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Tips On Making a Trailer For Your Independent Film

Updated on February 12, 2013

Cool Shots & Music

Getting Cool shots of the movie while its filming is key, these cool shots can be saved to make your trailer for your independent film. You want to use graphics that grab you, be creative and make an impressive title treatment that is different from your main title. You want to use Original music, it's very important. Be careful with the music you use, there are plenty of affordable tracks from companies that supply music specifically for trailers. Be sure to use music that is legally cleared. If you want music that sounds similar to a certain movie soundtrack to capture a particular mood, have a piece of music composed. The key to legally changing someone else's music is to change every seventh note slightly.

Example 1. Compliance

Tell The Story

Tell The Story, but don't tell the whole story. If you've got a great story, don't be afraid to show it and spell it out. Dramatizing your story board and making it entertaining wont hurt, just don't tell the whole story, leave them wanting more. Make sure you use positive reviews, if your film has gotten early positive reviews from notable critics or credible press outlets, use them, big bold quotes in a white typeface against a black background looks impressive when cut quickly into the the trailer, this technique is most used affectively near the end just before the title screen. Using great sound is critical, Spend time on the sound mix. If you have the slightest problem understanding what your actor said, then nobody else will understand what there saying either, and this will look unprofessional. If need be, record dialogue for the trailer to clarify the story.

Example 2. Safety Not Guaranteed

Star Power

If your film has a recognizable star, make sure to feature your star very prominently, even if you've got only one celebrity in a brief cameo, and B and C celebrities count as well. Those shots should be used extensively in the trailer. Keep it short, the shorter the better, about two minute or under. Your audience has been trained to have the attention span of 2 min, anything over and you could lose your audience's attention. Start with a bang!! Open with a huge attention grabber. End with a bang, close with the best shot or best line in your film, using starting with a big bang technique or closing with a big bang technique sales films!!

Example 3. Start With A Bang and Keep It Short, Lost Highway!

Things to Avoid While Making a Trailer

No Nudity, Keep your trailer PG-13 or lower, even if your film has a lot of sex, there is no reason to put it in the trailer, violence, for some reason is ok to put in your trailer. Boring trailer, a boring trailer is a big NO NO, get to the point, what is the movie about already! Define it in the first 10 seconds. Do not use music you do not have rights to. Never use stolen shots, they will eventually see the full movie. Do not give up the ending in your trailer, Big Hollywood films do it all the time, but remember you are independent, you want to stay mysterious, you want them to bite, but not feel full, keep them intrigued, and wanting more!! Once again you want to make sure the trailer is not to long, keep it short and have them begging for More!!

Example 4. Ending Your Trailer With A Bang!!


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