Behind the Scenes of the Book Trailer: Letting Go of Lucky Bird
The I Am Lucky Bird book trailer shoot took two full days. Melissa and Kyle Bring of Bring Media (the production team hired to make the trailer) read the book, made notes about how to best portray the novel in 90 seconds, and sent out a casting call for the three characters who would be in the trailer—Marian, Tom and Lucky. Headshots were sent to me for review, and for the first time, I had to truly step outside of myself as the writer and interpret the book as the reader. And it wasn’t easy. I had to set aside what I thought Marian and Tom and Lucky might look like, and trust Melissa and Kyle. I had to listen to how they perceived these three integral characters, and I had to bite my tongue when it came to discussing the who, what, where, when and how. Yes, the book is mine. But the book trailer is theirs. Although I’m sure it’s nothing in comparison, I think I got my first taste of what it would be like to be an author who’s novel was picked up by a studio wanting to put life into the pages by throwing it onto a big screen.
What I thought would be a terrifying and frustrating process was instead magical when I had a few minutes to spend with Olivia Homan who played Lucky. I created Lucky in my head and put her in the pages of the book—she was me, I was her, I gave her a voice, and I followed through with that voice until the very end. Watching Olivia, I almost felt as though I was giving Lucky’s life to her, putting my baby in Olivia’s hands and asking this 15-year-old to BE Lucky Bird, my young protagonist who’s life becomes a rocky, turbulent roller coaster in the years following her mother’s disappearance. I felt suddenly guilty, on two levels: One, for giving Lucky away. And, two, for asking Olivia to step into Lucky’s horrifying nightmare. But Olivia didn’t hesitate at the opportunity. She’d read the book as well, and she was excited to be able to transform herself into this character, and although there was no dialogue, Olivia’s performance was stellar. She WAS Lucky Bird—the eyes, the mouth, the look of absolute fear in her face while tucked beneath her bed when Tom Cressfield walks through her bedroom door. I felt what she felt, and it was just like I was writing Lucky all over again.
I don’t think it’s unusual for writers to have reservations about passing their characters on to others, but isn’t that what we do anyway? Present our work to the public for their enjoyment, for their chance to interpret our words the way they want to interpret them? We might have a vision in our head of who our characters are and what stories they want to tell and how, but every reader is different. And if my readers, after watching the book trailer, imagine Lucky and Tom and Marian as the three actors who portrayed them, I’m fine with that. They did an incredible job. I might have created these three in my head and put them on paper, but Olivia, Carol and Bill gave them life.
See the post on Buried in Books!