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Behind the Scenes: Shooting a Book Trailer for The Testing

On the set of the new book trailer for The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, part of the Lone Star Reading List for 2014. Cia (Grace Powell)  faces off against Will (Luke Balest) after Tomas has been shot (David Heaton).
On the set of the new book trailer for The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, part of the Lone Star Reading List for 2014. Cia (Grace Powell) faces off against Will (Luke Balest) after Tomas has been shot (David Heaton).
Mark Baird

Junior High librarian, Lynn Head, is passionate about finding good books for young readers. It's that passion that led her to a book event for teens last year where she met Joelle Charbonneau, author of The Testing, a new Dystopian YA novel that is sure to rival The Hunger Games in popularity.

After reading The Testing, Lynn felt the need to get the word out about this great story. What better way than to create a book trailer. Like movie trailers, book trailers give a live-action glimpse of what you can expect in the story.

I recently sat down with Lynn to discuss her involvement in this project.

The Testing is on the Lone Star Reading List for 2014. What can you tell me about the book?

The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau, is a high energy adventure. Some have compared it to The Hunger Games, Divergent, or Legend, but I don't think that is quite fair--except that students who enjoyed any of those other books would enjoy The Testing since they're all dystopias. In The Testing, Cia Vale and several of her friends are sent to be evaluated for entrance into the one university left in the country. Once the tests begin, Cia starts to realize that her father's parting words to her, "Trust no one," may be vital not only to passing the various tests, but also to surviving.

I fell in love with this book from the start. It's fast paced and accessible for a large number of students. Although the protagonist is female, it's not a "girl book." While there are slight hints of romance, this is not a romance dystopia. It's adventure through and through.

The Testing is a trilogy: The Testing and Independent Study are both out now, and book three, Graduation Day releases in June. Paramount has purchased the film rights, and hopefully will develop it in the near future.

How did you meet and become friends with the author, Joelle Charbonneau?

I met the author last year at my librarian convention. It's actually a great story. I was helping with a teen event, passing out water to the authors present. Joelle was sitting at a table, her Advance Reader Copies of The Testing stacked neatly in front of her. I had an armload of bottled waters, wet from chilling in a tub of ice water. I walked up to her and asked, "Would you like some water?" She replied, "Yes, please." At which point I said (to avoid getting her books wet), "Be careful, it's wet." She looked at me and smiled. Then she said, "How else would it be? Dry? Dry water?" We both started laughing and then she said that Dry Water sounded like it should be in a science fiction book--that she'd have to use it in a book if she could find a way.

At the end of the evening I plopped down in a chair not too far from her, exhausted. She asked if I wanted an ARC of The Testing. She had a few left. I said sure, and it went into my bag. When I got back to my library I pulled it out and decided to give it a try. I knew right away it was worth finishing. A few weeks later I found her author page on Facebook, and let her know how much I enjoyed reading it.

How did you get involved in producing the book trailer for The Testing?

After The Testing made it to the Lone Star Reading List, I messaged Joelle on Facebook (she remembered me from Dry Water) and expressed interest in making a trailer. She directed me to her publisher's rep. at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for approval. When she was in Houston in January to promote Independent Study, the second book in The Testing Trilogy, and A Chorus Lineup from her adult murder mysteries, Glee Club Series, we met up again to discuss the book trailer.

This mammoth endeavor went from a dream to a reality because of friends and a random comment. I was in a play, Oliver, at Playhouse 1960, and I mentioned to Travis Bell that I needed to do "something" to help promote this book on the Texas Library Association website, but that I wanted to do something exciting and original.

Knowing that I am a bit of an overachiever, he introduced me to Mark Baird, a director he thought would be interested in helping me.
Mark read the book and saw potential. He then recruited some top talent in Houston to assist and away we went. It was filmed in Waller, Chappell Hill and Clear Lake on different days. Grace Powell, the actress playing Cia, is actually from the Katy area. She's a lovely and talented actress. I expect we'll be hearing quite a bit about her in the future.
One hundred percent of the talented cast and crew donated their time. I worked this project in constant awe at the generosity of everyone involved.

Is the trailer finished yet? Where can we see it?

Here is a link to the trailer: http://youtu.be/O1OpLwj_UzE

Watch it. Like it. Comment and like it on YouTube for a chance to win a Testing Trilogy t-shirt from the author. Tweet video with #Testingtrailer for an extra chance to win.