Over the course of the past few months, I have worked to produce a book trailer for The Prime Way Program: Be the Victor. Overall, I spent around $300 to produce a full-length, cinematic book trailer with a full cast and crew. We filmed for fourteen hours, in six locations.
In this post, I will share the 9 Steps to Creating a High-Quality Book Trailer with a Low Price Tag. I’ve implemented all of these steps while being a full-time college student, author, and Harper Collins intern.
No matter your schedule, you can produce a professional trailer for your book.
Decide how you plan to use the trailer and then, decide the format. If you plan to use the trailer at tradeshows and book-signing, a word-focused format might be best. However, if you plan to use it for a social media campaign, consider a more cinematic approach.
A few years ago, I hired a videographer to create a book trailer for my speaking engagements.
It was a simple trailer that incorporated text, images, and music to portray the overall plot of my book. Because I plan to rebrand my trilogy and begin a social media advertising campaign, I produced a cinematic trailer to capture my audience.
2. Write A Screenplay
To those who do not know how to structure a screenplay, this may seem like a daunting task. Begin by choosing the book scenes that most effectively show the plot arch. Ask readers which scenes they remember best. Pick key moments and translate into a script. Minimize dialogue to the maximum of one line per character and instead focus on movement. Also, refer to other screenplays for examples. Research will provide you with the information to properly format and word the screenplay.
3. Research and Edit
What makes a good trailer is a researched, edited screenplay. Watch other book and film trailers to gain a more intelligible perspective of plot arches. Once you’ve drafted a screenplay, have a variety of people read and review your script and then, make a list of all you will need, costumes, cast members, equipment, number of crew members, etc.
4. Visionary Crew
Find a key group of people to help you develop your vision for the trailer—I cannot stress enough the importance of this. You want a crew that understands the purpose of your project and are more focused on portfolio building rather than making a profit from the trailer. Of all the people you require for the project, your director is the most vital.
Tyler Traeger, a dear friend of mine and the director of The Prime Way Program book trailer, worked with me to finalize the script and film times. Because of his involvement in the creative process, I trusted his judgment during filming.
Casting is the step with the longest timeframe since you will be looking for actors willing to work for free. Give yourself enough time to find the perfect cast. Stalking on social media is acceptable for this. Ask around.
I found my cast at school and a rock-climbing gym.
Goodwill is your best friend. Do not be afraid to ask your cast if they have certain costume pieces. Also, use your own clothes and props.
Go location scouting and be willing to compromise original vision to fit overall filming process. Look at what you have and see what can be altered to match the screenplay.
Logistics and good communication must be your number-one priority. Make a detailed schedule of your filming process and delegate jobs so you can be focused on the filming rather than trying to fill every role. Also, if you have a cast who are offering their time for free, gift them with food, drinks, and thank you presents. Keep the atmosphere positive and encouraging!
9. Portray Vision
Throughout the filming process, ensure that the cast and crew understand what they’re working to capture, but do this is an affirming manner. And trust the director! Those handling the cameras know what looks good on film.
After working so hard to put together a trailer for your book, show it off! Be like a mom with a newborn baby—post your trailer everywhere.
Many thanks to . . .
Videographers: Tyler Traeger and Christi Deurksen
Actors: Nathan Queen, Leah Sykes, Richard Sowienski, Cristopher Stayton, and Trevor Lovingood
Extras/Crew: Emily Autrey, Elise Boling, Marguerite Baldes, Claudia George, Julie George, Rachel Martin, Palmer Hooks, Peter Atkins, and Parker Anderson