Going Behind the Scenes with Trailer Park: An Interview with Kevin Van Belois, President of Content, Trailer Park.
By Jeff Finkle
AdForum: What are the goals studios are looking to hit when they approach you for a piece of content?
Kevin: Since timing is incredibly important, studios want to build up as much anticipation as possible in the short space of time leading up to and around the launch of a film as possible. While trailers are essential to a studio’s marketing campaign, content allows studios to push the audience to an emotional extreme. This can occur through humor, fear, sadness, enlightenment, anger or any other strong emotional trigger. Studios recognize that content is delivered across a variety of traditional and digital or mobile pathways and is consumed on devices from television sets to smartphones, tablets and PCs, both inside and outside the home. Value-driven content builds trust, sparks relationships and grows deep connections with viewers. This maximizes the viewership and exposure studios desire.
AdForum: In general, what’s the most exciting aspect of working on behind-the-scenes content?
Kevin: Shooting behind-the-scenes content is an exciting experience all around – from working with some of the biggest stars and directors on-set here in Hollywood, to traveling to exotic locales to capture special effects, stunts and more – we feel lucky to be able to show audiences how their favorite films came to be, to shed some light on the magic behind-the-scenes. Every time we shoot content, each experience is unique to that specific campaign, which is exciting in itself.
AdForum: When requesting behind-the-scenes content, do clients prefer a series of behind-the-scenes content or are these usually one offs?
Kevin: I think it truly just depends on the client, their goals and the particular project at hand. Episodic content organizes your story by an overarching theme, which helps keep your audience on-track and engaged. It also helps you build anticipation by creating a narrative and then disrupting that narrative with breaks. Analytics show episodic content makes a lasting impact on readers and often performs better than one-off pieces. Episodic content has the power to build loyalty and awareness; by promising your audience consistent content on a topic that’s relevant to them, they are more likely to return. Also, episodic content shines in its ability to convey large topics in several smaller content pieces that both capture your audience’s attention and gives them time to contemplate the information they learned.
AdForum: What’s your favorite piece of content your team has put out in the last couple of years?
Kevin: I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have a favorite piece of content per se, but I can say that each piece of content has its own aspect of enjoyability. Certainly since we worked on “The Hobbit” trilogy from beginning of production through all theatrical and home entertainment releases – that one has a special place in my heart since we lived in that world for over four years. Having that much time around one film or franchise is very rare – and very rewarding.
AdForum: What’s your favorite type of content to put out?
Kevin: In 2017, there’s such a wide array of content, it’s hard to say or choose my favorite type of content. Keeping in mind that research statistics show that video is responsible for more conversions than any other type of content, I do enjoy the thrill associated with watching the number of views increase and/or reviewing the number of comments, likes and shares our social posts receive.
AdForum: Tell us a little about your team – how do you approach a shoot together?
Kevin: The best strategy in the world goes nowhere without a team in place to execute. My team and I take a synergistic approach when it comes to defining the workflow, content ideation and the production process. When it comes to content, it’s imperative that the people on your team are passionate about the work that they’re producing – every step of the way. At Trailer Park, we’ve built the ideal content marketing team structure by finding the right person for each step of the process. Over the years, we’ve built up the best and most talented creative team in our business. I’m incredibly proud to work with them.
AdForum: How has the role of behind-the-scenes content changed since you started working? Are there trends that have come and gone? What does the future look like, to you?
Kevin: Behind-the-scenes and extra content have been around for years, but the social media landscape is certainly pushing audiences to want more of it. Obviously, you no longer have to wait for the DVD & Blu-ray & digital version to come out to get to the extras. Audiences today want not only to watch a film or a show, but to feel connected with all aspects of that show, and that includes the “making of”. An increase in the demand for extra content, especially episodic content, which audiences can follow day-to-day or week-to-week, is a natural extension of a digital climate that allows audiences unprecedented access to celebrities.
As for trends, we may begin seeing more of a use of live-video streaming, such as with Facebook Live, in addition to pre-shot and edited content. The immediacy of live video creates a sort of intimacy with the audience, not to mention the potential for interaction there. There’s also certainly been an increase in the amount of content created for a given film. It’s about building interest from as many people as possible across our fractured (and growing) media landscape.
AdForum: Personally, what’s the best part about your job?
Kevin: The best part about my job is that no day is the same. I am never ever bored, and I get to work on amazing films and TV shows that I love. I feel like the happiest “kid” in the world when I’m working.