Friday, November 5, 2010

the trailerette

trailers are fun to watch--so fun, in fact, that oftentimes they're better than the films they're promoting. but if i could rule over the trailerworld for a day, there's a lot i'd change.

for example, the 2:30-minute trailer that gives the entire story away, and in comedies, showcases all the best jokes. instead, i'd stick to 60-90-second teasers that give an audience just a hint of what they'll find in the film without giving up the goods.

for example, check out the trailer for Funny People. is there anything you don't know about the film by the time you've finished watching this? he gets sick, he gets better (which doesn't happen until an hour into the movie), he reconnects with the "one who got away" and he sets out to win her back. other than a few more jokes and an Eminem cameo, they're not hiding much.

something else i'd get rid of is multiple trailers for one film.

i remember The Dark Knight had one teaser and three full-length trailers. and as much as i loved all the marketing materials for that film, i really didn't need every single great moment divulged to me before i had a chance to watch the film. honestly, i think even if they had only released the teaser (which was really good), audiences would still have flocked to theaters.

when i finally watched The Dark Knight, i found myself analyzing the film rather than simply enjoying it. and that's because i already knew so much going in that i was waiting for specific trailer moments to play out.

the solution, as i see it, is some sort of teaser-trailer hybrid.

introducing...the trailerette.

it's shorter than a trailer, has more substance than a teaser, and it hinges on either a stylistic technique or a major scene or an important character, using that to give the audience a taste of the film—as opposed to giving us the whole story.

here's a trailer that would work as a trailerette.

what's so great about this trailer(ette) is that it gives us a sense of the film's tone, its main character, the general plotline, production value, and the filmmakers' credentials—but we still don't know the details of what happens. the sole information we're given is that this man goes to speak with his rabbi and gets turned away. everything else is achieved through sound design, repeating dialogue, and a picture montage.

what do you think of the trailerette? (and can you think of a sexier name for it?)


  1. The Dark Knight trailers held back SO much. There was a lot to be discovered in that film. You have no idea what you're talking about.

  2. This is all a matter of opinion, of course, but these trailers did give away a lot of the big lines and moments from the film. I've heard this complaint from tons of people. Trailers have been doing this so much that one of the trailer designers I work with refused to watch a single DK trailer before seeing the film-- and once he watched them, he was really happy he waited.

    ...But good for you if the trailers didn't ruin anything for you.