The Last Viking Returns

Making a book trailer, part 2- “You need a plan, Stan”

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Here’s part 2 of a series of posts from Kiri Falls, Emerging Arts Professional at Fremantle Press. If you missed part 1, see it here.

Anyone who tries their hand at making a book trailer needs a plan – without it things get messy quickly.

Your best tool is a storyboard. Don’t even think about creating your trailer without one. Here’s an example, but you can draw up your own rough version.

storyboard template – click to download (pdf)

Under each shot or scene, plot out where you’ll place text, music, or audio clips. You can play around with this structure as you go, but make sure you have an outline of your trailer before putting the video together.

The other task at this point is to continue sourcing material – what are the elements of your trailer, and where will the images, music etc come from?

Any text will, obviously, come from you (unless you want to use a glowing review, in which case remember to write where it’s from). The key to using text is to K.I.S.S. – don’t overload your viewer with words or they’ll tune out.

The options for visuals are:

  • use the illustrations if it’s a picture book (by far the easiest option!)
  • shoot your own footage (costly, time-consuming and risk of poor quality if you’re not trained or experienced)
  • take your own photos (if you can produce high quality images)
  • source photos or videos from online stores – many require payment, but there are also ways to use free images.

Note: make sure your images are 640×480 pixels or larger.

The options for audio are:

  • create your own music, voiceover and/or sound effects (it is vital that you have access to good recording equipment – if the quality is poor it will reflect badly on the final trailer)
  • search online for free music and sound effects (or pay for it if you are willing)

Note: when using visuals and audio from other people, check the copyright! The creator may only allow certain uses if it’s free, or require that you attribute their work – be careful to check what you can and can’t do.

Free photos from the Creative Commons group on

A good site for free background music-

Fremantle Press has a YouTube site with several book trailers to check out-

Thanks Kiri. Next week is the last post in this series, where you’ll find out how to edit using Windows Movie Maker.


Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. His books include 'The Amity Kids Adventures', 'In The Lion', 'The Last Viking'. A couple of these books have won awards. People have also bought copies, and for that he is grateful. His new book 'The Last Viking Returns' is out now. Follow James at , @James_R_Foley on twitter and instagram or at

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