YOUR TRAILER STILL SUCKS - Make another one
HUGE UPDATE TO OUR TRAILER
We spent some time wanting to find a better way to showcase the games personality, and provide a better look at the overall style of the game with our latest trailer. Have a quick watch, it's 50 seconds long and will make the following article make more sense when we delve into it.
What follows is a breakdown of our thought process and reasons for how we've iterated on our trailers up until this point and why we think previous trailers didn't hit the mark. We hope you find the following info useful in someway when you come to make your own trailers, or if you were also thinking that your trailer could do with a spruce up.
GRAB THEM BY THE EYES & EARS ANYWAY YOU CAN
The first thing about a trailer is it needs to grab you, In this world of short attention spans and EVERYONE trying to grab your attention all the time, it's getting harder and harder to take that spotlight. You have a skip button to contend with, and if people don't see a gameplay shot within seconds they can turn away. Essentially your goal is to make A drum that throws interesting things about your game into the viewer with every beat.
The animation is all done in house by our lead artist Brendan Toy - he's worked in TV for the last 18 years and understands how difficult it is to create an advert that people want to watch. Most people are desperate to do anything except watch an advert. So getting this balance right is very much trial and error, and in our case even with that knowledge it has taken 3 attempts (and there still could be improvements).
WHY DOES IT SUCK?
Looking at the very first trailer, it did a good job of setting a scene... but it took far too long to get into any actual gameplay... far too long being 12 seconds, an ETERNITY in the advertising world. The second attempt hit hard and jumped into quick cuts of gameplay but failed to generate much hype around the character or aesthetic of the game and didn't show enough. Attempt 3 combines a bit of everything and has achieved much better results. Start hard and fast from frame 1 giving viewers an instant look at what the game looks like at a glance, show them who we are with a studio logo, then a short intro to the characters in a fun light hearted way, then straight into as much varied gameplay and features as we can cram in to a tidy 50 second package. We wanted to show a lot but not everything, always leave the audience wanting more so to speak.
Trailers are important... a lot of people don't like watching them though, so it's these people you need to say "hey, this is worth watching just a little longer" every chance you get. I'm not convinced we've achieved that completely, but this has been our best attempt yet at making a more highly watchable advert that tells people a lot more about Bubblegum Zombie Hunter as quickly as possible.
General editing tips
Brendan Toy - Creative Director
knowing when to use pace to your advantage is important. if you are making a game about love, maybe you want to build pace slowly, knowing your audience and who you want to grab the attention of is a key to help you understand how to approach your edit.
In a business I frequently work for we sell products to an older clientele, grandma is your audience, what would make grandma smile? i'm sure you're already thinking of what kinds of things would make your own grandma feel warm and fuzzy. So this is no different to thinking directly about your game and what audience you think it would connect with the most.
In our case, it's fans of fast paced twin stick arcade action, retro gaming, zombies ate my neighbors and lollipop chainsaw. All those things conjure up strong imagery to that audience, so naturally, we're going to go in with hard and fast paced editing out the gate, but you can do that with grandma too, the approach is just slightly different, hit grandma with those warm fuzzy feels fast, make her feel cosey, then deliver your message.
A good trailers pace should look like a roller coaster, in our case we start at the peak of a drop, initial excitement then smooths out for a moment until the next big hit of excitement. Plan out your "POW" moments and pace them through the trailer, as cool as you think your landscape shots are, no one is going to watch 3 minutes of them with some titles popping up occasionally. Keep it short, keep it sweet, Scrutinize every shot, ask yourself what does this 2 second shot tell the viewer? if you can't answer that question CUT IT OUT. Above all START STRONG, FINISH STRONG and your trailer will be much better for it.
Even when you've done all that, still expect people to slam the skip button as hard as humanly possible or to just never watch your trailer. Enjoy the process, and make something you are proud of, if it brings you joy, it will most likely bring the same joy to others.
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