Behind the Scenes at a Book Trailer Shoot

    A still shot of Marc Hunter (Chris) taking Sophie Alton (Libby) hostage. That ain't no toy gun. (Photos by Mike Hupfer of Millennium Media,

    Want to know how to find out who your real friends are?

    Say, "I need to make a book trailer to promote my next novel, but I have no idea how to do it. I don't have a camera, or models or a location. I don't have the computer programs or stock photos or a sound studio. Can you all help me with this? Oh, by the way, I can't pay anyone."

    Then you see who steps forward.

    So here's a huge shout out for: LibBAY and Chris and Gary Lennox of Dog House Music, and Olivia and the County Sheriff and the Boulder County jail captain and especially to Mike Hupfer of Millennium Media, who's a professional Hollywood sound guy who is handling the techno end of things. Thanks, too, to Dede and Wayne of The Rosary Project for conneting me with Mike.

    For months, I've been wanting to get this together, and it hasn't been easy, largely because I have no clue what I'm doing and have no equipment to work with and no spare cash to pay a company to do it for me. Did I let this stop me? No! Because I know how to beg.

    I begged my friends Dede and Wayne, who have a video production company with Mike, to help me get this shot. They couldn't be there personally, but they did connect me with Mike.

    I begged Gary Lennox, who owns The Dog House, a rehearsal hall for rock bands, to let us use one of his studios to shoot.

    But at the last minute I was still hunkless. Who was going to play Marc? That's where Olivia stepped in, offering up Chris, a decorated veteran from Iraq. He earned a Bronze Star as a platoon leader working in an area north of Baghdad for a year. The moment I heard he'd earned a Bronze Star, I felt it was a Good Omen, because, as a few of you FOPs know, Marc Hunter earned a Bronze Star, as well. (He earned his sniping in Afghanistan.)

    Chris didn't know me from a hole in the ground, but called up and said he'd heard I needed help. "Um, yes," said I. "I need a sexy guy who will let me put him in handcuffs and display his biceps. Also, I need him to hold a gun to my friend's head."

    It's a very strange request to make of someone, no?

    Chris said he'd be happy to do it and he said he'd bring his real 9 mm semi-auto for the shoot so that we wouldn't have to use this toy Glock my son owns.

    And then there was just the matter of finding Sophie...

    I called LibBAY and said, "Do you think you'd have time to be in the video shoot for my book trailer tomorrow? We're not shooting faces, just torsos. [Libby has a very nice torso.] And then you can just stand there while a total stranger holds a gun to your throat."

    All Libby wanted to know was: Will the gun be loaded? She felt that getting her head shot off was further than she wanted to go for the sake of friendship. She was willing to iron and dress up, but getting shot was just too much.

    Friday morning comes, and I get a call from Libby saying she'll be late because she set her shirt on fire with the iron. I will leave it to Libby to tell that story on her blog. She showed up pretty much right on time with a new shirt she'd bought off the racks at K-Mart down the street from my house. Then we set off for The Dog House.

    Gary arrives, lets us in, gives us his big concert hall, Studio A. Chris drives up, and I immediately think, "Yum." You know how some guys just exude sex appeal? That's Chris. Chris and Libby get acquainted, while Gary and I talk about things we might need. I've brought a bag of props: a jail uniform that was loaned to me by the County Sheriff and the County jail captain, my own police-issue handcuffs and several shims.

    Here, Chris demonstrates how stylish a jail uniform is if accessorized properly. Notice the designer bracelets.

    Olivia arrives with her daughter Molly to watch the fun, while I show Chris kinda how to use the shim to break out of the cuffs. Then Mike arrives, sets up a zillion lights, chats with Gary about using studio lighting, and we're off. Chris changes into his jailbird outfit (not in front of us, sadly) and we start with standing shots.

    The last sequence of shots Mike shoots standing are the ones with Libby as Sophie with a gun to her throat. Libs kicks off her heels, goes up onstage, lets "Marc Hunter" grab her in a vicious hold and press a real 9 mm against her throat. Now is that friendship or what?

    The most hysterical moment came when Chris said, "Is this uncomfortable? Oh, by the way, nice to meet you." We all laughed our butts off. Then, later, we agreed that that's what it must be like on the set of porn film. People must say exactly that.

    The last sequences Mike shot involved Chris sitting and picking his way out of the cuffs. Because the shim that was most photogenic actually didn't work for picking cuffs, I stood nearby with the key and unlocked each wrist as the shoot progressed.

    And that was that. Mike packed up, took a zillion hi-res photos back to his studio, and Libby, Chris and I went to lunch.

    Mike and I are going to be getting together soon to edit the images, add sound and other fun stuff. Well, actually, he'll be doing the editing. I'll be watching and helping to shape it into what I want it to be. And, yes, when it's done it will be posted here for you to see. But these photos are a couple of the still shot taken that morning.

    I'm so grateful to everyone who helped out. And I can't wait to see the finished product.

    In the end it was a great day. I got to say, "I spent the day cuffing and uncuffing a sexy man."

    Oh, the things we do for art!

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