Tips for creating a great book trailer!

                                                                                                                  Image courtesy of Flickr:  Shavar Ross

1.  Know your audience.  Are you making book trailers for children or young adults?  Age may determine how visually literate your viewers are...but you never know these days! 

2.  Figure out what you want your project to say.  Do you want to visually summarize the book like I did with The Hobbit?  Do you want to create suspense, leaving the viewer hanging on the edge of their seat, dying to know what happens next?  Do you want your students to show themes or motifs?  Bookscreening (see link at left) is a great place to browse different book trailers.

4.  Determine what tool you want to use.  Video?  If yes, then iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or JayCut?  Slide show?  Then will you use Animoto, One True Media, or Slide?  The possibilities are endless with Web 2.0.  Both CogDogRoo and my own site, stories from the cloud, are great resources for learning about visual storytelling tools.

5.  Make a storyboard!  This is more important for video trailers than it is for slide shows, but you should always have a general outline of how you want your story to progress.  It results in a much more cohesive final product!

6.  Find your materials.  Video, images, audio...  Everything you need can be found online!  You just have to know where to look.  In the "Helpful Links" list, I've provided just a few of my favorite places to find images (Compfight, Flickr, and morgueFile), video (YouTube), audio (Freeplay Music), and everything in between (Creative Commons).  Of course, if you're feeling ambitious, you can always make your own pictures and videos!

7.  Put it all together!  This is the fun part!  Upload all of your materials into your tool of choice, and get creative.  Play with it.  Mix and match.  Find out what works for you and what doesn't.  Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!  (For a step-by-step example of how I put a short trailer together, click on "The Hobbit:  An Animoto How-To" in the links list.)
8.  CREDIT YOUR SOURCES.  Respecting intellectual property is very important, especially in such a collaborative environment as the Internet.  There are a lot of great resources out there, but you need to make sure you have license to use them.  Many people release their images and video under a Creative Commons license.  With a Creative Commons license, the creator retains copyright but allows other people to copy and distribute their work under certain conditions. 
    For example, the terms of use of the picture above (found via Compfight) are 1) attributionYou must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work); 2) noncommercialYou may not use this work for commercial purposes; and 3) share alikeIf you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
    Please respect other artists when making your book trailers!  Collaboration is the key to Web 2.0.
9.  Share!  Embed your trailer in a blog!  Post it on Facebook!  E-mail it to your mom!  Tweet about it!  Publish your work online in whatever format works best for you.
10.  Learn!  Once you have a few basic principles under your belt, you can apply them to almost any tool.  This is a really exciting time for books!  Most book trailers are fan-made, and publishers are just now starting to promote books in ways that readers have already been using for a while.  How cool is that?!  Technology and books can work together in so many neat ways, and every day someone is creating a new way to tell stories.  Get out there!  Enjoy!