Pamela Clare – The Making of a Book Trailer
Today I’m thrilled to have my Rock*It Reads sister, Pamela Clare, with me celebrating her new release, DEFIANT. Pamela has a fabulous story of the making of her book trailer or DEFIANT which she’s sharing today…along with a giveaway of the book! Enter below via the Rafflecopter widget!
Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth’s niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her—and claim her himself.
Torn by tragedy from her sheltered life in London, Lady Sarah is unprepared for the harshness of the frontier-or for the attraction she feels toward Connor. When they reach civilization, however, it is she who must protect him. For if her uncle knew all that Connor had done to save her, he would surely kill him.
But the flames of passion, once kindled, are difficult to deny. As desire transforms into love, Connor will have to defy an empire to keep Sarah at his side.
Pick up Definat at AMAZON
I’ve always been frustrated with book trailers. As much as I’d like to see other authors’ books come to life — and as much I’d love to be able to bring my own characters to life, there’s only so much you can do with a trailer.
I’ve put together trailers since the release of my third I-Team novel, Unlawful Contact. In that instance, I got a photographer, an Army officer, and my good friend Libby together to re-enact Marc Hunter’s escape from prison one frame at a time. The Army officer let me cuff him, then went through the steps of escaping, even pointing his firearm — unloaded, of course — at Libby’s head. (I have very good friends.)
For Naked Edge, I used stock photos of sexy models and of Colorado to tell the story of Kat James and Gabe Rossiter. For Breaking Point, it was stock photos of Mexico, which I used to illustrate Natalie Benoit and Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride’s escape from a cartel prison.
But each time, it was the same thing: still images interspersed with carefully chosen text and canned music. Not very exciting.
It was after my son Benjamin Alexander had finished putting together another such trailer for my new release, Defiant, which tells the story of Connor MacKinnon, that he came to me and suggested we try shooting a live-action trailer. On deadline with my next I-Team book, I couldn’t quite imagine how we’d get the time — or the actors — to manage this.
But then fate seemed to take over.
Within a span of a few days, my friend Jenn LeBlanc of Illustrated Romance (search #StudioSmexy on Twitter) texted me with a photo of a sexy guy and a one-word message: “Connor?” And the next thing I knew Benjamin and I were getting up very early on a Saturday to meet Jenn and her crew — Cora Kemp and sexy model Karl Biermann — for a day of shooting.
We took some props including my Brown Bess 1757 musket, lead balls (ammo for the gun), a powder horn, a leather medicine bag to use as a parfleche, and some other odds and ends.
Now, when you’re in public and your plan for the day is to get someone mostly naked in a public place and to brandish large a firearm, you do wonder whether you’re going to end up getting arrested and making very awkward phone calls to family. We had this in mind as we reached the lake and hiked back to a less public beach. While Jenn, Benjamin and Cora talked about lighting, Karl took off his clothes, stripping down to a pair of swim trunks, and walked into the water.
God, I love my job!
Okay, I’ll admit it. I blushed. Yes, I blushed. I’m not used to watching sexy men just strip under the bright blue sky. Watch Karl bare all that delicious muscle and velvety skin pretty much erased every coherent thought from my head as hormones took over. I wondered for a few minutes how I was going to get through the day without acting like a 16-year-old in the midst of her first crush.
The water portion of the shoot lasted for close to an hour. There was chest washing, water trickling over pecs and abs, biceps washing. I gave Karl an overview of the story and what the hell Connor would be doing in a lake — taking a bath to wash away the blood of battle, it so happens — and then Benjamin coached Karl through some shots based on that bathing scene. It’s a good thing Benjy was directing, because I love men in water and would likely have kept reshooting those scenes until Karl’s toes turned to prunes.
While this was going on, Jenn was live tweeting it to an audience of our readers, who were waiting with photos on my Facebook page and on Twitter with the #StudioSmexy hashtag.
