Queen Margaret’s Video

Queen_hereafter_trade_pbkThe trade paperback of Queen Hereafter is available in bookstores and online today from Random House and Broadway Books! There's a beautiful book trailer to accompany the book's release — and I'm delighted to bring you a conversation with Jim Lefter, who created the video.

A few months ago I was talking to Jim, a friend and video producer, about books and ways to promote a new release. He asked if I had ever tried a book trailer. I hadn’t, but I love them–I'm very visual and they can quickly draw me into a story and catch my interest.

JimlefterJim offered to do a video for Queen Hereafter, and I was ready to try something new — so we set out on a creative adventure. Jim Lefter is a video producer with twenty years’ experience doing video and television work for Discovery Network and A & E among other production houses. He now does freelance projects through his own company, Cosmic Stuff Media. Recently we chatted about the experience of creating Queen Margaret's video (this medieval lady has a gospel, a chapel, a reliquary, a loch, a bay, a book – and now her own video!).

Final shot susan-editBut first – click here to watch it on YouTube: Queen Hereafter Book Trailer!

Susan: Hi Jim, welcome to Word Wenches! Can you tell us about the starting point for a book trailer?

Jim: The book! I like to have a good knowledge of the book and a feel for the story, so first I read the book. I love reading, so no hardship there.

Susan: Do you prefer to collaborate, or do you produce what you think works best and then run it past the client?

Jim: It’s a collaborative process if the author wants that. I certainly enjoy that. The outcome is better if the author takes part in the process.

Susan: Could you tell us about the steps involved in creating a book trailer?

Jim: We start with a script — the foundation. I prefer that the author write it for an authentic voice, though I’m open to writing it myself. The script needs to capture the essence of a story in a few sentences — and no one can get inside the story like the author can. And I like to work with a narrator. A voice reading the script carries the viewer into the story more than text onscreen can do. Video is a visual medium, and I want to paint the story in multimedia to evoke mood and tone.

Susan: Do you sometimes use text onscreen instead of narrative?

Jim: Text is appropriate sometimes. It depends on how it works with the story, whether it distracts or enhances, and what the author and I both think works best.

Susan: And after the script comes the image search.

Jim: Right. We discuss what images might work, and then scour the best stock photo houses, tailoring our ideas to what’s available. Great stock photos can be found at reasonable fees, and an image search might inspire new ideas for the trailer.

JThighlanderrnc_bhjt9348hl-wmSusan: For the Queen Hereafter video, we both searched, emailing images back and forth and choosing. For example, Jim found photos of a guy in medieval armor who to me looked like a thug, but Jim liked his toughness for King Malcolm. Good point — but then we found Jimmy Thomas. He’s more a romance hero sort than the real Malcolm Canmore — but what a great stand-in for a medieval Scottish king!

Blond girl horseJim: When a group of stock photos popped up showing a long-haired blond woman in a medieval gown in outdoor settings, we had our Queen Margaret. A variety of images of the same model is very useful. And finding images involves going back and forth, being particular. We looked for naturalness and authenticity, and for visually interesting images. We also used some of Susan’s own photos of Scotland.

Susan: What’s the next step after the images are selected?

Jim: Recording the narration is next. I often work with my wife, Anne, who is a great narrator. The right voice and a nuanced read is essential—the narrator is an artist who portrays what we envision.

Susan: We auditioned a few narrators, but I loved Anne’s warm, rich voice and her natural reading the best! After selecting the images and recording the script with a narrator, what do you work on next?

Dougie in charlottesvilleJim: Music – and that can be the most difficult part of the process. I want to find a sound to match the story and tone. Searching stock music clips – much of which are quite good – takes longer than image searches. Music by the original artists is not always available, but it can be a great element in a video. Susan was able to get permission from Scottish singer/songerwriter Dougie MacLean for his song “The Search," which adds a richness and elegance to the Queen Hereafter trailer.

Once the music is decided, I edit the images to fit the rhythms and pace of the song. The mood of the whole video really comes together at this point. As a producer, I do the editing and production, and I mostly act as a guide, helping to find and blend the elements to create a story. It’s important to communicate and to help the author discover what they want. Using various software, I create a rough cut and run that past the author.

Sue6 001Susan: The Queen Hereafter video took only a couple of weeks or so. Jim worked so efficiently and with real artistry, and has an infallible sense of what works. I was thrilled the first time I saw the rough cut!

