What Is a Trailer?

A trailer is a wheeled vehicle that can’t move on its own and needs to be pulled by another vehicle such as a car or truck. It’s also a piece of film used to advertise and preview a feature film that theaters show before the main movie. It can also refer to a shorter video version of a film trailer called a teaser, which is used to generate interest in the full-length film.

Since the advent of film marketing as a major industry, trailers have become highly polished pieces of film advertising, capable of presenting even poor movies in an attractive light. While they often include scenes that are not in the actual film, the best trailers introduce the key characters and set up their central conflict. They then end on a cliffhanger, leaving the viewer wanting to see how the character will resolve that conflict. Many trailers feature quotes from critics, which are usually genuine, but they may be selectively chosen to promote a positive image of the movie.

In addition to promoting the main film, some trailers are used to market related products such as DVDs and soundtrack albums. For example, a DVD of the horror film “Silver Linings Playbook” features an extended trailer for the musical version of the same name.

A trailer can also be a device used to transport vehicles or cargo on land. Trailers can be pulled behind cars and trucks, or attached to the back of horses. Some bike riders tow children in bicycle trailers. The term can also refer to a video clip or series of clips that are combined to form a movie or television show. For example, some news programs show trailers for upcoming features.

For example, a video clip about a new car may be accompanied by an audio track that plays the engine noises and a simulated test drive. Other trailers are specialized for different types of films. For example, a thriller movie trailer will typically use a fast cutting style. The classic trailer for Psycho, for example, gave viewers a tour of the Bates Motel before ending with Vera Miles screaming in the shower.

Trailers can also be made of material not in the film, such as a special shoot for a trailer. For example, Alfred Hitchcock shot a trailer for the movie “Psycho” that showed him giving viewers a guided tour of the Bates Motel before leading them to the infamous shower scene. This trailer is coveted by collectors.

The process of making a trailer can be extremely stressful for a filmmaker, because there is no room for error. A well-made trailer can attract audience attention and encourage action such as buying tickets or signing up for a mailing list. However, a badly made trailer can cause a great deal of embarrassment and damage to the film’s reputation. As a result, there are companies that specialize in creating trailers, and huge websites are maintained for cataloging them.