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BEHIND THE TRAILER Spotlight: Rogue Planet

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Alongside our trailer-specific Behind The Trailer Q&As, we are excited to highlight the individual agencies and editors behind the biggest and most notable campaigns with our ‘spotlight’ features.

As the Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, said in a Q&A this week: “a small band of people who believe is what you need” to make something to be proud of. So it’s no surprise to find out that the agency behind some of the most highly-anticipated and well received trailers of the past year is a self-described ‘family’ of 6 which, according to producer Jacky Shu, can really take anything thrown at them – from the biggest blockbusters to even Oliver Stone’s latest.

“We have super “nerdy” film lovers that are interested in art/indie films, and then others who just like watching stuff get blown up. Because of that, every project that comes in, has its designated audience represented on our team. So we’re always happy to get any project that gets thrown at us. Each film poses it’s own challenge, or exciting test, on how to sell itself and each individual project is so different that we’re always down to work on a variety of genres.”

Rogue Planet’s Comic-Con trailer for Oliver Stone’s Snowden

The North Hollywood-based Rogue Planet haven’t been around for very long – only a year or so according to creative director Ben Snyder. But thanks to the team coming off of high-profile campaigns such as 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and the Pirates of the Caribbean series, as well as retained connections with the studios and filmmakers, they have scored big over the time they’ve been around. Their biggest recent work highlights include the first look at Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, and of course, their work on Fox’s ‘X-Universe’: the final trailer for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse and the unforgettable pair of trailers for James Mangold’s equally unforgettable Logan.

While the team understandably wouldn’t go into details on their experiences working with the likes of Mangold, Bay and Singer, Jacky highlights that filmmakers have varying levels of input from project to project, “[whether] it’s watching the finished product and giving their input, or being hands on since the beginning. Most filmmakers always have a passion not only for their projects but also for marketing the movie. Every director is different, but we’re always happy to accommodate however hands-on a filmmaker wants to be”.

The ‘red-band’ cut of Rogue Planet’s teaser trailer for Logan.

Does tackling these highly-anticipated ‘fanboy projects’ like Logan or The LEGO Batman Movie, where fans and professionals alike will pick apart every single frame, add pressure when putting the trailers together? Of course it does, Jacky says, but “[we] love it”. She also adds that this level of scrutiny “plays a huge role in what we put out. The studios are always interested in what the fans of specific genres or projects want to see and we take all that into consideration”.

And to have those working on breaking down and re-assembling these films into two-minute pieces of advertising be as passionate about them as the fan bases who see the end product helps – according to Jacky, “that’s constantly mirrored in what we put out in our trailers and TV spots”.

Rogue Planet’s final trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse.

If there’s one thing a film fan tends to dislike most when anticipating a film, it’s spoilers. The team at Rogue Planet sees the issue of trailers revealing key plot points and surprises as a balancing act – while believing that “less is always more”, there are times where “to tell story, you have to expose story. That’s why sometimes a film will come out with a teaser that is very minimal and just gives you a glimpse, but the point of the trailer is to be more story based”. Jacky adds that for her, a great trailer “tells you everything you need to know and nothing at all at the same time”, and that “[if] the viewers criticize how much of the story is being exposed, then in theory, they’re also intrigued with the movie”. The trailer or piece of marketing in question still does its job.

Rogue Planet’s teaser trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight.

As the years go by, and release platforms for marketing develop, so do the actual forms of trailers and spots. When asked about what sort of pieces they enjoy working on most as well as their favourite part of the whole process, Jacky once again highlights the small team’s variety not just in terms of the different genres they can tackle, but also all these different formats.

“We love that we can be apart of an industry that’s changing and growing all the time.  Five years ago we would have never thought that we’d be cutting social media campaigns or that Snapchat would be so big that our frame formats would have to be altered.  Every year poses a new exciting form of marketing that challenges us to look at a film differently. Lucky for Rogue Planet we’ve developed a really well rounded group where some of our expertise lies in the younger social media crowd, some of it is in the short format of TV spots and teasers and some of them just love cutting in the longer format of trailers.  I think what excites our team the most is when we get in a new project and we all sit down to brainstorm about how to cleverly sell the material, and then being able to ride that high all the way up to the movie opens.  We are so lucky to be in a business where we can be creative and make a living doing so.  We owe a lot of our happiness to the filmmakers who keep putting out interesting and amazing movies and studios that continue to entrust us with their movies.”

 A big thank you to Ben and Jacky at Rogue Planet – for more of their work, including TV spots for Assassin’s Creed and Sleepless, trailers for Eddie The Eagle, The Purge: Election Year and more; head over to their website at rogueplanetav.com

(header image via rogueplanetav.com)