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Beyond Once Upon a Time


Last month, I revealed that one secret to making a good video for your practice is writing a script. I also made the point that writing a script has a bonus benefit of distilling your message and making it sharper. This month, I’d like to share a little more about how that happens.  It all works through the magic of story.

Story is the latest buzzword in marketing. Everywhere you look, there is some marketing or branding guru offering to help you tell your story. Why is story getting so much attention?  Because as humans, we crave story. It helps us order the seemingly random nature of our everyday lives into a meaningful existence. Our brains are hardwired to understand story.

Even though you may not be writing a novel, the concept of story has plenty of applications for your promotional video. Every story is a sequence of connected events or ideas with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Maybe you haven’t thought about your message as separate ideas that can be expressed in a sequence. But it’s important to separate what you want to say into individual thoughts. These are the soundbites I wrote about last month.

Now you need to arrange those ideas into a sequence, one after the other. But what order do you put them in? Which one comes first, then second?

The trick is to give it a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Ask yourself: what must your audience understand first before they can understand the next thing?  When you think of it this way, the logical connection emerges and the proper order becomes clear.

After watching your video, a person should be able to express what the video was about in a sentence or two. In other words, they should see the connection between all of your soundbites. This is where that distilling and sharpening of your message happens.

You have to make hard choices about what is relevant to your core message. If you can’t find a clear connection to one of your ideas, cut it. Even though it may be important, it doesn’t belong in this particular video.

During this process, you may discover that you should actually create more than one video. That’s OK.

Any good video production company should give you a break on the price for multiple videos they can shoot at the same time. The major cost for most productions is in the planning, rentals, set up and tear down on production day. So a 5 hour shoot instead of a 4 hour shoot, shouldn’t affect the price very much. Once they’re up and running, an extra hour of shooting footage for multiple videos is a great way to get more bang for your buck.

Now in closing, what’s the last thought that you want your audience to hear? When you think you’ve got it, stop writing.

Stay tuned to the StoryTellers right here on the Summit. Next month, we’ll get into the weeks even more and continue to explore how to write a good script for your promotional video.