If you want to produce special work, it’s worth collaborating with special people.
It can be easy to settle on something that feels right. Something that seems to make sense of all the confusion.
You’ll feel relief when you get to this point. You’ll think you’ve cracked it. You’ll feel good.
But then you have to take a step back from what feels really good and ask:
But is it great?
Find out why things go where they go.
Find out why particular scenes in a particular film sequence are edited together or in the fashion they are or in the time that they are and the way that the cuts work.
What you’re really doing in this situation is you’re working on your craft.
You’re looking at something that you really admire and you’re trying to get into the seethe of the person who built this thing to begin with; to get into their head to see why they made the pratical decisions that they made in creating this, whether it’s a logo or a Web page or anything else.
Most broadcast stations have a public service quota to fill. If your event helps the greater good, creating a short radio spot will not only gain free advertising, but will convey the not for profit essence of your event.
Don’t have a philanthropic element to your event? It’s the perfect incentive to team up with one and give back to your community.
My business model is that I give away about 98% of my material free, and then about 2% of it is ‘premium courses – online pre-recorded video courses ranging from 14 days to 8 weeks and from a couple hundred bucks to $12,000 that take us twelve to twenty-four months to build and test.’
Set the scene quickly.
Unless there’s a reason to keep the listener guessing where the commercial is taking place, set the scene as quickly as you can (it will help the listener to imagine the situation straight away, and therefore understand the ad).
The last thing you want is for a listener to think, ‘Hang on, where am I? What’s going on?’
Whatever medium you are working in, try to involve the consumer as much as possible.
The ‘one frame’ goal is another form of reductionism. By definition, the simplest ad needs only one cut, or camera set-up (not including the end frame).
This is not a rule you need to place on every script you write, but it is a useful tool because it forces you to keep it simple.
Aim for as close to one frame (two or three is good, too), or at least be in a position to capture the basic idea in a single frame, as if it were a poster, even if the final ad uses more frames to improve the story telling.
When you create any idea for (video), ask yourself honestly: will this stand up to repeat viewing? Avoid anything that might quickly annoy and irritate (either the entire concept, or part of the idea such as dialogue or sound effects).
When titling your script, avoid the temptation to rush the title of your TV script. Titles may seem relatively trivial, but they can be important for various reasons:
1.) it gives the script an identity. Naturally, the title is what everyone will start referring to your idea by, so keep it short and avoid potentially annoying, stupid names.
2.) people naturally read or present the title before reading the script, so make sure it doesn’t give anything away, especially if there’s an unexpected twist at the end of the commercial.
3.) the title can actually help to sell a script. If the title can refer to the proposition in some way, it cleverly reinforces the fact that the idea is ‘on strategy.’ Or, give it a title that will appeal to the client.
Seconds before it went off to the client, my group creative director changed the title from ‘Bed’ to ‘Torture.’ It was a stroke of genius. Suddenly the product was the hero.
The end frame (of your video) can be a simple cut away to a blank screen with the tagline and logo neatly centered (voice over optional). It’s a simple, clever, and relevant way to give (your video) some visual branding, which helps to make the campaign more memorable.
Three fundamental questions to answer before a good idea can be a viral idea:
1.) Would anyone with no interest in this product care about the idea? It needs to hold a human truth that transcends what the agency or client thinks is good.
2.) Is it new? There must be a hook that makes you want to explore and share.
3.) Does it help express something on behalf of an audience in a way that they can’t? It should help them articulate love, loss, hope, fear, or hope, etc, to their friends and family.