7 Tips to Make the Ultimate Teaser Trailer
You have a story, you have characters, you have a setting. Now you need to make a short pitch to capture the imagination of everyone you are looking to attract.
The teaser trailer (or “sizzle” real) is a long standing tradition in TV and film. It is the critical time you have to draw in and hook an audience by showing the magic that exists in your story and in your head into a video..
1. Start fast, end big
You have very little time to get someone’s attention, if you have something to say, say it right away. Start with a fast pace, and put your best foot forward. (Remember, the original Star Wars didn’t have a death star in the first movie. It was put in to make sure everyone wanted to see the second and third movies.
You only have a small amount of time to get someone attention, make sure you put your best foot forward and excite people right out of the gate!
Take whatever you think is the most catchy part of your trailer and put it first, that way people are engaged right away. It's also an old writers' trick, because if you put your best foot forward first, then it forces you to come up with even better stuff after it. You end up "one-upping" yourself over and over until the "best" part of your trailer ends up only being the intro to an even better video.
A trailer can only say so much about your story, the rest of the details will come in your description. While trailers can be vague and teasing in order to attract attention, the description needs to be the opposite.
While you only have a few sentences, make sure all the major points of your story are covered. Avoid the catchy, sexy language you might use in a tagline or trailer voice over, the goal is to explain and enlighten people to the most important parts of your story, so their suggestions are on point and helpful.
The goal here is clarity. Use the video to excite and amaze, and use the text to make the main points of the story (the plot, characters, etc.) clear to anyone who reads it. If some is both excited and understands your story, you have made a fan out of them!
This is the biggest problem for most amateur trailer makers, the flow and continuity of the video. A good trailer flows effortlessly from one clip to the next (see: Filmography 2010). If the clips you want to use are not very similar, try using a single background song to tie them together better. If you still can’t get all your clips to go together, try cutting one or two out. It’s better to only have a few edits than several if you’re having trouble blending them together.
Make sure the editing implies a single, over-arching story as well. Many people put too many edits in to clips that don't have anything to do with each other. This is confusing for the viewer, and makes it harder from them to understand your narrative.
If you are mixing stories and genres, do your best to graphically tie them together (with an overlay, a color background, etc.) Also pay attention to the pacing of each clip, if it goes from fast to slow all the time it won't feel like a single trailer, but a collection of trailers.
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4. Voice Over
What better way to give your trailer a personal touch? Your voice can give direction, style, and most importantly a personal touch to your trailer. Make sure you use headphones and a mic when recording, bad quality voice overs can put people off.
Pay attention to the tone of your voice while making your voice over. If your story is serious in nature, speak slowly and clearly so the voice over matches the tone of the trailer. If your story is silly, feel free to get as silly as you want (but make sure people can still understand you).
Also, if your first language isn't english feel free to voice over in your mother tongue, but know that an english-language trailer will be assessable to more people and might become more popular.
There are many professional and semi-professional voice over actors that are available on Fiverr that can an english language version, and it's cheap as well!
Animation is a great tool to tell a fantastical story without the need for sets, actors, etc. If you are trained in animation, jump right into your trailer! If not, try and contact someone that is willing to help you out. Look for students that are just learning animation, they might be willing to give you something basic just for the fun of it.
Also look for freelancers who, for a small cost, can make something great for you! Don't worry if it's perfect or "Pixar" quality. Even a basic animation can do the job of telling a story, or at least telling the beginning of a story, which is the main job of a trailer.
6. Don't Look Back at Explosions
Cool people never look back at explosions.
7. Have fun!
Teaser trailers are meant to be fun, period. If you had fun making one, your fans will have fun watching. Trailers are the best way to quickly and efficiently get the picture you have of your story out of your imagination and in front of other people. Take care that your first impression is a good one!
If you are having fun making your trailer, it will come across in the quality of it. People will pick up on the vibe and respond well to something that was made with love, and made for the fun of it.
Make sure your trailer is an accurate representation of your story and you, if you've followed the steps above you'll surely have made an awesome trailer for your story!