Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How I create digital booktrailers

Que pasa, amigos y amigas!
I've gotten SO MANY emails from librarians wanting to do this, so instead of sending out individual emails (shoo-wee!), I'll put it here so you can access it : ) BTW, thanks for taking the time to look at this and emailing me!!!
I thought about putting this on listserv, but it's kind of long (okay, it's REALLY long!!) but hey - it's my blog and what the heck...you can self-edit what you read and don't have to print it out or stick it in an email folder - it's all right here in a handy-dandy website with some other cool things I've done, reviewed and shown. I thought about writing this academically or with my own voice, and since it's summer, that means letting my hair down and just writing. If you'd like the more academic voice, let me know and I'll email that version. But like books, most people would rather read a great YA novel of today rather than The Scarlet Letter (I'm not knocking it, it still happens to be my ultimate favorite classic!) But you know what I mean....I hope....

Okay, let's strap into our seats and begin this amazing ride!

1. I use photostory and/or moviemaker. I'm actually liking moviemaker better because of the higher content of editing, but photostory will work just as well. They have some pretty cool effects too. I self-taught my way through both of these programs, and I have to say, if you don't know how to use these programs, start playing with it and get comfortable with them like you would with your new iPod or DVD system...and remember - technology is FUN!! If you'd rather be shown the way, see if an education service center has a workshop on this, get on YouTube and find a video tutorial, use the MS online help...there are several different avenues, so you can't say you don't know how. It's like shoeing a mule - hard at first and you may get your butt kicked, but after it's all said and done, the ride is smooth and you won't have to worry about infection or split hooves . If not, it may become a huge stumbling block and frustrating. Of course, there are other programs out there, but these were on my computer with Windows OS (I downloaded photostory free from the MS website).

DAY ONE: My next step is to find a book that goes BANG!!! in my mind. Although there are a HUGE amount of great books out there, sometimes one just hits me the right way and I can actually see a trailer in my mind as I'm reading this. Then I go to work...

DAY TWO: After reading, I start creating a list of words - I play word association with the book and it could be places, people, things, emotions, atmosphere, themes...if you look at the Jenna Fox video, I remembered blue being a prominent color in that book while Streams of Babel focused on the color red. I just look holistically at the book and start writing down words.

Next, I start looking for images from creativecommons.org and/or wikimedia.org. as well as other free image sources (ie Library of Congress). I make sure I tell where I got my media from at the end of the trailer in order to fulfill use, and also make sure I use images I can modify, adapt, and build upon. I use my list and start searching for images that will highlight what I see. This is not only the exciting part of the process, but time-consuming!! I see so many I like, and them...BAM! I see another I like better, and it keeps building and building...by the time I'm finished, I have TOO MANY and have to start deleting. Creativity is worth it though : )

DAY THREE: Time to go to work! I start uploading the images and putting them in order, and begin writing down captions, NOT PARAGRAPHS, onto the slides. These just come to me as I'm creating it. I've always been one of those people who don't write out an outline (can you tell from this blog?), but do it from the top of my head and go back and edit, edit, edit. This is going to sound cheesy, but I go back to when I was a kid in junior high. Remember those 8mm movies in science? I can hear the "blrrrrrrrrr" of the reel and hear the narrator's voice saying, "The mitochondria now begins to form..." it was always a man's voice and it seemed it was always the same man in every movie!! I think Marlin Perkins's Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom hired him as well!
Then the editing - and the clock starts ticking. I put it all in order, then start working with font, image and font color compatability, headings, effects, transitions, timing, word choice and placement, re-arranging text to images, music selection (I purchased mine from digitaljuice.com. You get what you pay for!) Selecting music can take almost as much time as image gathering!; length of movie ( I try not to go over 2:30 -3:00 minutes max...anything over and I fear I may lose my audience. Not only that, but it means editing even more!) I believe digital booktalks have to have a limit, exactly like booktalks you do through voice...timing is crucial. And I do both at the same time, with more emphasis on traditional booktalking rather that a huge mass of videos. I still want to emphasize good reading, which I can do through traditional Bktlking. Typically, it's a 3:1 ration and about 30 books a booktalk.
And that's it....wah-la! A digital booktalk is born!! Time it takes? Not nine months (although it may feel like it!) but it does take hours. I timed myself on Streams of Babel and Jenna Fox and it averaged, without the reading, about 6-7 hours. So, dedication is essential. And yes, I have a 12 year old who is constantly bothering me every five minutes for a newer cell phone and help on her MySpace page as well as the multitude of sleepovers she has, and a husband who looks at me and says, "Who the hell are you? And what did you do with my wife?" I also fit it in with other things I enjoy doing, like sudoku (damn the person who introduced me to those evil puzzles!), reading of course, traveling to my favorite South Texas destination to float the Frio River, and other web 2.0 I play with.

And my zeal and vigor I get from creating these comes from a pantheon of places and people, plus I just wanted to use some big words in a sentence : ) But seriously, this is how I got here-
First was Dr. Teri Lesesne, whom I will always admire and strive to be like. She showed me my first digital booktrailer in her workshop and I thought, "Hey! This is a step into 21st century libraries!! I want to do tha....no, I WILL do that!" Dr. Robert Kenny, whose website was the first I came upon dedicated to booktrailers. I emailed him right away and let him know how amazing I thought this all was! I think more library schools should harness this concept and create their own digital booktrailer libraries using grad students and their creativity. He also wrote an amazing article that reflects how I feel about this format for books. Here's the link:
And of course from my students who love these when I booktalk and the librarians everywhere who can feel that first blush of excitement and are wanting to do this. The extras are getting emails from authors, which I just about fall out of my chair from when I read them, and continuing to learn, which will eventually...hopefully...sustainably...make these easier and easier to create. A year ago, I was hard-pressed to find sites dedicated to digital book trailers. Now, type in those magic words and they are EVERYWHERE! (you'll get more hits using book trailers as two words rather than one, but will get hits with either variation).
So, time to get on that old stubborn mule, shoe it, and ride down the trail into 21st century thinking - students crave it, want it, and it is some serious fun!! Next up...Paul Volponi's Hurricane Song. The film is already in my head : )

Adelante!! (Spanish word for onward/forward!)


sandraca said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the process with us all! I really appreciate your timeline and giving an overall hours worked on the book trailers. You might want to post it to the LMNET wiki too.

myska said...

OMG! Naomi, thank you for this! I am starting at a new library and want to do this for our elementary students. Yes a lot of work, but so very cool!

bj neary said...

A great, thorough process for doing digital book talks---thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the info and for competing with me to publishers booths at convention (lol). Are you still going to post a blog so we can share booktrailers? Thanks for all you do.
Lisa Cartwright

Melissa Foster said...

OMG I want your help! LOL! I was just trying to figure out how to do my digital trailer for my debut novel, Megan's Way!! You are even right around the corner - If you are so inclined, I'd love to chat with you about this.
thinkhappy at live dot com

Dino and Dona said...

Naomi, It's people like you that help make the internet a possitive means of learning. I am wanting to make a trailer for my new book but it seems that most trailers have text with background music. I want an audio script with voice over and pictures from my book. I want to use sound effects etc. Can this be done with Movie Maker?

Chuck Orlando, Fl.

Naomi said...

Unfortunately Moviemaker only has one place to to in audio. The only thing I can think of is if you use a program like audacity to insert sound into your voiceover and add it that way. But you'll have to time your images (default is 5 seconds a slide), which could be tricky.
Of course, this is off the top of my head. You could also do splicing by using audio per slide and sticking in a sound effect all in the same audio timeline.
Hope this gets to you : )