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Feb 26, 2015

Unless you’ve been hiding your head under a rock, then you know how hot Book Trailers are…

All the major publishers use them to promote their books - Penguin, Random House, Harper Collins, and others… 

And self-published authors now follow suit, with trailers of their own.

Book trailers simply make sense when it comes to book promotion…

  • People are much more likely to buy a product when they see a video about it
  • Trailers are visually exciting and entice readers more easily than text
  • They can be used effectively on all the social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • They act as a great centerpiece to an author website
  • Unlike paid ads, they live forever, garnering more and more organic views over time
  • As an art form, book trailers are just beginning, but already it’s easy to see what separates the great ones from the lackluster. A great book trailer is cinematic. They are filmed and edited by talented professionals – often with original footage, talented actors, professional voiceover, and exceptional filmmaking. A great book trailer piques a reader’s interest and makes them want to see more!

    Even celebrities and Hollywood heavyweights have taken notice of this new art form and its power to attract an audience…

    Check out this trailer for Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Autobiography, starring none other than NPH himself.

    Or this trailer for One More Thing by B.J. Novak, starring B.J. Novak (“The Office”) and Mindy Kaling (“The Office”, “The Mindy Project”).

    And then there’s some cinematic book trailers that rival those of big-budget movies, shot using 4K technology and including heavy CGI.

    The point is, there are no limits to what you can include in a book trailer or who can be involved!

    Just like his book, Neil Patrick Harris takes center stage and creates an interactive experience with his trailer to successfully captivate viewers. B.J. Novak on the other hand, chose a self-promotional route with a cleverly executed meta-reference aided by other Hollywood actors. And the third trailer is an experiential take on Savage Drift, thrusting viewers into the post-apocalyptic world.

    Clearly, each of these trailers is vastly different from one another, but they are all incredibly enticing. That’s because of the professional degree of planning and execution that went into creating them. When the same care and attention put into writing and publishing a book continues through promotional efforts, people take notice - Both Choose Your Own Autobiography and One More Thing landed on the New York Times Best Sellers list!

    So to roundup this post (and take it one step further), if you’ve ever thought that your book would make a great movie or show (or even if you’ve never dreamed of that as a possibility), a well made book trailer can be an excellent step in that direction. It can attract readers to your book, build your web presence and personal brand, and perhaps even get the attention of a Hollywood producer looking for the next big adaptation!

    Jan 21, 2015

    2014It's been a big year at Voyage and I wanted to take a moment and thank you for being a part of our growing family of creators!

    Without you, none of what we accomplished would have been possible.

    We set some big goals in 2014 - we wanted to get some films made and we wanted to expand our ability to make a real difference to creators (and their projects) around the world.

    Toward that end, one of our successes was officially launching our "Originals" program, specifically designed to partner with select creators to bring their projects to market and arrange for packaging, financing and distribution. We took on 14 new film and television projects in the program this year, all of which are now partially packaged or financed and in various stages of development. A couple standouts include producing and releasing our award-winning and highly profitable film, VALLEY UPRISING, and bringing the scripted TV series, UNBRIDLED to market and securing the participation of 2 well-known and respected showrunners. You can read more about our Success Stories here.

    We're also proud of our partnership with Amplify Releasing/GoDigital, which enabled us to guarantee distribution to some of the film projects in our Originals Program as well as for several clients who took advantage of our new distribution business plan / strategy service, "Distribution Deep Dive".

    Our Professionals Program is in its 3rd year and took a surprising and unplanned twist. Not only does the program continue to serve as the incubator for projects that enter our Originals Program, but it also now acts as a crucible for nurturing and identifying screenwriter-clients to whom we provide paid writing assignments. We're exceptionally proud to have created new jobs in these challenging economic conditions.

    We renewed our commitment to providing free and low-cost Education and Training for creators this year and have now trained over 18,000 creators on our platform. In particular, we launched the new Ask A Producer Anything mentorship platform, which created a very cost-effective way for creators from around the world to connect with our producers and get their burning project and career questions answered, live. I also conducted my first ever Private Coaching Group, which we've now made publicly available as a blend of recorded video trainings and live coaching sessions. In the program we explore the business side of content creation - everything from personal branding, strategic project selection, building a team, financing, deal making and more.

    For authors, we strengthened our ability to help bring film/TV rights to market by launching the latest service in our popular Book-to-Screen Access program, "Hollywood Book Trailers". By bringing respected filmmakers into the creative and production process, we've completely redefined the book trailer market. This has helped us secure several new publishing company partnerships and bring over 500 novels to market.

