Trailer research

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  • 1. Researching real trailers
  • 2. With my current knowledge of films and their trailers, I noticed that there are two types;teaser trailer and an international trailer. So I decided to research the difference betweenthe Teaser Trailer and a full length/international trailer. •Teasers are a part of viral campaigns to get films recognised and noticed by target audiences and the film world. •From the name ‘teaser’, it is clear that their objective is to grab attention so that audiences will notice the other promotional packages for the media text such as the full length trailer, posters and other virals. •Films are not the only type of media who use teasers, games, books and TV shows also use them as a way of recognising the existence of the text and to highlight the fact more promotion is on its way. •Trailers are shown on television breaks, cinemas, before the film is shown at the cinema, at train stations (especially tube stations ie. London), on film sites (when a new trailer is released for example), at film conventions, on websites and even on the radio.
  • 3. Some examples of teasers for TV and Game:Game Of Thrones Teaser FIFA 10 TeaserBoth of these teasers have one thing in common:•They do not give any narrative or character description away, but they have small clips of footage.Because these clips are out of context, they make little sense however their main area of genre isclear. Audiences who are intrigued by these teasers are likely to watch the real promotions and aretherefore much more likely to buy or watch the media.
  • 4. In my research I found that film teasers work in the exact same way. Researchinghistories of teaser trailers, I found that they have been used for many years and in manydifferent ways. Here are some examples of well known film teasers and their impact.The very first teaser for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) was attached to the beginning of ABug’s Life (1998) and The Siege (1998), and because of the anticipation for the film from fans, it wasreported that many people paid for tickets to the films only to see the trailer and then leave.
  • 5. Some instances of film teasers are created before the initial film has even startedproduction and are revealed up to a year before the actual film’s release date. An exampleof this is The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Cloverfield (2008).•The Cloverfield teaser shows lots of footage from the real film but like a teaser, gives no plot away.Another noticeable point of the teaser is that it does not give the film’s title; instead it reads thedirector’s name and the date the film will be released.•The Da Vinci Code teaser is different to the one for Cloverfield, because it doesn’t feature any footagefrom the film. There is a strong, bold voice over which ambiguously describes an ‘it’, revealing a pictureof the famous Mona Lisa painting while explaining that ‘the journey has just begun’ which enticesaudiences to this new film. It reveals the title and the cast of the film, but in a true teaser trailer waydoes not give away anything.
  • 6. Trailers aim to advertise films and try to interest audiences into going to see them. Unliketeasers, trailers show footage from the film and usually reveal funny, exciting or important clipsso that the audience want to see the film in its running time context. Most trailers avoid revealingspoilers for the film, so that audience’s experiences are not ruined and they do this by not usingclips of footage in their regular order. A simpler term for defining a trailer would be a montage offootage from the film, revealing its genre, basic storyline and the actors or characters.Footage known as ‘special shoot’ is recorded for the trailer and promotion, but this footage is notused in the theatrical film. A common style a few decades ago featured directors or actors talkingto the audience through trailers and explaining the film. A famous example of this is AlfredHitchcock’s tour of the ‘Bates Hotel’ in his famous film Psycho (1960).
  • 7. In my research I found that trailers follow a structure of a an act 1(beginning/introduction), act 2(middle) and an act 3 which usually covers a montage of the film, a cast list or a final quote orshot to entice audiences.With my knowledge of Todorov’s narrative theory (1960), I used his stages in looking at trailers.Using the narrative theory of Equilibrium, Disruption, Recognition of Disruption, Repair andRestoration, I realised that nearly all trailers follow this structure:-Equilibrium-Disruption-Recognition of Disruption-Attempt of RepairOf course, not all trailers follow this and some simply show the Disruption or leave out theAttempt of Repair. The ‘Repair’ and ‘Restoration’ in a general sense, are not shown becauseaudiences will not want to see the film in full knowing how the characters get on or the filmends.
  • 8. How To Train Your Dragon (2010 dir. Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders.)In How To Train Your Dragon, the Equilibrium is seen as the Vikings fighting learning to fight dragons as theirenemy and the disruption comes from one of the characters making friends with a dragon. Hiccup realises thathumans can be friends with dragons and he attempts to show them that they can be friends instead of fighting.Little Miss Sunshine (2006 dir. Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris)The Equilibrium for Little Miss Sunshine is the family living their everyday lives. The little girl, Olive, being chosento participate in a beauty pageant is half of the disruption, with the other half finding transport and money to getthere. The family recognise the disruption and attempt to repair it by driving to California in their yellow truck.
