Book trailers are a new thing for us. In a lot of ways, they present a bigger challenge than our normal product demo videos because they don’t have a “screen shot” sequence to run with. Showing the product is a baseline responsibility of the video maker (and it increases conversions – just having something believable and tangible in there produces lift.)
The other problem is that it a book trailer be mediocre: just having a trailer done isn’t enough. I’d bet that 98-99% of trailers that are made are anti marketing pieces that actually harm book sales. I don’t want to come off as negative, but the deal is: most accept mediocrity as the status quo. They slap some background music, text and stock footage together, maybe add a filter, and call it good. That means that when you go to a site like book trailer battle you can watch a bunch of stuff and still have next to no idea what the book is about.
We’re trying hard to learn what a “great” book trailer is. We believe that ideas are sacred and books are the best way to spread ideas at a pace people can understand and relate to. Without reverence, without a depth of thought, and a care and craftsmanship, the book trailer is not worth doing. We have to show the reader that everyone cares deeply and is qualified to present this material.
One of the ideas we’re running with (as the Lean people say: a hypothesis I’m working on) is that you want to have actual substance in the trailer, particularly a nonfiction book. When we did Ryan Holiday’s book, we wanted to share a story (that the news cycle is hijacked by manipulators). Then, when we did Terri Sjodin’s book, we also wanted to share content (that an elevator speech could be classy).
Another idea is that the cover largely informs the style of the trailer. This means that a good cover is more important than ever.
That’s our ideas – at the moment on book trailers.
The Startup Communities Sales Story
Generally nobody cares about how sales are made. But, this is kinda cool.
I never knew who Brad Feld (AKA: Brad Effing Feld) was until July of last year.
I’ve been a longtime fan and reader of Seth Godin. At some point (maybe here, but it seems like earlier) Seth linked to Fred Wilson. I went through, caught some MBA Mondays, RSS’d Fred…long before I was really “in” the tech space. I was grinding out WordPress websites for Realtors and CPAs and such. Fred was on my feed (yes, I still RSS. Call me a geek, but Twitter isn’t reliable).
At some point – around the time where I thought I could help the WordPress community by having Jason Moore churn out some great videos – Fred linked to Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson’s book Venture Deals. I read it on Fred’s strong social recommendation and I was floored. This was doable. I can get the mechanics. I just have to acquire the skills to be useful to VCs. I went out to see Brad and Jason at an event that Rick Turoczy put on through PIE. I think that was the first time I met Rick as well.
I was there early, and Brad was just some guy. He mingled, and seeking people out. He walked up to me (a paunchy white dude) and introduced himself: “Hi, I’m Brad.” I was trying hard not to stand out then (employing the stealth human strategy) and Brad was easy on me, graciously making small talk, happy and full of good cheer. I didn’t want to pitch, and maybe it was a relief (I felt the eyes of the room upon me, or maybe it was a delusion). I didn’t know all Brad was about then- I just thought that it would be cool to go to Urban Airship and have an excuse to eat at Little Big Burger. The Q&A was a blast. I got the sense that Brad and Jason care about entrepreneurship. Like, say Michael Jordan cares about basketball. Of course they want to make money – who doesn’t – but they want to find and fund great companies because that’s what they were born to do.
Obviously, I started stalking Brad. I read the hell out of his blog over the next few days. I decided that I was going to work with him. (I maintain a list of people that I’m gonna work with, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.). He reads, he runs. I was inspired by him to put on my running shoes and started running again. Whatever happens in the future, I’ll be forever in debt: he got me moving, I’ve shed some fat, and I’ve arranged my life around getting to the gym.
I knew Brad was writing a book, so I shared with him Simplifilm Book Trailer #1. He loved it, inquired about pricing. Of course he did. My co-founder Jason Moore is one of the top commercial artists nationwide- nobody agues that point. Brad and Sharon Polese at Wiley agreed to business arrangements, and away we went. We were oversold, but it’s not as if I was gonna say no to Brad.
Every time I get to cross someone off my list, it’s epic. I’m elated. I got the deal done via Echosign while Jason Moore and I were having a “Planes trains and Automobiles” day that took us to the Akron Airport. We hired Ryan Holiday to write it.
The Startup Communities Trailer:
So this has been a fairly self-indulgent post, I know, I know. If you’re reading, do us all a favor and pre-order the book. It’s snappy and it’s specific, it’s real, and it’s fun.
The trailer was informed by the cover. The cover was designed by Wiley:
Startup Communities Trailer (part 1)
Directed and Animated by: Jason Moore
Written By: Ryan Holiday, with Brad Feld
Executive Producer: Sharon Polese,
Producer: Chris Johnson
Project Manager: Denis Teplitski
Society has changed. Long gone is the rigid hierarchy of the factory town.
In its place is the nimble, networked community of the future. Where cities are startup laboratories.
We find ourselves in Boulder, CO. This cozy town of just 100,000 people boasts one of the highest entrepreneurial concentrations in the world. Their startup community challenges Silicon Valley and New York City in innovation.
What makes Boulder special? How can its success be replicated?
The secret is the Boulder Thesis, a simple framework for startup communities with a long term view…balancing the needs of entrepreneurs, investors, university, government, mentors, service providers, and the community itself.
Where the fundamental philosophy is give before you get…
Everyone is on the same team, with one goal: building a community that creates innovative new businesses, employs people, and makes the world a better place.
Explaining this revolution is Brad Feld, investor, leader, writer.
One book holds the keys to your own vibrant startup community.
STARTUP COMMUNITIES: BUILDING AN ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM IN YOUR CITY. Get it now.
Kudos: (Lifted from Brad’s site)
Are you an author? Do you want to get an incredible trailer?
Contact us and we’ll square you away!