Making a great movie trailer can be crucial to a film’s success, and there’s a lot more involved in making them than you might think. Trailer Park in LA has produced some of the best in the past few years, like “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Wonder Woman.” We spoke with Matt Brubaker, the CEO and Creative Director of the company’s A/V Division to find out what’s involved in the process and what makes a good trailer. Following is a transcript of the video.
In a world where freedom is history. In a world without gas. In a world that’s powered by violence.
Narrator: These days, people get just as excited for a movie trailer as they do they actual movie.
Chris Pratt: I brought a clip, like a preview.
Jimmy Kimmel: Oh, really?
Narrator: Trailers can make or break a film, and they even have their own award show.
Matt Brubaker: They almost become their own entertainment form.
Narrator: That’s Matt Brubaker, CEO of Trailer Park’s A/V Division in L.A. His company is responsible for some of the biggest film trailers in the past few years, including “Wonder Woman.”
I’m a driver.
Narrator: And “Mad Max,” which won a Golden Trailer award for Best Original Trailer. So what goes into an award winning trailer?
Brubaker: Oftentimes, trailers are started while filming is being done.
Narrator: The entire process can take anywhere from two weeks to two years. The earlier, the better, so they can be ready for hyped up events like Comic-Con.
Brubaker: So when we start a trailer, we get the direction call from the studio. Then we have a creative meeting internally. There’s 10 to 15 people working on one project.
Narrator: This includes editors, assistant editors, coordinators, writers, composers, and a creative director. On big projects, sometimes up to six different companies could all be contracted to work on a film.
Brubaker: Some features we start with dailies, which, you know, are the daily of footage that a filmmaker shoots.
Narrator: And since the movie is still being shot, some of this footage might never even appear in the actual movie.
Brubaker: Sometimes we’re working with things that don’t end up in the final feature, and vice versa. It’s not that we’re trying to trick the viewer. It’s more of we’re having to tell the story in two and a half minutes, not in three hours.
Narrator: There are usually restrictions on what can be revealed in a trailer. Oftentimes, there’s a plan in place to gradually reveal plot points and characters through different campaigns.
Brubaker: Like when it comes to high security movies, like Marvel movies, it’s part of the creative directive of what we can show and what we can’t show. With movies like “The Avengers” and other Marvel campaigns, there might be three or four trailer campaigns.
Narrator: And the whole process is on lockdown to prevent leaks.
Brubaker: It’s like Fort Knox. There’s cameras everywhere. There’s like, you can’t have internet at your workstation for edit days. Everything is a fireable offence, and the MPA has put in effect a very strict policy of how we handle materials.
“Star Wars,” a billion years in the making, and it’s coming to your galaxy this summer.
Narrator: Movie trailers have evolved a lot over the years. One trick that used to be very common is quick cuts.
Brubaker: There was a time where quick cutting might represent a lot of energy and action. Now, I think that a lot of people want to hear a story, and want to know and see if the movie actually stands on its own.
Narrator: These days, you’re likely to see more dialogue and plot details in a movie trailer. You’ve also probably noticed more teasers, which are basically a trailer to a trailer. Teasers tease the concept of a movie, while showing very little footage.
Brubaker: “The Social Network” had a great teaser. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” had a great teaser. It was something that whetted the audience’s appetite.
Narrator: Music is also key to a good trailer.
He looks heroic, but he’s kinda got a negative attitude.
Brubaker: I think music and sound design is always important, and I think having it be more unique and special to a property is in vogue.
Narrator: Trailer Park has two internal composers, who create music for the trailers.
Brubaker: There’s a trend now for taking old cues and redoing them, and we do that a lot, and customise cues for trailers.
Narrator: There can be many different versions of a trailer before the final one is released. One trailer can go through hundreds of different versions of edits.
Brubaker: We’ve had trailers go through past version 200. Generally, it’s the studio who gets the final sign off.
Narrator: And with some many people sharing these videos on social media, a trailer is crucial to a film’s box office success.
Brubaker: Really, the first time a studio and the world sees anything is through the trailer, and it’s increasingly more important, and there’s such a focus and such a magnifying glass to what we do.
Narrator: So some studios will focus group the trailers to make sure they work.
Brubaker: If you see a trailer that goes out that is just mixed movie, it looked questionable, it’s deadly for the property to overcome that.
It’s a creative process, so sometimes the best ideas come at you when you’re taking a shower. You know? Or driving.
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