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Lead: 18 Excite: 80 Amaze: 7 Direct: 17
Hotels Hospitals and Jails: a Memoir (2:02)
Hotels Hospitals and Jails cover.jpg
Author: Anthony Swofford

anthonyswofford.com @AnthonySwofford

Publisher: Twelve Books

twelvebooks.com @twelvebooks

Trailer by: Red 14 Films

red14films.com Facebook @Red14Films

ISBN: 978-1455506736
ASIN: B005SCS4KS
Date Published: June 5, 2012
Elements: Directive, Narrator, Video (custom)

This memoir uses a fiction cinematic approach for the trailer. It leads early with the author's reputation but then focuses on his spiral down to crisis and the decision to do road trips with his father in his motor home.

The trailer was produced but Red 14 Films which does some of the best cinematic book trailers such as The Whipping Club – Deborah Henry. What is unusual is to use the author as the actor in the trailer and to do it in such a fictional way. The realization that the narrator, main character and author are the same is when he opens his eyes and speaks. This creates an interesting moment.

LEAD Analysis

Lead "There are days I still fantasize about combat ... and score that kill I missed the first time." This is an open the soul and look inside opening. LEAD Timing Stopwatch.png
Excite [interest] Slow build to see a man in ruin and his attempt to climb put.
Amaze [hook] "one trip wasn't enough. Neither was two. It took three."
Direct [directive] Title, author, cover and publisher.

Trailer Arc

Character.jpg Ordinary.jpg Motivation.jpg Crisis.jpg Challenge.jpg Directive.jpg

We usually only do a trailer arc on a novel but as this is a memoir it works. The trailer introduces the author/subject of the memoir. He describes his day to day life, his successes and how he spiraled down to his crisis. The challenge to travel with his father ending with the hook "one trip wasn't enough. Neither was two. It took three." Then on to the directive.

Publisher Intro

With the same unremitting intensity he brought to Jarhead, Anthony Swofford describes his search for identity and meaning in the years after he returned from serving as a sniper in the gulf war.

The publication of Jarhead launched a new career for Anthony Swofford, earning him accolades for its gritty and unexpected portraits of the soldiers who fought in the Gulf War. It spawned a Hollywood movie. It made Swofford famous and wealthy. It also nearly killed him.

Now with the same unremitting intensity he brought to his first memoir, Swofford describes his search for identity, meaning, and a reconciliation with his dying father in the years after he returned from serving as a sniper in the Marines. Adjusting to life after war, he watched his older brother succumb to cancer and his first marriage crumble, leading him to pursue an excessive lifestyle in Manhattan that brought him to the brink of collapse. Consumed by drugs, drinking, expensive cars, and women, Swofford lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to him.

When a son is in trouble he hopes to turn to his greatest source of wisdom and support: his father. But Swofford and his father didn’t exactly have that kind of relationship. The key, he realized, was to confront the man-a philandering, once hard-drinking, now terminally ill Vietnam vet he had struggled hard to understand and even harder to love. The two stubborn, strong-willed war vets embarked on a series of RV trips that quickly became a kind of reckoning in which Swofford took his father to task for a lifetime of infidelities and abuse. For many years Swofford had considered combat the decisive test of a man’s greatness. With the understanding that came from these trips and the fateful encounter that took him to a like-minded woman named Christa, Swofford began to understand that becoming a father himself might be the ultimate measure of his life.

Elegantly weaving his family’s past with his own present-nights of excess and sexual conquest, visits with injured war veterans, and a near-fatal car crash-Swofford casts a courageous, insistent eye on both his father and himself in order to make sense of what his military service meant, and to decide, after nearly ending it, what his life can and should become as a man, a veteran, and a father.