The Musical Magic of Trailerization: Part III
We’ve identified what trailerization means in The Musical Magic of Trailerization, Part I, and why trailerization has developed in The Musical Magic of Trailerization: Part II. To wrap up the series on trailerization, we will elaborate on how this technique happens, including tips and tricks for breaking into the genre from the experts.
Even though the concept of trailerization was born only about a decade ago, some artists have already made a name for themselves within the genre. Artists like TOTEM, Tommee Profitt, Bryce Miller, and Mark Woollen have all proven themselves within the world of trailerized and cinematic music. TOTEM is a music library formed by music supervisor Patrick Buchanan and composer David James Rosen.
Tommee Profitt is a producer, songwriter, and composer who has worked with artists such as NF, Avril Lavigne, and Migos. Profitt’s cinematic releases have accumulated over 4 Million monthly listeners on Spotify alone and have also garnered widespread success in the sync world. Tommee has had 3 different top TV songs on Tunefind, all of which were trailerized versions of popular songs such as ‘In The End,’ ‘Wake Me Up,’ and ‘Chasing Cars.’
Bryce Miller is a California-based composer who specializes in composing music for blockbuster movies and TV trailers. Miller is credited on trailers such as Jurassic World Dominion, The Batman, House of Gucci, Godzilla, Respect, and Dexter. Another Tunefind top TV song, ‘Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) [Bryce Miller/Alloy Tracks Remix]’ was first heard back in April of 2022 when Netflix dropped the long awaited trailer for season four of Stranger Things. Miller then joined up with Journey frontman, Steve Perry, to record an extended version of the remix that was featured on the Stranger Things season 4 OST.
Founder of Mark Woollen & Associates, Mark Woollen is the mastermind behind some of the most popular trailers of the last couple of decades. A marketing genius in Hollywood, Woollen and his company have honed the skill of creating compelling movie trailers. Among those he’s served are directors such as Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), David Fincher (The Social Network), and the Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski). If 2010’s The Social Network’s trailer is credited as the beginning of trailerization, then Mark Woolen would be the godfather of the technique.
As the techniques behind today’s most popular trailer music have evolved, so has the technology behind it. What once took a full orchestra to accomplish, can now be done on a computer with advanced software. This technology allows artists and producers to work with sounds digitally, without a live band or instrumentation.
Audio Stems are another piece of modern technology that is important in today’s production of trailer and cinematic music. Stems enable customization for both audio and video productions to tailor the music in the content. Music stems are a type of audio file that break down a complete track into individual mixes. If a track is made up of multiple instruments and sounds, the stems are the individual pieces that make up the full song. DJs and other musicians frequently employ stems while creating remixes due to the ability to tailor the track to suit their needs. Stems will also play a role in creating overlays which was discussed in part I of this series.
The Guild of Music Supervisors held their 8th annual conference on October 1, 2022 and included a panel discussion titled “Everything you wanted to know about trailers, but were afraid to ask.” Moderated by Danny Exum (Director of Music, Workshop Creative), the discussion included expert insight from AG (Producer / Songwriter, BYAGINC), Anny Colvin (Head Of Music, MakeMake), David James Rosen (Founder / Composer, TOTEM), Evelin Garcia (Music Supervisor, The Hive at Walt Disney Studios), and Kelsey Mitchell (Director of Music, Ignition Creative). Below are some of the tips, straight from the experts on how to break into the world of trailer music and trailerization.
The world of trailers is very competitive, much like the entertainment industry as a whole. Oftentimes a trailer house or composer are competing against 3 or 4 other companies or artists when pitching ideas for a single trailer.
Best practices and how new talent should connect in order to break into the industries include being a “one stop shop,” i.e. owning and being able to clear the music being presented.
If you want to get into trailers, watch trailers and research who wrote it, who manages them, and learn to notice trailer trends.
Do your research in regards to who you’re sending work to. Different agencies work within different genres.
Find the signature sound, that thing that pulls you into the music but also ties into the plot. For example, Jurassic Park would use a roar or foot stomp.
Stems are non-negotiable. Avoid messy stems and keep in mind that a full mix doesn’t matter, it just sells the idea. The stems are what is needed for editing.
Focus on organization of stems, metadata, and split sheets.
If you send download links for a pitch, be wary of letting those links expire.
Include the artist name in the file name when sending pitches and make sure you are sending high resolution files.