So quite a few people have asked me about trailers for comic books, what is the benefit of having a trailer, what does a trailer for a comic book look like and whether they need a trailer for their specific comic book.
As with many complex questions like this the answer comes in parts. The first part is to ask yourself what are you trying to do with your comic.
Is it a free web comic?
If so, don’t need a trailer.
Are you putting out on a comic platform like Comixology or Amazon Kindle?
Again here, the answer is probably no too. The reason is putting it on a site like Comixology or Kindle is a long game, you’re looking to generate sales over a long period and there is no place to put a trailer on these landing pages.
Are you looking to run a Kickstarter to fund your comic in a 30 day period?
Definitely the answer is ‘Yes’.
You absolutely then do a need a trailer for your comic book.
The difference between pitching your comic book on Kickstarter versus pitching your comic book on Comixology/Amazon Kindle is that the Kickstarter campaign is a
– shot term campaign (normally under 30 days), your campaign will not be up there forever you have a short amount of time, think of it like a sprint whereas the sales platforms are more a marathon
– is an all or nothing campaign, if you don’t hit your target you get nowt
– Kickstarter has a space for you to insert your video, the book selling platforms don’t.
So now you know whether you need a trailer for your comic book – the next question is what should a trailer look like and how do you make it.
Even if you answered no, I hope you’ll carry reading on, as you may need it one day, and I hope this is an educating and somewhat entertaining read.
So I studied a lot of trailers on Kickstarter for Comic books and did a lot of empirical testing – here is the trailer that I made for my first campaign – have a watch of it first then continue reading so you can see the breakdown and how I addressed the points in this trailer
So the trailer for your book needs to
– be 2 mins max
– it has two major parts
– part 1: needs to tell the story of the comic book
(ideally this should take up three-quarters of the trailer)
– part 2: needs to tell the story of the Crowd Funding campaign
(ideally this should be at least a quarter, typically the last quarter of the book).
Let’s break these two parts down into more granularity
Part 1: Tell the story of the comic book
Okay so here’s the paradox of telling the story of a comic book when you haven’t completed it, namely you can’t – i.e. you’re running a crowd funding campaign to raise funds to tell the story, so how can you tell it now.
So the two options are
– you can either film yourself speaking to camera
– you can show the art that you have at the moment
I think if you are serious about raising funds via Kickstarter you should have something to show at the start of this process, no one will trust you if you don’t have anything to show in terms of finished art.
It could only be a few pages of finished art which
shows the person on the other side of the Kickstarter page what your
book will look like, that they can trust you to make this and that
you’ve already put ‘some skin in the game’ and invested some of your own
money to get the project off the ground.
So we’re still back to you not being able to show the story from a classic beginning, middle and end approach.
I was in this same situation when I launched my first Kickstarter for ‘Digitopia 1.0: Displaced Dreams’, so I studied the most successful Kickstarter campaigns and dissected the trailers that were working and those that weren’t which is how I cam up with this formula and I hope you will benefit from.
This is also based on the excellent book ‘Save The Cat‘ by Blake Snyder.
The trailers that I studied
– introduced the world and main protagonist
– explained the problem the main protagonist would face in the story
and that’s it.
That’s really all you can do in 90 seconds.
So I took my story and showed Digitopia in its peaceful state and then showed it in its ruined state after it’s been invaded.
I then introduced my main protagonist, Jay, and showed
the problem Jay was facing, which was the army he was up against and the
big bad villain, Natiahs.
I punctuated these portions with text, I used animated text with some dust/particle effects but that is an optional extra, I did it because I wanted to add a depth to the words.
Of course not all of the work needs to be finalled and finished, it’s okay to show work in progress panels too
Part 2: Tell the story of the Crowd Funding campaign
I left the final portion to tell the audience how they could get involved, what rewards they could claim and when they needed to do it by.
These calls to action were really important as otherwise they’d go away thinking that looks like a cool comic book and not take any action.
I’m really pleased to say that the first Kickstarter to fund the digital version of ‘Digitopia 1.0: Displaced Dreams’ was successful – of course it’s not solely down to the trailer that is was successful, but that trailer would have been one of the first things that people landing on the page would have seen.
I’m now currently running a Kickstarter for the paperback version of Digitopia 1.0 and as you can see from the campaign page here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/farhanq/digitopia-1-displaced-dreams-the-paperback-comic?ref=evidkh
The trailer is still doing a strong job of quickly explaining the story of Digitopia and what rewards they can get.
I’ll shortly be sending of the paperback version of Digitopia 1.0 to the printers.
I’m using the Kickstarter platform to collect all the orders for the paperback version of the book between now and July 25th.
The number of orders I receive on Kickstarter will determine how many I ask the printer to print.
I’m currently NOT planning on selling the book after this Kickstarter (I’ll be squarely focused on creating issue 2 of the book), so if you would like to get yourself a copy or to give someone a really unique gift, please reserve your copy on the Kickstarter page here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/farhanq/digitopia-1-displaced-dreams-the-paperback-comic?ref=evidkh
I hope you can get yourself a copy and tell your friends about it too.
Thanks for reading, I hope the article helps you decide whether you need a trailer and if so you now know how to go about it.