Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Book Trailer as Entertainment - Innovations from a Cutting Edge Author

Today's post introduces something I have never seen before, a ground-breaking innovation in the amorphous world of the book trailer. Canadian author Joseph Picard has created a short film in which, instead of directly plugging the book, he shows an interview with the main character in his book, Rubberman's Cage.

Thank you for joining us today, Joseph, and you've just completed a very innovative project where you made a video interviewing the main character in your new book, Rubberman's Cage. Tell me, what was the genesis of this idea?

Well, it comes from two elements. Book trailers, when they started out, were often drab affairs inspired by movie trailers, with buzz phrases relating to the book appearing over in-theme pictures... some still are. Some are better.
Also, while I've been on both ends of a review, (usually in text, occasionally in audio or video, but most often text), I've only recently seen interviews of characters. I reviewed a character from a book by Cas Peace a while ago, and it was a ton of fun. Playing make believe is what fiction's all about...

So it's basically a souped-up book trailer, with the character interview giving the reader a real look inside the book in place of the usual tired sales pitch that we see in so many book trailers?

I guess so. I toyed with doing readings into video, but those got boring (for me, and likely any viewers) pretty quick. They got more and more experimental, until I decided to act out a scene from Echoes of Erebus. It was badly acted, but the silliness of it took the wind out of my otherwise honed (coughHAHAHAcough) thespian skillz.
And I played both parts, one of which was female. I wore a Merida (from Brave) wig. And it wasn't even the right colour for the character!

I'll have to look for that one! In the instant work, only one of the parts, that of Lenth, the protagonist of Rubberman's Cage, is acted, the other part appearing as text. Was that done for effect?

Well, originally no. The interviewer happened to be on the wrong side of the globe [and whose fault is THAT?? ]* to get in front of my camera, but the end result worked out really well... I plan to use a similar format for the next one. It will be another from Rubberman's Cage, so visually, it will help them get along together. Even if the next one is quite a bit sillier.

* Joseph is referring to the fact that I played the part of the interviewer for him when he was creating the script for the film.

I agree - actually the anonymous print in my view contributes to the sinister feeling of the whole video. Now as far as the acting that is done in it, that is you yourself appearing as Lenth, is it not? And your portrayal of a man with an impoverished upbringing and few social skills is quite masterful. Had you experience as an actor?

Mainly in that I'm full of shi- er, I was happy to be the class clown. I got into character a bit physically, too. Lenth is pretty cleanly shaven (not by choice), and that was darned convenient. When I lose my chin fuzz, I drop about 10 years in age. Lenth is 22. I am... more than 32. I still think my 'Lenth' looks older than 22, but it's not bad.

He does look young, and I heartily salute your dedication to getting the right look. You shaved off your beard AND your hair! I don't think I would go that far.
Now, what about the other business; the music, for example? It has a marvellously sinister sound that I think fits your dystopian society to a T. Where did that come from?

I shave my head regularly.. not always THAT close though.. and it's hot as heck right now here.. so it was a task happily taken. I have fun with my hair- every other halloween season, I do this triple mohawk thing that looks better on me than I expected it to. And no one believes me that I once had a ponytail that went to the small of my back. That looked far WORSE on me than I expected.
Once upon a time, when only dorks went on the internet, and the 3L337 nerds were on dialup BBSs, I was very busy composing music. The tune in the Lenth interview was called "Radar", but the title didn't mean a lot. I made a ton of music, most of it horrible, and titles were a low priority after a while.

 Ohhh so you really did everything in the video yourself, didn't you, just like Enya! Good job! And what was the process like? What would you say were the main difficulties that you had to overcome?

Well, for one thing, I had to get new video editing software... I took a chance on a free (for basic functions) called Lightworks. I'll spare you the details, but it has a very unique way of thinking that's hard to get used to- such as no SAVE button. I think it saves after every change, then you just quit, putting your faith in the program.
Shooting location was a fun adventure, scouting locations... and after I found a good spot, the shoot went horrible, and the footage was unusable. I had to re-shoot in a more convenient, but less thematic location. Then today, I stumble across a spot literally in my back yard that's perfect with a little tweak. I used it today for the next video.
Beyond that, it was mainly the fumbling nonsense of lining up a shot on myself, while trying to avoid knocking over the tripod with my wheelchair.

Well you did a great job. And that aseptic white room was actually part of your back yard? Amazing!
So what do you hope to achieve with this video?

Haha, no, that was my baby-blue hallway. I ran filters and junk to wash it out, and the loss of some of my pigment in the process just fit in great for Lenth's upbringing.
What do I hope to achieve with it? Frankly, I have my doubts about the marketing power of book trailers and such, but really, I'm just my own biggest fanboy. It's fun, to see my characters in action, even if it's really just me. And embedded videos make my website less boring. It was that, or put in animated gifs of dancing hamsters.

OK, now a little about the content - yes, I know a lot of that was dictated by me since I asked the interview questions, but what made you situate the interview at the point within the book that you did? Rather than, perhaps, right at the beginning, or farther in?

When Lenth starts out, he's pretty much totally ignorant of his situation, or that anything about it was different. He didn't have much to talk about, and if someone appeared to start asking questions, he'd be far more shocked, (even frightened, maybe) to see a stranger. His Rubberman would likely get involved, and that would bring things to a halt pretty quick.
After about a third of the way in, he has a better understanding of his world, and is used to people outside of the small group he grew up with. He has an idea that there's more than he's seen so far, and aside from his goal to find his missing Brother, he's also enthusiastic to simply explore.
By contrast, if an interviewer met him far later, he would have too many answers. Maybe a little less open, maybe a little more burdened by his other concerns. At the time of the interview, he's just learning ... well... that he can learn. More than he was initially required to know. Oh my.... in the future, maybe book #42572597, he might discover the INTERNET!

Right! And then he could be interviewing us! Well, thanks for your time Joseph, and we look forward to reading the next book in the Rubberman saga.

Rubberman's Cage is due for release in September 2014. You can read my review of it HERE.

Find Joseph's other books at AMAZON and SMASHWORDS, and the author's own website, or connect with him on FACEBOOK.

And while you are about your shopping, don't forget to pick up your free copy of Summer Dreams and my own Dance of Chaos (use coupon code JF38B for a free download).




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