Making the Conspiracy of Angels Book Trailer
Blame it on the snow. I live near the foot of the Rocky Mountains, so the winter weather here isn’t exactly mild. Picture the scene: I’m huddled in my chair, scribbling changes to the Conspiracy of Angels manuscript, while the wind howls outside and the relentless snow buries my Jeep. It’s been a harsh winter, and I’m struggling to keep up my enthusiasm for a story that has taken literally a decade of my life to bring to print. At this dark hour, I desperately need something to keep my spirits up.
Click! A lightbulb goes on.
Why not create a kick-ass book trailer? With music, and action, and guns, and everything! Yeah!
Crazy idea? Absolutely. But how hard could it be?
Turns out, pretty freakin’ hard.
I had made slideshow-type book trailers before, but I wanted to do something bigger this time, more cinematic. Something that would really make people sit up and take notice. And for that, I needed professionals.
Rolling out the big guns: Producer/Director, Composer… and me
Most of the footage was shot in a parking garage in Berlin by noted UK film producer and director David Baumber. Notice his excellent use of light and shadow to convey mood. Meanwhile, if the music sounds like something you’d hear in a movie theater, well, there’s a reason. It was composed by Pierre Gerwig Langer, who (among other things) did one of The Hunger Games trailers, and it was produced by Dynamedion Music, which does a ton of big-name soundtracks, like The Bourne Ultimatum.
So you can tell I like to do things halfway. Not.
Editing the Footage
Still, being a DIY guy with a background in graphic design, I hunted down some video editing software (I highly recommend the excellent and affordable VideoPad) and taught myself how to use it. I cut, spliced and recut the footage. Made title cards. Made new and better title cards. Tweaked the soundtrack several times. And so on. Altogether, I made almost two dozen versions of this trailer before I finished it. And my lovely wife was patient enough to watch each and every single one. (Usually more than once. What a gal!)
Crucial Lessons Learned
All of this has taught me several important things:
- You never know what you can do until you put your mind to it. Or, be careful about coming up with ideas when you’re stir-crazy in a blizzard.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try again — many, many times if necessary. And listen to the feedback you get. It will help you produce something you’re proud of.
- Don’t skimp. Being a thrifty Scot, the first thing I did was look hard for free and very cheap stuff. As it turns out, there’s a heap of really awful stuff out there. So don’t waste your time on $3 tracks. Decent media costs real money. Be prepared to pony up for the good stuff.
- Get out of the office and take a vacation once in a while!
Now you know the story behind the Conspiracy of Angels book trailer. A lot of fun to make, a great learning experience, and a cool thing to share. If you haven’t seen it yet (or even if you have), go ahead, turn up your speakers and enjoy!
.You can also watch the low-res version on YouTube here:
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