No More Trailers

Spoilers are real. Some want to claim they are a bogeyman, created by crazed-zealot-fans that need something to cry about online but I’ve experienced the horrors of spoilers firsthand. Multiple times, while watching a film I knew characters weren’t going to die because a scene in the trailer hadn’t played out yet, even worse, I knew a character proclaimed dead would return later in the story.

These incidents weren’t spoiled because of rude commenters, my need to research everything about the property or waiting years to see the movie – it was the officially sanctioned studio footage which ruined the experience…and my own curiosity.

Trailers are an important tool for the press team to entice the hardcore. They stir up fans into a frenzy, who turn to their more casual friends and tell them why they need to see a movie. It becomes a rallying point for those who know they already want to see the film to reinforce their opinion and attempt to sway the minds of the indecisive.

The culture of trailers has reached a point where there are teasers, countdowns and trailers for the upcoming trailers. Networks fight for exclusivity and the right to show trailers first. We literally have advertisements for the date of when an advertisement will release….and fans loves it.

I’m guilty driving the hype train sometimes. And I would say trailers have a necessary place to demo what people can look forward to when the movie comes out. There are definitely films I was only interested in because of the strength of the trailer (sometimes those ended up as good movies…other times not).

But what about the movies we already want to see? What do any of us gain by watching footage for a film, game or show that we are going to experience in its intended entirety anyway. The trailer for Episode VIII could just be Jar-Jar Binks burping the alphabet…and it would still be the #1 movie of the year (box office…not quality). Once someone’s mind is made up to do something, it’s almost impossible to talk them out of it.

However, there are multiple instances where watching the trailer can harm the movie experience. The team which creates the movie doesn’t actually determine what goes into the trailer. Directors admitted the trailer revealed too much of the plot and there is a monetary incentive for the studio to show the best parts in the trailer to hype the product – which can create unrealistic expectations of a movie’s strength (especially comedies).

I think we have reached a point (and have been there for quite some time) where there are two different cultures of moviegoers. First are those who see the movie as an event that needs to be discussed beforehand, afterwards and dissected at every possible moment. These enthusiasts turn a 3 minutest trailer into a 45-minute rewind-trailer. For these fans, the marketing campaign, book tie-in, Wikipedia entry, deleted scenes and producer interviews all are tied into the movie experience. Each piece of information is interwoven into an event that is larger than any film could be.

Alternatively, there are fans who just want the film to stand on its own merits. The opening scene to closing credits are the only portions which matter. I think it’s time I joined this camp instead.

I can’t lose myself in a movie anymore. While watching the big-screen I am guessing as to what the next scene will be, when will footage from the trailer be intertwined and where is the ending going. The more information I have beforehand, the more I go through this process. It’s analytical but it isn’t fun. Trailers and news sites are ruining the very thing they were building up.

To accomplish this goal, I shall attempt to avoid as much media as possible for any movie, show, game or book that I know I will purchase. I’ll see the product as the creators intended, not how the marketers forced me to. I’ll still be online and consuming information – but discussions will focus on the quality of products after release, not how they are made or what they can be.

I don’t want my preconceived notions of what a film should be to interrupt what it actually is – I want to experience entertainment unsullied.

I challenge you to try the same. Pick a game or movie that you already know you will purchase and avoid all media on it. With the years long press cycle, it will take a while to see if you enjoyed the experience more so bookmark this blog and come back in 2018 and let me know if it was a more rewarding experience.

Let me know how you watch movies – Do you consume all the pre-game coverage possible or go in blind? Have you ever tried the opposite approach? Which trailers ruined a movie for you?

Level Up, Friends!