The premise is simple: magic users vs. religious leaders. “War is coming.”
This trailer is a minute and thirteen seconds long. All I can think after watching it is, “I’m hungry. Popcorn sounds good.”
Perhaps that sounds harsh. Maybe it is. Maybe I’ll rethink this opening and replace it with something kinder.
But maybe I won’t. Maybe I’m feeling just a bit too snarky for that.
If I wanted empty, tired fare, then I’d watch television sitcoms. The only time I do that is when I walk by the television when my boys are watching one of their teen soaps and get sucked in by something totally ridiculous, something totally incredulous, and just watch to see how totally absurd it can get. I’m rarely disappointed, but it’s not like it’s satisfying either. (Of course, I’ll also admit that I’ve re-watched two of the teen soaps from my own generation and enjoyed them, but they seemed somehow meatier, though just as unrealistic.)
I read because I want my appetite for story satisfied. I want to come away full.
All I know from watching this trailer is that magic users are up against religious leaders and they’re vying for the same finite powers. Sound like a B fantasy movie to you? It certainly does to me. You know, the kind you really watch because of the hot guy/girl and the likelihood of a sugar rush. Not a cult classic. Those have “hidden” substance. I’m talking about the kind of movie you can’t remember the name of five minutes into it, even when the name of the movie is the name of the main character.
What was that guy’s name? Oh, yeah, I forgot… It doesn’t matter, because he’s just a cardboard cutout.
Granted, there’s a place for fluff. Fluff sells. It doesn’t draw sales, but it sells.
Still, try as I might, I can’t find anything good to say about it.
And the thing of it is, I don’t actually know the book is fluff. I just think it is. Because all the trailer gave me was fluff.
So, here’s the lesson: There’s nothing particularly wrong with a weak, generic premise (like magic users vs. religious leaders), but you really should bring something fresh and splendid to it (great characters, a fresh spin, awesome plotting—you know, the good stuff). However, you should NOT lead with a weak, generic premise. And, whatever you do, don’t let your weak, generic premise be your actual pitch, i.e. the only subject matter of your trailer. ‘Cause, like I said, fluff sells, but it’s not like people actually go out of their way to buy it.