BSA306: Breaking Conventions in Trailers

There are instances where breaking genre conventions in trailers have worked in favour of the trailer. This is because it is still clear what the genre of the film is. Example: Logan (2017). Read more as a drama as it was slower paced and had a paced soundtrack (Johnny Cash’s Hurt), but it was still clear that it would be an action film. This was made clear from the fact that it was part of the X-men franchise and the visuals shown in the trailer.



The non-dialogue trailer is also an example of breaking the conventions of trailers. Although this is not strictly considered breaking conventions, it is different take on the traditional trailer and can be incredibly effective as it is universally understandable and is memorable for being different. Example: The Handmaiden (2016). Powerful visuals and soundtrack left no need for dialogue.


Another example of a non-dialogue trailer is the teaser for La La Land. This trailer has no dialogue, but instead features one of the songs from the film, juxtaposed with the rich visuals of the film.

However, breaking conventions can backfire. August: Osage County’s trailer marketed the film as a comedy, misleading audiences as it was actually a serious drama with very few jokes (all of which appeared in the trailer). The editors of this trailer did comment that although the trailer was an inaccurate representation of the film, it ultimately drew in audiences and made a considerable profit.


Another example of a kind of trailer that breaks conventions is one that I have already discussed in a previous post; the sneak peek trailer. Again, a great example of a successful sneak peek is the opening scene from It (2017) which played in cinemas. This trailer really set the mood for the film and established the fear-inducing character of Pennywise, something that is key for this film. Another reason that this was successful is that a slightly shorter version of this scene was shared around social media alongside the same scene from the original book to film adaption. The side-by-side comparison allowed audiences to get a taste for what else was to come with the remake as the production values were considerably higher than the original, suggesting that the rest of the film might be bigger and better than it’s predecessor.


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