A trailer is a short, high-energy sequence that introduces your film or television project. It’s a marketing tool that creates buzz, entertains crowds as stand-alone, short-form tidbits of cinematic excitement, and can even help you secure film financing if it’s effective enough. Regardless of whether you’re starting with an already completed film or pilot or just a log line, trailers require the same marketing and storytelling skills as their full-length counterparts to engage audiences.

While the trailer does not need to give away everything that happens in the full movie, it should have a clear outline of what the story is about. This can be done by creating a storyboard or an outline of the key plot points you want to include in your trailer. Generally, the trailer will start off with a cold open – an exciting or dramatic scene that provides context without giving too much away. Then it will build up to the climax of the story. After that, it will calm down a bit, then lead into the final scenes. Usually, the best action scenes are saved for last, as they’re the most engaging and memorable.

To make your trailer feel more engaging, try to use a variety of shots and visuals. Shoot wide, medium, and close-ups of the main characters. Also, try to capture some aerial and underwater shots for added drama. Lastly, don’t forget to add some special effects for an extra touch of polish.

One of the most important things to remember when putting together a trailer is that you need to keep it fast-paced. Online viewers will scroll through your trailer on a feed and need to be hooked within a few seconds of starting the video. A slow or muddy start to your trailer will have them hitting the back button before they’re finished watching it.

The main purpose of a trailer is to promote the film, but you can also use it to encourage viewers to purchase tickets or sign up for your mailing list. To encourage this, your trailer should end with a call-to-action that directs viewers to the appropriate website or social media page.

A great way to get ideas for your trailer is to watch other films and TV shows’ trailers. This can help you determine the types of shots you need to capture, and it will also give you a sense for how to pace the video. For example, many movie trailers feature a strong opening scene and then slow down towards the middle of the trailer before building back up to the climax. Similarly, television show trailers often include some quick, tense or dramatic moments before leading into the main plot point. It’s also a good idea to look for trailers that have an interesting visual or comedic element, as these can be particularly engaging. Then, when it comes time to edit your trailer, you’ll have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.