In the animation community the release of trailers for upcoming films is big news! On any given trailer release day Twitter is overwhelmed by posts about the video, and it’s harder to avoid spoilers than to learn practically everything about the soon-to-be-released movie. Avoiding them, though, might actually be in your best interest.
A lot of what makes up human psychology is based on expectations. We are a very future-oriented group of beings. It’s one major reason why animation works, actually: We anticipate what the shapes on screen will do next from a movement perspective. If a character is headed screen right, we expect they will continue to travel that direction, and when they do it becomes a believable character and not just images on a screen. On the flip side, if shapes move around randomly with no pattern or expectation, it is much more difficult to build a personal connection to those screen shapes.
The downside to this reliance on expectation is that movie trailers can have a very large psychological affect given those principals. They are sometimes engineered to only show funny moments, to draw in a larger audience. With those, expectations are that a film will be a comedy, and if you reach the end credits in the theater and it wasn’t, you can be disappointed based entirely on your expectations. It’s possible the movie was well made and you would have enjoyed it quite a bit, but those expectations changed your mindset going in. A trailer might highlight the romantic aspects of the film, only for you to discover that the best, truest moments were revealed in the 60 second trailer and there was no need to watch the full two hour film.
Trailers and news of upcoming films are exciting. I’m not recommending that you go cold turkey and refuse to look at any of the media released to hype crowds for the next big animated feature. (Though, as an aside, I do just that and I’ve found since making that choice I enjoy the actual films much more for the most part.) Just keep in mind that with every bit of media you watch, you alter your expectations for the final film.
For better or worse, you are changing your experience in advance when you get a sneak peak at many of the best scenes in the film that hasn’t yet released. If you know you’re going to see the movie, and as animators we’re probably going to see the animated ones regardless, you might consider doing yourself a favor and avoiding trailers so you can sit down in front of that giant screen with totally fresh eyes and enjoy a fantastic, all-new experience. Think about it!