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“My name is jessica fox and i am. A creative director. Helping to create some some of the teasers and trailers you might have seen in theaters and television. And i want to talk a little bit today about what a trailer is and how a trailer gets made and point out some of the common trends and tropes that you might find in some of your favorite trailers.
So sit back grab a snack sounds or cellphones and enjoy the show at its most basic the trailers. A marketing tool used to build interest in an upcoming film in two and a half minutes. You have to convey to an audience. What this film has to offer in terms of story spectacle.
Stars and style. You might have noticed that some of your favorite trailers might be told in similar ways or have similar elements to them there s a reason for this in the industry and film in general at something. That s referred to as a trope. The two and a half minutes isn t a lot of time to convey the full expression of a film to an audience and get them excited to see it so creators of trailers rely on tropes to help convey a lot of information to an audience quickly one of the most recognizable tropes and trailers is the use of narration specifically the inner world voice here in a world.
Where the sun burns gold. But in a world. Where grown ups make all the rules. Three strangers to the mystical world this narration can very quickly and concisely tell you what the plot is some of the main themes.
You re going to experience or some of what you might feel the reason. Why you might have noticed the trend of this in a world voice. It s because it really works it grabs. The audience s attention in the beginning.
It helps walk you through some of the most important parts of the story. And it allows you to understand the world in which this movie lives. There became a time where audiences did grow to expect it and there were other methods that could convey similar information as the decrease in narration happened we saw a rise in graphics instead so some of this information was then conveyed in cards. It s hard to say why any particular trend or trope might fall out of favor.
Sometimes audiences feel that they ve seen it a lot. And it s an indication that a certain film might not have something new to offer sometimes. It s that the industry itself is ready to tell a story in a different way and as films evolve as television evolves. So does the marketing for film and television.
And with tropes that have existed for a period of time even as perhaps we don t see them prevalent in today s trailers. There are then trailers that bring them back as a self referential or humorous device..
So there s a number of shows that have come out that have used a idea of the inner world and have used it to play on the trope that used to exist in trailers of unparalleled danger in a world within our world they created a world. There are others that have used this in a world feeling to evoke certain trailers of a time period. One in particular is the recent trailer for the dead don t die that opens with some creepy narrations setting up this quiet town in this peaceful town these quiet streets something terrifying. Something.
Horrifying is coming. It s a very reminiscent of early romero films with a few remaining their only hope of survival is to find a cure and that s done to deliberately create a space for the audience to to remember that to feel that type of genre. So that when you are in this zombie genre. You have certain expectations so.
When the trailer takes a turn toward the comedic. It surprises. Those expectations now we re going to watch the first seconds of a trailer. I d like you to see if you can spot the trope that this trailer uses did you see it the shop places you in the location that the film takes place.
And does so typically in a very beautiful and scobie way. It s that sweeping aerial shot that tells you immediately what the location is this can be seen in action films thrillers horror films and even comedies. The reason it s so pervasive is that this movie has scope. It s big it s going to promise a lot of scenery and a lot of beauty.
So for films especially in more independent films or films. That are really focused on interpersonal stories. You might find that a lot of the action. A lot of the story takes place in maybe one room or just a few smaller locations.
Many dramas might feel like they take place in a house or over the course of a dinner by having a wide establishing shot to start the trailer your showing and promise in the audience that there s more than maybe. What might feel like a claustrophobic set another trend. You might have noticed in trailers is the use of a preview pulse. It s a deep sound that emanates low and swallows you up as it brings you into the story.
A single idea from the human mind. The preview poulsen. Many audiences are aware of is this deep guttural pulse. This tone.
This all encompassing starts at the bottom and grows and comes back it s a swell. But it s a deep percussive bass well this town has become recognized across trailers..
It s typically used in genres that are more thrilling more suspenseful. It makes the audience lean in take notice it very quickly sets the tone of the trailer and thus the film. It tells the audience that there ll be some moments of tension. They ll be suspense.
It tells the audience that this film has something that you need to pay attention to the sound works. Incredibly well in genres of action of suspense thrillers movies. Where you know you re going to be taken on a ride. There s going to be some adrenaline.
But it would feel incredibly out of place in a trailer for a romantic comedy. You complete me so just because this particular trope works. Very well in a number of trailers that you might have seen it doesn t mean that i can cross all genres like some other tropes might be able to there s another trope that s become rather common in trailers. And this is the repetition of sound this could be one sound in particular that continues to repeat throughout the duration of a trailer.
Perhaps it s a breath perhaps it s a hit it s a heartbeat they fry you few wrong. It s something that is brought in with a visual or with a mention in a trailer. It s brought in for a reason and then it persists throughout the entirety of the trailer. Reminding you of its presence.
There s also sound design elements. And the repetition of sound design. That s switch as the trailer and build upon each other as the trailer progressives. So why is this trope.
So effective. Every trailer has a pulse and a repetition of sound allows for a building on that pulse. So you might start with a heartbeat and as that s going on you introduce another sound maybe a car door slams maybe a door opens and you hear a maybe you layer in a hip. Maybe.
