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Alias (5735)

Alias
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Journal of Alias (5735)

Thursday March 24, 2005
06:48 AM

Busted CPAN Authors, and Movie Trailer Theory

[ #23820 ]

A mixed bag for this entry.

While checking to make sure a for-testing-purpose My::Module was not indexed by the CPAN indexer, I noticed several authors have lets various My:: modules get through to the indexer and been caught with their pants down, so to speak.

Lacking a working rt.cpan.org today, what better solution that to name and shame here!

Buster CPAN Authors (add those missing no_index entries guys!)

WROSS
BYRNE
CWINTERS
DMCBRIDE
JSMITH

To make this entry a bit more useful, I thought I'd outline a highly useful Movie Trailer Rule I developed a few years ago. And it goes a little something like this...

(fade to cartoon animated dream sequence)

Movie studios spend a lot of money creating feature films, and they really need to get it back. But unlike the people that actually MADE the movie and have their egos at stake, once you've paid your money it no longer really matters to the movie studios how good you think the movie is, except for the fact you might tell your friends it was good, and maybe it gets an Oscar.

To help convince you to go see a movie you might otherwise not bother, they create trailers

Trailers are specifically designed to make you think the movie is cool, so you will go see it and pay them money. Trailers arn't created for the fans. The fans will be going to see the movie ANYWAY, so the movie studio has no real interest in doing anything for them.

Trailer production (for your typical 30 second trailer) works something like this.

Your typical movie might have 20 "cool" or "whoa" moments spread throughout it's length. The stuff that triggers that emotional response, or an adrenalin hit. The things that make you walk out thinking a movie was good. Better movies might have more, say 40 or 50. Crap movies have less, say 5-10 (or less).

For most movies, most of these moments will only have any value the first time you see them. Think Darth Maul opening his two-bladed light sabre for the first time, or the crazy plot twist at the end of "The Game". The are nowhere near as cool the second time you see the movie, and boring by the 10th time.

Once you've seen it once, the surprise is over. Most plot "whoa" moments or cool special effects fit this type.

To convince you to go see a movie, your typical Hollywood trailer is going to give you an advance look at maybe 4 or 5 "whoa" moments! Which is why trailers look so cool when you see it for the first time. The "whoa" density is huge! You get a big emotional response, and you go see the movie.

The trailer worked.

But to get maximum coverage, by the time you actually go see the movie, you've seen the trailer 5 or 10 times at other movies, on TV, or online. Those cool moments have effectively been "spent".

So what was previously at decent movie is now heading down towards "crap" ratings. Only the best of the best will still look good, despite leaking those "whoa" moments.

For movies that are not-so-great already, all of a sudden you have spent over 50% of the cool bits of the movie, and your movie officially now "sucks".

My conclusion from this?

As soon as you have decided to part with your money, trailers have served their purpose and are now damaging to your experience of the movie itself.

If a movie if coming that you KNOW you are going to see even before the trailers, DO NOT WATCH IT!!!

The first movie I ever tried this on was Star Wars Episode 1. And ok, it kind of sucked anyways. Nothing could really have saved it.

BUT!!!! Hot damn that double light sabre was cool. I was sitting there going "WHOA!!!" and the rest of cinema (opening night no less) was sitting around me in dead silence, bored. Weird experience. I checked the trailers afterwards, and yep, the double bladed light sabre was in every single trailer EVAR!!!

Completely ruined it for everyone.

Implementing this rule has made my movie experiences SO much better, although it feels a little silly to sit in the cinema during a trailer for something I know I'll watch with my fingers in my ears singing "la la la la lAAAA!"

If there was ever a testament to what I now call "The Trailer Rule" here it is.

I remember sitting with my eyes closed in fingers in ears during the Star Wars 2 Trailer at the cinema. And it went ON, and ON, and ON and on and on AND ON!!! 8 goddam minutes!

I knew right then and there without seeing a thing, that the general populace were going to think it sucked. In that 8 minute trailer, you saw pretty much the entire movie, and almost every single "whoa" moment, leaving nothing at all for the when watching the movie itself.

People hated Star Wars 2.

I one the other hand, thought it was great! Not "brilliant", but definitely better than "good". I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen, and I loved it! In particular, the sequence that started with the heroes tied to the stone columns and ended with the huge spherical space ship being shot down was amazing. It just escalated and escalated and everything was unexpected and ALL THOSE SHINY LASERS AND WHOA!!!

Amazing!

And everyone else hated it, because they'd seen every vehicle and every cool moment 5 or 10 times already.

So in conclusion, I urge you to use this piece of advice. If you are going to a movie already, skip the trailers. Actively avoid them if you have to. The movie will be far FAR better for it.

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  • First, some might enjoy this trailer [vitalstream.com] of the upcoming The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [imdb.com], which is precisely what the guide thinks about... movie trailers O:-)

    I feel the same thing you do about reading anything about a movie prior to seeing it.

    Examples (spoilers):

    1) Before going to watch the first Asterix film (yes, I admit it, I did), I read a text about the movie; it read "and then they catch some prisoner that only in the end they realize to be Ceaser"... in the end???? :-| I spent the whole damn

  • Neat, I didn't even know about the 'no_index' stuff! It'll be added with the next release of the various modules. Thanks!
  • I've long ago noticed the same problem with the cover blurbs on books. They can totally destroy the plot twists that the author intended to actually be a surprise. (When an author gets to be sufficiently popular that the publishers compete for their contract, artistic control over the cover is one of the things that the author can finally insist upon.)
  • The best movie trailer I have ever seen is for Poltergeist 2. And that was nearly 20 years ago! If you've never seen it, you've missed a mini-movie all on its own.

    Nicole and I went to the cinema a few years ago to see something, and unfortunately it was sold out. We looked at the movie posters and saw Devil's Advocate based on the fact that the imagery looked good, and Al Pacino was in it. We both thought it was brilliant. A week or so later we went to see another movie and saw the trailer for Devil's Adv

  • This is very true and very annoying. I used to work in a cinema and in front of my position was a bank of monitors repeating all the trailers over and over.

    I noticed one more interesting effect. Trailers are edited before the actual movie is. This leads to things being cut out of the movie that are in the movie. I still remember the trailer for Dumb and Dumber, it had five good jokes in it, in the space
    of 20 seconds. The actual movie had only four. In two hours. Argh.

  • I have all 7 Harry Potter books on CD, but refuse to listen to them until after I see the movie. This way I think the movie is good, and the book even better. In the other order it would be a good book, and an awful movie. As an example in Episode 4: The Goblet of Fire there is a subplot involving house elves in the book that is completely missing from the movie. If I had known I would have been very upset when watching the movie.