– . – In Focus – LipSync Creative
In Focus – LipSync Creative
Gloria Swanson, star of the silent screen, once said that life is 95 per cent anticipation. Well, movies are a bit like that too, and not much taps into this idea more than the movie trailer. But, in the increasingly complex world of film promotion, are trailers as significant as they once were?
Robin Guise, a director at LipSync Creative (the company behind trailers for such films as Waltz With Bashir, Fish Tank, The Class, Certified Copy, 22 Bullets and Fanboys), is convinced that they retain their relevance in today’s marketplace. “They’re an enormous part of the marketing campaign,” he states. “They’re the first positioning people get to see of, ‘What is this film?’ They show you the film’s spine and then suggest that there’s all this other stuff going on, but you’re going to have to see it to find out.”
We’re at his offices in Soho to talk trailers and as he leads us through various editing suites, we mention one of our own favourites, The Shining. The one with the static camera, the lift doors, the grating music and, of course, the blood. Guise nods in agreement. “It gives you everything you need to know,” he says. “It scares the bejeezus out of you!”
Guise welcomes us into a suite where LipSync is currently working on the trailer for Mexican cannibal movie We Are What We Are, a film that had even some of the most hardened of gorehounds whistling in the dark at this year’s Frightfest horror festival. So, how easy is it to trailer a film like this to a mass audience?
“I didn’t want to fall into any of the usual traps: the fade-ups from black, the flashes through white…” Guise explains. “But our first edit was too left field for the client, so we’re actually now making it a bit more mainstream. That’s not the fight you have; that’s just what it is. They’re trying to sell something and you can get very clever about it, but you’ll probably be pulled up short.”
After a few minutes it’s clear that share a love for the well-crafted trailer. From the majestic choreography of Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado to the infectious energy of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, there’s no shortage of memorable ones, but, inevitably, there’s also an awkward tension at play between their artistry and the business imperative behind them.
“There’s no shame in making money out of this stuff. You can be as arty as you like but if it’s not actually selling what you’re trying to sell, then it’s failed; it doesn’t work. It’s a balance the whole time. It’s like, ‘Here’s a film, make me a trailer’, and you can do that in an infinite number of ways.”
Still, those infinite choices are often overshadowed by the so-called conventions of the trailer, like the fade-ins that Guise tried to avoid with We Are What We Are or the ubiquitous ‘In a world…’ voiceover that was so well parodied in the popular Comedian trailer.