Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Making of a Ghostly Book Trailer

To celebrate Halloween, I'm dedicating this week to Melissa MacVicar, author of ghostly YA paranormal tales about haunted homes and ancient rituals. In the fourth part of this series, I talk about how I made the book trailer for Ever Near.

No one knows for sure how effective book trailers are, but one thing is certain: they can't hurt. And they're sure fun to make. So when Melissa, having seen what I did for my own Artificial Absolutes trailer, asked me to make one for her YA paranormal novel, Ever Near, I didn't hesitate to say yes.

Now, I am the amateur of amateurs when it comes to video production. The only equipment I have is iMovie and a temporary subscription to a stock video website. But that's more than enough for a book trailer, which isn't meant to be literal anyway. In fact, I think it's better if it's not, since half the point of a book is for the reader to envision worlds of their own.

So I wasn't trying to depict actual events in the book, like a movie trailer was, but rather to create an atmosphere while presenting what the book's about. To give prospective readers a flavor of what's to come.

Melissa and I therefore set out in search of music and images that would evoke the feel of Ever Near, a ghost story mixed with a contemporary teen romance. The tagline, "Love is ever near, but trouble is never far," is both optimistic and a touch melancholy, and so I laid the text over an image of sunlit flowers that represent both emotions. To capture the paranormal elements, we picked haunting images of clouds and moonlight that immediately bring to mind the otherworldly. And since the story takes place on the island of Nantucket and contains a lot of local flavor, we included footage of shore houses and waves.

I really lucked out when I found a stock video of a teen girl walking into the water. Not only did she look like Jade, but the slow, contemplative way she enters the waves matches the summery feel of this teen romance, yet contains a tinge of sorrow. Jade isn't a tragic character by any means, but she sees her fair share of emotional turmoil.

We chose a slow, rolling piano song for the soundtrack because it gave the trailer both a haunting and contemporary feel, neatly tying together the main ideas of the book. Between voiceover and overlaid text, I chose text because the human silence adds to the ghostly element.

And here's the result:

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