I’d originally promised to reveal last week my favorite image from the book trailer I made for Gidion’s Hunt. I got so excited about the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that I decided to keep this blog post until this week. I created all of the images in the trailer myself, and the one that stood out as my favorite is the third image, where Gidion mentions his father also hunted vampires up until Gidion’s mother died.
Even though the images I’d created up until this point already had a bit of a surreal quality to them, this was where I went all in for that concept, and I realize in hindsight, what the trailer shows isn’t so much actual images as the way Gidion sees these moments in his mind.
For this image, I decided to present the funeral for Gidion’s mom. The first part of the image was simple enough: a hill.
From there, I wanted a tree to go on top of that hill. The tree itself wasn’t as complicated as it might look. I started with a simple trunk for the tree with its roots spreading out. The branches were almost entirely made from a single shape. I pasted that same branch as many times as it took to achieve the desired design, flipping and stretching it so it would look slightly different each time I added another branch.
Perhaps the part that made me really like this particular image so much is the next two steps. The first of those is Gidion’s grandpa and dad. Just as I used a picture of myself to create Gidion’s silhouette, I did the same for his father and granpda while wearing a suit and tie. For Grandpa, I stooped a bit, holding out my hand where I would imagine it would rest on the shoulder of Gidion’s dad. To make them look different, I wore my glasses for Grandpa and added hair to Gidion’s dad (if only it was that simple for my scalp in real life). From there it was simply a matter of positioning their silhouettes to place Grandpa’s hand on Dad’s shoulder. I was relieved when I got it right on the first try.
The last touch was the headstone. I could have simply left it as a plain silhouette, but I felt it needed a little something more. I briefly considered placing the text of the tombstone on there, but that presented two problems. One, I hadn’t yet decided on a name for Gidion’s mother, and two, if I placed the years of her birth and death on there, it would automatically date my book.
Instead of text, I used my wife’s wedding portrait to create a cutout of Gidion’s mother to go on the tombstone. This is where it becomes clear we’re seeing Gidion’s thoughts in the book trailer, because he remembers very little of his mother. She died when he was four-years-old, and the image of his mother comes from the wedding portrait hanging in his house, which is referenced more than once within the book. I didn’t realize this until after I finished it, but it explains why doing this felt right to me at the time.
There are little touches within each image of the book trailer that I love. Even the second image which has the closeup of the vampire teeth, just because I wasn’t sure I could make that one work. It’s turned into one of the most useful images within my social media for the book. I also use the closeup of Gidion from midway through the trailer as an avatar for a Tumblr page that belongs to Gidion.
As much as I enjoyed this look for the book trailer, I might not repeat it for the second book. I’m still on the fence about that as I already have a few other ideas. We’ll simply have to wait and see when the time comes.