The winner of the Swag Bag is llamannerdymom.Thanks to everyone who left comments!
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I don't hear from you within 3 days, I'll choose another winner.
Having failed in my last attempt to make an exciting book trailer myself, I learned a lot for my next try, with Deliverance: Mortal Path Book 3. Why even consider making a trailer myself? The type of trailer I wanted wasn't the still photo with text overlay that was the least expensive type. The kind I wanted was full of action and music. It would cost up to $3,000, and I would have limited opportunity to make adjustments to it. I like tinkering with things myself, getting everything just the way I want, without having to worry about whether I'm on my third change or my thirtieth. That plus the cash outlay convinced me to try my hand again.
Last time, I made a video with my own video camera and narrated it myself. The lighting was poor, the filming was jittery, I can't believe my voice sounded like that, the script was lame, and there was no action. (If you want to see this trailer, click here--and brace yourself.) I don't display this one on my website - I'm not sure if I ever did.
One of the first things a professional trailer production company wants from the author is a working script. Another reason I hesitated to go to the pros was that I didn't have a script and couldn't seem to come up with one. I seemed to be writing one almost as dialogue between two characters - focused and limited in its representation of the Big Picture. I finally threw out all my drafts of that script and wrote a new one in five minutes. It dealt with concepts rather than details. Shazam! Pictures began forming in my head for the visuals to go with the words. To see how high-level this script is, here is the one that freed me:
Sumerian demons survive to this day
causing chaos, destruction, and death
with the help of Immortal human assassins.
Maliha was an Immortal assassin
until she defied her demon
and became a rogue with a new agenda ...
balancing lives she’s taken with lives saved.
Immortal Jake is Maliha’s true love
or is he?
Maliha’s mortal friend and partner
Maliha must watch him die
or accept a sinister new master.
She’s damned if she does ...
and damned if she doesn’t.
Is there a way out for her?
Notice that it's broken into short lines that are easy to read and dramatic when presented one per "page" of the trailer. This is the first step in making a quality trailer yourself. Each of these lines suggested an image to me (except lines 2 & 3, which go together with the same image). I looked for places to purchase still images, video clips, and music, and ended up using istockphoto.com, which in my opinion has the best selection. (Others are bigstockphoto.com and shutterstock.com, plus many more.) These are media that you purchase a Standard license to use, and don't have to pay any royalties per use.
I used Windows Live Movie Maker, a program that came with Windows 7 and is available as Windows Movie Maker in earlier versions of Windows. You might want to play around with it by using some family photos and text overlays just to get the hang of it. You'll end up with a nice movie you can share, too.
When you select images or video clips that go with your script, you can initially download a "comp" - complimentary - version with a watermark that can be put into place in your trailer to see how you like it before you pay for it. This is very useful! I ended up building my entire trailer, including the music, from comps so I could see how it flowed before buying any of the media. There finally comes a time when you have to lay down your bucks, though, because the watermarks are a dead giveaway that you're using unlicensed media. Before distribution, then, pay for everything and substitute the real stuff in your movie.
In my case, I used Photoshop to crop some of the images, but there are a lot of image processors for simple editing, like Picasa, that will do the job for free. You may end up buying a video clip that runs for a minute and only want to use 20 seconds of it. You can do that kind of editing right in Windows Movie Maker, which allows you to specify how long each image or clip stays visible on the screen.
Ah, music! Wonderful, talented people write original scores (with symphonic performances, no less!) just for movie trailers and I found a perfect match for mine. I ended up buying two trailer productions, one for the main part of my movie and one for the section at the end that I use to display quotes I've obtained for the book. I'm really fussy about music and I found that the variations in volume from one part of my purchased music to another didn't sit right. I used a program called MP3Gain Pro to automatically even out the volume level without losing too much off the top or bottom. The results were terrific, but as I said, I am fussy and you can get along without this step.
Total cost: about $400. Plus some time finding the right images and sound, and learning to use Movie Maker. It was a rewarding project for me and I know I'll confidently tackle making the trailers for my books from now on! And here it is:
Do you make video clips of your own and upload them to YouTube? If so, post your link below! How do you think the trailer turned out? Leave a comment and you'll be entered in a giveaway of my Swag Bag: a tote bag, signed copies of Dark Time and Sacrifice, bookmarks, pens, and magnets. If you want me to be able to contact you if you are the winner, include your email in a disguised way. Otherwise, you'll have to come back and check the top of this post to see if you've won after the deadline. The giveaway ends at midnight CST on February 1st. All my giveaways are international.
Easy Tweet: On @superntrlUnderg Blog: @dakotabanks talks about making a trailer for Deliverance; enter to win a Swag Bag! http://dbanks.me/yHMen3