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

Giveaway News

It looks like we’ve cooked up the perfect cure for your Monday-itis… in the way of exciting giveaway news:

1. The absolutely hilarious The Internet is a Playground by David Thorne has been added to this month’s book giveaway. I was sent a review copy, and I’ve been laughing my way through it since it first arrived on my doorstep. Now, I have a copy to share with you all, thanks to our good friends at Fontaine Press. So, if you’re not a member, make sure you sign up today. Your funny bone will thank you.

2. As promised earlier in the month, we’re kicking off our Gone giveaway. We have 10 copies of Mo Hayder’s latest to give away (want a taste? Click here to view the exciting trailer). For your chance to win, just email me your postal address – it’s that easy! Entries close April 30. A big thanks to our friends at Random House for making the giveaway possible.

Attention Patrick Ness Fans: April Book Giveaway

Ness-philes, get excited – this month, each of our Boomerang Books Members are in the running to win a signed copy of 2008 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize Winner’s latest, and a signed preview of his upcoming trilogy-ender. The full prize list includes:

Not a member? Sign up today.

APRIL FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY

Are you on Facebook? Don’t forget to join our Group for your chance to this prize pack that includes:

A big thanks to our friends at Celapene Press, Ford St, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, Pan Macmillan for supporting our giveaways this month. and Walker Books.

BONUS GIVEAWAY

You have until Friday 9 April to enter a special Patrick Ness competition. We’re giving away… an extract. While it doesn’t sound like much, this is actually a special preview of Ness’ yet-to-be-released Monsters of Men, and it’s signed! All you have to do is email me, and in 20 words or less, tell me why you should be the lucky Patrick Ness fan that gets it.

KEEP AN EYE OUT…

Those that have been reading the blog know how enamoured I was with the Gone book trailer, well, later in the month, we’ll be giving 10 copies away to Boomerang loyalists, so keep your eyes peeled for details.

BOOK TRAILER: Gone by Mo Hayder

Okay, so yes, I was attracted to this trailer for Mo Hayder’s new release, Gone, because the publisher issued a strong warning about it. It’s very powerful, and perhaps the greatest example of a book trailer I’ve ever seen. Those that have been reading the blog will know that I’m very skeptical when it comes to book trailers, they’re usually amateurish, self-indulgent, over-long, boring, made by the authors in ten minutes, and mostly just text flying across the screen with a dodgy soundtrack – all the benefits of the visual medium are usually ignored. This trailer is nothing like most booker trailers. Short, slick, well-written, well-performed, and a great cliffhanger, I dare you to watch this and not feel compelled to read the book.