The purpose of a film trailer

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  • 1. The purpose of a film trailer
    Melania Cross
  • 2. A trailer or preview is an advertisement for a feature film that in the future will be shown in a cinema.
    Originally, trailers would have been shown at the end of a feature film screening.This is where the term ‘trailer’ stems from. However, this practice did not last long, because viewers tended to leave the screen after the film had ended. Therefore, trailers are now shown before the film begins.(Gfactor (2007-11-06). "Why are they called "trailers" if they're shown before the movie?“)
    Film trailers are becoming increasingly popular on the web. Of an approximate 10-billion videos watched online annually, film trailers rank #3, after news and user-created video.(AWFJ Opinion Poll: All About Movie Trailers". AWFJ. 2008-05-09)
  • 3. History
    The first trailer shown in a U.S. movie theatre was in November 1913, when Nils Granlund, the advertising manager for the Marcus Loewtheater chain, produced a short promotional film for the musical The Pleasure Seekers.
    Up until the late 1950s, trailers were mostly created by National Screen Service and consisted of various key scenes from the film being advertised, often combined with large, descriptive text describing the story.
    Most trailers had some form of narration and those that did featured powerful, authoritative voices.
    In the early 1960s, style of trailers changed. Textless, montage trailers and quick-editing became popular, largely due to similar techniques that were becoming increasingly popular in television.
  • 4. Stanley Kubrick created montage trailers for Lolita, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVMUY-zdgRk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORSxBUGRX5A
    Kubrick's main inspiration for the Dr. Strangelove trailer was the short film "Very Nice, Very Nice" by Canadian film visionary Arthur Lipsett.
    In 1964, Andrew J. Kuehn distributed his independently-produced trailer for Night of the Iguana, using stark, high-contrast photography, fast-paced editing and a narration by James Earl Jones. His format was so successful, he began producing this new form of trailer with partner Dan Davis.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPdFDfQyi_c
    Kuehn opened the west coast office of Kaleidoscope Films in 1968.
    As Hollywood began to produce bigger blockbuster films and invest more money in marketing them, directors like Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and Barbra Streisand began to depend on Kuehn and Kaleidoscope for their ability to create the best trailers audiences could see.
  • 5. Trailers consist of a series of carefully selected shots from the film being advertised.
    Since the purpose of the trailer is to attract an audience to the film, these clips are usually drawn from the most exciting, funny, or important parts of the film, however in a restricted manner and usually without producing ‘spoilers’.
    The maximum length of a film trailer allowed by the MPAA is 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Each studio or distributor is allowed to exceed this time limit once per annum.
    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is a United States non-profit business and trade association designed to advance the business interests of movie studios. The MPAA administers the voluntary but dominant MPAA film rating system.
  • 6. Some trailers use "special shoot" footage. This is material that has been created specifically for advertising purposes and does not appear in the actual film.
    The most notable film to use this technique was Terminator 2: Judgment Day, whose trailer featured elaborate special effects scenes that were never intended to be in the film itself.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eajuMYNYtuY
    Dimension Films also shot extra scenes for their 2006 horror remake, Black Christmas - these scenes were used in promotional footage for the film, but are similarly absent from the theatrical release.
    A trailer for the 2002 blockbuster Spider-Man had an entire action sequence especially constructed that involved escaping bank robbers in a helicopter getting caught in a giant web between the World Trade Center's two towers. However, after the September 11, 2001 attacks the studio pulled it from cinema.
  • 7. There are dozens of companies that specialize in the creation of movie trailers in Los Angeles and New York. The trailer may be created at agencies (such as The Cimarron Group, MOJO, The Ant Farm, Aspect Ratio, Flyer Entertainment, Trailer Park) while the movie itself is being cut together at the studio.
    Since the edited movie does not exist at this point, the trailer editors work from rushes. This is the raw, unedited footage shot during the making of a motion picture.
    Therefore, the trailer may contain footage that is not in the final movie, or the trailer editor and the movie editor may use different takes of a particular shot.
    Another common technique is including music on the trailer which does not appear on the movie's soundtrack. This is nearly always a requirement, as trailers and teasers are created long before the composer has even been hired for the film score—sometimes as much as a year ahead of the movie's release date—while composers are usually the last creative people to work on the film.
  • 8. Most trailers have a three-act structure similar to a feature-length film. They start with a beginning (act 1) that lays out the premise of the story. The middle (act 2) drives the story further and usually ends with a dramatic climax. Act 3 usually features a strong piece of "signature music" (either a recognizable song or a powerful, sweeping orchestral piece).
    This last act often consists of a visual montage of powerful and emotional moments of the film and may also contain a cast run if there are noteworthy stars that could help sell the movie.
    Trailers tell the story of a movie in a highly condensed fashion that must have maximum appeal. In the decades since movie marketing has become a large industry, trailers have become highly polished pieces of advertising, able to present even poor movies in an attractive light.