April 9th, 2018 | Gage Allen
How to break into
the game trailer
Whenever I get asked how I go into this line of work, and how someone can break into the game industry, there is usually an assumption I went to school for it and traveled among a more traditional path. That was not the case.
I discovered my passion for film and storytelling when I was around 7 years old, so I ended up teaching myself the art of filmmaking. I spent several years just making things. Some of those were fan trailers, others were short films. I just made stuff, and always looked to improve myself with my next project. Eventually, I got good enough and moved up in advanced VFX and editing programs, such as After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut, Boujou, Mocha, etc... and simply used my curiosity and the internet to learn how to do new things.
I had also learned during that time that "The greatest calamity of all is not to have failed, but to have failed to try", which basically means if you don't make the attempt at first, you'll never know what the outcome would have been. This rings so true for many of the things I am doing now. All it takes is the will to at least try, and if you do so, you may be surprised at how something that others consider not possible, ends up being possible.
However, a good understanding of failure is pertinent when taking on this type of philosophy. Reason being that if you let failure own you every time it happens, you'll become more and more hesitant to keep trying, which can slow down your ability to achieve what you want to achieve. I know this because it's happened to me before. It was difficult, but I managed to get past this by realizing that failure is just life's way of testing you to see if you really deserve that end goal you want. It's life's way of making you earn it. If you feel like the failure of something is too much at times, remind yourself why you got into this world in the first place, and ask yourself if it's worth it to keep going. If it is, then stand back up and keep charging. Keep trying. You'll never know unless you take that next step. If it's not, then find take it as a sign that there is more for your in another field, career, etc...
I didn't drop $100k on a film school degree, I didn't hope for an internship, I stuck my because I decided that betting on building the experience now, instead of later, would pay off.
The biggest mistake you can do is to stop making things. To stop improving your skill by creating something. Have some free time where you aren't studying? Go out and make something, or capture some gameplay and edit it together into a trailer. Approach some indie developers and ask if they need a trailer of sorts. Read up online on some things that make a good trailer. All of that you can do at any time, and have no need to wait until you get your degree to do that. Starting now will give you a head start when you approach a trailer company or a studio about being their video producer after you do end up getting your degree.
All of this helped me get to one of my first viral trailers, which came from offering to do a trailer for a game that I saw didn't have one officially. That game was SCP: Containment Breach. I just posted on the forums there and asked if there was a need for a trailer, the community responded saying I could do a fan made one, but then to my surprise the developer of the game responded and said "Absolutely!". So I took my knowledge of stuff, and tried new things, and ended up making the first official trailer for the game. When that came out it ended up exploding all over the internet. I then went on to make a second one, which became even more popular.
Overtime I ended up working with larger and bigger companies. Eventually I decided to start my own company, which became Player One Trailers. From there things just grew and became much larger than I was expecting.
But it all stems from the fact that I always take that first step, and see what the results are. In this industry you will have some bad experiences, but it's important to keep going past them, and remind yourself why you love this.
That would be my advice. Never stop trying. Never stop making. Never let failure own you.
Another good tip: Get a portfolio together. Even if it's just small stuff or fan stuff. Having a site to send to developers when approaching them about trailers, or offering it as a service, is very important in letting them judge you by your work.
Hope that helps!"