We’re inviting members of The Indie Exchange to share their trailers and the stories behind them. This week, it’s Steven J Pemberton and the trailer for Escape Velocity.
Steven J Pemberton says: “I’m a member of an amateur film-making club, and earlier this year I decided to call on their skills to help me make a live-action trailer for Escape Velocity.
Initially I thought I’d make something like a movie trailer, with rapid cutting of clips of all the exciting bits. I soon realised that would take too long and cost too much, so I decided to film one scene that gives a flavour of what the book is about. It would use as few actors and as few locations as possible, and so could be shot in a couple of days. From thinking “I’d like to make a trailer” to having it on YouTube took about six months, which is breakneck speed by amateur standards – or at least by this amateur’s standards.
I wrote a script that distilled the scene to its essence. It started at about twice the length it is here – there’s a lot of stuff in it that sets up the next scene, or makes promises that pay off later, but which isn’t meaningful or necessary if I’m just trying to get you to read the book.
I shot the news report first, using members of the club to play the parts of the newsreader and William Norris. We filmed the newsreader against a green screen, to let me put the background of the London Eye in later.
I recruited the actors who play Sam and Jennie Grainger from a local amateur dramatic society. Only one person was interested in each part, which could’ve been awkward had they proven unsuitable. Fortunately, they were both good actors, who were professional in their attitude and patient with the seemingly-endless delays in finding a day when everything and everybody was available for filming.
The delays did give me the opportunity to think about the script some more. The ending was a bit limp, so I replaced it with one from a later scene in the same location.
For the set, we used the basement of a club member’s house. It’s still under construction, so he didn’t mind having graffiti in Russian on the walls – a puzzle for future archaeologists!
Although I say we’re an amateur club, there were a couple of professionals and semi-professionals on the crew, which was very helpful with regard to the camera work and editing. Everybody gave their time and expertise free (meaning I now owe a lot of favours), and we had a lot of fun making something I think we can be justly proud of.”
Sam Grainger, rocket scientist, gets a phone call from his wife Jennie one evening. Which would be perfectly normal if she hadn’t been dead for over a year.
Sam’s convinced the call is a hoax, but before he can investigate, a much larger mystery presents itself – parts of the world have started to vanish, and Sam is asked to join a team to investigate.
Once he’s reunited with Jennie, Sam learns that the world isn’t what he thought it was – and neither are he and she. Worse, some very ruthless people are determined to make sure the secret doesn’t go any further.
Racing to stay one step ahead of their enemies, Sam and Jennie learn that the key to mending the holes in the world may be the spaceship they worked on before Jennie died. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t have to steal it…
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