Monday, May 13, 2013

Making Book Trailers by Tristan Bancks


I'm Tristan Bancks. I write books for kids and teens but I love bringing stories alive using moving images and interactivity, too.  That's why I make book trailers.

Book trailers are like a movie trailer, but for a book. If you're into filmmaking, they're a great way to make a super-short short film based on a story that you love. You can share your trailer on the interwebs, enter it into competitions and get other peeps excited about the book.

Here are a couple of trailers that I have made for my books:

My Life & Other Stuff That I Made Up:

Nit Boy:

The My Life trailer was cut together in iMovie (but could easily be done in Windows Moviemaker or Microsoft PhotoStory. Try Animoto, too). It uses still images, a simple page-turn transition, a voiceover by me, a song written by a friend of mine and simple graphics at the end.

The Nit Boy trailer is more complex. I wrote the script and then worked with a 3D animator, Peter Leary, who used the program, Soft Image, to create the animation.

Here are a few other trailers I like:

Run by Tim Sinclair

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

If you'd like to make a book trailer, here are my top five tips:

1. Choose a book you really love.
2. Write a 30-second to 1-minute trailer script. Remember: Short is good. Long is bad.
3. Pre-visualise your trailer, gathering images, music and other videos for ideas. Try using Story Scrapbook, my free transmedia story brainstorming app.
4. Shoot and edit. Or, if you're using still pictures, gather your images and music and edit.
5. Share it on YouTube, Vimeo and submit to some book trailer-making competitions, win the big bucks and retire to the Caribbean.

Good luck! Happy reading and writing. Feel free to contact me over at if you have any questions.

About the author

Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author with a background in acting and film-making. His books include My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up (book two out 2014), Mac Slater Coolhunter (Australia & US) and the Nit Boy series (about a kid with the worst case of nits in world history). 

His short films as writer and director have won a number of awards and have screened widely in festivals and on TV. He is currently working on a crime novel for middle-graders and an immersive cross-platform story for kids. Tristan is excited by the future of storytelling and inspiring others to create. 

Tristan's favourite kids' books include The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen,  Holes by Louis Sachar and Once by Morris Gleitzman.

More at


  1. Thanks for the brilliant post Tristan, we all enjoyed here at the headquarters of Kids Lit Australia.We,the Australian team are attempting to produce a book trailer of Once by Morris Gleitzman.We should have done by Sunday

    The Australian team

  2. I've always wanted to make trailers for books other I wrote, but unfortunately I haven't written anything yet.

    1. When you do write those books, you know where to post the trailer!

  3. I keep dreaming of the perfect movie/book trailer for my favourite books, but I never do it

    1. Please tell us the books you have in mind, Nick

  4. Thanks for the replies everybody. Nick, get into it! It doesn't have to be perfect. Just making a trailer will teach you lots about filmmaking, editing, storytelling and it's a fun process.


  5. Stella, as with Nick, just begin. Start and make lots of mistakes and see what happens. Only after years of writing do you start to have any sense of knowing what you are doing and, even then, you are constantly reminded how little you know. But you do it anyway. Jump in!


  6. To the Australian Team

    I'd love to see your 'Once' trailer. When is the world premiere?