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Confessions of a Trailer Editor, from Online Trailers and Spoilers to Finding the Right Song (TRAILERS)

Confessions of a Trailer Editor, from Online Trailers and Spoilers to Finding the Right Song (TRAILERS)

Wired has a fascinating interview with trailer editor maestro Mark Woollen. Never heard of him? Well, maybe you remember being enraptured by the trailers for “The Tree of Life,” “The Social Network,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and Nicolas Winding Refn’s upcoming “Only God Forgives,” all of which Woollen expertly constructed. Highlights from the interview below.

Read the entire interview at Wired.

On the online trailer phenomenon:

When I began, trailers were not on the Internet. That’s
changed dramatically over the past several years, especially with fan
participation. We have instant critiques, for better or for worse. Everything
has gotten faster… I was in a meeting with a director a couple of years
ago. We had cut something that was on the short side, and he made a crack about
it feeling like a trailer for a trailer. It’s bizarre that a year later, that’s
become an actual thing people are doing. But I’m not a fan of that phenomenon.
Honestly, I will say that my best experiences as a moviegoer are when I go in
knowing as little as possible about a movie. That’s so hard to do these days.

On the importance of finding the right song for a trailer:

Sometimes 70, 80 percent of the job can be trying to find
that perfect [music] piece. Trailers are all about rhythm, pacing, and feeling. That’s
why it’s important to always be listening to things. I go to South by Southwest
every year, trying to build my bag of songs that I’m going to hold on to for
the right moment. I’d had “Creep” on my iTunes for five or six years kind of
kicking around before the Social Network trailer. You’re always looking for the
right project to line things up with. And then when this project came along, I
started to consider that song.

On the attitude that contemporary trailers give away too much information about a film:

I’d tend to agree. You probably have to ask: Why is that? The
studios want to have one weekend to capture the largest number of people. As I
understand it, the data they get back is that people want to know more
story—they want to know more before they make an investment. Now it may not be
what you, me, or the readers of your magazine consider the right approach. But
that’s what they’ve come to.

On trailers that have inspired him:

The easy ones to go to are any of the Kubrick trailers—they
continue to be influential, inspiring.

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