For this trailer I had the least amount of direction, but Ron really wanted the trailer to pose questions that left the audience wanting to play the game to find out the answers. Since all the voice over was recorded, I knew it was my opportunity to do my take-a-ton-of-dialogue-and-make-a-trailer approach. Ron sent me a text document with all the dialogue in the game. It was A LOT. According to Microsoft Word, it was over 10,000 lines of dialogue. Some of it was redundant, but it was still A LOT.
First thing I did was skim through looking for broad stroke plot points, and exposition about the town, the story, and characters. In a trailer it's usually better to focus on the big picture, and a lot of dialogue was for very specific moments that require more context. But for example, an NPC saying something like "This is a small town..." is perfect for trailers. It took me a few days, but I whittled it down and separated the dialogue into text documents where I sorted by different categories. For example one had sections like: Exposition - Thimbleweed Park, Exposition - The Body, Generic phrases etc.
From this sorted dialogue I did a paper edit that covered the broad strokes of the story that went from a cold open to get attention, to exposition about the town, exposition about each character, and then some grand sounding statements from each to sum the whole thing up. I sent that draft to Ron, and he worked on some additions with the rest of the team to flesh out some story bits, and insert some gags and in-jokes. He also wanted to have title cards for each character. Title cards are nice for trailer editing because they give you things to cut to/with. For example, a simple way to get attention or add "flair" is to cut title cards on the hard beats of the music.
This was also my first opportunity to do some design work after taking School of Motion's Design Bootcamp class. The title cards ended up being rather simple, but It felt good to have a process to go through in order to get to those final designs. I started by making a Pinterest board of inspiration. I definitely wanted a noir look, it was just a matter of which look to go with. I did some sketches based on the board, and ended up with a character, text next to them and a diagonal highlight emphasized by the rotation of the text and some fake venetian blind highlights on the characters. I also added some grain for texture. My original plan was to make multiple versions to present, but what ended up happening instead was by the time I reached the final version, I thought all my previous ones were utter crap so I just threw them away.
The difficult part for the editing was figuring out the music. I didn't mind reusing music from old trailers, but this trailer was shaping up to be at least 2 minutes long which is already long by game trailer standards. What I ended up doing was using a very slow and moody track for the beginning so by contrast the middle section would have more energy, and then the end montage is where it really kicks in. Once the character cards start, I'm using the music from the Town area of the game which had several iterations that worked nicely to demarcate each section.
I also inserted small action moments here and there to break up the dialogue. This extended the length to just over 2.5 minutes. Hopefully the audience is engrossed enough in the story that they keep watching. I also finished the end off with some film noir trailer-style inspired graphics.
I'm very pleased with how this trailer came out, and also all the work I got to do on the previous trailers!