How to Make a Crazy Fun Trailer

Published March 18, 2010 by Eli Stutz

So here’s the story on how I put together the PICKLE IMPOSSIBLE trailer. Wait…before I go any further, please, please  post and share the link to it with others: youtube link. That way, people will actually get to see it.

Now, down to the dollars – was it very low budget? No. Was it expensive? Far from it. Did we have a crazy fun time? YES! Was it all worth it…? Time will tell. From now onward, the facts only:

Fact #1: I did hire my wife’s two amazing cousins to act in the trailer. Ilan and Miriam Amsel are conveniently twins, and at least one of them wants to be an actress, so they were good to go from the start. Payment here was not only me just being a good uncle (cousin-in-law, whatever), these guys did a super job and they deserved every shekel. And since they’re minors, we won’t go into how much that was.

Fact #2: I knew I wanted to film the train scene where Pierre meets Aurore, so that left me deciding between Israel Rail, or the Jerusalem Zoo. Israel Rail was a tad hard to reach, but the Jerusalem Zoo was easy as pie and as nice as sugar and spice. They very kindly gave me free permission to film a short trailer on their grounds, provided I did not interfere with visitors, animals, and paid the usual entrance fee. Very nice people. Thank you very much, Jerusalem Zoo. The Zoo was also a good choice, since the train is almost open air so the lighting was much better.

Fact #3: I nixed the idea of me doing the video-taping and editing, after I realized that a) my camcorder is so 2005 b) my computer will crash if I try to edit video on it (apparently you need a special computer, I learned later), c) I’m an utter video novice. So after some searching, I found the perfect candidate in a brother of a friend, Josh Fleisher, who was super nice, super good, and thankfully, very reasonably priced.

Fact #4: We practised the acting a couple days before the filming. That was key. Yes, rehearsals are important and save tons of time the day of.

Fact #5: We had a ton of fun at the zoo. Just being at the zoo was fun. “Oh, can we see the lions?” asked my video guy. He and the actors hadn’t been much at the zoo (my family goes all time), and they were all like little kids, running around and looking at the animals. I figure, if the trailer flops, then at least we had a great time at the zoo.

Fact #6: We did about 5 – 6 takes of each scene. That was just enough to get decent material to use. I pushed everyone to just about the limit – it was a hot day – and it was just enough. There were also budget limitations on the time, and Shabbat was coming in a couple hours later.

Fact #7: We improvised. We saw some rocks – we did a cliff scene. It was not planned, but it came out great. Go with the flow is my advice. If it works, do it.

Fact #8: The same guy who filmed it, edited it. That was key. Josh knew exactly what the story was, and that saved a ton of time explaining things to an editor. He used Adobe Premier. I’m no expert, but I guess that’s a good one.

Fact #9: I wrote a trailer script, pre-editing. Also a huge time-saver not having to decide things on the spot. I watched a bunch of great movie trailers to get myself psyched and learn how the pros do it. Sherlock Holmes, for example, was pretty great – “Holmes, you must widen your case…”.

Fact #10: I used Pam Bachorz’s great tip-off, of going to as a site to buy royalty-free music (thanks, Pam). Spent 3 hours picking the right music, and bought the rights to it. I thought it was going to be rock music, but in the end, I went for the movie soundtrack genre, because even in kids movie trailers, they use that high intensity music, and it works. And by the way, the music affects the pace and set-up of the trailer. It doesn’t come in just at the end. You have to pace the text and scenes based on the music.

Fact #11: Beers were had during the editing. And I brought my guitar. That definitely helped the mood.

Fact #12: The trailer rocked, thank G-d. And now it’s time for you to post that link and share it around with all your friends. Here it is, again:  youtube link.

Would I do it all over again? Definitely. For my next book, that is. 🙂



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