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Explicit language Page: Video:

Lead: 12 Excite: 87 Amaze: 35 Direct: 16
Blackbirds & Mockingbird (2:31)
Mockingbird cover.jpg
Author: Chuck Wendig

Author Blog @chuckwendig

Video by: Alan Stewart
Voice over: Dan O'Shea
Publisher: Angry Robot Books @angryrobotbooks

ISBN: 978-0857662309
Date Published: April 24, 2012

This is one of the most effective trailers I have seen, or should I say heard? The trailer is a radio drama to introduce the main character Miriam Black. The visuals are a playing of the dialog in words on the screen in an interesting way but not critical to the trailer. You could just listen to the audio only and still be effective.

An excellent example of a “cool” trailer. Simple concept, brilliantly executed. Strong use of text for visual effect as well as reinforcing the narrative. Great narrator voice over.

One thing that struck me was the Publisher Overview is pure ‘tell’ while the trailer is pure ‘show.’ This is why the trailer is so much more compelling.

After thinking about it, the trailer is a mini-radio drama. In two minutes the story is told and the main character, Miriam Black, introduced in an engaging way. I believe the incident in the trailer was created outside of the books to familiarize us with Miriam. I checked with Chuck Wendig and the story in the trailer was made up not taken from either book.

It is unusual to find a 2 1/2 minute trailer that holds your attention but this one does.

Mini-Radio Drama (Show vs Tell)

While sitting in a hot bath, I was contemplating trailer approaches. Recently I added several children’s book trailers and this got me thinking about more unique approaches. Personally I enjoy off-the-wall. What I first studied Mockingbird I saw a long (2:31) well done piece with a great narrator and unusual way to show the narrative on the screen. I loved the work but only later realized the brilliance of it.

The Blackbirds book jacket tells Miriam Black’s capability. “Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.”

The trailer shows Miriam talent via a two minute radio-like drama. I contacted the author Chuck Wendig and he confirmed that the story in the trailer is not part of any of the books. It was made up. The story introduces us to Miriam, “eyes like hot coals, hair like she French kissed a car battery… My name is Miriam Black and I bet you $50 I can tell you how you’re gonna die.” Then the story continues.

Miriam Black had a much richer texture, I wanted to read about her. My epiphany was when I realized the story was not part of the book but created just for the purpose of showing us about Miriam. Brilliant.

I now call this the “mini-radio drama” element. A made up story to show us about a character or situation rather than using part of the book. The audio part of the trailer could stand on its own. The visual side enhances but if not required.

Another new tool for creating a book trailer. Thanks Chuck for taking the time to answer my questions.

LEAD Analysis

Lead Narrator voice, old gravelly, makes you ant to listen. LEAD Timing Stopwatch.png
Excite [interest] Interesting premise.
Amaze [hook] You realize her power is for real and she at least in this situation does not change fate.
Direct [directive] Cover of first two books, websites.

Trailer Arc

Character.jpg Ordinary.jpg Directive.jpg

The story is a mini-radio drama performed to introduce the main character - Miriam Black. In two minutes the tale unfolds from the setting to the characters, their personalities and then the final crisis of the death. The on-screen words reinforce the words but the audio could stand on its own. The story was written to introduce the main character - Miriam Black.

Publisher Intro

Miriam is trying to keep her ability – her curse – in check. But when Miriam touches a woman in line at the supermarket, she sees that the woman will be killed here, now. She reacts, and begins a new chapter in her life – one which can never be expected to go well.

External Resources:

Wendig retweet.png