  • 9. Inglourious Basterds (2009 dir. Quentin Tarantino)This trailer uses one piece of footage with montages throughout, but the narrative theory can still be applied.The Equilibrium for the soldiers is killing Nazi’s as this is their duty, but the disruption could be seen as theirfight back. Vice versa, the disruption could be seen from the Nazi’s point of view as them being killed.Gulliver’s Travels (2010 dir. Rob Letterman)Guilver’s life appears to be at equilibrium of his usual life at work, until he is disrupted by being transported to aweird island. His recognition of the disruption is clear on the island and he attempts to repair it by becoming theisland’s ‘king’ and manipulating the people.
  • 10. Brokeback Mountain (2005 dir. Ang Lee)This trailer reveals a lot of the plot, but the theory still applies because the two men are seen in their Equilibrium while at their work.The disruption comes along when the men fall in love and their recognition is knowing they cannot be together because society willnot accept them. Their attempt at repairing their disruption is marrying other people and living their normal lives.To grasp an understanding of what the codes and conventions of real film trailers are, I have decided to look at a few trailers for themain film genres. After this first piece of research, I will choose one or two genres that I am interested in and carry out furtherresearch.
  • 11. Action AdventurePrince of Persia: Sands of Time (2010 dir. Mike Newel)The format for this trailer features a small clip before the film’sproduction company logo, which acts as a type of ‘cold opening’ to atrailer because it entices the audience to the trailer because this small30 second clip has only revealed the main focus of the film but not put itinto context. After the logo, voiceovers are used to explain the mainstory of the film. In this instance, the voiceover explains that the maincharacter is a Prince and that he has to destroy this famous dagger. Thetrailer then looks at the journey the prince has to overcome in order torepair the disruption (see Todorov’s theory), through a series ofmontages of action shots (clearly stating the genre) and a few longershots (longer than 5 seconds) to show parts of the film. These shortshots include a hint at a romantic development between characters andan example of the magic dagger at work.Indiana Jones (1981 dir. Steven Spielberg)This trailer begins with the film’s production company logo. Anestablishing shot is used to show the desert setting, then a voiceoverexplains the ‘lost ark’. Shots of characters talking about the ark withcutaways to the ‘ark’ are shown. The voiceover continues to explain thefilm, paired with action incidental music that hints at who the ‘hero’and ‘villain’ of the film are. The voiceover says the name of the directorsand producers, with the film’s theme music playing, showing actionshots of the film which defines the genre.
  • 12. AnimationShrek (2001 dir. Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson)In this trailer for Shrek, a cold opening scene is used to show a part ofthe film that audiences will be interested in- a donkey yelling the words‘dragon!’ Once the logo for the production company is shown, avoiceover places audiences into the setting of the film of a ‘fairytale’and introduces the characters of a villain, princess and hero. Some ofthe action and funny scenes are shown through a series of montagesbut with no context so audiences do not fully understand. The voiceoverlists the famous actor’s names as their animated character is shown.The trailer finishes with another two short clips from scenes of the film.Despicable Me (2010 dir. Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud)This trailer takes a similar form to Shrek. A short clip is shown at thebeginning, before the producer’s logo and followed by a voiceoverintroducing the character of Gru. Gru’s motives are clear that he is asupposed villain but the montage of clips introduces his problem that hefaces in the film. The voiceover reveals the name of the voice behind themain character with a text frame of other voices for audiences torecognise.
  • 13. ComedyMy Cousin Vinny (1992 dir. Jonathan Lynn)This trailer begins with the logo of the production company and thenreveals the first part of the film with the use of a voiceover. The narratorreveals the story of the two boys who got into trouble and need alawyer. The voiceover along with a soundtrack of a fun electronic beaty,introduces the main character of the title ‘Vinny’. There are then aseries of clips that show his funny side, making the film’s genre clear asa comedy. The voiceover continues to describe the film and sell it toaudiences and introduces the actor portraying the main character andthe film.Zoolander (2001 dir. Ben Stiller)For this trailer, the voiceover starts from the beginning and talks abouta character with cutaways to other people (famous people, setting thescene for the Hollywood setting) also talking about the character. Thecharacter is then revealed and he is described by the voiceover withcutaways to clips from the film. The voiceover says the actors namewith clips of their character so that audiences recognise them. A fewmore clips from the film are shown through a montage.
