ALA10: Lights! Camera! Booktrailers!

The Teens and Technology Interest Group organized a panel program on booktrailers and video on Saturday afternoon at Annual.  Here are some of the highlights and resources discussed by panelists.

New York Times best-selling author Simone Elkeles discussed two of her booktrailers: Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction, available at http://www.simoneelkeles.net). Elkeles wanted to make a booktrailer with music. She said she was a “child of the eighties” and wanted to make a booktrailer like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s opening credits — a rap book trailer. She felt that because teens are on the Internet that is where she needed to get them interested in her books. The edgy Perfect Chemistry was filmed on a green screen for about $5,000.

The booktrailer for Perfect Chemistry was very popular, but Elkeles felt that for her next book she needed to do something bigger. She thought maybe she could fool the teens into thinking her book was a movie, so she decided to do a movie trailer. The booktrailer for Rules of Attraction was filmed in Hollywood with a professional film crew. Simone wanted the hottest guy in Hollywood to play Alex. When asked, “If you could have anyone to play Alex, who would it be?” she answered, “The groom from Katy Perry’s ‘Hot and Cold‘ video.” Elkeles was able to get him to do the booktrailer. Simone hopes to keep setting the bar higher in her booktrailers. Elkeles said many guys have told her that they have gotten out of gangs because of reading her books.

Joy Millam, the District Library Coordinator/Teacher-Librarian at Valencia High School in CA, uses booktrailers in her library to get kids interested in reading books. She feels it is important to reach kids on portals that they are used to seeing. Teens today are very visual. Her first booktrailer was for Thirteen Reasons Why. She has a small monitor and a DVD player in the library to show book trailers. Millam has taught students and teachers to make booktrailers. Her students use Microsoft Powerpoint to save their slides as .jpegs and then put them into Windows Movie Maker to edit. She emphasizes to students that the right music can make all the difference in setting the mood for the trailer. She and her students use Freeplay Music for copyright-friendly music choices and Audacity for music editing. Millam has shared all her tutorials and staff training materials on the wiki, booktalksandmore. Millam encourages students to make about 12 slides of 5 seconds each, always starting with the book cover. Millam shared some student examples which are available on her wiki and she said they vary in quality. The hardest part of making a booktrailer is choosing the images. She encourages students not to get stuck looking for a certain image and said, “Be willing to change your idea and that may make your trailer even better.”

Jennifer Wooten created and runs the “Read-Flip-Win” contest at King County Library System. Since 43 branches participate in the program, Wooten designed a contest that would be simple and not involve a lot of staff time. Teen librarians merely promote the contest at the libraries and local schools. This year, KCLS had 53 entries. Some problems did arise. After choosing YouTube as the platform for showing the booktrailers, they discovered that tweens under 13 could not have YouTube accounts. To counteract this, the library created a generic account for the system. In addition, they overcame COPPA regulations by creating two entry forms: one for those under 12 and one for those over 12. Five teen librarians serve as the judges. One of the librarians created a rubric for judging the entries. The goal was to make it simple and fun! All the submissions are via the library’s website, YouTube, or Facebook. King County created a YouTube channel for the contest.
The prizes? Flip video cameras. There are two categories for the contest, reviews and trailers. In addition, 2010′s contest has begun and you can read about it on Newport Library’s blog.

Anderson Public Library in Indiana, where Staci Terrell is a Teen Services Librarian, received a Verizon’s gaming and literacy grants to do a program called Techie Tuesdays.  A component of the grant and Techie Tuesdays was to create a booktrailer using the library’s mobile computer lab. First, Terrell showed the teen participants examples of booktrailers. Then she talked to the teens about copyright issues and fair use. She emphasized that they must give credit where credit is due. She shared websites like Creative Commons with the teens. Every booktrailer created needed to end with credit slides. Terrell gave students a checklist and had them plan out their booktrailers on paper before using the computers. Teens needed to think about the books and sketch out the story boards. Once on the computer, they looked for images. Terrell admitted it was challenging, at times, to keep them on task.

In the second and third sessions of Techie Tuesday booktrailer creation, Terrell and the teens used Windows Movie Maker to edit their trailers. They timed the trailers and added music, using Digital Juice. For Terrell, purchasing Digital Juice was worth the money. Terrell encouraged the teens to use different songs in their trailers, if necessary. Teens were always eager to view their trailers. “I’m done,” they’d say, Terrell would have them view the trailer and re-edit it before publishing. The trailers were saved on flash drives for the teens to take with them, and also burned on a DVD to be shown in the library’s teen room. Terrell uses the booktrailers to booktalk on school visits. She suggests having more than one person to help, if you are planning on doing a program to create book trailers.

Buffy Hamilton, aka the Unquiet Librarian, is a media specialist/teacher-librarian at Creekview High School in GA. Hamilton spoke about how librarians can use existing booktrailers. Hamilton uses libguides to make subject guides and pathfinders using booktrailers. She shared the pathfinder she created for the Georgia Peach Book awards. Hamilton uses all sorts of different information that she gathers from around the web to make subject guides for different authors. She goes to publisher channels on YouTube and grabs booktrailers. She also adds websites, author interview videos, RSS feeds, and book widgets. Hamilton finds booktrailers and author content is more entertaining to students than more traditional booktalks.  Booktrailers appeal to both  avid and reluctant readers. Hamilton suggested focusing on a particular author for your first subject guide.

Sonia Nash, who works in new media marketing at Random House books, creates booktrailers with authors. Random Houses booktrailers can be seen on YouTube  and at Random Buzzers. Nash talked about making the booktrailer for the book Party. Party is the story of one night told in 11 different narratives. Right now, there is a contest on Random Buzzers for teens to win $250 towards a party. Nash also talked about the booktrailer for Torment (the second book in the Fallen series). Torment’s trailer will be shown in theaters on during the release of Eclipse. Nash said that the booktrailers Random House creates always end with a call to action for teens. The call to action is not necessarily to buy the book, but is often something else.

Random House also makes author interview videos like Libba Bray’s video for Going Bovine. These types of trailers are often created for people other than teens. For Michael Scott’s Necromancer, six videos were created. Each video gave a clue about what would happen in the next book and they tied in with the Quest for the Codex game. The booktrailer for Maze Runner was a 2009 Teen Book Video Awards Finalist. Nash said that for Random House booktrailers are all about creating pre-pub buzz.

We hope participants are ready to go make their own booktrailers. See you on the red carpet!

–Christy Hustead-Barnes, Teens and Technology Interest Group

One thought on “ALA10: Lights! Camera! Booktrailers!

  1. I received a request for research articles on this topic … here’s what I found

    McTaggart, Jacquie. “Appeal to students’ pride with online book reviews.” Reading Today 25.5 (2008): 46. General OneFile. Web. 9 July 2010.

    “So much fun with technology: IRA’s Technology and Reading Award winner engages teens in developmental reading class.” Reading Today 27.2 (2009): 33. General OneFile. Web. 9 July 2010.

    Does anyone else know of any?

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