Eclectic Voices

Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More

Book & Theater Trailers: Loving Them, Hating Them and Everything In Between

stockvault-photo-enforced-grunge-sign134012a thought from Eclectic Voices Coordinator Chelsea Sutton

Like it or not, books and theater are in constant competition against movies and television for your entertainment attentions. At this point, we’re used to movie and TV trailers – we sit through a 20-minute mess of trailers before seeing a movie (at a theater or on DVD or even online at this point) and we’ve gotten pretty quick at deciding whether or not we’re going to drop $18 to see a movie based on those 1 to 3 minutes of trailer time.

With the expansion of art available to us as consumers of entertainment, it should come to no surprise that book and theater trailers are rather expected and necessary.  They help make sure each new book release or production doesn’t automatically get lost in the tidal wave of choices. On one hand: I hate this…books and theater provide such a different experience than film that to try to capture that using film seems to strip it of the intimacy and immediacy books and theater create. On the other hand: I love this…a trailer can say so much and still say so little, it can capture the identity of the author or theater company and the atmosphere of the book and production without having to really explain itself.

Creating a trailer for books and theater really is an art in itself, and no matter how you feel about it, it keeps books and theater current and competitive in a market saturated with flashy pictures.

Below are a few trailers I’ve enjoyed – all very different, all work in varying degrees in different ways. Some were found through a great article at The Rumpus, which has a few more interesting book trailers if you’re interested.

Also, another great article about trailers over at Book Riot.

I haven’t read any of these books…yet. But I did see both productions – and the trailers represent the shows very well.

What do you think? Any trailers you think were just fantastic?

BOOK: Blackbirds and Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

Simple, atmospheric, all about tone and the words.


A funny, interview style trailer.

BOOK: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

More of a traditional movie style trailer but still effective.

BOOK: Night Terrors by Ashley Cardiff (Uncensored)

Animated, funny and seems to capture the voice of the writer pretty damn well (assuming that’s really her narrating?) Don’t watch if you’re overly sensitive to sexual…anything.

THEATER: White Hot by Tommy Smith, produced by The Vagrancy

Captures a feeling, a darkness rather than summarizing the story – major props to Andie Bottrell for putting this together.

THEATER: D is for Dog by Katie Polebaum, Sean T. Cawelti and Rogue Artists Ensemble, produced by Rogue Artists Ensemble

Fun, mysterious and highlights the design aspects the Rogues are known for – major props to filmmaker Devin Schiro for getting this done.


Chelsea Sutton holds a BA in Literature from The College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her plays have had readings and productions in Santa Barbara, New York and Los Angeles and she is currently participating in workshops with the Skylight Theatre Playlab and The Vagrancy Writers Group, as well as spearheading ECT’s writers group, Eclectic Voices. Her play The Dead Woman, was recently named a Semifinalist in the Eugene O’Neill Playwrighting Conference 2013. Her fiction has appeared in The Best of Farmhouse Magazine, The Catalyst, Spectrum, and Fictionade, and she was the 2011 Winner of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Contest. Her story The Tick and the Tocking received Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She is a member of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.

4 comments on “Book & Theater Trailers: Loving Them, Hating Them and Everything In Between

  1. Mike Hammari
    August 12, 2013

    The first book trailer I ran into was for the young adult novel Evertaster. I didn’t know it was a thing then but I was surprized at how well done the trailer was.

  2. JP McLean
    August 15, 2013

    In the right hands, the book trailer has a lot of potential, but in the wrong hands, yawn. I’ve seen both. My favourite is this one for a book called Blameless.

  3. Eclectic Voices
    August 16, 2013

    As a photoshop nerd, I really like that one JP! – Chelsea

  4. merrildsmith
    August 20, 2013

    I’ve just noticed that suddenly there seem to be trailers for novels all over the place, including my FB news feed.I have mixed feelings about the trailers, too. Some of them are really cool or clever, and they make you want to read the book. As you said though, books are very different from movies, and perhaps a trailer is brilliant, but the book is not–or the other way around. Then again, no one ever said advertising depicts reality. 🙂

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