What Makes a Good Trailer?

A trailer is a vehicle used to haul goods or equipment. Trailers can be found on vehicles such as cars, trucks, or buses. Some trailers are specially designed for carrying specific items such as vehicles or mobile plant, while others are used to transport furniture or other bulky cargo. Trailers are also used to carry animals such as horses or dogs. A trailer may be either a closed or open vehicle.

Closed trailers have rails on one side and ramps at the rear, creating a weatherproof compartment. These types of trailers are often called open car transporters, auto-transporters, or plant trailers. Open trailers may also have a steel roof and a rear door that is hinged, creating an air-tight cabin with a front door for access to the contents. Closed trailers can be equipped with a roof and a door that is permanently mounted or may have removable panels. Closed trailers are often called furniture or cargo trailers.

Since their introduction in 1913, trailers have grown from an unassuming commercial advertisement for a feature film to a global cultural phenomenon, with entire companies and websites dedicated to their construction, massive libraries cataloging them, and an awards ceremony honoring the best of them. But what makes a good trailer?

What’s important in a movie trailer is how it creates feelings of anticipation, excitement, or dread. The choice of clips and the way they are spliced together work in tandem with the soundtrack to convey emotion or action. The sound of distant battle can set the stage for a war film, while ambient futuristic noises can suggest a sci-fi story.

As the era of blockbusters and big box office grosses began to dominate Hollywood, movie trailers became more like mini-movies in their structure, including a brisk overview of a film’s setup, confrontation, and climax, sometimes revealing too much. But more recently, there has been a shift to a more aesthetic approach in which the trailer favors mood and tone over content or narrative structure. This is evident in the trailers for films such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Joker, Roma, and Tenet.

The most blatant gimmick in trailers is the use of footage from the film that isn’t included in the final cut. This is done to attract attention and build up the hype for a film, but it can be misleading. It can give viewers the impression that a prominent celebrity who plays a minor part in the film is in it when they are not, or that an action-packed film is more intense than it actually is.

In addition to these tricks, many trailers include a cast rundown and studio production logos. A cast rundown is a list of the film’s main actors and their names, while the logos indicate which production company is behind the project. Frequently, the name of the director is added as well, although in some cases a director’s name may be excluded from the cast list because it is not considered to be an important aspect of the film.