The End of Your Life Book Club
Our trailer pick for this week is for Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club. This memoir about a mother and son and the book club they form after she is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is at times beautiful, moving, and funny. It’s as much about books as it is about the unbreakable bond between a mother and her son. As the author says in the touching trailer he himself narrates, their “life became a book club.” This trailer is one of the best we’ve ever seen, plus we love the question that it ends on. The author and the director of the trailer, Nick Davis of Nick Davis Productions, give us a behind the scenes peek into the making of it.
“It was an amazing experience working with Nick on the trailer. I gave him a million terrible ideas and, fortunately, he didn’t use any of them. But what he did get was the mood that I wanted the trailer to convey, and I think he captured that beautifully. I love how he created a kind of visual love letter to physical books; how he meshed words and music and image; and how he kept the trailer very short and tight, something I think is essential.
Nick spent a lot of time talking with me. He even arrived at my doorstep one day with a huge duffle bag so he could use Mom’s actual books in the video. He also used various objects I love, including my Super Womble (do Google “Super Womble”) in the video. I think that authenticity makes a huge difference. I’m thrilled with the result.
Finally, I love the question the trailer poses at the end. I’m very much hoping that the book will spark discussions and get people to share with each other stories of all the books they are reading — and I’m delighted that the trailer ends with a challenge to the viewer to do exactly that.”
“Making this trailer was a wonderful experience. As a lover of books, I’d always wondered why the so-called ‘book trailers’ were, in general, such a
forgotten stepchild and held in such low esteem by book buyers and everyone else. (One of my theories is that it’s a terrible name. I do think that as a new art form, with a completely different mission, the thing should have its own name, not one that makes it sound – and leads people to make them as – under-budgeted movie trailers. I’ve heard ‘vook’ and ‘bideo’ suggested as alternatives. Not sure either of those is gonna win the day, but anyway…).
So I was absolutely thrilled when Knopf hired me to do one, and even more thrilled when I read the book: Will Schwalbe’s amazing and tender memoir of the last few years of his mother’s life, The End of Your Life Book Club.
It’s a sweet and often funny book, wise in all kinds of ways, and life affirming without being at all cloying or maudlin.
After meeting Will and talking with him and the publishers, we decided that the video should try to capture the intimacy of the book and have a
homemade quality, almost like the video was made in Will’s home, at his desk, where he wrote the book and thought about his mother. We wanted the love of books, and of reading, to come through and so took hundreds of snapshots of the office and Will’s books, and then edited them together in a quick, seemingly random montage, set to Will’s words about the mission he and his Mom went on in the final years of her life.
After experimenting with an actor’s voice, in the end we decided that Will’s own voice spoke so directly to readers that no actor could ‘do’ Will better.
Hope you like it – and more than that, hope it fulfills the main purpose of any book trailer (or ‘bideo’, or ‘vook’ or ‘brailer’ or — you guys should have a contest!) — but namely: to get the viewer to want to read the book.”
Learn more about the book here.
What did you think of the trailer? And what are you reading?
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