A trailer is a short film that gives viewers a glimpse into a feature-length movie. Typically released at the start of a film’s marketing campaign, it can be an important tool in promoting and selling a movie. Trailers can be as simple as a few shots of action or a single conversation between characters, but they often contain a clear narrative structure and an emotional arc. They can also contain a cast rundown and a small sample of the movie’s soundtrack.

Most trailers follow a three-act narrative structure similar to the one used by feature films. The beginning lays out the premise of the film, the middle heightens the conflict, and the third act climaxes with a powerful piece of music. To make a successful trailer, it is essential to use well-written dialogue and a variety of cinematic techniques, including quick cuts and music cues that sync up with the action.

It’s important to create a balance between showing enough of the story to get the audience interested and not giving away too much so that viewers don’t feel cheated when they see the full film. This can be a challenge, but it’s essential for creating a trailer that will stand out from the crowd and attract audiences to the theater.

Depending on the genre of the movie, a trailer may be edited to highlight different aspects of the plot. For example, a horror film might emphasize the scares while a romantic comedy might focus on the characters’ interactions. In addition, trailers are often edited to fit the mood of a specific time period or location.

One of the most effective ways to add emotion and drama to a trailer is by using a voice-over. However, this technique is becoming less and less common with modern trailers, partly because Hollywood’s most popular voiceover narrator, Don LaFontaine, died in 2008. The most common way to convey information in a trailer is through text. Many trailers feature the title of the movie in large letters at the top, along with a tagline that sums up its main idea or theme.

While trailers are often edited for the purpose of enhancing their visual appeal, they also have to be compelling and concise in order to attract viewers’ attention and convince them to purchase tickets. Using fast-paced editing techniques like quick cuts, blurred backgrounds, and dynamic camera angles can help a trailer grab attention and keep the viewer engaged.

The music in a trailer is an important element in setting the tone for the film and can be used to create tension, suspense, or comedy. For example, a thriller might feature dramatic and eerie music, while a romance might have more upbeat and catchy tunes. In addition to choosing the right music for the trailer, editors must also pay attention to how the sound effects are used. For example, guns must not be pointed directly at the camera or sounded too loud in order to comply with MPAA guidelines.