Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Movies, Writing & Trailers

I'm a huge movie fan. Like really, really into movies. I can date it back to my childhood when my parents took me to see Star Wars right before we left for Germany. I was 6. It was magical.
Of course I'd seen movies before then but Jaws doesn't count. My mom didn't know it was a scary movie. Or I begged to see it. One or the other. I was still 6. And we're not even going to discuss how Carol Burnett warped me in relation to Jaws.
Now, as an adult, it's one of my favorite movies, go figure.
I think it was about this time that I began to absorb, if not understand and appreciate, the genius of storytelling. In books on writing, Star Wars is widely held to be one of the penultimate examples of how to do everything right. The perfect Hero's Journey. Reluctance, determination, romance, adventure, action, fulfillment, triumph. And Harrison Ford.
I digress.
Storytelling, in whatever medium, is a tricky art. It's a labor of love and hate (trust me, I have never met an author who hasn't hated their work in progress at some point. The other 1% percent are lying!). It's a long, drawn-out process. Or it's a whirling dervish of thoughts, plots and ideas swirling in your head, determined to get out.
The challenge is to get the words on the page. And most writers I know, are competitive. Even if it's only with those two little words - THE END. I've attended a ton of conferences, seminars and workshops and have heard over and over the idea of "creating a movie in your head" and writing it on the page.
While I love movies, I have discovered I'm not that sort of writer. It's kind of a bummer, too, because you'd think that would make my writing life so much easier. Alas...
I do admit to envying those who can simply close their eyes, start the movie reel and bang it out on the keyboard. Me, I can only sit down, close my eyes and feel the words, then bang them out on the keyboard. I have to get into the zone so the words can flow. I truly do feel each one. There's another saying in writing "If you don't cry, your reader won't cry." The same principle applies to every aspect of the book. If you don't like your characters, chances are no one else will either. Even with proper motivation.
I mean, who would have bought Hannibal Lecter as a scary cannibal if he'd just been hungry?
Which is a great segue into the meeting of the worlds for writing and movies. I don't know about you, but I have long been a fan of trailers/previews. They are my second favorite reason to go to the movies. (I was deeply saddened when movie voice-over guy Don LaFontaine died.) So, when I found out that authors were creating book trailers, I was stoked.
Talk about a way to get visual before you even read the book. And the range is so incredible. Some very simple like mine (free plug for Her Dark Master!) and some totally intricate such as Julia Quinn's for What Happens in London. I loved the trailer and I loved the book. They meshed so well together.
Is this the newest wave of promotion or is it a passing fad? I hope it sticks around. I love to watch them and I love to read them. Peanut butter and chocolate, man!
Anyone else have some favorite trailers or movie stories?


  1. I was lucky enough to "win" a trailer of my latest book through a charity auction. Since then, I've been paying lots of attention to them...and they are an art form in themselves! Like the literary version of music videos (of which I've been around long enough to recall the inception). I don't know if I have any favorites, just enjoy the creative process of watching certain elements of the stories jump to life.

    And looking forward to your August release, Jennifer!

  2. Great trailer, Jennifer. You're not only a good writer, you're a great graphic artist as well. My favorite line in your post: "who would have bought Hannibal Lecter as a scary cannibal if he'd just been hungry?"

  3. When I click on the link, I see everything but the trailer. It's on our end...cleaning up our computer and having downloaded media player, yet.

    Can't wait until Sept. 1 - so very proud of you!

  4. If you had a problem earlier, please try again. I converted the file to a flash movie and reuploaded it. Hopefully that fixes the problem!

  5. The trailer works perfectly for me now! And it's terrific!

  6. Jen, that's a wonderful trailer! I'm a very visual person. I always "see" my books exactly like movies in my head as I'm writing them. (Which really doesn't make it any easier, trust me.) *G*

    Your new book sounds deliciously wicked! :)

  7. Catherine MulvanyJuly 7, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    Fantastic trailer, Jen! I'm looking forward to the book.

  8. Great trailer, Jen! Your book sounds delicious*g*.

  9. Jen! The trailer is great! I love how the music builds the tension perfectly. It's really really good! I love the idea of these trailers - it's a perfect way to build excitement for the book. cannot wait til 9/1/09.

    Oh - and I love the credits too! perfect!


  10. Love the trailer - can't wait to read the book. So, so proud of you!!!!! G :)

  11. I can't wait to read it!