How to Be a Better Video Storyteller

WE ARE STORYTELLERS - one of the most over-used phrases in the video production business.  Many video production companies use it.  Heck, even Tweedee Productions does!  It's cute, catchy, homey, warm and fuzzy.  I believe many of us use it to perhaps make the video production process seem a little less intimidating, but instead more fluid, artistic and organic.  Perhaps we think it reassures the client that the production firm they've just hired will "tell our story" correctly because, of course, they're "storytellers".

One of the great things about this country is that you can label yourself pretty much anything you want.  Do you ever wonder about those restaurants that put up a "best food in town" sign in their front window?  Says who?  "Best pie in all of (fill in the blank)" - by who's standards?  The same can be said about the "we are storytellers" neon sign we all seem to hang on our websites - who makes that call?  In many cases it seems like it's self proclaimed.

So how can the video lay-person tell if a video production company deserves the "we are storytellers" label?  Below I've listed a few things to watch for in a genuine storytelling video.

Questions to Ask Yourself About Effective Video Storytelling:

  1. Does the story hold your attention past the 20 second point?
  2. Are there sequences of related shots edited together effectively to lead you through the story?
  3. Are there shots in the story that are confusing or don't make sense as to why they are there?
  4. Does the video match what the audio - either voice-over or interview - is saying?  If not, typically the viewer will focus on the video and miss whatever is being said.
  5. Do the other audio elements - natural sound, music - support or detract from the story?
  6. Can you watch the story without audio and have a general idea of what the story is about?
  7. Do you watch the entire story to the end?
  8. What do you take away from the viewing experience?

The Proof Is In the Video:

The proof is in the pudding as they say (continuing on the "best soup in Scranton" food theme).  Below is a link to a very simple story we did for WPPI Energy's Shared Savings program a few years ago.  Please watch it and let me know if it passes the taste test for good storytelling.

http://tweedeeproductions.com/assets/videos/2011-03-0198_WPPI_Shared_Savings.mp4

The next time you're watching a sample video from a "we are storytellers" video production company, ask yourself, "why am daydreaming about lunch half-way through this one-minute video?  Hummm, best burger in town!"

Category: Editing Video, Shooting Video
Tags: storytellers, storytelling, video production, editing

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