Terri Clark, teen patron services specialist at the Smoky Hill Library, part of the Arapahoe Library District (ALD) in Colorado, and her Teen Advisory Board (TAB) have created their fourth annual book trailer. In past years they’ve paid tribute to Mark Zusak’s The Book Thief (Knopf, 2006), Christopher Golden’s Soulless (MTV Books, 2008), and Scott Westerfeld’s Blue Noon (HarperCollins, 2007). This year’s endeavor brought Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero (Disney-Hyperion, 2010) to life.
ALD donated one copy of The Lost Hero to every TAB member. The teens then read the book and picked out pivotal scenes they felt best outlined the story and would hook potential readers (or amuse current fans). Clark worked the chosen scenes into a script and the group created the best “sets” they could on library grounds. When it came to casting, Clark and her TAB co-facilitator, Kathleen Robertson, held auditions for the roles that more than one actor was interested in and then assigned the remaining cast, with many teens playing multiple parts and one even pulling a Shakespearean gender swap.
Robertson and fellow librarian Nick Taylor acted as the camera crew with Clark directing. The video was shot with two cameras and for the first time ever the company used Smoky Hill’s new high-tech studio with its professional level green screen and film editing equipment. The studio is free to all patrons and has seen many a film producer and rap group using the facility.
The real challenge of this year’s project was Clark and Robertson having to learn the studio’s equipment by trial-and-error, but the education they earned (and boy did they earn it!) has helped them better assist patrons using the new tech facility.
As fun as this yearly project is, and as much work as it requires, Clark sees it as a laudable enterprise because it raises awareness about literacy and libraries, particularly among teens. It also teaches the TAB members analytical thinking when they break down the book for a script, inspires them to flesh out characters, act with emotion, memorize their lines, work as a group, use their creativity, problem solve, and stretch their personal boundaries in a safe and supportive environment. For Clark and Robertson, the most gratifying thing about this mini-movie madness is witnessing the immense personal growth in the kids during filming and from year to year. The kids, who are huge Riordan fans, hope to hear from the author himself on their tribute to his work.
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