When I started Book Trailer Thursday back in 1986, I was just a lad with an Apple IIe and a dream. Who could’ve guessed that 1,825 posts later, BTT would be the revered institution that it is today?
Okay, so I’ve only been doing BTT for a few months, but the response has still been darn good. So darn good, in fact, that Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of such novels as Tantalize and Eternal and creator of Cynsations, asked me to succumb to a boatload of questions about book trailers. After some small talk about Booklist and my filmmaking background, Smith asked me about my approach to reviewing book trailers. Clearing my throat and cracking my knuckles, I replied:
The trailers I review are wildly different in approach (compare Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice travelogue to the fake infomercials for Jessica Hopper’s The Girls’ Guide to Rocking), so I let my approach be just as fluid.
I might be deadly serious if the topic demands it, or I might just make fun of YouTube commenters, as I did when reviewing the trailer for Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan.
Such eloquence! Such grace! We also chatted about the essential ingredients for a good trailer and how best to approach them. But my favorite question was the final one:
Likewise, many YA book readers–including teens–create trailers for their favorite books. What suggestions do you have for them–especially (as many seem to) if they want to include themselves and their personal thoughts?
This is kind of a different beast, because fans have the right to see what they want to see in any given book. If someone reads The Monster Variations and wants to choreograph a tap-dance routine to it, well, more power to them.
There’s only one author, though, which means you have one chance to explicate how you, the creator, visualize the book’s content. That’s a lot of responsibility, and a lot of pressure, too, because your visualization may not match up with those of your readers. . . . Pick a concept, stick to it, and maybe you’ll at least be considered a weirdo auteur. There are worse fates.
Regarding those fan trailers? I’m all for them, especially if they’re as insanely disturbing as the following video for Barbara Jean Hicks’ Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli. Happy nightmares.