Two years ago I went through a period of transition. It took about six months to center myself and figure out what I was really made of. What I liked; what I wanted out of life; the things that made me tick at the core. When those months passed I came to a conclusion. I love entertainment, nothing inspires me as much as fantastic stories and I admire the creators of those stories. So I decided then and there I was going to write. Not only was I going to write though. One day I was going to make my directorial debut and see my work translated onto a screen.
Well, a year-and-a-half later, here I am. With three written books as inspiration, I have secured everything I need to direct my first live-action trailer today!
I can’t wait to get started and share the result of a ton of effort with you. For now though, I want to talk about what goes into such a project and the most important lesson I’ve learned so far.
How to make a trailer
This section might not come as a surprise or revelation to some. Having never been involved in a visual production though, it was all pretty new to me. Hopefully it might provide insight to any others who are as ignorant as I was. 🙂
- Script – this was pretty easy with a book already in place. It was even easier to pick a scene since the opening of the book is intense. A screenplay’s format is much different from a novel’s. However, a combination of Masterclass and examples/notes on Google taught me what I needed to know.
- Storyboard – if you want to simplify the shoot x 1,000, you need a storyboard to plan the shots. Especially if your team is hourly, this saves a ton of money, as well as time. I just found pictures on Google that looked like the scene I wanted, then scouted the locations that fit.
- Background music – find a song to fit the mood, but be sure you also have the rights. I was fortunate in this regard, since the song I made was one I recorded myself for the series.
- Actor(s)/Actress(es) – someone’s gotta be in it if it’s live-action and be honest with yourself, you’re no Daniel-Day Lewis. Contacting the local theater is a great place to start.
- Videographer(s) – I happen to know two who jumped at the opportunity to help, though one’s family and the other is one of my best friends. Still, with technology being what it is now, you don’t need a master to make something high quality.
- Equipment – cameras and such were borrowed/owned by the film crew. Costumes were the only real expense and were dirt cheap for the scene I was looking to create.
- Set – finding the right spot takes time. Mine was outdoors so plenty of scouting eventually landed the right locations.
The most important lesson
Let’s be brief. I am a member of a bunch of author/creative/entrepreneur groups. Most of which said the ROI of a book trailer wouldn’t be worth it. I’m only just getting started and I can tell you that’s complete bullshit.
Financially, I have no concept of what the outcome will be. It also doesn’t matter to me in the slightest way. If you want to create something and you have the means to do it, you do it. There is no better feeling than creating something you put your heart into. The return on that alone is immeasurable.
It’s more than that though. If you work on something exciting to you, in any form, you are far more likely to find greater success. There are countless stories of this and I have past examples of my own. For a higher profile example though, look no further than Tommy Wiseau of The Room and The Disaster Artist fame. After investing $6 million in The Room, a movie widely accepted as a “disaster,” Wiseau has by-now re-couped his investment. So if you need “success” to justify everything you do and don’t think you could achieve it in a million years with your creative idea, ask yourself, “what about after a million?”
Now please, go out, watch The Room and the Disaster Artist (highly recommend both), and create. I know I will be and am so excited to continue showing you what comes of it!
Thank you for reading and for everyone’s continued support for the Civilands series. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, feel free to subscribe for more blog updates, and click here for free book giveaways, including best-sellers!