Archive for the 'Book Trailer' Category

Brave Squish Rabbit – Book Trailer

Only a few days now until the Brave Squish Rabbit launch. Three to be precise. Our household is bursting with rabbity books and madness. Busy busy. Lots to do.

Like:

  • Baking carrot cup cakes
  • Making fairy bread
  • Cutting out sparkly stars
  • Threading carrots with twine
  • Warming up my illustrating fingers
  • Ironing my dress (I never iron … that’s how special you are to me)
  • Practising my talk (ie. writing my talk)

But before I get back to it, I wanted to hop by for a special something. I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’ve been working on a little animation for the book … and it’s finally done. Click below to see the Brave Squish Rabbit book trailer. Hope you like it!

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How to Make a Book Trailer

My second book is due out in a few short months, so this topic has consumed most of my creative time lately. Book trailers are much like movie trailers … only about books (duh). They’re short video clips used to advertise books, but for me they’re much more. The illustrator in me loves them as another form of visual storytelling, as well as an excuse to dabble in animation. They’re also a great way to reach an international audience. Being based in Australia, here I can tour schools and festivals, meeting kids and teachers and doing book readings. But when it comes to my US audience, instead I can interact using my book trailer and by doing blog tours and online interviews.

So let’s say you’ve written a book and want to make your own trailer. Here’s the good news: the hard bit is already done. Because the first thing you need is a great story. Once you have that, you have the bones of your trailer. Now the bad news: I can’t tell you exactly how to make a trailer. There are just too many different ways to go about it. But I can tell you what a good trailer needs … and how I made mine … and what I’ve learnt along the way (please feel free to learn from my mistakes).

Where to start…

  • Watch lots of trailers: I mean heaps. Good ones. Bad ones. Figure out the difference. Find a few you love and study them
  • Make a list: write down all the things you want your trailer to include. My list was: book cover, key scenes, review quotes, publisher information, trailer credits, my website
  • Write the script: write out all the words that will appear in your trailer, whether spoken or written. Then edit it. And again. Get the order and emphasis right. Spend as much time on it as you would crafting a passage of your book. Mine looks like this:

  • Choose your visuals: for an illustrator this bit is easier. I chose a few key scenes from my picture book to use. If you’re not the illustrator, you need to seek their permission to use their work. If your book is a novel, there are royalty free image sites you can google to find quality images – spend time finding ones that reflect the mood and style of your story
  • Choose your music: I’m lucky enough to work with an amazingly talented composer and multi-instrumentalist, but they don’t just grow on trees. Mostly people use royalty free music you can download from various sites. I used such sites to find a few subtle sound effects, and made some of my own (in my extremely low budget recording studio / bedroom cupboard)
  • Create a storyboard: this is an illustrating term, which means designing the visuals of the story. Draw out exactly what you want your trailer to look like, a few frames at a time. This is where you can start to think about text and image placement, as well as consider background, transitions, colour, sound effects and music. Mine looks like this:

  • Make it: Yeah, not as easy as it sounds. This point could have an entire blog devoted to it. But choose a video editing program you have, or one you can afford, then read / watch every online tutorial you can find. This is exactly how I learnt to use Flash, which is what I used to create my first trailer. This time around I was going to use stop motion animation, but it was consuming too much time so I’ve shelved that idea for another year. My first trailer involved a lot of trial and error as I was figuring Flash out, and it took me forever to grasp what I was doing. But this second trailer has been much easier (and much more fun). I’m now confident enough to play with some more complicated sequences

Things I learnt along the way…

  • Keep it short. No longer that 1min 30sec. Modern viewers have short attention spans (most of you probably haven’t made it this far in my post)
  • While my book is written in past tense, the trailer worked much better in present tense – it gave a greater sense of unfolding action
  • However long you think it will take to make the trailer – double it
  • Get the trailer ready to release at least a month before the book comes out. Book review copies are sent out long before the release date, so books often start gathering reviews early. It’s great if you can have the trailer circulating at the same time

Some of my favourite trailers…

I’ll be launching the Brave Squish Rabbit trailer here in September…

Visual Diary #7

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog with the latest scribblings from my visual diary. My creative work is more focussed on novel writing at the moment (more on that soon), as well as another project that you will see below. Even so, images are always forming in my mind and sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can grab a sliver of time to trap them on the page…

A little voodoo doll who has been following me around for a while, and whose story I hope to make into a graphic novel one day:

The way I felt when amongst the crowds of the Woodford Folk Festival this year:

Not exactly a visual diary page, but another creative project I’ve been working on. The latest stop motion trial I have done for my Brave Squish Rabbit book trailer:

For now I’m packing my creative tools (visual diary, iPad, notes) into a suitcase and heading off to Darwin for this year’s WordStorm. I’ll be doing a number of school visits, as well as a reading in the kids’ program and doing a full day workshop (for adults) all about making picture books. You can check out the program here – if you’re in the area I hope to see you there! Wish me luck avoiding the crocs…

Stop Motion Animation-ing

It’s now official. There is a second book in the Squish Rabbit series. The files have all been sent to the printers. As we speak I’m awaiting the first unbound print proofs from my publisher. Somewhere in the last few months my second book even found itself a name…

Brave Squish Rabbit will be released in September this year.

And there was much rejoicing (mainly from those close to me who are likely sick of me in stressed illustrator mode, where I spend a lot of time doubting myself, eating cereal and not sleeping). The National Library of Australia is the first to have it up on their site, with a hilarious description that goes something like:

Squish, a little rabbit who is afraid of nearly everything, ventures into the night during a storm to find his friend, Twitch, who he fears may have encountered chickens.

With a new book comes the need for a new book trailer, so I’ve been toying with a few ideas. For my first book I learnt an entire new animation and editing program in order to make the trailer, and it took a good month of experimenting to create something I was happy with. You can see the product below, which has just passed 2,500 hits on YouTube:

Not one to make it easy for myself, I really want to do something different for book two. Inspired by a few clips I’ve seen recently I decided to try my hand at stop motion animation. I’ve had to do a bunch of research in trying to determine the best program to use, and have just downloaded a trial version of iStopMotion. This morning I had a go at making my very first halting and oh-so-very-B-grade stop motion video.

I’m still not sure how I’ll make the book trailer in the end (my aching back votes a firm ‘no’ to stop motion) but feel free to check out my attempt below:

I used a funky freeware tune composed by Mike Vekris (I think I was referencing some Peter Gabriel-style Sledgehammering)

Stay tuned to see how it all evolves…

Book Trailer

For the last month or so I’ve been rabbiting away on a secret little side project. It took many hours, much experimentation, some laughter, a little cursing, and the learning of an entire new computer program. But mostly it was a lot of fun, as it involved watching one of my little characters come to life. And today I’m ready to release it.

To celebrate the upcoming launch of Squish Rabbit in Australia (29th August), check out the video below if you want a sneaky peek of my first ever book trailer:

Or you can watch in on Vimeo here.

A huge thanks to the amazing musician Richard Grantham for the score, and also to my publishers (UQP and Viking / Penguin) for their support.

Hope you like it…


About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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