Wheelhouse Profile: Garo Setian, Our Trashiest Editor

If you’re an active fan of movie trailers, you know that last week the nominations for this year’s Golden Trailer Awards were announced.  Next to the nominations for Captain America and Garo_GTAFrozen is our favorite category – Trashiest Trailer.

Our own Garo Setian is a seasoned trashy trailer editor, this year receiving his 7th nomination in the category with All Cheerleaders Die (above).  With over 230 trailer and TV spots under his belt and 17 Golden Trailer Award nominations, we wanted to pick his brain about what goes into creating his much loved trashy trailers.

Click through for our full interview with him.

Wheelhouse: You’ve had a number of your trailers nominated in the Trashiest Trailer category for the Golden Trailer Awards.  Some people might be insulted to hear people find their trailer trashy.  How do you feel about the category?

Garo Setian: It’s definitely an honor to me.  Out of the 17 Golden Trailer nominations I’ve received over the years, 7 of them were in this category, as well as one of my three wins.  That was for a movie called Drive-Thru about a killer fast food clown.  A hard fought victory too considering I was up against Zombie Strippers.  It is an especially fun category because you can tap into the most primal aspects of cinema (sex and violence) and make your trailer a pure celebration of those qualities.  In some ways it is like selling old grindhouse movies which were all based on offering the audience something forbidden, sleazy and unlike anything they have seen before.  They HAD to do that because the films were small and it was their way of getting attention. And ultimately, that’s what all trailers are about. Getting the audiences attention.  Every trailer I do I try to turn into an event movie.  Whether it is a major motion picture, an obscure foreign title, or little television movie or horror film, I want to convince people that THIS film in particular is special and a must see.

What went into making your latest trailer for All Cheerleaders Die?  Did you know from the beginning that you wanted it to be “trashy”?  What about for Hansel & Gretel Get Baked? 

Both of these trailers from the get go I knew were going to be contenders.  Zombie Cheerleaders and a stoner version of Hansel and Gretel scream TRASHY. Jason Hoffman did some great copy for Cheerleaders and I knew right away how I wanted the trailer to feel and what the general structure was going to be.  I had to choose between “Is this going to be plot driven or concept driven?”  Rob and Jeremy always give me a lot of freedom on these things, but when the client wants certain things adjusted they clearly articulate those concerns and through the back and forth we manage to come up with something that is pretty terrific.

At one point they wanted us to lose Screen shot 2014-05-16 at 6.23.59 PMthe shot of a cheerleader crossing the street in her lingerie which to me was sacrilege.  It was a perfectly framed shot of the girl’s rear (as if they were filming a face) and Hell or high-water, I was going to find a way to get that back in there. A moment like that basically screams what kind of film this is, and it was very gratifying to get that shot back in there in the end.  Also, I should mention how cool Perry Harovas’ graphics were.  He’s done amazing work with me at Wheelhouse over the years including graphics on Cold Sweat, Hypothermia, and Hansel And Gretel Get Baked.

Screen shot 2014-05-16 at 5.48.07 PM

What are your top three favorite trashy movies?

Tough question.  Trashy tends to make better trailers than actual movies (Though I must admit, Tamara – another film I got a trashiest trailer nom for – is a good movie)

I used to collect movie trailers when I was a teen, often copying rented VHS tape trailers to an archive VHS of my own.  Over time, I collected over 30 hours of movie trailers and I would watch them repeatedly.  Still have them in my office at Lionsgate! But some of the best trailer collections I own are these crazy grindhouse collections like “Mad Ron’s Trailers From Hell” or “42nd Street Forever.”  The trailers are incredibly entertaining but on the few instances I have ventured to actually watch the movies they are based on… Ugh.  More often then not they are incredibly boring.  Best to get all the crazy stuff packed into 2 or 3 minutes.

I can name three great Trashy Trailers! Night of the Bloody Apes, I Drink Your Blood and Three on a Meathook.  

What do you do when you’re not cutting trashy trailers?

Spending time with my family.  I have a wonderful wife who totally gets what I do, a 10 year old son who loves monster movies as much as me, and a beautiful 3 year old girl.  I also do my share of screenwriting as well as cutting many other kinds of trailers and TV spots.

Movies have always been a passion of mine, and trailers remain one of my favorite parts of going to the movies.  I feel very fortunate to be in a business I love, doing something that I love.

The 2015 Golden Trailer Awards are on May 30th – best of luck to all the nominees!