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Sep 9, 2010

Cinders - Book Trailer of the Day

This trailer is by Michelle Davidson Argyle, my friend, for her recently published literary fantasy, Cinders. Read my interview in an earlier post, if you haven't had a chance yet. I believe she did it herself. It's simple, and low-budget, but the pace is good, the stock footage is well-integrated and doesn't feel like modern pictures just slapped into the trailer of a story sent in a medieval kingdom.

One thing she did which makes this trailer stand out is that you will notice several shots of the title character, in appropriate attire, in different positions. This helps give the whole thing a unified feel. How did she do that? Well, she designed the dress, had it sewn and then took the pictures of the model herself. Michelle is also a photographer.

One question I asked myself is whether video would have worked better. She had the model and the dress -- she could have done video easily. But I'm not sure it would have improved it. Unless you have a professional set-up, it's harder than most people think to make video quality look good. And bad video is worse than good still shots moving across the screen with music. There is enough sense of movement here with the twirly-swirls and the pans to create a sense of action. The teaser lines don't try to tell you the whole plot, they say just enough to give a feel for the book. And the trailer doesn't go over one minute.

I am hoping Michelle will talk about making the trailer on The Literary Lab as part of her series on self-publishing.


Samantha Vérant said...

Hmmm. I'm thinking she could have incorporated a little video, but the trailer is well done nonetheless.

C. N. Nevets said...

First, I never actually saw the trailer before purchasing and reading the book but, at least after the fact, I think the music, imagery, and pacing capture the soul of the book pretty nicely.

It's harder to shoot truly quality video unless you already have the cameras and lighting, which are different than needed for still stuff. I'm not sure it would have been worth the investment of money or time in finding people to donate the equipment.

On the other hand, it seems like a touch or two of voice over might have added a little extra oomph to draw in non-visual readers like myself.

Tara Maya said...

It's hard to do voice overs too, unless you or someone you know is a good sound-actor. Since books are a written medium, I find I would rather read a screen than listen to a voice or watch a video that seems "off" or less than professional. It makes me wince.

The Ghost Horse Hollow trailer I featured earlier had several kinds of video clips: what appeared to be stock footage of horses running, and home-made video of a woman in costume. I thought the stock footage worked well. The home video clips could have been integrated better if they had been shorter. But it's hard. I've done video and I know it's very hard.

C. N. Nevets said...

Tara, that's probably true. As a sometime voice actor who happens to know a lot of others, my perspective on how easy voice talent is to round up on a moment's notice is probably skewed.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Tara, thanks for sharing this! I've really been enjoying all the trailers you put up - even if I don't comment. :)

I didn't even think about doing a post about trailers...I should! I will!

I wanted to do video, too, but at the time I had no options for that. I do now, though. There's a guy that just moved in whom I've made friends with and he happens to be a cinematographer. So for Thirds...yeah, probably video will be in that one. :)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

This is funny. I never thought people would suggest other things for the trailer, but it's okay. I'm married to an actor. Voice-over is also an option for future trailers.

This trailer was way low-budget and just as a "filler" thing for advertising. In the future, if I make more money with Cinders, I'll probably do more with future trailers. :)