Project 366 / 295 — Cinema, trailers and promo

I don’t watch much television. I can’t stand soap operas, reality tv or any of the trash tv that seems to completely saturate the channels. I do catch the occasional box set (The Sopranos, Ray Donovan, Gomorrah, The Newsroom, Billions) but if you catch me watching anything then it’s more likely to be a film.

I love the way a film or a good series can make you feel. How a cleverly written story can pull you in, keep you gripped and leave you wanting more when it finishes. Story telling is certainly a fine art and can be greatly exaggerated when combined with compelling and convincing acting.

A friend and I used to go to the cinema every couple of weeks so were abreast of the latest releases. We were so up to date at one point that we begun watching films we wouldn’t normally choose. That certainly made for some interesting evenings. But one of the things we’ve been noticing more of late is the different types of trailers.

Now at one end of the scale there are the trailers that hardly give anything away. They don’t tell you anything about the story whatsoever — it’s just a teaser.

And then at the other end of the scale are the trailers that seemingly condense the entire film down into a 3–4 minute trailer. The beginning, the middle and the end. You’re left knowing the story and wondering why anyone would spend their hard earned money watching the longer version.

And then there’s social media. Many of the stars actively promote their films and this is great. It’s actually something that the film studios love and when choosing between one actor and another they’ll nowadays choose the one with the more active social media presence. Promo is everything.

Now the stars have access to cuts of the film and, in an effort to build up momentum for their opening weekend will post countless 20 second clips. The problem lies in the fact that like those 3–4 minute full story trailers, they are showing the best bits of the film. So when you sit down in the cinema to watch the film it doesn’t have the same impact.

I had this with the recent comedy Central Intelligence. I’m a big fan of The Rock, but during his promo for the film he’d posted the best 5–10 clips from the film. So when I watched the film in the cinema I wasn’t as entertained as I would have been had I not seen the clips.

There is a fine balance between under and over exposure.

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