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.
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