The first trailer of a film has become closely linked to its commercial success. Experts tell you what it takes to make the perfect cut
In times when competition is razor-sharp, it could take just 30 seconds or 2 minutes to decide the fate of a film. And that’s no exaggeration. There’s no underplaying the power of the first trailer or promo, which could even decide the fate of a film’s first weekend business. It also helps distributors guess what the film is all about and whether or not it will appeal in their respective circuits.
Last year, the promos of Singham, Bodyguard, RA.One, Delhi Belly, No One Killed Jessica, Rockstar and The Dirty Picture became a rage. Recently, the trailer of Barfi! received more than 5 lakh views in the first three days after its release on YouTube. When the trailer of Agneepath was released, its success was reflected in the films’ box office collections. Ditto for Rowdy Rathore and Housefull 2.
And when a film has been made on a small-budget, the promo usually plays on the concept of the film as was the case with Vicky Donor. It was not the actors but the idea of sperm donation that grabbed the audience. Kahaani too featured just one lead, Vidya Balan. It did not feature a ‘hero’. However, from the very first trailer, the filmmakers maintained the suspense of the missing husband, which generated anxiety among the viewers.
So what goes into the making of the all-important first trailer? Promo editors say it is crucial to highlight what’s catchy about the film and its important aspects. It’s a delicate art of mixing the right ingredients, which includes the cast, genre, and other highlights. Bottom line: the trailer must be in sync with the film and its other promos. Sometimes, producers and directors give promo editors free rein while others provide guidelines.
Marketing is now a big part of the budget of a film. Earlier, a director would sit with the editor and cut the trailer, but today exorbitant sums are spent on making the trailer. And, since the last three to fours years, specialists are assigned the job.
The question we are asking this week is: what is the desired impact of a film’s first trailer? What aspects go into the making of a promo of a film, and how does it benefit the film?