    Our stalwart Branded Entertainment Division helped pitch over 360 unique branded and commercial projects this year, with an unprecedented 60% success rate. And we're proud to have added some amazing new artists to our writing and visual family. And that just scratches the surface of everything Voyage and its family of producers and creators have been up to.

    BUT LET'S NOT REST ON OUR LAURELS!! THERE'S MORE TO DO!!

    In 2015, we plan on renewing our commitment to the "heart-centered" values on which we were founded. As we grew in 2014, we recognized that we risked becoming too "transactional" and less focused on doing great things for great people. We can't and won't let that happen so we'll be examining and revitalizing our entire culture inside and out as we move through the year ahead.

    We also have major plans in motion to expand our ability to help you finance, package and distribute Originals content. Accordingly, we'll be announcing several new initiatives that will make it easier than ever for you to get your projects financed and made...

    Talent Packaging:
    In addition to our pre-existing relationships with talent agencies and managers, we've recently set up two strategic partnerships that enable us to source and package "influencer"/YouTube talent to increase the value of film and television projects. We have already secured talent that has over 100 million subscribers as part of these deals.

    Production Financing:
    We are currently in negotiations and are a couple months away from being able to announce our latest slate financing deal that will put us in a unique position to finance and distribute independent films and associated online and video game content.

    A New Website:
    We've been developing a new site that we expect to unveil during the first half of 2015. We're embracing technology in a big way that will put you in control of quickly and easily connecting with producers, getting valuable insights on your projects/career, and enabling your projects to get discovered and made.

    More Creator Education:
    As part of the site, we'll be providing all-access membership to over 400 hours of new filmmaker training, including several new coaching programs taught by our very our producing team.

    As you can see, we'll be very busy with big things and continuing to shake up the industry. And we can't do it without you!

    So we very much look forward to deepening our relationship and helping you Get Connected, Get Educated, and Become an Original...

     

    Happy New Year!

    - Nat Mundel & The Voyage Family

    Dec 31, 2014

    This has been a very busy year for us here at Voyage Media!  Our clients are making huge strides in getting their projects made and manifesting their careers as successful Hollywood writers and filmmakers.

    So, as the end of the year approaches, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on 2014 and showcase some of our esteemed clients and their wonderful project successes! 

    VALLEY UPRISING
    Creators: Nick Rosen & Pete Mortimer
    Nick and Pete came to us with a rough cut of their documentary. They joined our Professional’s Program to solve some core creative problems with their storyline and ended up creating an amazing, award-winning documentary.

    Voyage ended up executive producing the documentary with narration by Peter Sarsgaard. The film has won the GRAND PRIZE in all five festivals in which it has competed. Valley Uprising is also available on Blu-ray, DVD, or digitally through the Sender Films website.

    UNBRIDLED
    Creator: Marilu Norden
    Rising through the ranks of our Book-to-Screen program, Marilu had one of our producers and screenwriters adapt her award winning book and true story into a one-hour TV drama.

    We also worked with Marilu to create a stunning visual pitch lookbook, which helped the project picked up by two successful showrunners!. The project is now being shopped around to TV networks as a Voyage Original.

     

    STRANGER
    Creator: Shaun Cunningham
    Shaun signed up for an Insider Strategy Session for his film project, Stranger. The script read great so we decided to set the project up in our Originals program, together with co-producer, John Crye.. What started as a seed turned into a plant under Shaun’s writing ability and our guidance.  Shaun’s past film screened as an Official Selection of the American Independent Film Festival and he would like STRANGER to be the next big step in his film career.

     

    THE TRIBE
    Creator: Rose Cole
    Rose was a well-known Internet personality and holistic healer.  She came to us with a desire to go mainstream and get her own TV show. We helped her by developing an entire personal brand strategy, new website, reality format, treatment and sizzle reel – now her series, The Tribe, has been optioned by producers, has a showrunner attached, and is currently being shopped to networks.

     

     

    THE BLINDSPOT
    Creator: Martin Rausch
    Martin Rausch is an unlikely producer (he’s an academic intellectual) from Switzerland, but after completing a Professionals Program and working with producer Bonnie Solomon, Rausch has a partially financed documentary that is quickly gaining momentum as one of our Originals.  In fact, the filmmakers are currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the project, and have raised nearly half their goal!