  • 14. DramaThe Shawkshank Redemption (1994 dir. Frank Darabont)The logo for the production company is shown with the voice from acharacter over it. They explain a murder case while cutaways flash back tothe case that is being spoken about while the man gets charged with afade to black. This acts in a similar way to a cold opening of a film but for atrailer. This is followed by an establishing shot a long piece of orchestramusic while a montage of clips from the film is shown. A voiceover fromthe film, describes the main character as he came to the prison and how hegets on. Within this voiceover, the montage of clips from the film is shown.The music continues to give the dramatic, emotional feel for audiences torecognise. The piece of music begins to fade out while the title of the film isshown. No ‘bold’ voiceovers are used, just ones from the film.Changeling (2008 dir. Clint Eastwood)The trailer for Changeling begins with the logo of the production companyand a small clip with no dialogue, with a piece of dramatic music in thebackground. Over a black screen, a title of the date in which the film is setis shown. The next piece of footage shows the main character as she tellsthe story of her son who went missing, with a cutaway to a flashback asthe music continues. The next title reveals the film is ‘based on a truestory’, while the woman continues with the story. Once the ‘shock’ of thedrama is shown, the music changes as a montage of a series of clips areshown which revealing a little to the plot. These hints at the plot includethe journey the main character has to face in hope of finding her son.Through the montage, the black screen with titles read the director andthe actors including their academy award nominations or wins. The title isrevealed over a black screen at the end.
  • 15. HorrorLet Me In (2010 dir. Matt Reeves)This trailer begins with the logo of the production company followed by afew daunting beats of music. With each beat, a new title or scene is shownas the trailer goes on to show the new friendship between two teenagers.While their dialogue continues, montages of the film are shown and withthe titles, reveal that not everything in this town is what it seems. Oncethis title is shown, a new tone of music is played and the beat and cutsbecomes faster, with screams heard through the audio. The pace of thetrailer quickens as it begins to show the genre of a horror. The cuts becomemore rapid as the trailer continues, with more dreary music. The taglinefor the film is shown while the title of the film is revealed at the end oncethe music and clips stop.The Cabin In The Woods (2011 dir. Drew Goddard)The trailer for The Cabin In The Woods does not begin with a logo, insteadif starts with a fun, party song while a group of teenagers are seen drivinga van on the way to a vacation. But the music suddenly stops, while adreary ghostly sound is heard while the production company logo (which isusually white but is red for the ‘horror’) is shown. The music stops, andchilling sounds are heard as the characters appear to feel vulnerable in thisisolated town at their cabin. The titles reveal that this is a different type of‘horror’ than what audiences think, even though the stereotypical creepycabin is shown through a series of clips. Then through a montage ofclips, the trailer reveals that the group of teenagers in the cabin are beingwatched and the dreary music begins to increase in pace while the cuts forthe film speed up. The soundtrack is a mix of a techy, suspenseful track anda song from an electric instrument band. The title for the film is shownwhile the music stops, but a clip follows after which heightens tension. Theclip ends with a blast of the music and the details about the film
  • 16. RomanceThe Lake House (2006 dir. Alejandro Agresti)A short clip that acts as a cold opening is used here, where a womannarrates that the ‘lake house’ made her feel like herself. The productionlogo appears and then the trailer follows a series of clips explaining thepeculiar effect of this ‘lake house’. Two people start sending messagesas the music stays soft and gentle. The titles across the moving imageexplain how the character lives ‘two years apart’. A voiceover starts toexplain that this story is about love, while the music changes to asoundtrack of a slow, steady and soft love song. A montage of clipsfrom the film is shown with two references and a voiceover introducingthe two lead actors and ending with a title shot of the film with thevoiceover saying the title- ‘The Lake House’.City of Angels (1998 dir. Brad Silberling)This trailer begins with the film production company and a few shotsfrom the film, as the voiceover explains the concept of the film ‘angels’.The trailer continues with a montage of clips from the film as thevoiceover narrates the basic plot of the film; an angel falling in lovewith a human. A slow, soft song plays in the background. The titles ofthe trailer read the disruption of the film ‘she would give up anything onearth…etc…’.The voiceover tells the name of the actors and the film asthe trailer ends.
