This is a re-post originally posted on The Specimen film blog. For those new to this blog, you may not have discovered the Specimen yet, but could also benefit from this post.
We’ve received a terrific response for the Teaser Trailer to the film. The most common comment I received from those who have seen it, is “I wish there was more.” I reply, “That’s why it’s called a teaser.” It’s job is to entice you into watching the film by giving you just enough information to convey the tone, subject matter, and story hook, without giving anything away.
Making a teaser trailer for a short film is always a tricky prospect due to having limited material to work with. Creating one for The Specimen was even trickier due to the subject matter and the fact that the film has limited dialog.
The goals for me were to:
- Establish the premise of the film. A man sent to a public restroom to produce a sperm sample.
- Set the tone. Show that this is going to be an irreverent, awkward comedy with adult themes.
- Build our audience, by casting as wide a net as possible.
- Leave ’em wanting more.
In other words quickly establish a man masturbating in a public restroom with a specimen cup without much dialog, while keeping it funny, and not alienating potential audience members that may not approve of the subject matter out of context. Not an easy task.
I had previously written a log line that was simply “One Man, One Cup, And a Public Restroom.” I had liked it for it’s simplicity and was struck with the idea of using that in an overly dramatic action movie context , that I could then turn on it’s ear for comic effect revealing the bathroom. That would setup the premise of the film simply in an entertaining and humorous way. Then I felt since I had the faux action movie setup that I needed one more moment that is more reflective of the comically awkward tone. I also knew it had to be a funny moment that didn’t require any additional setup, and didn’t give away too much.
I had tried an edit showing one of Brian’s attempts at producing his specimen, but it felt a little out of context and the shot, while very funny, had a tendency to make people squirm a bit. ( I always test my trailers by showing people who’s opinions I trust.) Wanting to cast a wide net, I knew I couldn’t use it. Instead I went for the moment with the Sheriff. It worked great. Besides being funny, it also setup that Brian isn’t the only character in the film. There are the interrupters. Not only that, the additional dialog from that scene further enhanced the setup of the premise. So much so that I changed the graphic from “One Public Restroom” to “Bad Insurance” playing off the dialog and making the whole piece funnier and more cohesive.
I think the teaser achieved it’s goals. What do you think?