    Here’s what Martin has to say:

    “Voyage provided me with professionals who identified what needed to be done, what needed to be improved, and they helped me achieve it!” 
-Martin Rausch

     

    MACCABEE cover for email blast

    MACABEE
    Creator: Benjamin Bindell
    Producer Benjamin Bindell first approached us needing visual pitch materials to pitch his project.  We worked with Bindell to create a lookbook, and we are now working with him to help him write his screenplay in our Professionals Program.  The project is set up as an Original and with major A-list producers as well!

     

     

     

    IMMANENT
    Creator: Catherine Arne
During her Professionals Program, Catherine executed a market-based rewrite and also developed a clear go-to-market pitch and packaging strategy.  As the program came to a close, it was clear that this script was a winner, so we picked it up as an Original and then set up a coproduction with producer John Crye (MEMENTO, DONNIE DARKO).

    Catherine proved to be such a strong screenwriter, we’ve now started giving her paid screenwriting assignments, helping adapt books into screenplays. She is currently a member of the Professional’s Program once again, developing a TV project called Psychopath Nation with producers Regina Lee and John Crye.

     

    Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 11.06.14 AM

    CLOCKWORK
    Creators: Susannah Farrow & Dale Trott
    This extraordinary writing team has so far completed two Professionals Programs with us, and both projects were set up as Originals and optioned by producers right out of the gate! Their most recent project, Clockwork, is currently being shopped around to production companies.  Susannah and Dale are also now getting paid writing assignments from us. They have a real knack at writing horror and supernatural stories and have developed a great, professional and personal relationship with producer, Elizabeth Kushman.

    Here’s what Susannah has to say:

    “Voyage provides the assistance, support and direction that you need to move forward to get across the line. They really work in the business… They’ve been around the pond, they know people, and they have networks and connections. If you want to make it as a professional in this business, then these are the guys who can help you get there.”
-Susannah Farrow & Dale Trott

      


    CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
    Creator: Shilpa Sunthankar
    Shilpa has been working in the industry for a while and came to Voyage for an Insider Strategy Session with the goal to make the leap to writing/directing films full time as a career. She was later invited into our Professionals Program and subsequently her first project, Continental Divide, was optioned, so she is well on her way to achieving her goal! 

    THE DEVIL'S BREED Creator: Michael Faunce-Brown
    After adapting his novel to a screenplay and completing a Professionals Program, Faunce-Brown’s project was set up as a Voyage Original.  We are in development on the screenplay, negotiating with a director, and are currently shopping the rights to the book as well.

     


    SIBLINGS
    Creator: Juan Manuel Borbolla
    Juan is a former studio executive at WB in Mexico and was involved in the production of 8 Mexican movies.  Juan came to us with this project because he wants to shoot the movie with american actors, and the story told in English.  Although he is currently in his Professionals Program, his project has been set up as a Voyage original and is already being shopped around as he continues to polish his screenplay.

      

    STAN
    Creator: Richard Wold
    Richard Wold is an author who first approached us in need of a treatment based on his book.  He is in both our Book-to-Screen progam and our Professionals Program to complete the screenplay, execute business plan and distribution strategy, create a lookbook , with Voyage prepping to bring the project to market.


    THE NEW SWITCH
    Creator: Gary Shelly
    Gary Shelly is an author/screenwriter currently in a Professionals Program with Voyage producer Monnie Wills.  Gary came to us through an Insider Strategy Session with a screenplay for his project, and we are currently developing it as a novel/graphic novel and preparing to go to market as a Voyage Original, for both a publishing deal and film financing.

     

    A FIRE IN THE MIND
    Creator: Ken White
    A Fire In the Mind is a novel based on a True Story. After completing a screenplay adaptation and working with Voyage on distribution strategy, White’s project received a LOI (letter of intent) from GoDigital, Inc. to be the domestic distributor. This is a well-designed film for limited release, targeting art house theaters in larger markets.

    Here’s what Ken had to say:

    “As a writer, especially since I did not live in Los Angeles, I was seeking industry access and legitimate, respected experts to help me understand what I needed to do to be taken seriously. Voyage gave me that.

    I’ve now been involved with three of Voyage’s programs and thanks to the work I did in the Distribution Deep Dive, I now have a Letter of Intent from Amplify to distribute a proposed film based on my screenplay, “A Fire in the Mind.”

    Prior to working with Voyage, I considered myself a decent writer with some access and knowledge of the industry. After working with Voyage, I’ve now learned skills and strategies that have elevated my writing and understanding of the business. I would not be where I am, and certainly would not have an LOI in place, if it weren’t for the practical, professional guidance of Voyage’s team.

