There’s no better way to bring a story to life than with film. That’s why we authors love a trailer to help promote our books. The experience creating the Becker Circle trailer was fun, sometimes overwhelming, and incredible. It was easier because I have some video experience as a marketer, and I had lots of connections and luck on my side.
The first and one of the toughest steps is cutting 90-someodd-thousand words down to about 150. I drafted four script options and landed on a hybrid of two. It’s tough to find the right balance of intrigue without revealing too much. Thankfully, I have a friend who’s an experienced, talented videographer who created the trailer. Together we watched about 300 examples, looked for what we liked and didn’t, and created our approach based on the script.
Location and cast were next. We identified a pub we both knew. The owner was flexible as long as we shot on a Monday or Wednesday and didn’t disrupt business. Location, check.
Since I’ve been working on a number of videos for clients with this producer/director, I had access to talent. During these shoots, I asked the talented actors if they knew an actress that could pass for the protagonist in the cover art and is also building her reel. We found the perfect person. The actor who recommended her agreed to play the male lead, which was great since they were already friends.
We shot in three locations – packing a car, on the freeway and the main shoot in a pub. The car scenes seemed simple, but dense fog blanketed downtown Dallas and caused us to postpone.
Scheduling the main shoot in the pub had its challenges. We found a date the location, cast and crew was available, and put the call out for extras. We were ready. Then our actress got the flu on shoot day. We scheduled a backup date and put another call out for extras. We showed up on shoot day and found the manager I made the arrangements with had been let go. (Oops!) Luckily the owners knew and the bartenders allowed the show to go on.
Editing is a critical part of the process. It takes special equipment and great skill to put the right footage together to tell the story, select music and add cover art, publisher information and a purchase link, which likely will require someone with graphics skills. With this trailer, we also recorded voice over, another step that requires equipment and skill. We loaded the final video on YouTube and started the marketing efforts, which will require another blog to explain. The video got almost 300 views in the first few days and almost 400 in a month before we replaced the video. We felt the voice over could be better, so we went into the studio and re-recorded. The version you’ll see is the updated one.
This video is full of talent. Dustin Grant, Pink Mouse Blue Mouse Productions, produced, directed and edited the video. John Harrell of Harrell Creative art directed it. Katlyn Folker plays Gillian and Rafeal Villagas plays Jon. And numerous amazing friends played the extras that make the neighborhood really come alive.
The trailer for Becker Circle turned out better than I could have imagined. My favorite words during the process…
That’s a wrap!