IFH 181

IFH 181: Trailer Editing Techniques to Cut a Badass Movie Trailer


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I’ve probably edited over 500 movie trailers, network promos, and commercials in my career. So many indie filmmakers and feature film editors think they can just throw together a trailer for their feature film and make it work. Over the years, I’ve shared my Trailer Editing Techniques with many of the indie filmmakers that have walked into my post suite.

Trailer editing requires a very different set of skills from a feature film or another long-form editing. I’ve seen way too many bad movie trailers in my day. I wanted to bring on today’s guest Chris from FilmEditingPro to drop some knowledge bombs on the IFH Tribe on what it takes to really edit an effect and kick-ass movie trailer, regardless of genre.

Enjoy my conversation with Chris from FilmEditingPro.

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To fully learn the craft would require quite a bit more detail than we can cover in this article. But, here are five tips that will give you a head-start when cutting your next trailer:

Tip #1: The Movie is Not the Trailer

Trailer Editing Techniques: Believe it or not, the first step to creating a great trailer is to separate yourself from the full-length movie. This can be a real challenge, especially if you helped create the film. It’s easy to become overly precious with your own work, falling in love with the way certain scenes, storylines or characters play out.

But the veteran trailer editor doesn’t care about any of that. They are only concerned with one thing:

How do I package the footage in a way that entices an audience? In other words, how do I make people want to see this movie?

Tip #2: Create Detailed Dialogue and Footage Breakdowns

Trailer Editing Techniques: You probably already know that editing requires the systematic and careful organization of materials. Trailers require the same effort in this area, but the methods used are very different from a typical long-form editing project.

After you’ve watched the film, you’ll want to sub-clip, or otherwise mark, every single dialogue line in the film. If you’re using sub-clips, label each with the name of the character and what they said. This way, you’ll be able to go back and access any word, phrase or even syllable at a moment’s notice. Remember, trailer editing is often about combining moments in ways that are different from the film. For that reason, you’ll need a way to non-linearly access every spoken line.

Second, you’ll want to create multiple sequences with the shots from the film separated by category. You might have sequences with character ID shots, wide scope shots, action, romantic looks, etc. Again, you’ll be combining these in new ways in the trailer, so the order they exist in the film becomes almost irrelevant.

Tip #3: Start By Cutting Your Audio First

Trailer Editing Techniques: It would never occur to most long-form editors to begin a trailer by cutting the audio first. I mean, it’s called video editing for a reason, right?

Well, in trailers, a couple of unique factors come into play that will flip the whole process upside-down.

First, you have the inherent musicality of a trailer or promo. It’s rhythmic and relies heavily on the beats of your music and the small, crafted, editorial moments. These are all dictated by your audio bed, which is why you should start with it.

Second, is the shorter length of these pieces. In order for your character’s lines to be heard, you must cut your music in a way that starts, stops, ebbs and flows in exactly the right places. By starting with your audio, you’ll have increased flexibility to make sure you get the timing and pacing correct before you start filling in picture which, in most cases, is primarily there to support the audible story being told.

Tip #4: Tell a Story With Style

Trailer Editing Techniques: One of the keys to cutting great trailers is telling a story with style.

The style of the film trailer is arguably even more important than the story itself. If you show someone a trailer that has great editorial style but a cliché or weak story, they’ll still probably think the movie looks pretty good.

A constant uninterrupted stream of story information will feel monotonous, boring, and quite frankly, it’ll feel like WORK for the viewer trying to pay attention to it. You need to pace out the story beats and add some accents and short style moments in between.

During story-heavy sections of a trailer, particularly the first and second acts, the general pattern you want to follow looks a bit like this:

Dialogue line — moment — line — moment — line — moment (etc…)

Tip #5: Excite Your Audience Without Spoiling the Film

Trailer Editing Techniques: In just about any good trailer, keep one rule in mind: nothing should fully resolve.

Trailers are made of numerous small sequences of shots and lines. These are like mini-scenes (that can be as little as 2 or 3 shots in length) that tell a quick “story” before moving on to another mini scene.

Your goal should be to keep each short sequence unresolved. If the hero is fighting a bunch of bad guys, you might show a rapid exchange of blows and then cut to an explosion from a different area of the movie.

Think of your trailer as a series of promises you’re making to an audience. In the case of the action genre, you promise that the film will be exciting. In comedy, you promise that they’ll laugh. In a dramatic film, you promise that they’ll feel some sort of emotion.

Additionally, by leaving your moments unresolved, your audience will want to know how that huge battle ends. Will the guy get the girl? How does the hero make it out of that horrible situation alive?

For every single moment of your trailer, just ask yourself this question: What is this moment/shot/line promising to the audience?

Remember, it is the trailer’s job to make these promises and set up this un-resolution but it’s up to the film to honor those commitments. If you want closure if you want to see how it all ends…go see the movie!

Take a look below and be prepared to have your mind blown!

Alex Ferrari 0:31
Now today's show we're going to cover something that I have not really covered on the show before and it's such a crucial part of the filmmaking process. It is how to edit a movie trailer. movie trailers are the front line to your film to your project to your series. I cannot tell you how many horrible movie trailers I've seen for indie filmmakers, it's a blows my mind how you can spend $300,000 half a million dollars a million dollars, or even your last $20,000 on a feature film, and not put so much care and energy in crafting the perfect trailer. What do you think the studio's do when they spend $200 million plus another $200 million in marketing and advertising. They take for forever to get that trailer just right. And that's what filmmakers need to do. But a lot of them just don't understand that. It's a craft. It's a completely different craft than editing a narrative feature or comedies or shorts or anything like that's a whole other world. Now I've edited probably 1500 1000 promos in my day, whether they be network promos, movie trailers, and so on. And I wanted to bring onto a show an expert on how to edit movie trailers. So I brought on Chris from Film Editing Pro. Now, Chris is a big time movie trailer editor working on major studio releases monster releases of you know, tentpole movies. So he's worked from everything from the indie movie all the way to Monster $200 million movies. And we go through the entire world of not just how the studio world works when it comes to editing movie trailers, but how to actually break down a movie, how to create a great trailer, regardless of genre, whether it be a drama, a drama, and action, a comedy, a whore, they all have different techniques, and craft to create the optimal movie trailer to help sell your movie. And at the end of the interview, I'll give you guys a link to his free online course on how to edit movie trailers. I've taken that course and it is really amazing. Coming from the perspective of a professional editor, what they've been able to put together and what Chris was able to put together is just cold there is nothing else on the market right now to show you how to edit a movie trailer and especially in many ways style of a big budget movie trailer so you can make your indie movie look like a tentpole movie, if that's what you want. So make sure to listen to all the way to the end, and I'll give you that special link. So please enjoy my conversation with Chris from Film Editing Pro. I'd like to welcome to the show Chris from Film Editing Pro. How you doing, brother? I'm good. I'm good. How you doing? I'm good, man. Thanks for doing the show. It is a topic. We're going to talk about movie editing. And I'm in a movie editing, trailer editing. And it's something that is very dear to my heart. Because I've been editing trailers. by necessity for the last try about 12 15 years as well. I'm not a quote unquote, trailer editor, not as nearly as good as user, but, but I fake it fairly well. And it's such an important part of the filmmaking process that I'm so glad I had you on so we can kind of dissect what a good trailer is and all that kind of good stuff. But before we get into it, how did you get into the business in the first place?

