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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More 'stranger than fiction' - true stories from my otherwise boring life

Since people seemed to enjoy my Jack Sparrow fistfight story so much, I figured I'd start sharing a few more 'gems'.


This is an oldie.

When I was a kid, my parents (specifically my mom) were travelling artisans. Mostly renaissance festivals, to be specific.

We trekked down to Florida one year to participate in a show at Vizcaya in Dade county. If you ever get a chance to visit, go. The show was a bust, but the scenery is breathtaking, and it was worth the trip just for that.

Anyway, you're here for a story, not a travelogue.

Another artisan that we knew, let's call him Fred for the sake of protecting the innocent, was also there. Fred was a super fun guy, as long as you took his pathological lying with a large grain of salt. He always had entertaining stories and a gift for telling them.

One morning, Fred runs into our booth. He points toward the ocean, which we were set up next to.

"You wouldn't believe what I just saw!" Generally, no.

"An 80 year old Elvis impersonator playing The Cars on a Mandolin!"

Say what?

As we're trying to parse that statement into something that makes sense, the gentleman in question walks up the marble stairs from the water into our view. All activity ceased for a moment, as we stared in shock and admiration. That little old man wearing a spangled jumpsuit and playing for all he was worth will be embedded in my mind forever.

You go, mandolin Elvis.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The guts of a great book trailer



Click the title of the post for some background information.

I chose this article to give you guys some idea of the amount of work and workflow required to create an awesome book trailer.

I can hear gasping and fainting right now about the prices. Yep, I realize that not all of you guys have that kind of money to put forth for your book trailer - but unless you have some skills of your own, or have a favors relationship with a great video creator, you may have to get creative in other ways.

A couple of the trailers I've posted previously were created by the writers, one paper cut out stop motion comes to mind.

Now look into the people you know and what they might be able to help you with. This fellow knew quite a few athletes, and had them perform doing what they did best. He didn't try to get them to monologue Shakespeare. I bet you know people who are amazing at something, and can use that for your book. Heck, I can imagine the time lapse footage of someone knitting being really awesome, for instance, and could be a great shot for a cozy mystery. (You do still have to light and frame the shot.)

Do you NEED pros? I'm shooting myself in the foot a little, as this is how I make my living...

For the quality above, yes. For a trailer that does it's job? You may not. Depends upon your approach. If you want something action packed and heavily stylized, finding a pro is probably your best bet. And a thought on performance and voice overs - find an actor or vo artist who's just starting out, but be sure they have some sort of reel. I can't tell you how many trailers I've seen with friends and family doing this, and it mostly doesn't work. You might have a friend or family member with unusual talent, just don't bank on it.

Of course, if you're just making a trailer for the hell of it, just as a fun activity, do whatever you like.

SUNNY GUY on Vimeo - I shot this

SUNNY GUY on Vimeo



This is my first stop motion project. The second is in post now, and I must say - I LOVE the medium.

I wasn't really sure how much patience I'd have for the art form, as I'd heard it's notoriously slow and fussy.

It is - and suits my own exactitude and pickiness very well. Since every shot really is a still, you can muck with every frame of your movie!

Why, yes, I'm a gamer

Boy, Games Sure are Getting Close to Movies: The ‘Bioshock Infinite’ Trailer - NoFilmSchool


Here's why. This is fifteen minutes of actual gameplay. They're calling games like this 'interactive movies', and the storytelling innovations get better every year. Inspiration is everywhere; this is just one of my sources.