Saturday, April 30, 2011

Formula For The Perfect Blockbuster Trailer

The theatrical trailer, a time tested, fan approved, system for creating a new wave of rabid anticipation across the social media. So much so that in all honesty, they're all pretty much the same. And after having watched more trailers than I care to count, I think I've cracked the basic formula down to its key components. So here it is, my formula for the 'perfect' blockbuster trailer:

1 Scenery setting narration +  a series of slow sweeping shots to accommodate the narration + a slower, but ever increasing in pace musical score + 1 'let the fighting begin' quote + a series of quick cut, high intensity, explosions, screaming, yelling, and crying + boisterous, fierce musical score + 1 optional hard break for another quote to remind people how bad ass or epic this all is + more quick cuts and action filling + a long cut of post-action destruction + a return to the opening music + a final quote demonstrating sadness, epicness, or witty humor.

Anything beyond that is pretty much just fluff. And while that may seem a lot, much of it runs simultaneously and I might argue even it still covers a good 90% of modern blockbuster commercials.

5 better thoughts:

Lime(tte) said...

I think you have a point here, because I thought that Avatar would be a really bad film, as the trailer did not follow that formula. Turned out to be one of my favorites now.

Mary Aalgaard said...

And, isn't it funny how the whole movie is summed up in those few minutes. Spoilers even. Or, they give away the best punchline.

Simon said...

Those trailers end up being better than the movie itself most of the time, so who cares?

Castor said...

Well I guess that would be the basic formula for your vanilla blockbuster trailer. But then, in that regard, the trailers for Battle Los Angeles or Transformers 3 would be epic too but they aren't IMO.

Univarn said...

@Lime Eh, I like Avatar but there endeth my draw. As to its commercials, I would argue they followed this pattern without alteration.

@Mary Eck, the amount of spoilers commercials for these movies tout is unreal. The Day the Earth Stood Still and Brothers are good examples where the commercial was about 90% the final act of the movie.

@Simon I don't know about you but I find that to be a very depressing fact.

@Castor Your second sentence is throwing me off a bit. We all know trailers are not always, if ever, honest reflections of the quality of film we're likely to see. Battle Los Angeles had some creative trailers mixed in with generic ones, and the result was neither. Transformers 3 is a great example of playing this formula without apprehension because they know people eat it up.

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