How do you condense a novel into
a one to two minute video book trailer that's both compelling and leaves
viewers wanting more? There's no simple formula, but it helps to
understand some key elements of cinematic story telling that serve to grip your
audience. As you plan or story board your book trailer, keep these five
elements in mind:
1) Establish your characters:
The word establish is key here. Showing a father smiling, a mother
worrying, a teenager partying...sometimes it doesn't take much to understand a
character's everyday personality.
2) Set the baseline: Viewers
need something to understand your main character's day-to-day activities,
things that will get worse (or get better THEN get worse). A wonderful job?
Plenty of food for dinner? A boat they love to take out on weekend rides? Show
the good times, so viewers understand just how bad things will get.
trailer by Vikas Wadhwa, winner of Amazon
Studios' Seed book trailer contest.
3) Introduce the conflict: Character development is integral to any good story and chances are, if you're making a trailer, your book has it in spades. Show, or even just hint at, the problems that are going to cause your characters stress, cause them to change.
4) Ramp it up, and leave the
viewer hanging: You've introduced the good times, shown the conflict
that will make things worse, now show some of the REALLY bad things that
result. Death, destruction, horrific sights and sounds...now is the time to
show them. Remember not to show outcomes, unless that outcome is even more
5) Music: Music is
so important, I almost want to list it twice. The right music transports
viewers out of their reality and draws them into the story, and keeps them
wanting more. Even the absence of music is powerful, forcing us to listen to
the imagined sounds in our own minds. Successful music, like seduction, puts a
charm on the listener potent enough to guide them anywhere.