Trailers are short, compelling tidbits of cinematic excitement. They help create a buzz about your project, entertain crowds, and potentially even raise money for your movie. But making a good trailer isn’t easy.
The first step is to decide what story you want to tell in your trailer. This will help you determine what footage to use and how to structure it.
Organize your trailer using a three-act structure, starting with an opening that introduces your characters and setting and ends with a climax. This will make your trailer feel more like a mini-story or standalone experience that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.
You should also include a soundtrack and voice-over to set the tone of your trailer. Choose music that matches your script’s theme, tone, and energy to keep the audience engaged. Layer sound effects to create a cinematic effect and contrast the sounds with silence to set the stage for a moment of suspense.
A great way to find footage for your trailer is to watch documentary trailers or teasers from other filmmakers. Look for footage that illustrates your main character’s emotions, reveals their journey to the movie’s premise, and sets up important relationships.
For example, if you’re selling a true crime documentary about murder, try to get footage of a police officer walking through a scene of the crime. This type of footage can serve as both cutaways and establishing shots in your trailer.
Once you’ve selected the right footage, it’s time to write your script. A movie trailer script needs to have a clear, three-act structure with cliffhangers, stingers, and resolutions at the end to keep the viewer engaged.
It should also feature plenty of action and excitement. You can also use a montage of shaky camera motion to add tension to your trailer.
Before you begin shooting, make sure that you know what scenes you need to shoot and where they should be shot. This will help you budget your abridged shoot and ensure that you’re getting the best footage possible.
If you’re unsure what footage to shoot, ask friends and family to give you their opinions on it. They may have footage you can use that will advance your plot or that will be funny.
Another great way to get inspiration for your movie trailer is to watch other movie trailers, especially those that have a similar genre and storyline as yours. This will help you see what works and what doesn’t.
The most effective trailers tell a story and leave the viewer feeling emotionally invested. This can be done by using dialogue to push our comprehension forward or by using imagery to elicit a strong emotional response from the viewer.
A movie trailer should also contain enough information to pique the viewer’s interest without giving away too much of the storyline. It should be designed to create urgency so that the viewer is ready to watch the entire movie when it’s released.