Get Shorty! Cutting Effective Trailers

Written by Slash Mareel on . Posted in Guides

EditorThat's a wrap; wind reel and print - but did you remember about the trailer? It's often the last thing a filmmaker thinks about, but it might be the first indication anyone has of what the feature is about, how good it is and whether or not to spend some of their hard earned pay on going to see it next week. It's your pitch to the punters, so let's make it a good one. Here's how.

Slash Mareel at Home in his SuiteA trailer should be no longer than two-and-a-half minutes - shorter is even better.

I'll write that again because it is important and I will write it in bold, as well.

A trailer should be no longer than two-and-a-half minutes - shorter is even better.

Now you are 90% of the way towards perfecting the art of the trailer. Keep it short, keep it snappy, keep it pacey. Now it's time to tackle the remaining 10% of the essentials and we'll follow that with a quick check-up on the absolute never, never -do this at your peril- do not do's; if you get my meaning.

EditressTen Elements of an Effective Trailer

1 Quick Cuts

2 Graphics That Grab You

Editor's Book - Some Cutting Remarks3 Original Music

4 Tell the Story

5 Use Positive Reviews

6 Sound is critical

Editor at Work7 Star Power

8 Shorter is Better

Editor - film9 Come on With a Bang!

10 Go Out With a Bang!


Editor - graphics1 Don’t Use a Features Editor!

2 Don’t Fear Out-takes

3 Don’t show nudity

4 Nothing dragged-out

5 Don’t bore your audience

6 Uncleared music is a no-no

7 Poor picture quality is a no-no

8 Don’t steal other people’s shots

Editor in B&W9 Don’t tell them the ending

10 Not too Long

EDITOR'S NOTE: Netribution welcomes contributions that cover tricks of the trade for filmmakers. If you have some insider knowledge you would like to share, write us a short paper on it and we will circulate it to the filmmaking community for the benefit of us all.