After reading several articles about making book trailers with kids I figured the best way for me to figure out how to proceed was to make one of my own. Now it so happens I have a book coming out next year, Africa is My Home: The Memory Book of Sarah Margru Kinson and some years ago I put a version of it on a private blog for my students to read during their study of forced immigration. Since we all knew it well I figured it would be a good subject for my model book trailer.
I began by doing something logical: storyboard the trailer. But I discovered after a while that what I was doing was writing a complete summary of the book, much too much for a trailer. I then thought harder about what I wanted to communicate in the trailer and realized I wanted to make it serious, solemn, respectful, not too scary, and also intriguing. For it is not just the story of the Amistad through Margru’s eyes, but also the story of how she returned home to Africa. I also realized that I had to keep it simple; I knew from other projects that without some boundaries and limitations as to what sort of film effects they could use many of my students would become overwhelmed. And so I set some guidelines: no voiceovers, no live action, and a finite number of images.
For my second attempt at a storyboard I took a paragraph I’d written at one time to introduce the story and used it as the text for the trailer. I then selected several images (I originally conceived the book as illustrated with primary sources) to go with them. After that I dived into Imovie where I experimented with title placement, timing, and special effects. I added in music (from this site with royalty-free music), tinkered further with it, and finally — voila, I had a book trailer! Still a bit rough and very rudimentary (probably need something more professional when the book comes out), but adequate to show my students. Certainly the making of it gave me quite a bit of insight into what I’d be asking the children to do.
And my book trailer? For what it is worth, here it is:
Next: Introducing the project to my students.