Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Art of the Trailer: Gravity

There's something in a first impression. Just a glimpse, a moment or two, can elicit an almost instinctual, seemingly subconscious reaction to what we witness. Even after repeated viewing and consideration, it is often still those brief, first moments that elicit our strongest responses.

The art of creating a marketing trailer for a new movie is a complicated one. Usually a succession of increasingly revealing and detailed peeks into character, story and settings that are designed to entice a potential audience. Crafting the very first of these, typically called the teaser, is perhaps the most difficult challenge.

The teaser trailer is usually shorter by about a minute of running time and much broader in terms of story. The most stock teasers may concentrate on a star's presence in the project, a reminder of the director's past hits or even a simple, albeit drawn out, reveal of a title logo. But teasers are most impressive, and compelling, when they display the studio's confidence in their story.

Judging from its new teaser trailer, Warner Bros. Pictures seems to be confident in Gravity. Director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), gets a nod (not his past projects), but you won't know who the actors in peril are until the last credit frames. And even then you need to be a bit of a speed reader.

The fact is that Cuarón is directing two of Hollywoods most sought after A-listers, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. The decision to not tout the cast in the teaser frees it to focus on captivating an audience with story rather than trying to capture a fan base. It works. Rather than a rapid fire collage of scenes designed to hype the stars, we're drawn into one place, one event. One with obvious chaotic and catastrophic consequences.

Do you want to see more? 

The poster perfectly compliments what you've just seen and the stage is set. You'll definitely be watching when the feature trailer makes its debut. And each time you see the poster will be a clear and effective reminder of that movie you want to be sure to see come this October.

Gravity is set for a U.S. release date of October 4th.

Thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures.

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