A trailer is a vehicle designed to be pulled by another vehicle, often used for transporting cargo. A trailer can also refer to a preview of a film, video game or television show. Trailers are usually presented before feature films at theaters and on television, although they may also be available online.

Trailers were first conceived of in 1913 when Nils Granlund, an advertising manager at Marcus Loew’s theater chain, spliced together rehearsal footage of the musical The Pleasure Seekers into a promotional montage that trailed after feature films shown in his theaters. Since then, the trailer industry has evolved significantly. It has become a major part of the film production process, and it is a highly competitive market. The advent of digital technology has opened the door to new opportunities in trailer production, but it has also introduced new challenges.

The most important aspect of a successful trailer is its ability to get the audience excited about the film. This can be accomplished through a combination of editing techniques, music and voice-over narration. Voice-overs can be especially effective when they elicit a sense of urgency or excitement in the audience, as they can convey the premise of a film in a very short amount of time.

In addition to utilizing music, editing and voice-over, a successful trailer can be augmented by visual effects. These can include computer graphics, animation and rotoscoped images, and are often mixed in Dolby Digital or another multichannel sound mix that will take advantage of stereophonic speakers. A movie’s soundtrack is also often used in a trailer, as it can provide an overall feel for the film and help to distinguish the plot from the background noise of everyday life.

Many modern trailers are accompanied by textual information about the film, such as its director, producer and distributor. In addition, a “cast run” is often included, which provides a list of the principal actors in the movie and their credits. The cast run is often the same as the cast list that appears on the movie’s poster and print publicity material.

Finally, a trailer can be bolstered by the inclusion of press quotes from critics. These can be particularly effective in convincing audiences to watch a film, as they are often seen as legitimate recommendations. In fact, this is one of the main reasons that Hollywood puts press quotes in their movie posters and trailers — it shows that other people like the film and can convince potential viewers to go see it for themselves.

In addition to traditional theatrical and television trailers, the Internet has also given rise to a phenomenon known as the fan trailer. These trailers are typically edited versions of a studio-produced official trailer and are often accompanied by a song or piece of music. These trailers are usually viewed on websites such as YouTube and are often distributed through social networking sites. They can be a highly effective form of marketing for popular movies, and have been responsible for spawning entire franchises, such as the Machete series of films.