Some animated book trailers

Last time around I posted about some book trailers that I’ve been watching. And here today, are some more! But this time, they’re all animated.

Let’s start with my favourite: It’s A Book by Lane Smith.

Here’s the trailer for The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Nice and simple animation, combined with Gaiman’s wonderful voice. It’s the fact that he narrates his own trailers that makes them special.

Let’s have another Neil Gaiman one. This time it’s Odd and the Frost Giants.

Oh, what the heck… yet another Gaiman. Blueberry Girl. This is my favourite of his.

Here’s a very simple concept with some very simple animation. It’s cute and it works incredibly well. Pond Scum by Alan Silberberg.

This one is mostly made up of still illustrations, with just the minimal amount of motion… mostly achieved through camera movement. It’s put together rather well, with excellent use of music. Minder, by Kate Kaynak, the first book in the Ganzfield series. Check out the website.

More animated than the last trailer, but still very minimal, this one is also helped out by some excellent musical accompaniment. Finny by Justin Kramon.

Finally, we have the very anime styled trailer for Daniel Pink’s The Adventures of Jonny Bunko, which is fascinatingly subtitled, The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. This actually appears to be a self-help, business book, done as manga. Pretty cool idea!

And so we come to the end of my animated trailer post. Tune in next time for something a little more discursive, rather than me just showing you stuff.

Catch ya later,  George

PS Follow me on Twitter, send me a message, and I’ll Tweet your book trailer. 🙂

Some book trailers

I like watching book trailers. Not so much to help me decide what to read, as just for the experience of watching them. A lot of my FaceBook friends post interesting trailers and the Twitterverse is full of links as well. I also, from time to time, visit YouTube and do a random search… just for the hell of it. And so today, I present for your entertainment, a few trailers that I’ve enjoyed watching.

Let’s start off with the trailer for the Writers of the Future Volume 25 anthology. Lots of really nifty special effects in this one.

Remember the trailer for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (I blogged it here)? Or maybe Abraham Linclon: Vampire Hunter (I blogged that one here)? Did you like them? Well, if you did, then check out this trailer for Night of the Living Trekkies. WARNING! This trailer contains some graphic splatter and some appalling Star Trek jokes.

Okay… slight change of pace now. Here’s a rather atmospheric little trailer for the YA thriller Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender.

And now for a threesome! See how the trailers develop and build on each other for Michael Grant’s YA Gone trilogy — Gone, Hunger and Lies. If you’re interested in finding out more about this series of books, check out the Gone website.

Now here’s a rather stylish Australian trailer. Created by Paul Murphy, it’s for The Wildkin’s Curse by Kate Forsyth. Paul previously visited Literary Clutter to talk about his trailer for Mo Hayder’s thriller Gone (no relation to the other Gone mentioned in this blog post).

One more. This is for Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. I love the self-mocking approach of this trailer… but it suffers from being waaaaay too long. Less is more, Gary, less is more.

That’s it for this post. Anyone out there have a trailer they’d like to share with the blogosphere? Leave a URL in the comments.

And tune in next time for some animated trailers.

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Notice how I managed to restrain myself from posting my book trailer yet again? But hey, if you’d really like to watch it again (over and over, perhaps?), don’t let me stop you. Oh yeah, and why not follow me on Twitter!

Even more book trailers — pushing the envelope

Okay… one final post about book trailers (well, for the moment, at least). Last time around, I suggested that book trailers are perhaps becoming an art-form in their own right — a form of short film making. Take a look at this selection and see what you think.

Let’s start off with a big-budget, major release. From the people who brought you Pride and Predjudice and Zombies, watch out for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Now, let’s go to the other end of the scale — Fury in the Garden: Dream Version by John Pagan. Judging by the website this book looks like is has been self-published by the author. The trailer is just text, computer graphics and music, but it’s effectively put together.

Now, here’s a really stylish trailer for The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King. It’s mostly animated text with a voice-over. Simple but very cleverly put together. The vast majority of book trailers rely on text and still images, sometimes with a bit of animation. They tend to be a bit ‘same-old, same-old’. But every now and then, someone will take these standards of the book trailer and do something unique and imaginative. This is the case with The Dust of 100 Dogs trailer.

There are not a huge number of live-action book trailers out there, and the majority of those are pretty woeful. It’s usually the flashy, big-budget, blockbuster trailers that stand out in this category. But here’s a quiet little trailer. It’s simple and straightforward, without any fancy effects. But it’s well acted, well scripted and it works. It’s for Sugarless by James Magruder.

And finally, while we’re on live action, here’s the trailer for Gone by Mo Hayder. It’s very clever, well made and rather chilling. As the trailer itself warns, parental guidance is recommended on this one. I wouldn’t go showing this one to your five-year-old.

