It’s no secret that there are more channels and platforms through which to funnel your video content than ever before. And it’s also no secret that many of those new channels’ and platforms’ communities prefer shorter videos.
It’s not that there’s no place for longer video content anymore—there absolutely is—but just that you need to master the shorter kind in order to connect with all the viewers that you’re trying to reach nowadays.
And as NY / NJ video production pros who’ve been at it for years, we know that that’s not always so easy, depending on what you do and your objectives with your video. But one place to look for inspiration and instruction: movie trailers. What can they teach us? Read on to find out.
Hook and escalate.
No matter what you do or offer nor your central mission when it comes to creating video content, a big part of the challenge of making effective shorter videos is squeezing all your important points into them.
Movie trailers face the same challenge. After all, there’s a whole lot more content ultimately involved in the project than what you’ll see in the trailer, yet the trailer still needs to serve its purpose, which is to give viewers some telling information and to generate some interest and anticipation.
That’s why successful movie trailers do such a good job of hooking people into the concept, fast. Whether it’s some kind of jolt or scare to kick things off, a catchy tune, an especially memorable exchange between two characters, etc., they grab the attention of the viewer immediately.
But that’s not enough. The truly effective trailers then build on that initial hook. They escalate, whether things get progressively action-packed, scary, funny, etc., and that’s something you need to always keep in mind when it comes to your own short videos.
Yes, you need to do everything in your power to ensure that your video hooks viewers in quickly, and for more on that check out this post, The 8-Second Rule: How to Design Your Video Production to Grab Audience Attention Fast, but from there, you need to then build on that initial anticipation so that your trailer doesn’t just have a fast, catchy opening, but builds to a big payoff as well.
It needs to hint yet have a heart all its own.
Now, while your primary goal with your shorter video content may be to spark some interest and create some anticipation for future content or simply for you or your brand, take it from us as longtime NY / NJ video production pros, that doesn’t mean that all your short videos need to do is tease.
Movie trailers are similarly used to simply get people to want to see the whole movie, but the truly successful and effective ones do far more than that. They actually become their own, stand-alone piece in a way, and that’s something you need to try to do with your short videos, at all times.
The good movie trailers contain their own construction and formula. They’re not concerned with following the exact rhythm and structure of the full-length movie, but with creating their own rhythm and structure.
And no matter why, exactly, you’re creating your short video content, you need to similarly treat each piece as if it’s a completely distinct story, albeit a miniature, scaled-down one in many cases.
The bottom line is that, with trailers, it’s all about recreating a completely unique experience that speaks directly to that of the movie to come rather than telling the entire, linear story of that movie, and you need to apply that same concept to your short videos.
Whether you’re creating short videos from scratch or breaking up longer ones into shorter pieces to use on some of the various social media platforms, another trick you can take from movie trailers is to be extremely picky with the content you use.
Like mentioned above, there needs to be a crystal clear vision for the unique story of the trailer, and that vision should serve as the foundation for the content you use in your short videos, but you also need to think about basic efficiency.
You need to think of the type of content that will do a lot in little time. Yes, your primary objective should be advancing the story your short video is telling, but you should also be looking to use content that does that while, at the same time, speaking to your overall mission.
For instance, if you’re trying to create some general awareness about your brand with a short video and a large part of your brand identity is comical, then you need to create content that tells its own short, distinct story, yet does it in an especially comical way.
The point is that you need to be extremely picky with the defining moments and content you use within your short videos. It needs to do what it takes to allow the video to stand on its own yet also promote your central idea and message.
If it works, it works.
We all know when a movie trailer gets us. Yes, there are plenty of forgettable ones in between, but once in a while—far more frequently for some—a trailer comes along that simply compels you to want to run to the theater as soon as the movie opens.
And it does that in a very short amount of time, so it makes perfect sense that there would be a lot to learn from those types of highly captivating trailers when it comes to creating your own short videos.
Whether it’s the way they hook viewers in and build toward a big payoff, tease at what’s to come yet simultaneously tell their own story, or the efficiency with which they tell that story and how it ties in with the bigger picture, there’s so much movie trailers can teach us as videomakers and marketers.
So, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next short video project, you may want to go back and watch some of the movie trailers that made you run to the theater over the years and try to figure out how they did it.
About Us: KVibe Productions, a full-service film & video production company in NJ / NY, can handle every aspect of the production process. Whether it’s a corporate video, a commercial, a feature film, etc., at KVibe, we create to inspire.