Make a book trailer hero

Make a book trailer

Do you love a book so much you wish everyone would read it? Making a trailer is a fun way to recommend your favourite books.

Recommended Year levels: 3-6

Learning areas: English, Drama, Media Arts, Digital Technologies

Capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and social

You’re probably familiar with what a trailer is -- we see them all the time in movie theatres. Trailers are made up of the most exciting bits of a story, packaged together to tempt the audience into watching the movie or tv show, while not giving away any spoilers. 

We'll take you through the process of creating your very own book trailer. First, have a look at the examples below for some inspiration.

Step 1: Choose a book you love

Think about why you are making the trailer. Is it to encourage more people to borrow the book from the library? Are you a big fan of the author and want more of your friends to read the book? Do you want to start your own book club? 

List what you think are the best features of the book. What is the ‘hook’? That means, something that will grab the audience’s attention right away. Will you pose a catchy question or present your own theory? Does the story feature a great character? Is it an exciting adventure? What is the funniest part of the book? Remember not to give too much away! 

Step 2: Planning

When we make films, even short ones, we do some planning before we shoot.

Grab a piece of paper and divide it into 3 parts and write ‘Beginning’, ‘Middle’ and ‘End’. Map out everything you’ve come up with in this order. Remember the ‘beginning’ will introduce and set the scene, your ‘middle’ will tease the audience with the best parts of the book, a complication in the story or a twist. For the ‘end’, think about how to leave your viewer wanting more, that is, wanting to read the book!  

Your trailer might include images or illustrations from the book, a reading from the book, or your own artwork or photos inspired by the book’s content. 

Make a book trailer planning

Step 3: Storyboard

A storyboard is a series of drawings, kind of like a comic strip. It is made up of a series of rectangular boxes, which are called frames. Drawing inside these frames can help visualise how you might film your trailer. 

Check out our example below and notice the different camera shots. Using a variety of shots makes it more interesting for your audience. 

Shot types for trailer

Download our template (below) and start drawing your own storyboard. Remember that awesome 'Beginning Middle and End' sheet that you made? You can use that to guide you and help keep your shots in order.

Your drawings don't have to be super detailed - they can even be stick figures! You could also write a short description of the scene or some dialogue next to your storyboard frames to prompt you.

Think of the storyboard as a map, to keep you on track when you start filming your trailer.

Step 4: Filming

Set up your camera, iPad, laptop or smart phone in landscape mode. If you have a tripod, that’s awesome, but if not, find something sturdy to lean your camera or device on. A stable camera looks more professional and less distracting for your viewers. 

Try and film in sequence, so your shots are in order. This makes it easier when it comes to editing later.  

Tip: have your storyboard on hand so you know what you need to shoot and to make sure you have all the footage you need. 

Make a book trailer hero

Step 5: Editing

Editing software is a must. Apple's iMovie for Mac works well and is free. Open Shot for Windows is also free.   

If you need some help with editing, you can find some beginner tutorials here:
Open Shot tutorial

iMovie tutorial

Place your footage in your timeline and start putting it in order (this is where it will be handy if you shot each section in order) Then, trim the bits you don’t need.  

Add some music to make your trailer really sing! 

What's next?

Once you've got the hang of it, you could experiment with different types of trailers. You could make up a song about a book, or you could check out our animation resource and animate one of your own stories!

Check out these great examples below.