Want to get authors into your schools? SCBWI-IL has a lot of great advice.
Illinois is a talented state. Among the books displayed, I spied Sarah Aronson's BELIEVE and BEYOND LUCKY, Carol Brendler's RADIO GIRL, M. Molly Backes's THE PRINCESSES OF IOWA, and so many more!
We shot enough footage for a short film, and we found movie-worthy talent, so if the Don't Touch trailer looks and feels like a mini movie, I'm officially #sorrynotsorry.
I love book trailers and knew I wanted to make one for Don't Touch, but I knew I'd need help from someone more filmically inclined. When I asked my bud Matt Miller if he'd like to help, I fully expected him to be too busy. After all, his Teachers webseries had been picked up for pilot and he'd just signed on with commercial production company, Cap Gun Collective.
As it turns out, not only was Matt up for directing my book trailer, he brought a bunch of his highly skilled friends with him.
We held a casting session to draw from Chicago's fantastic pool of talent and found the perfect Caddie and Peter, along with some other fine young actors to play students: Paige Collins, Ryan Goldsher, Daniel Kyri, Clare O'Connor, Hannah Toriumi, and Aidan Traynor.
Here's Matt with our Caddie, Mia Hulen. Yes, he's that tall, and yes, she's that tiny.
Peter was played by Brando Crawford, who was happily familiar with the term "adorkable" and who savvily borrowed these glasses for the audition and shoot.
I mean . . . if these guys aren't adorkable, I don't know what is.
The shoot went splediforously well. We were able to shoot on The Vittum Theater stage, a classic theater with a beautiful proscenium arch, where I've had the pleasure of acting a few times. Matt and our producer, PJ Fishwick, found some perfect Alabama-esque woods and railroad tracks. And another friend found us a house in Winnetka with a pool!
Then, I got to hang out with Matt and our brilliant editor, Travis Hockswender, at the WhiteHouse to check out the rough cut.
Composer, Christian Moder, wrote original music for the trailer. For lyrics, we settled on a Hamlet stanza and a few extra Don't Touch-ish lines, and a phenomenal vocalist, Katie Todd, total rock star, recorded them right in front of us.
I whispered to Matt, "I feel like I'm on a reality TV show." You know, where they make the Bachelors or Bachelorettes scribble down some lyrics and go in a recording booth even though they all have terrible voices? This was like that in terms of fanciness and coolness, but the exact opposite in terms of suckiness. In fact, I'm in love with the track they created: "We Fall." And it may even make its way toward being a full song.
I can't wait to share the trailer with you, but with so many talented people doing us favors, we need to wait a teensy bit longer for the finished product. As Matt might say, "soon, my sweet doves, soon!"
My VCFA compatriot, Adi Rule, made this gorgeous meme. I'm looking forward to her YA debut, Strange Sweet Song.
Aside from the picture of me reading from Don't Touch at the bottom of the post, this was originally posted on Quirk & Quill.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending--and reading at--Sarah Aronson's book launch for Believe. I haven't read my copy yet, but Believe promises to be an intriguing exploration of the unwanted celebrity our culture thrusts on the survivors of public tragedy. It's been named an ALAN Pick, and if the book is anything like the book LAUNCH, it's going to be amazing.
Planning a book launch is a daunting task, but Sarah designed this event in a unique way that made it successful on multiple levels.
First, the event took place at Curt's Cafe, a mission-based non-profit that trains at-risk youth in food-service and life skills. All the food for the book launch was donated, so attendees were encouraged to donate and to buy raffle tickets to support Curt's Cafe.
Allowing the event to double as a fundraiser may have encouraged more people to come. And Sarah says, "The spirit of the event IS the spirit of Curt's! I hoped we could pack the house (we did!) and help them continue to make a difference in our community." Everybody wins.
Second, Sarah invited a number of local authors to participate in a group reading including Penny Blubaugh, Carol Brendler,Ilene Cooper, Brenda A. Ferber, Ken Krimstein, Jenny Meyerhoff, Ellen Reagan, Laura Ruby, Natalie Wainwright, myself, and of course, Sarah!
Sarah wanted "to honor the process of writing," to share that with her friends, and to "honor the VC and MFA experience." Many of the readers attended VCFA; Laura Ruby teaches in a similar program at Hamline.
The event definitely took me back to the readings at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where students and faculty often read from works in progress. It was so exciting to hear snippets of books that are in various stages of the submission and publication process. And for Sarah, the callback to VCFA had extra meaning since the first version of Believe was her graduate reading.
This group reading also cultivated a great sense of community. I've long admired some of these authors but never before met them in person. Now, I've not only met them, I've heard what they're working on. And it was great to see VCFA alums like Carolyn Crimi and Linda Washington in the audience.
As Sarah says, "For me, writing is all community. Over the years, the readings I've participated in have made me feel like a writer, have helped me make amazing friends. What better way to celebrate?"
News, events, fun stuff, serious stuff, and online doings. I kept a personal blog for years at The Storybook Girl, and I'll slowly be migrating some of those posts to this blog.