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Filmworkers Gives Spy Novel the Star Treatment


Derek Haas has seen a lot of slickly-produced trailers full of pyrotechnics, special effects, and sexy women. They are often part of the marketing campaigns for the films whose screenplays he’s written, films that include 3:10 to Yuma and Wanted. But this time, it is one of his spy novels that gets the Hollywood treatment.

The trailer for The Right Hand, Haas’ new book, due out in November, looks very much like a preview for a summer blockbuster. A silhouetted figure in a perfectly tailored suit appears in an ominous, nighttime setting. There are guns, bomb blasts, roaring motorcycles and a naked woman with a Medusa’s crown of snakes. Dynamic images flood the screen at heart-pounding speed. A sonorous voice-over refers to “covert operations outside the boundaries of reality.”

The trailer was produced by Chicago-based Filmworkers. Matt Egan, director of the company’s in-house production unit, concepted, directed and edited the trailer. Additional postproduction support – color grading, editorial finishing and other services – was completed by Filmworkers and 3D animation was supplied by its affiliate, the production studio Vitamin. Egan shot the live-action elements on a special effects stage at Resolution Digital Studios.

“The book is very cinematic – it reads like a James Bond or Bourne novel – and we felt it could benefit from a trailer with the emotional intensity of trailers for that type of movie,” Egan explained. “I use a lot of visual metaphors to represent the complexity and suspense of the novel, such as graphical mazes for the plot twists and turns, and the Medusa character who represents a sense of foreboding and parallels the book’s female lead, who is both attractive and dangerous.”

“It’s the best book trailer I’ve ever seen,” Haas said.

Cost is one reason that trailers are a relative rarity in book publishing, but Filmworkers is hoping to change that.

“Filmworkers can develop, write, design and execute media using in-house resources alone,” explained Bill Ryan, co-founder of the independent film production company 2DS. Ryan introduced Haas to Filmworkers. “In today’s media landscape, it is possible to promote a book the same way that you promote a movie, so I think there is a lot of potential for the new model Filmworkers has created.”

The Right Hand – Book Trailer from Matt Egan on Vimeo.

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