The narrative of my trailer, like most full-length movies, will be compiled into three parts to follow the basic structure of ‘beginning, middle, end’ or as Todorov would put it, equilibrium, threat to equilibrium, new equilibrium.
Due to the nature of movie trailers, and their need to hold as many chillingly terrifying shots and jumps, the shots could be fast and furious at times meaning that I will have to be competent when filming.
This also effects how I structure the story as I need to maintain as much enigma as possible while letting enough plot through to persuade the viewer to buy tickets when the movie hits the cinema screens (hypothetically).
This ‘treatment’ allows me to structure my story into three parts which, while allowing the shoot to be an easier process, also means that I will be able to gather my thoughts and plans for the movie.
Another person’s theory which could help me is the work of Vladimir Propp (preparation, complication, transference, struggle, return and recognition) who suggests a layout for the basic structure of movies. Looking at media professionals such as Propp and analysing their beliefs about the film business has proved invaluable in helping me learn how to produce a movie’s advertisement campaign.
I can rule out both ‘return’ and ‘recognition’ from my plans because it is not the job of a trailer to reveal the full narrative. For this treatment, however, I will be planning a full storyline.
I completed the following cartoon in the early stages of the creative stages. I allowed me to physically see the different plot twists in my trailer, how the narrative would pan out and the ‘path’ my trailer would take. I used this very simple cartoon throughout my production because, while it is vague, it has the trailers main points and is easy to interpret.
Darren: an 18 year old university student, added to represent normality and somebody who the audience can relate to. I will dress him like a normal teenager, make him seem genuine with the dialogue I write for him and make him seem cool/attractive to males and females alike.
Timothy: A 13 year old school child who will perish early towards the beginning of the storyline. His is designed to be an item to foreshadow the possible fate of Darren but he fails to heed the warnings.
Masked man: This character, like his costume would suggest, will remain ambigious throughout. The media will suggest his is a patient who has escaped from a local hospital while locals will start to believe he is the real deal, Death. Throughout the entire promotional campaign we will not discover his identity, keeping a level of enigma and suspence throughout.
Part One – Equilibrium:
The day after a young boy goes missing with only his possessions left on the road, Darren, an 18 year old student living at home in his parents country farmhouse, wakes up as normal and eats breakfast as normal. He sits down, reads the paper, drinks his tea and eats his cereal; the same as he does every day. As usual, he has the radio on in the background to listen to Radio One. As the news starts, his attention is lost. The news doesn’t really matter to a teenager. One item grabs his attention however. “A psychotic patient has escaped from armed care and is believed to be on the loose in the Fleckney area”. He’s alarms understandably and he happens to know Timothy so is clearly troubled by the news.
Part Two – Threat to Equilibrium:
The fear passes though and he heads off to university, luckily only a 20 minute drive away, and has an enjoyable day with Steven, his best mate, who happens to be in all of his lectures. The day passes with such normality that he almost forgets the news he heard in the morning, despite the uni students gossiping relentlessly. He walks in with Steven on the phone telling him to be careful because he is so secluded in his country home and with his parents being way, he’s living home alone. As he hangs up the call he notices a black figure in the garden, a figure of his imagination or the patient? He edges nearer before hearing breathing behind him; he turns terrified to see the man, in a cape, standing behind him. “Your time has come.”
A chase follows; Darren thinks he loses the man by running into a phone box. He’s found his means to get help. However, one look inside reveals that the phone has been removed. The village is so run-down and forgotten by society that these things are normal.
The local and national press, who knew very little of Newbury before the escape, converge onto the village in search of their latest viewer pulling news story. One station gets an exclusive interview with the doctor who was treating the patient in care. It’s revealed that the patient, Jonathon Myers (47 years old), has had a preoccupation with the religious entity of Death. When the news hits the screen, the biggest news story of the year begins in earnest. “Death roams streets for the living”, The Times.
Part Three – New Equilibrium:
Darren, unaware of the media circus that had been unleashed and still officially one of the missing, decides to turn the cards on the man. Little does he know Timothy’s body has been found in several different parts, scattered across the village. The exodus begins in earnest as villagers flee the area. But Darren’s in the fields convinced if he leaves he will be found by Myers or ‘Death’. Human instinct, will the live or overconfidence? Something spurs Darren on to leave the ditch he has called home for last night. Armed with logs and a pen knife he ventures out into the wilderness looking for a way out or, preferably to him, Myers so revenge than be taken swiftly.
He does encounter Death and his courage evaporates quickly. A series of scraps and attempts to capture the teenager ends. It seems he lives to survive another day until, as he walks down the road, the same one Timothy was last seen, and he is taken. His possessions lie on the road below the church and the credits role.