Movie trailer editor gives pointers to video classes

Chronicle Staff

By Chelsea Khakshouri


Trailer editor Josh Stallings, who has worked on trailers for movies including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Harry Potter,” spoke to Video Art I, Video Art II and Video Art III students on Dec. 2 about the process of editing a movie into a trailer.

“First, I sit and watch the movie, then I break it down,” Stallings said.

Stalling shrinks down the footage of the movie to his favorite 20 to 30 minutes of footage and then repeats the process.

“Everything I love is in that time line,” Stallings said.

The next step is to break down that footage into themes like romantic scenes, explosions, and laughs. This will give the editor a way of knowing where something is.

Xochi Maberry-Gaulke ’12 and Marka Maberry-Gaulke ’12, who are family friends of Stallings, asked him to visit Video Art II.

Students in the class had just done a project that included editing their own trailer to the movie “Garden State” after having watched it in class. Stallings had coincidentally done a teaser for “Garden State” himself, which he showed to the classes after critiquing the student-made trailers.

Stallings gave students tips for their trailers including advising that they use a “button,” something that happens after the title and credit block are shown.

He also told students that painful moments like hospital scenes are generally better left out of trailers.

Stallings stressed the importance of music in a trailer. He had students close their eyes and listen to his trailer for the movie “Crash” before actually watching it. He asked the students to discuss the emotions the music provoked and how the music changed throughout the trailer.

Stallings said that there is “something about understanding the rhythm of how every movie works” and that once one figures it out, the next step is to “get inside it.” He told students that for the trailer of “World Trade Center,” a song by Coldplay was bought for half a million dollars just to get the youth to see it.

Stallings works with a crew that includes a music supervisor, a graphic department and assistants.

“I’m so deep into it I can’t see the bigger picture,” Stallings said.

That is when the director comes in and makes suggestions and revisions.