Chris 4:59
Yeah. So I, you know, you mentioned faking it. I think we're all kind of faking it to some extent. But I actually got my start as a, I was a visual artist back in college, I was interested in 3d animation at the time that this was around maybe 2000 to 2004. So that was kind of like the early days of 3d. I went to school for that I met an alum from my college. That was actually he was one of the VPS at Universal, so kind of,

Alex Ferrari 5:29
That's pretty fortuitous.

Chris 5:32
Yeah, it was, I was appreciative of that connection, for sure. But even with that, it took me I don't know, 16 to 20 emails of pestering him, until finally he agreed to have me out to Los Angeles to try out as an internship.

Alex Ferrari 5:48
Isn't that amazing that the film industry is one of those places like you beg and beg and beg to work for free. It's like for free. Like, the only business that that works is like I've never heard the phrase You should be grateful for this so many times and no, it's it's especially when you walk into these higher level situations. Yeah, again, a completely I you know, I was lucky enough that I got my first internship like that from my on our someone from that went to high school. But it wasn't nearly at Universal. For sure. So that's pretty insane.

Chris 6:22
Yeah, it was a little scary at the time, I lived in Virginia. So it was a cross country drive. And it was pretty much you know, let's make this happen. And of course, it also really wasn't in my area of expertise, like, this was filmmaking and editing and post production. And, you know, I didn't know too much about that. At the time. I mostly, you know, knew the creative arts. So, yeah, I kind of got my start at the bottom there. You know, I don't know we probably all experienced some of this. You work in the tape room, you know, VHS is Oh, yeah. You know.

Alex Ferrari 6:57
I did that in? Yeah. VHS and also magnet the magnet. Did you use a magnet? Oh, yeah. The stripping the the magnet stripper? Yeah. to strip away. Yeah, to blank out the tapes that they could be reused again. everybody listening? Most people are like, What? What is he speaking? What are they speaking of? tapes. The funny thing is, it wasn't that long ago. If we're talking maybe 10 years. You're right. It's you talking about 1015 years ago, at the most Yeah, not 10 years ago, I was still doing that. Yeah, absolutely.

Chris 7:24
Yeah. Yeah, things moved quick once we got the digital. But yeah, so that's kind of my story. I started there at the bottom, I you know, a lot of late nights, a lot of weekends kind of editing on the side. Because the cool thing about working I mean, I know how lucky I was to be able to work in a place like that. And to me, we had rough cuts of movies that were unreleased all across our network servers. So you had the trailer guys that were working on, you know, actually cutting this stuff and the assistants and the junior editors, we were mostly doing prep work for them. We were finding sound effects we were maybe possibly cutting small sections of something for somebody to be able to work with. Occasionally, we would actually get a chance to assemble features when we were super early in production. Or when I should say the production was super early, and we were just getting sent dailies. So there was no rough cut for us to watch. So as assistants we would assemble I think I assembled Fast and Furious for I think they called it fast forward, whatever it was called

Alex Ferrari 8:23
Fast Five. Who knows?

Chris 8:27
So we got it, we got some experience kind of with long format there. But ultimately, our the focus of our department was in trailers in short form. And over enough time over enough hitting 15th and 30s and stuff like that gradually got moved up into an editor seat and started getting a crappy cut reel trailers.

Alex Ferrari 8:44
That's awesome man. I was I was stuck doing promos at at a Christian network in West Palm Beach for a year and a half. And I did promos for like Matlock as it was, you know, it could occasionally you know, we would get the movie of the week, which would be like some cool 80s movie, and I would have fun with that. But generally speaking, it's a different art form, isn't it? It really is cutting trailers. It's a lot of a lot of filmmakers don't understand that. Like, you know, just because you have a good dramatic, you know, narrative editor or even an action editor to cutting a movie trailer is a completely different, different thing, isn't it?

Chris 9:23
It's so different. You know, and and even it's different between a trailer which is a maximum length of two minutes and 30 seconds. It that's a lot different than cutting a TV spot, or a YouTube promo where, you know, if you're constrained to 30 seconds to the frame. You got to make some tough choices. Oh, yes, you do. You have to know how to manipulate your content to fit within that and not feel like things are rushed. Like there's enough air in the right places. It's a very musical art form, and it's very, very rhythm based. The funny thing is A lot of times as a trailer editor, you know, we'll get a put on a project. And the filmmaker will probably have this feature edit or take a crack at the trailer sometimes.

Alex Ferrari 10:10
Yeah, yeah.

Chris 10:11
And you know, they it's a, it's a great piece it has, it has all the right moments, but it just feels slow. And it doesn't fit in the content. It doesn't move quickly enough, it feels fat, basically. But you give it to a trailer editor. Now granted, sometimes the trailer editor goes in the opposite direction, and you've just got this frenetic pile of unrecognizable crap. Just keep track. But a good trailer editor is going to be able to give the beats just the amount of time that they need with no more than that, and then you fit so much more into it.

Alex Ferrari 10:44
Now, what do you think? trailer do? What do you think of trailers that give a little bit too much of the story away? Yeah, it's a hot topic. Cheese's with the frickin spoilers I get sometimes I don't be I don't feel even watching the movie anymore.

Chris 10:58
I know. I know. And it's, you know, we, you know, we're we were public facing a lot, you know, as we're, as we're advertising for our trading stuff. And we talked about trailers, you know, on our blog and stuff. And the biggest objection I see is, you know, oh, trailers these days. They give away everything.

Alex Ferrari 11:15
I mean, the worst. The worst example of that was Terminator Genesis.

Chris 11:19
Yes. Yep. I was a bad example. I worked on that, too.

Alex Ferrari 11:22
Did you? Did you work on that on that promo? Yeah. I mean, the editors all agreed with you, by the way, like who in god's green earth? Why are you giving away the frickin like the ending? Yeah, it's like Sixth Sense. Oh, by the way. Like, you know, Bruce Willis is ago spoiler alert. If you haven't seen it, it's not my fault. But But seriously, like, why would you give away the ending of the movie? Like the biggest twist? So you were you actually worked on that project?

Chris 11:49
Yeah, I did. And what done early trailer and TV How?

Alex Ferrari 11:54
Tell me what, what was that process? What was the conversation in the room? Who was the producer who said, this is a good idea? Well, I can't really say that well. No, no, no, don't say that.

Chris 12:06
But what I can tell you is from like, a more general standpoint, as far as why these challenges come up. Yeah. Is that typically, not always right. Sometimes the spoiler is a story point and just Don't be an idiot and show that don't do it. But oftentimes, the spoilers are big set piece moments and an action film. It's a fight between two people maybe more, it's your best joke or your scariest moment. And to not show the best of the best stuff in a trailer. A lot of times you feel like you're doing a major disservice. Because why would you water down this amazing stuff and hold it back? When there's so much competition out there for eyeballs and attention.

