Tonight, I want to talk about making a trailer for your novel. There are not many options to choose from to create a perfect trailer for your novel. However, a few tricks and platforms can help you present your novel in the best light. This post will try to explain what I did and where I looked to find adequate material for my novel trailers.
Many writers try to compile a dozen short videos taken from their favorite movie or series into a Frankenstein’s monster. Hiring a professional editor, filmmaker, or actor is expensive, and I understand that, but you should still put effort into making the trailer in the best way you can. You do not need a bank loan, close ties in Hollywood (although that would be recommendable), or supreme video editing skills. All you need is an idea of what do you want your trailer to look like and what message the trailer needs to take across to attract potential fans.
You must be prepared to be disappointed. Your trailer will never come out perfect, due to the lack of options I mentioned before and questionable video editing skills for those that just began learning this new trait of video editing. That said, this does not mean you should give up on creating a trailer. This short film needs to show the plot of your novel and spark interest in people. It is similar to writing a short story. As every great story has, you need to develop a beginning, culmination, and conclusion for a video. Writing a scenario is an excellent way to start this project. Let your imagination run wild, and write down what do you want to see in your imaginary movie. Imagine your trailer, and write it down.
When the draft is complete, you should end up having a starting point, an outline, a skeleton of what would be perfect for your novel. The next step is to find the video clips you want to use. What is the first frame? Let us start slow. Is there mist, flames, happy people doing happy things? The first video is a compilation representing the balanced/normal/idyllic state in your novel. People are happy, and then something terrible happens that lures the reader into the novel. The same thing with the trailer. Is the mist an opening shot? Search Google for “Mist, license-free video” or “Mist Royalty Free Video,” or search for “Free Videos.” If you are lucky, the results will take you at least to 3 or 5 good places where you can search for the perfect video for a montage.
Shutterstock has the most extensive library of videos, but you need to purchase them, or if you download the video, it usually comes with a watermark in the middle of the shot, obstructing the scene. There are tools to remove a watermark, and then there are videos without the watermarks on other platforms. I prefer using Videezy and their database for my trailers. The material comes watermark-free and in various formats, resolutions and sizes. Be careful with what you download.
You typed “Mist” in the platforms’ search bar, and there are ten pages of results. Pick one video that fits perfectly with the narrative and tone of your trailer and download it. Now proceed to find more. Try using synonyms, related topics and searches the planform provides on the side menu and see if there are videos which follow the novel’s plot. Perhaps there is a better video, scene, or montage available that fits the trailer. That is an opportunity to create a more extended trailer. That way, you have more options, more luxury of time to say what you wanted and space to be creative.
Every movie editor swears in the software they use to create the perfect movie. There is various professional editing software as VegasPro, AfterEffects, AdobePremier, Corel VideoStudio, Filmora, and others. The problem with these programs is that some are not user-friendly, and it takes time to learn the tricks. On the other hand, some of these programs, if not bought and registered, leave a watermark on your video regardless if you had or did not have a watermark in the first place. Double watermarks? It is like watching a movie through a blindfold. I prefer VSDC Video Editor to Filmora, MovieMakerPro, and the rest of the programs on the market. VSDC does not leave a watermark, which is a great plus, it is free to download, and the controls are easy to find, understand and use. The only limiting aspect about the program is that lack of special effects library and tools some advanced programs have built in their interface. For writer’s needs, VSDC is a solid introduction to video editing for an amateur.
The composition of your trailer must be logical. Separated into scenes, you would need about six videos for a one-minute trailer, each scene ten seconds long. You can stick a sentence or a flying text over the current frame. The role of that text is to bring out the context, emotionally reshape and color the video’s action. You are telling a short story inside the video. Video only helps you to make those lines powerful. Would you like an example?
My novel is about a virus, pandemic, war, the quarantine. The novel also questions moral standards within an individual, family bonds, and priorities. Therefore, the trailer I will show you is formed in a way where the storyline surfaces forward.
The first thing we see in the trailer is a laboratory. The first line I used says, “They created a virus.” All right, who are they, and what virus? Well, buy a novel and read it yourself. The lab scene is over, and the second scene is about demonstrations, riots, and protests. Complete color change, a tone change, everything leans toward violence. And the following line says, “They created the conflict.” Again, who are they, and what conflict? Well, buy a novel and read it yourself. After this scene, we another with the skyscrapers among the clouds, and the third video is a close-up of destruction and ruined houses. There is a build-up in the form of pictures; before the closing video zooms on a man wearing a mask with the line “They created… ME.” Even more, to break down this trailer, see how the scenes change from something calm to violence and end with a mystery. First, there were riots, and then there was destruction, as the aftermath of what those riots did. Contrasted with the skyscrapers, we have those ruins before the end to give us another set of emotions. You are a big-name movie producer; choose the order of your scenes. Always question yourself if the trailer works better with or without the scene you are editing. Trailer tells a story along what the flying text, and it works great. Your effort will not be overlooked. In mater of fact, good composition and choice of videos will make your trailer stand out.
Try not to use more that four concepts of actions in your promo trailer, and keep them rounded in one segment. For an example, you could show the laboratory from six different angles. If you take one scene from that block and placed it in the middle of the riot segment, the scene will stand out as redundant, without a purpose, unlinked to what is happening. There are sections in the trailer, and you can name them for what they show. If we do that on this video, we can break the trailer into Lab, Riot, Skyscrapers, Ruin, Mask. In other words, try not to play with the clips too much and create something that goes like this: Lab, Riot, Skyscraper, Lab, Skyscraper, Mask, Riot, Ruin.
If the trailer needs music in the background, use the same search method for video. Search for ambient, instrumental, haunting, epic music, but make sure to read what the video description and licensing says at the bottom. Not all music videos labeled as “Royalty Free” comes for free. Some music producers ask for purchase, some leave it as an optional donation, and some producer actually offer their work for free. Send them an email and ask them for permission to use the music in your video. Don’t risk a copy strike claim, or your trailer will become mute, or taken down.
I hope someone will find this helpful, useful, and interesting. Leave a like, subscribe, share and comment what would you like to see me write next.