Today I'm delighted to welcome shoe goddess extraordinaire Kate Johnson to my blog! Kate's a fellow member of the UK's Romantic Novelists' Association and an all-around lovely person. Her UK debut novel The Untied Kingdom is out soon! To be in with a chance to win a copy, leave a comment below.
Before I get to Kate, though -- thank you for all the wonderful comments on my last post. And can I remind you of Authors for Japan (which includes my books!). Bidding is open until Sunday.
I'm off to Bruges this weekend, embarking on a no-chocolate-left-behind tour! Wooo!
And now, over to Kate...
It's absolutely fabulous to be blogging here with the lovely and talented Talli, a lady of impeccable taste in shoes, and also provider of desperately-needed postcards with which to fan oneself on a hot July evening by the Thames! (Talli interjects: don't ask.)
Today I'm going to talk a little bit about the book trailer for my upcoming Choc Lit release, The Untied Kingdom. Book trailer, I hear you cry? What's that about then? Well, take a look:
*Kate takes a little bow*
The idea of a book trailer is pretty much the same as a movie trailer: to spread the word and give a taster of what's to come. It can be a tricky thing to get right--too long and you lose a viewer's interest, too short and you've missed the pertinent information. Too much text can be hard to read, especially if it's speeding by. Too many images with no explanation and it's just baffling. Getting the right soundtrack can be an impossibility, especially on a tight budget.
I started thinking about the trailer for The Untied Kingdom pretty much as soon as I sold the book. Oh all right, before that. Every now and then, with nothing else to do, I'd trawl stock photo sites, looking for pictures of people who resembled my characters, or the situations in which they found themselves. I began to assemble a loose script in my head, and I realised that with this particular book, something like a news report would be a good addition, keep it from being just a series of static images.
Of course, then I needed footage for the news report, and someone to read it out. Well, thanks to a year of reading out boarding calls at Stansted Airport, I could manage the second part myself, but footage of my then-teenaged heroine as an elfin popstar? I considered it. For about a second. Then I did the sensible thing and bought some stock footage from iStockphoto. I knew pretty much as soon as I saw the video of that girl singing that even though it took a big chunk of my budget, it needed to be part of my trailer: she's almost exactly how I pictured my heroine, Eve. I found an annoying electro-beat loop on the Garageband software on my Mac, and recorded the voiceover on top of it, for that 'news bulletin' feel. iMovie added the news ticker and visual effects.
Then it was onto the rest of the trailer. Pretty much the only thing I know about editing video footage is to cut on the beat--that is, to work out the interval between beats in the soundtrack, and use that as the basic unit of time for each frame. I got very lucky with my soundtrack (also iStockphoto), which has a nicely cinematic feel to it and reminds me a bit of the Inception soundtrack, and also some of the music from BBC's Being Human.
The stills in the trailer were from various stock photo sites, mostly Dreamstime and iStockphoto. I didn't always get the images I wanted: when I added it all up I realised compromises had to be made and in several cases, cheaper images found. Most of the quickly-glimpsed images in the montage at the end were free stock images: I searched for things like 'soldier' 'blood' 'kiss' etc. I knew I hadn't a hope in hell of finding a photo to look just like my hero, unless Richard Armitage returns my calls, so I went for a close-up of a man smoking a cigarette (which is one of my hero's many bad habits). For all of the scenes set in the alternate world of the Untied Kingdom, a world of war and hunger, I desaturated the images a bit to give that faded look you find in films like Saving Private Ryan.
I'd love to take credit for the fancy editing work, the text and transitional effects, but in truth I just picked them from iMovie options. I wanted to keep the visuals fairly simple, not too flashy, and make sure the text was as readable as possible.
I'll freely admit this is something of a procrastination for me. Right now I should be finishing work on my next book...but instead, I'm thinking about how I might create a trailer for that...
Kate is a prolific writer of romantic and paranormal fiction. Born in 1982, Kate is Choc Lit’s youngest author and lives near Stansted. She is a self-confessed fan of Terry Pratchett, whose fantasy fiction has inspired her to write her own books. Kate worked in an airport and a laboratory before escaping to write fiction full time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has previously published short stories in the UK and romantic mysteries in the US. She’s a previous winner of the WisRWA's Silver Quill and Passionate Ink's Passionate Plume award.
Her UK debut novel The Untied Kingdom has had rave reviews from everyone who has read the manuscript. This eagerly awaited novel will be published in April 2011 by Choc Lit.