Jim: This has been a wonderful collaborative process, with give and take and great communication. My goal as a producer is to create a visual production that is high quality and really enjoyable. And I want the client to be happy with the process as well as the result.

Susan: Even though I changed my mind a lot, you were patient, amiable, and always creative throughout. Thank you!

We had so much fun making this video that Jim and I are now collaborating on a book trailer for Lady Macbeth, and I can tell you that his work in this one is stunning. We'll debut it soon on Word Wenches!

Meanwhile, I hope you all enjoy the Queen Hereafter video -– please share, like, tweet and send to your friends! (If you are interested in talking to Jim about a book trailer of your own, you can contact him at jlefter2@gmail.com.)

Be sure to look for Queen Hereafter in trade paperback and ebook as well.

And speaking of multimedia … Queen Hereafter is now available in audiobook from Audible.com! Click here to listen to an audio sample.

What do you think of book trailers? Leave a comment below to be entered in a giveaway: an autographed set of paperback copies of Lady Macbeth and Queen Hereafter!

 

70 thoughts on “Queen Margaret’s Video”

  1. I too am a very visual person – so the trailers are favorites of mine. I love historical films and there will never be enough of them for my taste – so every little bit of medieval imagery helps! This trailer was great – can’t wait to see the next one and to read the books!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. I too am a very visual person – so the trailers are favorites of mine. I love historical films and there will never be enough of them for my taste – so every little bit of medieval imagery helps! This trailer was great – can’t wait to see the next one and to read the books!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. I too am a very visual person – so the trailers are favorites of mine. I love historical films and there will never be enough of them for my taste – so every little bit of medieval imagery helps! This trailer was great – can’t wait to see the next one and to read the books!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  4. I too am a very visual person – so the trailers are favorites of mine. I love historical films and there will never be enough of them for my taste – so every little bit of medieval imagery helps! This trailer was great – can’t wait to see the next one and to read the books!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  5. I too am a very visual person – so the trailers are favorites of mine. I love historical films and there will never be enough of them for my taste – so every little bit of medieval imagery helps! This trailer was great – can’t wait to see the next one and to read the books!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  6. This trailer is GORGEOUS! The blend of images, words, and music really captures the essence of QUEEN HEREAFTER. If I didn’t already own a copy of the book, I’d be jumping on it now. *G*
    I think finding the right images is the hardest part of book trailer, but you’ve proved it can be done even for a medieval set novel. Can’t wait to see the finished version of LADY MACBETH!

    Reply
  7. This trailer is GORGEOUS! The blend of images, words, and music really captures the essence of QUEEN HEREAFTER. If I didn’t already own a copy of the book, I’d be jumping on it now. *G*
    I think finding the right images is the hardest part of book trailer, but you’ve proved it can be done even for a medieval set novel. Can’t wait to see the finished version of LADY MACBETH!

    Reply
  8. This trailer is GORGEOUS! The blend of images, words, and music really captures the essence of QUEEN HEREAFTER. If I didn’t already own a copy of the book, I’d be jumping on it now. *G*
    I think finding the right images is the hardest part of book trailer, but you’ve proved it can be done even for a medieval set novel. Can’t wait to see the finished version of LADY MACBETH!

    Reply
  9. This trailer is GORGEOUS! The blend of images, words, and music really captures the essence of QUEEN HEREAFTER. If I didn’t already own a copy of the book, I’d be jumping on it now. *G*
    I think finding the right images is the hardest part of book trailer, but you’ve proved it can be done even for a medieval set novel. Can’t wait to see the finished version of LADY MACBETH!

    Reply
  10. This trailer is GORGEOUS! The blend of images, words, and music really captures the essence of QUEEN HEREAFTER. If I didn’t already own a copy of the book, I’d be jumping on it now. *G*
    I think finding the right images is the hardest part of book trailer, but you’ve proved it can be done even for a medieval set novel. Can’t wait to see the finished version of LADY MACBETH!

    Reply
  11. Jim and Susan, thanks so much for sharing the creative process. The trailer is absolutely stunning, and really captures the spirit of the book. What a great collaborative effort!
    I really enjoy trailers, especially when they are this beautiful!

    Reply
  12. Jim and Susan, thanks so much for sharing the creative process. The trailer is absolutely stunning, and really captures the spirit of the book. What a great collaborative effort!
    I really enjoy trailers, especially when they are this beautiful!

