David James Rosen’s work has been streamed hundreds of millions of times on YouTube. He’s played a key role in some of pop culture’s biggest recent moments. But outside of the intersection of the entertainment and marketing industries, few people know his name.
As a composer, Rosen is at the forefront of the trailering movement. He has been called upon for his ability to rework existing songs in order to maximize their impact in movie and TV show trailers.
He tied the vocals and motifs from Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” into a thunderous version of the “Stranger Things” theme for Volume 2 of the show’s fourth season. He intertwined a cover of Nigerian singer Tems’ “No Woman No Cry” with Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” in the teaser for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” to see how the future of the franchise and its legacy meet. symbolizes He made Taylor Swift’s “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” an ominous song for the nefarious puppet thriller “M3GAN.”he added the universe Elton John’s classic rock classic “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” brings the drama to life in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantomania.
As potential audiences are flooded with more and more options, studios have limited opportunities to build anticipation for their projects. Easier. “People want their films to have their own identity,” Rosen said in an interview at a coffee shop in Los Angeles. In terms of capabilities, it’s out of the bottle. Clients, studios, agencies, everyone knows it and wants to tap into it.”
Rosen spent his twenties playing guitar in the New Jersey band Parlor Mob. After moving to Los Angeles in 2014, he got a job as an in-house composer at Trailer House, the professional production company behind these promotions. Three years later, he co-founded Totem, a music library where he creates custom tracks for trailers. Many of Rosen’s creations are originals, but it’s the overhauls that get the most attention.
“It’s almost impossible for a song to go into a trailer and do well,” he said. “Maybe it needs to be more epic and emotional, maybe it needs to pull things apart and feel more sensitive.”
Trailing is a relatively new term and the difference is malleable. There are usually reimaginings, which are instrumental covers by composers. There are overlays where elements are added to the song to varying degrees. Then there are the remixes, in which the source material is distinctly changed, often shifting the context.
Some distinguish between remixes and overlays by what the composer has to play. If you have a complete set of stems (the isolated digital parts that make up a song), it’s a remix. If the stem is not available, it’s an overlay.
Occasionally, composers are asked to create “invisible overlays”. There, you make adjustments that most listeners won’t notice, but tweak the song towards a more widescreen sound.
The trailer process is so common now that even if the trailer uses the film’s original score, it will be adjusted as well. “The trailer is a mini version of the movie,” said Kato, the unnamed composer credited with running Vangelis’ system update for “Blade Runner 2049.” The trailer and gives Guns N’ Roses an anguished-to-shattered remix of Jason Momoa’s Netflix revenge movie Sweet Girl.
“You have to get people into the theater and tell a story in two and a half minutes,” added Kate. “It’s so intense and builds so quickly that most of the music written for the actual film is drawn out for too long.”
In the past, trailers often relied on scores from previously released films, a practice that is essentially prohibited. However, it required a recording studio full of musicians, making it an expensive and resource-intensive task. Today, software developments have made it easier than ever to simulate these sounds.
“You can’t sit at your computer at home and realize there’s not a 100-piece orchestra,” says Rosen. ‘I couldn’t do it 10 years ago’
many people point out The 2010 trailer for “The Social Network” — featuring a Belgian female choir singing “Creep” by Radiohead — was the origin of what has become a trend for trailers. Recent examples include Liza Ann’s version of “Dreams” by the Cranberries in “Aftersun” and “Chucky”. Includes Bellsaint’s interpretation of REM’s “Losing My Religion” in the second season of the TV series.
Sanaz Lavaedian, senior vice president of music at trailer house Mocean, said when she entered the industry in 2011, there was still a lot of resistance from artists who didn’t want their music used for commercial purposes. It is said that there was Cover provided a workaround. Now that more musicians are struggling to make a living, they’re becoming more open to trailers that not only use their music, but alter it.
“There were so many bands that didn’t think licensing was cool, so they never let us license it,” Lavedian said. “Now they’re like, ‘Oh, are we going to make $500,000 from this? Who cares?'”
Many high-profile trailers have been applied to decades-old songs. “If you could remix an Elton John song or a Beatles song, these are iconic artists,” Lavedian said. “The moment you hear their voice, you know who it is. And it carries a lot of weight. It carries more weight than the cover.”
