24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Star Trek

Trailer music: The sounds that marketed Spock, Spidey and more

April 8, 2012 |  5:00 am

Star Trek, Spider-Man 2 & Avatar

From the orchestra that backs the Starship Enterprise to the choirs that follow Spider-Man swinging through New York City, music for trailers has drawn a larger public spotlight in recent years with the releases of previews becoming higher-profile events.

In Sunday's Calendar section, we explore the fact that much of the music featured in advertising for movies is produced by trailer music libraries. These companies compose music (typically one- to three-minute tracks) for clients at studios and trailer editing houses, who then select pieces from the libraries’ albums to license for use in previews.

Here are the stories of how some of that music attracted fan followings for four of those libraries.

“Star Trek” (Trailer music library: Two Steps From Hell)
The third trailer for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” set records, as it was viewed more than 1.8 million times during its first 24 hours on apple.com in March 2009. Featuring the track “Freedom Fighters” by Two Steps From Hell, the preview put the Los Angeles-based trailer music library on the map.

In a deviation from most trailers that include multiple cues of music, the majestic yet ethereal track plays throughout the preview. “That gave people some time to latch onto the music,” said Thomas Bergersen, co-founder of Two Steps From Hell.

“Avatar” (Trailer music library: Audiomachine)
Later in 2009, “Avatar” broke “Star Trek’s” record with the teaser trailer for the soon-to-be box office king. It was viewed more than 4 million times during its first day on apple.com. So the rest of its marketing campaign had a lot of early hype to live up to. Twentieth Century Fox hired several trailer editing houses to try their hand at cutting advertising for the film before the studio decided on Culver City-based company Wild Card.

“When we were dealing with something that was as out of the box as 'Avatar,' it's often great to have multiple sets of eyes and different perspectives looking at it because there are many ways to attack it,” said “Avatar” producer Jon Landau. “By going out to a couple different trailer companies, we were able to see how different people looked at the material, which was very helpful.”

The first full-length trailer for “Avatar” featured the tracks “Akkadian Empire” and “Guardians at the Gate,” both by Beverly Hills-based library Audiomachine. Nick Temple, owner of Wild Card, said of the latter track, “While it was still big and felt like it was a huge ride, there was still an emotional sense to it.”

Watch the trailer below, where “Akkadian Empire” begins one minute and six seconds in, followed by “Guardians at the Gate,” which plays through the end. (The first music cue is from the score for Michael Bay’s “The Island.”)

“Spider-Man 2” (Trailer music library: Immediate Music)
In 2004, the marketing for Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2” pushed Immediate Music (one of the first trailer music libraries, founded in 1993) into a bigger public spotlight. Their track “Lacrimosa Dominae” plays from 1:50 to the end of the trailer below.

“The last 45 seconds of the trailer, they blasted the music –- there were no sound effects… no dialog, no narration,” said Yoav Goren, president of Immediate. “So it was really one of the first times you could really hear a trailer track on its own. And I think that also spurred people wanting to buy this stuff.”

The track is on one of Immediate’s public release albums, “Trailerhead.”

“How to Train Your Dragon” (Trailer music library: Future World Music)
Future World Music’s rousing and adventure-ready track “Dream Chasers” fueled the second half of the trailer for “How to Train Your Dragon.” The track runs from 1:09 to 1:57 in the video below.

“That was one of the big campaigns that I think really blew the door off for us,” said Future World owner Armen Hambar. “We just couldn’t believe how much of a response we got.”

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‘Hunger Games’ trailer music may be beginning of new trend

– Emily Rome

twitter.com/EmilyNRome

Photo: Trailers for J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek," "Spider-Man 2" and "Avatar" have featured music composed by trailer music libraries. Credits: (from left) Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox.


'Star Trek,' by way of Wall Street and romance

October 20, 2011 |  2:07 pm

Yelch
It will be a while before a new "Star Trek " movie hits--it won't even start shooting until at least 2012. But those yearning for a taste of the USS Enterprise might sate their craving with a visit to the local art house, where a pair of actors from the 2009 reboot are set to bring out new movies.

"Margin Call," a financial-crisis drama that Zachary Quinto produced and stars in, opens this weekend. (The man who plays Spock tells my colleague Rebecca Keegan that he's "training, working on getting in some serious shape" for a "big sequence" in the "Star Trek" sequel.)

