In the film industry, your main goal, after being able to make the movie, of course, is to get people to go to see your movie. As is known to most people, the easiest way to convince someone to watch your movie is to make a movie trailer. Trailers are also used to persuade investors to fund a movie. The main objective of a trailer is to state the overall concept and tone of your film. To write a good trailer script is not complicated, but it can mean the difference between a top-rated movie and a movie that no one hears about.
Take note of all the footage or ideas you have for your movie. Having a physical record of your footage will give you a clearer idea of what you have to work with. It can be helpful to take notes on unique cards.
Divide all the cards into two piles: what is essential to your movie’s central conflict and what is not. Leave all subplots or moments of the supporting characters for the audience to discover later. Your trailer is the medium to show the story of your movie. You always have to show people your central conflict.
Decide what the topic of your story is. This will not only help you choose the footage to put in the trailer, but it will also help you write the text for the voiceover as well.
Select what you want to be at the beginning and at the end. Those are going to be the two of the most critical images your viewers will see. Your opening image will introduce people to your trailer and your movie in general. The closing image is your last impression. The trailer’s closing can be that final piece of information that helps the viewer decide whether or not they want to see that movie.
Fill the middle of the trailer with exciting snippets of footage and dialogue that will not only help build your theme but will keep your viewer interested. Try not to reveal too much of your story, as you want people to get excited by showing them something they want to see how it goes.
Write your voiceover text so that it doesn’t reveal the whole story but clearly expresses your themes. Allow the narrator to guide your audience and make the elements of the story you want to convey clear.
Use excerpts from the characters’ dialogue to illustrate and introduce the world of your film, which can also give your potential audience the opportunity to hear the voices of your characters. Two characters talking is an efficient way to make clear the most important relationships established in your movie.
Choose the music to set the tempo of the trailer. When you’re writing your trailer, consider music that you feel really sets the tone for your eventual movie. Let your imagination run wild and find the song or songs that you feel are best suited for your story.
Interlace the audio with the visuals in a way that keeps your trailer content moving at an agile pace.
Put the scene heading first. Scene headers (“slug line”) are used to identify whether the scene occurs indoors or outdoors, the exact location of the scene, and the time of day the scene appears. Interior or Exterior are expressed as INT (Interior) and EXT (Exterior). Place a period after the INT or EXT (“EXT.”). Place the precise location after the point (EXT. FIELD). After the location, leave a space, a dash, and then another space (EXT. FIELD -). After space, write the time of day, whether it is MORNING, DAY, or NIGHT (EXT. FIELD – MORNING). Write everything in capital letters so that the heading is easily distinguishable. You will need a new header every time you change locations in your trailer.
Leave an empty line between the header and the action. The action describes what people see on the screen. It is used to set the scene and describe what is really happening while your characters are speaking. It should be written with the basic rules of grammar and punctuation. Explain everything your characters are doing except for their dialogue. In a trailer, you will see a lot more action than dialogue.
Leave an empty line and press about five spaces before inserting your character’s name. Write the character’s name in all caps so that it can be clearly seen by readers. You will need to do this every time a character is going to have a line of dialogue. If it’s just an anonymous voiceover, identify the character as NARRATOR.
Write your dialogue on the line directly under the character’s name, four spaces later. Again, you will need to do this every time a character speaks. Trailers need to hold the audience’s attention, so if you write a lot of dialogue, write short, sharp lines.