The Sweet Adventures of Henry P. Twist

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I received an email to announce a new book trailer from Film 14 (@film14tweets), one of the best cinematic book trailer producers.


The Sweet Adventures of Henry P. Twist Official Book Trailer from Film 14 on Vimeo.

The Sweet Adventures of Henry P. Twist


The trailer is narrated by Jim Dale who was the voice for the Happy Potter audio books. I am a huge fan of his work.

This is a superb trailer that grabs you from the start. Other than the closing scene animation, the filming is not complicated. It suggests rather than shows.

Rich Helms

LEAD Structure of a Movie Trailer

Stopwatch w LEAD Timing TransparentI was speaking on Movie Trailers at Cinechats at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. While I was writing a few slides I applied the LEAD structure to Movie Trailers.

  • Lead – Grab the audience – Answer the viewer’s question: Why should I give you 30 seconds of my time?
  • Excite – Build interest – Why should I continue to listen/watch?
  • Amaze – Hook – Why is this book/movie different?
  • Direct – Directive – How do I learn more or buy?

Movie Trailers usually come in three time frames:

  1. Teaser – a year ahead – Build buzz. Film still in production
  2. Coming soon – a month before – Intro plot line
  3. Out now – opening week to month – excite/directive to see

What I realized as I watched a number of movie trailers is the time frame effects how much of the LEAD structure is used.

  1. Teaser trailer – focus on Lead and Excite
  2. Coming Soon trailer – full LEAD cycle
  3. Out Now trailer – focus on the Amaze and Directive

Trailer LEAD Sweeps

Alice Through The Looking Glass!

Alice Through the Looking GlassAlthough the focus of this website is book trailers, I sometimes find a movie trailer has similar elements. Coming in May 2016 is Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass! The movie is the sequel to the 2010 Tim Burton production of Alice in Wonderland with Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

In Nov 5, 2015 the first trailer was released. It is what is known as a teaser trailer, to give a hint of what is to come. This trailer uses the same LEAD structure as a book trailer.

  1. Lead – (Answer the viewer’s question: Why should I give you 30 seconds of my time?)
  2. Excite – Build interest – (Why should I continue to listen/watch?)
  3. Amaze – Hook – (Why is this book different?)
  4. Direct – Directive – (How do I learn more or buy?)



Nov 5, 2015 the Teaser Trailer

  1. Lead – Start with the classic Disney castle turning like a clock to ticking. The first 20 seconds references the 2010 film, then Alice falls through the door.
  2. Excite – A poem to introduce the new story, ending with “Time is a he!”
  3. Amaze – Hook – Quick scenes of the new setting. “Saving the Hatter is only a matter of time.”
  4. Direct – Directive – Memorial Day 2016

The focus is bridging the previous movie to the new tale.

Feb 15, 2016 – The Second Trailer.

The approach is quite different. A brief Disney logo then introduce Alice. 13 seconds in and as the butterfly passes through the mirror the song “White Rabbit” written by Grace Slick starts. While the movie version is performed by Pink, it sounds like the Jefferson Airplane original.

Now the trailer focuses on special effects and atmosphere. There are few hints about the story ending with the hook “Don’t be Late.”

I find comparing these two trailers fascinating. The first attracts with story, the second with music and effects.