Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia Book Trailer & the story behind it

In case you missed it over on Teen Fiction Cafe, here's the book trailer for BALLADS OF SUBURBIA:

I'm thrilled with it and to be honest with you, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it. This isn't because I doubted the fabulous Jenn M who made the trailer. It was more because book trailers are a new thing and though I've seen some cool ones sometimes they can be totally cheesy and there is no way as an author you can know what the return on your investment is going to be (in other words, there is no way to link trailers to a boost in book sales). But Jenn's services were really affordable, so I decided to go for it.

One of the major things that influenced my decision to do it was that I got permission to use the music I wanted. The song in the trailer is by Office, a Chicago/Michigan band. I've been friends with members/former members and have always really loved their sound. I also appreciate it when artists within a community are willing to give each other a hand, so I was thrilled when Scott from Office said I could use the song gratis because he also believed that artists should help each other out. Anyway, can't say enough good things about Office and about the song "Suburban Perfume," which I listened to over and over while writing BALLADS OF SUBURBIA. I always envisioned it as the song that would play in the closing credits if the book ever became a movie. I think it totally sets the tone for the trailer and conveys the mood I wanted to create. The book is all about lost innocence and the song totally gives the trailer that feeling, as well as a somber/reflective feeling, which if you've read the first chapter on my website, you know is the way the book starts out.

Now let's talk about the magic that Jenn M made. I gave her a bare bones script, basically the words that you see in the trailer and an idea for some of the images and she rolled with it. The biggest struggle I think was finding characters that at least sorta kinda resembled my main characters. Since the book is set in the early/mid nineties and I always imagined my male lead as kind of a punk rock version of Cliff from Singles, Adrian was a little bit difficult to cast, but the actor she ultimately went with definitely looks good even if he is not my exact mental image. I didn't want too much focus on the way the characters look anyway because I'd rather readers get their own picture of them when they read the book. That to me was the scariest part of making the trailer: forcing imagery on readers, esp of the characters. So I was torn about doing live action. Jenn indulged me by doing a combination of live action and still photography, which I think works really well. It implants the other images I want you to have in your mind of the book. It tells you it's about self-injury and addiction; it also gives you a glimpse of the real setting of the book because Jenn used some of my photos of the Oak Park area.

Anyway, so that's the story behind the trailer. I love it and have watched it like ten times now. I hope you enjoy it too and if so, I hope you'll share it with other people on your blog, Facebook, MySpace, etc and if you do so, remember it counts as entries for my latest contest so remember to enter to possibly win an ARC of BALLADS!


Diana Rodriguez Wallach said...

Love the trailer! The live action is really different, and I think the B&W sets that nostalgic mood. Great song too. I had to do mine (for "Amor and Summer Secrets") with royalty-free music--not the greatest. So good going on getting the music you wanted! Congrats!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thanks Diana! I really love your trailer too though, the music didn't distract me :)

Anonymous said...

Listen, I'm soooo sick of other authors blowing the wind out of the sails of authors who've got something GREAT going on, I have to spout off here, Stephanie. I'm on the Yahoo TeenLit group with you, and some of the comments there were so sour, it was obvious. This trailer rocks. The production rocks. You've got a great piece here and you kept within your budget. Why would someone pay more for a trailer when it's less quality??? That makes no sense.
Don't pay attention to those "friendly" authors who are really out there to sabotage...ok. Rant over :)

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thanks for your kind words about my trailer, Anonymous. I didn't think anyone over there was being sour, but maybe I dunno, I was being oblivious? I like to think its a supportive group. Anyway, I really appreciate that you enjoy the trailer and I know I did the right thing for my budget and it just looks great :)

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that I have to post anonymously...but, having been the victim of jealous authors who leave negative reviews in the guise of being a teen reader and other such ridiculous sabotaging endeavors, I am careful what I post, where I post and who I trust now. Few true friends exist in the world of authors. Few.