Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Get Paid To Watch TV!

It's true! I do a monthly column about American TV for the UK newspaper, The Guardian.  Here's this month's outpouring:

...and here's an amendment to what I had to say about 'Parks & Recreation'. This show, for me, has an inherent problem: I don't like to see anyone being mean to Amy Poehler.

Best Opening Sentence To A Review. EVER!

Thank you, Chicklish!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You Again? (The Overemployed Actor List #4)

Kate Hudson. Every morning Heather Graham wrings out her tearstained pillowcase and sobs, "Why her?"

Monday, April 20, 2009

You Again? (The Overemployed Actor List #3)

Ryan Reynolds. Superhero movies. Love stories. Action. Horror. Comedy. There's nothing he can't do. Blandly.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Behind The Trailer

Reaction to the Hottie trailer has been amazing. (The real one, I mean. Not the cartoon. No-one's even mentioned that.) Whenever people congratulate me on it, I, of course, take full credit. 
But I'm egoless enough to admit that just maybe Madison Meyer had a  little to do with it. In fact, she did such a knockout job, I'm making a one-time return to my former profession as a crack investigative journalist. 

Here's the q&a:

1)The most obvious question: tools of the trade. Mac or PC.

iMovie or Windows Movie Maker?

Mac. You know what they say, once you go Mac, you never go back!

Neither. I use Final Cut Express.

2) Where you you find the images? How long do you spend

searching for them?

Various royalty free image sites. Each image costs a small amount of cash, but it's a good way to keep away from copyrighted material. A lot of the time people I know will also give me permission to use their images, as well as various people online.

Finding everything to go in the trailer is the hardest part of the job. Every image is important, so it takes days to find everything to make the trailer just right.

3) How long does the actual trailer-making process take?

Depending on how busy I am with school and my part time job, usually around 1 to 2 weeks.

4)For writers like myself who didn't get their

first-choice song-- and i totally don't hate the one you

went with!-- can you explain the copyright issues involved

in picking music.

Picking music is the most difficult thing about the trailer. I always mix the music before starting the visual editing process of a trailer. The audio is the most important thing for timing and such...

Anyway I find a lot of my music on, where a lot of talented artists offer their music up as royalty free for people to use.

Other times I simply get permission from an artist to use their music. I also own CDs of royalty free tracks that I'm allowed to use in my videos.

5) How does a person get into this line of work? Was this

something you started off doing as fun and now it's 

grown into a business?

Definitely started out as fun, and still is! I've always liked movies, and as a result of being fifteen and without a license, there wasn't much for me to do but read a book and then imagine them as movies.

I've also always been interested in trailers and post production. Both my parents are editors and work in television, so I guess it's in my blood.

So I just started making a trailer and posted it on YouTube. The author of the book eventually saw it and wanted to pay me to make another one!

From there my business grew and now I get requested of all different ages from all over the world.

Now I'm graduating in a few months and going to college in the fall I know what I want to do with my education and with my life. It's been a great experience and it can only get better.

6) You have a fairly eclectic  archive of trailers. Lots of

different genres. What's your favorite kind to do? And

what's the type of book you haven't done yet but 

want to be asked to do?

My favorite sort of book trailer to do is action/adventure/suspense. Of course a lot of books cover that in one way or another, so I guess it doesn't really matter to me. I always try to do something different in every video, so I think every single trailer comes out original and fun.

7) Authors you most want to contact you and request a


Oh boy, that's a tough question. I've already worked with one of my favorite authors, Laurie Faria Stolarz, so that's one off my list.

Probably Ellen Schreiber, the author of Vampire Kisses, or Melissa De la Cruz, the author of Blue Bloods.

I'd also really like to work with Meg Cabot and Scott Westerfeld.

If any of you are reading this, send an email my way!

8) Is this something you see yourself pursuing as a career?

That's what I'm hoping for. I plan on attending SFAI in the fall and studying film and video while I'm there. I may continue with book trailers after college, but I'll be happy as long as I'm in editing or some sort of post production. I firmly believe that art school is the best path for me.

9) Have you given any thought to graduating from images to

live action?

All the time! It's been something I've wanted to do for a long, LONG time! Unfortunately, I don't have the resources or time at the moment to make that step. A lot goes into a live action trailer, like actors, equipment, props, location shooting, and special effects.

I'm thinking of attempting my first live action trailer this summer.

10) There's been some debate on other blogs about

whether trailers have any worth in terms of inspiring sales.

Do you have any evidence from authors you've worked with

previously that they've seen their book sales increase.

Well I haven't personally heard anything in terms of sales, but I do know that if it didn't work in selling the books, that the ideas of book trailers would have died a long time ago.

Once I started making book trailers on a regular basis, the number of subscribers on my YouTube channel skyrocketed-- now still growing at over a thousand. 

People like to see what's new, and from what I've heard from viewers, the trailers really make them want to read the book.

If you want to see more of Madison's work-- and you'd be mental not to-- check her out at

Not forgetting her You Tube channel:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An Important Message From Cartoon Hottie.

This is gonna go great once I work out how to stop her hiccuping through her sentences. The gist of this broadcast is that copies of Hottie, autographed in my childish scrawl, are currently available to buy from the branch of Barnes & Noble situated in LA's shopping paradise, The Grove.

And soon in more stores!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Awesome ANIMATED Hottie Book Trailer!

Okay, the last one was done by an uber-talent and this one was done by me using insane new technology( )

I know it's a little on the primitive side but for someone of my staggering technical ineptitude, I feel like I just made my own Wall-E.

More, obviously, to come. (Don't complain, I might go back to posting up heat-based music videos again)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Awesome Hottie Book Trailer!