There s a whoosh element. All of these sounds start layering on each other and as they build so does the story so what you started with your little introduction by the end of the trailer. You have all of these sounds and all of this information. What you might start with and what you end up with is the journey.
I ve had marital problems honey. I think it s time that we started talking about a divorce professional you name..
It larry represent a number of letters denigrating you and urging us not to grant you tenure. I need help we re gonna be fine. I ve tried to be a serious man tried to do right be a member of the community. What makes this trope so effective is when the sounds are motivated by important things that are happening in the film itself.
If you re watching a character experience. A moment and they bang their head against a desk. And that sound gets repeated. You re feeling that anguish each time if you re watching a character really excited and they get up and they cheer and that cheer keeps repeating you re feeling the excitement as well sound design is also a great tool to help convey emotion when it might be difficult to convey plot points in order to get to that emotion so in situations like that it s less important to give the whole story as it is to give the feeling to the audience of what it feels like to be honest journey and to watch this film.
So instead of having to explain all the steps. A character might have taken in their journey. You can more quickly do it by hearing that grunt by hearing that sound design hearing that labored breath. He knows how far again the finer.
Another thing to keep in mind when creating a trailer using this repetition of sound as a device is to make sure that the sound is within a rhythm and a heartbeat that matches the pacing. So for instance as you start layering in your sounds. They re each building on one another in a constant rhythm. So.
Whatever your trigger sound is whatever started. It will continue and each layer will build on top of that so that it s its own piece of music. So each sound element from the film is like an instrument in an orchestra and you re having them all play together to create a really rich sound and a rich experience for the audience in addition to making. Sure that the sound has its own rhythm.
And every sound element is working well together a thing to keep in mind is to make sure that they re established visually as well and it s important as you re building sounds and building these layers that each time. A new one is introduced you give the audience a moment to understand why it s there the sound is information. It s telling you something that you as a viewer need to know a more recent trend. You might have noticed is the use of a bumper.
This is a short piece that precedes the trailer to grab the audience s attention immediately. Now the trailers have moved from the theater to people s personal computers and now even their phones the ability to click away from that content is ever present since 2000. The average attention span has gone from 10 seconds down to 8 seconds and with this is more pressure on content creators to make sure to engage the audience in those first crucial seconds. One way marketers have found to do this is by the creation of a bumper.
This is typically a six eight second piece that precedes the trailer and gets your interest immediately so that you ll stay watching the full trailer. These bumpers can be special shoots that might introduce the trailer..
Perhaps a cast member or director inviting you to watch the trailer for their film. They might be special shoots that riff on the idea of a trailer. Or speak to it ahead of time. This is meg amy beth and joe it might be a great joke that could be in the trailer.
It might not even be in the trailer might be in the film itself that just brings you in oftentimes their material from the trailer itself a little best of if you will of what you re about to see the point of these bumpers is not to give anything away before the trailer. The point is just to show the audience that this is something you re going to want to see it s to get that audience and his attention in those first very crucial seconds and make sure that they stay to watch the whole thing bumpers can be used across genres in a drama or in an indie film. And something more focused on storytelling rather than trying to get the plot in in this first six seconds. You might just show some of your main characters and a little bit of a pedigree.
See who the director is see who your main characters are so you get a sense of what the cast is for comedies. It can be great to start a bumper with a joke. Something that already has you laughing so you re going into the trailer prepared to laugh some more the appearance of you cpr doll. We can practice kissing on that how was it dickey it s crucial that those first few seconds.
Get the audience s attention immediately so they want to stay. And see what else you have to say a lot of research has been done recently to show that these bumpers do in fact work to help engage the audience further and to make sure they stay to watch the full trailer and with so many opportunities to click away and move on to something else any advantage you can have to make sure that your audience wants to see everything you have to say is an advantage you want to take so with attention spans decreasing and content increasing. There are new things that we might be seen in the industry down the road. While people are still going to the theater to enjoy a film.
Many people are also watching that same film at home or even on their phones. So as content moves the way we move there ll be new ways to view. It some things that are being discussed in the industry. Already is breaking movies into smaller more digestible pieces over a period of time.
So if someone could watch a full 2 hour movie and 8 to 12 minute increments on their phone. Tropes will likely continue to exist in trailers. As they do in all storytelling. Because they re a tool that will allow you to convey a great amount of information in a very succinct and impactful way.
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“Movie trailer expert, Jessica Fox, deep dives into five movie trailer styles and explains what makes a trailer successful. Using movies like Us, Inception, Little Women, Sex and the City, and more, Jessica explains how narration, an established landscape, repetitive sound, and bumpers help convey an entire storyline in two minutes.nnStill haven t subscribed to Vanity Fair on YouTube? http://bit.ly/2z6Ya9MrnrnABOUT VANITY FAIRrnArts and entertainment, business and media, politics, and world affairs Vanity Fair s features and exclusive videos capture the people, places, and ideas that define modern culture. nnMovie Trailer Expert Breaks Down 5 Trailer Styles Vanity Fair”,
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