Composer Bryce Miller’s big breakthrough came in 2019 with the trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This featured his custom orchestral rendition of “Over the Rainbow” over images of monster carnage. His later accomplishments include a modernized version of “House of Gucci” of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” an orchestral blend of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” and “Wednesday’s” Addams Family Theme, and Nirvana’s Forgotten. Includes overlays that cannot be “Something in the Way” from the “The Batman” trailer.
“If you can get rid of the outdated-sounding guitars and drums, you can build a more contemporary production that has a more pop sound,” says Miller. “Older recordings sound a little thin, lacking the weight found in many modern songs.”
Unique remixes began to appear in trailers dating back to the mid-2010s, but it was the remix of Jordan Peele’s 2019 film Us that really started to take studios and audiences’ attention. In a fresh interpretation with penetrating strings and moody vibes, Auckland duo Luniz’s celebratory weed his rap deeply disturbing.
“Sometimes we get one of the Game Changer trailers,” says Lavaedian. The “Us” trailer breaks the song down to its bones and rebuilds it to do what the movie needed. It was kind of groundbreaking. “
Mark Woolen Founder of trailer house Mark Woolen & Associates, he specializes in award-season movies and has been responsible for the transformative “Social Network” trailer. A New York magazine once called him “the unparalleled writer of the trailer age.”
Woolen said in a phone interview that modern trailers are mostly devoid of omniscient narration (i.e. the cliche “in a world…” setting is gone) and the film has less dialogue. . The trailer “could be more impressive and elliptical in storytelling,” he said. “It’s about creating emotion in a lot of the work.”
As a result, trailer soundtracks are becoming more and more important. “Sometimes for us music is 80-90% of the process for him,” says Woolen. “I try to cast the right music that inspires, sets the rhythm and tone, tells the character and the story, and hopefully makes an impression.”
Amazon’s recent love triangle, “My Policeman,” used Cat Power’s “Sea of Love,” a romantic favorite among aging millennials. Cat Power’s original interpretation was stripped down to singer Chan Marshall’s voice and autoharp strums, but Woolen had the composer layer on bulging strings as the drama grew more tense. .
Songs are often chosen for trailers because, in addition to providing atmosphere, the lyrics convey the narrative theme of the film. Woolen chose “Sea of Love” not only because it’s mysterious and enchanting. He was equally guided by the refrain “I want to tell you how much I love you” and the ambiguity of who that “you” is.
In the trailer for Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, sound design highlights Elton John’s singing as the heroes realize the enormity of the predicament they’ve found themselves in. I listened to my old man. “
Deciding which songs to use in the trailer and how to use them may involve the studio marketers, the filmmakers, the team at the trailer house, and the composers. Creating a trailer can take years and is often covered by restrictive non-disclosure agreements. So even after it’s published, the people behind it can’t discuss the details of its creation.
The material is so protected that musicians rarely see the images included in the trailer. Instead, you’ll have to rely on the mobile home’s music supervisor or creative his director to guide you through the initiation and multiple revisions. “We’re dealing with literally billions of dollars in undisclosed assets,” Lavedian said of the film’s footage. “There’s no way to send it to the composer.”
unless you know Everywhere you look on the Internet, the work created by the composer of the trailer is rarely credited, and is sometimes contractually credited. It is being created, says Rosen. “They work as part of the marketing.”
But that may be changing.
When agency Trailer Park approached Miller about trailering the first volume of Stranger Things’ fourth season, he was told the overall plot and tone of the episode. He had long wanted to do something with Journey’s “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” which was also on the Agency shortlist.
After spending months on his ominous remix, it’s now in the final stages of the approval process, which the original musicians must approve. The song’s singer, Steve Perry, liked it and came to Miller’s studio to help create an extended remix. He then asked Netflix to release both versions with an official soundtrack bearing Miller’s name.
Miller called Perry exciting and a pleasure to work with. “He’s kind of like a runaway train, too. As soon as ‘Stranger Things’ ended, he was like, ‘What’s next?'” It’s trailer and they collaborated again on the Hulu series Welcome to Chippendales.
Where do big-headed trailers go next? More recently, there’s been a lot of interest in 1990s alternative rock hits, with Spacehog and Toadies remixes of “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” and “Midnight Club.” Appears in the trailer of. In promoting “Babylon,” the team of composers known as Superhumans created a jazz-era-influenced interpretation of David Bowie’s “Fame” that’s as nutty as the film itself.
Rosen hopes the trend continues by working with decades of material. “There’s more opportunity for creativity from me and others,” he said. “I think this is new life for many of these artists’ songs.”