Meet the Mayfarers

The art of trailers

I uploaded the official trailer for “Meet the Mayfarers” today.

I think that cutting trailers is one of the most difficult things a filmmaker can do. (well, other that actually selling a film that is)

How does one convey everything needed and necessary for the story, without giving too much away? How to show off some of the jokes without killing them when they watch it? How to keep it concise and interesting. And most of all, since trailers have been done to death, how do you make it unique and not a self-parody?

If you look at film trailers most of them are pretty bad. They either give too much away (the cardinal sin in my book) or are so disjointed you can’t understand it. I think the correct one should be “less is more.”

I remember I was interning at a production company once, and I had the opportunity of watching a film trailer being cut for a big budget film. I was amazed that every single moment and frame was fawned over, analysed, and debated.  – it was an incredible learning experience. They went through new cut by new cut. However, no matter how many times the trailer changed and the scenes were rearranged, the producer always wanted the trailer to end with one image. One golden comic image:  a screaming half-naked fat man in a shower.

True story.

And when I finally saw the trailer in a darkened theater it was completely different than in the editing room. Every shot was different. But that screaming half-naked fat man? Yeah, he was still there.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the new trailer. I hope it gave you a taste of everything, without giving too much away. And I hope you appreciate that I resisted resorting to slipping in any scenes of screaming overweight nudity.

Last updated on July 9th, 2009. Tags:
Posted in blog, Uncategorized

3 Responses to "The art of trailers"

Laura Matthews says:
July 10th, 2009 at 6:09 am

What I hate is when a trailer is a complete bait-and-switch. Like they give almost entire scenes, but then in the movie, that scene that’s already been burned into your brain is entirely different in context. I felt that way about the “Duplicity” trailer — the scenes didn’t mean the same thing in the movie itself that the trailer implied.

Sheri Candler says:
July 10th, 2009 at 10:33 am

Great post Todd. Though I think that trailer editing is best left to an impartial third party who does nothing but this. They are the best people to help with the marketing aspect, what your audience will find appealing, not the filmmaker, he’s too close. You’re right there are a lot of BAD trailers out there, even Hollywood ones! This is THE most important marketing tool you have for your film. It had better be right.

admin says:
July 10th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

The Star Trek VI trailer always seemed to be a bait and switch, and tricked me out because it ended with Kirk being shot and disappearing. It looked like he died or was at least wounded. It was a let down to find out that was just a shape-shifter. However the promo teaser trailer for that flick was the best, showing a montage of the crew over the years.

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