Filming a Promo Video

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When preparing to upload my project at Kickstarter, I wrote, rewrote and polished the script for my promotional video. When I was satisfied, I did three takes using my Canon Elura 80, tripod and remote. I wasn’t happy with any of the shoots for different reasons: lighting was problematic, the sound was poor — the E-80 doesn’t have jack for an exterior mic — or my delivery just plain stunk. The one shoot that had the most promise, done outside with spring foliage in the background, I had to discard. I realized later that my dog Celeste had been in the frame, walking around the rear part of our yard, looking for squirrels to chase.

Turns out I’m not an actor nor a filmmaker, but I understand the importance of a promotional piece. So I was committed to getting it done. The biggest issue for me was memorizing the script. Index cards didn’t help. Yelling: “Line!” didn’t help either. Short term memory was not cooperating. So this is how I got around this problem:

I rigged up a “poor-man’s teleprompter.” I copied the script into an iMovie title, the one where the words roll up a la Star Wars. I then placed the laptop by the camera and with two remotes — one for the camera and the other for the computer — I could manage the speed of the script while turning the camera off when needed. Here’s the set-up:

and this is where I sat, opposite my camera:

I decided to go black and white for a couple of reasons. First, the lighting was not optimal and the color version was not complementary. Second, because ESPERANZA FARM is a historical novel, the black and white of the video adds a document quality that I preferred.

So there you have it. If you’re filming your own promo, I hope this makes it a bit easier. If you need more details on my “prompter,” drop me a line and I’ll be happy to give you the “specs” : )

Change Comes to Publishing and Bookselling

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Some thoughts on the relationship between writers and publishers from Jane Friedman, Publisher & Editorial Director, Writer’s Digest via Digital Book World:

Over on my Facebook page, I shared a quote from David Ogilvy:

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.

Publishing falls into the modern world of business, and it’s always benefiting through and from creative original thinkers (one hopes).

The mediocre writer who can sell is usually more successful than the talented writer who cannot. Aside from all other hard truths about publishing, this is the one that many writers find most difficult to accept.

There’s more…

Tweet Like a Zen Master

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From Mashable, Zen and the Art of Twitter: 4 Tips for Productive Tweeting:

1. Approach With a Beginner’s Mind

“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s, there are few.” – Zen Master Suzuki Roshi

It seems that more and more people are claiming to be experts of one kind or another, and many of them are using social media. In fact, recent reports suggest that there are now over 15,700 people claiming to be social media experts on Twitter.

There is nothing wrong with experts. I am sure many who claim to be are quite skilled and knowledgeable. However, the question is not only how much we know, but how much are we willing to learn from our time on social media?

There’s more…