A trailer is a short promotional film used to advertise and promote a feature film. Trailers are usually shown before the main feature at movie theaters and on television prior to its release. The trailer is designed to grab attention, entice viewers to go and see the film, and give an overview of the storyline. It is a highly crafted, often artistic piece of filmmaking that requires the skill of a director and the attention to detail of an editor.

The most important thing about a trailer is its visual content. Having all the footage and images in one place for perusal is crucial. Once the filmmakers have all their footage, they can choose what to highlight and cut together to create the final trailer. The use of sound effects and music is also important in a trailer. Using deep, pulsing sounds to score action or suspense films is common. Using high-pitched screech or buzzing sounds in horror films is effective as well. These sound effects add to the atmosphere and can be very hypnotic.

Creating an emotional connection with the audience is another key aspect of creating a good trailer. This is done through a combination of the use of humor, drama, or any other method that will make viewers want to see the film. The storyline must be well-written and carefully edited to avoid spoilers. The best trailers have a three-act structure like a full length film, starting with the premise of the movie, then driving it forward to the mid point, and ending with a dramatic climax.

Genre is also an important factor in a good trailer. Film studios will aim to appeal to specific audiences that they know will be interested in a particular genre. For example, a sci-fi film will have a trailer that is more exciting and action oriented than a romantic comedy. Often, the trailer will directly compare the film to other successful films in its genre. This is called cross-promotional advertising and can be a powerful marketing tool.

In addition to grabbing the viewer’s attention, a good trailer needs to clearly establish its title and release date. This information should be placed at the end of the trailer, as opposed to being buried within the edit. It is also important that the trailer includes a call to action, asking viewers to visit the movie’s website or go and watch it in theaters.

The process of creating a good trailer is lengthy and involves many stages. The first is collating all the footage and establishing an arc for the trailer. This is often done through a storyboard, which helps the filmmakers decide what to cut out and when to edit the trailer. Storyboards are also useful for determining when to add titles and on-screen text.

Film students can learn about different fiction genres and narrative structure by watching and discussing a range of age-appropriate trailers. For example, students can watch and analyze trailers for fantasy, comedy, action and world cinema and examine how camera angles, editing techniques, music and sound are used to excite, entertain and tease the audience.