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How and Why to Create a Trailer for Your Film

Arguably, your film trailer could be the most important part of your project; the thing that builds audience, anticipation and excitement. Let's make sure you create a great one!

Why Make a Trailer

If you’re making a film, your main goal will likely be for people to see it.

A trailer is a marketing tool for your film, essentially. It should also set out your stall as to what the film will be about, and give practical information like when it’s out or where the viewer can find more information.

Your film trailer should get your potential audience excited for the full release and create a sense of anticipation. Where once we only really saw trailers for big Hollywood productions while at the cinema or watching TV, we now have the opportunity to expose a much greater audience to smaller-scale content, through social media, websites and targeted campaigns.

How

Build Intrigue, But No Spoilers!

Your trailer is your chance to get fans and potential fans pumped up for your film release, and that means giving them an insight into what it’ll be about. Be wary not to reveal anything that’s integral to later on in the film. I once watched a trailer where a big part of the plot relied on the audience caring if someone died – but the trailer had shown that person in much later scenes of the film, completely ruining any suspense!

Choose Your Music Wisely

Your music choice should complement the tone and pace of the film. Imagine a rom-com with thrash metal, or a tense sci-fi thriller with cheesy pop – unless you’re being ironic, it tends not to work! Of course, you might choose not to use music at all and to opt for something dialogue and sound effects led, and that’s okay, just make sure it fits the mood of your film.

film billboards

Remember Your Branding

It might still be early days, but you’ll want your audience to recognise the film from the trailer branding, so try to be consistent. If you have accompanying social media, make sure that’s all branded up, too. If you have an iconic scene or image, now is the time to really make use of it. Think Jack Nicholson’s face through the door in The Shining – instantly recognisable.

Less is More

This is usually the case. Focus on mood and impact rather than trying to get everything across in one short trailer. You don’t want to overwhelm or confuse your viewers by bombarding them with every detail of the movie. You should consider making several versions of the trailer for the various social media platforms, so you can make the best use of their allowances and restrictions. Remember to add closed captions to get a greater reach and response.

Try a Template

Using a template can be an easy way of creating something with great production values while also saving you time in design and creation. Envato Elements has a large selection of film trailer templates and you can download as many as you like once you’re subscribed. Here's an example of a high-quality, cinematic trailer:

Cinematic Trailer for Adobe After Effects

A versatile, dynamic trailer, this template for After Effects has all the punch of a high-budget, Hollywood production. Dazzle your fans and excite them for what’s to come.

Cinematic Trailer for Adobe After Effects
Cinematic Trailer for Adobe After Effects

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