Interview: Big Shot Book Trailer Director, Rob Vlock

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This week, we’re talking to Rob Vlock: author, butter sculptor, fish bullying advocate and bigshot book trailer director about his latest (and some say greatest) book trailer.

Belinda von Chucklebutt: Good morning, Rob. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. You’ve led quite a life. You’re an author, a butter sculptor, fish bullying advocate and bigshot book trailer director. I have to ask you: how do you find the time?

Rob Vlock: It’s a demanding life, no question. And I have to make sacrifices to live it. For example, I only sleep about 14 hours a night. Apart from my daily three-hour nap, that’s all the sleep I get. So, yeah, it’s grueling. But it’s worth it for my art.

BvC: Some critics believe the quality of your butter sculptures has suffered lately because of all the time you’ve been spending writing books and directing book trailers. How would you respond to them?

RV: Frankly, I think they’re dead wrong. I’ve been doing some of the best butter work of my life. I’d say book trailer directing actually helps inspire me to create better butter sculptures than ever. I recently finished a piece that is going to blow everyone away. It’s a tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter sculpted entirely out of butter. I think it’s really going to get people to stop and reflect on what butter really is. And what it isn’t.

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BvC: And what about your fish bullying advocacy work? You’re campaigning to stop fish bullying, is that right?

RV: Actually, no. Totally the opposite. I’m an advocate for bullying fish. For me, it’s a real labor of love. You see, most people think fish can’t hear insults because they’re underwater. And, you know, they don’t have ears. But you can hurt a fish’s feelings. Absolutely. Especially if you make fun of their scales or the stupid way they do that blubbing thing with their mouths. You may not be able to see them in all that water, but there’s nothing sweeter than a fish’s tears.Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 11.52.15 AM.png

BvC: Let’s move on to your latest book trailer. Tell our readers a little bit about it.

RV: If I weren’t so humble, I’d call it the greatest masterpiece the world has ever seen. It’s a book trailer for the second Sven Carter book, Sven Carter & The Android Army. And, well, spoiler alert, it’s awesome!

BvC: Can we see it?

RV: Sure. Here’s a link to the theatrical release: https://youtu.be/xYhDRaILFgY. And, if you’re a fan of arthouse fare, you’ll love the extended cut. It really makes you think about stuff and things and junk like that: https://youtu.be/HJ7jKj938BQ.

BvC: Do you have any tips for readers who might want to make it big in the exciting and glamorous world of book trailers?

RV: I sure do! Even if you’re not a creative genius like me, you can still make book trailers. All it takes is a book, an idea and some video editing software.

BvC: Can you take our readers through the process?

RV: Yes. Step one: Write or find a book. It doesn’t have to be one of my books (although that really helps), but it should be a book that has a concept you love. It could be a novel, a nonfiction book, even a picture book. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a bigshot book trailer director it’s that you do, in fact, need a book to do book trailers.

BvC: What’s next?

RV: The idea for your book trailer comes next. This is important because you can’t have a book trailer that depicts every single thing from your book. That would be called a movie. So you need to figure out what you want to show from the book. This usually should be something that intrigues the viewer. A big question that needs to be answered. That way your audience will actually want to read the book to find the answer. In the book trailer business, we sometimes call this a teaser. I also sometimes call it a hat-snagger, but for some reason that hasn’t caught on yet.

BvC: You mentioned a third thing?

RV: Indeed I did, Francine.

BvC: It’s Belinda.

RV: Of course it is. Anyway, the third thing you need is some video editing software. A lot of people use iMovie, which comes free on Apple OS and iOS. The cool thing about that is it comes with a trailer template that makes it super easy to use. So, it’s a great option for kids who want to dip their toes into the exciting world of book trailers. But there are other options out there. Like Lightworks and DaVinci Resolve, both of which offer free versions. I use Wondershare Filmora, which cost me a little money, but works well.

BvC: What about sound effects and music?

RV: A lot of video editors come with a limited selection of music and sound effects. But I like to use sites like soundcloud.com and freesound.org. They have huge libraries of free audio files, so you can make sure you’re not using the same background music as everyone else.

BvC: So, before we go, what’s next for Rob Vlock? Where do you go from here?

RV: I’ve been training to compete in this year’s Iditarod, which I think should be pretty fun.

BvC: Iditarod? Wow! Who knew you were into dog sled racing?

RV: Huh? Dog sled racing?

BvC: That’s what the Iditarod is, Rob. It’s a famous long-distance Alaskan dog sled race.

RV: Oh, sorry. I misspoke. I meant the Idiotarob, which a lot of my friends tell me I should be able to win easily.

BvC: I think your friends might just be right. And on that note, goodbye everybody! Thanks for reading!

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Don’t miss out on FOUR WEEKS of Android Army GIVEAWAYS: Follow @robvlock on Twitter to find out how you can win free books, score awesome swag and help support Reach Out and Read between now and October 14, 2018!

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Rob is the author of SVEN CARTER & THE TRASHMOUTH EFFECT (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin) and SVEN CARTER & THE ANDROID ARMY (October 16, 2018, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). He writes fun, funny, fast-paced kids’ books that are perfect for reluctant readers. And when he’s not writing, you can usually find him somewhere in the greater Boston area trying to make his trumpet sound like something other than a dying goose. It’s a work in progress.

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