I was lying in bed a couple of weeks ago, wondering whether the studio or network would be releasing one more trailer in advance of our season 2 premiere, thinking about all the elements I would include in said trailer where I ever given the opportunity and, generally, lamenting the fact that none of these trailers were ever produced in-house.
Which led me to wonder: Why the hell not?
The next morning, I pitched the idea to the guys. I wanted to go Zemeckis! For those of you who don’t know, Robert Zemeckis is a wildly successful motion picture writer/director/producer whose movie trailers are notorious for giving almost everything away. Zemeckis defends his trailers by insisting that audiences want to know what they’re paying for before shelling out their hard-earned money to see a film. While this strategy is debatable – I personally will not shell out my heard-earned money to see a film I’ve more or less already seen in trailer form – there’s no denying that sizzle sells. And more sizzle sells more. So, yes, I wanted to go “all in” with this trailer – but only insofar as visuals were concerned. I didn’t want to give away any major plot twists or spoilers so, in that respect, I was only going half-Zemeckis. But I felt I needed to go half-Zemeckis because I wanted this trailer to achieve multiple goals:
1) It was to be a trailer to reward fans of Stargate: Universe and give them a sneak peek at what was to come in the show’s second season.
2) It was to be a trailer to entice fair-weather fans, give them a glimpse of what they’d missed (available on DVD and in download format!) and what they could look forward to in SGU’s second year.
3) And, perhaps most importantly, it was to be a trailer that would grab the attention of potential viewers who weren’t familiar with the show.
I talked to Post Coordinator Kerry McDowall about it and she suggested giving one of our assistant editors, Steve, a shot. And so, later that day, Steve swung by my office and I talked him through my idea for the trailer. Conceptually, it would be made up of two parts – the first, showcasing season one, would establish the theme of those first twenty episodes: the initial drive for survival; the second, showcasing the forthcoming season two, would hint at the theme of the next twenty episodes: the enigmatic mission that lay ahead. I suggested…
Opening with a VFX shot of Destiny in space with the words: “Stranded billions of light years from home…their sole concern was survival”.
Which would segue to three different off-world shots: the desert planet from Air III, the ice planet from Water, and the jungle planet from Time.
Then deliver up a medley of season one’s greatest hits: the Young/Rush throwdown from Justice, Rush getting stranded, the blueberry aliens, etc. – ramping it up as we close out this section with quick cuts from the season finale: Scott and Greer topside, Eli running to save them, T.J. wounded, Telford and Kiva firing at each other, and that final glorious shot of Young looking skyward as the Lucian Alliance advances.
Fade to black, then –
Fade in on a VFX shot of Destiny with the words: “Now, they have a mission”.
Which segues into a medley of some of season two’s greatest hits, finally ending on some reference to the mysterious “mission”.
Steve headed off, spent the entire weekend going over all the episodes, then returned to post on Monday and got to work. Let me tell you, the idea I pitched may seem fairly detailed but, in point of fact, it’s not. What I’d given Steve was a broadstroke concept with some suggestions of what I wanted to see, and what he ended up presenting far surpassed my lofty expectations – locating just the right shots from the requested scenes along with countless more ultra-cool snippets, assembling them in a flawless edit, marrying them to music and sound effects of his choosing, and, ultimately, delivering the best damn Stargate trailer ever.
We made only a few changes to Steve’s version, trimming some of the season one sequence, losing one of the Holy Shit shots from season two and, at Carl’s suggestion, opening with the sequence of the mystery ship, onboard exploration, discovery of the alien, and eye flash.
So, again, a big hand for this guy –
And also a big thanks to Kerry for coordinating and ensuring the trailer was released well ahead of our season 2 premiere (9:00 p.m. – Tuesday, September 28th on SyFy in case you hadn’t heard).
I’m on location for the next few days and without net access, so these entries will be brief. Here! Check out some SGU-related pics…
While doing the final approval on the trailer, I came across editor Rick Martin seated outside his editing suite, patiently awaiting my writing partner’s arrival to address some cut notes. I informed him that Paul was in meetings all day but I would be sure to tell him his presence was requested. And promptly forgot. I wonder if Rick is still sitting out in the hallway, waiting…