|The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little
368 pages, Scholastic Press, (2010-07-01)
When my agent sold THE HEALING SPELL (part of a three-book deal to Scholastic), I knew that I wanted to create the perfect book trailer for it.
I’d been gobbling up the newest book trailers for YA and Middle-Grade novels and I couldn’t wait to do my own. I didn’t have the computer software or any movie-making experience, but I’d watched a couple hundred book trailers and had spent a lot of time thinking about what worked and what didn’t and what I wanted to do differently or better.
So I scouted around for some help.
I found Shayne Leighton, a very talented college film student (who was also making her first movie,Incubus) through my good friend, Cynthia Leitich Smith (who runs a fabulous blog for everyone in the children’s/YA book biz, Cynsations) and she helped hook us up over email. Shayne was an absolute delight to work with and very fun. I sent her a synopsis and details of my story and she went to work searching for free images for me that would tell the story visually. I spent a lot of time searching, too, and I began to realize that it was proving difficult to find just the right images for the bayous and swamps and all the magical elements. There were many specialized and unique things about the book. I also was having a difficult time finding the right music to evoke the feeling and setting of the novel.
I also told Shayne that I wanted to do a voice-over instead of text across the screen to tell the story, but neither she nor I had the capability at that point. (This was almost 2 years ago now.)
I wrote a script for the voice-over and turned to a long-time friend of mine, Cindy-Rae Jones who, with her son Bet, had recently launched their own music business, writing and creating music as well as building their own sound studio for recording singers. Nua Music. They also specialized in sound design. (Listen for all the critters, gators and special effects in the trailer.)
Shayne turned over the images she’d found for me – about half within the final trailer – and I went to Louisiana on another research trip to take more pictures of what I needed. I also spent hours creating the images I couldn’t find or took them myself at home and in various locations. (In case you’re curious, the swamp/bayou and gator pictures as well as The Healing Spell image, the string, the girl with the key, were all taken by me.)
Cindy-Rae had the perfect actress for the voice-over, a young woman who had lived in Louisiana a few years earlier among the Cajun people.
Nua Music wrote the original music for the trailer and created the sound design as well as doing final work on all the images to make them match in color and texture as well as producing the video and doing the opening and ending images, credits, etc. We spent more than 200 hours creating our little gem.
Two hundred hours sounds agonizing, but that time was spread out
over more than a year with spurts and stops. Many times I wanted to give up and say, “We’re done”, but the Nua Music folks are perfectionists and devoted endless amounts of creativity and time to make every moment in the trailer work perfectly together between the images, voice-over, sound and music.
I wanted to create something different than was being done out there in book trailer land and it truly became a labor of love for all of us – even during the frustrating moments of software that wasn’t cooperating or setting up photo shoots over and over again to get it right. I was thrilled with the end result!
When the book trailer for THE HEALING SPELL was finished, I sent it to my editor and publicist at Scholastic who fell in love with it and promptly sent the video on to the marketing department. There was a great deal of in-house enthusiasm and everyone agreed that the book trailer for THE HEALING SPELL made you want to "run out and buy the book right now".
The response has been overwhelming. Everyone who sees it says it’s the best trailer they’ve ever seen. Very cool!
I’m turning in my next novel to Scholastic next week, a companion book to THE HEALING SPELL and Nua Music and I are already talking about the next trailer! I guess we’re die-hards. Cindy-Rae has already purchased and been trained in new movie-making software and says, the next trailer will be even better! Hey, I’m sold!
Enjoy a taste of Louisiana Magic!