How The Scott Pilgrim Trailer Got Interactive

The upcoming comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has a fine nerd pedigree — adapted by Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright, the film appears to be faithful to the source material’s love of video game culture, with a heavy emphasis on 8-bit nostalgia. But while the film’s latest bit of promotion embraces that love of retro technology, it’s also the very forefront of modern video interactivity.

Sure, the interactive trailer, created by i-Trailers, kicks off with auto-playing opening screen music, which is a bit annoying — though you have to respect the way in which the embed evokes the beginning of a classic Nintendo game, just one of the touches which makes this trailer so much fun. (“Better than most DVD bonus features,” as Meredith Woerner at io9 put it.)

The interactive Scott Pilgrim trailer allows viewers to click anywhere while watching — those clicks leading you to detailed information about the film’s production, often narrated directly by Wright. Within the first minute of watching, I’d learned about the strangeness of the house where they shot the first house party, noticed that Ramona Flowers was wearing roller blades while delivering a package and heard Wright explain the reasoning behind Scott Pilgrim’s eclectic media collection.

These are just some of the facts that Wright provided to the team at i-Trailers, which created the interactive trailer for Universal. According to CEO Mark Woollen, with whom I spoke via phone, the i-Trailers team showed Wright showed him a mock-up a couple of months ago, and “He got it immediately, how it could work like a video game,” Woollen said. “He was just really cooperative.”

Wright not only gave the team access to the behind-the-scenes footage he’d already shot for Scott Pilgrim and walked them through some of the film’s more buried secrets, but recorded an hour of commentary for them specifically on the trailer. That audio, plus the other links and information, mean that there are approximately 59 facts that a devoted user of the trailer can activate, which then gives them access to bonus content at the end of the trailer (depending on how many points they score while watching).

Woollen said that he’s seen people say online that they’ve spent half an hour to an hour fully exploring the trailer’s secrets. i-Trailers measures the length of user engagement, and while Universal keeps those metrics confidential, Woollen says, “They are from what I understand very, very happy.”

It took a team of half a dozen programmers and creatives about a month to create the Pilgrim trailer, which has now moved onto other projects — Woollen promises that we can expect more i-Trailers within the next few months. (He could not comment on whether the upcoming Facebook biopic The Social Network might be one of the films to receive the interactive treatment, but i-Trailers did create the film’s widely-applauded teaser and full-length trailers.)

Woollen says that i-Trailers evolved out of the belief that “We’re at a place where it feels like trailers and how we interact with them on the web needed to evolve.

“Why not give people a deeper experience than just watching two and a half minutes and moving on?” he added.

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