Book Trailers: In 2008 They Were Rare. Now They’re Legion. Oho Ake Books Ahead of the Curve.

In 2008, before I quit my job, and decided to listen to that voice that was in my head (the one that I had encountered on a heroic dose of psilocybin mushrooms) and go back to Lyall Bay to ‘write’, my jam was travelling. I just wanted to see the planet, mingle with cultures that were not my own, learn Spanish and fingers crossed meet a Senorita that would join me to create adventures for the rest of our lives together. I’d intended to travel from Vancouver, British Columbia to the Yucatan after my birthday in November 2001, but 9/11 royally screwed that over, and I lost 6000 CAD into the ether (that’s another story). I’m digressing here, so, back to Lyall Bay, 2008, and me researching and writing the shittiest first draft of a novel that you or I could ever imagine.

During this process of creation I was receiving downloads of information that kept my eyes bulging, and my head full of dreams. Making trailers (like film/tv trailers) for books was a revelation for me, and it appealed to my sense of creative passion. I had worked in film and television for years, and being at the back end of production took away all the glory of what comes with the finished product, and therefore I got out. Film in New Zealand was like a game of Risk. Everyone was out to bury each other to keep their livelihoods intact. I don’t think I’ve witnessed such a toxic environment to work in, and that says a lot being a former bar manager in some interesting establishments over the years, with some even more interesting clientele.

As the content of Entwined started to flow, I began to visualise the concept of what would become the trailer for this book. I knew what I wanted to create, I knew how to translate the synopsis of the book into a visual enticement that would draw traffic to my website and therefore create revenue in book sales. I was fortunate enough to know animators and sound engineers who were on my radar, so I enlisted them with the last of my savings to help me create the trailer for Entwined. Today, so many years later, the animation looks rigid to me (especially after creating the trailer for United), but it portrays in its essence everything that makes Oho Ake my greatest passion. The scene where the child Pablo transforms into a young man depicts my journey with this thirteen-year project. I was so naive in 2008, thinking that through sheer will alone that I could bring into the world a means to tell my story and it would be heard. I was wrong. I wanted to let my work speak for itself, and book trailers, cover illustrations, and characters (authors) who I likened to cinematic characters in a movie would carry me into the creative stratosphere where I would get to work with those who I have admired in their respective fields of expertise, film, television, graphic novels, comics, and musical production. Pablo’s journey in that trailer to Aotearoa/New Zealand makes him the man he needs to become so he can accomplish great tasks and meet incredible challenges, but only through intense hardship and tribulation.

The book trailers for the collections of short stories I have written seem far more personal to me now. I had to come out from behind the curtain and show my face after wanting to be anonymous, letting the work speak for itself. United took me another step towards that dream of storyboarding my work for film and television. With the book trailer for Sanctum (which was the last trailer I made), I toned it down hugely in cost and appearance. There is an art to making book trailers, and I’m a student, still learning, striving, delving, and desiring to offer my audience something new to see, generating interest in my body of work I’ve created since 2008. Making great art is a perception, no doubt, but if your heart is full flourish when you’re creating, it doesn’t matter what others think, you’re living your dreams. Do it.

Storyboarding a book… the start of a book trailer

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