The trailer is an introductory element to your film, and if crafted correctly, it can give audiences a taste of the film and set the tone for its overall feel. It also gives you a chance to set up key story elements that will drive your audience to see the full movie, such as a cliffhanger ending or a compelling character conflict. The best trailers don’t just reveal one key element at a time; instead, they slowly reveal all the key plot points of your film by blending them into a compelling whole that will make it seem like the viewer is watching your complete film.

The first thing most trailers do is start with a voice-over introduction, often followed by a stock footage aerial shot. Then the trailer cuts to a real location (or sometimes a studio set) to show the main characters as they are introduced to the audience. Finally, a dramatic soundtrack plays and the title of the film is displayed.

In addition to the standard logos for the film and its production company, most trailers will also feature a “cast run” that lists the names of all of the principal actors in the movie. This list is usually used on posters and print publicity materials, but may also appear on-screen at the end of the trailer as well.

The next key step in the trailer is establishing the film’s central theme. This can be accomplished through a montage editing style, which works especially well with action or adventure films, but can be very difficult to pull off in comedies. This trailer fails miserably at this task, attempting to mix action and comedy in an unsatisfactory manner.

Once you have established the mood of your trailer, it is time to start presenting the main characters and setting up their primary conflicts. This is where the trailer really starts to shine, and it’s essential that you are able to create empathy for your protagonist and make viewers desperate to see how they will overcome their obstacles. The most successful trailers will zig where the film zags, creating an emotional connection with the audience and leaving them wanting to see more.

As the trailer winds down, it is important to use the last few seconds to hammer home your film’s central theme again in a memorable way. This can be done through a witty one-liner, an exciting or provocative image, or some combination thereof. The more you can leave your audience wanting to see the full film, the better job you have done.

Creating a great trailer is an art form that requires precise editing and a feel for the visual language of film. It is often necessary to work with an experienced editor, who can help you find the best clips for your trailer and craft them into a cohesive and compelling whole that will compel people to see the full movie.