Alex Ferrari 12:51
So I get your I get your point. But there are so many amazing trailers that are created. Yeah, that don't give away everything. And I can't off the top of my head like the watchmen trailer, which was arguably one of the best trailers I've seen in the past 10 years. The Suicide squads trailer? Well, yeah, was easily the best trailer I've seen edited. In the last 10 years with our two with Bohemian Rhapsody, yes. Without question, the movie is garbage. But the trailer that was horrible is horrendous. But the but the trailer, that trailer probably was worth 20 million $30 million easily. Yeah, in in ticket sales, because people just showed up because of that trailer. So but they didn't give away story because there was none. But But watchmen, let's say watchmen, watchmen created this event. Are you familiar familiar with that trailer, right? To be honest, I don't remember it. No, it was it was with a smashing pumpkin song. Done, which is a common trait. Now they take an old classic song, and they do like an acoustic version of it. And Smashing Pumpkins did this acoustic version of this amazing song. And it was all slo mo and all these visuals, we just kind of popped in and popped out and you hear the the dialogue of the characters, and you don't know anything about the story. All you know is it's watchman. Like that was it was such a brilliant trailer. But so that, it seems like nowadays, you need to have more balls to do something. Yeah.

Chris 14:27
Yeah, I mean, you do you're completely right. And by the way, I agree with you. Like there are a lot of trailers to give away too much. I was just basically saying the reasons why people fall into that trap. But it's a trap and you shouldn't and a lot of times it's you know, a lot of times it's also it comes from the studio and not to point too many fingers.

Alex Ferrari 14:47
Sure. No, no, I get it. I look i get i get the point of giving away those big set pieces and I get them. But like in Terminator, there was no need.

Chris 14:56
Yeah, you don't have to do it. You can just be a little bit more creative and like you said, How balls. Because if you have a good movie, I mean, to be honest with you what I've always wanted to see tested. And by the way, there's testing that goes on during the process of creating the trailer course i'm sure, you know, many, many rounds of it. And what I would love to see in some sort of alternate universe is a trailer that's actually released to the public one way. And then universe B, it's released the different way, way one is two minutes and 30 seconds jam packed with story information is many cool moments that you can fit in there and maybe a spoiler, way to a 32nd. Extremely minimal, more teasers like a teacher, right? Yep, that just sets the world maybe creates one plot point, and it's just a complete enticement. And who knows, which would do better? I kind of sometimes think it would be way number two.

Alex Ferrari 15:50
Now, can you can you talk a little bit about the difference between a teaser and a traditional trailer? Because I know I think that's a topic that people just don't get sometimes.

Chris 15:59
Yeah, yeah, I can. So a teaser. I mean, the name says a lot of it. It is it's typically the first Well, it's not typically it's always the first thing that comes out in the marketing process of a movie. So the teaser will often be very early, it'll be released or at least be being worked on very early in the process of the actual production of the film. So a lot of times you don't have much footage to work with. Sometimes you have no footage. And it's typically short. You know, every rule is meant to be broken. Sometimes you'll see a teaser. That's almost two and a half minutes long. I've seen those should not be

Alex Ferrari 16:37
I think 60 would probably be the top.

Chris 16:40
I would think so. Yeah. A lot of times teasers are really heavy with graphics. Or they're a conceptual piece sometimes. I remember I worked on the trailer for the film Oculus and the teaser was actually a special shoot of this you know, evil mirror that has nothing to do it's not in the movie at all. It was a special shoot completely designed for the teaser. Awesome.

Alex Ferrari 17:02
What was the movie? Oh, the Rogue One Rogue One trailer that they shot. There was a whole bunch of footage that never was in the movie that just that pisses me off? Yeah, that's a rough one, too. Yeah. That was like a trailer. By the way. It was a really good trailer. Yeah. Amazing trailer for Rogue One. But you're like people were like, look at all this footage that never made it into the movie. And I know why. You know, all the stuff that happened with a movie but but that's always upsetting when I when I hear a line that's not in the movie just pisses me off.

Chris 17:31
I know. And as a filmmaker, I'm sure you actually remember these things, too.

Alex Ferrari 17:34
Right? Yeah, as a filmmaker, just like that wasn't in the movie. There was like the best line. Why didn't that make the movie? That makes no sense? No. It's stuff like that. But yes, a teaser is a little bit shorter, and then a traditional to traditional trailers. Traditional trailer.

Chris 17:48
Yep, shorter, not much story information just to taste basically.

Alex Ferrari 17:52
Now what are the things that you should as as a as a filmmaker, when you are working on a trailer with an editor or trying to do it on your own? What are the things that you should have in a teaser trailer, versus a regular trailer to help sell your movie?

Chris 18:09
Huh? Okay. So, well, in a teaser, you just have the general conceit of what the movie is. That's kind of what you want. You know, in a superhero movie, you might just have one shot of the back of Dr. Strange walking towards the open window with his cape flapping. Yes. And then you have a title card, maybe that's it. Maybe it's a tiny plot point, with your main character. And that's probably about it. In a regular trailer, you're gonna basically want to set up quite a bit more, I can talk about the difference maybe between the genres, if that's helpful Sure, before it, because it's gonna vary a little bit depending on your genre. You know, maybe starting with, let's say, drama, drama trailers, obviously, as you might expect, are very heavily required, based on story based on character, and obviously, emotion. So you're going to spend a lot longer time in that trailer up to two thirds of it, really fleshing out these characters and the stakes of what's going on. trailers are typically a full trailers, you're probably gonna find it usually in a three act structure. Not always, but often. You know, Act One, setting up the world in your characters act to conflict Act Three, as they say fun and games, which is mostly just montage with big music. In a drama, you're going to basically have, make sure you have all that stuff fleshed out so that by the time you're done with that to your viewer is extremely emotionally invested. And you can just drop in that big music and act three super hard and it's going to hit them and ideally, your viewer is going to have chills when that starts. That's when you know that you've done your job. Well. comedy. comedy is, again, a big cliche, but it's all about timing. That's obvious and That has a lot to do with music and music stops and kind of, you know carving out your moments within a comedy trailer. But I think what people don't necessarily think of as often when it comes to cutting a good comedy trailer, is that you're going to want to tell your story using the jokes from the film. So as you break down a movie, you know, when you as a trailer, you're first going to watch it, you're going to take some notes, you're going to talk to your producers about, you know, what's the game plan here. And then you're going to break down your footage, break down your lines, your moments, your jokes. So with the comedy trailer, you're going to have all these jokes that you've listed out some of your favorites. And you're going to also have in the back of your mind, you know, what's this movie about? It's about, you know, these two guys that go on this road trip and blah, blah, blah, happens. And then you know, and that's pretty much I mean, the comedy plots aren't usually too crazy. As far as being complicated. So how do you know how do you take these jokes, the best stuff from your film, lay them out in a linear fashion. That goes not necessarily linear to the chronology of the story, but linear on your timeline. And connect those moments together with the tissue connective tissue from the film, the story beats that make it makes sense. So So let's say you have a, um, you know, it's hard to come up with examples, but I would basically say, you shouldn't go more than 10 or 15 seconds in the comedy trailer without something funny happening.

Alex Ferrari 21:27
Oh, god, yes.

