A Movie to Move the Reader

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Movies. They can chronicle the journey a writer embarks on when writing a manuscript. They can tease the public into buying your book. Photos and music have a way of engaging an audience in a way mere text does not.

I recently made a movie to explain what I'm going through as I work on submitting my manuscript. Soon, I will be launching a website (I know--about time!) and will include this video, along with any other videos I make in the future.

What are some considerations when making a movie? And what is--in my opinion--the easiest movie-making program?

Read further, then watch my movie and tell me what you think.

Movie-Making Tips

  • Choose photos that will show part of your message. You know the writer's mantra Show, don't tell. That applies to movies as well as stories and novels. 
          For example, if you have a photo of a character you want to incorporate into your movie and  
          you want to create a somber mood, make sure the character's not smiling. Edit the photos using 
          a sepia filter if your story takes place 100 years ago. If it's a light, humorous tale, use brightly-
          colored images.
  • Music can also convey a message in a subtle way. Sometimes an instrumental piece is the best choice. If your movie has some high and low emotional points, you want to choose a dynamic song. 
  • If you have a gem of a line you want to really highlight in your movie, consider putting it all by itself.  Don't surround it with a bunch of other text--it'll get lost.
  • Use transitions (how one image morphs into the next), but don't go crazy with them. Less is more. Be intentional with them (and don't use a different one each time, because they're so fun to do). For example, if you have two or three slides that contrast with the next ("My first draft was sucky... My second draft was semi-decent... My third draft was the bomb!") a transition that looks like a page turning would be effective. 
  • Don't put too much text on one slide/image. A couple of (short) sentences or one longish one. Each image ain't a novel.
  • If you're using text instead of a voice-over, make sure you time the images so the audience has enough time to easily read whatever's on the screen. Practice reading it aloud, and slowly, to make sure your viewers have enough time to read it. After all, you already know what the text is. You've written and revised it and watched the movie a bunch of times as you edit it. For your audience, it will be fresh and new. Allow the viewer more time than you need to read it...
  • ... but don't linger on a slide/image too long. No one wants to look at a three-word sentence for 7 seconds. The viewer gets antsy. They start cleaning the toe jam from between their toes. They slather the facial version of Nair onto their mustache area while they wait. Three seconds might be enough. If it's an image (and no text) that's full of details, you might want the full 5 seconds. Fiddle with it.
My favorite movie-making program is Photo Story 3. It's a Microsoft (free) download, so I think it won't work for you Apple folks. (I know it says "for Windows XP" but disregard that. I don't have no fancy-dancy "Windows XP" and it works fine on my laptop.)

I love Photo Story 3 because it's so user-friendly. (It's so easy to use, even my not-too-bright-but-oh-so-cute dog Radar could use it.) To rearrange the images into a different order, all you have to do is slide them into a different spot in the line of slides/images.

Have you already made a movie to promote yourself or a book? If so, what tips could you add to this list?

Does my movie intrigue you? If so, please send $19.99 to my home address. When I find a publisher and it gets published, I'll send you a copy. I'll even sign it.

What can you say to nudge me into creating a website sooner (rather than later)? Procrastinating minds want to know...

Radar agrees with Sioux (his mom). He's made movies about the joys of digging and having fun with hoses and sprinklers. Photo Story 3 is so simple to use, even his hairy paws and small brain can handle it.

He doesn't have any blogs, but if you'd like to check out his mom's, head to Sioux's Page.


Margo Dill said...

I love this post, and I don't think this is something many of us do ourselves. I love that you did it, and you told us tips and what you used. Very practical post here, and I LOVE YOUR MOVIE! Especially because it fits your story perfectly. Great job, Sioux.

Get ye to the website program you are using and get started. Just get your basic pages up there and then you can tweak it as you go along. :)

Connie Koehler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Connie Koehler said...

Thank you for sharing the Microsoft Photo Story 3 download. I downloaded it and can't wait to use it. That is if it will work on my Vista operating system. Doesn't matter. I wanted you to know that I agree with your ideas about visual, sounds, transitions, etc. I also want you to know that I loved the movie you created. Also, if the movie holds truth to your writing about Henry, write it. WRITE IT! I want to read it. I don't care who tells it. If you know the truth about Henry, and you have ALL approvals from others who knew him and his story, and everyone agrees that you can write about them, their character, WRITE IT. Tell his story. I know that from watching your little movie, Henry's story will shine through. The young lady who wrote "The Help" is white. You are going to get all kinds of ridicule. You can write it Fiction based on truth. Change the names to protect the innocent, etc. I'm not sure about a lot of things, but I do know that your heart is telling you do write about Henry because his story needs to be told. If the agents do not give you good reasons of why, then write. Just because you are white and he is African American doesn't constitute good reasons in my way of thinking. I know African Americans. They would not mind if I told their story. Heck, I'm illustrating for a couple now. Some of the things African women went through, white women also endured, at least I have. I cried while reading some of what they wrote because I can relate. So, if it is true that you want to write about Henry, continue to do so.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Consider yourself an expert nudger. Thanks.

Connie--Thanks for the kind words and the encouragement. I needed them both.

You're an illustrator? That's something I could not do, even if my life depended on it.

The manuscript that tells Henry's story is finished, and is being sent off to various agents and publishers. So far, I've gotten many rejections and one request for a full manuscript. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

And now, I'm off to check out YOUR blog. ;)

Connie Koehler said...

I will also keep my fingers crossed for you. I see you signing a contract. I will keep my hands in prayer. With a little bit of practice, maybe a lot, I think everyone can draw and paint. It has to be a will and a passion like writing is a passion for you. Thank you, Sioux, truly. And thank you for checking out my blog. I'm new at it, but little by little, I am getting the hang of it. I can't wait to read about Henry.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Connie--Thanks. You know there's the idea that if you see it, if you envision it, it will happen. If you envision it and I do, that's double the luck, right? ;)

I can zentangle (do you know what that is?) and when I was a teen, I could draw horses, and John Lennon's face fairly well (straight on--I couldn't do him in profile) but other than that, I don't have much artistic talent when it comes to drawing and painting.

Mary Horner said...

Loved the video, Sioux, good job, and a good story should be told by whoever writes it. I have a poem inspired by a slave re-enactor and some people told me I shouldn't publish it, but it felt so real to me, her story spoke to me in ways I had never understood before, and I wanted to share that.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--Thanks for the kind words and for the validation. I feel the same about Henry. He speaks to me. That's the best way I can put it. But I think you know exactly how I feel. As writers, as humans, I think that sometimes we channel people... and we speak for them when they cannot speak for themselves.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

The story of how you are struggling to share Henry's story is a story in itself. There will be a movie made of this one day, after Henry's story has been told and won you oodles of prizes. And I wonder who will play you, Sioux, in the movie? Because your story is something pretty amazing too, and I'm proud of you for not giving up.

Sioux Roslawski said...


Thankfully I was not drinking anything when I read your comment. Otherwise, stuff would have been sprayed everywhere.

Halle Berry. I look soooo much like her, so it's natural that she would play me. You don't think so? You don't see the similarities? That is because cameras can never capture the true me. But really. My skin tone, my figure... It's just like Halle Berry's.

Seriously, thanks for the envisioning. I DO think the story of Henry would make a great movie. Perhaps a screenplay is in the future for me?

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