By John Gilstrap
My next book, Damage Control, hits the stands on June 5. In this edition of the Jonathan Grave thriller series, Jonathan steps into a trap when he and Boxers travel to Mexico to rescue a busload of missionaries from the hands of a drug cartel. Someone in Washington betrays him on what should have been a routine ransom drop-off, and the result is a lot of dead hostages and kidnappers. As Jonathan and Boxers escape with the lone survivor, the cartel and their sponsors in Washington move heaven and earth to stop him. Publishers Weekly gave the book a glowing review, and I’m pleased to report that my publisher, Kensington, is pulling out some new stops in the promotion department.
One of the coolest things I’ve been asked to do is a video blog that brings readers deeper into Jonathan’s world. I’m calling it “Jonathan Grave’s Arsenal.” In two-minute segments, I’ll give overviews and demonstrations of the weapons Jonathan has at his disposal. So far, I’ve completed videos highlighting Heckler and Koch’s 5.56 mm HK416 (designated the M27 by the US Marines), the Colt Model 1911 .45 caliber pistol, and the Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun. By the time I’m done, the series will cover, at a minimum, the 7.62 mm HK 417 and the amazing 4.6 mm HK MP7. I’d like to do some episodes on explosives, too, but I haven’t yet figured out the logistics of that, what with all those pesky ATF rules.
While I’ve written a few movies over the past decade or so, I haven’t actually shot one in a long time. The last time I edited a film, I used a home version of a Moviola, literally cutting the film and splicing it with tape.
When first approached about this video blog thing, I had no idea how I was going to do it. Sure, I have a digital camera that shoots video, but I’d never actually shot video with it. Plus, since talking heads are boring—and, in my case, shiny—I knew I’d want to do cutaways.
Well, lo and behold, my Windows 7 program comes complete with Microsoft Movie Maker, an editing program that is way more powerful than I would have imagined. More than adequate for my needs. You simply drag the segments you want to work with to the work window, and you can make precise cuts.
With the first episode in the can, as it were, my next challenge was figuring out what the hell to do with the 60MB files. They’d choke anybody’s email server. Enter: YouSendIt.com. For $149 a year, you can email an unlimited number of HUGE files to people. The Kensington team is thrilled with the results.
My only frustration—and I’m turning to you dear Killzoners for help—is how to do voiceovers in Movie Maker. From what I can tell, on the digital recording, the audio track and the video track are all together. Is this correct?
“Jonathan Grave’s Arsenal” will be exclusive to Barnes & Noble for the first few weeks of its existence, but then I’ll add it to my website and upload it to YouTube.
I feel a new obsession coming on. I deeply don’t need another obsession.
By John Gilstrap