The trailer to a film can be the fingerprint to an entire project — it’s what tells your viewers just enough engaging information without giving away the best parts (c’mon, no one likes spoilers). It’s an art-form to master and can influence just how many viewers will be hooked enough to seek out the rest of the story.
Similar to commercials, the film’s sneak peek can be cut down and edited around the right music to tug on the heartstrings of the audience — from the lighthearted pop rock that lulls behind dialogue of a comedic romance to the rhythmic percussions guiding an action sequence. But what’s the right kind of music for your trailer and how does one even begin searching for the best fit?
We have three tips to help nail down the best music for any trailer or short video.
Considering Song Length
This is it, the first impression. And you have to do it typically in under two minutes. While the visuals and dialogue will help create a compelling exposition for the film, music is a surefire method evoking emotional investment from the audience.
This is why it’s not uncommon to see a range (one to two, or even three songs) with the first song defining the vibrancy and tone, the last song as the catalyst.
In the “Sorry For Your Loss” movie trailer, two songs were licensed for the project: “Possible Deaths” by Typhoon and “Golden October" by Ryan Stively.
The songs, while emotively different, still compliment each other through their reflective qualities. While it’s clear neither song plays from start to finish in the video, there’s an intentional shift and purpose for the music’s placement. When “Golden October” trails off, “Possible Deaths” illustrates a heavier mood, hitting home a somewhat mysterious quality to the film (remember the mentioning of hooking your audience, this is that moment).
When a project needs succinct music to perfectly fit within a timeline the Length setting aids editors in finding music to appease such time constraints. Get searching and check it out here.
It’s All About the Mood
We hinted at this above but the emotional qualities of a trailer can be what intensifies or lessens the trailer’s message. If the film is a dark drama set in the 1800s, the music should similarly help complete this palette. Will there be swelling moments of inspiration? Or is the audience meant to feel alienated? These are the kind of factors to consider when placing music to picture.
On the Marmoset browse page, there are two key settings to filter a song’s search. Toggle the Mood and Energy settings to find music that compliments the overall atmospheric tone.
A Certain Kind of Subtext
In deciding between lyrics and instrumental versions of a song, the lyrical version can offer subtext to a trailer — all without the audience even realizing it’s happening. Call it subconscious persuasion but it can help hit all the right points quickly and effectively.
In the “Sorry For Your Loss” trailer, “Golden October” alludes to the idea of missing someone or wishing to be reunited with them. This aligns with the trailer’s unfolding narrative as this also centers around the main character struggling with the death of her spouse.
To utilize a song’s lyrics to their fullest music searchers can check out the song’s lyrics from the Marmoset music search page. Simply play a song and if the artist submitted lyrics to Marmoset, an “open book” icon will appear on the bottom of the window. Click this icon and a pop-up window will appear with lyrics.
Check back next time as we continue offering more tips on how to find the music for every project.
Don't believe that sounds collected from everyday office life can be smartly pieced together to create music?
Our "Found Sound" short film is about to prove naysayers wrong. The piece is the brainchild of our in-house Original Music Composer, Graham Barton and Marmoset's Visual Content Director, Josh Brine. From clicking and clinks to woofs and slams, the short film offers an example of our Sound Design experts at work.
And while the sounds are natural and truly captured from Marmoset headquarters, don't mistake it for sheer luck or coincidence. The "sounds" were carefully mapped out beforehand and scored by our Original Music Team, when strategically planned out, captured, produced, and edited, the finished product is anything but pointless noise.
The short film proves how even the most obscure of sounds can be strung together to create an entire score — check out the video above and listen for yourself.
Every filmmakers' dream is to secure enough funding and grounding to adapt their short film into a feature. After all, the longer format is more or less the standard for mainstream movies, so if an artist can create content on this kind of scale, it's proof they can hold their own.
In a way, it's a calling card not only for a filmmaker's creative prowess but it's a tangible qualification in the film industry — it's indicative of endurance and resourcefulness.
In case you missed it, we've teamed up with StudioFest this year, sponsoring their one of a kind festival that's setting out to reward winning filmmakers + screenwriters financial contribution and support in adapting a short film idea into a feature length movie. And in case you missed it, here's more about our sponsorship of the fest.
In anticipation of the festival's last call for entries this week (late deadline: August 3rd, 2018 — $65), we reached out to co-founder of StudioFest, Jess Jacklin, to learn more about what makes the fest a pioneer within the traditional festival circuit.
Marmoset: Could you tell us a little bit about your background in filmmaking and your experience with the festival circuits? Was there a defining moment where you realized how much of a need there was for something like StudioFest?
Jacklin: I started out producing for a big agency in New York and during that time I spent four years working on and off making a documentary film about my grandfather and the Chesapeake Bay I grew up on.
When I got onto the festival circuit with the film, I realized pretty quickly that a lot filmmakers were searching for a way to turn their shorts into a feature. One great aspect of festivals is networking and I did get a sense for this pretty quickly.
So many festivals seem to be about ticket sales and are for movie-goers. They might not always be offering the most to filmmakers themselves looking for financing. My partner Charles Beale and I came up with the idea that we should really find a way to help emerging talent to make the leap from short to feature.
There are real barriers to go from a short to feature. The costs, even for a micro-budget project, are difficult for someone starting out. It was clear that there was a lot of talent but not a ton of resources. StudioFest is the first of its kind, a new take on the traditional model, and we hope it’s going to meet a real need for the filmmakers of today.
Marmoset: What's your vision for the future of StudioFest?
Jacklin: To start, we want make a film a year with the winning writing/directing duo. Right now we think it would be really cool to take the festival on the road. Perhaps the West Coast next year and maybe even a Europe fest someday soon.
Marmoset: What's something you're most excited about for StudioFest?
