Tag Archives: video

Theatre Trailers: what do you think?

To research Saturday’s workshop, I asked for videos created to promote a live performance. Thanks for all your submissions!

Matthew Hill shooting Tony Duran for "Walking the Tightrope" at 24th ST Theatre.

Matthew Hill filming for “Walking the Tightrope”

Please take a look at these and respond in the comments:

1. How would you describe the show in one sentence?

2. Do you want to see this show after watching the video (assuming you’re in their city)?

Thanks so much. It will help contribute to our conversation on Saturday.

Feel free to link to your videos in the comments as well or via twitter. -CMJ

The Vagrancy Theatre Co. presents Down in the Face of God official trailer.

From Director Holly Derr: This was actually made by the playwright and goes with the show, not the theater, but it’s brilliant. It’s a faux-documentary that exists within the world of the play:

Beto O’Byrne sent from Twitter: The Movement Theatre Company Promo Video for Look Upon Their Lowliness:

From Nancy Dobbs Owen We found that the trailer for War Bride worked really well. We created it as a stand alone short film in a way….:

From Adela Kuehn Admittedly I’m biased. I know these guys and have wanted to see this show for years. Two very different trailers (for different stagings) of the same show.


Beowulf Trailer from Banana Bag & Bodice on Vimeo.

Workshop: Promote your Play w/ Video

Should plays make a trailer or teaser like the movies? 

How does a live experience translate to a short video? 

How can videos translate to butts in seats?

Promote your Play with Video

Saturday, April 20th (10am-1pm)

 UPDATE 7:11pm : This workshop is postponed until a later date. Please email smb@combinedartform.com for more info.

Upcoming Workshops

Talk through your own ideas for video promotion, and how to prepare to talk to your team. 

Theatre Asylum 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90038

Register for workshop: $40 individual, $60 to bring a team member

Basic tips for a Kickstarter video from Diani & Devine below

I asked our special guest Victor Solis more: 

CMJ: What are some key guidelines for creating a trailer for a  live show?
VS: First, discard any preconceived notions you have about trailers and don’t study any movie or series trailers.  Think in the medium of live performance because your ultimate goal is to attract people to see your live show.  In your trailer, show the viewer the most powerful elements of your stage: live performance, human emotion, and the magic of a world created in a contained space.  Give the viewer an incredible taste of what they can expect from your show and leave ’em wanting more.  Nothing is so strong as the temptation of mystique.
CMJ:  That’s a great goal, now how should we start the creative process for the trailer?
VS: The fundamental approach to conceiving an engaging trailer employs the same key considerations you would use in designing any promotional piece of content such as a poster, postcard, mailer, or social media post.  Start by identifying the strongest emotions and human themes evoked by your show.  Suppose those are nostalgia and wonder.  We want the trailer to ultimately evoke those feelings and identify them with specific characters or performers.  If your show has a narrative line, show us a sliver of the key emotional beats in the narrative.  Your trailer is just a few nibbles to whet the appetite.  Think like an audience member: what would you want to see?  Performers’ faces full of emotion; movement in space; light, color, set dressing; a taste of the sound design.

CMJ:  How about the mechanics of actually shooting and editing the trailer?

VS: From a technical standpoint, you’ll need a seasoned editor who clearly understands your show and will craft the trailer to meet your goals.

Ask filmmakers you know for references to creative editors and commit that person to your trailer before you start shooting.  Your second key collaborator will be a thoughtful cinematographer who will capture as many useful clips as possible from your rehearsals. This small, tight-knit team of yours is necessary to create an effective trailer in an efficient span of time.
Could you do this yourself?  Sure, but do you realistically have the time to take on a new project concurrently with your live show?  Be pragmatic and enlist a couple of eager people who want the experience and will bring their comparative advantages to your project.  You can cultivate two great new collaborators with unique skill sets who may even promote your trailer to their circles.
CMJ: What are items people will need for a quality video project that they might not anticipate if they don’t work in film?

VS: If you’re recruiting a couple of good creative film craftspeople like your editor and cinematographer, they will ideally answer your technical questions about the video process.  If they’re skilled, then you can focus on the creative decisions and let them deal with the technical filmmaking decisions.  Anticipate enough time to talk with your team to carefully plan your shooting day (ideally just one) and post-production.  Aim to shoot when you have your show’s tech running so your footage looks as similar as possible to the actual show.  Make time for clear communication, ask plenty of questions, and always plan in advance.


Victor is a writer-producer at Hachitan Entertainment, Inc. in Southern California.  He co-created the 10-episode award-winning series “Generic Girl” and is currently developing feature films and original online series.  An experienced educator, he jointly produced the 22-episode course “How to Plan Your Series Production” on CreatorUp.com.  Watch his recent work at:



MAY 1 – Twitter: how to build audiences!


MAY 8 – Pitching Your Show (reprise due to popularity in March)


MAY 11 – Marketing Strategy in the Thick of Production


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