Anyone with a Facebook account will know how clip-happy we have become. If it’s cats hitting gates, or angry chipmunks, or boys doing Star Wars, soon enough the clip will be twice around the world, forwarded and linked to thousands of times.
Publishers and authors have tried for a long time now to make use of this phenomenon with book trailers. There are expensive-looking ones, presumably funded by publishing companies:
and simple, lo-fi ones made by fans:
There is, of course, a whole spectrum in between.
I’ve become interested in the phenomenon of book trailers recently, mostly because I’ve been spending time with lots of short film makers (at a festival called Encounters) and the idea of doing something collaborative in another art form appeals to me. I like the idea that I could write a script and other people would get involved and make it happen (something our Sally knows all about, in case you missed her recent post). Not that I’ve come even close to doing anything about it yet.
One thing I have noticed is that most of the book trailers die a quick death. Why? I think it’s because their function is at odds with the way people actually work. What I mean is, they are produced to advertise books. But, people don’t want book adverts. They want to be entertained. Of course, they don’t mind being sold a product if they’re being entertained at the same time, but no-one is going to link to or forward a straight advert.
So what makes a good book trailer?
Well, from my limited research so far, they either have to be really clever, or really dumb. Here are a couple that have gone viral; you can decide for yourself which is which:
So can I write a script that’s really clever or really dumb and get people to want to film in it or act in it? I have no idea, but I am very tempted to give it a go.
And, for those who haven’t had quite enough cats hitting gates in their lives, here’s one for you:
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