessment criteria, as it needs to be a 1 minute trailer. I would have preferred more leeway such as 1-2/3 minute long trailer, then I could have allowed some shots more room to breath and threw some funny dialogue in to create more of a hook. Due to this constriction, that’s why I stuck with constructing a trailer similar to my concept piece for the 360 hand-in, as I feel that worked well first time around and related information to the audience in individual chunks. Everything in the trailer is segmented up, ‘here are your location shots, here’s the two actors, here’s something fun’, to ensure that the narrative is easily related over for the audience and it doesn’t become too convoluted. That’s something I want to avoid when this is only a ‘short’ film. Overall I think it turned out well, however I could probably improve it if I had another 30 seconds leeway, letting some shots linger for longer and have slightly more room to sink in for the audience, or not beatcutting and instead reflecting the gentle pacing style of the film to get across more the substance of the finished product instead of trying to cram in as many pretty shots as I can before the minute was up.