Chris 21:28
Yeah, absolutely. You know, and when it does happen, the longer you go, the funnier it has to be. So if you're gonna, you better have a really funny joke on the way and if not, you need to restructure your comedy trailer and find how you can get these jokes closer together. And how you can simplify your story to do so

Alex Ferrari 21:46
Yeah, when I was editing, the trailer for this is mag, I literally had jokes every, I think the whole thing was basically a big epic, like maybe 90 seconds, 60 to 90 seconds. And I would hit jokes every pretty much every 10 seconds, they'll joke or a setup of a joke. And then and retelling the story along the way. And that's I think one of the reasons why people liked the trailer so much. It's very important, especially when doing a comedy that you should do those those jokes as often as possible. And it sounds obvious, right? I mean, but it's not people, especially in Indies, like indie trailers. Now let me ask you quite a lot with indie film trailers, you know, generally speaking, indie films are, are generally going to be comedy or drama 80s or dramatic, or then then we also go into the horror and action Indies. I feel a lot of times when I see these trailers done by non professional editor, trailer, editing, editors, trailer editors, that I feel that they become so heavy handed, and they don't understand like any concept in regards to trailer editing. Because I see these, especially with horror and action, they just constantly do. The one trick pony kind of cuts and there's no, you know what I'm talking about. Right? And then the action is the same thing. Any advice? You can give indie trailers editors out there? Or, or people who are trying to edit their own trailer for an indie film? Yeah, they don't have those big set pieces. No, they don't have no cast. Generally,

Chris 23:14
I would say the best advice for that is less is more read, you know, we kind of coined this term in some of our training, the term of and resolution, I mean, I know it's a real word, but basically, kind of crafting moments around on resolution so so if somebody is gonna jump off, you know, if you get these two kids in summertime, and, and it's the coming of age story, and, and they're playing on a dam, and one of them goes to jump off the damage of the water. Even if in the movie, they're perfectly fine. Cut the black on that jump, and indicate that maybe there was a problem. You know what I mean? Just leave the audience hanging as often as possible, and don't lay out the entire story. It's what you as I think it's hard for filmmakers, especially to do that because they've put so much love and so much time right into crafting these stories. But some of the information just is not important for the trailer. It's It's too much in the weeds.

Alex Ferrari 24:18
I've got I've seen five and a half minute trailers. Yeah, for indie features, and they're like, what do you think I'm like, Are you kidding me? Yeah, you're just gonna watch that. It's too long. Their movies. 80 minutes you've already given away 5% Yeah, it's a little too much. Now a big thing with trailer with edit trailers in general is the old school way of narration versus no narration and how powerful those old like and when I say old, I'm talking about probably not 80s obviously 90s even a 2000s. In the queue. He usually I'll hear a narrator like every once in a blue moon, but generally this that's not done as much anymore, but those voices like Don Fontaine You know, the legendary voices that you know I mean, obviously I'm sure you know who davon Dane is? Yeah for people listening Don Fontaine he passed years ago, but his voice you've probably heard a million times. And I saw a special on him on like abc news or 60 minutes or something like that. And they literally had him do the opening for the show in different genres. Oh cool. Same words, different genre so as a dramatic as a romantic comedy as a whore and as an action, and his tone change. made it a different move. It was magical to watch that man work so

Chris 25:42
Talented. It's really hard to do good narration.

Alex Ferrari 25:45
It is so tell me what what's the whole deal with narration no narration What's your feeling on it? Should people try to get narrators you know, professional vo people? What do you think?

Chris 25:54
Yeah. So kind of just like fashion. There's trends. Currently the trend? The trends are at the moment. As far as genres go action, you really don't want to narrator drama, be very careful. comedy, sometimes harder, anytime you want. And the reason for those different are at the moment narration and, you know, I hate to you know, kind of piss off the never use for narration.

Alex Ferrari 26:27
So, can you say one more time?

Chris 26:30
Yeah, I was just saying I don't want to, I don't want to upset the narrator community by saying what I'm saying because there's a lot of, there's a lot of need for good narration and a lot of different circumstances. But within the context of a trailer, generally, if a trailer is really serious, which would be action or drama, a narrator is kind of going to suck the suck the seriousness out of that, so to speak, it's gonna make it almost sound a little cheesy, a little corny.

Alex Ferrari 26:54
It's like a deal. Like, I remember, I'm like, I'm like cyclopedia of trailers in my head, but like the last Boy Scout, I remember that. Do you remember that trailer? I do? Yeah. You know, and it was like he's alone. You know, he's he used to hop on the edge and then Bruce Willis to say allies like he's a fuckup. What are sorry? Yeah, you know, he's a mess up and then then there's Damon Wayans? And you know, all this it was, but it worked for that cuz it was kind of like an action comedy, but it really wasn't, but it kinda was in that vein of lethal weapon. So, but that today, that would work. Like I would never do that.

Chris 27:27
Yeah. Well, and you just nailed it. So action comedy, right. So if the film has a comedic element to it, if it's a horror film, its horror has an inherent slight campiness to it sometimes, right. Comedy obviously has comedy. Right? action comedy does. So I don't know if you remember the movie. macgruber. Kolkata.

Alex Ferrari 27:48
Yes. Of course, that actually was a pretty decent trailer.I remember correctly. It was a pretty amazing trailer. Movie. wasn't that great? The trailer was genius.

Chris 27:58
Yep, that's the perfect time. If you want to use some narration, go for it. It's you're poking fun at yourself in the process. And it's fine. It works out great. But you wouldn't want to take a Marvel movie and put narration underneath it.

Alex Ferrari 28:10
It's just not gonna work. Did you imagine that? Like I couldn't even think about like, he's, his name is Tony Stark. He's like you it? Would we kill the trailer?

Chris 28:19
Yeah, you'd have eye rolls in the first two seconds.

Alex Ferrari 28:21
Yeah. And I think also, the audience is so much more savvy and almost cynical. Because they have been burned so many times by good trailer editors. Yeah. I've been I know, I mean, Suicide Squad. Perfect example. Amazing trailer garbage movie. And you just, you know, so I think, I think audience members, you know, are a little bit more. You know, it's like, almost non trusting anymore. Yeah, you know, as opposed to where it used to be.

Chris 28:52
You know, because it's like, the trailer editors are doing their job. And you have to do it, but it's, it is marketing at the end of the day, and worse. You know, it just kind of in my mind, you know, are you going to use your powers for good or for evil, right.

Alex Ferrari 29:09
I felt I felt dirty many. I'm sure you have to I felt dirty many days after editing a trailer going? Yeah, I feel this is not right. But it shows how powerful of a skill set it is. Right? It is a tremendous skill. I mean, like I I did an indie film the other day. And they they it was you know, like this drama. And they're like, we need to make it into an exciting thing. So I'm like, okay, literally any movement in the entire movie was in the trailer. Like any any walking fast. Any car turns any there was a gun. So the gun obviously made it into the trailer. And I edited into this thing and I felt I felt like wow, I feel super dirty about this. And I told the director I'm like, Look, this is about the cell. I'm trying to get you to get this movie. sold. But it's not, you know, I feel I feel bad. And he's like, I know this is not the movie I directed. I'm like, I know. But would you see this movie? based off the trailer? He goes, Yeah, I'd probably see the trailer of mine. That was five and a half minutes long. And it was a traumatic trailer. Yeah. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Chris 30:29
I mean, it comes down to right, there's the business side of filmmaking. And then there's the creative and artistic side of filmmaking, of course, and when they can overlap, thank God, you've got gold. And but sometimes they don't. And sometimes you know, what you have, you know, for a film, if you represent it completely to a tee, it's not going to necessarily put butts in seats, because maybe it has a long build up, or maybe you just, you know, it's a very specific audience that you're going for. So you're not going to have enough reach to really make it a success. So you really have to kind of open up a film to more quadrants by by accentuating the parts of a film that are not necessarily there in spades.

