Trailer Structure

Challenges and Solutions


Still from "Leaden Hearts", 2019.


After watching the first cut of my trailer on the big screen in the cinema it became glaringly clear to me that I had made some underwhelming choices. I hadn't realized it at the time of editing, but watching it in that environment made it apparent. Many details are lost when viewing it in that environment - or rather, it is easier to feel the details that I thought would transfer, when editing by myself, with headphones on, in front of a computer screen. The structure and arc that I thought was there disappeared. Here is the first cut:


Some particular issues that I saw: - Full scenes were shown, instead of highlighting the intense shorter moments (Ex. Catherine telling the guard that she needs something from him.) - Music of some type is needed to fill in and heighten these moments. While in the context of the full film they might be okay on their own, I need to use music to make up for shots or information that is lacking from the trailer. - We don't quite know what the significance of the coin is, so ending on that shot doesn't carry the weight that it should. I had hoped to add in other shots from a planned shoot to explain this, but unfortunately at the last moment I needed to cancel, and had to make the first cut of the trailer without them. - The order of events/Which events are shown: By starting out the trailer with Catherine finding the coin, this could mean that she already has want she needs and the stakes aren't high enough surrounding her getting what she wants. I will add this part in after her bargaining with the guard. I will also take out the sequence where she discovers the other objects that were dropped in her cell; This is because I feel like too much is given away - we don't need to wonder whether her bargaining is successful because we immediately see that it was successful in the next scene, causing it to fall flat. I continued researching theory surrounding my film and looking for films with similar aesthetic and pace. One that came to mind is Meek's Cutoff, by director Kelly Reichardt. A very bleak and landscape driven film, I appreciate the pace of the film's trailer. The trailer begins with a little boy reading a bible passage, and dissonant music begins at the 30-second mark. By 00:01:30, they have outlined 3 of their most pressing challenges: the need for water, the possibility of them being lost, and an ever-looming threat of attack by Native Americans. The trailer ends with actress Michelle Willams asking, "What do you see out there?", with a cut to the bleak frontier and desert landscape. I thought about this structure and thought of how I can redesign my first trailer cut into something with higher stakes. For my second cut, I will do the following: - Shorten the scenes I've chosen, and only show the most relevant or weighty moments - Add music: I am looking to incorporate music of the time period, and relating to sea journeys or imprisonment - Rearrange the scenes to lead up to "the question"/conflict. In this case the question or conflict I will focus on is "Will Catherine ever see her husband Johnathan again?"

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