    Voyage doesn’t TALK about doing projects. They get projects DONE. Their actions speak much louder than the words of other, so-called industry insiders. I trust them to efficiently and effectively guide me on my journey toward becoming a professional screenwriter and producer.”

    -Ken White

     

    PIGEON BLOOD RED
    Ed Duncan
    Ed came to us wondering how his book could be adapted for film. After learning what it would look like and working with us to develop a new cinematic book cover and distribution strategy, he jumped at the opportunity to have a screenplay written by one of our producers and a professional screenwriter. Now the project has received a LOI from GoDigital and Ed is in a Professionals Program to learn how to target buyers and pitch his project.

     

     

      

     
    Testimonials

    “I got so much guidance out of my time with Voyage, but one of the greatest lessons I learned from working with Nat is the value of self-awareness.  I feel better armed than ever to find my place in what can be such an intimidating industry. And the best part is, the folks at Voyage make you feel like part of their family. They’re truly invested in the next generation of artists and filmmakers, from a fundamental philosophy of compassion for the artist, empathy for the struggle, and knowledge-building to help you succeed. It’s rare to find a company offering these types of services that’s in business for all the right reasons. Don’t hesitate to invest in your future with Voyage as your partner.”
    -Chip Brookes

    “One year working closely with Voyage Media has given my collaborator Kass Fleisher and me more insight into the screen trade than the past decade of reading books and watching videos. They know the art and the business of screenwriting and our work with them has been vitally instructive in revealing how industry strategy and storytelling decisions are inextricably linked, from concept through to execution, in composing a commercially viable script.”
    -Joe Amato

    “I've produced a television show for 25 years, so I know how to produce television, but I had no idea how to transform a book into a movie. If you're looking to have your book adapted by a producer, you have to present your project in a way that works for producers.  I'm blown away at the work Voyage has done that.  Producers and the people that pull the trigger are busy and have very little time for details. Voyage has put my book into a format that I can present to anyone at anytime, and they'll know in a couple of minutes if this is a project they want. And that's the key to selling it.”
    -Michael Fowlkes

    Sep 11, 2014

    Find out how to make producers want to work with you again and again with advice from an industry veteran

    As part of our ongoing series, which asks our producers about their work in the entertainment business, I talked with John Crye, a current Hollywood producer and Voyage team member, about his work in the industry. Here you can read some of his own personal advice on what a writer can do to make a producer’s life easier--and get them to fall in love with your script while they’re at it.

    (You can view our previous installments in the interview series, featuring producers Kelly Hayes and Charlsey Adkins, here on the blog.)

    Crye--the former director of Creative Affairs at Newmarket Films, who had a hand in acquiring such modern-day classics as Donnie Darko, Memento, and Whale Rider--has more recently moved on to independent writing, directing, and producing. In his many years in the entertainment business, he’s learned a lot from experience about the production world and the professionals who inhabit it.

    I asked him about any advice he had to give to writers thinking about entering the business, from the perspective of someone who had not only written himself but also worked extensively with writers as a producer. A common theme tended to reappear in his advice: understanding your producer’s needs is crucial to getting your story made in a way that’s satisfying for everyone. In the most basic terms: you need to make their job as easy as possible.

    So the question remains: why do YOU need to make their job easy? Aren’t THEY supposed to work for YOU?

    While a producer is indeed there to pave the way for your story to be made, that doesn’t mean much if you can’t get them to attach to your project! First and foremost, it’s important to remember that a producer’s life can be very hectic—the more you can do to build a relationship and make their job easier, the easer it will be for them to make the decision to make it to the finish line with your script.

    With this important foundation in mind, here’s some of the advice Crye had to share:

     

    4 Ways To Build a Great Relationship With Your Producer

    as told by John Crye

     

    Focus on craft, not genre

    When Crye is drawn to particular scripts, it’s because he finds something that connects with him on a gut level. But even though he’s delved into the realm of thriller, sci-fi, and horror-genre works in the past, it doesn’t mean that genre is the only thing that influences his decision.

    Crye says that it’s not the genre, but rather what the writer DOES with the genre that matters in the script. As a connoisseur of genre film, he knows the expected archetypes and commonalities that link those films together. When those archetypes are mixed up and put together in new and surprising ways by an adept storyteller, it makes Crye much more excited to work with that writer and see what else they can do.

    “Because the tropes and archetypes of genre are so defined,” Crye says, “it’s easy to see the skill of the storyteller laid out over all of that.” With a multitude of genre movies to compare it to, your script can be a great indicator of the strength of your own writing voice.

