Stranger on a Train XXI

Heading home, and I’ve got 21 for this entry; so Double Down if you can.

Yesterday was a day I want to put behind me, but I admit it was a crossroad kind of day. Revelations. Lapses of reason. Manning up. And as pissy as I felt, I find out I have a friend — you know, one of those best kinds — facing a shut storm that reduced my day to just a chocolate drizzle. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

Something tells me you’re reading this, bro. Don’t go stealth on me. You were there for me. My turn now…

Today, I was dealt a few pleasant surprises. Discovered more folks in my corner. Got validation on a few things gnawing at me. And then there was the writing. It just feels great being back in this world, and I am planning to go farther. I was in full stride today, and now I have to wonder if I can pick that stride up tonight.

I’m not worried about it. That surprises me a bit. I don’t know. Should it?

Getting ready for work this morning, I purposefully chose this shirt. Part of me was worried it would send the wrong message, but I wanted this message for me. I needed some reassurance, and Kal-El’s never let me down, sour sequels and a heartless reboot not withstanding. Maybe Supes was the boy scout of the JLA…but he was the boy scout that you could always count on. Today was my facing down of dragons. I’m good.

Superman or Raiders of the Lost Ark — which one has the more iconic fanfare, you think?

Whatever. Both kick ass.

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Stranger on a Train XX

I don’t believe in coincidence.

I do believe in God.

And this morning, I got a talking to through the radio…

And when you wake up in the morning 
With your head on fire 
And your eyes too bloody to see 
Go on and cry in your coffee 
But don’t come bitchin’ to me 

Because you had to be a big shot, didn’t ya
You had to open up your mouth 
You had to be a big shot, didn’t ya, 
All your friends were so knocked out 
You had to have the last word, last night 
You know what everything’s about 
You had to have a white hot spotlight 
You had to be a big shot last night

Billy Joel. Pre-Uptown Girl. Shit don’t get more real than that. Thanks, God. I needed that.

See, last night I got what had to be the weirdest, most conflicted feedback I’ve ever received on any of my endeavors. In turn, I’m feeling conflicted about it. It all comes on the heels of a tiny rant I had concerning The Janus Affair book trailer. Yeah, I know — you’re probably think I’m obsessing over it, and maybe I am. A bit. Look, the point is I got this complete curveball right before hitting the sack and I’m asking myself “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?” even the following morning. There’s a bigger blogpost in here, I think, for another time; but there is a lesson learned here: Be careful what you wish for.

Sometimes, being a Big Shot isn’t easy.

This isn’t a rallying of the troops, mind you. It’s been a week, safe to say; but I got a groove with By Dawn’s Early Light and an audiobook in the can. As the conductor just said, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

Being Kenneth Branagh: 11 Tips on Filming a Book Trailer (Part Four)

And here we are — the final part of the mini-series blogpost! (See? Aren’t you glad I broke this up into segments?)

Now as I mentioned, I have saved the best tip for last; but before getting to what I believe is the most imperative thing you can do in planning out a book trailer, let’s quickly recap those previous 10 tips from Parts 1-4:

  • Know what you’re shooting. You’re shooting a book trailer, the emphasis on trailer. Not book.
  • You don’t have to understand the process, but take time to understand the process. A book trailer doesn’t just happen in your basement one weekend afternoon. There’s steps to follow and processes to adhere to.
  • For your first book trailer, keep it simple. You might want to go full-on epic for your first book trailer. Don’t. This is your first step. Think smart.
  • Set up a budget. Best way to avoid going broke.
  • Figure out ways to stretch the budget. Did I mention “avoid going broke” earlier? Yeah. I did.
  • When the trailer needs artwork, imagery, or music, make a financial investment. When it is time to spend money on your trailer, particularly in stock audio and video, do’t flinch or take shortcuts. Do it.
  • Be patient and understanding with your talent. Cast and crew. Especially if they are giving of their time and talents, roll with the challenges and make things work to the best of their abilities.
  • Make sure your cast and crew understand their responsibilities. Remember though that your trailer is the top priority, not hanging out or chilling out. That happens after the work is done.
  • Trust your editor, especially if he or she has a track record. Sometimes the toughest thing is to surrender your work to an objective party, but it also the best thing you can do in order to make it shine.
  • Never forget: It’s YOUR trailer. Don’t let others render your vision so blurry that it’s no longer yours. It’s your book’s first impression. You make the final call.

It’s all been leading up to this one key piece of advice I’ve been sitting on since Part One. You all have been patient and (for this, I am really thrilled!) attentive on what makes a good book trailer happen. Now comes the most essential thing you need to know before making that jump from the printed word to a visual medium in order to help your book sales reach a wider audience.

Are you ready? Continue reading

A Triple B: Blogworld and BEA in the Big Apple!

May was a blur. It dawned on me yesterday morning that since the middle of April I have been going full tilt. Starting a new job, a book trailer, visiting relatives, two book events, and the premiere of The Janus Affair only highlights the madness that was May. This week marks the end of a powerhouse of promotion and networking, and it seems only right that Pip and I end our power play in the city that never sleeps — New York.

What makes this trip an epic ending for our Janus Affair launch is we will be working both sides of the Javitz Center. Initially we were invited as guests of Blogworld. The amazing Cliff Ravencraft has put together one incredible podcasting track, and with the patience of Job (as he was finalizing everything in May…) he has worked both of us into the programming.

At the same time, Pip got us a signing at Book Expo America! Continue reading

Being Kenneth Branagh: 11 Tips on Filming A Book Trailer (Part Three)

So, two weeks ago, I started this mini-series of a blogpost. Honestly, I thought I could encapsulate everything I wanted to say about this experience in about 1000 words, maybe 2000 if I was feeling eloquent.

Yeah…um…Part Four will drop next week and wrap everything up. I promise.

No. Seriously.

Stop laughing.

The thing is this blogpost is a lot like the book trailer itself (which, if you look up in the right-hand corner of the blog, you will see it there…). This is the biggest blogpost I think I’ve done since ending my two-year job hunt. This mini-series blogpost is epic…but so was the education I received on the set. There were a lot of lessons I walked away with this time, and already within the trailer’s first 24-hours on YouTube I have people asking me about what it takes to make something like it.

So, let’s continue with these 11 tips I’ve been sharing, starting off with one that I think is essential when marshaling your creative troops together to make magic happen… Continue reading