About the Site:
Movie Trailers are dense, complex films worthy of consideration in themselves and not just as an occasion to talk about they films they advertise, the stars they feature, or the entertainments they promise. In this blog, I’ll be commenting on the formal qualities, commercial challenges and audience appeal(s) of these fascinating and artfully constructed short films. The product of great craft, creativity, research, testing, investment and invention, trailers are free-samples given to repeat customers, the world’s best loved–but least understood–advertising.
After obtaining my Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1997, I left academia to pursue a career as an advertising/marketing copywriting servicing the entertainment industry. For several years, I wrote taglines for movie posters as well as packaging copy for DVD’s. In 2003, I began working with trailer pioneer Andrew J. Kuehn, Jr., on a project that was dear to his heart but that he did not live to see completed. It was a documentary history of the industry in which he had spent his professional life, an industry he not only dominated but transformed.
Initially, I was assigned to perform research, including extensive interviews with Andy, whose own career began at National Screen Search, whose name is barely known these days, but which was, for 50 years, the dominant player in the trailer industry. Upon his death, I had the opportunity to complete the project, as its writer and co-producer, working alongside Andy’s distinguished long-time collaborators, peers and friends, Mike Shapiro and Stephen Netburn. UCLA Archive and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were our partners, and everyone we approached for an interview agreed, such was the good will that Andy’s name generated in Hollywood.
I took advantage of that opportunity to re-invent myself as an a/v copywriter, soliciting work from the boutiques in the industry and learning on the job how to generate scripts for trailers, tv spots and video gaming trailers. In 2009, I approached UCLA about teaching a course on Movie Trailers based on my research and documentary writing work, as well as my practical experience as a copywriter. I first taught my trailer course through UCLA Extension in the Fall of 2009, then developed my materials and reprised the course in Spring 2010, as a Graduate Seminar within the Producer’s Program of UCLA’s Department of Theater, Film and Video, where I hold a recurring appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor.
Dr. Frederick Greene