Preparing the trailer for Greenlight

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Now that my Black Bobby The Hole trailer is done (not published yet for marketing reasons) for the 4th time, I can share some experiences of making it. 4th time because as every new thing, I too fucked up. Less than usual, but still…

I won’t be the guy that’s gonna start bragging about his wisdom of “How I got this right from my first try because I’m a genius” and all that. People that start with those usually end with “Buy my book!”… bloody scammers.

Anyway I got feedback, I implemented some, ignored a bit of it, ended up with something pretty good that will be shown tomorrow (hopefully I’ll remember to update this post about it).

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The trailer is the most important thing. It’s the first thing people see and it has auto-play on. If it does not catches the viewer’s attention in 5-10 seconds it’s useless. People that go through voting queues (like I did and still do) will leave fast and all you’ll have left is jack shit.

People don’t have time!

This happens due to the fact that there are too many BAD games out there. Why would someone spend 1 minute to reach the conclusion that the game is bad when they can tell in 10 seconds?

So this means that in order to catch someone’s attention the following must happen at the beginning of the trailer:

  • no logos
  • no introduction of how you started your amazing and hard indie game development career
  • no title screen (people already know what’s the name and the log is shown on the right side of the page)
  • no legal stuff

Nobody gives a shit that your fictive company is Alpha Beta Ultra Game Studio.
Nobody cares that the footage is copyrighted to you.
People want to see what the game is about. If you can make that entertaining +2 Internet points for you!

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Skip all that nonsense from the beginning and get straight into the gameplay. If you can explain the story of the whole game while raising interest for the video, go for it. This shouldn’t take more than 10-15 seconds.
If you can’t make it interesting, skip it like you skip gold diggers.

Now you need to ask yourself: will I make an entertaining trailer or a showcase one?
There is a big difference on how you hook your audience depending on what path you choose.

Entertainment

An entertaining trailer is something people enjoy watching without having to be interested in your game. It’s funny and that’s it. People will be entertained and will feel like they watched a vine compilation. Haha, lol lol, they vote and move on, maybe they find it funny enough to share with others that again, don’t care about your game but more about the entertainment value of that 1 – 2 minute video.

Showcase

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A showcase trailer displays the product and it’s features. It tries to convince players why they should be interested in playing such a game. Since there are so many genres out there with so many people liking just as many, the trailer might not fit with some gamers’ expectations.
FPS lovers will probably shrug and move to the next Greenlight item if you show them a trailer of Pony game and try explaining how cool it is to dye your tail and shit.

Make the pony mangy eating heads off people and you will get their attention. But then again it’s an entertaining one, not a showcase of the amazing pink world with fluffy clouds.

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Do you know what that is? It’s the script of a movie, including acting instructions and scene directions.

Do research on how one is made, then make it for your trailer.

Yes! Even if you’re the one making everything, you need directions for yourself. It’s a very bad idea to start recording things, shove them in a video editor just to realize it’s crap.

This is a sneak peak of my screenplay

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Each scene contains a transition, a description of what’s happening, camera directions, voice actor text, voice actor directions.

This helps a lot. It’s like making a game without a GDD. Not impossible but a fuckfest that can be easily avoided.

Perk is you have a lot of marketing material to spread around after too.

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Decide if you go for LOL vs COOL trailer, skip bullshit that nobody gives a shit about and make the screenplay.

Put it somewhere, ask for feedback.

If you want a narrator, get a good voice actor, don’t try it yourself because you might fail hard….but I’ll talk about the voice acting in another blog.

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