Cinema 2.0: Trailer Camp - Raindance

Trailers matter. The work we do as filmmakers is best illustrated and tested with a dramatic and visual trailer that shows our hard work to our best advantage.

Don’t give away all of the story (like the mainstream does) and try to make sure that the look, sound and feel of the work is indicative of the film you have made. Audiences will be very disappointed if your trailer bears no resemblance to the finished work.

For Finding Hope (2015) we made a romantic, faith-based movie designed for a specific marketplace. We watched and reviewed other trailers of the same type and made sure we created a real sense of suspense and set the stage for our viewers. Each market and genre has specific needs.

Watch the trailer for Finding Hope:

Have you met the needs of your audience?

Remember – A good trailer can take many forms:

  1. A thirty second (0:30) TV spot designed to peak interest and elicit a response quickly. It’s fast, furious and direct.
  2. A two and a half (2:30) minute standard trailer showcasing main themes, actors, a strategic moment or event and a guiding question (left unanswered) that will intrigue a viewer.
  3. A showcase trailer four minutes long (4:00) designed to sell your film to investors for additional funds or even as a proof-of-concept for production financing.

Check out the SuperTroopers II Indiegogo campaign that incorporates characters from the movie while selling the chance to get in on the ground floor. Funny, pitch oriented and good-looking, the pitch is letter perfect and says, “C’mon, you know you wanna score a part in the new movie with us.”  They’ve raised $4.5MM this way by doing what they do best. Selling the sizzle to the fans.

With the development of crowd sourcing and online funding, Sales Trailers or Pitch Trailers have come of age. These special P2P promotional elements show key cast and crewmembers explaining core concepts or promotional prizes to entice advance support or purchase. The trailers are quite short and designed to sell person-to-person and evoke personal feelings and responses for the viewer. By looking directly at the camera, these promotional sales devices are used by filmmakers as an effective and engaging way to connect with their potential micro investors. Check out all the goodness here you can help support @ Indiegogo right now.


I believe that trailers can be cut in a manner of ways, which may be presented online, or in-person to target market your work as needed. I always do a music video trailer using a song from the film I am working on in combination with cut scenes from the film and offer this to the artist or to music showcases online for consideration. The followers of the musicians will often adopt or endorse the film – especially if they like the music. The short TV spots you make are great for Facebook(tm) and Twitter posts where attention spans are limited while You-Tube and Vimeo are ideal hosts for the longer format trailer showcases. Multiple styles and musical versions keep the material fresh and may be tested in advance before releasing the film online or via traditional outlets.

Sergi Eisenstein (1898-1948), Russian motion picture director and writer. Photo  Courtesy Mosfilm

Sergi Eisenstein (1898-1948), Russian motion picture director and writer. Photo Courtesy Mosfilm

Test market your trailers with your creative collaborators and interested fans. Listen to feedback and tailor-make your promotional elements for maximum appeal. Design all fonts, press kits, promotional documentation and posters to reinforce the same style, look and feel as the trailer. Your branded design should be consistent across all advertising platforms and use the same logo to keep your film clear and consistent. Check out the International Movie Trailer Festival here for ideas and inspiration.