Well, you could get lucky and pitch the concept to a brilliant director, have her like it so much she’s willing to get all her friends to work at cost, have a social network that allows you to land a great location in NYC, and then front the $2k budget to make a for-realz live-action trailer like this:
Max narrated the script and sent me the file, which I imported into iMovie (via iTunes; pictures are imported via iPhoto). I had basically three tracks: still photos overlaid with effects and titles, the music track, and the voice over. Fortunately, Max didn’t have to time everything exactly right: I could trim and move around his voice-over snippets, timing it with the music and photos to tell the story in a way that was emotionally resonant, not just a straight narration.
The Art of Movie Making
If you’re making a trailer, you’re making a movie – this was what I learned from my experience with the Mindjack Trailer. And using the visual/audio art form requires different storytelling skills than just words on a page. You give information with images, text, and voice-over. You create mood, build tension, provide release with music. The beats of the trailer have to fit the rhythm of story, just as a novel or short story would. I think of the trailer as a visual blurb: it sets the setting, introduces the characters, lines up the stakes and then POWs the reader/viewer with a moral choice. If you’ve done your job, the viewer/reader will not only want to know the rest of the story, they will feel moved, even in just that minute of time while you held their attention.
A good blurb or trailer whispers to the reader/viewer: see how I made you feel with just those few words? In just a minute of pictures and story and music? Think what I can do if you give me your attention for longer…
It’s a promise to the reader, one that, hopefully, your story will pay off.
But don’t take my word for it! Check it out for yourself: first by watching the Debt Collector trailer, then by downloading the first episode for free. Then you tell me: did I intrigue you? Did the story pay off the setup in the trailer?
Those are the keys to everything in this business.