Videos are on my mind. Not the neatly packaged and enticingly or garishly labelled bought from a shelf in supermarket or shop, or downloaded or streamed to computer. But a short promotional video, shot, assembled and brought into the world by me to publicise my novel Any news from India?
I’ve been thinking about it for ages, mulling over what I might do, and hitting problems as to how I would convey the complexity of a novel with numerous characters and locations, distilling all into a brief minute or two minutes. The challenges and pitfalls of writing book cover blurb seem as nothing to this. Yet I love using images in my writing, so I kept telling myself I just had to get down to making some decisions and doing it.
The project became further complicated when, after sending my apologies for non attendance at the H G Wells short story competition dinner and award ceremony at the end of November, I was asked if I could send a video of me reading the first page of my shortlisted story. So ideas about that took over my mind and pushed the other incubating video into the background. Though full of enthusiasm to organise husband to set up the camera, having asked one of my sons for tips on lighting, how to ensure reasonable sound, continuity if it ends up being shot in clips and put together, the days have passed with other happenings and necessities (like shopping) intervening.
However I have produced artwork for opening and closing captions for which I dredged up some photographs to add interest. That restirred interest in the book video, and this week I finally sat down to put something together.
I had vaguely wondered about using some old cine film footage of India (shot in colour in the 1930s/40s), interspersed with a few stills of wording and photographs. That appealed, but husband is busy and persuading him to set up the antique cine projector to run the old films prone to breaking and melting, and taking time to rejoin, while filming the scratchy, hairy images on the screen with the video camera, wasn’t going to fit in his schedule. Would have been interesting, and I might still attempt it later, but meantime I wanted a faster solution.
The faster solution was no video footage, but to put together a series of stills into a brief trailer for my book. In my writing I’m not good at planning. If I plan my mind goes blank. If a vague idea, a phrase, a word even, catches my imagination and enthuses me then I can start to write, and when I write the ideas flow. Making the trailer was much the same. Start at the beginning and work my way through it, keeping the message very simple as viewers won’t read too much wording, and using images to convey what words hinted.
Only, as with books and other writing, the beginning isn’t always the beginning because adding something there can help hook attention and involvement. Though I’ve produced many creative Powerpoint presentations, I’m far from an expert at video, having previously made only one other (for my book The Seaweed Cage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD4FqQ6sb-s&feature=youtu.be). But I learn as I go, and this one was easier using only jpgs of my artwork.
iMovie has many wonderful options to explore, but apart from a couple of transitions I’ve kept it simple, adding only music. I spent time one afternoon, headphones clamped to my ears, listening to what iMovie calls jingles and selecting what I thought the most appropriate piece. I haven’t even added any of their fog horns (as in my previous effort) or audience laughing clips. This time, the jingle is fine on its own.
So all this has been a very long way of saying here’s the video I’ve produced for my new book Any news from India? Please watch. Thank you.
Any news from India? is published by Twinlaw Publishing and is available in paperback from www.twinlawpublishing.co.uk. It is also available from Amazon as a paperback and ebook.