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Making a Book Trailer

Ron and Kathryn Rodenmeyer

Our marketing package for Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature includes a  book trailer. This is a new venture for us — book trailers not being as much of a “thing” when Wolfsnail came out. Since we got grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Greater Jackson Arts Council to support marketing efforts, we were able to hire Mosaic Media, a pr and video production company owned by Ron and Kathryn Rodenmeyer. After looking around at other book trailers and reading some reviews of trailers, I decided I wanted a trailer that would address two ideas: first, that despite the somewhat intimidating sounding name Fibonacci, the number sequence at the center of my picture book is pretty simple; and second, that examples of Fibonacci numbers are all around us in daily life. I set the desired length at 1 min. & 30 sec.

Kathryn encouraging Kate to cuddle up to her pretend Mom

With these key parameters set, Kathryn told me the next step was for me to write a script. She told me I would need to write more informally than I was used to. The words would have to flow like conversation. I put something together. Ron and Kathryn liked the concept, though they suggested I needed an intro. We came up with an intro and then Kathryn developed a list of video and still shots, music, and voice/over and on-camera audio. Then, we started talking about talent. I asked my friend Julie to play herself (mom and librarian); I asked Ron and Kathryn’s kids Ben and Kate to play Julie’s kids; and I engaged Tanner the dog as himself.

composition

We decided to shoot the indoor scenes at my house and the outdoor shots at my parents’ house. I bought flowers for the inside and the outside (we had the worst cold snap in the state’s history last week, which zapped all the pansy blossoms).

I can’t tell you how great it was to be working with people who knew the video medium. There are so many things to think about with video that us still photographers don’t have to think about. Most of these have to do with time and audio.

I got to see the set-up.

I got to preview the set-up

Besides bringing Ben and Kate to “star” in the book trailer, Ron and Kathryn also brought along their oldest, Eve, to engage the younger ones after their work time. When the Rodenmeyer kids were off camera, they played ping-pong with my boys and then we played bananagrams. Ron, who was working the entire time (directing, shooting, recording), had to shush us when we forgot we were on a set.

We had a few last-minute script changes. I woke up with the idea that Julie should record some of the lines that had been slated for me. She was a good sport. I wasn’t in on her recording session, but I know it went well.

Julie reads

Ron was good at coaching. He had me read a few lines to check the audio levels. Then, as soon as he said, “We’re good to go. Ready when you are,” I belted out the lines like I had to project to the bleachers. Woa! You never know what you’ll do in front of a microphone. I’m trying not to think much about appearing in my own book trailer. It goes with the territory and getting nervous just makes it harder. We left Ron and Kathryn with all the raw footage, some still images from our family archives, and some bags of pasta. I will be giddy with anticipation until I get to see the rough cut. This is fun!

(Richard documented the whole thing by taking the photographs in this post. He also helped with set-up, provided a back-up tripod, and offered critical opinions.)

Ron adjusting the tripod


spectators


under the lights


note the pillow


finding a pinecone while walking the dog


examing pansies


close-up of examining pansy


the stand-up

8 Responses to Making a Book Trailer

  • Julie says:

    I can’t wait to see the finished product! It feels really energizing to be involved with such creative people all around and on the cusp of a new media type– the book trailer!

  • Ron says:

    Enjoyed and continue to enjoy working on this project. BTW, the pillow pic is my favorite!

  • Can’t wait to see it! And I’m curious about the grants. Could you talk more about that? I’ve not heard of authors getting grants to market their books before!
    e

  • admin says:

    Elizabeth, the Mississippi Arts Commission has a roster artist program. Once an artist has been selected for this roster, he or she is eligible to apply for one mini-grant per year (a total of $500) to advance his or her career. This might mean attending a professional conference, purchasing art supplies, or creating & printing marketing materials. The Greater Jackson Arts Council has a micro grant program that has similar guidelines. I applied to each for $500 and was granted that amount. I am told that other states and local arts organizations have similar grants, but I’ve never investigated it outside Mississippi.

  • Dave says:

    What did you pay for the rights to shoot at that sumptuous estate? Very nice!

  • admin says:

    Hah! Nice try, Dave.

  • Peggy Archer says:

    This is very interesting, Sara. Best wishes to you and your new book!

  • Barbara Schneider says:

    Someone should tell GA Gov. Perdue about this so he won’t take a hatchet to the state budget for the arts!!! Fat chance.

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