A trailer is a form of marketing that condenses the film into its
most entertaining and enjoyable moments. Trailers can be
exhibited in cinemas, on television, and online, making them
accessible to more people. DVD’s often have film trailers
included on their special features.
an example of a modern blockbuster trailer.
Following the guidelines
of a standard film
trailer, a trailer lasts for
no more than two
minutes and thirty
seconds in length.
A trailer is used to advertise a
film, portraying it as a high-quality
film that will be enjoyed by many.
Trailers are supposed to persuade a
specific target audience to watch
the film – and spend money to do
so - upon its release so that the
money spent on the film can be
made back (with profit).
Clips from the film are shown, or
special footage is shot, so a viewer
can find out what the film is about
without too much being given away.
The best bits of the films are often
used – as long as they don’t give too
much away to the audience. As the
purpose is to attract people to watch
the full film, some mystery is often
employed as a technique.
Sometimes specially shot footage
will be used instead, though not
often – to make the film appear even
more appealing. It could be argued
that this is not a fair way of
advertising the film.
There are three main components
to most film trailers. The first sets
the tone of the film, showing clips
that build a clear view of the story
in the audiences mind. The second
part of the trailer shows the most
dramatic and significant moments
of the film to attempt to attract the
audience. Finally, the film often
brings in a piece of the films
soundtrack that is the most
recognisable and/or fitting while
showing off the cast members that
could bring in audience members.
One convention of film trailers is a voice-over. Sometimes the voice-over may be
recorded especially for the trailer, but most often the voice-over is a sound layer of
dialogue and voice-over from the film content. It is a very useful format of trailers that
can give insight into the character of the film, and the film content. Voice-overs can
work well to attract an audience to the film and to clearly convey the genre and
narrative of the film.
Rating cards are a convention of film trailers made in the US. The rating card shows how
the film fits in with the Moving Picture Association of America’s standards, telling an
audience the suitability of the trailer for certain ages and people. Green rating cards are
shown to appropriate audiences in theatres fitting to the standard of the film they are
seeing in the film theatre. They used to be appropriate for all ages until 2009.
However, red rating cards are used to show that the audience of the trailer is restricted
to a more mature audience. These trailers are not appropriate for young audiences due
to profanity, nudity, violence or any other inappropriate content within the trailer.
The Motion Picture Association of
America is a trade association that
represents six US major motion
picture studios, serving as the
supporter of the American film, home
video, and television industries.
The six members of the Motion Picture
Association of America are;
• Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc
• Universal City Studios LLC
• Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
• Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
• Paramount Pictures Corporation
• Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
British films have their own rating
system and organisation responsible
for this system- the BBFC. The British
Board of Film Classification are nongovernmental, funded by the film
industry and accountable for the
censorship and rating of films. The
current rating categories of British
film are: U (universal), PG (parental
guidance), 12A (under 12’s must be
accompanied by an adult), 12, 15, 18
and R18 (can only be shown in
specialist cinemas and sold in
an example of a rating card in Britain (12A)
Production logos, sometimes called vanity
cards, are made by different motion picture
studios and production companies to brand a film
trailer and show it as their product. This is a
feature of a trailer as it can help in promoting the
film as some studios may be famously affiliated
with films that appeal to their audience. There are
some particularly famous production logos such as
Universal Studios Inc. and Walt Disney Pictures.
When featuring in film trailers the production
logos often use motion and sound to add to the
trailer’s appearance and effect.
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