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Why Your Film Trailer is Your Most Valuable Asset

Last week I finally got to see the final cut of a trailer for a short film I had written and worked on as Production Coordinator and storyboard artist. At just over one and a half minutes long, it is the end result of a collaborative effort that took over eight months to complete.

Why? We all have lives and bills to pay; responsibilities that force our schedules to adapt. But this is not an article about art and commerce.

The focus here is to shine a light on the importance of film trailers in providing filmmakers with experience, support networks and momentum. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can talk about one without mentioning the other.

A Changing Landscape for Filmmakers

I think we can all agree people’s approach to filmmaking has changed. There are now so many more tools open to aspiring filmmakers from the camera equipment they can source at reasonable prices to the marketing channels and distribution networks they can access.

Independent film markets now have the infrastructure to attract work from serious filmmakers as is evident in the $4.6 billion invested in indie films according to results from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

When there’s a 4 in 5 chance of getting a distribution deal, you know the industry is doing well. Of course you have to make a film first — which is easier said than done in today’s oversaturated markets. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Starting Small to Prove Your worth

Enter the film trailer; show reel and career catalyst, made for the modern age of crowdfunding. It’s now common for filmmakers to extract and shoot key scenes from the original screenplay before filming the entire thing.

This is to prove:

• The idea has merit and is commercial viable
• There is a willing audience for the film project
• What the crew can do with next to no budget.

The trailer is therefore used as a tool for external validation and as a means of testing the waters before getting too invested. But as many will be quick to point out, independently made films do not need to be commercially viable.

A Levelling of the Playing Field

Either way, a trailer will be your biggest ally in this endeavour if you are dead set on making the film you want to make. This is the conclusion I have arrived at having been dealing with such issues these past eight months.

It is my view that the problems typically associated with filmmaking — money and time — are solved with prevalence of crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo and the impact they have had on the film industry and its markets.

Our film trailer will be a stepping stone we can all use for years to come. The experience gained, the contacts made and most importantly the satisfaction of seeing something come together helps keep us all in the game.

The Making of a Trailer

That said, I want to reiterate that making a two-minute trailer can be just as time consuming and all-encompassing as making a short film. It doesn’t market itself and the infrastructure needed to push it out into the world is still a complex ordeal.

If you need help in developing your script or need a visual artist to create effective storyboards you can later gift as a crowdfunding reward, contact us.

Looking forward to working with you!

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