Film trailers have been around for a long time. They are advertising for an upcoming film, showing some key scenes to interest watchers in parting with their money in order to see the complete film. In recent years, thanks to the popularity of YouTube, we have seen the rise of the book trailer — a short video advertising an upcoming book to potential readers.
But what do you put into a book trailer? It’s not like a film — you can’t just edit together a few of the more exciting scenes. You need to actually create content. In effect, make a short film from scratch.
Book trailers vary greatly in content – and quality – from simply presenting the book cover with a voice over, to fully dramatised scenes from the book. Of the latter type, here’s one of the best I’ve seen, for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.
I’m willing to bet that this trailer cost a pretty packet. But what do you do if you don’t have a rich publisher willing to throw around bucket loads of money? Well, you could always find a friend or family member to make a trailer for you. Or, if you’re handy with a computer, make one yourself. Of course, this has lead to a glut of really bad trailers being uploaded onto YouTube. But fear not, I have waded through the dross and can now present for your entertainment, some of the better trailers I’ve discovered.
Here’s the trailer for The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, the upcoming fantasy series from Rowena Cory Daniells:
This is a beautifully animated trailer based on the cover of the first book, and it was put together by Rowena’s husband, Daryl Lindquist. Here’s what Daryl had to say about the creation of this trailer:
“The concept for the trailer came to me fully formed out of the blue, as most creative ideas do. We had copies of the great cover done by Clint Langley for the first book. This was the inspiration for the book trailer. Having come up with the concept, the next step was to pitch it to the publisher and editor. They were enthusiastic, so the next step was to approach Clint for permission to use his artwork. He was also most supportive. Clint forwarded his layered Photoshop files of the cover image for us to use in the trailer. This allowed us to isolate the main character from the background. The process was to build a 3D environment, a portion of which matched the cover from the camera perspective, then work out the camera moves that lead up to the final shot which is the cover image. The main character was then hand-animated, while the background is 3D rendered. Once the background had been rendered, the main character was then composited in to give the final cover image. Once the clip was finalised, we moved onto the creation of the soundtrack. All completed within two months.”
Here’s the trailer for the Nit Boy, a series of kids’ books by Tristan Bancks:
Here’s what Tristan had to say about the trailer:
I showed Peter Leary, the very talented animator, the books’ amazing illustrations by Heath McKenzie. I then wrote a script. The animator made suggestions. I cut the script down. He made a rough animatic (still pictures with a voiceover) and he began building the 3D characters (essentially, ‘wire’ frames in the computer). I gave Peter feedback on the characters and he created a rough version of the trailer. I then started working on the music with Charlton Hill and the post sound and voiceover with Murray Burns. Peter then supplied the final animation the day before the book launch.
The trailer has been an incredibly useful tool for promoting the books. I would say that the key to a good trailer is in nailing the essence of the story in the script, and working with excellent people who know what they are doing.
A producer has optioned the Nit Boy books for TV and my next vis-lit adventures will be trailers for my 2011 releases, Galactic Adventures: First Kids in Space (UQP) and a funny shorts collection for Random House.”
For more info about Tristan and his writing, check out his website.
Tune in next time for more trailers.
Catch ya later, George