Making a Boring Spectacle of Myself

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

July 24, 2018


I have scheduled a book promo for my mystery-thriller Out and In with Lone Star Literary Life, an e-news letter for Texas writers and Texas readers. They want to use my "book trailer," which is a short video like a preview for a Hollywood movie. I don't have the cash to waste on such projects, so I thought I would make a simple "about the novel video," using my trusty iMac and the Apple software iMovie.

All I can say as this stuff ain't easy. Not only did I have to learn how to use the tricky iMovie software, but also I had to make myself and house look presentable. And the background music inspirational.

Remove All Traces of Dogs First, I framed my computer camera so it would not record the dog toys, dog blanket on the sofa, and especially the dogs that populate my upstairs office.

Next, I donned a bright red top and applied as much makeup as my face could hold. I also put a lamp behind my computer for "lighting." To my horror, my video camera revealed that I'm definitely not young. Or even close. Even the most makeup I could smear on my face cannot change that. So I reminded myself that one of my favorite authors Joan Didion had a rather unflattering photo of herself in the back of The Year of Magical Thinking. She looked exhausted and devastated -- and who would have blamed her?

A Bit Like Tricky Dicky Next, I wrote a one-page script describing Out and In and did my best to memorize it. After about 10 takes, I realized I couldn't memorize every word, so I taped the script to my iMac screen and glanced at it while I videoed myself for another 10 takes. Because my eyes kept glancing between the script and the green light on my computer camera, I looked like "Tricky Dicky," which is what some used to call Richard Nixon.

Eventually, I decided to wing it without a script. After about 10 more takes -- eyeglasses on, eyeglasses off -- I settled on a version that was maybe sort of okay. But after I launched it on YouTube, I noticed that I had a bra strap showing! For gosh sakes, how have I missed that? In addition, I had used a clip from Rachmaninov's Symphony Number 2, downloaded from iTunes, but YouTube warned me that was copyright violation.

Oh No, Do the Whole Thing Over. I tucked in the bra strap and started over, trying to speak more quickly. I have new admiration for TV personalities. Although I spoke as fast as I could, it seems I pause one whole second between every word.

Figuring out background music also took a lot of time because I had to learn how to make the clip play loudly at first, softer while I spoke, then full volume again at the end. This took numerous searches through IMovie Help.

For royalty-free music, I Goggled a website where musicians upload works for use solely with attribution. Because my heroine is a cellist, I selected a cello piece called "Full of Stars," composed by Philipp Weigl, of Munich, Germany. Thank you Philipp!

A Two-Minute Snore My resulting video is not what I would call exciting. It's very basic and perhaps a bore, except to readers who actually enjoy hearing from an author about her work. I'm not promoting the video heavily, because I'm a bit chagrined by it. But if you would like to hear my overview of my mystery-thriller Out and In, please check out this link on YouTube.

Again, many thanks for following me, and especially for reading and rating my work! Those stars mean everything to authors, and we appreciate your taking the time to post them.

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© 2017 by Pat Dunlap Evans