Chicken Scratches and a Trailer

I’m not sure what compels me to make book trailers. They aren’t very effective as far as advertisements go, not mine, at least. Like who really says, “I think I might want to read a book. Perhaps, I should watch some book trailers to decide which one.”

No one.

No one does that.

And yet, I persist. I think part of me just wants to prove to myself that I can do it…again?

So I did put together a trailer for Desmond Winters in the Realms of the Caged Sun. I really wanted an animated trailer; it is a book for kids, after all. Not crazy Disney-level animation but some variety of drawings moving on the screen.

I found some free animation software. The concept looked really great, but it was endlessly complicated and didn’t save my file properly one night after I’d worked on it for hours.

I also looked at using Flash. I actually have that software already. I can’t remember why it didn’t work out. It might have been due to my extremely rusty Flash skills. What I did end up using is PowerPoint. It does a few things with animation and worked okay.

But first, as with most of my projects, I started out with some chicken scratches. Step one was writing the words, and then I decided what images would go with those words.

Here’s a picture of what my semi-coherent notes look like.

trailer notes

Pretty, right? 🙂

I cranked up the contrast to try to make my chicken scratches stand out a little better. You might be able to bigify the picture if you click on it.

So we have 3 columns on the first 2 pages: script notes, animation notes, and timing of each component. I tried to allow adequate time for people to read the words on the screen.

Then I drew up the images in Fireworks, except for the sun at the beginning of the trailer. I did that one in Photoshop because I wanted to paint it.

Each moving part is a different drawing. There’s a beastie that’s a combination of a mole and a bat, and that drawing is a combination of 4 different image files if you count the fireball.

Animation in PowerPoint is pretty limited because it’s not really built for that sort of thing. There is an animation panel that you have to add to the interface through a setting. Here’s what the pane looked like for one of the slides.

animation pane

Once I had the animations finished, I picked some music. Then I hired a guy on Fiverr to do the voiceover. He was super nice.

Oh, I also edited the video in Windows Movie Maker. With PowerPoint, you can export slideshows as videos. I had to add the music and the voice separately, and I think I added them both in Windows Movie Maker.

The whole project probably took a couple of weeks of evening work time (maybe it was 3?) and I only spent $5 on the voice guy.

Here’s the finished product.


The cover winner and a book trailer

Results of the book cover vote are in and the blue cover has won! So, we move forward with the blue as the primary cover and the galaxy as the paperback kickstarter edition. It has been decided.

Here is the finished book trailer. I’m still thinking about shopping around for better music.

some book trailer talkin’

I was trying to think of something to write about today when I realized that I just slapped up the new trailer yesterday without really saying anything about it. So today, I’m doing some book trailer talk.

Creating the trailer for Lair of the White Wyrm was much easier than the Fate Binds trailer. You might remember that one had some blooming flower animation…or you might remember not depending on whether you read the blog then.

The animation for the Lair trailer consists of some moving words and also panning around a grove, which is a scene from the book. The grove picture is a composite image created from two digital photos I took at a public park during a day last summer. There used to be a skate park in the background of one of them.

Bouncing back and forth between Photoshop and Fireworks, I extracted the trees and some of the grass, nixed the skate park and other background stuff, and darkened the whole deal to night time. Then, I created a radial glow in the background. Oh, some of the trees are drawn in, mostly the ones in the back.

Also fun was the brush I found (in Photoshop?) that had a leaf-shaped tip. Awesome, right? I used that in various colors to get all the trees to blend together and also add some contrast to the image.

That’s a lot of work to end up not using the graphic. I was really glad that the trailer allowed me to do something with it.

Animating the pan around the grove was a piece of cake. In Flash, you can set a couple of locations and create a tween. I had to mess with the timing a little but overall, it was WAY easier than the blooming flowers, plus you get a peek at some scenery from the book.

The other major graphic in the trailer is the head of the wyrm. If you guessed that it is a skinned over version of the skull on the book cover, you are correct and I have awarded you an extra 5 bonus points for your attention to detail.

Skinning over the skull actually took longer than I thought it would. I figured it would be an hour, tops. I mean the shape is already there. It was probably double that by the end of it.

