Monday, 14 November 2011

Trailer trash

Damn – cutting a trailer together is tricky.

I mean really, really tricky. Jake and I have been walking in circles for the last week, and have finally reached the lofty heights of “well, it doesn’t suck”. Other opinions are, of course, available.

It seems that we may have lured ourselves into a false sense of security by some casual advice that we received at the beginning of the project. Look at the 28 Days Later trailer, and replace all their shots with the corresponding moments from your film. What could be easier?

This, it later transpired, was shit advice.

Any good horror trailer (and, believe me, we’ve watched a few recently) seems to consist of two sections. The opening half has three essential elements: frequent dips to black, a bunch of cleverly-phrased cue-cards to break up the blackness (and if you can make the words get slowly bigger, all the better), and a dissonant drone under-pinning the whole shebang. The second half is slightly easier – all the best action moments bolted together in no particular order on a bed of fast metal. And then you finish it off with a kooky line from your protagonist, followed by a fast cut to a close-up of a zombie leering at the camera.

Terrible. And it’s exactly the formula that we’ve followed. Right down to the getting-closer writing.

Part of the problem with getting the pace right is that everything depends intimately on the music. So, this afternoon Jake and I went and spoke to a local composer.

One of the more bizarre things that we have witnessed over the course of the production is the amount of freelance soundtrack composers there are out there. Every cast and crew posting on Talent Circle or Shooting People, regardless of what position it was for, attracted unsolicited and speculative “ah – but have you thought about who’s doing your music” emails. We must by now have a pretty comprehensive directory of all the jobbing movie tune-smiths in the country.

Where to start? Well, helpfully, I also met one at Mary-the-zombie-bride’s wedding. Her actual wedding, that is, not the rain-soaked practice we laid on for her the week prior.

And rather a good one, it turns out.

Up until this afternoon, we had no idea about the relative musical chops that Dale-the-tunes had to offer. But it turns out that the man has chops. In spades (and please don’t feel shy about checking them out for yourselves – www.dalesumnercomposer.com). And he gets horror. We left his Southampton studio with big smiles on our faces.

So today has been a good day. We’re off to see Ads-the-DFX on Wednesday with a view to getting a quick grade done on the trailer, and so hopefully should have something up on-line in the next ten days or so. Only then do we have something tangible that we can use to kick-start the process of looking for more cash.

Watch this space – before too long expect to see a lovingly-coloured doesn’t-suck compendium of all the nastiest bits of the film wrapped in a duvet of gorgeous audio, featuring strangely growing frames of pithy trailer-speak.

I am selling this to you, aren’t I? Forthright.

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