Concept and execute the trailer for AMC’s new mini-series, The War of the Worlds, by developing a creative that feels fresh, new and even provocative to appeal to AMC’s The Walking Dead and Sci-Fi fanbase.
Talk about an interesting project to take on in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It’s as though author, H.G. Wells, had a crystal ball. But telling this well-known story in a new way was just the challenge that we needed to keep ourselves distracted from our own crazy reality.
Understanding the current climate of uncertainty, we began brainstorming and concepting for this project with a focus on positioning the series in a way that would not further exacerbate the audience’s anxieties and fears of the present-day situation. This forced us to look at the entire story from a different angle and led us to explore both alternative narratives and genres for inspiration. While the story is based in science fiction, horror and thriller movie trailers provided a great source for storytelling techniques that create suspense and anticipation without being so revealing as to instigate feelings of fright or panic.
We also explored how sound design could serve as a character in order to give us the flexibility to avoid revealing the enemy. That said, we also wanted to experiment with the absence of sound and its ability to have an unsettling impact on the audience.
The selected concept, titled ‘Surveillance,’ embraced all of these components.
Upon working with this concept in edit, we began to find that the creative became more impactful the more we teased the doom and destruction. As such, the first half of the edit focuses on imagery that foreshadows the invasion with an uneasy sense of being watched before taking a turn to reveal mere hints of the immediate outfall. True to the concept pitch, the trailer ends with a cliffhanger amidst an intense scene without ever fully revealing the invader.
The War of the Worlds was first published in 1898 as a commentary on British Imperialism and Victorian culture, but was most infamously dramatized by Orson Welles in his 1938 radio program, said to spark public panic of an alien invasion.