How to make a book trailer part 3: Dealing with actors

We recorded the audio for the book trailer project for The Murder Plague today, making it all seem so real.

It was so strange to someone like me who’s never been involved in anything dealing with professional actors or recording. New things are so much fun.

The actors did not arrive all at once, creating some complications. Actually, one of them, Rebecca, who read the lines of my character Kanetha Wilson, did not arrive at all. She recorded her lines at home on her own equipment and e-mailed them to my producer, Casey.

Casey thought this was no big deal. He could mix the lines later.

Casey and I took two of the actors, Jamaal, who read Guy Phillips lines, and Kevin, who read Mike Andrusek’s lines, into the studio and recorded their parts. Both had dialogue lines with Kanetha’s character, and with Marty Francisco’s character, so I had to read Kanetha’s and Marty’s lines so they could respond to my readings. After they left, Eduardo showed up to read Marty’s lines, and I had to stand in for Guy, Kanetha’s and Mike’s parts for him.

My Kanetha, Mike, Marty and Guy came alive today, even though I still haven’t gotten an agent to read my darn manuscript. Damn, that was a thrill. Continue reading

How to make a book trailer, part 2: actors hired, stock video collected, wallet bleeding

My efforts to produce a book trailer for my The Murder Plague novel are coming along great. Just ask my wallet.

I hired a terrific producer, thanks to Orlando’s fine electronic arts college, Full Sail University. He had some great ideas and expanded the concept I had worked up in draft. He convinced me that even though we’ll use very little live video (mostly audio against stock footage) we needed professional actors.

Fortunately, odd as it might sound, Orlando is crawling with terrific actors. We’ve got a nice theater scene, but that only explains why Orlando is like any other medium-sized city with a nice theater scene. It’s the theme parks: they hire tons of actors and that attracts a lot of talent to the city. All the theme parks have shows. Lots of them. But it’s more than that. Go to Disney World. See Cinderella? She’s an actress. Go to Universal. See Spidey? He’s an actor.

Anyway, we cast one to play my police detective Lt. Marty Francisco; one to play my engineer, Guy Phillips; one to play my lead scientist, Dr. Michael Andrusek; and one who agreed to play all three female roles in the video, Kanetha Wilson, Karen Quinn and the 911 operator, because they each only have one or two lines in the video script and the actress said she could do them all. And because four actors was all (really more) that I thought I could afford.

We also selected some stock footage, though some of it I had to buy online.

This will be fun. We’re recording on Friday. Wish us luck.

The doldrums: writing, reading, querying, waiting

I’ve entered a doldrums period, where I’m feeling a little isolated as I tweak my The Murder Plague manuscript, read, dash off occasional queries, and wait for something to happen.

Something tells me that waiting for something to happen is a bad strategy. But I’m finding little tactical advantages, among the few websites, forums, books, ideas and other resources, to drive my mission of becoming a former unpublished author.

So I count. I’ve now sent out 33 agent queries, which is a relatively low number compared with the 50-150 range that seems to be the sweet spot for authors to find agents. I remain however naively optimistic. Twenty-one of those queries went out before I suspended my effort in mid-March in order to go through the beta-reader step. Since I completed that phase and resumed my solicitation three weeks ago, I’ve sent out 12 more.

I still find it curious that so many agents simply do not respond at all. There’s nothing much gained from a rejection letter, especially a form letter. But they do bring closure. When I get one, I can at least cross an agent off the list. So far, out of 33, I’ve received, 10 have sent me rejection letters and I have declared another 11 to have “expired” based on their stated response times.

That leaves 12, with a couple more expiration dates only days away.

Doldrums test faith, resolve and patience. Continue reading

Done with Betas, back to playing the solicit-the-agents game

I’m crossing the “test the manuscript with Beta readers, absorb their responses and react accordingly with public-test revisions” step off my list and getting back into the game of finding an agent.

I picked five agents last night that looked various levels of promising, dusted off the query and fired it out there. Two of the agents I’d grade “A,” which means they struck me as perfect fits for The Murder Plague. Two I graded “B,” meaning they’re pretty good looking fits, but I have my doubts. The fifth was a “C”, I’m not sure, but I don’t see any reason why she wouldn’t like it.

And bam, just like that one of them makes the next move. Marlene Stringer of Stringer Lit (one of my B choices) set a new record by sending me a rejection letter in less than a day. In 19 1/2 hours I got an e-mail that begins, “Thank you very much for your query, which we have read with interest. Unfortunately…” Then it goes on to explain that it’s only a form letter. Really, why send a reply that starts sincerely then declares itself a form reply?

But I digress. I must share with you readers that the Beta step didn’t go as well as I had hoped. The lesson here is to not get your hopes up on volunteer Betas.

Continue reading