    Crye compares it to a band doing a cover song—you can know if a band is good or bad by listening to them, but sometimes you can’t pinpoint precisely what it is that makes them unique until you hear them cover someone else. That’s when the differences and idiosyncrasies of the players stand out in contrast to the original version of the song.

    “There’s nothing new under the sun,” Crye says. But knowing how to take the old and make it your own is an important skill that any producer will look for in a writer.

    Use your producer to your script’s advantage

    Though any given producer will have a different background from the next, most have experience in multiple areas of storytelling that make them fit to bring many different types of stories to screen. In John Crye’s particular case, he started out in acting, writing, and standup before moving to development and production.

    Crye holds a unified theory of film creation, in that he believes all of his experience in every area of the industry informs his production decisions. And his story is not unique among producers—many of them will have similar experiences that make them fit to bring together all the elements of a screen production.

    Says Crye of his role in the process, “I act like a translator between the money and the creatives.” When you, as a writer, can get that translator to speak for you, the process of making your script come to life will run much smoother than it would without an experienced producer on your side. Use their knowledge to your advantage!

    If your producer feels like you don’t want to listen to their advice or aren’t taking their criticisms seriously, it can be easy for them to start to wonder why you brought them on at all. Take their notes to heart—that kind of expertise may be invaluable down the line.

     

    Write constantly

    This may seem like a no-brainer at this point, but it’s worth repeating that producers love a writer with a good work ethic. It’s good to have a lot of material for them to choose from, especially if you’re someone they might want to work with again.

    But Crye warns against clinging to just one idea. “Don’t get hung up or get too precious about any individual script. There is no one story that is your story—you’ve got LOTS and LOTS of stories.” Sure, you might have that one story you have to write, the one that’s close to your heart, the one that means the world to you. But remember that there’s more to the world—and to yourself!—than just one story. Write your magnum opus, make it great, and then keep writing.

    Who knows…maybe you’ll even find a bigger, better story when you do!

     

    Be able to take criticism professionally

    Crye’s number one advice to writers was to make sure that you are able to understand and respond to criticism from your producer—especially after you’ve been paid. While he understands that a lot of writers will want to defend their work from being overly-rewritten by outside forces, a big part of screenwriting is recognizing that this aspect of criticism is simply a part of the profession.

    Crye urges writers to think about it from the producer’s side: since they’ve already paid money for your script, they now should have a stake in its content. He warns: “If you accept their money, it’s no longer just art—it’s professionalism.”

    But thinking about your producer as your adversary isn’t helpful either. Crye urges writers to consider their producer as, at the very least, their partner. They WANT your movie to get made, and they WANT it to be the best it can possibly be. And many producers, like Crye himself, have an extensive background in writing that can be at your disposal.

    Though it’s true that some notes may miss the point you’re trying to make, or may be clumsy in their explanation, the reason why the producer wanted the change is almost always very valid. Crye advises writers to look for the “note behind the note” in any criticism—though their changes might not work for you, what is the point they’re really trying to make? And how can you both find a common ground?

    It’s professionalism like this that makes Crye look forward to working with a particular writer. And by utilizing these tips, you too can exude that professionalism to get the most out of both your script, and your producer!

    Still think you’ve got more to learn from the real industry professionals? Don’t worry: more interviews with working producers like Crye are just around the corner! Stay tuned to the blog for new insights and interviews with more of Voyage’s own producing team members–and, if you haven’t already, sign up below for more email updates!

     
    About John Crye

    John Crye spent 10+ years as the Director of Creative affairs at Newmarket Films. While at Newmarket, he acquired Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan), Donnie Darko, and Whale Rider, three classic films on the Independent circuit. Crye wore many hats at Newmarket, where he helped develop Passion Of The Christ, Memento, and Cruel Intentions, and also created online marketing campaigns for Whale Rider and the theatrical Director’s Cut re-release of Donnie Darko.

    When Newmarket was acquired in 2009 by Exclusive Media Group, Crye was promoted to Vice President of Acquisitions and Production. In 2010, he left Exclusive Media Group to form Wrekin Hill Entertainment, an independent production and distribution company, where Crye served as President of Production and Acquisitions.

    Crye currently works as an Independent writer/director/ producer whose website Fewdio served as home to original web series Nightmare House, for which Crye wrote, directed, and produced 30 episodes that garnered over 3 million viewers across multiple online outlets. Crye also co-produced and co-wrote The Adventures Of Santa Claus, an animated feature based on the work of L. Frank Baum, and co-produced Happy Holidays, a 2008 Independent feature now available on DVD and VOD platforms.