    Reply
  13. Jim and Susan, thanks so much for sharing the creative process. The trailer is absolutely stunning, and really captures the spirit of the book. What a great collaborative effort!
    I really enjoy trailers, especially when they are this beautiful!

    Reply
  14. Jim and Susan, thanks so much for sharing the creative process. The trailer is absolutely stunning, and really captures the spirit of the book. What a great collaborative effort!
    I really enjoy trailers, especially when they are this beautiful!

    Reply
  15. Jim and Susan, thanks so much for sharing the creative process. The trailer is absolutely stunning, and really captures the spirit of the book. What a great collaborative effort!
    I really enjoy trailers, especially when they are this beautiful!

    Reply
  16. I like seeing book trailers. The pictures of the Queen were beautiful and I thought the narrator was excellent. Thanks for sharing the creative process, it seems like you really enjoyed making it.

    Reply
  17. I like seeing book trailers. The pictures of the Queen were beautiful and I thought the narrator was excellent. Thanks for sharing the creative process, it seems like you really enjoyed making it.

    Reply
  18. I like seeing book trailers. The pictures of the Queen were beautiful and I thought the narrator was excellent. Thanks for sharing the creative process, it seems like you really enjoyed making it.

    Reply
  19. I like seeing book trailers. The pictures of the Queen were beautiful and I thought the narrator was excellent. Thanks for sharing the creative process, it seems like you really enjoyed making it.

    Reply
  20. I like seeing book trailers. The pictures of the Queen were beautiful and I thought the narrator was excellent. Thanks for sharing the creative process, it seems like you really enjoyed making it.

    Reply
  21. Happy Release Day to the Queen Hereafter. The video catured the splendor of Scotland and reminds me why I want to visit there one day. I also saw some nice period costumes which is how I picture the era. Although video trailers don’t factor into my decision to read a book and I don’t actively seek it out, the ones I do come across are pleasant to watch. I like when they tell a quick story in pictures with some words (instead of pasting the whole blurb) on it.

    Reply
  22. Happy Release Day to the Queen Hereafter. The video catured the splendor of Scotland and reminds me why I want to visit there one day. I also saw some nice period costumes which is how I picture the era. Although video trailers don’t factor into my decision to read a book and I don’t actively seek it out, the ones I do come across are pleasant to watch. I like when they tell a quick story in pictures with some words (instead of pasting the whole blurb) on it.

    Reply
  23. Happy Release Day to the Queen Hereafter. The video catured the splendor of Scotland and reminds me why I want to visit there one day. I also saw some nice period costumes which is how I picture the era. Although video trailers don’t factor into my decision to read a book and I don’t actively seek it out, the ones I do come across are pleasant to watch. I like when they tell a quick story in pictures with some words (instead of pasting the whole blurb) on it.

    Reply
  24. Happy Release Day to the Queen Hereafter. The video catured the splendor of Scotland and reminds me why I want to visit there one day. I also saw some nice period costumes which is how I picture the era. Although video trailers don’t factor into my decision to read a book and I don’t actively seek it out, the ones I do come across are pleasant to watch. I like when they tell a quick story in pictures with some words (instead of pasting the whole blurb) on it.

    Reply
  25. Happy Release Day to the Queen Hereafter. The video catured the splendor of Scotland and reminds me why I want to visit there one day. I also saw some nice period costumes which is how I picture the era. Although video trailers don’t factor into my decision to read a book and I don’t actively seek it out, the ones I do come across are pleasant to watch. I like when they tell a quick story in pictures with some words (instead of pasting the whole blurb) on it.

    Reply
  26. Thank you! What a wonderful book trailer. If I wasn’t sold before the trailer…. I am now. I would LOVE to win these books… but if I don’t they will be going on my TBR list!

    Reply
  27. Thank you! What a wonderful book trailer. If I wasn’t sold before the trailer…. I am now. I would LOVE to win these books… but if I don’t they will be going on my TBR list!

    Reply
  28. Thank you! What a wonderful book trailer. If I wasn’t sold before the trailer…. I am now. I would LOVE to win these books… but if I don’t they will be going on my TBR list!

    Reply
  29. Thank you! What a wonderful book trailer. If I wasn’t sold before the trailer…. I am now. I would LOVE to win these books… but if I don’t they will be going on my TBR list!

    Reply
  30. Thank you! What a wonderful book trailer. If I wasn’t sold before the trailer…. I am now. I would LOVE to win these books… but if I don’t they will be going on my TBR list!

