How did you get into acting? And, more specifically, acting in book trailers? How long have you been acting in them?
I’ve wanted to act since I was a kid, but in school I was really shy and didn’t have drama lessons I could go to. I started going to theatre groups almost 10 years ago, and eventually got the courage to audition for Cardiff’s Everyman Theatre production of Closer by Patrick Marber and got the part of Alice! As my passion is to act on screen I was really excited to be thrown together with other lovely book bloggers as the divergent team to promote Veronica Roth’s first book Divergent. That was when I met Casey from Dark Readers and The Bitter Productions, and since then we’ve been working together on book trailers.
How did you get involved in the official UK trailer for All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill?
Casey told me she had been asked to produce the trailer for it, and as I already had the book on my shelf I was really excited! From there we met up to plan what would go in the book trailer and what aspects of the plot were important to get across to the audience and what we had to keep secret – there are a lot of twists and secrets to the plot, and we didn’t want to give any spoilers! I never went into the trailer thinking I was definitely going to be Em – I was just happy to be involved. But when Casey said she wanted me act in the trailer I was really excited!
What did Casey give you for to prepare for the trailer?
Before we even started filming it was really important that myself and the actor playing Finn read the book so that we could understand the characters, their motivations and their journey. During filming Casey also gave us directions to do things differently or try something new so that it either looked better on camera or reflected the character’s situation or emotions more effectively.
Can you tell us what was involved in starring in a trailer, from when you were first approached to take part, to once you’ve filmed your final scene?
Being such a small production team, everyone gets stuck in at some point! We all read the book and we met up to plan ideas for the trailer. As Casey sent through ideas for costume, I picked out what I could wear from my wardrobe and sent over pictures so on the day I would have everything I needed. I also made the note that Em finds in her cell block, which meant I had to go back through the book to find out what her and Finn jumped back into the past to do. I had lots of fun making the note look old and dirty! Knowing what shots we were going to film helped so that I could research the character at that point in time and try to get into the right emotional frame of mind during filming. On the day it was boiling hot so we all ate ice cream while we waited to go into the fetish-themed photo studio where we filmed the cell scenes. For these scenes I had to wear a not-so-attractive boiler suit and added a bruise under my eye with makeup to make it look like Em had been beaten up. Although these scenes were serious ones, we did all have a giggle together! Later we filmed in Kentish Town in London, which involved lots of running, holding hands with Finn, hiding around corners, and lying on the floor! (It’s not all glamour!!) By the time we finished we were all hot, dirty, but really pleased with the day.
What was it like being asked to star in the trailer? Now you can say you star in official book trailers as well as fan-made book trailers?
I haven’t really thought of it like that. I often get worried about being in YA trailers where the characters are a lot, lot younger than me, and just hope I can do the character, book and author justice. I didn’t expect to have a major acting role in the trailer from the start so I do feel really flattered and honoured that I got to be Em.
You have been in a few of Casey's trailers now. What is it like working with her? Is she a good director?
Something you can’t fail to notice about Casey is her passion and enthusiasm – both for the books she reads, and the trailers she produces. Being a book blogger is a huge bonus as she is obviously so passionate about YA books, and Casey always wants to champion the books and do them justice in a trailer because she has enjoyed reading them so much. I’ve had fun making every trailer we’ve done. We’ve had a laugh making them, but I’ve also seen Casey develop so much over the past year and her knowledge of the YA genre with her film and editing skills is the reason she makes such good book trailers!
What was it like working with Adam Richardson, who played Finn?
Working with new actors can be a little daunting, as you immediately have to be able to convey feelings and a relationship between your characters. With Adam we had to run, hold hands, and hug a lot during the filming, so it was really important we got on together and but were also professional. Straight off Adam was very relaxed and funny, so it made filming scenes together really easy.
From what you’ve seen, how has the trailer been received by readers? How have people you know – friends, family and fellow bloggers – responded to the trailer?
People have been really positive about the trailer and the way that Casey edited it – both bloggers and readers alike. It’s so exciting (and nerve wracking) when a trailer you’ve been involved in goes out publicly to everyone, so its lovely to know that people enjoy watching it and want to read the book because of it. Getting positive feedback from the author is always amazing too – I imagine authors must have a vision in their mind of what the characters or settings look like, so it’s a relief to know they approve of what we’ve produced.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring actors wanting to get involved in fan-made book trailers?
Finding a book you’re really passionate about is important. Reading the book is a given as it gives you a huge insight into the character that you’re playing. And having other people to work with, that you can bounce ideas off and that have skills in other areas such as filming or editing is also really useful. Otherwise go out there, make things happen and enjoy yourself! It doesn’t have to be perfect – you’ll learn a lot just by getting involved.
Thank you, Hannah, for such a great interview! Sounds like they all had a great time whilst filming - makes me want to watch! As well as the trailer, which you can see in Casey's interview, there is also a behind-the-scenes and bloopers video from filming. Check it out:
How can you not giggle at that? Again, you can check out my review of All Our Yesterdays here to read just how awesome this book is! And keep your eyes peeled as soon I'll be interviewing Adam Richardson, who played Finn, on the blog in the coming weeks.