In 2017, America will believe. The man known as Shadow is released from jail upon the death of his wife. Lightning strikes where there are no clouds. The enigmatic Mr. Wednesday offers Shadow employment as hired muscle. Lights dim and fail where Shadow goes. All of these things are connected. Mr. Wednesday explains, “either the world is crazy, or you are”. The gods are real. The gods exist only in our imagination. Ancient gods do battle with modern ones, Loki, Media, Anansi, Internet. Shadow is caught in the middle. Only by looking to the past can he understand the future. Coming to television in 2017, based on Neil Gaiman’s international bestselling novel American Gods, is the long awaited adaptation by the same name starring Ricky Whittle and the Emmy nominated Ian McShane. Executive Producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green will craft a journey across America and make visible the depths of human belief. Only on Starz. Click the link below to start your journey with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday and see interviews with the producers, stars, and author of the novel that started it all.
For this remediation, I adapted the trailer for a tv show based on a novel back to print form in the style of an advertising blurb one would see attached to an article containing an interview, or casting information, about the show. There were a few considerations I had to keep in mind while I was writing this. First, and foremost, it had to be short, like the trailer (see youtube link) I remediated it from. It also had to capture a sense of the scope of the show, as well as the key problematic and aesthetics that would capture reader attention. It couldn’t give away too much, but also had to entice with just enough information to actually instill the desire to go and watch the show. Finally, it needed the actual logistics, including actors, network, etc.
The biggest issue was that the teaser trailer relied on images more than words. Occasionally words would flash across the screen, such as “in 2017” “America” “will believe” with shots from the show between each slide. I cribbed some of the images and put them into words, such as the streetlights and lightning, to keep that element of the commercial in tact as best I could given the switch in medium. There was sparse dialogue, some of which I used in the blurb, but most of which doesn’t translate well to a written advertisement. The trailer had music playing, a cover of “In the Pines” by Danny Farrant which establishes atmosphere immediately and continues throughout the commercial. The trailer also doesn’t name Mr. Wednesday, but hints at his name in a way that someone who had read the book would easily be able to identify him. Ian Mcshane’s signature craggy face and real-life status as a famous actor tells the viewer that he’ll have a big role in the show so it didn’t make as much sense not to name him as I named characters; knowing that a beloved actor is participating in a new project draws in fans of that actor, which suits an advertisement.
There was also the concern of not advertising enough. The entire point of a teaser trailer is to, in the shortest amount of time possible (because commercials cost money to shoot and to air) drum up interest so that potential viewers do research themselves, generating site hits on the website of the parent company, in this case Starz. The genre conventions of both commercial and online written advertisement demand that the participating parties, Starz, Gaiman, Fuller, and Green be named, and the fact that both mediums shared this in common allowed me to direct the flow of the ad in a certain way; like the visual trailer, I could move from scenes and characters to logistical information towards the end. This logistical information flowed into what I thought the logical conclusion was based on my own internet browsing, a link to the parent site.