This Trailer Approved for all Audiences

I’ve seen it attempted by all sorts of companies, and I almost always like the idea but loathe the execution – the use of a video trailer to promote a play.  It’s really a fantastic idea when you consider that trailer-viewing is almost a prerequisite for cinema attendance and that many folks, especially those who do not frequent the theater, want to know what they’re getting into before buying a ticket.  A well made video trailer can sum up a play’s plot (if there is one) and hint at the production value and competence of those involved.  Of course, the video is likely made by a whole different team of people, but so what.

The producers of Deathtrap at the Noel Coward in London have spared no expense.  They’ve released this preview (with Jonathan Groff, rawr) of their revival of Ira Levin’s 1978 hit.

Pretty sweet, huh?  The problem I see is that while this could be one of the best play trailers I’ve seen yet, it still looks like the Worst Movie Evar.  Doesn’t it?  There’s something about the camera that makes theatrical writing and acting seem like an out of date form that should have hit the trash heap with the deguerreotype.  ^.^  There are other ways of doing it, of course.  We at Brimmer St. tried our hand at video-hype, slapdash ADR and all:

Cute, right?!  Well fuck you too.

Another popular video tool I’ve seen (and employed) is the post-open production still slideshow with critical acclaim folded in.  It’s a bit low-fi, but it can drum up some excitement from the casual viewer.  Here’s one that Ian Forester made for Mercury Fur last year, a play that I loved.  When you have as many great pull quotes as this work got, you’ve got to find creative ways of making people read them.

It’s safe to say this practice has only begun.  It won’t be long before Michael Bay is doing trailers for CTG, closing down large chunks of Sunset Blvd to stage a car chase that really doesn’t have a place in The Glass Menagerie, but who cares?!  Even the chance of viral exposure is enough to warrant the expense of a well made trailer.  Especially if you can promise and deliver.

Categories: Quickies, theater, video

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