WHAT IS A TONE SIZZLE?
A tone sizzle is a very long trailer that often includes footage from other films or custom footage that won’t necessarily make it into the final product in order to sell a new and complex idea. It’s more or less a pitch video to those in the film industry designed to raise interest for the product and aren’t meant for general consumption.
WHY A TONE SIZZLE?
They’re cheap(er) to make than the actual film and can often better convey what it is you’re going for as a creator.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOOL
In the film industry there are several formats to promote an upcoming work.
Generally they are:
- Teaser Trailer (30 seconds to 1 minute)
- Full Trailer (1 to 2 minutes)
- Sizzle (2 to 4 minutes)
We often see teasers as commercials during large sporting events. One that comes to mind, because I grew up in the 1990’s, was the teaser for The Matrix. I think one reason for this is the price of airing said commercial. During the Superbowl, taking up thirty seconds of airtime will cost you millions, let alone one minute. They are designed to pique the interest of the general public and create “buzz” about the product, that is to say, to get a lot of people talking about your movie.
THAT is an excellent teaser. It gives almost nothing away and makes you lean in to try and figure out what is going on.
We’re all familiar with full length film trailers. They are also designed for the general public, but lay out the general story of the full length piece without giving everything away. We’ve all seen those kinds of trailers. I know that I usually shake my head when I see them, screaming to the heaven’s “whyyyyyy?!?!?!” I tend to think they’re made for people who don’t appreciate plot or mystery.
Here’s a good example of a trailer that absolutely ruined the movie experience because it gave almost everything away.
THE SIZZLE IS THE TOOL
It is what I’m hoping provides leverage I need in order to move hearts and minds. Like a crowbar for the imagination… and wallets.
Now, the sizzle isn’t something you usually see.
They’re pitches, so they’re not really designed for the general audience. They’re designed to sell the show to film industry executives, investors and producers. Here’s a small piece on creating pitches for TV shows. At the TV production company I work at, they make these like the Lego company goes through plastic. The volume of sizzles made in the film and TV industry is truly staggering.https://www.youtube.com/Du8-k6uxJQo
THE CHANGELINGS SIZZLE
For Changelings, I’m going to have to produce something of a hybrid.
The Changelings sizzle will be largely custom made to stand as not only a pitch to the people within the film industry, but also to the general audience because I’m crowdfunding this baby. I need to tease them, while letting them in.
Creating this custom footage will also allow me a sort of practice run for shaping the aesthetic of the Changelings universe. It will also allow me to use the footage freely without fear of copyright infringement and give me a platform to help me shape what will become the crowdfunding pitch video which will be intercut with an interview of me explaining things further to my audience / backers.
So, I present to you the second draft of the Changelings sizzle script. It’s all just words at the moment. When it’s shot and edited, this thing is going to take on a whole new existence. My composer has already drawn up some incredible tracks that I can already tell are going to make the piece shine.
You can see from the first page alone that everything is disjointed. It might not read well, but visually, when you combine two disperate images, the human mind is able to derive meaning from them quite quickly. The density of information on the screen vastly outweighs what is on the page.
Now there is a lot more to this than just the images. Anything that is mentioned, either by the character or the descriptive text, will have to be represented visually, so there is a lot more to put together than just what is on the page. There are so many production details I need to get right in order to convey the story and tone and character within the short.
That’s not all though. I also need to convey parts of the larger world that Changelings exists in, The Tear. Changelings isn’t just a short film, it’s a pitch for a larger world that I hope to sell further down the road. So the sizzle is a pitch for the short which is also a pitch.
It’s Pitchception, and I can’t think of another way to do it.
More to come…
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