Filming Your Novel — Crazy Idea … or AWESOME?

So as my book nears publication (don’t get too excited, I’m *still* cutting the darn thing down to size), I’ve been trying to come up with an idea for a book trailer. I just watched Candace Knoebel’s book trailer for her novel Born in Flames, and it seems like a really cool idea.

My main concern is that I don’t want the trailer to look too amateur-ish (or “n00b-ish”, if you prefer). My friend has offered to do a trailer, but her vision is more of an author interview rather than an actual trailer with photos, music, etc. And that sounds like a great idea–I’ll definitely be taking her up on her offer.

So I’ve got the interview planned–now I need an actual trailer. I was considering starting to browse through stock photography websites to track down appropriate images. Then my brother suggested a different trailer concept. Ready? Steady? GO!

Film a scene from your book

As in, take a scene, find some actors willing to work for free, get a camera, and make a mini-movie. I think it’s a great idea! The big issues to overcome, as I see it, are:

  1. I’ll need to find actors willing to work for free. I live near a university, though, so I’m sure I can round up some drama students.
  2. I’ll need to pick a scene from the book that is a good representation of the story, as well as being something I could actually film.

#2 seems to be the bigger challenge, mainly because Imminent Danger (my book) is hardcore sci-fi. As in, it takes place in outer space with aliens and spaceships and laser guns. So I’ll probably have to choose one of the very few scenes on Earth, in order to ensure the video doesn’t look one of the movies those robots make fun of on MST3K.

Crazy idea … or awesome?

Has this been done before? Make a low-budget film of a scene from a book for promotion purposes? Most book trailers seem to provide a summary of the book, complete with dramatic voice-over. Is such a thing even feasible? Would it look unbearably bad?

The last home movie I made was in grade eleven. It was called “The Spanish Guide”, and featured my cardboard cutout of Legolas as the lead character. He led my friend and I up a volcano–I don’t remember why–and the whole movie was spoken in really abysmal Spanish (it was for Spanish class). The best part was when my friend complained about her stomach hurting, and then we cut to a can of pea soup spilling on the ground to represent her throwing up.

It was really bad.

Anyway, assuming I’ve become moderately more competent since then (or, at least, acquired friends who don’t fail at everything film-related), I think this could be a really cool idea. And all my blog friends are welcome to steal this idea, if it tickles your fancy. I really don’t know how realistic it is.

Oh yeah, and if you do know of something like this being done before, please link it in the comments!

Unrelated photo of the day: THE HOBBIT dwarves

Fili and Kili from the Hobbit. Is it just me, or the one on the right kind of cute?

Pop Culture Resource of the Day: DUBSTEP

So my brother’s been trying to explain dubstep to me, especially the concept of “dropping the bass”. At first I thought he meant the musicians were literally dropping their bass guitars. This, it turns out, is incorrect.

Then I found this video. It features one hour and twenty-eight minutes of “dropping the bass”, and I now have a much better understanding of the so-called “Dubstep” phenomenon. Give it a listen (you can stop after 30 seconds if you want), if only to educate yourself on the current music trend that is sweeping the globe. Also, please don’t sue me if your speakers/ears/brains explode.

Categories: Random, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “Filming Your Novel — Crazy Idea … or AWESOME?

  1. I know why they scream so much — they keep dropping the bass on their feet.

  2. If it doesn’t become too troublesome to make a book trailer I say why not! It will at least be fun to see a scene from your book acted out even if it doesn’t drum up that much extra publicity.

    Or you could film an ironic commercial. You know the type; they’re everywhere these days. They’re ones you watch that are hilariously awkward and suck you in despite having little or nothing to do with the product at hand, haha.

    Also, I agree. Kili is cute. Its such a weird emotion to have, mostly because when I first read the hobbit my brain translated “dwarves” to a bunch of John Rhys Davies’ Gimlis hobbling around. They were funny in my head but not at all attractive.

    • I love the idea of an ironic commercial. The only problem is that, if people don’t realize it’s ironic, they’ll just it’s bad, lol.

  3. I had trouble sleeping during the middle of last week, so I put on some music.

    Right in the middle of a piece called Hypnotica by Two Steps from Hell, my mind began to play out the montage for the trailer for my book. In two minutes, all the dramatic scenes, romantic clinches, cliffhangers and special effects unrolled before me.
    What? No, of course I didn’t write them down – I was trying to sleep. But it’ll come back to me.
    I have 28 videos on YouTube, mostly pop song / film connections that I think work quite well, but I think having a book trailer on YouTube would be a great way to advertise it.

