How do I learn about making film trailers?

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Answered by: Luke, An Expert in the Film Trailers Category
It may be that you’ve seen a film trailer in a theatre and heard people saying things like “Oh, I definitely have to see that!” These are the type of comments that build reputations for the professionals who specialize in making film trailers. A well made film trailer that is seen by a significantly large audience can be enough to create a wave of interest in a film’s opening- adding a boost to its box office success. Recognizing this significance is enough to peak one’s curiosity about what goes into making film trailers.

Because a film’s promotion arrives in advance of the film’s release it should come as no surprise that the art of making film trailers often begins long before the film itself has been completed. Sometimes the team responsible for crafting a trailer will be working simultaneously and in conjunction with key people from the actual production team. However those who are involved in making film trailers are usually more concerned with concentrating elements into captivating bursts designed to tantalize an audience than they are with the broad reaching story of the film.

The larger film studios and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) regulate most large film trailers to a time standard of two minutes thirty seconds with occasional exceptions. Making film trailers is a specialized art concerned with condensing the most compelling aspects of a film quickly.

Another consideration integral to the art of making film trailers involves work that is primarily concerned with the selection, creation and licensing of music used within the trailer itself. Other work may involve using collected data to tailor a trailer to captivate a particular demographic group. Voice over or narration is also often considered an important area. Sometimes the professionals responsible for making film trailers will use actual footage from the film production. In other cases they will blend early footage from the film with stock material. Occasionally they are called upon to create a trailer without any material from the actual film.

But how exactly do film production companies go about selecting and making film trailers? The actual nuts and bolts process seems to accommodate a wide variety of approaches. Often a film’s in house marketing team will work with one or more specialized agencies that are referred to as “trailer houses”. If you search online you should be able to find lists of these agencies and their websites. Perusing these agency or “trailer house” websites might help you begin to understand how they work with film production companies.

Most professionals involved in making film trailers seem to agree that a trailer’s purpose should be to create audience interest in the film. However there is some divergence of opinion on the best approach to accomplishing that goal. Some film trailer professionals prefer a minimalistic or suggestive approach. Others employ a more direct approach that aims to capture crucial but very brief moments of the film in sequence, as if to create a highlighted outline of the film itself.

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