Movie Trailer Tropes

Movies trailers have the difficult task of conveying the story, stars and style of a movie in just two and a half minutes. Just as there are trends and tropes in movies, you can also find similarities between the trailers trying to sell audiences on them. But because audiences aren’t always engaged by the same approach over and over again, these tropes end up evolving over time. To help explain some of these movie trailer tropes, an expert from the industry breaks down some you might have noticed, how they’re used, and how they’ve changed as audiences have gotten wise to them.

Movie Trailer Tropes Explained

Jessica Fox, who Vanity Fair calls a movie trailer expert from Mark Woolen & Associates, runs through some of the tropes in movie trailers that have been prevalent over the years. She tackles classic elements like the traditional “In a world…” trailer voiceover that eventually evolved into graphics when the set-up became too much of a cliche, not to mention the sweeping, scopey establishing shot of a film’s setting.

But there are also more recent tropes that the video identifies, such as what has been dubbed a “preview pulse,” that certain repetitive loud sound that became popular after the Inception trailer used the famous “Braaaaaam!” That’s not the only sound trope though, because movie trailers also like to repeat sounds throughout to create suspense and tension and hold attention.

The one trailer trope that might interest you the most though is a recent trend that has become prominent in trailers as they appear on social media. You may have noticed that trailers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. have a little five-second introduction or quick montage meant to capture your attention immediately. That’s there to prevent you from scrolling past the trailer clicking out of the window, all so you can watch an even longer commercial for the movie.

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