If you’re an author who is dying to have a book trailer for your newest publication, but you’re stuck because you don’t have the budget to hire someone to make one for you, you can make a trailer yourself. It isn’t much harder than writing a pitch or synopsis… which, if you have a novel, you’ve done already.
This revelation comes from a fellow Stonecoast alum, Alison McMahan, who recently gave a workshop on making a book trailer at the the Florida Romance Writers, her local RWA chapter. As a screenwriter and filmmaker, she knows what she’s talking about. She has over twenty years of experience in film production, both in the U.S. and abroad, she’s taught film history and theory and screenwriting in numerous venues. She is the president of Homunculus Productions LLC, which produces training films, industrials, PSAs, documentaries, and, occasionally, fiction films. If she says it’s not that complicated, I believe her.
About making your own book trailer, Alison says:
Book trailers are great marketing tools and a fabulous addition to your book’s webpage. Trailers spark discussions about your topic and draw readers to your site. Book trailers can be expensive, but a short, simply designed book trailer is not hard to make, using the resources most writers already have. For the more cinematically ambitious we will look at ways to make a live-action movie with an ipad, and how to use stop-motion, animation, and other effects with easy-to-find apps.
Your first step is to write a script. Alison’s basic considerations for this are simple. The book trailer should be short, less than a minute long. Avoid text over black, especially at the opening. Convey the same information as in your synopsis: the hero, the antagonist or love interest, the main problem, the outcome. Be sure any sentences in your book trailer script are grammatically correct and correctly punctuated.
Consider your trailer script a form of writing. Your writing skills will be judged by it. Writing a book trailer often forces you to examine any weaknesses of your synopsis, and by extension, of your story. Alison says, “It’s a good exercise to write the book trailer script even if you aren’t going to make a book trailer. The exercise also helps you pitch your book.”
To read notes from her workshop and watch several video examples of self-made book trailers, see HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BOOK TRAILER – PRESENTATION FOR FRW