Your Book In Pictures And Sound

Making your own book trailer is relatively simple. I used Microsoft’s MovieMaker to do mine, but there are a couple of steps to do before you open up any movie-making program.

I use up a lot of graph paper and lined paper to create things, so you’ll have to bear with me when I suggest them. If you can use your computer to do the first steps, then more power to you.

The first thing I did was look at my book synopses, both the long one and the short one. As you’ve already distilled your book into a few easy to read paragraphs, it’s logical to start there for your information. Write down the most important points you need to make. From there, brainstorm image ideas. What kinds of images or lack of them, do you want to have associated with each thought? They don’t have to be in order, just there.

The next thing I did was made a list of all the things I wanted to say and added the things the publisher wanted me to say. I rearranged the list into a sensible order and printed it out so I’d have something to refer back to. This would be my “script.” I looked at the images that I’d considered, or the image ideas, and went online to find images that used those keywords. Once I had all my images lined up and permissions to use them, I opened MovieMaker.

The longest any one “shot” should be on the screen is seven seconds, according to my Audiovisual Technician program’s instructor. If you don’t have any movement on the screen, the “shot” should be shorter. Each thought you have is one “shot”. I believe the standard image length is seven seconds in MovieMaker, come to think of it. Add all your shots, your images and then add the text/caption.

Your next step can be one of two things – either add music or narration. In MovieMaker, you can elect to have an emphasis on the music or the narration, which is nice to have. If you’re going to use music, make sure you have written permission to use it and make sure that it fits what you’re trying to say on-screen. Mysteries, for example, or horror, wouldn’t necessarily use Big Band background music and romances wouldn’t necessarily use Rap.

If you’re going to use narration, make sure that you enunciate each word clearly and that the volume isn’t overpowering the microphone. Read your script through a few times, just to make sure you won’t stumble over any of the word combinations before you record it. Record yourself in small chunks, a shot at a time, and leave a few seconds between shots. This way, you have time to find and erase any mistakes you make by cutting out that particular shot’s narration.

One final run-through of the entire script and you can add your credits, both before the movie and after it. If you leave the credits until last, then you have more time to focus on the ‘meat’ of your book trailer.

You don’t need to have a long trailer. Most are only a minute or so long, about ten images including credits. I got greedy and made mine two minutes long, but that’s because I have trouble shutting up.

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