Alex Ferrari 31:09
No. Now, as far as the different kinds of we've talked about teaser trailers, and we talked about regular trailers, and then they'll do version one, version two, version three, depending on how big the movie is. Yeah, there are also like character trailers, like trailers that are just literally around a certain character in the movie that I've seen happen for bigger movies, like, obviously, Justice League being a current example of that. Do you would you suggest, depending on the NFL scene in an action in the action trailers, in the action films, to kind of create those like 15/22 character trailers? For an Action List, I think it only really works with action unless you've got an ensemble cast and comedy or something like that. But it's just another angle to try to sell the movie. What do you think, though?

Chris 31:57
Yeah, that's a great idea. I mean, obviously, you have to have enough of a media budget to warrant going down that direction, in addition to your teaser, and you're full trailer, and maybe a couple short, general audience spots. But if you've got the budget, you've got the time and resources, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 32:14
But even if you're just gonna put it up on YouTube to kind of create the, you know, created as a marketing tool, that's what you're going to start putting out on Facebook. And that's going to be kind of like a marketing campaign, because I did that with, with with this as mega created little trailers or little scenes from the movie and pop them out there and just, you know, kind of put them out there. And just to kind of build up excitement over the project, even though it's such a small movie like mine, but it was just a way of getting it out there. I mean, I think it's valuable if you if you're doing it yourself. It's very affordable. Oh, yeah.

Chris 32:45
Yeah. I think it's a great idea. And I think that that way you can especially all the different characters are gonna appeal to different types of people. Right, right. So you're gonna hit a lot of different demographics by releasing trailers. Yeah, you're right. It focused on different characters.

Alex Ferrari 33:01
It's the boy band way of doing it. You've got the you got the cute one. This smartwatch. The rebel that's the boy band model.

Chris 33:11
Yeah, yeah, we actually did that for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Yeah. A lot of those spots.

Alex Ferrari 33:16
Exactly. So that and that was a perfect you know, as a comedy and those kind of things. There's so many characters in it. That that movie so underrated by the way. Yeah. Love it such a move. And you know, another movie, it was really underrated in that same kind of crazy vein Speed Racer. I haven't seen it. Do you know which one I'm talking about? I don't I wish I wish. Were Starsky brothers. You know, I don't know how I missed it. I thought that's the problem. Most people missed it. It is a brilliant and if people listening right now go out and find Speed Racer. what that was, that was our skis, who also directed a little movie called The Matrix did with that movie? The visuals of it? is it's it's insane. You should definitely watch it. It's exactly what it's supposed to be. It's Speed Racer. It's a Speed Racer movie. And it they make no apologies of it. The world that created and the trailer I remember was amazing for it. But people just did not show up for that movie. So much so that you don't even remember it.

Chris 34:11
Right? Yeah, no, I truly don't. But I just wrote it down. Somebody check it out.

Alex Ferrari 34:16
Definitely check it out. Now, what's some of the craziest stories that you can share from the Edit room? Oh, man trying to get me in trouble. It just, you could be very, very loosey goosey with the people involved? Yeah, the crazy stuff.

Chris 34:32
Well, so I think that most of the crazy stories that I have revolved around ridiculous deadlines. Oh, always right. Which is typically when the most interesting stuff happens because the emotions are flying rampid.

Alex Ferrari 34:49
Yes. And this big stakes to in those kind of bigger budget things.

Chris 34:53
Yeah, yeah. One that stands out in my mind was it was four Movie hobbit Desolation of Smaug okay. And they had a trailer, the studio had a trailer and they had shown it to Peter Jackson. And he wanted to just explore some other avenues before agreeing to, you know, lock in that. So I, I forget the exact timeframe, but it was basically it was Thursday currently and they want to lock something following Wednesday. Obviously the locking process means that the trailer has to be completed and submitted in advance of that date.

Alex Ferrari 35:32
Sound Design everything.

Chris 35:34
Yeah. And and, yeah, obviously with a trailer, the editor has to do all the sound design.

Alex Ferrari 35:39
Okay, so but you guys have a mix somewhere. Some someone do a full mix.

Chris 35:42
Somebody does a balancing mix at the end. But the editor does all the sound design all the Foley all the music editing everything. Wow. Okay. It's very, very, very different from I mean, I know a lot of feature writers will dive into their own sound. But you don't have a really solid cleanup crew coming after you if you need it. With trim. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 36:04
Yeah, the deadlines are so quick. That's probably why.

Chris 36:09
Yeah, yeah. And also, there's just so many versions and so many things that you're going to make, that there's a you would have to have a whole team of sound sound, you'd have to have just as many sound designers.

Alex Ferrari 36:21
Yeah, the workflow would be so ridiculous that because you're going to make so many versions of that for different countries in different this in different debt, that you have to constantly be going out to a mix. It's like you go crazy.

Chris 36:33
Yeah, and this is a little bit of a sidetrack, but also because trailer editors actually will typically cut in most of their audio first before picture. Interesting. that serves as the foundation because you're dealing with a time based piece. It's easy to adjust shot lengths, it's a lot harder to adjust the length of your Music cue and your dialogue lines.

Alex Ferrari 36:53
That's very, that's very interesting. Like, when I edit I generally like to lay a bass down first, but I'm a loose bass, but you're saying would be more of a solid like, here's Act One. Here's two. Here's Oh, yeah, here are the beats. And I got to fit the movie into these in this into this structure.

Chris 37:10
Oh, yeah. Yep. Yeah. So actually, in this example of this crazy, crazy scenario, I started work on this thing on Thursday. Slept maybe three or four hours each night for the next four days or so. And by I guess it was Monday or no, it was Tuesday. It was the day before it was due. My producer came into the room to see how things were going. And I was you know, cracked out hopped up on Dr. Pepper. I wasn't into coffee at the time.

Alex Ferrari 37:40
I was. I've never heard anyone being cracked out on Dr. Pepper Mountain Dew. Dog that Mountain Dew Red Bull monster but never Dr. Pepper. That's a new one. Yeah, I don't recommend it. I drink bolt when I was in college. That was disgusting. If you're gonna drink bolt.

Chris 37:58
No, no. No, I've heard that. It's a little gross, though. It's disgusting. Yeah, it was before Red Bull. Yeah, that's like that five hour energy. That just makes me nauseous. Right, right. But anyway,

Alex Ferrari 38:11
So you cracked out on it. And Dr. Pepper

Chris 38:13
Cracked out on Dr. Pepper producer comes in. He looks at my timeline says All right, let's let's take a look. Let's see where you are. And there's tons of segments. There's a lot of stuff going on the timeline. It looks really busy looks really impressive. But everything is below the video line. There's no video, except for the green card, which is the green band Sure. Old graphic cards and the final the film logo at the end. And he's like, a little concerned, Chris is due tomorrow and you don't have a trailer. But if I said well, don't look at the picture yet. Just Just close your eyes. And just listen. He did and he was like, that's great. Sounds like an awesome trailer. Let's put some visuals in there. And I did and it took maybe five or six hours max to put all the visuals in because it's paint by number at that point, you know where stuff's going, you're gonna have your dialogue lines that you want on camera landing, you just match back to your source, you drop them in you, you know in your montage sections you you know you do whatever works. You can go to your visual breakdown, you pull the best, the best shots in the best order and you start finessing things together but right, but your structure and your cadence is already done. So at that point, it becomes pretty easy. so stressful, but it was it was a fun experience.

