Buddha Jones’ Dan Asma Speaking on “Feature Trailers That Bring Them In” at #chifilmsummit

October 26th, 2015

Dan Asma‘s work leaves an indelible impression and includes such memorable film campaigns as those of The Shining, No Country for Old Men and The Hangover, to name but a few.


I was fortunate to attend the 1st annual Chicago Film + Media Summit in October of 2013, still memorable years later because of all that I learned from personal interaction with talented and experienced industry leaders like Dan Asma. His prominent Hollywood feature film trailer house Buddha Jones, works with major studios as well as indie clients. The trailers they produce are created to “excite, provoke and ultimately compel an audience to see movies…” and they do just that! Dan warns against taking the “studio route” in his #chifilmsummit presentation, “I Gotta See That!”

Take the agency route,” he advises. Flight (trailer) was a challenge because in the movie, Denzel Washington is far from a hero, not ‘audience-friendly.’ How can you present this in such a way that sells the real story when nobody wants to see that story? By using the dips, the peaks and valleys. It’s all about compression,” Dan explains. “Editors are the ones who are primarily responsible for creating that emotional reaction in the viewer …and the music was tremendously important. In this case, the (Rolling) Stones let people know that it was a darker story.”

He cautioned against feeling satisfied with your initial effort. “Try to do it again, in any number of different ways. We call that burn and turn. Trying to be creative amidst seeming chaos can be really fun!”

“Buddah Jones does a great deal of horror movie trailers,” Dan explains. “With The Strangers (trailer) I thought, Let’s take the movie`s strength and stretch it.”

“Motion graphics is tremendously important… We are often asked to come up with a promotion for a film that hasn’t even been shot yet! Check the trailer for DaVinci Code (trailer) and The Prisoners (trailer), a Hugh Jackman film.  Inglorious Bastards (trailer), had several different routes that could have been taken in the trailer.”

“Market your movie before making the movie… A pseudo-trailer is often done to raise money in advance. Consider showing the most marketable part of your story first, as was done with The Bridge (trailer), a doc on suicides on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.”


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