Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Art of Movie Trailers

After I graduated college but before I got my first job, I thought I wanted to make a career out of making movie trailers. Sometimes, the previews are the best part of a movie to me. I love words and live and die by the pen, but even the best books (and movies and TV shows) don't arouse the same feelings as a truly spectacular 2:30 minute movie trailer. Obviously, even the best trailers don't satisfy me the way a good book does, but there's something about a great trailer that can make my heart pound. It can make me laugh or cry. It can fill me with nostalgia or grief, all with minimal backstory and character development. It's truly an art form. How do you decide what to include? How do you tell enough of the story to make people interested, but not enough that you're giving too much away? And don't even get me started on the music. Nothing else is as powerful in as short a time.

Yesterday, I watched the trailer for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And then I watched it again. And again. Then I showed it to my mom. Then I watched it again. Then I mulled over it for awhile (and came up with a new story idea, but that's not important). Then I watched it again this morning. I don't know what it is about this trailer, but I think it's incredible. It captured all the things I felt in high school--loneliness, confusion, awkwardness--and all the wonderful feelings that come with finding a great group of friends. By the end, I'm grinning with tears in my eyes and thinking about how much I want to call my high school friends.

To me, the ideal trailer tells a story. It's not just things blowing up or a few funny scenes slapped together. So I scoured the internet (er, YouTube) for some trailers I consider to be really good. What do you think? Are there any others that stand out in your minds? Do you even pay attention to them?

An example of where blowing stuff up (in conjunction with a story) works. It is an action movie, after all.

An example of where the trailer was better than the movie. Also, where the trailer is built around an emotion, not a story.

What I like about this trailer is that it leaves out a huge part of the movie. You won't know what it is until you watch it, but it completely floored me.

Out of all the HP trailers, I think this one had the most complete story to go with the action and emotion in it. They're all pretty awesome though.

Also, if you like winning books, go check out my 100 Twitter Followers post from yesterday, where you can enter to win a free ebook of either The Eternal Queen by K.S. Lewis or Soul Mates: A different kind of Love Story by Jeanne Donnelly.


  1. That is a great movie trailer. I love it when I find a really good one. It gets me pumped for the movie because I want to find out what happens to the characters. If I can connect with a character in under 2 mins, I know I'll like the film!

  2. I love movie trailers! That would seriously be the best job, although I never thought about it for myself. I only hate when the trailers are misleading and make the movie out to be about something its not. The really great ones don't make you expect something that's not there. They just make you excited to see all the awesomeness that the movie holds! :)

  3. I was disappointed with Where The Wild Things Are. The trailer made me cry, but the movie was just flat out bizarre.

    I love that trailer for The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I've always been tempted to read the book.

  4. I agree - trailers are often better than the movie. The one for Snow White and the Huntsmen was SO good, I actually went to a theater to see it.