Alex Ferrari 39:41
So I'll give you a quick a quick my craziest story in the Edit room. I actually had two producers in the room get into a fist fight. That's better than literally into a fist fight and and they didn't editor's generally when clients and producers and directors fight. They generally don't blame us. The I'm generally right they don't like, pick a fight with us. They generally are fighting a monster says we're just the the tool that's moving along the lie, you know, like, do it this way, do it that. But yeah, they need us to do work. They can't afford to fight with us. Exactly. Can we get this off the editor? We'll just walk up. Yeah. Now how do you work with like a director or producer when putting together a trailer?

Chris 40:25
Yeah. Well, it depends on a couple things. I'd say the biggest thing it depends on is the experience level of the editor. So you know, obviously, the more experience that it has the more free rein they're going to give in to do their own thing and to experiment. But in any case, either no matter who you're dealing with, you're typically your producer is going to be the one interfacing with the studio. They're going to kind of get the creative brief on everything. What does the studio think that they have in the way of a film? What's the story to them? things that should be included things that should be avoided, you get that you get all that information up front? typically

Alex Ferrari 41:01
Don't show this do definitely have this in the trailer, things like that. Yeah,

Chris 41:04
Lean on this moment. Be careful of this scene, you know, it's not, you know, moms aren't liking, you know, the person with their head getting cut off, you know, that type of thing.

Alex Ferrari 41:13
That's so ridiculous. But I get it.

Chris 41:15
Yeah, I know. It's like women just want to see the same stuff as guys. Like, don't stereotype like,

Alex Ferrari 41:19
Yeah. So so that I mean, so generally speaking, because you're working at the fairly the highest level in the studio system, doing movie trailers, you have a very unique perspective on on this as opposed to a promo editor at a TV network, or, you know, or, or a shop shop somewhere doing other trailers you're working with, you know, some of the projects you've worked on are fairly high profile. So you're dealing with like, you know, groups, and what's the word? When they go out? And they test test groups and all that kind of stuff. And they're getting all these all that information? You're the one that they're talking like, yeah, that the head cutting off? We can't we can't do that. Because mom's in, you know, in Iowa don't like that. Yeah, that's you get those calm conversation. Oh,

Chris 42:06
Yeah, that's all the time. And the funny thing is, when, when a studio or anybody will do testing, a lot of the information gets taken out of context. Because if you show, you know, these five moments thrown together in this certain way, with this certain music, in traveling number one, and your end moment just doesn't, it's a it's a joke, and people don't find it that funny. But maybe it's because that's the way it wasn't set up properly throughout the rest of the trailer. So it doesn't land as a funny joke. It's not, it's just not working in that piece. A lot of times, what will happen is, you'll get a note that says this joke sucks. Don't use this joke ever. But the problem is, it might be a great joke. And if you cut it correctly, and if you put it in the right location within your trailer, it's gonna kill.

Alex Ferrari 42:53
So like, it's basically like you're baking a cake you like don't ever use cinnamon, like, well, maybe cinnamon and you know, that avocado cake is not that good. But in the proper in the proper place. It would it would work.

Chris 43:07
And don't put two tablespoons of cinnamon maybe put half a teaspoon.

Alex Ferrari 43:10
Yeah, right, exactly. It's all it's all it all varies depending on the situation, and the circumstance.

Chris 43:16
And that's why it's a creative art, right? I mean, that's why, you know, I think all editors get a little nervous of this whole AI thing. You know, oh, my God, the canoes are gonna start taking my job. They're not.

Alex Ferrari 43:25
I mean, I can't see that. And, you know, hopefully I hopefully it will never something like that would never happen. I think there was a movie that was just written by a computer. A script was written a script was written by the Watson one. Yeah. Is that the one? Yeah. And they said it was horrible. Because it's something that I don't think you can you can bring down to what you can deconstruct creativity in that way, to a certain extent you can with I guess, yeah, structure and, and plot points and things like that. But at the end of the day, it is coming from a place that is not mathematical. Yeah. And same thing, there's a lot of subjectivity and context, and history and baggage that that person brings to the to the, you know, your life experience.

Chris 44:10
Oh, yeah. That's a good point, too. Yeah. It depends on who's watching it and what they've been, you know, what it connects with, as far as,

Alex Ferrari 44:16
Like an 18 year old editor versus a 40 year old trailer editor. And they're both editing trailers are going to be I think, a fairly different kind of trailer. Yeah, absolutely. You know, just from life experience and everything. So, so that's how generally you work with Do you ever have a director in the room?

Chris 44:34
Rarely, sometimes towards the end of end of a process on? Yeah, sometimes not often, it's uncommon, but But yeah, you know, on occasion, you'll you'll have a director come in and that's, you know, typically it's all hands on deck when that happens. You know, you the editors, keep your mouth shut, just sit there at the computer. And then the producers and typically a creative director will be available to Kind of interface with him or her? Right. But yeah, but for the most part, I mean, you know, when you start a project, you get that brief, the producer then talks with the editor relays that information. Typically, on any project and the bigger the project, the more trailers are going to be cut for it. You know, it's not uncommon, I think for that suicide trailer, I mean, 15, or 20 trailers were cut before they chose that one. Really, maybe more. Yeah, it was, it was a lot.

Alex Ferrari 45:30
I'm sure it does. I gotta believe on those Judo 100 $50 million dollar movies plus another 150 on marketing, they're gonna take their time and figure out, they're going to figure out what's the best way to sell this project?

Chris 45:42
Yeah, because you have to explore all the avenues for sure.

Alex Ferrari 45:45
Now, I'm not sure if this this relates to what you do so much. But can you talk a bit about what a predator is? Is that something that trailer editors are in a sense or not?

Chris 45:55
Yeah, so a predator is a producer, and combined with an editor. And typically, as an editor gets kind of further along in their career, they'll also become their own producer, sometimes, it typically doesn't go the other way around, a producer is not going to also start editing because it's just too tedious to come up with that skill set out of nowhere. But yeah, there's a few, I guess you'd call them predators that are out there in the trailer industry. And there's they're basically what every but every trailer out there aspires to be, right? complete control,

Alex Ferrari 46:29
As much as as much control as you can have. Yeah, but you have to be really, really good. You have to really know your stuff. Exactly. And understand both sides of the business, the technical side of it, and creative side, but also the producer side of dealing.

Chris 46:43
Yeah, yeah. Because you know, part of what's wonderful about producers is that as the editor, you're gonna sit there and you're gonna get frustrated and angry. And you're not going to agree with certain notes, but you're gonna have to spend the next nine hours executing them, oh, god, yes. And if you were interfacing directly with the client, I think they're going to probably get picked up on that vibe, that you're not a happy camper, which is bad for business. So having that buffer zone, in addition to the great ideas that producers will also come up with is vital.

