Pros and cons of creating a trailer for your screenplay?

April 2, 2019
Bob Eckhard

In the same way that some writers use mood boards or hand out project flyers to potential producers at screenwriter festivals, the idea of a filmed trailer is right up there when pitching that great idea. Indeed, if the trailer does impress the intended recipient it can be a great way to get your project noticed. However, if it is poorly crafted in terms of concept, compelling scenes, genre, post production (colourist, sound, etc) then it will just as likely result in rejection with no second chance to make amends.

With all these in mind, let’s consider the pros and cons of trailers.

Pros

  • More chance that if the trailer is good it might draw interest from a director/producer
  • If unsuccessful, the trailer can still be utilised online for crowdfunding purposes to raise finance for making it as an independent film.
  • Greater likelihood that a busy producer will click a hyperlink and watch your trailer than read a treatment or lengthy synopsis.
  • Opportunity for you to create a trailer that conveys the exact scenes and moments you would want a director to see and be left remembering

Cons

  • Strong likelihood that a lot of money will need to be spent on creating a trailer to show your work in the best light.
  • Time and effort for writer in editing and ordering a series of scenes that will result in a trailer where the viewer is left wanting more.
  • Calling in favours or paying people to scout locations, get permits for filming, hiring costumes, shoot film, record sound, provide music, post production work and of course actors to perform those incredible scenes.
  • The money spent making a trailer might have been better on a short film that could be entered into festivals competitions which can just as easily garner support and interest in your creative ability.
  • Writing a trailer limits the shelf-life of the product as it advertises and does not tell a story  so has no purpose should the pitch/idea be rejected

And finally

the most important thing to remember

Your screenplay needs to be already written before embarking on writing a trailer in order that scenes can be mixed and matched into the best combination. Besides, there is no point creating a brilliant trailer if it bears no resembance to the screenplay you will be asked to send in if the producer likes it and wants to read more. Moreover, before embarking on production of a trailer, make sure the script is perfect and road test it with an assortment of friends, family and critics before putting money up to make something that even they are not that keen to watch.

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