Over the past few months, I've endured what can only be described as heaps of abuse-- and justifiably so--over the book cover. I had no control over that. But I did have control over the book trailer. This is how Hottie should look and sound.( Except for the song which wasn't my first choice--"Back Of The Van" by Ladyhawke was, since you asked-- but copyright material was a no-no. And I don't hate it). Thanks to the uber-talented Madison Meyer.

I don't know if any book trailer has ever persuaded anyone to buy or even open a book. Some bloggers are of the opinion they're useless and little more than embodiments of author vanity. When a book with a epic, fantastic premise has a trailer featuring Drama Club dorks clashing plastic swords in someone's back yard, I agree. But this, to me, does as good a job selling the book as I could hope for.

In conclusion, dump on the cover as much as you want, but not a word against the trailer! Thank you.

UPDATE: it's all squished! How do I fix that? Until I find out, here's the You Tube link with the full picture:

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Hot 5! #10

Number ten of five. The Move "Fire Brigade" Look at the way the guy who's supposed to be the lead singer has absolutely nothing to do for the entire duration of the song.

If this was featured on an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would be heard any time the fire brigade appears.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Hot 5! #9

Number nine of five. A-Ha: "The Sun Always Shines On TV." Shamelessly plagiarized by U2 for their vastly inferior "Beautiful Day".

If this song appeared on an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would play as the school broke into cheers and applause after Alison delivered her Presidential acceptance speech.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tough But Fair

A largely positive review that also provides a laundry list's worth of objections to the cover and nails me on my over-reliance on pop-culture references.  

The Hot 5! #8

Number eight of five. Roxy Music `Both Ends Burning'.

If this song appeared on an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would play when Alison learns of the treachery at the museum.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Hot 5! #7

Number seven of five. Blondie. "In The Sun". Why do the red states hate the blue states? Where did the culture wars start? Who put the bug up Bill O'Reilly's ass? The answers to all these questions can, I believe, be found in this clip. If you are of the belief that New York is filled with with smug, self-satisfied, arty, ironic elitists, you won't find anything here to change your mind.

If this song was featured on an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would show up when the Hottiemobile is in pursuit of the stolen vintage cars.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Hot 5! #6

Number Six of Five (it turns out there are many songs that have fire as a theme). Big Daddy Kane from 1989. "Warm It up, Kane".

If there was such a thing as an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, this song would be playing on the cassette deck when Alison first climbs into Designated Dean's reeking Honda

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Hot 5! #5

Number Five of Five. T. Rex doing `Hot Love' on the Midnight Special from 1973 to rapturous response from four carrot-topped fans and mild disinterest from the rest of the crowd.

If this song was to appear on an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would play when Alison goes to the LA club and accidentally sets light to the DJ's prized collection of 12-inchers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Q & I

Bringing the Hottie-plugging funny again, this time at:

Thanks, Khyrinthia

The Hot 5! #4

Number Four of the Hot 5. Aaliyah. "Hot Like Fire".

If this song were to be included an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would take place during the post-Presidential victory party during which Alison has a non-verbal encounter with T. Hull.

I Have A Big Hit Book!

No reviews. No marketing. No big stores. Now in it's FIFTH printing!

(Which means I probably ought to get back to putting Brit-slang extracts up at

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Hot 5! #3

Taylor Swift: "Picture To Burn". I'm a fan, more of her first record than anything else. But I also have a prediction. One day,T-Swift will date and then dump or be dumped by someone who is a s good if not better a songwriter than she is. And that person may then go on to do, as she does, write scathing songs about their time together. And that person may put forward the opinion that she is not as blameless and free of flaws as she likes to portray herself. Of course I could be wrong.

If this was featured on an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would be played over the scene where Alison looks at old photos of her treacherous, insecure former boyfriend and then accidentally sets her sidekick on fire.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Doll Parts

You know what I was thinking about while I was watching this week's episode of Dollhouse? I was thinking two things. One was the thing I think every week: I've got to stop watching Dollhouse. The other was the names of the actors. Fran Kranz. Dichen Lachman. Tahmoh Penikett. Enver Gjokaj. Miracle Laurie. For some reason they just got stuck in my head (Dichen Lachman, especially: "I'll have a bowl of Dichen Lachman, please. Hold the lychees." I bet she--or he--gets that a lot).  

It seems to me that when your audience are preoccupied with the names of your cast rather than the action onscreen, that's probably a pretty serious indictment of your show.

The Hot 5! #2

Number Two of The Hot 5. The Jam on American Bandstand in 1978 doing Martha & The Vandellas' `Heatwave' followed by a fantastically awkward interview with Dick Clark (during which a surly Paul Weller tries to make a drug joke) and then a snippet of their song "Strange Town".

If we were to imagine that this song was featured on an imaginary Hottie soundtrack, it would be playing as the final credits rolled.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Hot 5!

In honor of Hottie's debut week of publication, here's the first of five songs with heat, fire, hotness, flames, burning, sizzling or general high temperatures as their theme.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Hot Talk Continues...

Thanks Shalonda.

Although, in a postscript to the final q, I'm thinking Gokey's going to make a shock Daughtry-style exit pre-final 4 and it's coming to down to a Lambert/ Kris Allan face-off

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tears Of A Clown

Wow, I  must have been in a sincere, contemplative mode when I did this q&a. Very unlikely I'll be this nice in future.

Thanks, Hope.

Hotcast#8!: The Final Struggle

Today is Hottie's official publication day. What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than with a final thrilling audio-dollop?  This has been a fun little experiment. Thanks to Lauren Kelly for the voicework. There may well be more in future. In the meantime, let's enjoy one last lo-fi installment...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More To Love

Now attempting to Twitter with something approaching regularity:


Hottie hits shelves tomorrow. Another extract available right now.