Discovering the Art of Creating Trailers: A Conversation with Giaronomo Productions’ Paul Cartlich
Paul Cartlich is an award winning Trailer Editor & Producer. Having carved a name for himself at one of London’s top agencies – Empire Design. 2012 saw him transfer to their New York office to head up the editing team, creating high profile television campaigns for shows such as The Walking Dead (Comic-Con trailers seasons 1,5 & 6) Breaking Bad, Mad Men and theatrical trailers including Kick-Ass, Louder Than Bombs and the critically acclaimed Rust and Bone.
He is the recipient of several major industry awards including a Golden Trailer Award (Frost-Nixon) and a Key art Award (The Counsellor), Paul is currently at Giaronomo Productions in New York as a Senior Creative Editor.
The Fan Carpet had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Cartlich, who has created Trailers for Rust and Bone, Frost/ Nixon, Filth, I Am Not a Serial Killer and Louder Than Bombs, he tells us about his process making Trailers, the importance of Trailers and the challenges making a Trailer...
Trailers are important to the promotion of a film, what was it that first inspired you to work in the film industry, specifically the Trailer side of things?
I've always been mildly obsessed with film, but music was my way in.
I’ve been buying records since I was 14 and I studied music and technology at university in Leeds. I dabbled as a DJ but was always interested in using music in a more creative way and I found myself paying particular attention to what tracks were being used in trailers, and how they enhanced them. I realized that could be the way to combine two of my passions for a living. I got my start at a post production company in Leeds and then made a beeline for the best trailer houses in London. I was lucky enough to work initially as a junior editor at Empire Design in London and then later headed up their creative editing team over in New York. Others would argue that I have a short attention span and that's why I was drawn to such short form story telling.
Why do you feel Trailers are important?
First impressions are everything. I know it's a cliché, but you really don't ever get a second chance to make a first impression. We often remember the first time we met someone, but can't recall the second or third, so it's that first hit that counts. You've got 2 and half minutes (and some people will decide faster than that) to compel your viewer to see the movie. And with the explosion of trailers online in the last 10 years, it's become even more important to sell your film in the first hit.
When I started out in the trailer industry 11 years ago, trailers were very much all about viewing them in the cinema where you had a captive audience - popcorn in hand - ready to see a film. Viewers were already in the right frame of mind and for that moment the trailer was the event. Now in the online trailer world, you're competing with a totally different and more savvy audience with distractions from other devices, colleagues and Internet content so you have to make sure your trailer stands out from the crowd.
There are a lot of myths about Trailers, some Trailers make a film look better than it is, some Trailers are bad but the film is really good, can you talk about the process when cutting a Trailer?
One myth about trailers is that the editor of the film, edits the trailer when he's finished with the film, sort of like a little extra task, but editing a feature and being a trailer editor, whilst sharing many necessary components, require a very different skill set. Sometimes we're working on a trailer before the final film exists. The people and logistics involved in getting a trailer to competition is a mini production in itself. And as for bad trailers for good films and good trailers for bad films, it's like any creative endeavor. No one ever sets out to make a bad film, or a bad trailer. But yes, some films are a challenge. When I have a film that's a challenge, I always focus on the merits of the material, sometimes the Cinematography is stunning or a particular actor is on fire, so I always try to showcase the best features of any film I’m working on.
Some films that perhaps aren't classics have just enough fantastic moments or scenes and end up really lending themselves to short form.
Sometimes it can actually be rewarding working on a film that has obstacles and challenges as you have to come up with ways to get around this.
What are the challenges when creating one?
The challenge for me is simply to make the best trailer I can within the parameters of the brief and to be happy and proud of it.
Films come to us in many shapes and sizes so it's hard to generalize, as no trailer is the same. For example we could get delivered a finished graded film to work from, or we could be delivered footage as the film is still being shot and we have to get a junior editor to assemble the feature to a script as and when the footage comes in whilst we cut a trailer. Generally this would be for a teaser trailer usually a year or so before the film is released. These kinds of jobs are the most challenging but more often than not these are the bigger blockbusters that come in this form, which are pretty exciting to work on. As a film nerd I always relish these kinds of jobs.