The Butterfly Effect

Leave a comment

So, by now most people know that I’ve got a book trailer. I’m pretty psy­ched about it.

This is because it’s AWESOME. Book trailers have a deserved rep­u­ta­tion for sucking. They are so bad, so much of the time, that it’s kind of a run­ning joke on reddit, goodreads and other social media forums that nobody has ever made a good one. For rea­sons I cannot under­stand, people don’t invest the time, energy and dol­lars into doing it right.

I feel pretty damned con­fi­dent that we did all three here, and that makes me incred­ibly proud.

But even cooler is how it came to be.

A but­terfly flaps its wings in Thai­land, and there’s a tsunami in Florida. We’ve all heard the theory about how your actions in life can have vast and unin­tended con­se­quences The idea is usu­ally cau­tionary, warning us to be cog­nizant of every action, to con­sider care­fully its impact on others. SF time travel sto­ries are rife with this. Step off the path and crush a beetle in the Jurassic, and sud­denly Rome was never founded.

But the thing folks never tell you is that it works both ways. Some­times, your actions, your asso­ci­a­tions, you past life has unin­tended con­se­quences for the better.

In 1997, I was wrap­ping up my mas­ters degree in Wash­ington, DC with every inten­tion of returning to New York City (a plan that got derailed by my dis­cov­ering I had a talent for secu­rity, cou­pled with 9/11, which kept me in DC for another 14 years) when I was done. I didn’t have a lot of money, so I split my rent with a room­mate, a young blond-haired, blue-eyed army reservist named Chris.

Back then, I was not the dashing officer you see before you. I had hair down to my ass, went every­where by motor­cyle, and wore black con­cert t-shirts as a uni­form. This kid looked like Thor’s son. He was in the f*!king ARMY. He made no god­damn sense.

But he was kind to me. I’ll never forget the day I moved out, and he showed up with a friend and helped me move. I hadn’t asked, he hadn’t offered. He just did it. It was the kind of quiet charity that comes when you really mean it.

We lost touch, and I mean com­pletely, over the next decade and a half. I didn’t know it, but he’d moved out west, made his for­tune in busi­ness. Like most folks living through the social media rev­o­lu­tion, he explored his own past through links of Face­book. He found me, having just moved to New York City and started my writing career.

He reached out, recon­nected and asked me to send him a copy of my book. He’d just founded a video com­pany. Part of their busi­ness was making book trailers. After reading CONTROL POINT, he freaked. He thought it was going to be big. He wanted to work with me on a book trailer for the series.

Can I be honest? I sort of rolled my eyes. After all, I’d never seen a decent book trailer before. I’m pro­tec­tive of my brand. I’d far rather do nothing than do some­thing half-assed.

But then I saw his work.

Chris had done the trailer for Ryan Hol­iday’s TRUST ME, I’M LYING, and it didn’t suck. In fact, it was f$#king fan­tastic. Some­body had written a decent script. Some­body had put thought into pacing and sound. Some­body had invested time and money and sweat and bled until they cre­ated art.

I dug deeper, looked closer at Simplifilm’s work. It was all as good as the Hol­iday trailer. Chris had founded a com­pany that was set­ting a new stan­dard for book trailers, one long overdue.

We kicked a script back and forth for months, and then set­tled in for a long spell of waiting. This was because Simplifilm’s work had attracted the atten­tion of an industry, they were drowning in work. I’d all but given up hope on them ever being able to slot me in when I got an email with .mp3 files of the voice actors auditions.

Two weeks later, I had a fin­ished trailer, one I’m obscenely proud of. It is the most sub­lime expe­ri­ence one can have as an artist — seeing your work reflected in someone else’s. I did my art, Chris did his, and the com­bi­na­tion is a thing of beauty.

My point is this: If you had come to me in ’97 and told me that my old room­mate would one day col­lab­o­rate with me on this, that our careers would inter­twine, I would have said you were crazy. If you’d told me that Chris would be out of the mil­i­tary and I would be in, I’d have laughed until I cried. But that butterfly’s wings were flap­ping, and this time, the wind they whipped up blew for­tune to my door.

Lucky guy.