First, an acknowledgment. I got the idea to try this from Patricia Awapara, although, of course, what I did was just a little different. For one thing, budget considerations being what they are, I wanted it to be free or as close to free as I could make it. Turns out, that is possible.
I started with “Heart of Oak” because of the three stories I’ve e-published, that was the one that was easiest to think of in images.
Step 1: Think up half a dozen or so images that help to tell the first part of your story. This is going to be a lot like a query or book blurb, so you only need to go far enough to introduce the characters, setting, and conflict, not all the way to the end. For “Heart of Oak”, this was fairly easy. A forest. A tree stump. A hut or shack. A vegetable garden. The first two were easy. There are a couple of places you can look for images you can use for free. I like the free section at Dreamstime. Be a little flexible here, especially if you’re looking for free images.
Step 2: Lay out the images in whatever tool you’re going to use to make the trailer. My first and last images were the book cover. I used Windows Movie Maker because I already had it and it’s pretty easy and fairly flexible. At this point, I also played around with the transitions between images.
Step 3: Write a script. This is very similar to an elevator pitch, back cover blurb, or even a query. I find it’s easier to write the script to the images than try to find images to fit the script.
Step 4: As it happens, I already have the ability to record this script, because I’ve been planning to do recordings of at least some of my e-published stories. I have a pretty good recording microphone. Audacity recording software is free. So, I recorded the script myself.
Step 5: Add the recorded script to the movie and match the images to it. In Movie Maker, this just involves stretching some images and squeezing others so that they match up with the spoken script.
Step 6: The trailer was pretty good (for a first effort and no budget) at this point. But it needed one more thing. Titles. Just in case someone had their speakers turned off or too much ambient noise or just happened to be deaf. So I added titles to the images that more or less followed the script. Next time, I’ll plan those titles to match a little better.
And this is the result.
So, now I’ve started work on a trailer for BLOOD WILL TELL. The images for that one have proven to be a bit more challenging. A werewolf. Hmm, that’s a tough one, especially for free, but a wolf and a full moon ought to get the point across. A forest–already got that one. A tower. That actually wasn’t too hard to find. And a dragon. Well, I’m just going to have to do the dragon myself. For some reason, there aren’t any photographs available.