Ballads of Book Trailers, Part 2

So, you’ve done your research, and you at least have an idea for your book trailer.  Now is the time to refine it.  How so?  One, by writing a script, and two, by storyboarding.  You can do either one first; both influence each other.  I storyboarded first, so that’s what I’m going to talk about.

1. Storyboarding should act as a list of assets. As in, what are you going to need visually?  What sounds will you need?  Animations? My book trailer is not live-action, so please don’t feel like you have to do that.  (And if you do, make sure you get some actors and a director who really, really know what they’re doing.) It’s an ebook, not anything backed by a major publisher.  Even if you’re stuck with some text and a book cover image, do your damndest to make it as interesting as you can.  One way is dynamics.  Things are always more interesting when they’re moving.  Fade in is always better than the image and text just appearing.  Try looking at your book cover and see if you can cut it into pieces for a panning shot of of the title or the elements on the cover.  That is more exciting set to a voice over than just a full minute of nothing but the book cover.

To give you an example of how informal your storyboarding need be, here’s mine:


And yes, I know this is hard to believe, but I seriously have a background in professional art.

2. Storyboards have to work as storyboards. If your crit partner can’t understand what’s going on in the storyboard, even with all your notes, you need to rethink it.  (Notice I said crit partner, not the blogosphere.)  Massive problems with the script and action are not going to be solved by Flash tricks or dazzle.  Your audience will probably be entertained, but confused.  Remember that your competence as an author needs to be reflected in the book trailer, because if the book trailer is a sucky, confusing mess, how is your book going to be any better?  Do not have eye-bleedingly bad colors and enough flickering to cause a seizure; do not have trite, cliche’ dialogue or an expository setup.  Storyboards also let you know what kind of sounds you’ll need, music and effects and so on.  We’ll get into that later.

Next, we’ll talk scripts.


About coyoteclockwork

I currently live near Salt Lake City, Utah, a dinosaur mecca! I write and illustrate YA fantasy books. I grew up in Texas on five acres, training dogs to pull carts and riding horses. I am largely self-taught as an artist, and prefer digital media. I just released my first big indy novel with the help of Kickstarter: a full color dinosaur novel with 100+ illustrations, Mark of the Conifer.
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