Trailer Task….

Posted: July 2, 2010 in Media

In class we were asked to get into groups and go off an create a trailer on a whim. I worked with Natalie on this little project and we discussed between us what we would do.

First we talked about Genre and which one we should choose. Since she is planning on doing  a psychological thriller and I a revenge thriller we both decided to settle on the main genre of the trailer being a thriller, with aspects of both revenge and psychological tendencies included within it.

We then thought about the locations we had at hand and how they could work to our advantage. Although we had to film within our school, which we thought at first might make the trailer look amateur, we came down to this conclusion: no one we needs to know it is a school. We can use rooms that aren’t classrooms and make sure students/teachers are out of shot. Therefore we can go along with the idea this place is in fact a mental institution and not a highschool.

With this in mind we quickly thought up some narrative ideas. They were basic but linked to our themes/genre and had kind of a story to them:

A young woman, Poppy White, is in a mental institution – Poppy is the central protagonist of the film and therefore the trailer revolves around her too, which you’ll see.

Her doctors worry about her health– she is out of her ordinary state showing signs of paranoia and depression – we show this through ‘doctors’ talking about the character and for Poppy to be shown at various moments to be in deep stress and fear. Constantly she is filmed alone. This gives the tailer a psychological feel, which we were aiming for.

She makes it clear that she is going to break free from the institution because she believes they are trying to kill her. She breaks out and tries to kill the woman she believed put her in there – shows a revenge side to the story. This isn’t mentioned a lot in the trailer but that’s only because we want the viewers to watch the rest of the film and not be left feeling like they know what is going to happen.

Erm…we didn’t actually decide on a final ending as such…

We had some ideas of Poppy getting her revenge and then being put back into the institution or maybe she gets killed. We really don’t know. Sorry, we didn’t think the ending was very important in trailers though- viewers won’t know how the film ends and er neither do we!

And then when all this was done we started filming. We used a variety of shots, from mid shots to high angle…here’s a few stills from the trailer:


As you can see above, we used a variety of camera shots and certain styles of framing. We made sure the character was always pushed to one side of the shot, either left or right and always changed this position back and forth throughout different shots in the trialer. It helps show she is battling with herself and her mind– which conveys the trailer’s ongoing theme of skitzophernia and mental health problems.

After we’d being shooting for a bit we thought about dialogue. Dialoogue, as we’d established from watching other trailers, is very important in displaying information about the film. We included a few pieces in our trailer, here are some (in italics):

Poppy: (heavy, scared breathing) ‘They can do things…’

The breathing will make audiences scared as it is an usual convention seen in thrillers, and often horrors, to show a character is in trouble. Saying ‘they’ also makes the audience ask questions and wonder who the character is talking about.

Doctor: (confused)’What things?’

We attempted to put the audience in the doctor’s shoes– the Doctor is just as confused as the audience as to what is going on and this gives a sense of mystery reguarly featured in thriller trailers as well as their films.

Poppy: ‘Bad things…’

Again, leads the audience to ask questions– what bad things? Will the film be scary/horrible? What has happened to this character in the past?

Then, when we had filmed everything we moved onto editing

The music we added was entitled ‘Everything all the time’ and was downloaded from

We thought it fitted well as it sounded sad and upsetting, which fits into the mood we’re trying to create. We also made sure it could be heard without being too loud as this would ruin the mood of the trailer and prevent audiences from hearing important pieces of dialogue.

We also thought about cutting the music off at a point (which you’ll see) when Poppy turns around and stares into the camera. It was meant for dramatic purposes and to leave the audiences shocked and scared (we wanted to leave off at a slow pace to resemble an actual film- slow pace, fast pace and then slow again)

We then trimmed clips that we were too long and edited them together to give a sense of some kind of introduction to the narrative at hand. We also made clips brighter or darker to emphasise the mood and atmosphere of the film.

Titles were also added, firstly for basic information about the people behind the film/trailer (Natalie and I alone then)… Usually these are used as USPs to persuade audiences they will like the film , for example by saying that the film will star ‘Johnny Depp’ it means his fans wil instantly want to go see the film being promoted…

And then there were titles to get viewers interested in the film and give them information surrounding it, mainly about narrative and genre, so they can judge whether they would enjoy the actual film.. We intentionally insluded words that would tell audiences the genre of the film and the narrative it suggests- like ‘corrupted…mind’ suggests mental health problems and ‘playing tricks on you’ not only connotates mystery but also directly addresses the audience and gets them connected to the trailer as whole…

We used the method of white writing on a black background as it is a usual convention in trailers and easy for a audience member to connect with and recognize. It also makes the film seem realistic as it is not trying to be too ‘showy’ or glamourous in font/colour terms.

The font was chose because it resembles handwriting and perhaps suggests the character of Poppy is infact writing this all down, heightening the sense of paranoia the trailer is suggesting the character has.

To show importance we made the title of the film ‘The Tale of Poppy White’ actually in black (which is simple and easy to remember, it also emphasises the fact the film revolves around this troubled character and sounds as if something significant and tragic happenned to her. Which ultimately will make audiences wonder what did happen.) I also liked the idea of having actual Poppies behind the title as it links to innocence, vulnerability and also the main character of the film herself. It also appears peaceful and makes the trailer end on a slow pace, like most trailers do.

So, that’s it 🙂

and here’s the trailer below….


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