Please join us in welcoming author Ralph Josiah Bardsley today, here to chat with us about the trailer for his latest novel, The Photographer’s Truth.
Three Things I Learned About Screenwriting or What Goes Into a Book Trailer…
I never knew that as a novelist, I would have so much to learn about screenwriting. Boy was I wrong.
The adventure all started when my friend Elliott suggested that we develop a trailer for the launch of my latest novel, The Photographer’s Truth. Elliott is a videographer and he had noticed the trend lately for books to have movie-like trailers. I instantly thought it was a great idea, and we began the process of trying to capture the essence of the book in what is essentially a short film.
The bulk of our planning and brainstorming took place at The Battery in San Francisco, with three of us – Elliott, my husband Dana, and me hammering out what the trailer should look like. There is something about The Battery that makes it a great place for creativity – it could be the fact that it has a garden, a library and a couple of bars all under one roof… or it could be that they serve great rosé wine. As we worked through the book together it quickly became clear that screenwriting – even for a book trailer video – is nothing like writing a novel. If you’re a novelist considering a video trailer for your next book, here are three things that you may want to consider before you start:
1 – Don’t be so literal: The trailer doesn’t have to follow the same linear path as the book. My book takes place in Paris and I thought it would be hard to shoot a video without packing up and going back to the City of Lights. But Elliott pointed out that a great deal of the book also took place indoors and we could do just fine creating those scenes without plane tickets. Additionally, we could create a very fluid video, blending scenes of the book together, to capture the feeling of the story. We didn’t have to replicate scenes exactly.
2 – Don’t say it like that: For the video, we created a short script where the main character narrated over the images on screen. While I wanted to take passages directly from the book, I had to work with Elliott to revise them. In a novel, we have to create the scene with words, and so the language is deep and lush and descriptive. In a film, we’re creating dialogue that goes with a picture – so, overly descriptive language just makes the viewer feel like you’re talking down to them. It was a big lesson in learning to chop down words and phrases.
3 – There is a lot you didn’t know about your novel: Film is going to do crazy things to your work. It is going to show details of your scene setting and characters that you didn’t know existed. I had no idea that the way a curtain fluttered in the apartment of one of my characters was so important, but guess what – it was. On set during the filming I was constantly surprised by the level of focus on details of the set up, the rooms, the actors, all of it. As novelists, we’re lucky – the reader meets us half way, filling in the details of our settings and characters with chunks from their own imagination. Not so in film – what you put out there is what the viewer gets.
~Ralph Josiah Bardsley~
About the Book
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Length: 264 Pages
Category: Gay Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Purchase Links: Bold Strokes Books || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || ARe || Kobo || iBooks
Blurb: Ian seems to have it all – a career as a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley; a beautiful wife and family; a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood; and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. But life takes an unexpected turn for Ian when he finds himself in Paris for a three-month work project where he meets the former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. The unlikely friendship grows and Ian sees a new side to life as Luca takes him on a journey through the glamorous and lustrous Paris nightlife. But something strange starts to happen during their adventures in Paris; the two discover an attraction that threatens to destroy their lives. Both men battle their own demons on the road to self-discovery, ultimately learning how to come to peace with their feelings and their pasts.
About the Author
A little bit more about me – I was born in a small town outside of Boston. My dad was in the Coast Guard and so I grew up in a lot of different places – New Orleans, Cape Cod, North Carolina and Sitka, Alaska. When I wasn’t in school, I spent most of my time in Coast Guard hangers or reading. Today I live in San Francisco where my hobbies include writing, running and wine tasting! Like everyone else I wear a few hats. I work in the high tech industry in marketing. I hold a bachelor’s degree from Greensboro College and a master’s in communication from Emerson College.
When I read a writer’s bio, I usually want to know why they write – what makes them sit down at a keyboard and what do they hope to accomplish. When I ask myself those same questions, it’s more difficult to answer. I’ve always loved writing – in any capacity. For a long time, I got enough fulfillment out of the writing assignments I did for work. I’ve written white papers on software, airlines, mobile technology and advertising practices. These were (and continue to be) great assignments and I absolutely love them – I get to learn about all sorts of cool new things all the time. But eventually I wanted to do something more personal. So I started a blog called BrandFiller. I recruited several contributors and we had a lot of fun for a year or so writing short form articles and posts about everything from hockey to fashion. Let me say – for me blogging was A LOT of work. It was rewarding, but I wanted to do something bigger – something that expressed bits and pieces of my own life and feelings in a work of fiction. So that’s when I decided to retire the blog and try a novel. I never expected anyone would publish it. But the team over at Bold Strokes Books saw my manuscript for Brothers and decided to take a chance on me. You can be the judge of if they were right, when the book comes out on December 1, 2015. So what makes me sit down and write now? I guess just the opportunity to express myself and share that expression.
My writing comes from a combination of experience and imagination. My family – especially my husband Dana – is a big part of my inspiration. They’re always pushing me to do more and I love them for it. I also love to travel, and I manage to work the details from the places I visit into the stories and the books I write. Someone once told me that the only true value you ever get for your money is travel – and I couldn’t agree more.