Functions and features There are two main types of trailers that are released by the distribution company. The first is usually a ‘teaser trailer’- this is a short clip approximately thirty seconds long and as the name suggests, it ‘teases’ the audience. The teaser is released online or with another movie at the cinemas (depending on the promotional campaign). This leads to the ‘word of mouth’ campaign as people share information about the movie with friends & family and a sense of anticipation is produced. The next trailer released is the ‘theatrical trailer’- this is longer than the teaser and usually plays in cinemas three/four weeks before the film’s release date. Trailers may also be seen on television advertising campaigns- ‘TV spots’- however, air time is pricey thus short parts of the trailer are shown so that strong impact can be created in a short space of time.
Previews before certain films For many people one of the highlights of a cinema experience are the trailers shows before the movie starts. The exhibitor or cinema manager uses their marketing knowledge to organise the trailers with main films that have similar audience demographics in the hope that these consumers will return to watch the trailer movie. When these cinemagoers do go back, the same process is repeated and overt-time a regular audience is established. A very important factor that needs to be considered by the exhibitors is the classification of the trailer. Trailers are classified in the same way as films thus a trailer for a 15 film cannot be played before a PG movie as this would be inappropriate for the younger audience. However, in some cases trailers aimed at an older audience are edited and made milder for the younger audience and then played with the scheme that accompanying adults will return at a later date, on their own to see the film.
Trailers- Location The World Wide Web is now established as a place & vital internet tool in film marketing, and in recent years, the media platforms on which we view film trailers have evolved considerably. Websites such as Apple Movie Trailers, IMDB (Internet Movie Database) and the movies’ official sites frequently display trailers that have been cut and are appropriate for viewing by audience of any age. This is necessary for the internet because as opposed to cinemas, the enforcement of age certification can be very difficult. Another way the trailers are developed is that there are many trailers for the same film and they have individually & deliberately cut in-order to satisfy the context in which they will be viewed. They are many options for trailer-viewers to comment on the trailers, join forums and discuss the trailers they just saw, and use blogs and social networks to converse about their anticipation for the film. All of that allows internet users to engage with films ever before the release date. From the viewpoint if a film distributor, marketing online is a highly effective method of generating pre-release film interest.
Importance and establishment of genre The trailer of a film targets to provide the audience with information about the film, such as: the story, starring actors and what genre (type) the movie will be. Knowing the genre of a film is important to the audience of a trailer because part of their decision to watch the film will depend on whether they enjoyed previous movies of this type. We automatically ‘de-code’ a film trailer as we are viewing & hearing it to establish its genre. For example, if I see a trailer that has dark, blood and scary music- I will distinguish that it is of the horror genre. Other examples are: up-beat music and animation will usually indicate a children’s movie whilst rapid music can specify suspense. ‘Conventions of the genre’ is the term used to describe the visual and aural elements that we designate to a particular genre. Sometimes, a film can be placed in more than one genre, making it a ‘hybrid’- in this situations it takes us viewers longer to decide what we would classify the movie as and this adds to our delight, as our expectations are taken in one direction and then another. Another method of indication to what genre a film fits in are the starring actors- as cinemagoers will have developed habits of associating specific actors with particular genres. For example, Jason Statham with action films and Jack Black with comedy. The trailers creators will always ensure that we as the audience are able to recognise the starring actors as this will help us place the genre and encourage us to watch the film.
The encouragement of a film trailer The main function of a marketing campaigns use of genre is to gain our interest. However, it must also show us how this film is different from other films of the same genre- it must answer why we should watch this particular film. This is solved through the USP (Unique Selling Point) of each film. This is the element that separates one title from the other films released at the same time or within the same genre. The USP can be many things; it could be the that the genre presents and unusual combination- such as, musical horror-it could be created by using latest special effects or it could even be that the main actor is playing an ‘against-type’ (E.g. when a actor known for his portrayal in action movie, plays an emotional role). The USP is vital to a films success because it is the element that sets it apart from other rival movies thus it is usually heavily advertised in the films marketing campaign.
Features of a trailer Trailers should not be confused as ‘mini-films’. They have their own genre, certifications and a set of evident conventions. Trailers have been carefully structured to capture our interest and hold it for a short period of time. They have the effect of creating a mood or atmosphere and they can heighten our anticipation of what is going to happen in the film. A film trailer can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle- we have been provided with some information (as to plot and characters) and our objective is to figure out the missing pieces. During a trailer, we are conveyed the information at a rapid pace and we must focus on the trailer so that we can acquire as much information as possible. This is different from the film because to watch a movie at this pace would be impossible and when not being able to cope with the ‘input’ our brains would simple ‘switch-off’. However, with a trailer we feel enjoyment in the roller-coaster effect and mental challenge it presents. Sound is an important element in trailers, especially the music- which has the power of manipulating emotions and creating distinct atmospheres. The voiceover, a characteristic of advertising, is used to summarise parts of the story and emphasise credit information where required. Like every other ingredient of the trailer, the voiceover also aims to promote the film by building-up our anticipation
Conventions Some distinguishable conventions of film trailers are:
Title may not appear until the end Action is mixed together with credits on screen They highlight the best parts of the film- such as, the very funny, very sad or very romantic They always present us with the starring actors of the film Some visual imagery barely stays on screen long enough for us to recognise what it is Dramatic shot types and angles can be used to show events or chatacters Conversations between characters mostly consist of ‘one-liners’ Voiceovers are used to provide they story and credit information Music will play at important parts of the trailer, in order to create atmosphere Trailers build to a climax, where they end Montage (Regularly used to highlight the most dramatic, humourous or rapid-paced aspects of the film).