Beanstalk in a Box: The Advertisement

I penned “Beanstalk in a Box” for the Once Upon A Time flash fiction contest. However, I always envisioned it as a turn of the century, snake oil salesman, advertisement. Here is how I imagine the ad might run.

The next step would be newspaper ads and product design. So fun.

For a read of the original piece, I’ve reprinted it here (so convenient, Tim, thank you).

Beanstalk in a Box

Ever yearn to journey to the clouds? Intrigued by those darned cumulus ogres? Well, be curious no more. The new Beanstalk in a Box is available from Feefie Foofum Enterprises. This splendiferous invention will transport* you and your friends to the magical cloud realms above.

The price for a Beanstalk in a Box is one cow. (Due to the fact that bovines are difficult to acquire in urban areas, we will accept a cow-equivalent: seventy-five pounds of beef, four hooves, and one sweet bread.)

Your Beanstalk in a Box will arrive with three magic beans, each preinstalled with three cloud destinations (Cumulus, Stratocumulus, and Cumulonimbus). Please plant your beans outside in a open area** and leave overnight. Once your beanstalk has risen to cloud level, it is ready to climb. Despite the weather conditions in your area, be aware that temperatures in the troposphere can be downright chilly (-40°F), so bundle up.

CAUTION: When you reach your desired height, step onto the cloud using your cumulus clogs only. Failure to do so will result in insubstantial cloud buoyancy***.

Please be advised that ogres tend to frown on thievery. Consider a moment how you respond when ants scramble into your abode and make away with your food. You coat them with bug spray. As a cloud traveler, you might be interested in purchasing the optional gas mask rated for level 3 toxicity.

Exciting news, our beanstalks are now disposable! Yes, when you’re done traveling, simply use the included hatchet to chop the beanstalk down. Please allow five miles of open land for the disposed beanstalk to fall****.

Remember, souvenirs from the cloud realms are not allowed. Should an irate two-ton ogre follow you down, you may be tempted to cut the beanstalk right away. This will cause the ogre to plummet toward you and your abode. Listen Jack, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

* Users will need to climb the beanstalk.
** Allow 12 feet on all sides. Not responsible for root damage to dwellings.
*** Falling.
**** Yelling “Timber” does not protect from potential lawsuits.

Tim Kane


Four Intriguing Low-Budget Book Trailers

I am creating a book trailer for a friend of mine, so of course I perused the YouTube offerings to see what’s what. Book trailers seem to fall into two categories: the low-budget and the “hey did a Hollywood filmmaker direct that?”. In a subsequent post, I’ll tackle some of the high end book trailers. The ones below are anywhere from a near zero budget to knowing some film students to help you. Let’s check them out…

Souless by Gail Carriger

This trailer appears to use found footage, or perhaps recreated footage, in a grainy black and white. Instead of a voice-over, black screens with text outline the premise of the book. Like it or not, this trailer gives you want you need, a reason to buy (or not buy) the book. It clearly explains the genre and premise as well as giving the mood of the writing. Compare the Souless trailer to the one below.

A Common Pornography by Kevin Sampsell

This trailer is quite clever and low budget (simply a camera filming the author). It engaged the viewer, but perhaps not enough to click over and check out the book. Despite the shocking title, I get no sense of what the book is about. I did click over to Amazon, but only so that I could be sure it wasn’t really about pornography (you never can tell these days).

Nocturnal by Scott Sigler

This is the man that gave away so much of his writing that gathered tens of thousands of followers. The publishers came begging to sign him. Although this trailer has a heightened budget, it is still essentially drawings animated to outline the plot. It’s the pacing and style that capture you. I was instantly enthralled. It also serves its purpose: you know what the book is about.

i am in the air right now by Kathryn Regina

I am addicted to this trailer. It not only captivates me, but makes me want to read Regina’s poetry. Partly this is due to her reading some of poetry for the trailer. She “animates” her poems, matching the images to the words. While the we see images of a bird crying for help and wasting away, we hear this:

“I was thinking of the bird that flew into a man’s head, hard, so that it actually flew inside the head and it got trapped there and confused.”

Addicting. This is clearly a brilliant book trailer, though not easily emulated unless you’re writing poetry.

The next post will explore some of the higher budget book trailers.

Tim Kane