Dec 24, 2013

Visual Examples of Bad Queries

I've had this post archived for a while now because I wasn't sure if it would be helpful. But I'm going to take a gamble and post it anyway. As the title suggests, I'm going to show you what a bad query would look like if it were a movie trailer.

If you think about it, a query and a movie trailer are do the exact same thing. So, without further ado, I present the trailer for World War Z and C Me Dance.

What's right with this trailer.

Okay, so we meet our hero (Brad Pitt), who's a beloved family man. There's an emotional attachment to him because we see him doing what he must to keep his family safe. And I mean, who wouldn't root for a father trying to save his family.

What's wrong with this trailer.

There's a lot of eye-candy (which amounts to shock value in a query). It dazzles, but it the scope of things, it tells us nothing about the movie. We see masses of people swarming and crawling over each other for a reason that isn't even hinted at. When I first saw this trailer (before I watched the movie and heard about the book) I assumed it was people desperate to get away from a greater threat, and because they were 'exposed' the Army was sent in to kill them. More or less, I thought it was Brad Pitt's version of Resident Evil, during Raccoon City's quarantine.

I was surprised to discover it was a zombie movie. *Shrugs* But the zombies were the running kind, so that was pretty cool.

All in all, the trailer gave us a hero to root for and that's about it. The stakes were kind of lame because the family was taken to safety a little more than halfway through the trailer (and you can tell grunt of the story occurred after that). The antagonist isn't made clear, and neither is the conflict. Or what has to be done to resolve the conflict. Those are must-haves in a query.

What's right with this trailer.

Um...the music isn't terrible...and all the spelling was right...mostly. I don't know what the C is for in the title.

What's wrong with this trailer.

Voice is paramount in a query. This trailer is a prime example of what happens when voice is completely omitted. Everything just falls flat. Really flat. Lack of voice doesn't make a query terrible, it just sucks the excitement out of it. Kind of like this...

Batman is a query with no voice. Catwoman, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn are queries with voice.
I don't own this image.
In C Me Dance, we have a protagonist who is a dancer. Um...apparently, the devil wants her to stop dancing so he sends people/demons with weird eyes to appear out of nowhere and stand unreasonable close to her (mind you, I've watched this trailer a dozen times just to deduce that. With an agent, you only get once). Other than that, I have no idea what the story is about. I don't know what happens if she stops dancing or what the devil will do to her if she continues. It isn't clear what the protagonist has to do to ward off the antagonist, and I can't follow the events that transpire.

All in all, the trailer doesn't really give us anyone to root for. The dialogue seems forced and the 'tense' moments fall flat because *shrugs* I don't care about the MC. The voice is non-existent and none of the characters were developed in the slightest way. This trailer compares more to a rough story outline than a query.

Those are the only two trailers I have for now, but if you found this post helpful at all, give me a shout and I'll continue my hunt for trailers that would make for bad queries. I'll also keep my ear to the ground for terrible batman gifs.

Don't forget, contest coming up in January. It's a small contest so keep that in mind. Details coming soon.


  1. Yep, I agree. Another one is the upcoming movie Philomena staring Judi Dench. People will go see it because of Judi Dench, but the ad gives absolutely zero information as to what the movie is "about."

  2. When I first saw the trailer for World War Z, I knew it was a zombie movie because I read the book. But I wondered if people who didn't know anything about it would even realize all those little people running around were really supposed to be zombies. It made me think whoever made the trailer was trying to hide the fact that it was a zombie movie.