Saturday, March 06, 2010

Book Trailer: The Process

I promised I'd write about some of the challenges I faced with my book trailer and how I revised (or do I say edited since I'm a filmmaker now?) the first book trailer to the final product and what I did right and not-so-right.

First, you must realize, like a poem, or book title, or manuscript, when you show your finished book trailer to friends or family, they will all have different ideas of what they would like to see in your trailer or how it should be. Their opinions will overlap and not overlap with yours. Their opinions will overlap and not overlap with each other.

Like every good creation, I do think it's important that while you take on suggestions and ideas (mine included) that you stay close to your own idea/beliefs/vision of what you want your book trailer to look like.

I am a big believer in that art by consensus creates not-so-good art. Every poem, art project, or book trailer needs not be liked by everyone.

I believe that about people too, but that's another post about living authentically...

But returning to making book trailers--

Problem #1--

My first book trailer had images of the Sylvia Beach Hotel where I wrote some of the poems in the collection and where the title poem came from. The problem-- my first book trailer looked like an ad for a bed & breakfast. You wouldn't know it was for a book until the book image came up.

Solution-- Keep in only the best images that revolve around the book's Emily Dickinson theme and the image of a room and water.

Problem #2--

At the end, the view realized it was for a book, but no one knew it was for a book of poems.

Solution--I added "A collection of poems by Kelli Russell Agodon" so there would be no question about what this book was.

Problem #3--

No one knew what my book was about.

Solution--I added words to show the idea of finding calmness in a chaotic world. I wanted the heart of the collection to be known in my book trailer.

Many people who say the first video wanted me to put my book cover at the very beginning as well. My problem with that suggestion and my vision for the trailer, is I sort of wanted to produce something like a movie trailer and to add mystery to where this was going. I felt putting my book cover in the beginning was sort of like showing my hand and took away the punch of the book image at the end.

A couple people wanted it longer. Personally, it's 8 seconds longer than I would like. I think the perfect book trailer is a minute or under. To me it's like a poem that way, if you don't need it, take it out. And "tighten, tighten, tighten..."

Other ideas to consider when making a book trailer.

1) Determine what your book is about and what you want to convey to the reader. In short, these are little movies or music videos, what can you tell your viewer about your book in under a minute.

2) Think about videos or even movie previews you like. Why do you like them? Can you do something like that for your book?

3) What mood do you want to set with your book trailer? Music or sound is good to set the mood.

4) What is about your book that you think people would be interested in or should know about. Include that!

5) I would try to keep it as short as possible. For me, my goal is a minute or less.

6) What images, subjects, or themes do you want people to associate with your book?

7) Don't forget to include some sort of contact info (like a website) at the end.

8) For me, it seems the last images stay the longest, make them good!

9) Can you use lines from your poems in the trailer? Do you want a voiceover? Or just music? How can sound help you? (this is similar to # 3)

10) Can you write a one sentence summary of your book to help you make your book trailer? For example, mine is-- Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room explores finding calmness in a chaotic world. That's as short as I could get it, so I let that be my focus.

And to me, this is most important--

Remember to stay true to your own vision. Even if this medium is new to you (and it is to me), remember that you know your book better than anyone and what you want to convey. Trust that.

Hope this helps those of you trying this. Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. terrific tips again kelli :) I didn't make a trailer for either of my chapbooks but i did make a video of me reading a poem or too and talking about the collection. Trying to decide which way to go this time...hmm

    oh and big truth on being around a minute although if you want to have a poem read any videos i made for Shape of a Box that were under 3 minutes were still very, very popular :)


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