Last month, as my husband was brushing up his video skills, I had the brilliant idea that his workshop project should be a video for my Evernight historical novel, A Note of Scandal. Little did I know how tough it would be to tell the story in a different format!
First, we decided it should be short, so people don’t feel like it’s too much to watch. So it’s 40 seconds long, with another 20 or so seconds “freeze frame” on the ordering information, in case, you know, someone wants to write it down. Second, we decided to do without narration, just use text on-screen with music background. Luckily, there are many sites that offer inexpensive images and creative-commons-licensed music, so we thought there would be plenty to choose from.
But. To keep the text readable in 30 seconds, you can have only about a half-dozen screens of words, and this story has a half-dozen subplots. My first “screenplay” was nearly a whole peinter-page of text! It took a few days and some mighty husband patience to get me to let go of 7/8 of the words I “needed” to use to tell the story. I still could only let them go so far: We put the extra words in the note on the YouTube page.
Also, we chose the music to be historical and romantic, and it does capture the longing and wanting and regret, but it sure doesn’t do justice to the adventure and humor in the story.
So, hot off this one, my husband wanted to try to do one for my new novella, Babysitting the Billionaire. This one was so much easier! First, it’s short, so boiling the story down wasn’t so hard--although I think we do use more screens of text in this one than the other. Second, it’s a funny story, and we had so many ideas for what direction to take: cartoon penguins? Arctic explorers? A wild ride around Washington, DC?
We settled with a step-through the plot, but making sure to keep the penguins in. We hoped adding the brief bit of her moving at the start would carry a feeling of motion through the whole video, along with the music, even thought the rest of the images are static.
Which one works better for you? What are some of the book trailers that really knocked your socks off the first time you saw them? Any that made you run right off (or click right over) to buy the book?Nicky.