This trailer was put together by Paul Murphy, who also did the trailer for Kate Forsyth’s new book The  Wildkin’s Curse. Paul kindly stopped by to tell us a bit about the making of the Gone trailer.

“The publisher had given me a very simple brief: make a video for the web that is so scary people will forward it on.

I thought about what I had seen online that genuinely scared me, and remembered the real emergency call from a woman whose friend was being attacked by a chimpanzee. You don’t see anything in the video, but the audio is so raw – the woman sounds paralysed with fear, the operator is scrambling to understand what is happening, and meanwhile this crazed chimp is screaming in the background. I could picture everything as it happened, and it stayed with me for days.

That’s how I got the idea for a surveillance video synched to an emergency phone call. I developed it a bit further, and decided I didn’t want people to even know the woman’s daughter was in the car until after the attacker had driven off – that would be the twist that would leave people hanging. And that’s the point where I’d reveal it is the opening scene of a book.

It was very much a guerrilla production. One night, I drove a couple of actors to a rooftop car park. To get that high surveillance angle, I had to climb onto an enclosure with my camera and tripod. It was really windy, and I was worried I might get blown over the edge to a 10 storey drop below. We did four takes, and then got out of there before security was alerted. It would have been difficult to explain why a man was breaking into a woman’s car and driving off with it, only to drive back and do it all again.

For the audio, I recorded three other actors in a sound studio. I added the sound effects and mixed it to make it sound more like it was happening in a car. Finally, I played the mix through my mobile phone to give it that harsh, compressed tone.

I was really happy with the end result. Many people have said to me not only how disturbing they found the video, but how much they wanted to read the book afterwards. For me, that’s the most satisfying thing to hear. In all my book trailers, I’m not just trying to match pictures to words, but entice people with a story.”

For more info about Paul Murphy and his other trailers, check out his website Book Tease.

And tune in next time when Literary Clutter will take you Beyond the Book Trailer!

Catch ya later,  George

More book trailers — are they worth the effort?

Last time around I introduced you to a few of my favourite book trailers. I’ve got some more for you to look at this time. Plus, I also pose the question: Are book trailers worth the effort?

But first, let’s take a look at the awesome trailer for Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan:

It’s a complex, beautifully animated trailer. But simple animation can also work. Take, for example, the trailer for Wardragon by Paul Collins. It’s not in the same league as the Leviathan trailer, but… Some simple animation, a bit of text and some stirring music combine to make an effective trailer.

This trailer has been online for about nine months, but it’s only had about 180 viewings. This begs the questions: is the time and effort (and possibly money) that is invested in making a trailer, really worth it, if only a couple of hundred people will watch it? This is the question I put to Paul Collins, who is the publisher at Ford Street Publishing as well as an author. Here’s his response:

“I think this latest publishing phenomenon is too young to predict how useful it is. Providing publishers/authors/illustrators can get their trailers done reasonably cheaply, or they can produce them themselves, I see trailers as yet another cheap means of promotion, much like blogging/reviews, etc. Truly inspirational trailers must cost thousands, but the viral impact is tremendous. So if a book trailer can fire up the viewers to send it on, then it can’t fail to promote the book. But looking on Ford Street’s YouTube channel, I see our most viewed trailer, My Private Pectus, has only had 536 views, and the second most viewed trailer sits at 436. How many of the viewers bought the book/s? Hard to quantify!”

Check out the trailers at the Ford Street YouTube Channel.

While the Ford Street trailers are counting their viewings in the hundreds, Leviathan is clocking up multiple thousands, as is the trailer for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (see previous post). It seems to be a case of big name authors and large publishing houses (who have more money to spend on producing trailers and promoting them) are getting the huge audiences (and huge sales), while lesser known authors and smaller publishers are struggling to get their trailers seen by more than a few hundred people.

Last year I had a book trailer created for my teen novel, Gamers’ Quest. It’s a computer animated video, put together by H Gibbens of Finger to the Bone. It’s had a little over 450 viewings. It’s not possible to know how many of these viewings have resulted in a sale. But for me it is more than just a video to be uploaded to YouTube. I use it during school talks and I also have it playing on a screen beside me when I do book signings. It has proved to be a great way to grab an audience’s attention and so has been an invaluable marketing tool for me.

I think that books trailers are now evolving beyond their initial intention. Just like the music video has become so much more than just a way to advertise a new single, the book trailer is also evolving beyond a simple marketing tool. It is becoming an art-form of it’s own. Just take a look at what the New Zealand Book Council have put together for Maurice Gee’s Going West:

Art? Or mere advertising? What do you think? And what are some of your favourite book trailers? Post a link in the comments section.

And tune in next time for even more amazing trailers.

Catch ya later,  George