Alex Ferrari 47:13
That's insane. That's insane. Now, technically, what are the elements that you need to start editing a trailer for? Like for some filmmaker who has their movie, and they're going to start trying to go down this road to edit their first trailer? What are the technical elements that you should have in place?

Chris 47:31
Yeah, excuse me? Yeah. So typically, the first thing you're going to get is the footage. So a trailer editor is not going to typically be cutting from dailies or rushes. For the most part, I think we talked about this earlier, it's it's either a rough assembly or a rough cut of the feature. That will always have split audio. And so DMA splits, which is dialogue, music effects, but out. Because you got to be able to cut things up, put them into a different order. Almost, I mean, it's very, very uncommon to use the music from a film in the trailer. So you're almost always stripping that out, and just using some of the effects, but mostly just the dialogue,

Alex Ferrari 48:15
Unless it's Titanic, unless it's tied down, then then you've got that music, but or unless the music is such an integral part of the movie, that it makes sense to put it in. But I haven't seen many of that lately.

Chris 48:27
Yeah, it definitely happens. But you're right, it's uncommon, right. So you'll want to have your footage, you want to have your audio splits, you're gonna have a musical library of music and songs, you're going to have your own personal sound design and fully library, which is crucial. You will have either you're typically not going to have finished graphics to start, you'll probably just tempt something in yourself in your editing program, white text on black, you may have some copy, you may not. And then you may or may not choose to do a paper cut before you begin editing. And of course, you'll break down the footage, you know, you'll I think that's what maybe actually that's kind of one of the biggest things that I think a lot of people don't realize is that trailer editors, you know, if you have an assistant to do it, wonderful, you're lucky. But if you don't, as a trailer editor, you need to watch the movie once. Then you go back through and you break down. So either sub clips or cutting onto a timeline, whatever works for you. I like to do sub clips, and I will sub clip every single line of the whole movie into a bin. Right, the character's name what they say. And then move on to the next line. Wow, that

Alex Ferrari 49:39
Don't you have an assistant to help you with that?

Chris 49:42
Ideally, Yeah, yep. The last few jobs I had. We had assistants, but I have done my fair share of breakdowns and it takes a while.

Alex Ferrari 49:49
Yeah, it takes I'm assuming Yeah, it takes a long while but when you're editing, it becomes so much easier.

Chris 49:53
Yeah, you have to have it because you have to be able to serve us like oh man, it'd be so great if he said that's not going to happen on my watch.

Alex Ferrari 50:00
I'm getting too old for this crap. I'm getting too old. Yeah. Yeah. And when you have a client in the room or something like that, you need to be able to find this stuff fast. So you can't really rely on your memory to dig through the feature and pull it up. That's excellent man. So also, you actually put together a resource for filmmakers, or editors who are interested in creating real good movie trailers. And it's part of Film Editing, Film Editing Pro. So can you talk a little bit about what you've put together?

Chris 50:29
Yeah, yeah. So I guess Film Editing pro as a whole, I'll just say is, I mean, we're an online training company. Our focus is on Creative editing. So we don't teach software, at least not at the moment. Our focus is on kind of actionable hands on stuff. How do you cut a fight scene? How you sound design this scary moment? How do you, you know, work with your music, so a joke feels funny, and it's punctuated nicely and doesn't fall flat stuff that you can, you can watch it in our training, and then you can go and apply it right away to something that you're working on. So our most recent course, is about trailers, it was a really fun course to create a kind of collaborated with a lot of editors across the trailer editing world. And it was a cool process talking to those guys. Because you know, as an individual with accelerated experience, you know, I had maybe 70 80% of the tips and tricks kind of banked away in somewhere in my brain. And then you kind of forget what you did, or you don't know what you don't know, basically. So it was cool kind of picking everybody's brain, what we ended up with was this huge kind of compendium of various techniques and ways of dealing with problematic situations, and strategies for kind of going from A to Z through a trailer the process. So yeah, we put it all together into a course. Well, it's a video based course we we make it available online to students, they can, you know, if you if you check it out, you're able to download footage, you download a sound library, and you kind of follow along you kind of trailer with us. That's amazing. And

Alex Ferrari 52:06
I'll put up definitely put links in the show notes, where you guys can get access to this because I've actually taken part of the course already. And you know, being a trailer editor myself, again, not at the level that you're at, but doing many promos over the years and editing all my trailers for all my movies over the years. When I started watching, and I was like, wow, this is intense. Like, you really went all out for like, if you want to edit a trailer, you got to watch this because it really breaks everything down in such a way that things that I didn't even like you said, you don't know what you don't know. And some stuff I did instinctually You know, there's an actual name for it. But there's an actual technique for like, oh, wait for it. Or there's a What are we made up some name for it? Because nobody else knew about it. Exactly. So yeah, and and the resources that that the program provides where you can get a music library, and you can get a sound library to kind of play along with this massive, it's really massive. So highly recommend it, but I'll definitely put all that information in the show notes. Now. Music, and that's the music is such a huge part of trailer cutting. Yeah. There are a couple of libraries out there. The one God, I can't remember. It's the main one, the one that's in everyone frickin uses. God, he calls the famous one. Yeah, there was one that has that the the opera, the the rising core chorus. I don't know, I've used so many. You know what I'm talking about? Like, oh, boom. Yeah. Yeah. That whole thing? Well, so are there any that you would recommend people who are interested, you know, any good free resources and also resources that that they can kind of look into see if there is something like that. They're interested?

Chris 53:56
Yeah, so So a couple of the people that we've kind of partnered with over the years to provide access to cool music and stuff like that would be positioned music and sound. They have an enormous library, a ton of variety. High finance, music, they're also excellent. They, they're a smaller library, and they're but their stuff is just super cool. It's kind of basically every superhero movie that you've seen recently probably has a cue from that from that minute. Got it? I guess you can call it grungy driving kind of bad.

Alex Ferrari 54:34
And there's a chorus in there somewhere.

Chris 54:36
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And typically, you know, when you're working one of these libraries, if you know, if you request you can usually get stems. So you'll get the instrumentation broken out, across like 16 tracks, and then you can almost recompose as you need to. That's insane. That equals a messy timeline. That's a challenge to die that

Alex Ferrari 54:55
Can only imagine, like, Oh my God because you're a sound editor as well. As an editor at that point,

Chris 55:01
Yeah, I mean, all the best trailer editors are musicians. Absolutely. Really? That's Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 55:06
That's interesting to know.

Chris 55:09
But those are good. But you know, they, they, you know, you do have to license that stuff. I would say that if you're looking for free stuff, you know, we do provide some free stuff in the course. But you know, I actually, if you need really cheap, free stuff, I would go to audio jungle.

Alex Ferrari 55:26
Yeah, I know how to jungle.

Chris 55:28
Yeah, I mean, depending on what your need is, you may or may not be able to find it there. But their prices are really reasonable. And, obviously, you know, if you if you're just using it for your own reel, or for maybe a temp track, or something like that, you can get really cheap or nothing.

Alex Ferrari 55:43
Very good resource. Now, I want to ask you a few questions that I asked all of my guests. So prepare yourself. What advice would you give an editor wanting to break into the business, whether that'd be trailer editing or any kind of editing?