I’m embedding the video again so you don’t have to scroll down to yesterday’s post.

lots of stuff

Hello! How are we this wonderful evening? This past weekend was very cold. I took this picture of the field behind the house to give you an idea of the fantastic dreariness. Have you even seen a place so white and desolate? This was taken at about 5pm on Sunday.

The good news is, things outside are warming up.

Earlier today I read about reactions to the Academy Award Nominations from various stars. There was a variety of reactions ranging from gratitude to, well, not as much gratitude. I wondered, how much does one’s reaction quote say about their personality? So I compiled this quick guide about what people might think when they read what you said about being nominated for the biggest award in the industry.

Gratitude personified : These are my favorites. They thank specific people by name, regardless of whether they are less famous. I would guess that these are the people who work hard and appreciate the hard work of others or at least realize that they should appreciate the hard work of the people they work with. These people win first prize for class.

Witty: Some stars said funny, witty things. Very nice. Not quite as gracious as the above but a willingness to put thought into what is said shows a certain level of intelligence and friendliness.

Academy Awards? What the heck are those?: Sigh. They try so hard to look cool. They don’t thank anyone. They don’t seem to even appreciate the fact that they were acknowledged. I would guess that these people might not be a joy to work for or with. I picture them in my head as spoiled, rich children who never had to really work for anything.

End Academy Awards talk

Guess what other excitement is here today. Go on. Guess. No, don’t look at the embedded video below. That’s cheating.

Ok, it’s a new book trailer! This one is the prerelease trailer for Lair of the White Wyrm, which is due out 2/21/12.

There will be a second version after the book is released with availability, etc.

Also sort of up is the book page.

Some of the links aren’t active yet, of course, because they don’t exist, but you can get a feel for what the finished page is going to look like. Plus there’s a synopsis. That might not be the final version.

Book Page

a couple of things

First, the title voting results were unanimously in favor of the second title option for the wyrm book. Therefore, the title will be Lair of the White Wyrm.

Second up, I finally finished a project I’ve been planning for a while. The Fate Binds trilogy now has its very own online home. You can find pretty much everything AnnaBeth there. I’ve been calling it a media page. There’s probably a better word for it.

I will probably do one for every book or series from here on out unless my schedule doesn’t allow or a publisher picks me up and decides they want someone else to handle it.

Implementation took a lot of hours Saturday and Sunday. I got to use my new to me version of Dreamweaver, which went pretty smoothly. It works a lot like the old Dreamweaver from Macromedia I used before.

Anyway, the link is below. As always, feedback is welcome. I probably didn’t edit some of the content as well as I should have, so if you alert me to any typos, I shall bestow upon you 20 extra bonus points for awesomeness.

trailer time

Ello, lovelies! Trailer time.

The trailer is not yet listed. I have to wait until the book pops up on Barnes and Noble because the trailer indicates that the book is available there. I also have to wait to launch the series webpage because I don’t really want to have to go back and update the page right after I put it up. That would be annoying.

I did change the thumbnail image to one closer to the beginning of the trailer, but that change might not have taken effect when/if you view it.

Also, I realize the picture ratio is a little off from the standard youtube size. I’ll do a better job of fitting the next one.

movie: Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids is a comedy that proves women can do humor just as raunchy as men can. That’s what makes it awesome.

Kristen Wiig is Annie, a failed baker who works as a rather ineffective jewelry saleswoman. She’s broke and dating a jerk. Her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), gets engaged and makes Annie her maid of honor. At the engagement party, Annie and another bridesmaid initiate this weird competition for Lillian’s attention that interferes with wedding plans.

Wiig and Rudolph (SNL alums) were quite awesome, but Melissa McCarthy (of Mike and Molly) as Megan all but stole their show. I don’t think her character could have been any stranger or farther from the one she plays on television. That girl can act.

Bridesmaids is very funny and a little chick-flicky but not annoyingly so. It gets an A-.

I’m going to go see if I can hunt down some pretzels. Tune in tomorrow for a blog only (temporarily) sneak peak at the Fate Binds Trilogy Trailer. That’s right. I finished it.