Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pictures for a Book Trailer—Part One

When a writer gets ready to publish her first indie book, she’s often giddy with excitement at the control she has over the project.  Not only does she get to write the book she wants without conforming to a publisher’s many requirements, she gets to design her own cover, or hire the cover artist of her choice.  Reality sets in when she realizes she’s in for hours of searching photo sites to find the perfect hunk, clinch couple or mountain landscape for her book.

But finding the right background and models for a cover is a piece of cake compared to scoring ten or so photos to make a book trailer.

The trailer for Rx Missing, my new Decorah Security novel that comes out April 28 on, is a perfect example:

The story starts with my hero, Lieutenant Commander Mack Bradley, taking fire and bailing out of his F18 fighter jet. A very dramatic scene, but where could I get THAT photo?

The good news is that I could search Web sites where all U.S. government photos are free to the public.  The bad news is that the only picture I could find of an F18 that wasn’t too far away to see any details was on the deck of an Aircraft carrier.
Here’s the picture I found:

Actually, it makes a good “danger” scene with all that smoke billowing up.  The problem is that there are also guys standing around the plane.  I eliminated two of them by cropping the photo. Since I don’t use Photoshop, I had to figure out some way to block out the guy right in front of the plane.  I did that with the picture’s caption.

After solving the plane problem, I went on to my h/h.  I needed a hero with short dark hair and a dark-haired heroine.   But I was going to need several different poses for the various scenes I wanted to illustrate, so I looked for people whose faces were obscured. I found a picture I thought would work on Canva (a site where you can compose various Web and print projects and buy inexpensive pictures).  Unfortunately, the shot I wanted had an inappropriate detail.  The heroine is holding a pregnancy test stick!
Could I get rid of that unfortunate detail—again without access to Photoshop?  Mostly, by writing over it with big white letters, and then adding a caption.

And what about the mad scientist I found to illustrate the medical thriller aspect of my plot.  I suspect the scientist I used is a woman—where my bad guy is a man. Go ahead and play the video a few times, and see if you think he’s had a sex-change operation.

I fudged something in almost every photo I used.

But my main goal was to get you interested in the book.  I just wish I had the budget to hire models and shoot the pictures myself. But then I’d still be stuck trying to find the right people.

Next time I’ll talk more about the video techniques I’m learning.