Diary of A CEO trailers take two to three days to create, editor says

Head of trailers Anthony Smith talks about streamlining the process to save time on editing

A single trailer of The Diary of A CEO takes two and half to three days to create, according to head of trailers Ant Smith, and goes through multiple rounds of amends. 

The Diary of A CEO became a hit business podcast after launching in 2017, reaching nearly three million subscribers on its YouTube channel. The podcast is created and hosted by entrepreneur and investor Steven Bartlett who has since expanded his behind-the-scenes team to include a head of trailers, director and producer, head of content, and more.

Smith, who has prior experience as a senior video editor at Industria Studios and screen director at adi.tv, is responsible for editing twice-weekly episode trailers of The Diary of A CEO podcast to drive listeners to new episodes. He joined the team in March 2022 as the trailers editor and has since been promoted to head of trailers, now training new members on how to edit. 

“I think when you are an editor or when you work in this sort of industry, you'll always want extra time but because we've got such a tight turnaround, it means that you have to make fast decisions,” Smith told PodPod in the latest episode of the podcast. “We've got to the stage where it's almost like creating a film trailer and when you actually then look into how long it takes a film trailer, it's no time at all.”

“When you speak to other editors, some of them are actually shocked that it doesn't take weeks to make because it's everything from sound design, from text to ratios, to creating a storyline that works, to effects, to everything in between.” 

With such a tight turnaround, Smith has found a number of ways to streamline the editing process to make it faster, including reading and highlighting the episode transcript to create a storyboard for the trailer, rather than watching the finished video. Smith said that applying this method ended up saving him “about two and a half hours” in the editing process.

Each episode trailer for the podcast is one minute and 30 seconds long on average, and gives an introduction to the guest for that episode using video, text, effects, and music to tell their story. Smith emphasised the importance of building out the narrative of the trailer and using emotion as its unique selling point. 

“It’s really sort of grabbing those people within the first three seconds and then almost having to ensure that the rest of the storyline supports that hook and supports what they're gonna get from the episode,” said Smith. “Then we go into our intro card, which is to give the validation to the audience that they're about to listen to someone who knows what they're talking about… but that intro is really the sell.”

“Going from A to B, you're following the same narrative structures as you would a film, as a TV show, as a novel, and you want to hit the right markers. You want to hit the emotional pointers for the audience, for them to make that decision in the end to want to watch more.”