When I first heard the term “book trailers”, I thought it a curious concept. A book trailer is the show vs. tell throw down taken to the next level. But to be honest, I had visions of badly done Powerpoint slides crammed with too much text and ridiculous clip art. Boy was I wrong.
The first one I stumbled across accidentally. I don’t even remember how or where I saw it but I clicked on the link and watched it. I was enthralled. This was a fascinating way of getting the book’s essence across, better than the query even. Now, I don’t think literary agents will ever scrap the query since it’s 100% from the same medium as the book, however, I do think that authors who have a firm grasp on the mood of their story AND who are able to transfer that to a clip of less than two minutes will have a leg up.
I’ve always had visual and audio associations in my head for my novel, The Previously Undetected Recruiting Error or The PURE as I call it. (I do wish the public was familiar with the term PURE. I googled it and discovered that this wasn’t a term limited to my former employer.) I’ve had celebrity photos and YouTube music clips of these associations on my blog since the beginning. Now the opportunity to meld them was in my lap.
I fired up the Windows Movie Maker program that came with my computer then came to a screeching halt. I didn’t know the first thing about this program, had never even opened it before. But I’m technologically savvy. I’ve taught myself to program in MS Access, Crystal Reports, Hyperion Intelligence (Brio), Excel and even Powerpoint. I could do this, though part of me wished I could do it in Excel…snort.
The tool identified and, while “mastered” would be too strong of a word, made functional would apply, I began. Hours and hours later and I had…the music done. It was hard. I’d selected “the” song that had always been in my head. There were a couple of problems though. It was too long and it had distracting lyrics. Fortunately, I purchased the deluxe version of the album which included instrumental versions of all the songs. That being said, the instrumental version lacked the luster of the lyrical version but there were salvageable parts of the lyrical version that were just a bunch of pretty “la-la-la’s” Uh-oh, I was going to have to edit the soundtrack. After chopping the thing up and rearranging it into a sort of musical Frankenstein (that I later mercy killed), I successfully chopped out a verse from the instrumental version. I then swapped in the lyrical “la-la-la” sections into the instrumental clip. Oh sure, it sounds easy enough but you try listening to a clip over and over again to find the perfect break spot that is precise to the hundredths of seconds. Then try finding it again with your mouse so you can click the “cut” button.
On to the visuals. It’s not a real movie in that I’m doing no filming but I still wanted to capture some of the novel’s pacing–the snooping, hiding, running and fighting. A slow somber scrolling of stock images does not convey that. But what is motion other than a series of images flashed in succession one after the other? I could do that. I did that and even ended the flashing in sync with the music. Back meet hand; firmly pat.
But what about the text? Argh, back to square one. Hint–if you don’t have a strong query yet, you’re going to struggle with this. I don’t and am.
My trailer is a work in progress, otherwise I’d post the finished product at the end of this post. One day I hope to do that…hopefully before the novel itself is published. But I do find that it’s all too tempting to neglect writing time for Windows Movie Maker time. I haven’t written (or even beta read) in days and I feel very ashamed about that. Writing about trailer-making in my blog really doesn’t count either. Therefore, I vow that today, my day off, I WILL beta read, I will edit The PURE, I will workout. I will NOT fritter the entire day away in my jammies working on my trailer. (But a couple more hours won’t hurt. )
Disclaimer–I have no commercial intentions for this trailer. It is solely for my own enjoyment and eventually for the enjoyment of my family, friends, and blog readers. For this reason, I’ve not entered into any royalty agreements or licensed/purchased any photographs. Most of the images were lifted from free photo sites and a few from my own photo albums. Celebrity images…well, I won’t lie, they are lifted from the web and have no mention of who to credit otherwise I’d at least do that.
Making little trailers is fun, but since Windows Movie Maker is so unyielding, it can be time consuming. I usually do little game trailers/movies every six months or so. Getting the material is the really hard part, but when it comes together it is awesome.
Here is a link to my YouTube channel, some of the movies hearken back to my more politically active days, so can ignore them if you wish:
Boy, WMM sure is unyielding. It’s like a pad and paper compared to a computer.
I liked your Halo vid, BTW, nice music, great editing.