Jacklin: I’m excited to see our judges, finalists, and sponsors together over a bonfire talking about movies. We are so thrilled with the caliber of talent we have on board for this year. I am probably most excited for the moment when the dust has settled and we have our winners locked in prepping the film.
Marmoset: What would be some advice you'd pass along to someone submitting their short film or screenplay to the fest?
Jacklin: We are looking for sensibility. Show us what you are capable of as a writer or director. We also want to see an understanding of micro-budget filmmaking.
If you wrote a film that requires extensive CGI or a period piece, it might be harder to imagine. That said, we are looking for your talent. How do you write dialogue? How do you use a camera to tell a story? How well do you work with actors? Do you use little resources well and are you inventive? We really want filmmakers who are down to get in the mud with us, roll up their sleeves and have a lot of fun in the process.
The last deadline to submit an application to StudioFest is August 3rd. Learn more and apply here.
Centered around music licensing and creating original music, Marmoset is no stranger to helping filmmakers license and/or compose original music for their creative projects. It's something that goes hand in hand with our overall initiative — equipping visuals with the best soundtrack imaginable, all while having our artists' backs along the way.
Our effort to stay involved in lending our services to filmmakers (and other creatives) is why we jumped at sponsoring StudioFest, an event that's reimagining how festivals operate to better support its artists.
Think of it this way — with most festivals centering around short form mediums, it's challenging for filmmakers to figure out what happens next once the festival circuit finishes. Even if a short film is well received, the hurdles for branching into feature filmmaking are endless. And we're not even brushing the topic of budgeting for a 90-minute movie.
This all being said, there’s often no place for artists to flex their creative muscles between this transition from short to feature length filmmaking. It’s a big leap for many (unless you have industry connections). Identifying such an industry gap, we knew we had to contribute to the cause, which is why we're joining forces with StudioFest.
The groundbreaking festival’s mission is to support filmmakers and writers in developing their debut feature. It's a one-of-a-kind experience for newcomers to dream larger, being able to bring their art to life on the feature length scale. StudioFest is set to host five short filmmakers and five feature-length screenplay writers at the Graham and Co. Hotel in the Catskill Mountains in Phoenicia, New York. At the end of the festival, one film director and one screenwriter will receive the opportunity to partner with StudioFest in making their first feature film.
Where does Marmoset come in? Music being our expertise, we’ll work alongside the winning filmmaker by licensing music to incorporate within their feature film.
What do you need to know:
Finalists must be able to travel to Phoenicia, New York for the festival. All 10 finalists will need to attend and participate if chosen.
To enter, candidates must be new to the feature filmmaking game — this means to be eligible, filmmakers cannot have made a feature film or written a feature script in the past. It’s strictly an opportunity to newcomers and a way to even the playing field.
- Regular deadline: July 8th, 2018 — $50. Late deadline: August 3rd, 2018 — $65
Where to Submit Your Application:
Want more information?
- Visit StudioFest to learn more.
Want to read more on Marmoset's community outreach? Read more below!
In the world of filmmaking, music can be key for setting apart amateur productions from professional ones. As we discovered in our Sound Lesson series with Kevin Matley, original scores play a bigger part than most audiences realize, ultimately establishing an immersive environment.
While our Original Music Team is constantly crafting music to guide such creative projects, Marmoset also equips filmmakers with cinematic, licensable music that's readily available from the searchable catalog. And when the right song matches to picture, a film's story is powerfully punctuated.
In the case of renowned ecologist and filmmaker, Charles Post, storytelling became a useful tool crafted from his journey as a field scientist. Growing up in Northern California, Post was regularly surrounded by nature, fascinated and intrigued by the changes natural environments undergo — his attention specifically piqued when a group of fish faced rapid and sudden decline.
"This kind of pushed me down this path of realizing our ecosystems were existing because we let them exist, or are in peril and decline because we let them."
After returning to UC Berkeley for graduate school, Post wrestled with his intentions in the science community, seeking out a different path where he could apply his knowledge and expertise. "My first day of graduate school, for better or for worse, I knew I didn't want to be a field scientist," says Post. "And the reason why is because I was noticing my peers who spent so much of their life working on these scientific questions and trying to find ways to inform policy — and how the public engages with science and the outdoors — I noticed there was this huge gap."
When Post dug deeper, he began identifying the trouble area his fellow researchers frequently faced: there was a disconnect in how their work was being communicated.
"I also realized I probably wasn’t the most passionate empirical scientist," says Post. "I was more excited about telling the story of science to people. And that kind of sparked the conversation."
Post explains how in his field, currency is essentially how well one understands a place — leveraging visuals, like photographs and video to convey observations best. Seeing this as an opportunity to lean in, the researcher began sharpening his storytelling knife.
"In order to be a good scientist, you have to communicate what you’re finding. So for me, it quickly became visually dominated, thinking about how can I tell these stories?"
Navigating down this creative path with academia in the background, Post began exploring more opportunities to help other scientists share their findings through effective mediums like documentary filmmaking and social channels. In a way, the endeavor opened up a platform where exciting yet often overlooked discoveries could be easily accessible to all walks of life.
In Sky Migrations, a documentary directed by Charles Post, Max Lowe and Forest Woodward — the film follows an epic journey of migrating raptors. While there's plenty of gorgeous footage showing up-close rare visuals of the soaring subjects themselves, the heart of the movie is the narrative and how it unfolds; the story invites the audience in, delivering information that prompts a lengthier discussion on conservation.
As the film unfolds, so does its emotional stirring soundtrack — including "Looking Back" by Philadelphia based The Earth & Arrow. The title card's personable graphics and guiding music set up the documentary's mood, everything feels lighthearted, approachable. It's a journey that prompts curiousness and hopefully even proactiveness.