Let’s Make Movies!

You can think what you want about book trailers. Some people REALLY don’t like them. Which I don’t get. If you don’t like them, at least be happy they’re generally voluntary sorts of things. Unlike flash websites and auto-play music files, you actually have to click play to watch a book trailer. So it’s easy to opt out and move on.

I’m not good a making movies, but I like it and I’ve done some movie making for fun. It’s the kind of fluffy yet picky project I can get nicely obsessed with.

One concept that’s new to me that I LOVE is the idea of a fan trailer. Of course my favorite fan film of all time is not exactly a trailer. It’s more…awesome.

…and then Buffy staked Edward. The End.

But here’s a trailer, one for Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy:

The awesome thing about fan trailers is how fans are allowed to use anything they want. You know you cast the movie version of the book while you’re reading it. You’re already making a movie in your head. Celeb photos, film clips, pop music, it’s all just for fun and fair use. Here’s one for Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones:

I could totally see myself getting into this if I were younger, savvier, and had fewer demands on my time.

I’d been thinking about trailers a lot lately. Making, or having made, a trailer for Hush Money was on my list of things I was putting off until after Heroes ‘Til Curfew was finished and released. Not only was it about not doing another project until that was done, but it was also about selling a few copies of a $2.99 books so I could afford to do a trailer in whatever way I decided to do it.

Kait, of course, has a beautiful, professionally produced trailer, complete with voice-over even, for Red. Very fancy. I’m not sure how much this kind of thing costs because she won it in a contest of some sort:

Zoe Winters was the first to get me thinking about it this week. She’s running a contest at her blog, and her most excellent trailer appears in the post.

Then, yesterday morning, Kimberly Kinrade was tweeting about making her book trailer. And it’s pretty darned awesome too. I love the script for this and it totally makes me want to read the book. Which I do actually want to read and have bought:

Inspired, I then proceeded to spend all day looking for music and images and putting together the following trailer for Hush Money:

So what do you think? Want to go out and make fan trailers? Have awesome book movies to share?


Filed under books

11 responses to “Let’s Make Movies!

  1. Awesome job on your book trailer, Susan. I would say you have a real talent for making them and now I can’t wait to read your book!

  2. Love love love book trailers – sooo cool! I can’t believe you put the Hush Money trailer together yourself and in one day – you are my hero! I loved it – and the others! Uberlicious!

  3. I really do like book trailers. I’ve always wanted to make one for some of my books, but this is the thing…is the money you spend making them worth what few sales you may get out of a trailer? I just don’t know. Because I honestly don’t know how effective trailers are in selling books. (I’ve never had a desire to make a fan trailer for someone else’s book.) Maybe someone who has done this awhile will know the answer.

    One thing I’ve always wondered about trailers and other videos…how do you get around copyrights? I understand if you’re making your own trailer, you can buy stock images, take your own pics, etc. But when you take images of famous people, etc. and make videos, how do you get by with that? My husband set up a FB account because he was trying to get in touch with an old navy buddy. He thought it would be funny to put a pic of Homer Simpson for his profile pic. FB notified him that they were taking it down immediately. I was just wondering how people get by with that.

  4. Shiela and Hartford, thank you!!

    LL- On the cost of book trailers. I spent $75-$80 on this one, between the images and the music. Will this trailer sell enough to make that back? Mmm…maybe, probably not. But I’m okay with that for these reasons:
    1) it was fun to make
    2) it’s cool to have
    3) I write a series and this is the first book. So any sale this leads to is that much more likely to be a sale of other books of mine. That should work for any author to some extent, but moreso for series.

    On copyright. Generally, people don’t care about the that in fan trailers. Because they’re not made for commercial purposes, they’re just made by fans to show their love for the fiction whether it’s fan-made book trailers or music videos, or montages of best kisses or whatever. Most people have the sense not to care about that or not to make a stink about it. You’ll often see language on YouTube saying something like, “I don’t own this song/book/movie/character/etc. This is just for fun.”

    Every once in a while you’ll have someone who asks that a video be taken down or the soundtrack removed because something they own was used in the making of it. I’m not disputing that people have the right to do make themselves look like jerks, but in most cases I don’t see how they’re hurt by it, like in the example of FB removing the Homer image. If someone wanted to use Joss’s face as their avi because they really like her, and it was obvious they weren’t trying to use my name or suggest that’s their work, why would I complain about that?

    YouTube has had particular trouble with anything owned by Time Warner. At least it used to be that if you used a song own by Time Warner in your video (which is, like, half the music in existence, right?) YouTube had some kind of bot that picked it up eventually. They’d turn the sound off on the video and tell you that you could either switch out the audio track to something on their approved list, leave it silent, or dispute the claim as “fair use.” I had that kind of claim on this Christmas gift video of Briar that I made for my parents. I filled out the form and YouTube submitted the dispute and they dropped it. Because OBVIOUSLY I wasn’t trying to get away with anything. But I think one of my doll videos is screwed up because I didn’t realize I could do the fair use thing.

    I guess a way of thinking about using clips like that is that it’s kind of the same as quoting something when you’re writing. You’re using it to illustrate your point, but you’re not claiming that you came up with it.

    Back to cost, people have said they’ve made them for free or $5. I used a lot of different images, but if you look at some of the others I posted you’ll see that there was a lot from the images the authors already had licensed for the covers. Kait’s trailer looks like it used 2 images and one film clip, plus stuff from her cover. Kimberly’s used 8 images beyond the cover art, but 6 of those look like they could have been her own vacation photos. (Don’t know if they were.)

    I bought 8 images just for the trailer, plus I had two of my own and my cover art.

    There’s definitely a trade of time for dollars involved because it will take longer to hunt down free or very inexpensive media than it would to just buy what you need.

  5. Love these trailers. I can see how it might rev up creativity while working on a MIP too. Once you start thinking about what you’d want the book trailer to look like, you’d have to clarify a lot of things for the novel too. Maybe I’ll do one before I’m finished with my MIP.

    • I have to admit that I wrote an awesome storyboard for a trailer before I was finished with Hush Money. Of course, I couldn’t do it just like that because what was in my head would have required a lot of film clips from the Hush Money movie.

      But that’s a really good point. A lot of trailers are 30 seconds if they have live-action or voice-overs and one minute if they have a lot of text to read. So a trailer often gets down to a bare bones idea of what the book is about. Having that kind of focus while you’re writing (instead of trying to pull it out of what you got after) is a very good thing. If you’re an indie, it’s also a great idea to think about the trailer and the cover art while you’re writing, because it’s hard to find stock images after the fact that really match up to what you wrote. But if you had some of those images in your head while writing… Great comment, Sonia! Thanks.

  6. I ran a contest for my fans to make trailers of my books, and I offered a free ebook to the top three. I guess that making trailers is super hard, because I only got two entries. Still, they were both cool. Links:

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