Then we drove high in the mountains to get some forest shots of Karl as Connor MacKinnon the Ranger. Now, a Colorado forest looks nothing like a forest from upstate New York, but we couldn’t replant the whole thing. We had to make it work. We got out our props, had Karl switch from swim trunks to breeches, and got out Bess — my musket.
Benjy directed, while Jenn took stills, and Cora helped with lighting, using a “bounce” reflector to direct sunlight where it was needed. And what did I do? I drew the tattoos on Karl’s arms. This was not a hardship for me. I confess that I rather enjoyed it.
The forest shoot lasted the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon as Karl was put through the paces of being Connor MacKinnon. Even though the costume was not historically accurate and the whole operation was ultra-mega-low-budget, there came a moment where Karl was running full-tilt through the forest when both Jenn and I got goose bumps.
There running through the trees was Connor MacKinnon in the flesh. As Jenn later wrote on Facebook, it was like being in the forest with my muse.
Karl took the job very seriously, doing everything that was asked of him and handling the physical demands of it well. Fortunately, he has firearms experience, so we didn’t have to show him how to hold the musket. Working with people who’ve never held a gun and making it look natural is a filmmaker’s nightmare. We didn’t have to deal with that.
We got home after having way too much fun and looked at the footage. And then it dawned on us that we could do more.
We met a few days later for pick-up shots in Jenn’s Denver studio, adding model Derek Hutchins to the mix to play the part of Lord William Wentworth. Karl wore what he’d worn in the forest scenes plus a period accurate-ish shirt. Derek was self-sacrificing and wore a heavy British redcoat officer’s jacket, tight pants and boots despite the humid heat of the studio.
Then Benjamin took over from there, directing the filming of three shots — one of Wentworth reading a letter from his niece, the heroine, Lady Sarah; one of Connor and Wentworth face to face; and one of Connor praying with his wooden rosary.
We had a bit of extra help this time, with Kati and Jamie from Romancing Rakes working as Jenn’s assistants — moving lights, moving furniture, um… helping the guys with costumes. It was hard work, but someone had to do it, right?
For these scenes, we’d hoped to have the guys act out the physical aspects, while using the voices of people with very posh British accents for Lady Sarah and Lord William. Of course, I had no idea who would do the voices. It’s not like I keep a Rolodex listing actors by accent. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Benjy directed the first scene — a thorough filming of Lord Wentworth’s ass. This involved getting a candle set up, adjusting lighting so that it looked like the scene was lit only by the candle and so on. Then Derek gamely proffered his well-dressed and very firm backside.
Cut. Done. Next shot.
This involved adjusting lighting a bit and positioning the camera and the guys so that we could see past Wentworth’s hip and arm across the desk to Connor’s abdomen. And because they’re having a bit of a heated exchange in this scene in the book, there needed to be physical motion.
And I have to say this was the highlight, because Derek really got into it. We weren’t using sound from the shoot, so he could say whatever he wanted. So to make his gesticulations feel real, he started lambasting Karl/Connor.
“You know I hate you, but I need you to find my niece. What? You’re just going to stand there?”
Derek was so funny that everyone was laughing, and you could tell from the footage that the men were laughing. So we had to do several takes.
Two days later, Cora, Jenn, Benjamin and I met up in the mountains and shot some footage of me dragging Cora up the mountainside. I felt evil doing this, but, hey, anything for the film, right?
Thanks to author Carolyn Jewel, I connected via Twitter with Kate McDermott and Mike Gamache, two actors with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. They recorded lines I e-mailed to them, then e-mailed the sound files back. When their emails arrived, all we had left was editing.
I know I’m biased, but I was pretty amazed at what Benjamin put together. It is absolutely the best book trailer I’ve ever had for one of my novels, and readers seem to enjoy it. It was a special thrill to be able to work with these wonderful people and to combine my art with my son’s — my book and his filmmaking — in a single project.
And now you get to see the results. Enjoy!
And make sure you enter to WIN your very own copy of DEFIANT here!