Friday, August 14, 2009

Teasers for Your Film

Teasers can be a conundrum. Should you make one? Will it really help? I hate to say it but there is no right or wrong answer. Teasers may or may not help you. In my own personal experience, they don't really help. 

I made a teaser for a film once and it didn't get me my financing or the cast I needed. The script for the feature got the most notice, not the teaser. I am building the cast and the money for that film from the script only now. The teaser sits on my shelf collecting dust. 

My definition of a teaser is a short trailer depicting the tone, genre, characters, and story of a feature. It's not a short film. There is a difference. 

Short films that can stand on their own and be viable as a full feature are probably your best scenario when deciding to make something that can grow into a feature. That way you have something that can have a life of its own. Teasers really can go no further than financiers or the Web. 

Don't expect teasers to be a magic pill for you and your project. Oftentimes, companies and investors can't glean enough from a teaser to tell if you have what it takes to helm a full feature that will be profitable. 

But teasers could help some individuals feel just comfortable enough to open their pocketbooks. 

  • You have proof that you can make something cinematic
  • It shows the tone and quality of the piece you want to make
  • If investors like the teaser, it may push them to back your project
  • You are spending money on something that really has no sales market. There's no potential for making your money back from a teaser.
  • There's no life beyond the financiers or perhaps a run on YouTube.
  • They can be dated really fast and you may grow as an artist in the time it takes to gather your resources and you personally may decide it's no longer a strong depiction of your work.
My advice to anyone considering making a teaser would be to try to make a short instead. Use that short (whether you want to make a feature from it or not) to build excitement for your work. A great way to gain exposure is to create an award-winning short. The award winners on the festival circuit are tracked by agents, managers and financiers. The powers that be to get you to the next level will come to you if you create something that makes a splash.

So get out there and make something splashworthy!! 

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