Meet J. Martín Téllez — the winner of our August 2018 Trailer Editing Contest and a recent graduate of The Art of Trailer Editing. We were excited to talk with him and learn more about his background and editing process.
If you didn’t happen to catch his cut during the contest you can watch it again below:
FEP: First, tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been editing and what types of projects have you worked on?
JMT: My name is J. Martín Téllez, I live in Mexico City and I’ve been a video editor for about 10 years. Throughout my career I’ve worked with different brands, animated movies and TV series.
Now, I want to edit more movie trailers because I like the challenge of creating parallel stories and because I think it’s interesting to see how people react to them.
FEP: Let’s talk about your process for this trailer. Which method did you choose to start your rough cut? How did it go?
JMT: It was very difficult because I did not see a clear the way to tell the story at first, but I knew I wanted to create a big impact and also generate emotion.
The first thing I did was edit the audio and mix SFX. Then I let the audio play without video. This helped me to build the right pauses and emotional musical accents. Then, during the peaks of the song I mixed some rises with hits and drops to stop the rhythm and create suspense.
When the audio was finally ready, I began the montage. Editing the picture was easier because I simply chose what I felt were the best moments in the film and mixed shots such as scopes, accents, dials and reactions.
FEP: A cool choice was accenting the comic book shots with SFX beginning at :19. Can you tell us why you did that and how did you decide which ones to use?
JMT: I used those shots because I thought they were an interesting way to illustrate the overall story. By combining the radio voice parallel with the landing and the actors reactions, I think I achieved an interesting story point in the beginning.
FEP: How long did it take you to cut your trailer? Did you have to try many versions before arriving at one that you liked?
JMT: I started to edit one week before the deadline. I was in a rush so I skipped all the initial steps and jumped into the timeline. I finished half of my first version in 2 days and didn’t like it, so I started all over again.
At this point, I followed all the steps in the course – breaking down the dialogue more carefully, picking up key footage with big moments, managing my music bins and building the music bed. I connected all these pieces together in five days!
FEP: One notable aspect of your trailer was very little use of character dialogue. Did you intend to approach it that way from the beginning or was it a natural result of the shots you chose when piecing together the story?
JMT: In my opinion, dialogue in a trailer is very important for the montage section. I wanted my cut to feel more like it belonged to the suspense/horror genre with less dialogue. I found it better that the narrator (radio VO) gave us the premise in act one, and then act three would have a big climax leading to that same narrator. I wanted to leave the audience wondering: what will happen?
FEP: Copy cards: was this your first time editing with them? How did you decide which ones would best compliment your cut and what was your strategy for laying them in?
JMT: The copy cards were the last thing I worked into the cut. When the story was finished I chose some copy that would intensify the emotion during the key musical moments.
FEP: Have you ever tried editing a trailer or promo before? How did it turn out?
JMT: Yes, I’ve edited some trailers before for animated movies and TV series. It’s a long process but amazing to see the result. You can visit my Vimeo page if you want to watch some of them.
FEP: Which part of the editing process did you enjoy the enjoy the most? And the least?
JMT: I enjoy every process, but really love combining audio and music to create great moments. If you can put together an emotional audio base, filling in the picture is a lot easier.
FEP: Why did you decide to enroll in The Art of Trailer Editing? What did you enjoy about it and what were some of the notable things you learned?
JMT: Sometimes I edit trailers for movies and TV series, so this course really helped me cement my storytelling techniques, audio and SFX editing, and most importantly – good project workflow!
FEP: Lastly, congratulations again on being chosen by your peers as this year’s Trailer Contest winner! Is there a way you would like people get in touch for work or otherwise?
JMT: Many thanks to all who chose my trailer, I hope sharing my experience might help with issues you run into during the editing process. The best advice I can give for someone who might be stuck is to always try looking at your cut from another perspective. The most interesting stories are not always linear. If the answer isn’t A, maybe it could be C!
Thanks again and if you want to watch some of my work you can find me on Vimeo.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Art of Trailer Editing and possibly even entering our next contest, sign up below. We’ll send you 3 sample videos from the course with details on how to join.