I got this gig through via a referral from some developer friends of White Paper Games (I forgot to ask who it was). I got excited when I received this email because I was familiar with their previous game Ether One, and I'm a fan of first person narrative games in general.
This was their newest unannounced game. They sent me a trailer draft they were 80% satisfied with, and wanted to see what I could do to improve upon it. I took a look at what they had, and immediately saw some issues that need to be addressed by essentially throwing almost all of it away, and coming up with a totally new structure.
In the game you're a journalist who is in a government building right after an act has been passed which is very similar to The Patriot Act in the United States. There's also been a terrorist attack recently on the building, and it's up to you to investigate and report the story. If that wasn't unique enough already, the game is realtime over the course of four hours. The only other game I can think of that does this is Jordan Mechner's The Last Express. That setup means that there are certain events and actions NPCs take in the game that happen at specific times, so if you're not there to see them then you don't see them at all.
The first draft of the trailer was centered around an argument between the characters Scarlet and Charles. The problems were that many parts of the conversation were meaningless without greater context, so they muddied up the narrative. I rewrote the trailer using a mix of existing dialogue, scratch voiceover bits, and some background about the game's story. The simpler narrative boiled down to: Terrorist attack, Scarlet is being accused, immigrants are being blamed for bad things in the country, the government might be untrustworthy, player needs to investigate, and Charles is going do something, but what??
From this structure we concentrated on what gameplay moments to highlight. Some key things were: sneaking/investigating, the player's realtime watch, hacking into computers, pneumatic tubes, NPCs using sign language, and more investigating. I made some rough cuts using capture from an early build of the game. The last thing I sent off was an edit with text overlays to indicate the shot types that should appear in those moments. For logistical reasons I couldn't do the final capture or edit, because it very much came down to the wire before the debut. Also an 8 hour time zone difference made turnarounds more difficult.
All that said, I still feel a sense of ownership over the trailer, and I'm pleased with how it turned out!