I just discovered xtranormal, a wildly fun, easy-to-use, possibly addictive website that allows you to create animated movies on your computer. As they put it, “You type. The 3D actors speak. It’s that easy.”
Intrigued, I checked it out. Without putting much thought into it, I grabbed a copy of my new middle grade novel, Justin Fisher Declares War!, and turned to a brief exchange between two teachers. It was an atypical choice, since rarely have I published scenes that are exclusively between adults (and if anything is going to drive me to attempt an adult book, it’s that limitation).
Setting: This scene actually takes place in the Teacher’s Lounge, near a table with desserts, and Justin (who ducked in to steal a brownie) is hiding behind a chair, eavesdropping on the conversation. Author’s Note: When I tried this scene without Justin, it didn’t work for the book. I needed his POV, so the eavesdropping allowed me to have the best of both worlds.
By the way, I got the idea for this dialogue — an older teacher’s advice of, “Never let them see you smile” — from an interview with a middle-school teacher/author.
Sadly, I have not been able to figure out how to embed the scene here on my blog, so you’re going to have to click here to check it out.
Pretty fun, don’t you think? I showed it to a teacher friend who told me she uses the site with her middle school students to teach dialogue. “They LOVE it!” she said.
I could imagine other authors creating similar scenes based on their own books. It’s a kick to see it come alive, especially for someone like me, with an inner Scorsese. We might even see a rash of new book trailers using this technology. If I have time, I’d like to recast some moments from classic books. You know, Wuthering Heights and Jigsaw Jones, for example.
Unless you beat me to it.
I made another one last night, when I should have been sleeping. It’s from Chapter Seven, with Justin trying to talk himself out of trouble. There’s some problems with camera angles and whatnot, somehow it went a little screwy — and my actors are a little wooden — but I can’t play around with this forever. Enjoy!
That’s pretty nifty.