Yesterday I came across something I'd never seen before, courtesy of Danielle's blog. It's down the bottom of this post...
A book trailer! Apparently these were very popular and much discussed in Summer 2006, but it passed me by, and you'll forgive me if I give the concept a bit of a mention here. So far I have only seen two such trailers - one on Danielle's blog, and the other on a Harper site. Talk about the sublime and the ridiculous - Pamela Thompson, discussing Every Past Thing, made me feel intrigued. She was intelligent and passionate, the surroundings were beautiful, and the discussion, though fairly cursory, was interesting, character-based and, above all, relevant. The Harper trailer, which will remain nameless because I can't remember the name, was nothing more than a bad slide show accompanied by weak dance music. As opponents of the book trailer point out, many seem to think that they ought to be music videos, or a series of photos spliced together with various exciting 'screenwipes'. Hmm.
Trailers are rather a strange concept even in the world of film - they should be enticing without taking every good aspect of the film; understandable without giving away the plot; last three minutes but give a good idea of the cinematic experience. Tricky. And when this is transferred to literature - too much voiceover must be the anaethma of any trailer, but that's what a book is: text. How do you find a compromise in presenting an inherently linguistic medium through an inherently visual and (to a lesser extent) audial one? In my humble, a mini-interview with the author, interspersed with atmospheric videoing, is probably the best way to go - re-enactments of scenes are always tacky. Remember the Big Read's attempts?
So, what do you think? To Trailer or not To Trailer?