Trailer Technique

Today, as a group, we discovered something vitally important to consider when making a trailer, not just of noir- but of any genre. Upon examination of the trailers of both ‘Brick’ and ‘Nightcrawler’, we noticed that the trailers are made up of five key scenes that are used to shape the narrative, with a small number of shots sourced from the rest of the film. This is an alternative approach from just having lots of clips of your film with narration over the top. The former’s approach allows you to inform your audience what the plot of your film is rather than it appearing as a ‘best-of’ montage.

The first trailer we looked at was from the 2005 film- Brick. The trailer begins by using shadowy text for the titles to immediately give hints to the audience of the genre of the film. In the first scene of Brendan on the phone, there is no main music soundtrack before moving on to the next scene of him speaking to Brains. Whilst the audio of the scene continues on in the background- the audience sees different shots of Brendan investigating the case of the King-Pin. Yet the underlying part of that section of the trailer is his conversation with Brains. Therefore this shows us that we can show different scenes on the screen- but we need to have a main focus of the dialogue which gives the audience a basic understanding of the plot. Furthermore, the music is not continuous (the same) throughout the trailer. For example, the music cuts when Brendan grabs the straw to refocus the audience’s attention. The same principal applies to the following shots of Brendan speaking to the Vice-Principal whilst he is fighting with Tug (who is the ‘kid’ they are talking about). This concept, with moments to break the tension, is applied throughout the whole trailer in order to give the audience a clearer idea of the world created within the film.

As a group, we had already examined the trailer of the 2014 film ‘Nightcrawler’ because it has a similar introduction to our own. However, the same concept used in Brick is also present in this trailer. Yet within this trailer, there are also key scenes which the director (Dan Gilroy) has chosen to use to present the film to the audience. Firstly the trailer begins with Lou’s search to find a job and his discovery of the news media. The trailer then progresses to his job interview with Rick before focusing on his work filming crime in LA and sending the footage to Nina. The trailer also uses moments when the music is cut, for example when Lou says “you will be seeing me again”. Once again, this demonstrates to us that you do not need a constant soundtrack to your trailer in order for it to be effective.

Overall we learnt that trailers are not just a compilation of shots- but several key scenes to the film. Nor does our trailer need a constant soundtrack as otherwise the emotions of the audience cannot change or grow. Therefore, we as a group, need to decide on four to five keys scenes to use in the trailer that set up the basic premise of the film to the audience.In between these scenes, we can include other shots and titles to piece the trailer together. This exercise should hopefully ensure that our trailer is as effective and watchable as possible- rather than appearing like a montage.

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