The Book Trailer

It just so happens that I have a son who has his own video editing/ 3D Motion Graphics Design business over at the Pixel Lab.  I cornered him the other day and said, “Hey! Don’t you want to make me a book trailer son-that-I-love-and-brought-into-the-world?”What could he say except, “Sure, mom. I’d love to.” I always knew those kids would come in handy for something.

So he said, “Write the script. Send me some photos. Do you have any old VHS footage laying around?”

I thought this was going to be his job.

I spent the next three weeks going through old photo albums and scanning pictures. Next up: VHS. I found some, but really I’d forgotten about the 8mm film. Holy Cow! 8mm? YES. 8 mm.

He has an old projector. A sort of vintage art piece that decorates his office. He got it down and got it going. And there we were: swimming in the Luangingwa River, 1984. Crazy.

So why make a book trailer and what IS a book trailer? Basically, Book trailers are video advertisements for a book and employ techniques similar to movie trailers. Because they are new and most authors don’t have big budgets, the results are often dismal, boring, and predictable. The New Yorker did a December, 2013, story on them called, “The Awkward Art of Book Trailers.” Ben Marcus thinks it’s “sad” that books today must appeal to readers through visuals. He says it’s like the whiff of defeat—the sense of a publishing industry in forlorn compliance with the laws of a YouTube world.Other authors embrace the book video as just another way to find readers.

Want to see some interesting book trailers? Go to YouTube. OR check out Dan Rosen and CV Hearst’s BookReels, a website dedicated to posting book trailers and letting readers browse and rate them. Bravo! I love the trailer from Aasif Mandvi”s book, No Man’s Land. 

So that’s what I’m doing now: scanning photos, transferring VHS to digital, and 8mm to digital. All those old photos and movies are bringing memories back in a way that all the writing did not. It’s crazy emotional and fun and sad and weird.There I am, 28 years old. Who was that girl?

After we’re done with the trailer, I’ll put it up on my website. Hope you don’t laugh too hard. Hope it’s not embarrassing. Maybe, if it’s good, I’ll even send it in to the new BookReels Awards. Why not?

PHOTO: Taken in Lilongwe, Malawi,  eight days after the-son-mentioned-above was born. He owes me. Really. 

Jill Kandel
  • Gianna
    Posted at 22:54h, 05 November Reply

    “I always knew those kids would come in handy for something.”
    The kid in I has narrowed eyes, and is looking at you.


  • Jill Kandel
    Posted at 06:28h, 06 November Reply

    Hmmm. I wonder what I could get Gianna to do for me …

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