Chris 55:58
Yeah, so we're talking like, just out of college type thing? Literally, Hey, I

Alex Ferrari 56:02
Just want to start cutting. Yep. And it could be someone who's been in the business for a while, or someone who just got out of college? Yep.

Chris 56:08
All right, well, so first of all, start cutting. Create yourself a cool, real, be creative, you're gonna have a little bit of a challenge, if you want to, like cut your own practice trailers, because getting those audio splits is going to be your biggest challenge. But a trick for that would be if you want to, like let's say you find a movie, if you you know, if you rip a DVD, or whatever you want to do to get your footage into your editing systems, you can play with it, try to take the 5.1 mix and take the center channel, which will typically be mostly dialogue. So at least you can isolate the dialogue and start cutting the trailer from that good note. Yeah, that's a good trick. It's far as making contact with people in the industry. I forget the name of the website. But if you google trailer, trailer production companies trailer houses, either one, there's a couple lists that literally list every single trailer house in the world with their phone numbers and their addresses. So what I would do, if I were you, the other companies might hate them not to say this, but just email them and reach out to them and say, you know, dig up their emails, get creative, you know, look on LinkedIn. Look on, you know, find people that work at these companies and contact them via Facebook, if you need to direct messaging is an awesome way of making contact with people. And, you know, whether you send them your reel or not, I mean, to be honest with you, they may or may not care about your reel initially. Because they're going to start you at the bottom no matter what, right. But you just need to get that foot in the door. So just just reach out to them and say, you know, you're willing to start as an intern, a runner, you just want to learn, be enthusiastic, and follow up once or twice and do this, like let numbers work for you do this with 50 companies. You know, if you do it enough times, you're gonna get somebody to call you back.

Alex Ferrari 58:03
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Good advice. Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

Chris 58:12
Yeah, I figured you'd probably. Alright, so books for me are tricky. I'm actually looking at my bookshelf right now, which is overflowing. My wife and I are redesigning the closet to fit more books. Sure. So my favorite book is a hard thing to say because it changes depending on what I'm currently interested in. Currently, my favorite book that I'm kind of getting the most out of it's really kind of changing how I approach a lot is actually a book about storytelling. The 21st century screenplay by Linda Aronson nice,

Alex Ferrari 58:46
And if you've never, not that 21st century,

Chris 58:50
Yeah. 21st century screenplay by Linda Aronson. Okay, it's a it's a dense read. But it is pretty much everything you could ever want to know about story structure. Key beats that you need to hit in a film with your characters. it's applicable to everything from feature editing, to short films, all the way down to like the micro world that the trailer just obviously a lot more compressed. Right? So I've been kind of I mean, I never really studied story itself that thoroughly in the past. And it's something that I've always felt for me was actually a weak point. So that's kind of what I've been digging into. And I kind of wish I had read it 10 years ago.

Alex Ferrari 59:30
Very cool. Yeah. What's the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life I'm still learning it actually. You can't do everything yourself. That's the lesson I'm trying to learn. I do everything myself that it's hard sometimes.

Chris 59:50
It's I mean, especially as like people like us other filmmakers. I mean, you're so driven. You're so type A, it's just nobody could possibly do this as well as I could do it. Get out of my head. Yeah, right. So it's so bad. It's such a bad idea and it's so cynical about. I mean, we're surrounded by amazingly talented people like how dare we think that we're the best at everything?

Alex Ferrari 1:00:16
On a set, I have no problem doing it. But when it comes to my business it's it's it's a difficult lesson to learn and hopefully I'll learn it sooner rather than so what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Chris 1:00:33
So I wish I I wish I had like movies. I could tell you that were like highly acclaimed.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:40
I've had all sorts on this, you know, so please tell me what literally your favorite ones you don't give me Citizen Kane. They'll give me I'm not going to. Don't give me the same. They just give me something that you actually like.

Chris 1:00:50
It doesn't matter. I love Toy Story one when it came out. It's amazing. It's amazing. Yeah. I was into the 3d. Like I was telling you at the time for me, I was like, this is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It was pretty bad, though. I

Alex Ferrari 1:01:02
Would argue that Toy Story two might be a little bit better. Just slightly better. It might. Yeah.

Chris 1:01:07
I bet I bet it's way better. Yeah, it just it didn't hit me at the same time. So it didn't happen. For me. Sure. Fair enough. Bourne Identity. How can you hate that?

Alex Ferrari 1:01:18
I mean, seriously, it's amazing. That was an awesome movie, man. Yeah, it changed. That movie changed a lot. Like this was one of those movies that changed how action movies were made. It was the handheld, the handheld the fight sequences the way because prior to that, like you don't have if you don't do Bourne Identity, I don't think you get Casino Royale. Hmm. You know, in the way that that because they shot casino Royals a lot like Bourne Identity in the style and a lot of the especially the fight sequences. They're so vicious and you're in there and the cutting of those is so amazing. I don't want that crane sequence. Remember that one at the beginning of casino. Oh, yeah, you have casino Jesus. But yeah, but but born really kind of changed the way action movies were made. And there's a few movies that do that matrix being another one that you know, completely changes the game. There's a few of those movies that that really change things. But But yeah, more than entity amazing film.

Chris 1:02:16
Yep. And I think for number three, if we're going to maybe go to the comedy world, old school.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:23
What are you talking about? That's class to teach in film schools when you talk about No, no, they're not at all. But but it is a great film. That's That's such that's Will Ferrell I think at the top of his game.

Chris 1:02:35
Yeah. A lot of fun.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:37
Brother, man, thank you so much for for being on the show. Man. You've you dropped a good amount of knowledge bombs on the Indy drive today. And it's a topic that we've never talked about. So I truly appreciate you taking the time out.

Chris 1:02:48
Yeah, man. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:51
I can't stress enough how important movie trailer editing is for you as an independent filmmaker, you really have to understand the concepts behind what a good trailer is how to get your own trailer made. And if you can't afford to hire a professional movie trailer editor, you really need to learn the craft yourself. And if you have if you're starting out, you've got time and you got to put those tools in your toolbox. Trust me it if I'm gonna put a link in the description for the trailer for broken the short film I did 12 years ago. And that trailer is what got me everything for that movie got all our sales. It got me Roger Ebert's review. It got me studios Attention all because of that movie trailer. It is so so powerful to understand the concepts of movie trailer. So as promised, I'm going to give you a link to Chris's free online how to edit a movie trailer course that's head over to indie film, hustle, calm Ford slash trailer editing, that's indie film hustle.com Ford slash trailer editing. It's a pretty awesome course. I really think it's a tremendous value to you guys. So definitely check it out. And if you want to add links to anything we talked about in the episode, head over to indie film hustle.com forward slash 1810. By the way, I want to thank all of the amazing messages and emails I got from you guys, the tribe congratulating me and Jill on Hulu, and getting this as Meg sold to Hulu. So I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart guys, thank you so so much. Again, like I've always said, You know, I feel like you guys were on this journey with me. You guys help finance it with the crowdfunding and and you've gone on the journey with me. So I'm going to break down a little bit in the future about how I did the Hulu deal and the whole thing about distributed distributor and my experiences and all that stuff. So that's coming up in the next month or two. I've got a lot of stuff cooking. I got a lot of amazing stuff. I cannot wait to share with you guys. So as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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