Thursday, March 5, 2009

Movie trailer revolution coming soon

The attached video was part of The Exorcist film premier in the early 1970's. What I think is so progressive was the shift from showing a standard 30 second film trailer IN viewers homes to bringing the viewer into the experience FROM their home. I wonder if their idea wasn't inspired by Roone Arledge of ABC sports? Hmmm.

In the 1960's NCAA Football games were really problematic for a fledgling ABC sports. Most fans only cared about their own schools team, so if a popular team lost...the next game would inevitably have poor ratings. Enter Roone Arledge who stated "Television has done a great job bringing the game to the viewer - now we are going to bring the viewer to the game!" 

Camera's shifted from pan shots of the field, to pre-shot film of the campus, stadium, town and fans. Roone once said "We must orient the viewer, by allowing him to know how many people are watching the game with him, If the game is in Corvallis, Oregon...we need the viewer to know how mad the town is about football." 

This methodology was used later to increase female viewership of Olympics programming by telling the athletes story. Childhood, struggles, parents, siblings, etc...And again to increase viewership in boxing - almost every big fight today includes back stories - all for the purpose of multiplying the number of "entry points of attraction" to the event. It just seems to work.

The Exorcist EXPERIENCE became pop culture by doing this. It even showed up as a major story on the evening news. At the film premier fake ambulances were parked on the curb outside of the theatre further stoking the belief that if you missed this film, you would have missed out on an experience that everyone was talking about. Personally, it would have reminded me of not getting picked on the soccer team - standing alone, watching a crowd have fun.

I applaud the JACKASS film trailer that premiered a few years back, the movie trailer did not show 1 clip of the film, but instead turned a night vision camera on an audience that was laughing its ass off. Just like Roone preached, they brought the film to the viewer. 

Certain emotions can create "emotional contagions" (laughter, sadness and anger) - the phenomenon that happens when we laugh simply because others are laughing...oddly, followed by asking "what's so funny?" 

Film trailers have been beyond lazy and now with the window between theater and DVD release narrowing, they will need a revolution, lest we see the end of theaters in our near future. 

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