Making a Boring Spectacle of Myself
Guest Post by Pat Dunlap Evans
I have scheduled a book promo for my mystery-thriller Out and In with Lone Star Literary Life, an e-newsletter for Texas writers and Texas readers. They want to use my “book trailer,” which is a short video like a preview for a Hollywood movie. I don’t have the cash to spend on such projects, so I thought I would make a simple “about the novel video,” using my trusty iMac and the Apple software iMovie.
All I can say is this stuff ain’t easy. Not only did I have to learn how to use the tricky iMovie software but also, I had to make myself and house look presentable. And the background music inspirational.
Remove All Traces of Dogs
First, I framed my computer camera so it would not record the dog toys, dog blanket on the sofa, and especially the dogs that populate my upstairs office.
Next, I donned a bright red top and applied as much makeup as my face could hold. I also put a lamp behind my computer for lighting. To my horror, my video camera revealed that I’m definitely not young. Or even close. Even the most makeup I could smear on my face cannot change that. So, I reminded myself that one of my favorite authors Joan Didion had a rather unflattering photo of herself in the back of The Year of Magical Thinking. She looked exhausted and devastated — and who would have blamed her?
A Bit Like Tricky Dicky
Next, I wrote a one-page script describing Out and In and did my best to memorize it. After about 10 takes, I realized I couldn’t memorize every word, so I taped the script to my iMac screen and glanced at it while I videoed myself for another 10 takes. Because my eyes kept glancing between the script and the green light on my computer camera, I looked like “Tricky Dicky,” which is what some used to call Richard Nixon.
Eventually, I decided to wing it without a script. After about 10 more takes — eyeglasses on, eyeglasses off — I settled on a version that was maybe sort of okay. But after I launched it on YouTube, I noticed that I had a bra strap showing! For gosh sakes, how have I missed that? In addition, I had used a clip from Rachmaninov’s Symphony Number 2, downloaded from iTunes, but YouTube warned me that was a copyright violation.
Oh No, Do the Whole Thing Over.
I tucked in the bra strap and started over, trying to speak more quickly. I have a new admiration for TV personalities. Although I spoke as fast as I could, it seems I pause one whole second between every word.
Figuring out background music took a lot of time because I had to learn how to make the clip play loudly at first, softer while I spoke, then full volume again at the end. This took numerous searches through iMovie Help.
For royalty-free music, I Googled a website where musicians upload works for use solely with attribution. Because my heroine is a cellist, I selected a cello piece called “Full of Stars,” composed by Philipp Weigl, of Munich, Germany. Thank you, Philipp!
A Two-Minute Snore
My resulting video is not what I would call exciting. It’s very basic and perhaps a bore, except to readers who actually enjoy hearing from an author about her work. I’m not promoting the video heavily because I’m a bit embarrassed by it. But if you would like to hear my overview of my mystery-thriller Out and In, please check out this link on YouTube.
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