I am happy to once again welcome back YA author Lyn Fairchild Hawks! Lyn stopped by Write Naked last month to discuss her investment in a book trailer. Her post appeared before her trailer premiered, so you can now watch the book trailer through the link in her post below. How has the trailer helped? Lyn says her website traffic has more than doubled. In today’s post Lyn shares her experience collaborating with a film crew to bring her novel into the cinematic realm. (Remember, if you are interested in being a guest contributor to Write Naked–I pay! Read the guidelines.)
How Do You Bring a Book to Film?
Guest Post by Lyn Fairchild Hawks
Getting your book optioned for film is a writer’s dream. I said, “Why wait?” and produced a book trailer. As a self-published author, I have to break through lots of noise to get my YA novel in front of readers. In these seedling years, it pays to go visual in ways that don’t involve text.
Check out my book trailer, or mini-film.
If you want real actors, real set, and cool shots, first you need funding. When the Elizabeth George Foundation granted me monies to write, suddenly I had options. Besides being able to self-publish two books and take time to write, I’ve had the means to hire Emmy-nominated Beery Media. Nic Beery found me a scriptwriter, cast, crew, and shoot locations.
In filmmaking you must trust and play well with others. As producer, I relied on Nic to find a screenwriter, playwright Paul Sapp, who captured the essence of Wendy’s story. It warmed the cockles of my English-teacher heart to see Paul flip through my novel, the pages full of highlights and annotations. Prior to his script, I’d tried and failed to recreate the book in a script. Paul went the wise route of Wendy hosting a “This is Your Life”—introducing viewers to diverse characters in her world, her voice-over matched with close-ups and captions. He kept the suspense showing who she can trust and who she can’t, ending the trailer with a question—why are these girls on the run?
Nic found a cast using connections and local talent agencies. On my small budget, we couldn’t afford auditions. We had to work on photos and faith. Caity Brewer, Hannah-Kathryn Wall, Hannah Chapman, Susan Palm Siplon, Carol Palm, and Greg Wait had either the exact look, the right experience, or both—and so with these criteria we made choices. Each was a slam-dunk actor, delivering on the spot in a rapid one-day shoot. Maybe Greg didn’t have Shaye’s long hair, but he brought the predatory, charismatic presence. Maybe Hannah wasn’t salon-yellow blond, but she brought the diva beauty and energy to give us country starlet. When I posted shoot photos, I heard Just as I pictured! from readers. When you let go of identical matches to what’s in your head, you welcome the possibility that the right actor can capture the character’s soul. That’s exactly what this cast did.
On set, cinematographer Ismail Abdelkhalek and production team of Matthew Krieg, Robert Scott Frawley, Simon Beery, Nate Andress, and Henry Darr allowed us to move swiftly through the first set (thanks, Carrboro High School!) and switch gears when rain struck, canceling our country road set. Nic nimbly moved us to the café Johnny’s Gone Fishing. His careful organization and tight time management are what you need in a director. Then in studio, Nic hit editing pay dirt when he coupled the emotional shots with a spot-on soundtrack, composed by Jay Manley. Wendy’s a troubled, weird, wise girl, and so the camera zooms in, slows down, and speeds up in time with her tortured soul.
Over 400 plays on Vimeo and YouTube since the trailer premiered November 16 and went on blog tour. A 184% increase of visitors to my site and 194% increase in unique visitors. Wendy Redbird Dancing is going global with the right visual calling card, and I couldn’t be happier.
Buy How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords.
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How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought
Lyn Fairchild Hawks is the author of a YA novel, How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought, and a collection of short stories, The Flat and Weightless Tang-Filled Future. She is also author of several works for educators. In the last few years, she has won a James Jones First Novel Fellowship prize and an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. As Lyn is married to a musician, Greg Hawks, and stepmom to Henry, an aspiring filmmaker, their North Carolina home hums with the soundtracks of clawhammer banjo, classic films, and chattering computer keys.