  • 17. Sci-FiStar Trek (2009 dir. J.J. Abrams)This trailer starts with a scene of a boy driving a car and then revealinghis name. The production company logo follows with a soundtrack ofbeats and a sci-fi eeriness to it. Then a voiceover from one of thecharacters in the film, talks over a series of clips as he explains that aman is very special and he has a certain fate, while the visuals are of aman riding to a space ship. The music continues as the title reads thedirector’s name, followed by a few clips in a montage as anothercharacter talks highly of someone else. The montage that follows showsa series of explosions and spaceships, revealing the genre. A few clipswith dialogue show the disruption of the film, while the cuts of the clipget quicker as the pace of the music speeds up. One last clip before thetitle is not sped up as the character, presumable the villain reveals, ‘thewait is over’ while the franchise icon is shown against a black screen.The icon is followed by the film’s title and details of the film.Total Recall (1990 dir. Paul Verhoeven)This trailer begins with the film’s production company and a clip fromthe film revealing a robotic woman. The music in the background iseerie and continues while the black screen reads the name of one of theactors from the film. The trailer then follows a series of montage clips ofthe film, explaining that the main character is on the run on the planetmars. The trailer continues in this manner with a sci-fi track in thebackground, ending with the film’s title.
  • 18. Black Swan (2010 dir. Darren Aronofsky) ThrillerWhile the production logos begin the trailer, ballet music begins over them leading into avoiceover by the main character as the visuals change to a ballet dancer. The music stopsthe screen changes to black. The set of text reveals the director over the featheredbackground, while violin and string music starts to play a continuing drone. The musiccontinues at a steady pace, while a montage of different clips and dialogue are seen,showing the main plot of the film is a ballet dancer wanting a lead role. The cuts and paceof music start to become quicker and while a piece of dialogue says ‘the only personstanding in your way is yourself’, the visuals show the main character in front of a mirror asher reflection turns on her and the lights go out. The music also stops. Again the pace ofthe music increases and the cuts become quicker, as the music moves towards a crescendo.The names of actors are shown with another scene followed. Her breathing is heard and asmall drone from a violin is played over the film’s titles.The Prestige (2006 dir. Christopher Nolan)This trailer begins with a small scene. The production company logos appear as the man’svoice is heard saying ‘magic’. A series of clips are shown as a montage showing twomagicians in their show. The titles explain that ‘a friendship becomes a rivalry’ and the clipsthat follow show the two characters. The titles reveal the director of the film and hisprevious ones and continue to show text of the different ‘acts’ in magic. A voiceover from acharacter in the film explains each act including the one called ‘the prestige’ while thevisuals show clips from the film. The soundtrack begins to speed up, with peaks of suddencrescendos as the clips are cut. The last part of the trailer quickens but slows with two clipsat the end which explain the aspect of magic in the film and its meaning to a character.Just after, lots of clips are shown within 5 seconds using quick cuts and then reveal the titleof the film. The actors names are shown as text followed by information of the film.
  • 19. WesternTrue Grit (2010 dir. Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)This trailer begins with a character’s voiceover being heard as he asks a character aquestion while there are visuals of the man shooting and other action clips. The productioncompany logo is then shown as the soundtrack continues behind it. The visuals then set thescene of a town and show a young girl calling for a character. During this conversationthere are cutaways to clips from the film. Text shows the production company followed byanother few short clips showing the characters. Another set of text appears showing whothe film is made by. With each loud drum beat in the music, the film flashes more textshowing what else the directors have made. Montages of clips are shown as the dialogueover it is taken from a few of these clips, setting out the basic plot for audiences. The beatsof the western-esque soundtrack speed up as the cuts of clips do too, showing the film’sgenre of a western. A few clips from each of the most famous actors are shown with thetext of their name. With the sound effect of a gun explosion the title of the film is shownwhich is followed by a short clip ending with a gunshot, revealing when the film is due forrelease.3:10 To Yuma (2007 dir. James Mangold)Just before this trailer show the production company logo at the beginning, a clip that lastsonly a second shows a long shot of the setting of the film. With a beat from a soundtrack ofa drum, the production company logo appears which is followed by a few more clipsbroken up when the drum beats with flashes or fades to black. These all heighten tensionas a man is seen shooting another man. A small piece of dialogue is heard of the mantalking about stealing with a cut to a black screen with text describing the setting of ‘alawless land.’ Following this, a small montage of clips show a man who lives in poverty andhow he comes to go on a search for the wanted man. The trailer then shows another set oftext, explaining what else the director has made previously. More clips are shown in a fastpace as the drum beats speed up, showing more aspects of the film and clearly showingthat the film is a western. Another set of text shows when the film is due out (‘This fall’).Other clips show the attempt at repairing the disruption of the film but do not go on toshow if the characters are successful or not. A shot of each main actor is shown with theirname titled over the visuals. The soundtrack changes into a higher pitch as the title of thefilm is shown over black.
  • 20. After looking at the different trailers for the different film genres, I have decided to look moreclosely at the genre ‘Thriller’ and investigate the type of different conventions of the genre fortheir trailers. After research I will decide if this is the chosen genre I wish to focus on for my owntrailer.