TRAILERS GONE WIRED: A multi-part series explores the creative industry of movie marketing today!


[Wired Magazine’s choice of the Greatest Trailer EVER!]

Friends keep sending me links to Wired Magazine‘s recent informative, entertaining, extensive and well-researched series of articles on the state of the movie trailer industry today.

I’m gratified to see many of the subjects discussed in this blog explored, elaborated and updated by journalists Jason Kehe and Katie Palmer. My friend, Keith Johnston, a academic expert on trailers at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK –who I frequently mention in this space– is quoted by Palmer and Kehe and contributes his nominees for greatest trailer of all time.

Given the wealth of new content from Wired, I plan to highlight one article per post over the next few weeks. But do visit Wired to read the lead article, “The Art of the Trailer,” published June 18th.

Allow me to introduce the Tweaser, a 6 second neologism (by way of tweet/teaser/trailer) heralding a short teaser promoting a long teaser advertising the official trailer for a film. The race to brevity and share-ability may have reached a (lower?) limit with this tweetable a/v marketing tool designed for play on smart phones with poor (or non-optimal) sound quality.

There are 20 cuts in 6 seconds, and some approximation of story telling, though without the benefit of copy, whether words on screen or voice over. (And just who has time to read or listen these days?) Oh yes, it’s been inspired by the marketing campaign for Wolverine, the X-Men spin-off starring the shredded and talented Hugh Jackman in the role of the eponymous character. This 6 second avatar of things to come (all puns intended) was produced/edited by star trailer-maker Skip Chaisson (of Skip Film) and represents an experiment in marketing form.

Its chief constraints are Vine.com’s square screen and limited file size. According to Skip (who I was honored to have as a guest lecturer the first year I taught the grad seminar on trailers at UCLA), the message of this dense, visually assaulting spectacle is thus: “Wolverine is Badass!” Now here’s a sentiment that U. of Michigan fans along with X-Men Comics fans can jointly affirm and approve.

The tweaser joins the “Trailer Debut Announcement” as an example of the logic of the herald taken to its extreme (or absurd?) conclusion. As I wrote in my post of April 2012, the trailer for a trailer phenomenon was first brought to my attention by Charlize Theron’s a/v announcement of her imminent appearance in the trailer for the film Prometheus.
Although one could imagine an infinite regress of heralded movie heralds, the tweaser also constitutes a technological development that justifies its length and, well, existence.

According to KRTV3‘s Online and Tech reporting page (serving Great Falls & North Central Montana)
The word “tweaser” is a portmanteau of “Twitter” and “teaser,” and it refers to a very brief – very, very brief – video clip promoting a movie.

The arrival of tweasers is due to the growing popularity of the Vine video app, which is owned by Twitter.

The free app lets people record videos that are only 6 seconds long, and lets them create it using edits by recording only when their finger is placed on the screen of their mobile device.

The app was originally launched only for iOs users (Apple), but an Android version of the app was released several weeks ago.

You can actually squeeze quite a lot of imagery into 6 seconds, although of course it whizzes by in…well, just 6 seconds.”

The OED does not yet have an entry for the word Tweaser but no doubt, that too, is coming soon.

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movietrailers101 by Fred Greene is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

About Frederick Greene

Entertainment Copywriter & Visiting Assistant Professor, UCLA Dept. of Theater, Film & Television. I teach a graduate seminar in new movie marketing, which focuses on the history, contemporary practice and likely future of a/v advertising for motion picture entertainment.
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