Monthly Archives: February 2013

New York Times and NPR Dissect Movie Trailers

New York Times Lincoln Trailer Timeline

As part of their coverage of this year’s Academy Awards, the New York Times has published an interesting (and technologically slick) interactive graphic that details how scenes from a film are used in their accompanying trailers.

The Times examines five of the nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture including “Amour”, “Argo”, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook”. They had trailer specialist Bill Woolery and Stephen Garrett, the founder of a trailer production house named Jump Cut, explain significant characteristics and aspects of each trailer. (Full disclosure: Stephen Garrett is an old friend of mine whose career as a trailer editor I’ve watched prosper over the past 14 years.)

Woolery and Garrett highlight how some trailers follow the chronological order of the film they are promoting (“Silver Linings Playbook”), while others might include footage not found in the version which gets released to theatres (“Argo”).

The feature provides a timeline for each trailer that shows where from the film a particular shot was taken; beginning middle or end. This makes it easy to see how the trailer for “Lincoln” jumps all over the place. Visitors can skim through the timeline with their cursor as a tiny video version of the trailer displays which shot is being viewed.

It’s a fascinating way to present how the multiple visual elements of a trailer are pulled from their source material and pieced together with specific promotional agendas in mind.

Yesterday NPR followed up the Times feature with an interview of Garrett during a 16-minute segment on Talk of the Nation titled Movie Trailer Math: Getting ‘Butts In The Seats’ In Minutes.

AMPAS and BAFTA Get On The Tribute Poster Bandwagon

Lincoln Tribute Poster

Ever since they first started appearing back in the mid-2000′s, I’ve been a big fan of what has come to be known as “tribute posters”. The trend seems to have been started by the Mondo Gallery in Austin Texas, a subsidiary of Alamo Drafthouse, the independent spirited cinema chain based in the same city.

Mondo commissions graphic artists and illustrators to create posters for movies both old and new film releases. Artists such as Martin Ansin, Shepard Fairy, Tyler Stout and my favorite Olly Moss create highly stylized one sheets for classics such as “Repo Man“, “Back to the Future” and “Psycho”, as well as new releases such as “The Cabin in the Woods” (done in an Escher style), “Looper” and “The Dark Knight Rises“.

Mondo came up with the idea of re-crafting movie posters back in 2005 when Alamo Drafthouse needed artwork to promote its “Rolling Roadshow“, one-off screenings of movies in the locations where they are actually set. For instance, “Escape From Alcatraz” was shown on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.

From those beginnings the business has grown to such an extent that Mondo now has the rights from LucasFilm to re-imagine all the “Star Wars” posters. When their limited edition posters go on sale they usually sell out within minutes. (It’s easier to score tickets to a Justin Bieber concert via Ticketmaster). Then in 2011 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences partnered with Mondo to archive the company’s artwork in the Margaret Herrick Library.

Now the Academy is taking a page out of Mondo’s book and producing their own batch of tribute posters for this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees. They’ve hired a bunch of up-and-coming artists from around the world to create each poster; Matt Owen (“Amour”), Anthony Petrie (“Argo”), Rich Kelly (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Mark Englert (“Django Unchained”), Phantom City Creative (“Les Misérables”), Tom Whalen (“Life of Pi”), Jeff Boyes (“Lincoln”), Joshua Budich (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Godmachine (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

Read More »