The Making of a Book Trailer

Five years ago, nobody had heard of them.  Today, they’re nearly a given. 

Book trailers might just be the ultimate example of the ways in which publishing is changing in the new media world.  As lines blur between books and other media – and online Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte's Big Banksmarketing continues to grow as a method for getting the word out to your audience – a book trailer can be a tremendous tool for authors and publishers. 

That’s why John F. Blair, Publisher, started a not-so-secret project this week:  We’ve begun filming our first book trailer for our September 2010 release, Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte’s Big Banks


So how is a trailer made? 

It begins, of course, with the book.

Our marketing assistant, Mike Martin, has been excited about Banktown since he read the original proposal author Rick Rothacker submitted.  The material – about dueling banking superpowers Bank of America and Wachovia – felt ominous, insightful, and both emotionally and intellectually entertaining.  The perfect mix, in other words, for a book trailer.

After finally getting a chance to read the completed manuscript, Mike compiled a list of questions inspired by the book.  Then, cameras in hand, he made the trek from our Winston-Salem offices to the Charlotte Observer, seventy miles south, where Rick Rothacker has worked for more than a decade.

Rick Rothacker, author of "Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte's Big Banks," takes a moment to think during an interview for his book trailer.The trailer was designed to have two different types of footage:  an interview with Mr. Rothacker, and footage around Charlotte itself. 

The interview took place in an empty office at the Observer.  In the picture, you can see the improvised backdrop Mike and Mr. Rothacker used: an old Observer paper.

Though the interview questions were planned, Mike often went “off-script” while talking to the eloquent and incisive Mr. Rothacker.  Also, owing to the surprisingly cinematic shooting location, he took some footage he hadn’t expected. 

(Newsrooms, for the record, look amazing on camera.  They’re impossible to stroll through and not expect Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford to careen around a corner shouting, “Nixon!  Nixon knew!”)

After that, Mike took to the streets of Banktown itself.

Capturing footage of the city that housed the epic, earthquaking events detailed in the book was an odd experience, to be sure.  He captured footage of the corporate fortresses that made deals affecting the lives of nearly every American. 

After finishing the filming, Mike headed back to Blair headquarters in Winston-Salem with over one hundred minutes of footage to edit into a slick, compelling, ninety-second book trailer. 

The next step?  The cutting room.  Stay tuned.

Author Rick Rothacker discussing his book "Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte's Big Banks" during the making of the book trailer

This is the first of a series of posts about the making of a book trailer for Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte’s Big Banks, which is currently available for pre-order  To be alerted when the next post goes up, follow us on Twitter or friend us on Facebook


3 thoughts on “The Making of a Book Trailer

  1. Pingback: The Making of a Book Trailer, Part 2 « John F. Blair, Publisher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s