Unless you live in a vacuum, you’ve likely heard of YouTube; a collection of videos from Prince to pauper and everything in-between. Well, I had my shot for fame on Sunday, but I will never make it as a Hollywood actor.
Amazon Encore tasked me with the responsibility to produce a 2 to 3 minute author’s video for the Amazon web site. This video will be used on my author’s page to help promote my novel, They Never Die Quietly. The logic here is that many fiction readers want to learn more about the author—what makes them tick, how they came up with the idea, etc. Understandably, when you read a novel and like what you read, it’s only logical that you would want to learn a little about the author.
Amazon was kind enough to loan me their Flip Video, which is a remarkable example of electronic genius. The size of a cell phone, this device can record video for 120 minutes. And it’s really simple to use, even for a technically challenged guy like me.
So, I called my friend, Paula, and asked her if she would help me make the video. We met for coffee and talked a bit about how we should approach this task. She’s much more creative than I, so I let her lead the way. We drove to the tiniest public park in the universe. When I say small, I mean small. The entire park was about the size of a two-car garage. I’m talking little. In spite of its size, it was charming.
Without a script or having any idea what the hell I would say, Paula instructed me to lean against a fence that overlooked a canyon, she pushed the record button on the Flip Video, and my début as a ham was launched. We did 7 takes totally 5 minutes and I felt that there was enough footage for the editing wizards at Amazon to come up with a two-minute video.
When I got home I watched the videos again and showed them to my wife. I could tell by the look on her face that I hadn’t won an Academy Award. She told me I was much too serious. Hey, my novel is about a serial killer. What’s humorous about that? I must have watched the videos a dozen times, hoping that by some act of magic, they might change. No such luck. My wife was right: I looked way too serious and my voice was totally unanimated. I thought about a reshoot, but quickly put that idea to rest.
Why do I have to be a promoter, marketing wiz, salesman, and filmmaker? Why can’t I just do what a writer does and write?