Art & Biz: The Trailer / The Golden Trailer Awards 2012

The creative design demands of trailers, 100-year-old marketing tools that remain a top gun in film distributors’ arsenals, experienced an upheaval a decade ago.

Watching trailers today is no longer a “blind” in-theater experience, where moviegoers don’t instantly know what’s in store. Now those same trailers are routinely posted online, wherein users can be selective about the titles they view and consumption patterns differ.

Trailers can be parsed online — viewed repeatedly and in slow motion — which is impossible in theaters.

“The advertisers are getting the good bang for the buck (with trailers getting exposure online), but the flip side is you have to be surgical about what you are doing,” says Seth Gaven, founder and president of trailer house AV Squad, whose credits include “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and “Gangster Squad.” “The trailers will be scrutinized, even frame by frame. So you can’t have any false moments.”

In the today’s Internet age, film marketers say it is imperative to juice up “talkability” by making trailers that people will pass to friends online, in what creates a viral buzz. Usually, talkability is sparked by serving up arresting pieces of a movie, such as over-the-top humor or action.

The online world serves up wealth of consumer info, such as how many hits a trailer logs and how much of the trailer is viewed. “YouTube counts views and Facebook ‘likes,'” says Gordon Paddison of film marketing consultants Stradella Road, “but what’s needed is more of a social density score.”

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