What Can Churches Learn From Hollywood Trailers

Clint Rogers

By 

Clint Rogers

Published 

May 11, 2022

What Can Churches Learn From Hollywood Trailers

Have you ever watched a movie trailer and thought to yourself, "I need to see that!" Hollywood trailers have been used throughout the cinematic age to grab the attention of moviegoers and give them a little sneak peek into the film's story.

Movie trailers tend to work the same way a book synopsis works - they summarize the mood, theme, and nuances of a particular story in a short length. If the synopsis or trailer is flat, uninteresting, or clearly not attention-grabbing, the audience is less likely to watch.

This same concept of movie trailers can be translated into the church world. Video can serve, in a sense, to give people a sneak peek in our church's story. Video can grab the attention of a world that is seeking a life-changing experience. The good news is that we are telling the most excellent story of all time - the story of Jesus.

The story of Jesus of Nazareth is one that would sell out the box office.

*clears throat...ahmm*
*In my best movie trailer guy voice*

"An underdog. A man who was despised by many and loved by few, faces the perils of a first- century world who has been overtaken by a terrible, infectious disease.

This disease has overtaken every single person on earth... except for our hero.

This spring, a cinematic masterpiece hits the theater, unlike any story that has ever been told. The story... of Jesus."

Now that is the type of story that will have you at the edge of your seat, and this is precisely the story the church has been called to proclaim.

This isn't a call for your church to commission your video team to create a Biblical drama about the Messiah Jesus. The point is that there is power in a good story, and we can share it through our sermons, video content, and more.

Keep reading to learn more about how your church can learn from Hollywood trailers and how you can implement video in your community.

1) YOU NEED A HOOK

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A golden rule in video marketing says that you have a 15-second window at the beginning of each production to hold people's interest. If you don't catch your audience's attention within this timeframe, they might move on to something else that piques their interest better. (The sound- bite world we live in may not even lend you 15 seconds).

The fact remains that above all else, your video needs to grab the attention of your audience right off the bat. It doesn't matter how well-produced and compelling the last 30 seconds of the video are if your viewer doesn't even make it past the 15-second mark. This hook, as we will discuss below, needs to tug on the heartstrings of your viewers. It needs to have a punch that makes them want to keep watching.

2) TWO MINUTES MUST GO FAR.

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Once you have grabbed the attention of your viewers, the next thing to think about is the length of your video. Most movie trailers come in at around 120 seconds, while some are as short as 30 seconds. Depending on the purpose of your church video, it could be anywhere within this time range.

The 30-120 seconds you fill in your video content needs to be extremely purposeful. If your story can be told in just a minute, go for it! If you need to truly dive deep into the story, however, 2 minutes works fine too.

For example, if your video is about your upcoming Christmas service, consider what information you need to pack in the video and how to place it without the video being too long. Pack a punch within the first few seconds, tell your story, and end the video with the logistical information your audience needs to know, like the date, time, and location.

A wise thing to remember is that you don't want to pack too much into 2 minutes. If you find yourself struggling to fit everything in your sermon series preview or pre-roll video, you may need to reconsider whether you want to follow the movie trailer style or just go all out on a feature-length. Our video team at Pro Media Fire can hook you up with videos with a maximum length of 300 seconds!

3) EMOTION IS A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR

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You know a movie trailer is powerful when you find yourself teary-eyed without even watching the movie yet. Emotion is one of the most influential motivators out there. Emotion has a way of tapping into the human condition by relating to humans spiritually and viscerally.

Whether the emotion is joy, empathy, or gratefulness, you should consider the impression you want your audience to walk away with when figuring out what your video should be like.

A great way to weave emotion into the fabric of your video is by strategically using music, images, and compelling spoken words. Check out this incredible videos our team created for our Great News Campaign which encapsulate feelings of joy and hope:


4) CREATE ANTICIPATION

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Movie trailers have an incredible way of making us want more! That "cliff-hanger" effect that is often found in Hollywood trailers and television shows make us antsy to see what will happen next. Anticipation not only makes your audience want to return, but it gives them something to look forward to.

Think of a trailer as the first course in a 4-course, expertly cooked meal. It gives you a bit of a preview of what is to come without revealing the flavor of the entire meal. When the appetizer is tasty, you are practically begging for more. When using video to preview your church service, sermon, and more, make sure to give a taste - not the entire meal.

5) KEEP PEOPLE GUESSING

While many trailers follow a standard movie trailer model that summarizes the story and keeps you wanting more, many go off the beaten path and do their version. Watch this classic trailer from the movie Inception:

Now assume you have never seen the movie, and you're viewing this trailer. Leonardo DiCaprio is speaking, intense music is playing, but then...

  • A spinning top
  • Sideways building
  • Explosions
  • Freezing in time
  • A bunch of scenes defying the laws of physic

What is going on?

This movie trailer gives you 100x more questions than answers, and that was explicitly the point. You may get a bit of an inkling that the movie is about time, physical impossibilities, and sleeping. Still, it is almost impossible to piece those things together to formulate the full story.

If you want to step outside the box with your video trailers, you can go the Christopher Nolan route and confuse everybody with your video and get them thinking. This sense of mystery and the unknown is appealing and can work exceptionally well if you are trying to reach a broader audience.

Video has a unique power to tell a story, and video previews can be used in the church to give our church members and potential members a taste of the story we are communicating. We suggest using the following videos for your church:

  • Sermon series preview video
  • Pre-roll videos to be used at the beginning of your service and online
  • Video testimonials (both previews and full-length)
  • Message highlight videos for social media
  • Church identity videos that highlight your church's values and mission

You can use video for a million different things, and our team is here to help you out!

Our video fire plan hooks you up with an entire video team that can bring your vision to life. You will get monthly custom videos, custom sermon bumpers, event promo videos, sermon hot spot videos, unlimited revisions, and up to 5 minutes per custom video.

If you want more info, follow the links below. We can't wait to serve your church!

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