Book Trailer Planning – How To

Picture of the location we choose to shoot the trailer!

Well I’m totally excited to be exactly one month away from film day! Yesterday evening was spent road tripping to potential film sites to scope out any hurdles and decide on the best location. For The Dove trailer I can’t have any power lines, houses or representation of modern-day civilization so it will be some tricky camera work. The trailer will only end up being 2-3 minutes long but will require a full day of filming (I hope no more) and many editing hours. For anyone thinking of making their own trailer I will pass along the “shopping list” you will need based on what I’ve found for mine.

1. 90MB/s 32G CF Card. You may not need one this large or fast but I’m shooting a lot of slow motion and that requires a fast card. $90-$120

2. 1 terabyte external hard drive. This is so you can download all the files to the hard drive and keep them safe while on site. $90+

3. Chroma key green backdrop sheet. I’m filming a dust storm and need to add it in later in After Effects so I don’t have to piss off my actors with making them stand in front of high-powered fans blowing dirt on them. You may not need a green screen if you aren’t needing to add anything later.These vary in price depending on size $40-70

4. Costumes. $0-? My lovely mother is a costume making master and has graciously taken on this task-hope you can get your mom to help as well. In addition to costumes, you need to provide your actors a details sheet of what you want them to come looking like the day of the shoot. For example, I need mine to be nail polish, jewelry, and makeup free. I also need them to all be tan and have dark, straightened hair.

5. Food and drinks for the duration of the shoot for everyone involved. Price will vary.

6. Bathroom facility. This will be tricky for me as we are headed to the backwoods of Boonville, MO.

7. Camera(s), microphone, boom, lights, reflectors. I am hiring a cameraman that comes will all this equipment. If you’re not highly educated in the area of filming it is a good idea to just hire someone who is, it will save you time and money in the end and you will have a better looking trailer for it. $500-2000+

8. Helpers (many of them). If they have any filming background and or take orders well- the better. $0-?

9. Actors. These are the most important part I think. They devote their time for little to no money so you need to keep them happy. Have some kind of thank you gift prepared for them after the shoot. $0-?

10. Transportation. You shouldn’t expect your actors to convoy all over the place on film day. I suggest having one central meeting location and taking everyone in one or two cars to keep everyone together and not make your actors spend their gas for your film.

11. Props. Think of everything ahead of time. For example, if there is a frog jumping in your scene don’t expect to catch a live one on location the day of (you won’t, and you will waste time). I suggest finding a realistic looking faux one that way you can shoot the scene over again and it won’t escape.

12. Medical kit. Better safe than sorry. I’m taking bandaids, triple antibiotic ointment, eye drops, aspirin and soap and water incase someone gets into poison ivy.

13. Misc. supplies: so far my pile consists of rope, chroma key duct tape, cordless leaf blower with gas and oil, brooms, trash bags, and a tool box.

14. Good Weather. This is in Gods hands so it is WISE to go ahead and set a backup shoot day in case of bad weather (especially if you’re filming outdoors).

15. Editing ability. Once everything is shot you need to either know how to edit it yourself or have someone ready to do it for you. It’s a good idea to figure this out before you start shooting so you can discuss challenges in the shots you are wanting and hear their ideas about shot sequence.

Hmmm, am I forgetting anything? I think that is the majority of the needs. Obviously every trailer is different and you will need to plan out your needs accordingly. Planning is your best friend, try to think of EVERYTHING, be prepared for ANYTHING. The more you can plan ahead the less amount of time-consuming and unexpected surprises will happen in the end. I’m still in the planning stage so I may add to this later but hopefully this helps anyone thinking of making their own book trailer.  If anyone has any other advice please comment, I’m sure I’m forgetting things. May your filming be a success and your editing quick and easy, ha!


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