And next week comes "Like Crazy," a tale of tormented young love that stars Anton Yelchin, the actor who incarnated Russian teenage prodigy Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abrams' '09 picture.

The L.A.-raised Yelchin loses the accent and, in some cases, the words, in his new emo romantic tale. (More on that one shortly.) But after heavily promoting the indie over the past few months, he's getting back into a "Star Trek" frame of mind, he told 24 Frames.

"For me, it's seeing what else i can do to the character, charting some growth," he said of his preparations. "So I'm re-watching all the shows and and trying to get to that place."

Chekov was played by Walter Koenig in the original series, his relative youth and Monkees haircut appealing to a younger audience. Yelchin, too, is the junior of costars such as Chris Pine and Quinto; he's 22, while the men who play Kirk and Spock are in their early 30s. Both Koenig and Yelchin's  mispronunciation of certain words offered comic relief in Abrams' sci-fi tale.

The filmmaker told us this summer that he and his team were working methodically but deliberately on the new movie. "There was a lot of desire [on the studio side] to fast-track a new 'Star Trek' and have it be shooting already," Abrams said. "And in theory we could have done that. But what all of us [the creative team] were concerned about is the release date be the master we were serving. Nothing is more disheartening than something going in front of the camera before it's ready."

Abrams was careful about offering plot details. But fans frustrated by the secrecy might take comfort in knowing that, well, the actors aren't in a much better position. "They keep us in the dark until the last possible moment too," Yelchin said.

RELATED:

Zachary Quinto getting into Spock shape for sequel

J.J. Abrams eager for 'Star Trek' sequel but says he won't rush it

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Anton Yelchin in "Star Trek." Credit: Paramount Pictures


J.J. Abrams eager for 'Star Trek' sequel but says he won't rush it

July 28, 2011 | 12:08 pm

Trek

"Star Trek" fans were heartened this weekend when one person involved in the 2009 reboot said that the planets were finally aligning for a sequel. A movie that continues the prequel adventures of the young crew of the USS Enterprise could potentially begin shooting next year, producer Damon Lindelof told several outlets, with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and the rest of the crew back on board.

On Wednesday, J.J. Abrams, who is expected to return to direct the new movie, told 24 Frames that the process is finally kicking into gear but that he and his team need to remain deliberate about it.

"What works, in the feature world and television, is something that has real staying power," Abrams said. "We're working hard on that, making the kind of headway that frankly I wish we were able to make months ago. But you can't do everything."

Photos: 'Star Trek': You'd never guess these stars were Trekkies

The schedules of many of the principals has indeed been stacked with other projects. Abrams has spent much of the time since the first "Star Trek" concentrating on "Super 8," his throwback monster movie that has become a breakout hit earlier this summer. He's also had a full plate on the television side, shepherding the new Fox prison series "Alcatraz" and new CBS conspiracy-thriller "Person of Interest" (more on "Person of Interest" shortly).

"Star Trek" writers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, meanwhile, have been working on their drama "Welcome to People," while Lindelof has been working on Ridley Scott's "Prometheus." All three were involved in this weekend's "Cowboys & Aliens."

Kurtzman and Orci have said that parts of the new "Star Trek" movie have been sketched out. But based on Abrams' comments, there's clearly a lot more work to be done, which would mean that the sequel won't start shooting until sometime in 2012 at the earliest.

Paramount is itching for a new "Star Trek" installment, what with the last film taking in $386 million around the world and earning critical plaudits to boot. (The studio had tentatively said the movie could come out next June; that's obviously not going to happen.)

Abrams acknowledged that he felt pressure to up the pace but said he felt he needed to push back. "There was a lot of desire [on the studio side] to fast-track a new 'Star Trek' and have it be shooting already," Abrams said. "And in theory we could have done that. But what all of us [the creative team] were concerned about is the release date be the master we were serving.

"Nothing is more disheartening than something going in front of the camera before it's ready. The crew can feel it and the cast can feel it. It's just a heart-attack machine."

RELATED:

'Star Trek' app: Does your iPad need an Enterprising spirit?

'Star Trek': Twitter users give James T. Kirk the death he deserved

Video: Damon Lindelof talks about What's next for the 'Star Trek' Starfleet

— Steven Zeitchik
twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Zachary Quinto, left, and Chris Pine in "Star Trek." Credit: Paramount Pictures.


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