A trailer is a commercial advertisement, originally for a feature film that is going to be exhibited in the future at a movie theater/cinema. This type of promotion is also used to promote other types of entertainment, including TV shows, video games, books and theatrical events/concerts.
Movie trailers are a unique art form, able to create an exciting bubble of anticipation around a movie in just a few minutes. When a trailer is well done, it can inspire debate about the characters and story, as well as creating a shared thrill that will carry over into the theater or home experience.
But despite their importance, many of us are starting to find movie trailers less and less captivating. At their worst, they give away the plot of a movie in advance, or at least reveal the main actors and some key scenes. At their best, they can be masterfully curated to show off the movie’s style and vibe without giving anything away. But with so many trailers being made these days, the genre is becoming more and more divorced from its actual movies.
Whether you are trying to sell tickets or subscriptions to your online platform, a great trailer is essential to your success. Creating one that is effective and engaging can be difficult, however, especially when your audience is scrolling through their feeds on YouTube or Vimeo.
To help you create a more engaging trailer, here are some tips:
1. Use high-quality footage.
The quality of the footage in your trailer is important for creating a compelling story, so make sure you only use footage that is relevant and will tell your story well. Using grainy or confusing footage can turn a viewer off of your video, so be careful when choosing the clips you use.
2. Highlight unforgettable scenes.
The goal of a movie trailer is to show the most memorable scenes from the film in a short amount of time. It’s important to choose scenes that are visually stunning and emotionally resonant without spoiling major plot points. If you’re making a drama, this might mean highlighting a powerful moment of conflict or a scene that will make the audience feel for your protagonists. If you’re making a comedy, this might mean showing off the funniest moments that don’t spoil the overall tone of your film.
3. Use a cliffhanger.
Ending your trailer on a cliffhanger can help keep your audience interested in what you have to offer. If you can leave them wanting more, they’re more likely to click on your call-to-action buttons. This can be as simple as adding a link to purchase your movie or as complex as encouraging mailing list signups.
A good trailer will also include a cast rundown, which is a list of the primary actors and directors in the film. This is usually placed near the beginning of the trailer, and it will also appear on posters and other promotional materials. The studio production logos are also often featured in the trailer, as they are a part of the company’s branding.