Every Sunday I'm sending out an email about the art of movie trailers and game trailers!

You can read previous posts here, but topics of discussion include:

  • Trailer reviews and critiques
  • Analysis of trailer editing techniques
  • Editing tips to help you make your own trailers
  • Articles about trailers I made
  • Cats, because cats

Here's a small sample starting with my:

lifetime love of trailers

I've loved movie trailers for a very long time.

When I was a kid, the only way to see new movie trailers was at a theater; my family was always on time to see them. We went to the movies so frequently that I'd even memorize the lines of some trailers. Every time we went to the movies I hoped there would be some new trailers, because nothing compared to my excitement the moment a new one started playing.

 It me

It me

In the 90s, movie trailers became available on the internet, but initially there was no one place to watch them, the resolution was TINY, and the frame rates and sound quality were dismal.

Then Apple started encoding high quality Quicktime trailers. I remember spending what felt like hours starting at my 800x600 resolution monitor downloading a postage stamp sized version of the teaser trailer for "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" via my 56k modem; I watched it dozens if not hundreds of times.

This easy access to new movie trailers only deepened my obsession, and to this day I keep a huge offline folder of quicktime movie trailers.

 This gif's resolution is at least 4X higher than what I saw in the late 90s

This gif's resolution is at least 4X higher than what I saw in the late 90s

an industry no one TALKS about

Considering the ubiquity of movie trailers, the entire industry is still something of a black box. Many people don't even know that it's a business. It's not surprising, because very few people in the industry talk about their work. I don't blame them either; the hours for people working in movie trailers can be very long, and demanding.

I want to use my years of experience working in movie and game trailers to fill that void of trailer talk! I often tell people how I can talk about trailers for hours and hours. So this is how I'm going to do just that! 

 I have a lot to say about trailers

I have a lot to say about trailers

To give you an idea of what I talk about in my newsletter here are some quick answers to frequently asked questions about movie trailers:

Don't trailer makers realize they're spoiling the film?

Yes, but spoilery trailers always test better at focus groups, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

How many trailer voiceover narrators are there?

There are a TON, but a handful do a majority of what you hear; and they all sound subtly different if you listen to them side by side. Lately, they're used more for TV spots than full trailers, because TV spots need the extra help to tell a story very quickly. A few I've worked with in the past include: Howard Parker, Ashton Smith, Hugh Morgan, and Miguel Ferrer (rest in peace). 

Why ARE trailers always cutTING to black with a big sound effect?

Because cutting to black is one of many ways to transition from one section of a trailer to another, and it sets up the start to a new music cue. It's like a palate cleanser; also it's just cool and dramatic.

Why does every trailer use that Inception BWAAAAM sound?

Not so much a trend nowadays, but a big musical moment like that tells the editor: "PUT THE BIG SHOT HERE." As an editor, I'll take advantage of anything that helps me make a creative decision. I'm also sure there were marketing people in high positions who thought it was cool, and kept asking for it.

What's up with the plinky piano covers of movie themes?

Music is the most important part of the trailer, and if there's a way to exploit a deep emotional connection the audience has to a piece of music, they'll do it. Several people just decided the best way to do that was with plinky piano music covers.

It's the John Woo rule of drama: sentimental music + action scenes = deep dramatic effect.


Like I said I could go on for hours, but I'll cut it off here. If you'd like to read about more, please subscribe!