Trailer Music Tip: Analyze Upcoming Movies

Here’s a tip I think you will enjoy if you’re a trailer music writer, or want to start writing trailer music for trailers and TV-spots, but want to know how to increase your chances of getting a placement.

Usually the publisher you are producing music for will provide you with their own, specific briefing based on their current needs. But there is something you should do to increase your chances of getting your music into trailers and TV spots.

Before starting the production of your new track for the publisher, I would warmly recommend to do the following:

Get an overview on which upcoming movies are scheduled to be released within the time frame of one to two years!

At the end of the day you are writing music for potential advertising campaigns for these upcoming movies, so it might be smart to invest a little bit of time to get an insight into what their stories might actually be about and what their style is.

Here is a link to the website that I am using for my own research of upcoming movies.

Make sure to not only analyze earlier trailers and TV-spots but also the original soundtrack of that movie in case it’s a sequel.

In general I highly recommend to use a spreadsheet to collect as much information as possible to create your own, personal blueprint for your upcoming trailer music productions. Something like this works great:

  • Rough summary of the story – Summarize the story in a few short sentences.
  • Mood – Describe the movie with as many moods as possible to get an idea of the overall vibe of it.
  • Style – Is it a sci-fi movie? Horror? A bright adventure? Try to figure out the style of the movie to get some idea for the instrumentation of your track(s).
  • Tempo – Is it an action movie? Then it’s clever to use a fast, more intense tempo and corresponding rhythm. Is it a romantic movie? Well, maybe slow it down a bit. Try to get an idea of what tempo would suit the story, the mood and the style.
  • Special instruments used – In case it’s a sequel, did the trailer music for the previous music feature specific sounds or remarkable instruments? If yes – try to implement a similar sound in your track(s). However, make sure to add something new to it or probably tweak it a little. You want your track to leave a fresh impression when a music supervisor from a trailer house listens to it.
  • Chord progressions – Based on all information given to this point you can now figure out what would work best. If it’s a horror movie you will probably not use typical epic chord progressions. For a dramatic/emotional movie maybe something more reflect