    Drama students working for free – definitely. The sci-fi issue could be handled using a very shallow depth of field (make the background blurry) with plain concrete or steel as a backdrop. Remember, sci-fi is about the people, not the setting, so concentrate on them. And unless you’re George Lucas, no-one’s going to expect multi-million dollar backdrops. Just a zoom into a starry background at the beginning and a zoom out towards the end gets the point across.
    And think carefully about your music – it will define the mood of your trailer.

  4. I think it’s a great idea to film your book trailer!

  5. You are so creative, Michelle! I definitely think you should film a book trailer if you have the resources available to you. How fun is that! And I listened to the dubstep thingy the whole time I’ve been here. Time to go now!

    • Hahaha, what did you think of the dubstep? When I played it for my friends, they listened for about twenty seconds, and then grabbed the computer and changed the song.

  6. Yannis Vatis

    A trailer sounds like a great idea. Acting out a scene from your book could prove to be a double edged sword, though. Going down that route – in my humble opinion – would require some coin to drop if you want it to be of decent quality. I’m always of the view that no matter how you choose to advertise it should be of the highest quality possible because that’s your chance to put your best foot forward and attract people to your product. Sounds a little “businessy” but I think it’s something to consider. In the end just do what you feel reflects your art (second person pronouns are the key here :P)

    • Yeah, that definitely is a problem. I do have a friend and a cousin who are big into the local film industry, though, so if I go down that route, I’m assured the quality will be pretty good. Not Hollywood quality, I’m sure, but still quite decent.

  7. atothewr

    With today’s technology and cameras it should be easy to film a brief scene from your book. Then you could post it onto your blog and help you sell it even further. Good luck.

    • Thanks 😀 It would be so cool if I knew how to use Flash — then I could actually animate a scene! Except I don’t know how to use Flash, plus it would take FOREVER.

  8. Dubstep = Noise. Pure frickin’ noise. IMHO. 😉 Give me AC/DC or Greenday or the Waifs…

    I’ve got a psych-thriller short story that I think would make an excellent real time movie about 10-20 mins long. I have fantasies of the kid’s drama/media class putting it together. Most of it takes place in a single room so would be quite easy to produce. I have another story that involves aircraft and PC controlled parachutes which might be more challenging…. 😉
    Filming my novel for a trailer, now there’s an idea I hadn’t considered. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

    • Why not, right? If the story takes place on Earth in a location you have easy access to, and you can find actors who vaguely resemble the characters, it could work out really well! Although I’ll probably need to get my hands on an actual video camera, because I somehow doubt my laptop’s webcam is going to cut it 😀

  9. Dubstep sounds like a marriage between rap and techno. For when you need to jack a mother up in a futuristic setting.

    If you try to make a serious movie of your book, there’s always the worry that it will come out laughably-bad (that would be my fear, anyways; I’m not a director and certainly not an actor). But if you spoof yourself and make it bad intentionally, you could get a lot of laughs and a lot of traffic. As I understand it, your book is meant to be humorous and a bit silly in the Douglas Adams style, so a spoof-film would work quite well to convey your entire book’s humor.

    Watch “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” to see a spoof on bad sci-fi movies. It’s so intentionally bad, it’s funny. (It’s even funnier when watched with friends and/or alcohol.)

    I like Knobel’s trailer–and putting together images (as opposed to filming actors) is something I could do–but the major obstacle I see with that is copyright. If you work only with copyright-free images, you’re pretty limited in your choices (especially for anything modern; historical pictures are more plentiful). You also have to be careful about the music, because even if you go with classical music, it’s my understanding that an out-of-copyright score recorded by a modern orchestra is copyrighted by that orchestra. Finding copyright free music would be the biggest problem.

    • Yeah, it’s the music issue that’s making me leery of putting together a traditional book trailer. I do like the idea of making the filmed scene intentionally bad. At the end of the scene, there could even be a screen that reads “This film is bad. The book is good. Buy it now” or something, lol.

  10. Pingback: Acceptance Book Trailer « Keri M. Peardon

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