How to Write and Produce a Good Trailer


A trailer is a short promotional film that serves as an advertisement for a feature-length movie or television show. It can also be used to create buzz about a project that is still in the early stages of development. Creating a well-executed trailer is one of the most important steps that any filmmaker or TV show creator can take to help get their project off the ground.

The most successful movie and TV trailers use the same storytelling techniques that engage audiences in full-length movies and pilots. They must be compelling, arouse curiosity, and leave viewers wanting to see more. In addition, a trailer must be shot and edited to meet the high-quality standards that audiences have come to expect from modern cinema.

Most trailers follow a three-act structure similar to that of a full-length movie. They start by establishing the premise of the story, drive the story forward in the middle act, and then build to a dramatic climax. Many trailers end with a visual montage set to a powerful piece of music. This is known as the “signature song” and it often sets the emotional tone for the rest of the trailer.

In order to capture the essence of a film or TV show, it is important for the trailer to highlight key moments that are most representative of the overall story. The best trailers will make the audience feel like they know the characters, understand their motivations, and can’t wait to find out how their conflict will be resolved. They will also zig where the film zags, leaving some questions unanswered in order to keep the viewer’s interest.

While many trailers have a voice-over that explains the plot or character dynamics, the most effective ones do not. Voice-overs can be distracting and may make viewers tune out the rest of the trailer. Instead, a more effective approach is to have music or sound effects accompany each moment of the trailer, allowing the viewer to connect with the imagery on their own terms without being interrupted by text or narration.

Trailers are often accompanied by a cast run that lists the names of all the major actors and actresses in the film. The list usually appears in the same place on all posters, prints, and other marketing materials for the film. Similarly, the credits for the film’s directors and producers are typically listed at the end of the trailer.