    Reply
  31. Book trailers using the much simpler (and free) MovieMaker or PhotoStory are one way we have our elementary students create book reports. You can tell they really understand a story if they pick the right images. It is great to give students an option to the old stand up in front of the class and read. They really get into it. Thank you for the article I can now prove to them that pros start with a script instead of just grabbing images first.

    Reply
  32. Book trailers using the much simpler (and free) MovieMaker or PhotoStory are one way we have our elementary students create book reports. You can tell they really understand a story if they pick the right images. It is great to give students an option to the old stand up in front of the class and read. They really get into it. Thank you for the article I can now prove to them that pros start with a script instead of just grabbing images first.

    Reply
  33. Book trailers using the much simpler (and free) MovieMaker or PhotoStory are one way we have our elementary students create book reports. You can tell they really understand a story if they pick the right images. It is great to give students an option to the old stand up in front of the class and read. They really get into it. Thank you for the article I can now prove to them that pros start with a script instead of just grabbing images first.

    Reply
  34. Book trailers using the much simpler (and free) MovieMaker or PhotoStory are one way we have our elementary students create book reports. You can tell they really understand a story if they pick the right images. It is great to give students an option to the old stand up in front of the class and read. They really get into it. Thank you for the article I can now prove to them that pros start with a script instead of just grabbing images first.

    Reply
  35. Book trailers using the much simpler (and free) MovieMaker or PhotoStory are one way we have our elementary students create book reports. You can tell they really understand a story if they pick the right images. It is great to give students an option to the old stand up in front of the class and read. They really get into it. Thank you for the article I can now prove to them that pros start with a script instead of just grabbing images first.

    Reply
  36. I could take or leave book trailers. I’ve seen some that are a lot of fun and comical, while others leave me scratching my head. I rarely watch them nowadays.

    Reply
  37. I could take or leave book trailers. I’ve seen some that are a lot of fun and comical, while others leave me scratching my head. I rarely watch them nowadays.

    Reply
  38. I could take or leave book trailers. I’ve seen some that are a lot of fun and comical, while others leave me scratching my head. I rarely watch them nowadays.

    Reply
  39. I could take or leave book trailers. I’ve seen some that are a lot of fun and comical, while others leave me scratching my head. I rarely watch them nowadays.

    Reply
  40. I could take or leave book trailers. I’ve seen some that are a lot of fun and comical, while others leave me scratching my head. I rarely watch them nowadays.

    Reply
  41. It is a nicely don trailer but I rarely watch book trailers because when I’m on the internet I am looking for written information about books and maybe some excerpts.

    Reply
  42. It is a nicely don trailer but I rarely watch book trailers because when I’m on the internet I am looking for written information about books and maybe some excerpts.

    Reply
  43. It is a nicely don trailer but I rarely watch book trailers because when I’m on the internet I am looking for written information about books and maybe some excerpts.

    Reply
  44. It is a nicely don trailer but I rarely watch book trailers because when I’m on the internet I am looking for written information about books and maybe some excerpts.

    Reply
  45. It is a nicely don trailer but I rarely watch book trailers because when I’m on the internet I am looking for written information about books and maybe some excerpts.

    Reply
  46. created the video.
    A few months ago I was talking to Jim, a friend and video producer, about books and ways to promote a new release. He asked if I had ever tried a book trailer. I hadn’t, but I love them–I’m very visual and they can quickly draw me into a story and catch my interest.

    Reply
  47. created the video.
    A few months ago I was talking to Jim, a friend and video producer, about books and ways to promote a new release. He asked if I had ever tried a book trailer. I hadn’t, but I love them–I’m very visual and they can quickly draw me into a story and catch my interest.

    Reply
  48. created the video.
    A few months ago I was talking to Jim, a friend and video producer, about books and ways to promote a new release. He asked if I had ever tried a book trailer. I hadn’t, but I love them–I’m very visual and they can quickly draw me into a story and catch my interest.

    Reply
  49. created the video.
    A few months ago I was talking to Jim, a friend and video producer, about books and ways to promote a new release. He asked if I had ever tried a book trailer. I hadn’t, but I love them–I’m very visual and they can quickly draw me into a story and catch my interest.

    Reply
  50. created the video.
    A few months ago I was talking to Jim, a friend and video producer, about books and ways to promote a new release. He asked if I had ever tried a book trailer. I hadn’t, but I love them–I’m very visual and they can quickly draw me into a story and catch my interest.

    Reply

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