Jeff Pearlman

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The making of a Walter Payton book trailer (aka: your chance to win an advanced, autographed copy of Sweetness)

So it’s the year 2011, and authors have book trailers.

It’s a strange thing; certainly a sentence I never envisioned writing, oh, six months ago. But here I am, my Walter Payton biography due to come out in early October, and I’m working on a trailer.

Enter: You.

The video above is my very, very, very, very rough attempt at doing this. A close friend of mine, who actually, ahem, does this sort of thing for a living, has agreed to help. But I told her I’d start with my own version, just to piece together some sort of an idea.

Anyhow, here’s the thing: I’m well aware my version isn’t very good. It’s choppy; you can see the edge of my TV in the video clips; the audio quality needs to be improved (volume, mainly). So what I’m asking is for advice. Please e-mail me at with book trailer ideas. I’m talking what should be in them, how long should they last, font quality, wording, etc.* People might not think about this, but marketing a book is second in importance behind writing the dang thing. If a biography is released, and nobody knows, well … poof. Gone, like that.

I will read absolutely every bit of criticism/advice/wisdom offered, and the three entries that I deem most helpful will receive advanced, autographed copies of Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton.

And please, good friends, pass this one around. My plea for assistance is sincere.

PS: The rap—done by a very close, very talented friend of mine, DJ White Owl. Formerly the lead rapper for Bad Ronald.

*PPS: The one thing I can’t include are video from his playing days with the Bears. The NFL owns that footage, and it’s crazy expensive.

  • Aside from the TV thing, I think it’s pretty solid. Maybe, instead of trying to capture the TV up close, pull back and show clips on a TV appropriate to the era, complete with rabbit ears and all. DO NOT LOSE WHITE OWL, NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS. I love his work and I have you to thank for knowing about him. His cadence reminds me of a smoother B-Real and the great Immortal Technique.

  • Jeff, I think this is great. I’d slow down the photo montage a little bit and maybe extend the overall vid a little longer. White owl sounds great!
    I also dont mind the transition from handheld home video of your tv to the music and sports. Maybe a few more clips of Walter talking, if you can get them.

  • I can’t help but think black and white is a bit too somber…maybe some metallic gold to echo the book cover, or a little navy and orange for Da Bears…


    Jeff, as usual, you did an excellent job!
    I can’t wait to read the book. KUDOS

  • DJ Whiteowl

    Hey Joseph and Brant, thank you, it means a lot when someone you have never met offers such nice words!

  • hmmm..

    .. maybe you are just looking to delegate while you take a ‘nap’.

  • Dylan Kitts

    My idea would be to try and get interview/speech clips of Walter Payton (or his teammates talking about him) which displays Payton’s different personalities and contradictory, mysterious nature. Or, just video clips of him off the field which could do it. I know it’d be hard to find but I do think it would give the reader intrigue and some visuals to even supplant the book.

    Payton the rock star:

    Payton the prankster (Ditka interview):

    Etc. I think that’d be kind of cool and probably fun to make.

  • Jeri Wehrli

    I like the rap and what you’ve done. I suggest more pictures of Walter (if possible) and to slow the speed of the pictures down a bit. Also a ‘grab you’ statement to generate interest in buying and reading the book.

  • Thanks for keeping enigmatic in the title.

  • White Owl sounds great. I like the sound track. Maybe add some more clips of Walter Payton speaking. I can’t wait to read the book.

  • Excellent job on the trailer!

  • Bobby Fetter

    I like it Jeff, great start to the video.I liket the handheld home video of your tv and agree that you need to slow down the montage a bit.That sucks about the NFL licensing issue. DJ Whiteowl’s gotta nice flow.

    Found these on youtube, the quality isn’t great but I remember seeing the video of him running up the hill in slow motion wearing a ROOS headband. Maybe you can track down a better source video.

    Maybe KangaROOS or Stan’s Shoe shack in Bound Brook, NJ might not mind the free publicity for this and you could do a joint marketing adventure and have White Owl add add a verse

    • Jeff Pearlman

      bobby, are we becoming … friends? :)

  • Bobby Fetter

    check your gmail. I sent you something

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life