The trailer for Paper Towns hit the internet today, and fans of the John Green novel are already poring over it, examining every detail of the story they know and love. So far the response is largely positive, with actors Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne receiving high marks for what we’ve seen of their portrayals of the love-struck Quentin “Q” Jacobsen and the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman. While fans of Green’s novel are sure to be excited about the trailer, this is far from the first time that these characters and concepts have been brought to the screen. Unsurprisingly for a beloved book with a large YouTube savvy fanbase, there are more than a few Paper Towns fan trailers floating around and some of them show an impressive level of skill and commitment. We watched them all, and here are eight of our favorites:
One of the most interesting things about fan trailers is how universally their creators seem to agree on which scenes are critical to the book and need to be recreated on film to capture an audience. This fan trailer mirrors several key scenes from the official version.
If YouTube has taught us anything, it’s that sophisticated cameras and editing software are rapidly becoming accessible to everyone. Still, there’s something to be said for the nearly lost art of creating a fan trailer from scraps of footage cut from other films. Commonplace in the early days of YouTube, it’s fallen out of fashion as creators have the ability to perform and edit their own versions of iconic scenes — but it’s interesting to see how some creators pick and choose actors, lines, and moments from a multitude of other films to build their version of the story.
In a two to three minute trailer it’s almost impossible to tell the whole story, so you have to rely on music to set the mood. The official Paper Towns trailer does that pretty perfectly with Twin Shadow’s “To The Top” and Mikky Ekko’s “Smile,” but the recovering pop punk kid in me can’t help but appreciate this version set to Sum 41.
Creating a trailer isn’t so much about telling the whole story, it’s about capturing the essence of that story and whetting audiences’ appetite for the whole thing. Sometimes all it takes is the right soundtrack and one or two iconic quotes. This one from The Humblebeez manages to pull it off perfectly.