Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Book Trailers, Part 4

Part 4 of my week-long series on making good book trailers...

Last time we talked about the Key Point of a trailer and how to find it. Today I will tell you how to conceptualize a script and storyboard using the Key Point and the 1-2-3 Rule.

Key Point to Concept
I'll use one of my Works in Progress as an example. TWELVE STEPS TO MURDER is a 1st person POV, amateur sleuth mystery with a romantic subplot. Let's say I've decided I want the Key Point for this trailer to be:

I was telling the truth this time, but nobody trusts an alcoholic. So more people died.

This was taken in part from the opening line of my book, and is a theme that thwarts the heroine throughout the tale. Just like any 1-liner tag line, Key Points don't need to be told from the viewpoint of a character. But since this book is 1st person POV I thought it was a nice touch.

This Key Point offers me some good text titling options, but I need to flesh it out.

--Using Rule 2, I won't be trying to "tell the story" here. I'll just want to show some compelling imagery and text that conveys the Key Point theme.

--Since Rule 1 is to keep this to an average of 1 minute, I won't need a ton of imagery. I just need some with the right punch.

--Rule 3 involves motion. There's a tense foot chase in this book that could add to the danger element in my Key Point. I'll try to find stock video for that, and will incorporate other motion during editing by using still image effects.

Next I open up WordPad and jot a few notes that will become my concept:

Cassie believes her friends' deaths were no accident, but no one trusts the word of an alcoholic. More women die, and Cassie is captured by a murderer.

Note this is simple and by no means covers the entire tale, but you get the gist (and are hopefully intrigued). Now I can map this out in our next step...

Concept to Storyboard

Now I can write up a script/story board showing what I want to happen in each frame of my movie. I'll go back to my Word Pad file and write out the script like this:

Opening Title: "I Was Telling The Truth This Time."

Images representing Cassie-- mood pensive, desperate.
Quickly flashed images hinting at danger: caution tape, a male's eyes with a predatory, dark expression, etc.

2nd Title: "But nobody trusts an alcoholic."

Brief shots depicting alcohol/party lifestyle.
(Since this has a romantic subplot, I might even "hide" that element in here by including one or more somewhat flirty, suggestive party shots.)

3rd Title: "So the murders continued."
(I decided this had more "punch" than my original Key Point.)

Images conveying murder--toe tags, chalk outlines, a partial shot with just an arm lying on the ground.
Footage of foot chase
Footage cuts to black with sound effect of a woman's gasp.
(as though he's caught her.)

Book Title/Author with shot of cover and purchase/site info

While I normally find "voice over" narratives cheesy and prefer text overs, this particular script might lend itself well to a female voice over. Might give it a couple test runs, see which way offers more "oomph."

Now that I have my script, this gives me something to shoot for when I hit the stock photo/video archives. This saves TONS of time, rather than sifting through thousands of images trying to find things that fit the book (much of which I end up not using). Also, this script gives me a pretty good idea of the dramatic music I want.

In my final post tomorrow, I'll be covering the "geometry" of a good trailer, or rather, the inverse pyramid style of advertising your concept.