James Patterson | The Coast to Coast Murders: Pass the Word

An unprecedented book promo for unprecedented times

It’s no surprise that 2020 was a strange, extraordinary time for everyone. COVID-19 spread like wildfire. Actual wildfires spread like themselves. Social injustice reared its loathsome head. It was a trying year in innumerable ways. But even through the doldrums of this terrible, no good, rotten year we kept working – even if it looked different than normal.

How do you promote one of James Patterson’s biggest book releases of the year while also maintaining COVID-19 safety compliance? That was the question we had to answer as we rolled into pre-production for this promo for The Coast to Coast Murders.

Our solution? Mirror the times by shooting almost everything remote over everyone’s favorite pandemic communication tool, Zoom. 

To start, we connected with tons of big-time James Patterson fans and asked them to read an advance copy of The Coast to Coast Murders. After they read the book, the spot’s director, Jordan Nowlin, interviewed each reader over Zoom to gauge their experience. “As a director it’s always tough not being in the same room as your talent,” says Nowlin. “But luckily everyone was so passionate about the book that it made my job easy! I just set them up and let them go!”

Zoom-based interviews weren’t enough, however. We wanted to evoke the idea that this book was going viral, being read from coast to coast (just as the name suggests). In order to achieve that feel we added in some sleek visual effects. For one, we built a custom-made “Zoom-looking” interface to house all the interviews. But our favorite moment is the over-the-shoulder shot at the 00:04 mark that features cameos from both Emily Payton & Muriel Lee. As always, they both kill it!

In the end, this spot is a perfect reflection of that strange moment in time that was mid-2020. It’s emblematic of our will to create in the face of uncertainty, as well as our production ingenuity. Oh, and it also happens to be a pretty great book trailer.

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