How To Create A Potent Preview, From “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'” Trailer Editor

Nick Temple of theatrical ad agency Wild Card shares some insights into creating a trailer for a summer blockbuster.

Film editing has been called “the invisible art.” An art form that, when perfected in a feature film, goes unnoticed.


When it comes to creating a film trailer, editing comes to the fore, and new challenges are introduced. Trailer editors must form a cohesive narrative out of a movie’s worth of footage in the span of 30 to 120 seconds, crafting each moment for maximum impact, conveying a story’s themes without giving too much away and, most important, enticing viewers to the theaters en masse. Nick Temple, founder and editor at the theatrical advertising agency Wild Card, has created trailers and promo campaigns for countless big ticket features, particularly those in the action arena. Temple was tasked with cutting the new trailer for Dawn of The Planet of the Apes, the follow up to 2011’s Rise Of The Planet of the Apes and in the video above, he talks about his process for “creating moments” out of reams of unfinished footage, and getting people in theaters for opening weekend.

“The ultimate goal is to create as much impact as possible. Make it feel like the biggest event possible.” says Temple.

As Temple notes, at Wild Card, editing trailers for tent-pole films and summer blockbusters like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (in theaters July 11) often means working with incomplete scenes from the film with major CGI elements and special effects missing. The challenge for the editors is to look past these unfinished clips and find a narrative within them that captures the essence of the story, yet leaves the audience wanting more. With only two minutes of screen time, the trick is to let every frame tell exactly the story they want to tell and nothing more.

Temple explains, “Subtle differences in frames can be all the difference in storytelling.”

See the trailer below and hear more from Temple in the video above.