Max narrated the script and sent me the file, which I imported into iMovie (via iTunes; pictures are imported via iPhoto). I had basically three tracks: still photos overlaid with effects and titles, the music track, and the voice over. Fortunately, Max didn’t have to time everything exactly right: I could trim and move around his voice-over snippets, timing it with the music and photos to tell the story in a way that was emotionally resonant, not just a straight narration.
The Art of Movie Making
If you’re making a trailer, you’re making a movie – this was what I learned from my experience with the Mindjack Trailer. And using the visual/audio art form requires different storytelling skills than just words on a page. You give information with images, text, and voice-over. You create mood, build tension, provide release with music. The beats of the trailer have to fit the rhythm of story, just as a novel or short story would. I think of the trailer as a visual blurb: it sets the setting, introduces the characters, lines up the stakes and then POWs the reader/viewer with a moral choice. If you’ve done your job, the viewer/reader will not only want to know the rest of the story, they will feel moved, even in just that minute of time while you held their attention.
A good blurb or trailer whispers to the reader/viewer: see how I made you feel with just those few words? In just a minute of pictures and story and music? Think what I can do if you give me your attention for longer…
It’s a promise to the reader – one that, hopefully, your story will pay off.
That’s the key to everything in this business.
Do Trailers Sell Books?
They can, but generally, I would say no. I know people bought my Mindjack books based on the trailer (because they told me). But generally speaking, trailers don’t rope in new readers. Trailers are (hopefully) fun for your current readers and give them a way to share your work with others. If you’re really creative and doing something very fun and unique, the trailer may move outside your core readers to pull in new readers. Which is awesome! So strive for unique. Be innovative! But most of all, make the trailer if it’s fun (for you and your readers). Or don’t – they’re certainly not required.